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Diocese of Angoulême
Angoulême, Diocese of, comprises the Department of the Charente in France, and has always been suffragan to the Archbishopric of Bordeaux, under the old régime as well as under the Concordat. Its first bishop was Ausonius, a disciple, it is said, of St. Martial, concerning whom we have two historical authorities: St. Gregory of Tours, who held that St. Martial preached the gospel in Limoges about the year 250, and the Limousin traditions, transmitted or invented by the chronicler Adhémar de Chabannes, who maintained that St. Martial was the immediate disciple of St. Peter. According to the latter opinion St. Ausonius was a bishop of the first century; according to the former, of the third century. We incline towards the opinion of St. Gregory. (See LIMOGES.) St. Salvius, honoured as a martyr at Valenciennes, whom the "Gallia Christiana" makes a Bishop of Angoulême, was undoubtedly only a missionary bishop of the eighth century. In the list of the Bishops of Angoulême is found the name of the poet Octavien de St. Gelais (1494-1502). The religious monuments of the province of Angoumois are remarkable for their admirable Romano-Byzantine façades. The most beautiful of them is St. Peter's Cathedral at Angoulême. The memory of a wealthy and famous Augustinian abbey, founded in 1122, is kept alive by its ruins at Couronne, near Angoulême. The Diocese of Angoulême (at the end of 1905), contained 330,305 inhabitants, 30 cures or first-class parishes, 332 succursales or second-class parishes, and 6 vicariates formerly with State subventions.
The pages of Gallia Christiana (ed. 1720, II. 975-1030) on the diocese of Angoulême are quite mediocre. See especially DUCHEBNE, Fastes épiscopaux de l'aneienne Gaule (Paris, 1900), II, 64-72, 135-137; CHEVALIER, Topo-bibl. (Paris, 1894-98), 157-158.