Pierre de Castelnau

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Blessed Pierre de Castelnau
Personal details
BornDiocese of Montpellier, France
Died15 January 1208
Rhône valley, Provence, France
by Pope Innocent III

Pierre de Castelnau (? - died 15 January 1208),[1][2] French ecclesiastic, was born in the diocese of Montpellier.[1][2]

He was archdeacon of Maguelonne, and in 1199 was appointed by Pope Innocent III as one of the legates for the suppression of the Cathar heresy in Languedoc.[1][3] In 1202, he became a Cistercian monk at the abbey of Fontfroide,[3] Narbonne, and was confirmed as Apostolic legate and first inquisitor,[2] first in Toulouse, and afterwards at Viviers and Montpellier.[1]

St Gilles - Church, October 2006

In 1207 he was in the Rhone valley and in Provence, where he became involved in the strife between the count of Baux and Raymond VI, Count of Toulouse.[1] Castelnau was assassinated on 15 January 1208,[1] possibly by an agent of Raymond,[4] but this was never proved.[5] Nevertheless, Pope Innocent III, held Raymond responsible. The murder was the immediate cause of Raymond's excommunication and the start of the Albigensian Crusade.[6]

He was beatified in the year of his death by Pope Innocent III,[1] who held Raymond responsible. The relics of Pierre de Castelnau are interred in the church of the ancient Abbey of St-Gilles.[2][4]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Pierre de Castelnau" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 21 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 591.
  2. ^ a b c d Obrecht, Edmond Mary (1911). "Bl. Pierre de Castelnau" . In Herbermann, Charles (ed.). Catholic Encyclopedia. 12. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  3. ^ a b Sumption 1978, p. 68.
  4. ^ a b Sumption 1978, p. 15.
  5. ^ Taylor, Claire. Heresy, Crusade and Inquisition in Medieval Quercy, Boydell & Brewer Ltd, 2011, p. 89ISBN 9781903153383
  6. ^ Sumption 1978, p. 77.


  • Graham-Leigh, Elaine. The Southern French Nobility and the Albigensian Crusade. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 2005. ISBN 1-84383-129-5
  • Sumption, Jonathan (1978). The Albigensian Crusade. Faber and Faber.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
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