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Diocese of Langres

Comprises the Department of the Haute-Marne

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Langres (LINGONIE), Diocese of, comprises the Department of the Haute-Marne. Suppressed by the Concordat of 1801, Langres was later united to the Diocese of Dijon. The bishop bore the title of Dijon and Langres, but the union was never quite complete; there was a pro vicar-general for the Haute-Marne and two seminaries at Langres, the petit seminaiee from 1809 and the grand seminaire from 1817. The See of Langres was reestablished in 1817 by Pius VII and Louis XVIII; and Msgr. de la Luzerne, its pre-Revolution bishop, was to have been reappointed; but the parliament did not ratify this agreement, and the bishops of Dijon remained administrators of the Diocese of Langres till October 6, 1822, when the Bull “Paternin charitatis” definitely reestablished the see. The new Bishop of Langres governed 360 parishes of the old Diocese of Langres, 70 of the old Diocese of Chalons, 13 of the old Diocese of Besancon, 13 of the old Diocese of Troyes, and 94 of the old Diocese of Toul. For the legends concerning the apostolic origin of the See of Langres and the mission of St. Benignus see Diocese of Dijon.

Msgr. Duchesne considers Senator, Justus, and St. Desiderius (Didier), who was martyred during the invasion of the Vandals (about 407), as the first three bishops of Langres; the see, therefore, must have been founded about the middle of the fourth century. Among the bishops who, till 1016, resided at Dijon, and exercised till 1731 spiritual jurisdiction over the territory of the present Diocese of Dijon we must mention: St. Martin (411-20); St. Urban (425-40); St. Paulinus (440-50); St. Aprunculus, the friend of Sidonius Apollinaris and his successor in the See of Clermont (470-84); St. Gregory (509-39), great-grandfather of St. Gregory of Tours, who transferred the relics of St. Benignus; St. Tetricus, son of St. Gregory (539-72), whose coadjutor was St. Monderic, brother of St. Arnoul, Bishop of Metz; Blessed Migetius (589-618); St. Herulphus (759-74), founder of the Abbey of Ellwangen; Blessed Arnoul (774-8); Betto (790-820), who helped to draw up the capitularies of Charlemagne; Venerable Isaac (859-80), author of, a collection of canons; Venerable Argrin (889-909); Blessed Bruno of Roucy (980-1015), who brought in the monks of Cluny to reform the abbeys of the diocese; Venerable Lambert (1015-30), who ceded to King Robert of France the lordship and county of Dijon, in 1016; Venerable Gauthier of Burgundy (1163-79); Robert de Torote (1232-40), who became Bishop of Liege in 1240, and established the feast of the Blessed Sacrament; Bertrand de Got (1306-07), uncle of Clement V; Venerable Sebastian Zamet (1615-54), whose vicar-general, Charles de Condren, became later Superior General of the Oratory, and who gave the college of Langres to the Society of Jesus in 1630; Cesar Guillaume de la Luzerne, bishop in 1770, celebrated as an apologist, deputy to the States General in 1789, and an emigre in 1791. He resigned in 1801, was created cardinal and again nominated Bishop of Langres in 1817, dying in 1821; Pierre Louis Parisis (1835-51), celebrated for the part he took in the Assembly of 1848 in the discussions on the liberty of teaching (liberte d’enseignement) and for founding the ecclesiastical college of St. Dizier even before the Loi Falloux (see Falloux Du Coudray) was definitely passed. Hugh III, Duke of Burgundy, in 1179 gave the city of Langres to his uncle, Gautier of Burgundy, then bishop; later it was made a duchy, which gave the Duke-Bishop of Langres, as the third ecclesiastical peer, the right of precedence over his metropolitan, the Archbishop of Lyons, at the consecration of the kings of France.

The chief patron of the diocese is the martyr, Saint Mammes of Ciesarea (third century), to whom the cathedral, a beautiful monument of the late twelfth century, is dedicated. The Diocese of Langres honors as saints a number of martyrs who, according to the St. Benignus legend, died in the persecution of Marcus Aurelius, the triplets, Saints Speusippus, Eleusippus, and Melapsippus; St. Neo, the author of their Acts, himself a martyr, St. Leonilla, their grandmother, and St. Junilla, their mother. Among other saints we may cite St. Valerius (Valier), a disciple of St. Desiderius, martyred by the Vandals in the fifth century; the hermit St. Godo (Gou), nephew of St. Vandrillus, in the seventh century; St. Gengulphus, martyr, in the eighth century; Venerable Gerard Voinchet (1640-95), canon regular of the Congregation of St. Genevieve in Paris, called the saint of that congregation; Venerable Jeanne Mance (1606-73); Venerable Mariet, a priest who died in 1704; Venerable Joseph Urban Hanipaux, a Jesuit, the latter three natives of the diocese, and celebrated for their apostolic labors in Canada.

The diocese was also the birthplace of the theologian, Nicolas de Clemenges (fourteenth-fifteenth century), who was canon and treasurer of the Church of Langres; and of the Gallican canonist Edmond Richer (1560-1631); of the Jesuit, Pierre Lemoine, author of an epic poem of St. Louis and of the work “La devotion aisee” (1602-71); of the philosopher, Diderot (1713-84). The historian, Raoul Glaber, monk of Cluny, who died in 1050, was at the priory of St. Leger in this diocese, when he was touched by Divine grace on the occasion of an apparition. The Benedictine Abbey of Poulangy was founded in the eleventh century. The Abbey of Morimond, the fourth foundation of Citeaux, was established in 1125 by Odolric, lord of Aigremont, and Simon, Count of Bassigny. Blessed Otho, son of Leopold of Austria, Abbot of Morimund, became Bishop of Freising in Bavaria, and returned in 1154 to die a simple monk in Morimond. The Augustinian priory of the Val des Ecoliers was founded in 1212, at Luzy, near Chaumont, by four doctors of the Paris University, who were led into this awful solitude by a love of retreat.

A religious festival, the “Scourging of the Alleluia” at Langres, now no longer observed, was quite celebrated in this diocese in the Middle Ages. On the day when, according to the ritual, the Alleluia was omitted from the liturgy, a top on which the word Alleluia was written was whipped out of church, to the singing of psalms, by the choir boys, who wished it bon voyage till Easter. The “Pardon of Chaumont” is very celebrated. Jean de Montmirail, a native of Chaumont, and a particular friend of Sixtus IV, obtained from him, in 1475, that each time the feast of St. John the Baptist fell on a Sunday, the faithful, who, having confessed their sins, visited the church of Chaumont, should enjoy the jubilee indulgence. Such was the origin of the great “Pardon” of Chaumont, celebrated sixty-one times, between 1476 and 1905. At the end of the Middle Ages, this “Pardon” gave rise to certain curious festivities; on stages erected throughout the town were represented fifteen mysteries of the life of St. John the Baptist, while frolics of the devils who figured in the punishment of Herod, through the town and the country, on the Sunday preceding the “Pardon”, drew multitudes to the festivities, which were finally called the “deviltries” of Chaumont. In the course of the eighteenth century the “Pardon” became a purely religious ceremony.

In the Diocese of Langres is Vassy, where in 1562 took place the riots between Catholics and Protestants that gave rise to the wars of religion (see Huguenots). Numerous diocesan synods were held at Langres. The most important were those of 1404, 1421, 1621, 1628, 1679, 1725, 1733, 1741, 1783, and six successive annual synods held by Msgr. Parisis, from 1841 to 1846, with a view to the reestablishment of the synodal organization and also to impose on the clergy the use of the Roman Breviary (see Prosper Louis Pascal Gueranger). The principal pilgrimages are: Our Lady of Montrol near Arc-en-Barrois (dating from the seventeenth century); Our Lady of the Hermits at Cuves; Our Lady of Victories at Bourmont; St. Joseph, Protector of the Souls in Purgatory, at Maranville. In 1908 there were still thirteen congregations of nuns in the diocese. The Sisters of Providence, founded in 1802, with their motherhouse at Langres, were, at the time of the enforcement of the Associations Law, remarkable for the work they were doing in the schools and hospitals. In 1901 the religious congregations had in the diocese 33 @toles maternelles, 1 agricultural orphanage for boys, 6 orphanages for girls, 7 workshops, 1 school of house-keeping, 2 dispensaries, 16 hospitals, hospices, and homes for the aged, 2 houses of retreat, 113 houses for nursing of the sick at home. In 1908, three years after the separation of Church and State, the Diocese of Langres had 226,545 inhabitants, 28 canonical parishes, 416 ancillary parishes, and 49 vicariates.


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