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Beauvais

BEAUVAIS

French town at the confluence of the Thérain and Avelon Rivers, 49 miles north of Paris. It is the seat of a diocese (Bellovacensis ) suffragan to reims. The Roman Caesaromagus, capital of the Gallic Bellovaci tribe, was part of Belgica II and no earlier than the 4th century came to be called Bellovacum (Beauvais). The introduction of Christianity in the 3d century is traditionally attributed to the martyr Lucian, a Roman, whose 8th-century vita has little historical value. The process of Christianization was set back in the early 5th century by barbarian invasions. The 13th bishop, Maurinus (632), is the first who can be dated. The relies of St. Angadrisma, who entered a nearby monastery (c. 660), were translated to Beauvais (851), of which she and Lucian are patron saints.

Merovingian monasteries seem to have been abandoned during the Norman invasions (852940). hincmar was elected archbishop of Reims in a council of Beauvais (845). By 900 the bishops were temporal lords; the last lay count appeared in 1035. In the 12th century the bishops were feudal lords; in 1789 they held 450 fiefs. The commune, which was full grown in 1099, probably received its rights from Bishop Guy (106385). louis ix used an uprising of the commune as an excuse to violate the episcopal rights of Bp. Milo of Nanteuil (121734), who had been a crusader in the East (121819) and was with louis viii in southern France (1226). Although a council of noyon condemned Louis (1233) and a compromise was achieved (1248), royal authority was entrenched in Beauvais. Bourgeoisie uprisings continued, however. During the Hundred Years' War, which devastated the diocese, Bp. Pierre Cauchon (142032) helped condemn Joan of Arc. In 1472 Beauvais valiantly withstood a siege by Charles the Bold of Burgundy. During the wars clerical morals declined, buildings were destroyed, and there was no attempt to rebuild. Abbeys were held in commendation. Beauvais's bishop Cardinal Odet de Châtillon, abjured Catholicism for Calvinism (1562), married, and took the title count of Beauvais (1564); it took until 1569 to depose him.

Claude Gouine, vicar-general of Bp. Nicholas Fumée (157592), administered the see until his death (1607), rebuilding churches, reforming religious houses, bringing in Capuchins (1603), and applying some of the decrees of the Council of Trent. The founders of the seminary, which opened in 1648, and Bp. Nicholas Choart de Buzanval (165079) were Jansenist, but Toussaint de Forbin-Janson (16791713) purged the see of Jansenists, including the erudite hagiographer Adrien Baillet (16491706). Bishop F. J. de la rochefoucauld died a martyr in Paris (1792), as did the Carmelites in com piÈgne; but most of the clergy accepted the civil consti tution of the clergy. The diocese, which is rural, was suppressed and incorporated into the See of amiens (1801) but was restored (181722).

The unfinished Gothic cathedral of St.-Pierre, begun c. 1240, has collapsed several times. It has a choir, transept, and seven chapels, and a vault 158 feet high; the 13th-to 16th-century stained glass of the windows is famous, as are the tapestries depicting the lives of SS. Peter and Paul. Beauvais's tapestry industry was stimulated by the royal establishment there in 1664.

Bibliography: e. jarry, Catholicisme (Paris 1947 ) 1:136164. j. bÉreux, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques, ed. a. baudrillart (Paris 1912 ) 7:255302.

[e. p. colbert]

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