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The Diocese of Agen

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Comprises the Department of Lot and Garonne. It has been successively suffragan to the archdioceses of Bordeaux (under the old regime), Toulouse (1802-22), and Bordeaux (since 1822). Legends which do not antedate the ninth century concerning the hermit, St. Caprasius, martyred with St. Fides by Dacianus, Prefect of the Gauls, during the persecution of Diocletian, and the story of Vincentius, a Christian martyr (written about 520), furnish no foundation for later traditions which make these two saints early bishops of Agen. The first bishop of Agen known to history is St. Phoebadius, friend of St. Hilary, who published (in 357) a treatise against the Arians and figured prominently at the Council of Rimini in 359. Among the bishops of Agen were Wilhelmus II, sent by Pope Urban IV (1261-64) to St. Louis in 1262 to ask his aid in favor of the Latin Empire of Constantinople; Bertrand de Goth, whose uncle of the same name was raised from the Archbishopric of Bordeaux to the Papal See under the name of Clement V (1305-14), and during his pontificate visited the city of Agen; Cardinal Jean de Lorraine (1538-50); the Oratorian, Jules Mascaron, a celebrated preacher, transferred from the see of Tulle, to that of Agen (1679-1703); Hebert, who was curé of Versailles, had contributed to the withdrawal of Madame de Montespan from the royal court, and who when appointed Bishop of Agen (1703) had as vicar-general until 1709 the celebrated Belsunce; de Bonnac (1767-1801), who in the parliamentary session of 3 January, 1792, was the first to refuse to sign the constitutional oath. The church of St. Caprasius, a splendid specimen of Romance architecture, dating from the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, has been made the cathedral in place of the church of St. Etienne, which was unfortunately destroyed during the Revolution. The Diocese of Agen comprised (end of 1905) 278,740 inhabitants, 47 first class parishes, 397 second class parishes, and 27 vicariates, formerly with State subventions.

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