Roman Catholic Diocese of Angers

Diocese of Angers
Dioecesis Andegavensis
Diocèse d'Angers

Country France
Ecclesiastical province Rennes
Metropolitan Archdiocese of Rennes
Area 7,166 km2 (2,767 sq mi)
- Total
- Catholics
(as of 2012)
566,000 (72.3%)
Parishes 85
Denomination Roman Catholic
Rite Roman Rite
Established 372
Cathedral Cathedral of St. Maurice in Angers
Patron saint Saint Maurice
Current leadership
Pope Francis
Bishop Emmanuel Delmas
Metropolitan Archbishop Pierre d'Ornellas
Emeritus Bishops Jean Pierre Marie Orchampt Bishop Emeritus (1974-2000)
Website of the Diocese

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Angers, is a diocese of the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic church, in France. The episcopal see is located in Angers Cathedral, in the city of Angers. The diocese extends over the entire department of Maine-et-Loire.

It was a suffragan see of the Archdiocese of Tours under the old regime as well as under the Concordat. Currently, the diocese is a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Rennes.


The first Bishop known in history is Defensor, who, when present in 372, at the election of the Bishop of Tours, made a determined stand against the nomination of Saint Martin. The legend concerning the earlier episcopate of a certain Auxilius, is connected with the cycle of legends that centre about Saint Firmin of Amiens and is contradicted by Angevin tradition from before the thirteenth century.

Among the illustrious names of the Diocese of Angers during the first centuries of its existence are those of Saint Maurilius, disciple of Saint Martin, and at an earlier period hermit of Chalonnes, who made a vigorous stand against idolatry, and died in 427; Thalassius, consecrated bishop in 453, who has left a compendium of canon law, consisting of the decisions of the councils of the province of Tours; Saint Albinus (sixth century); Saint Licinius, former Count of Anjou, and bishop during the early part of the seventh century.

As for the tradition that Saint Renatus, who had been raised from the dead by Saint Maurilius, was Bishop of Angers for some time shortly before 450, it bases its claims to credibility on a late life of Saint Maurilius written in 905 by the deacon Archinald, and circulated under the name of Gregory of Tours, and it seems to have no real foundation.

Among the Bishops of Angers in modern times were Cardinal de la Balue (1467) confined by Louis XI in an iron cage (1469-80) for his negotiations with Charles the Bold; the Jansenist, Henri Arnauld (1649-93); Monsignor Freppel (1870-91), who had a seat in the Chamber of Deputies, and warmly defended religious interests; Monsignor Mathieu (1893-96), cardinal of the Curia and member of the French Academy.

Angers Cathedral, a majestic structure without side aisles, dedicated to Saint Maurice, dates from the twelfth century and exhibits the characteristic type of Angevin or Plantagenet architecture. During the Middle Ages Angers was a flourishing monastic city with six great monasteries: the Abbey of St. Aubin founded by King Childebert I; the Abbey of St. Serge by Clovis II; those of St. Julien, St. Nicholas and Ronceray, founded by Count Foulques Nerra, and All Saints' Abbey, an admirable structure of the twelfth century. In 1219 Pope Callixtus II went in person to Angers to assist at the second consecration of the church attached to Ronceray Abbey. The Diocese of Angers includes Fontevrault, an abbey founded at the close of the eleventh century by Robert d'Arbrissel but which did not survive the Revolution. The ruins of St. Maur perpetuate the memory of the great Benedictine abbey of that name.

In 1244, a university was founded at Angers for the teaching of canon and civil law. In 1432 faculties of theology, medicine and art were added. This university was divided into six "nations," and survived up to the time of the Revolution. In consequence of the law of 1875 giving liberty in the matter of higher education, Angers again became the seat of a Catholic university. The Congregation of the Good Shepherd (Bon Pasteur), which has houses in all parts of the world, has its mother-house at Angers by virtue of a papal brief of 1835. Berengarius, the heresiarch condemned for his doctrines on the Holy Eucharist, was Archdeacon of Angers about 1039, and for some time found a protector in the person of Eusebius Bruno, Bishop of Angers. Bernier, who played a great role in the wars of La Vendée and in the negotiations that led to the Concordat, was curé of St. Laud in Angers.


To 1000

1000 to 1300

1300 to 1500

1500 to 1800

From 1800

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "article name needed". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton. 

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