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Dear visitor: Summer is here, and you may be thinking about a well-deserved vacation, family get-togethers, BBQs with neighborhood friends. More than likely, making a donation to Catholic Answers is not on your radar right now. But this is exactly the time we most need your help. The “summer slowdown” in donations is upon us, but the work of spreading the gospel and explaining and defending the Faith never takes a break. Your gift today will change lives and save souls for Christ this summer! The reward is eternal. Thank you and God bless.


Discusses Diocese and University of same name

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Valence, Diocese of (VALENTINENSIS), comprises the present Department of Dreme. It was reestablished by the Concordat of 1802, being formed of the ancient Diocese of Valence, less the portion comprised in the new Diocese of Viviers, and of various portions of the Dioceses of Die, Saint Paul-Trois-Chateaux, Vienne (see Archdiocese of Lyons), Orange, Vaison, Gap, Sisteron (see Diocese of Digne). From 1802 to 1821 Valence was a suffragan of Lyons; since 1821 it has been dependent on Avignon.

Ancient Diocese of Valence.—A tradition of the early sixth century attributes the establishment of Christianity at Valentia to three missionaries sent from Lyons by St. Irenaeus; the priest St. Felix and the deacons Sts. Achilles and Fortunatus, all martyrs. The “Chronicles of the Bishops of Valence”, probably compiled about the middle of the twelfth century, gives only confused information with regard to bishops prior to the ninth century. The first historically known bishop was St. Aemilianus (second half of the fourth century), who signed at the Council of Valence in 374. St. Sextus, martyred during the invasion of Chrocus, was erroneously introduced into the list of bishops by the Carthusian Polycarpe de la Riviere. In 450 Pope St. Leo made Valentia a suffragan of Vienne. St. Apollinaris, brother of St. Avitus, occupied the see for thirty-four years during the first half of the sixth century, and after the conversion of Sigismund, King of Burgundy, was exiled by the latter; he is the patron of the diocesan cathedral., Other bishops were: Maximus II (567), during whose episcopate the city was delivered from besieging Lombards by the prayers of St. Galla, a virgin of Bourg-les-Valence; Gontard (1082), who received Urban II at Valence, 1095; St John I (1141-6), formerly a Cistercian Abbot of Bonnevaux, disciple of St. Peter of Tarentaise; Bl. Humbert de Miribel (1200-20); Gerold (1220-27), formerly Abbot of Cluny, later Patriarch of Jerusalem; St. Boniface of Savoy (1240-42), later Archbishop of Canterbury; Amadeus II, Cardinal of Saluces (1383-89); John VI, Cardinal of Lorraine (1521); Francois-Guillaume de Castelnau, Cardinal of Clermont-Lodeve (1524-31); Jean de Montluc, brother of the historian Blaise, who assisted in the nomination of the Duke of Anjou as King of Poland (1553-79), and was suspected of Protestant tendencies. During the Middle Ages Valence recognized only the sovereignty of the emperor, as King of Burgundy and Arles; under him the bishops exercised real dominion. The neighboring territories bore the title of Countship and Duchy of Valentinois. In 950 Gontard, of the house of the counts of Poitiers, made himself master of the Countship of Valentinois, which passed to the Duke of Savoy in 1419, and to the Dauphin Louis, son of Charles VII, in 1446, becoming united to the Crown of France. In 1498 Louis XII made Valentinois a ducal peerage which he gave to Caesar Borgia.

Diocese of St-Paul-Trois-Chateaux.—According to a legend of the fifteenth century, St. Restitutus, first Bishop of St-Paul-Trois-Chateaux, was the man born blind, mentioned in the Gospel. Local traditions also make Sts. Eusebius, Torquatus, Paulus, Amantius, Sulpicius, Bonifatius, Castorinus, and Michael early bishops of St-Paul-Trois-Chateaux. Msgr. Duchesne regards St. Paulus (fourth or sixth century), patron of the city, as the only known bishop. Owing to Saracen ravages (827-29) the Church of St-Paul-Trois-Chateaux, by Decree of Gregory IV, was united with the Church of Orange until the end of the eleventh century, when the Diocese of Orange was reestablished. The Diocese of St-Paul-Trois-Chateaux was always dependent on Arles. Among its bishops were He-raclius (525-42), correspondent of St. Avitus; Saint Martin des Ormeaux (seventh century), who became a solitary.

Diocese of Die.—The Carthusian Polycarpe de la Riviere gives St. Martinus (220) as first Bishop of Die. The oldest historically known bishop is St. Nicasius, who attended the Council of Nicaea in 325. After him are mentioned: St. Petronius, followed by his brother St. Marcellus (c. 463), confessor and miracle-worker; Lucretius (541-73), to whom St. Ferreolus of Uzes dedicated his monastic rule. For various reasons Abbe Jules Chevalier omits from the episcopal list: St. Maximus (sixth century); Wulphinus (end of eighth century); Exuperius and Saturninus (ninth century). Other bishops were: Hugh (1073-83), consecrated at Rome by Gregory VII, became a legate of the latter, presided over numerous councils for the reform of the Church, and subsequently became Bishop of Lyons; St. Ismido (1098-1115) of the noble house of Sassenage; Bl. Ulric (1129-42), who opposed the Petrobrusian heresy in his diocese and became a Carthusian; Bl. Bernard (1173-76); St. Stephen (1203-8), formerly a Carthusian at the monastery of Portes; Bl. Didier (Desiderius) de Lans (1213-20). After the eleventh century the Diocese of Die, long disputed between the metropolitans of Vienne and Arles, became dependent on Vienne. By Bull of September 25, 1275, in order to strengthen the Church of Valence in its struggle with the House of Poitiers, Gregory X united the Diocese of Die with that of Valence. This union, which lasted four centuries, was unfortunate for Die. It was annulled in 1687 by Louis XIV, who, to combat Protestantism, appointed a Bishop of Die.

Councils were held at Valence in: 374, at which measures were taken for ecclesiastical discipline; 530, against Pelagianism; 585, King Gontran’s donations to the Church were confirmed; 855, against Gottschalk’s heresy; 890, Louis, son of Boson, was proclaimed King of Provence; 1100, the Bishop of Autun was suspended as a simoniac; 1209, dealt with the conditions on which the Count of Toulouse should be admitted to absolution. A so-called Council of Valence, held at Montelimar (1248), anathematized Emperor Frederick II and organized the Inquisition in Southern France. The Benedictine Abbey of Notre-Dame-d’Aiguebelle, which was founded in 1045 through Hughues Adhemar, Baron de Grignan, and visited by Paschal II in 1107, subsequently fell to decay. In 1137 the Cistercians of Morimond were summoned by Gontard Dupuy, Lord of Rochefort, to found a new abbey in the neighborhood of the first. From the end of the fifteenth century it belonged to commendatory abbots. Since 1816, when Pierre-Francois de Paul Malmy (Pere Etienne), a Trappist, secured possession of it, there has been a Trappist congregation at the Abbey d’Aiguebelle. The Canons Regular of St. Rufus, founded at Avignon in 1039, opened at Valence in 1158 a house which became their motherhouse in 1210, were secularized in 1774. Among the canons were: Anastasius IV, Adrian IV, and Julius II.

Among the saints of the diocese were: May (Marius), Abbot of Bodon (d. 550); Barnard (778-842), Archbishop of Vienne, who became a solitary at Romans, where he founded a large Benedictine monastery and built a church which still stands; Hugh (1053-1132), formerly a canon of Valence and Bishop of Grenoble, one of the founders of the Carthusians; Hugh, Abbot of Lioncel, nephew of the preceding (twelfth century). Blessed Bertrand of Garrigue, companion of Saint Dominic, died at Bouchet in the Diocese of St-Paul-Trois-Chateaux during a mission (1230); Blessed Humbert of Romans, general of the Dominicans, author of ascetical writings, died at the convent of Valence (1277). Adhemar de Monteil, a native of Grignan, Bishop of Le Puy, was accompanied on the First Crusade by Bernard of Valence, first Patriarch of Antioch in the new Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem, and by Raymond des Agiles, a native of St-Paul-Trois-Chateaux, one of the historians of the crusade. Marie Teyssonnier, called Marie de Valence (1576-1648), had such a reputation for piety that Cardinal de Berulle, St. Francis de Sales, Olier, Father Cotton, and Louis XIII visited her. Christophe d’Authier de Sigaud (1609-67), founder in 1632 of the Congregation of Missionary Priests of the Blessed Sacrament, founded the seminary in 1639.

Two women warriors played an important part in the history of this region: Marguerite de Laye triumphantly led the inhabitants of Montelimar against the Calvinist troops of Coligny; Philis de la Tour du Pin la Charce in 1696 successfully led the inhabitants of Lyons and the neighboring communes against the invasion of the Duke of Savoy. Madame de Sevigne, the famous writer of letters, died in 1696 in the Chateau de Grignan which belonged to her son-in-law. At Romans Gambetta delivered a famous discourse (September 18, 1878) in which he outlined the whole anti-clerical policy of the Third Republic. In the cathedral of Valence a Requiem Mass is sung yearly on August 29, for the soul of Pius VI, who died at Valence, August 29, 1799, during his confinement in the citadel. The chief pilgrimages of the dioceses are: Notre—Dame—de—Bonne—Combe at St—Germain d’Hauterives, dating from the twelfth century; Notre-Dame-de-Chatenay at Lens-Lestang; Notre-Dame-de-Consolation at Arpavon; Notre-Dame-de-Mont-Carmel at Chateauneuf—de—Mazenc; Notre-Dame-la-Blanche at Mollans.

Before the application of the Associations Law of 1901 there were at Valence: Assumptionists, Capuchins, Marists, Lazarists, Carmelites, and Redemptorists, Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, and various orders of teaching Brothers.

Several orders of women are native to the diocese: Trinitarians, nursing and teaching sisters, established at Valence since 1685; Sisters of the Most Blessed Sacrament, hospital and teaching sisters, founded by Father Vigne, a convert, with motherhouse at Romans, 1715; the teaching Sisters of St. Martha, founded in 1815 by Mlle du Vivier with motherhouse at Romans; Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, founded by Baroness de Mont-Rond and Abbe Nee in 1851 for the supervision of work-rooms and studios, with motherhouse at Recoubeau. At the end of the nineteenth century the religious orders had in the Diocese of Valence: 28 infant schools, 1 institution for deaf-mutes, 1 infirmary for dependent children, 1 orphanage for boys, 15 orphan-ages for girls, 3 industrial schools, 1 protective society, 3 reformatories, 12 houses of religious for the care of the sick in their homes, 1 asylum for idiots and epileptics, 10 hospitals. In 1905 the diocese had: 297,321 inhabitants, 37 parishes, 314 succursals, 68 vicariates. The present bishop, Msgr. Jean-Victor-Emile Chesnelong, b. at Orthez, April 6, 1856, studied at Saint-Sulpice, was ordained at Paris, 1879, and consecrated by Pius X at Rome, February 25, 1906.


UNIVERSITY OF VALENCE, erected July 26, 1452, by letters patent from the Dauphin Louis, afterwards Louis XI, who was very fond of Valence. Pius II approved its erection in the Bull of May 3, 1459. In February, 1541, the Canon Pierre Morel opened a college for thirteen poor students. In the sixteenth century Valence was famous for its teaching of law, entrusted to Italian professors or to those who had studied in Italy. The Portuguese jurist, Govea, taught at Valence, 1554-55; the French jurist, Cujas (1522-90), from December, 1557, to 1559; and Francois Hotman from the end of 1562 until August 1568. It was at the instigation of Hotman that Bishop Montluc obtained from Charles IX the Edict of April 8, 1565, which united the Universities of Grenoble and Valence. Cujas again filled a chair at Valence, August, 1567-75; he had among his auditors the learned Scaliger, the historian Jacques-Auguste de Thou, the jurist Pithou. The university was a center of Protestant tendencies. Hotman was a determined Protestant; Cujas passed from Protestantism to Catholicism, but it is doubtful if his conversion was inspired entirely by religious motives. In view of these new tendencies the theological teaching was inadequate, and consequently in 1575 Montluc founded at Valence a college of Jesuits, but this was of short duration. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the University of Valence was of only minor importance. From 1738 to 1764 its transfer to Grenoble was contemplated but this project was abandoned. It disappeared during the Revolution.


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