Archdiocese of Tours
Archidiocèse de Tours
|Area||6,158 km2 (2,378 sq mi)|
- Catholics (including non-members)
|(as of 2017)|
|Sui iuris church||Latin Church|
|Established||3rd Century (As Diocese of Tours)|
5th Century (As Archdiocese of Tours)
|Cathedral||Cathedral of St. Gatianus in Tours|
|Patron saint||St. Gatianus of Tours|
St. Martin of Tours
|Secular priests||79 (diocesan)|
22 (religious orders)
24 Permanent Deacons
|Suffragans||Archdiocese of Bourges|
Diocese of Blois
Diocese of Chartres
Diocese of Orléans
|Bishops emeritus||Bernard-Nicolas Aubertin|
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Tours (Latin: Archidioecesis Turonensis; French: Archidiocèse de Tours) is an archdiocese of the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church in France. The archdiocese has roots that go back to the 3rd century, while the formal erection of the diocese dates from the 5th century.
The ecclesiastical province of Tours corresponds with the late Roman province of Tertia Lugdunensis. During Breton independence the see of Dol briefly exercised metropolitical functions (mainly tenth century). In 1859 the Breton dioceses except that of Nantes were constituted into a province of Rennes. Tours kept its historic suffragans of Le Mans, Angers together with Nantes and a newly constituted Diocese of Laval. In 2002 Tours lost all connection with its historic province, all its previous suffragans depending henceforth on an expanded province of Rennes (corresponding to the Brittany and Pays de la Loire administrative regions). Tours since 2002 has become the ecclesiastical metropolis of the Centre administrative region.
According to Louis Duchesne, the See of Tours was probably founded in the time of Constantine; Gregory of Tours says by Gatianus. As the city, (called "Caesarodunum"), was important as a crossing point of the Loire, it became a stop on the route to Santiago de Compostela. The fourth bishop was Brice of Tours. Stories about his tenure suggest tensions between the regular clergy and the secular priests in Tours at that time. Saint Perpetuus was bishop from 460 to 490. During his administration Christianity was further developed and consolidated in the province of Touraine. He was followed by Volusianus of Tours, a relative of Ruricius of Limoges. The first cathedral, dedicated to Saint Maurice, was built by Bishop Lidoire, sometime in the fourth century; it burned down in 561, but was restored by Gregory of Tours.
Bishop Chrotbert (Robert) is mentioned in the earliest grant of privileges to the Monastery of St. Martin in Tours, made by Pope Adeodatus (672–676). The document survives only in two copies which differ significantly between them; both are suspect.
In May 858, which was the third year of his pontificate, Archbishop Herardus held a diocesan synod, in which a codification was issued of the capitula ('regulations') of the diocese. The document contained 140 chapters.
On 21 January 1216, Pope Innocent III confirmed an agreement entered into between the Archbishop of Tours and the Chapter of the cathedral on the election of a Dean and Provosts.
After the death of Archbishop Jean de la Faye in April 1228, there appears to have been considerable difficulty in finding a new archbishop. Jean Maan, Dean of Mans, was brought to Tours, but he refused the see, or was unable to muster sufficient votes. Then the see was offered to Master Pierre de Collomedio of Champagne, a Canon of Thérouanne and Papal Legate, but, though the election was canonically carried out, he refused the offer.
The leaders of the French Revolution, as part of their program, planned to bring the religions in France under their control. The Roman Church was rich, and therefore powerful. The Revolution needed to redirect that power and acquire that wealth to finance their own projects. One device was to transfer old loyalties by breaking up the traditional units of political, social and religious organization. The property of the religious organizations was to be confiscated for the benefit of the people of France, and all clergy would become state employees, with their salaries fixed and paid by the government. The new political unit was to be the "département", of which eighty-four were planned. It was determined by the Constituent Assembly that the Church was overloaded with bishops; therefore the number of dioceses needed to be reduced, from the 135 of the Ancien Régime, to 82 or 83, and that to the extent possible they were to have the same borders as the new political departments. The Diocese of Tours was therefore abolished and subsumed into a new diocese, coterminous with the new 'Departement d'Indre-et-Loire', which was to be a suffragan of the 'Metropole du Centre' (composed of the dioceses of Allier, Cher, Creuse, Indre, Indre-et-Loire, Loire-et-Cher, Nièvre and Vienne, with its center at Bourges) in the "Constitutional Church". The clergy were required to swear and oath to the Constitution, and under the terms of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy a new bishop was to be elected by all the voters of the département, who did not even need to be Catholics. This placed them in schism with the Roman Catholic Church and the Pope. Archbishop de Conzié of Tours refused to take the oath, and his bishopric was therefore declared to be vacant.
On 13 March 1791 the electors of Indre-et-Loire met in Tours in the cathedral. They were harangued by members of the Société des Amis de la Constitution, who pressed for the election of their president, a former Oratorian by the name of Ysabeau, who, however, could not muster a majority. Instead on the next day the electors chose Pierre Suzor, the curate of Ecueillé. He proceeded to Paris, where he was consecrated a bishop on 10 April by Constitutional Bishops Massieu, Delcher, and Sibille. His consecration was valid, but uncanonical and schismatic, and brought him excommunication. As bishop, he was at first conservative and somewhat rigorous, refusing to sanction the marriage of clergy, but later he succumbed to pressure. At the end of 1793, when Religion was abolished and replaced by Reason and the churches closed, most of the 360 clergy of Indre-et-Loire abdicated or apostasized. Religion was restored in 1795, but Suzor did not regain possession of the cathedral until 13 May 1797. Suzor suffered a stroke in 1797; the bishops of the Metropolitanate were allowed to assemble at Bourges in 1800 to find him a successor. On 1 February 1801 Hyacinthe Tardiveau accepted the position, and Suzor died on 13 April 1801, having approved of his successor. Tardiveau was never bishop, since he made his acceptance conditional upon receiving the traditional bulls from the pope, which never happened. In May 1801 First Consul Napoleon Bonaparte required the resignation of all Constitutional bishops; he was in the process of completing a concordat with the Papacy, and the Constitutional Church was an obstacle.
After the Concordat went into effect, Pius VII was able to issue the appropriate bulls to restore many of the dioceses and to regulate their boundaries, most of which corresponded closely to the new 'départements'. The Diocese of Tours, which was coterminous with the Department of Indre-et-Loire, had as suffragans: Le Mans, Angers, Rennes, Nantes, Quimper, Vannes, Saint-Pol, Treguier, Saint-Brieux Saint-Mâlo and Dol.
The main pilgrimage sites in the diocese besides the grottos of Marmoutier, are: Notre-Dame-la-Riche, a sanctuary erected on the site of a church dating from the third century, and where the founder St. Gatianus is venerated; Notre-Dame-de-Loches; St. Christopher and St. Giles at St-Christophe, a pilgrimage dating from the ninth century; the pilgrimage to the Oratory of the Holy Face in Tours, managed by Priests of the Holy Face canonically erected on 8 December 1876.
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