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Diocese of Amiens

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(AMBIANUM).

Comprises the department of Somme. It was a suffragan of the archdiocese of Reims during the old regime, of Paris, 1802 to 1822, and of Reims again, since 1822. Abbé Duchesne denies any value to the legend of two Saints Firmin, honoured on the first and twenty-fifth of September, as the first and third Bishops of Amiens. The legend is of the eight century and full of incoherences. Even on the supposition that a St. Firmin, native of Pampeluna, was martyred during the persecution of Diocletian, it is certain that the first bishop known to history is St. Eulogius, who defended the divinity of Christ in the councils held during the middle of the fourth century. Among the bishops of Amiens are counted: Jessé, who played an important part in the time of Charlemagne, and was deposed under Louis the Pious; William of Mâcon, at the end of the thirteenth century, called the greatest jurist of the University of Paris ; Jean de Lagrange, known as the Cardinal of Amiens (d. 1402), who figured prominently in the great Schism ; the Franciscan monk, François Faure, preacher at the court of Louis XIV, who converted to Catholicism the Duke de Montausier and James II, the future King of England ; Bombelles, ambassador to Venice under Louis XVI, who after the Revolution, became a priest, and was Bishop of Amiens from 1819 to 1822. The cathedral (thirteenth century) is an admirable Gothic monument, and was made the subject of careful study by Ruskin in his "Bible of Amiens". The nave of this cathedral is considered a type of the ideal Gothic. The church of St. Acheul, near Amiens, and formerly its cathedral, was, in the nineteenth century, the home of a very important Jesuit novitiate. The beautiful churches of St. Ricquier and Corbie perpetuate the memory of the great Benedictine abbeys and homes of learning founded in these places in 570 and 662. The Diocese of Amiens, at the end of the year 1905, counted 537,848 inhabitants, 60 cures, or parishes ; 609 succursales , or mission churches, and 49 vicariates, with salaries formerly paid by the State.

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