Martyr of the Albigenses

March 11, 2024

Blessed Pierre de Castelnau

The murder of Bl. Peire de Castelnou

Born in the Diocese of Montpellier, Languedoc, now Department of Hérault, France; died 15 Jan., 1208. He embraced the ecclesiastical state, and was appointed Archdeacon of Maguelonne (now Montpellier). Pope Innocent III sent him (1199) with two Cistercians as his legate into the middle of France, for the conversion of the Albigenses. Some time later, about 1202, he received the Cistercian habit at Fontfroide, near Narbonne. He was again confirmed as Apostolic legate and first inquisitor. He gave himself untiringly to his work, strengthening those not yet infected with error, reclaiming with tenderness those who had fallen but manifested good will, and pronouncing ecclesiastical censures against the obdurate. Whilst endeavouring to reconcile Raymond, Count of Toulouse, he was, by order of the latter, transpierced with a lance, crying as he fell, “May God forgive you as I do.” His feast is celebrated in the Cistercian order, by one part on 5 March, and by the other on 14 March. He is also honoured as a martyr in the Dioceses of Carcassonne and Treves. His relics are interred in the church of the ancient Abbey of St-Gilles.

Breviarium cisterciense (5 March); CHALEMOT, Series sanctorum et Beatorum s.o.c. (Paris, 1670); Annus cisterciensis (Wettingen, 1682); HENRIQUEZ, Menologium cisterciense (Antwerp, 1630); CAUVET, Etude historique sur Fontfroide (Montpellier, 1875); CARETTO, Santorale cisterciense, II (Turin, 1708).

EDMOND M. OBRECHT (Catholic Encyclopedia)


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