Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Marseille

Archdiocese of Marseille
Archidioecesis Massiliensis
Archidiocèse de Marseille

Country France
Ecclesiastical province Marseille
Area 650 km2 (250 sq mi)
- Total
- Catholics
(as of 2013)
715,000 (68.2%)
Denomination Roman Catholic
Rite Roman Rite
Established 1st Century
Cathedral Cathedral Basilica of St Mary Major in Marseille
Patron saint St Lazarus of Bethany
Current leadership
Pope Francis
Metropolitan Archbishop Georges Pontier
Auxiliary Bishops Jean-Marc Noël Aveline
Emeritus Bishops Bernard Panafieu Cardinal Archbishop Emeritus (1995-2006)
Website of the Archdiocese

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Marseille, is a metropolitan archdiocese of the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic church in France. The Archepiscopal see is in the city of Marseille, and the diocese comprises the arrondissement of Marseille, a subdivision of the department of Bouches-du-Rhône in the Region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur.

According to local myth, the Church of Marseille was erected in the 1st century, by St. Lazarus, the young man mentioned in the Gospels who had been raised from the dead by Jesus Christ himself. His family migrated to Provence at some point after the Resurrection.[1]

The diocese of Marseille was abolished during the French Revolution, under the Civil Constitution of the Clergy (1790). Its territory was subsumed into the new diocese, called the 'Bouches-du-Rhone', which was part of the Metropolitanate called the 'Metropole des Côtes de la Méditerranée (which included ten new 'departements'). The electors of 'Bouches-du-Rhone' met at Aix beginning on 19 February 1791, and on 23 February elected Abbé Charles Benoît Roux, curé of Eyragues near Arles. He was consecrated in Paris by Constitutional Bishops Gobel, Miroudot and Gouttes. He very much enjoyed the social life of Marseille, but after the execution of Louis XVI on 21 January 1793, Roux joined the counter-revolutionaries. When Marseille was occupied by troops of the Convention, he fled to Aix. He was arrested and imprisoned on 20 September; he was taken to Marseille, where he faced a tribunal of the Revolution which condemned him to death. He was executed on 5 April 1794.[2]

The diocese was raised to the level of an Archdiocese on 31 January 1948 by Pope Pius XII. The suffragans of the archdiocese are: the Archdiocese of Aix, the Diocese of Ajaccio, the Archdiocese of Avignon, the Diocese of Digne, the Diocese of Fréjus-Toulon, the Diocese of Gap, and the Diocese of Nice.[3]

Bishops and Archbishops of Marseille

to 1000

  • Oresius (ca. 314)[4]
  • Proculus
  • Venerius (ca. 431-451)[5]
  • Eustasius (attested in 463)[6]
  • Graecus
  • Honoratus (ca. 496-500)[7]
  • Cannatus (Canus Natus) (second half of the fifth century)[8]
  • Theodorus (ca. 580s)[9]
  • Serenus
  • Petrus
  • Maurontus (ca. 780)[10]
  • Yvo (attested on 12 March 781)[11]
  • Wadalus (813-818)[12]
  • Theobertus (ca. 822-841)[13]
  • Alboin (attested 843/844)[14]
  • Litiduinus (attested in 878 and 879)[15]
  • Berengarius (attested in 884)[16]
  • [Gulfaric] (9th century)[17]
  • [Venator] (9th century)[18]
  • Drogon (attested in 923 and 924)[19]
  • Pons (977 – 1008)[20]


1500 to 1700

1700 to 1948

Archbishops of Marseille since 1948


  1. Gospel of John 11-12. Albanès (1899), pp. 1-6. The church of Marseille also possessed relics of Mary Magdalen and Martha, Lazarus' sisters. Lazarus' own remains were in the Cathedral in 1122, along with relics of Saint Peter, his brother Saint Andrew, and Saint Stephen the Protomartyr: Albanès (1884), p. 42.
  2. Paul Pisani (1907). Répertoire biographique de l'épiscopat constitutionnel (1791-1802). (in French). Paris: A. Picard et fils. pp. 323–325.
  3. David M. Cheney, Catholic-Hierarchy: Archdiocese of Marseille. Retrieved: 2016-08-15.
  4. Oresius participated in the Council of Arles of 314: Duchesne, p. 274, no. 1. Albanès (1884), p. 5.
  5. Duchesne, p. 274, no. 3.
  6. Duchesne, p. 274, no. 4.
  7. A disciple of S. Hilarius, Honoratus was a correspondent of Pope Gelasius (492-496).
  8. Son of the king and queen of Aix. His name 'Canus Natus' ('born with white hair') is nothing but a bad folk etymology. The only documentary evidence for Cannatus is from liturgical books, the earliest of which is from 1122. Duchesne, p. 275 no. 7. Canus Natus is omitted by Gallia christiana (1716). Albanès, Gallia christiana novissima (1899) includes him (pp. 15-19), but with a question mark and the date 485. Belsunce (1747), I, pp. 201-206.
  9. Theodorus was present at the Council of Mâcon in 585. He was still alive in 591. Duchesne, p. 275.
  10. A report of the Missus dominicus Vernarius to Charlemagne, praising Maurontus for his efforts on behalf of the abbey of S. Vincent. Albanès, pp. 33-34.
  11. Albanès, p. 36.
  12. Albanès, p. 37-38.
  13. Duchesne, p. 276, no. 14. Albanès, p. 38-41.
  14. Albanès (1884), p. 28. Albanès (1899), pp. 41-42.
  15. Duchesne, p. 277, no. 18.
  16. Duchesne, p. 277, no. 19.
  17. Albanès (1884), p. 29-30. Albanès (1899), p. 42. His name is known from a single document, which Albanès knew only from a printed text; the document is an index of other documents, with a very brief summary of the contents and date. A. assumes that the name is correctly copied and that the text is authentic. Gulfaric's name does not appear in the original Gallia christiana (1716). Duchesne, pp. 276-277, no. 16.
  18. Venator's name has the same history as Gulfaric(us). The text quoted by Albanès (1899), p. 42, gives him an episcopacy of at least ten years.
  19. Albanès (1884), p. 35. Albanès (1899), p. 45-46.
  20. Pons was the son of Guillaume, Vicomte de Marseille, and nephew of Bishop Honoratus. Albanès, pp. 48-51.
  21. Albanès (1899), pp. 52-62. Albanès (1884), pp. 39-40
  22. Bishop Raymond attended the Council of Vienne on 15 September 1112. Albanès (1899), pp. 62-65.
  23. Albanès (1899), pp. 65-71.
  24. Albanès (1899), pp. 72-86.
  25. Fouque is mentioned in a charter of 10 September 1170 as Bishop-elect. Albanès (1899), pp. 86-93.
  26. Albanès (1899), pp. 93-99.
  27. Eubel, I, p. 329. Albanès (1899), pp. 100-117.
  28. Benedict had been Abbot of Grasse (Crassensis). He resigned the episcopacy in order to enter the Order of Friars Minor. He died on 11 July 1268. Eubel, I, p. 329-330. Albanès (1899), pp. 117-172.
  29. Eubel, I, p. 330.
  30. Eubel, I, p. 330. Albanès (1899), pp. 194-227.
  31. Albanès (1884), pp. 63-64.
  32. Eubel, I, p. 330. Albanès (1899), pp. 227-238. Albanès (1884), pp. 63-64.
  33. In 1319 Gasbert, who had been serving as Treasurer General of the Holy Roman Church, became Chamberlain of the Holy Roman Church. C. Samaran and G. Mollat, La fiscalité pontificale en France au XIVe siècle (Paris 1905), p. 167-168. Albanès (1884), pp. 65-66.
  34. Eubel, I, p. 330. Albanès (1899), pp. 245-260. Albanès (1884), pp. 67-69.
  35. Eubel, I, p. 330. Albanès (1899), pp. 260-295. Albanès (1884), pp. 70-72.
  36. Eubel, I, p. 330. Albanès (1899), pp. 296-313. Albanès (1884), pp. 73-75.
  37. Eubel, I, p. 330. Albanès (1899), pp. 314-331.
  38. Eubel, I, p. 330.
  39. Eubel, I, p. 330.
  40. Guillaume Sudre was promoted to the Cardinalate by Pope Urban V on 18 September 1366, and promoted to the See of Ostia on 17 September 1367. Eubel, I, p. 20. Albanès, pp. 332-342.
  41. The texts gathered by Albanès, pp. 342-346, indicate clearly that Philippe de Cabassole was not the Bishop of Marseille, only the Administrator. Philippe was created Cardinal Priest by Pope Urban V on 22 September 1368.
  42. Albanès, pp. 347-364.
  43. He was the grand-nephew of Cardinal Achille d'Estampes. Ritzler, V, p. 260, with n. 3. Albanès, pp. 640-643.
  44. Vintimille was nominated by Louis XIV to Marseille in 1684, but due to the bad relations between the King and Pope Innocent XI, the bulls of appointment (preconisation) and consecration were never issued during that pontificate. Albanès, p. 645. It was not until 1692 that Pope Innocent XII signed the bulls. Vintimille was nominated by Louis XIV on 10 February 1708 to the diocese of Aix. He was promoted to the diocese of Paris on 17 August 1729 by Louis XV. Ritzler, V, p. 93; p. 260 and n. 4.
  45. Poudenx was nominated by Louis XIV on 10 February 1708. Ritzler, V, p. 260 and n. 5.
  46. Belsunce was granted the pallium as a special favor on 6 August 1731. Ritzler, V, p. 260, with n. 6.
  47. Belloy had been Bishop of Glandèves from 1751-1755. He was nominated by Louis XV on 22 June 1755. He resigned at the request of Pope Pius VI on 21 September 1801. He was named Archbishop of Paris on 10 April 1802, and died in Paris on 10 June 1808. Ritzler, VI, pp. 226, 280-281.
  48. Émile Sévestre (1905). L'histoire, le texte et la destinée du Concordat de 1801. Paris: Lethielleux. p. 496.
  49. Jean Leflon (1961). Eugène de Mazenod, Bishop of Marseilles: The steps of a vocation, 1782-1814 (in French). I, II, III, IV. New York: Fordham University Press.
  50. Albanès (1884), pp. 185-187.
  51. Albanès (1884), pp. 188-189


Reference works


Coordinates: 43°17′12″N 5°22′12″E / 43.28667°N 5.37000°E / 43.28667; 5.37000

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