Roman Catholic Diocese of Quimper

Diocese of Quimper and Léon
Dioecesis Corisopitensis-Leonensis
Diocèse de Quimper et Léon

Country France
Ecclesiastical province Rennes
Metropolitan Archdiocese of Rennes
Area 6,785 km2 (2,620 sq mi)
- Total
- Catholics
(as of 2014)
733,000 (81.5%)
Parishes 323
Denomination Roman Catholic
Rite Roman Rite
Established 5th Century as Diocese of Quimper
23 November 1853 (As Diocese of Quimper-Léon)
Cathedral Cathedral Basilica of St Corentin in Quimper
Patron saint St Corentin of Quimper
Secular priests 239 (diocesan)
32 (religious)
Current leadership
Pope Francis
Bishop Laurent Dognin
Metropolitan Archbishop Pierre d'Ornellas
Website of the Diocese

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Quimper (Lat:Dioecesis Corisopitensis), is a diocese of the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic church in France. In 1853, the name was changed to the Diocese of Quimper, Cornouailles.[1]

Originally established in the 5th century, the diocese was dismantled during the anti-clericalism of the French Revolution. It was restored by the Concordat of 1801, as the combination of the dioceses of Quimper, Saint-Pol-de-Léon and Tréguier in Brittany, France. Traditionally, it formed part of Lower Brittany. It now covers an area of 7,029 km². (2,714 square miles), and contains a population of 852,685, of whom 750,000 (88%) are Catholic.

The diocese is a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Rennes. The current bishop is Laurent Marie Bernard Dognin.


Diocese of Quimper

Two versions of the catalogue of the bishops of Quimper are known: one is from the twelfth century and is held by the Cartulary of Quimperlé; the other is preserved in a Quimper Cartulary of the fifteenth century. Both mention a St Corentinus as first Bishop of Quimper; his biography was developed relatively late in church history. Nothing accurate is known about him, but he is supposed by some to have been ordained by St. Martin in the fourth century, while others claim that he was a sixth-century monk. The Diocese of Quimper was represented at church councils as early as the mid-fifth century.[2]

Diocese of Saint-Pol-de-Léon

There is evidence that Christianity was preached in Léon twenty years before the evangelization of Cornouaille, but ancient Breton chronology is very uncertain. The legend of St. Paul Aurelian, written in 884, shows that the Breton monks believed the See of Léon had been founded in the Merovingian epoch. The hermit Saint Ronan, a native of Ireland, often held to be one of the 350 bishops consecrated by Saint Patrick, was in the fifth century known as one of the apostles of Cornouailles and the neighbourhood around Léon. Paul Aurelian, a Gallic monk, founder of monasteries at Ouessant on the north-west coast of Brittany and on the Island of Batz, was believed to have founded in an abandoned fort a monastery which gave origin to the town of St. Pol de Léon, afterwards the seat of a diocese. He was the first titular of the see, a wonder-worker and prophet, and was held to have died in 575 at the age of 140 years, after having been assisted in his labours by three successive coadjutors. Though the monastery of Léon was probably founded by Paul Aurelian in the sixth century, the history of the diocese is more complicated. It is at least certain that there are traces in history of a Diocese of Léon as far back as the middle of the ninth century.[2]

The cornerstone of Quimper Cathedral was laid in 1424, but the building was still unfinished at the beginning of the sixteenth century. When Alexander VI granted that church the same indulgences as could be gained at the Roman Jubilee, funds came in which allowed its completion. The Cathedral of St. Pol de Léon was built between the 13th and 16th centuries. The church of Notre Dame de Creisker, in the same town, restored in the fourteenth century, has a belfry which the Bretons claim to be the handsomest in the world. Formerly Quimperlé had an important Benedictine abbey, Sainte Croix, founded in 1029, and where the Benedictines of St. Maur took up their residence in 1665. It was suppressed by the Revolution. Brest, one of the great fortified harbours of France, is in the diocese.

In 1608 Counter-Reformation preacher Michel Le Nobletz conducted his first mission on the island of Ouessant. "Apostle of Brittany" Father Julian Maunoir worked as a missionary to the Breton people for 43 years. Albert Le Grand wrote the "Lives of the Saints of Brittany" (1636) and published a Breton dictionary, and some devotional works in Breton. Today he is considered by some to be the founder of Breton philology.

Jean François de La Marche, Bishop of St. Pol de Léon from 1772, took refuge in England in 1792, and organized material assistance for the émigré clergy, as well as spiritual comfort for the French prisoners detained in England. He obtained a grant of the Castle of Winchester for the émigré French priests, and gathered there no less than eight hundred of them. He died in 1806.[2]

Other notable members of the diocese of Quimper are the classical scholar Jean Hardouin (1646–1729), the critic Élie Catherine Fréron (1719–71), and René Laennec (1781–1826), physician and inventor of the stethoscope.

List of bishops, 1802 to present

Bishop Le Vert




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