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Cathars or Albigensians

Chapters to be added: 'Geopolitical context'...

Objective of this Project

The objectives of this project are...

  • To connect the major actors around the Cathar movement and the ensuing inquisition across regional boundaries - and thus to gain better insight into a phenomenon that had significant consequences for the political shape of modern Spain and France.
  • To provide entry points for genealogists, by providing lists of cathar noblemen and commoners who were well documented ('thanks' to the inquisition).


The Cathars were a Christian religious movement with dualistic and gnostic elements that appeared in the Languedoc region of France and other parts of Europe in the 11th century and flourished in the 12th and 13th centuries. Catharism had its roots in the Paulician movement in Armenia and the Bogomils of Bulgaria which took influences from the Paulicians.
The political and religious power came to an end after a series of successful catholic 'crusades' and the siege and surrender of the castle of Quéribus in 1255.

What is a 'Cathar'?

Cathars are often called 'Albigensians', because the first cathar diocese was established at Albi. Also, the Inquisition called it's campaign against the Cathars as the 'Albigensian Crusades'. However, Albi is at the northernmost tip of cathar 'territory'. Its spread and strength was largely south of Albi, around Toulouse and Carcassonne and well into the central pyrenean mountains.

Though the term "Cathar" has been used for centuries to identify the movement, whether the movement self-identified itself with this name is debatable. In Cathar texts, the terms "Good Men" (Bons Hommes) or "Good Christians" are the common terms of self-identification.

The Cathars did not recognize the formal hierarchy of the predominant catholic church, basically because the bible makes no reference to popes, priests... However, the bible does refer to the term 'episcopos', which is why the cathar hierarchy has bishops. The role of bishops can be assimilated with that of an 'apostle'; bishops are independent from one another and mutually recognize the boundaries of their authority. In this, they are assisted by deacons. Church councils in the cathar dioceses would also appoint 'divisores' who would observe the respect for the boundaries of the dioceses.

In essence, the cathar hierarchy can be structured in four levels:

  • Bishops
  • Deacons
  • Perfecti (preachers)
  • Credentes (believers)

Cathar 'perfecti' were the equivalent of 'preachers' and gained their status through the consolamentum (cathar baptism). Both men and women could be 'perfecti'. The term 'perfecti' was coined by the Inquisition, which considered a cathar priest as a hereticus perfectus - a perfect heretic. Cathar preachers called themselves 'good men'.

See Cathar Belief System project.

Cathar Dioceses

Though the Cathar belief system was spreading in Southern France since early to mid 11th century, it is only in 1167 at the council of Cathar churches in Saint Félix de Lauragais that the first Cathar bishops were elected.

Nicetas, bishop of Constantinople (who himself had received the consolamentum from Simon, bishop of Dragovitia) traveled to Saint Félix with Marco, bishop of Lombardia. Nicetas would given the consolamentum to Marco, and to the first biships of Languedoc and France. At the same time, this formalized the dioceses and their boundaries.

Diocese of Agen

  • Raimon de Casals, bishop from 1167

Diocese of Albi

(seat in Lombers)

  • Sicard Cellarerius, bishop from 1167
  • Oliver
  • Aimery du Collet (escaped in exile to Lombardia in 1250)

Diocese of Carcassonne

(seat in Lauragais, from 1223 in Cabarets)

  • Giraud Mercier, bishop from 1167
  • Bernat de Simorre
  • Père Isarn, bishop from 1223-1226
  • Père Pollan, bishop 1240-1258

Diocese of Razès

  • Benet de Terme, bishop 1225
  • Raimon Aguilher, bishop xxxx-1244 (died 16/3/1244 at Montségur)

Diocese of Toulouse

(seat in La Vaur)

  • Bernat Raimon, bishop from 1167
  • Gaucelm
  • Guilhabert de Castres, bishop from 1226-1240
  • Bertran d'En Marti, bishop from 1240-1244 (died at Montségur - March 16, 1244)
  • Arnau Roger
  • Vivent
  • Bernat Olieu

Diocese of the French

(Seat in Mont Aimé en Champagne)

  • Robert d'Epernon, bishop from 1167

List of Deacons

  • Arnaud Arrufat
  • Guilhabert de Castres, archdeacon of Fanjeaux
  • Isarn de Castres, deacon of Laurac
  • Benet de Terme,deacon of Limoux
  • Guilhem Clergues
  • Pere Cortona, deacon of Catalunya (under the diocese of Toulouse), 1216
  • Raimon del Mas
  • Guilhem Dejean (died at Montségur - March 16, 1244)
  • Arnaud Huc, deacon of Vielmur
  • Ponç Jordà, deacon of Verfeuil
  • Arnaud Ot, deacon of Cabaret
  • Bernat Ot
  • Père Paraire, deacon of Fenolledes (around 1245)
  • Guilhem Ricard, deacon of Avignon
  • Raimon de Saint Martin (died at Montségur - March 16, 1244)

List of Divisores in Languedoc


  • Bernat Ramon, 1167
  • Guilhem Garcias, 1167
  • Ermengaud de Forest, 1167
  • Raimon de Baimiac, 1167
  • Guilabert de Bonvilar, 1167
  • Bernat Contor, 1167
  • Bernat Guillem Bonneville, 1167
  • Bertran d'Avognonet, 1167
  • Raimon Mercier


  • Guiraud Mercier, 1167
  • Bernat Cathala, 1167
  • Grégoire Caldemas, 1167
  • Père Caldemas, 1167
  • Raimon Pons, 1167
  • Bertran de Molino, 1167
  • Marti de la Sala, 1167
  • Marti Guibert, 1167

Italian Dioceses

Though independent from the Languedoc dioceses, the dioceses in Northern italy are noteworthy as they provided shelter and help to refugees from Languedoc during the inquisition.

  • Bishops of Concorezzo: Narazius; Petraccio
  • Bishops of Bagnolo: ...
  • Bishops of Decenzano: Gianni di Lugio
  • Bishops of Lombardia: Marco; Giovanni Giudeo
  • Bishops of Mantua:...
  • Bishops of Vicenza:...

Cathar Perfecti

Also see Cathar Credentes.

Cathar believers who received the consolamentum. Also called...

  • 'Perfects' or 'Good Men' (English)
  • 'Parfaits' or 'Bons Hommes' (French)
  • 'Perfieches' or 'Bons Omes' (Occitan)
  • 'Perfectes' or 'Bons Homes' (Catalan)

Cathar Credentes

See Cathar Credentes.

Cathar Patrons

See Cathar Credentes.

List of Cathar Castles

  • Aguilar
  • Arques
  • Cabaret
  • Durfort
  • Lastours
  • Lavaur
  • Minerve
  • Montségur
  • Padern
  • Peyrepertuse
  • Pieusse
  • Puilaurens
  • Puivert
  • Quéribus
  • Rennes-le-Château
  • Roquefixade
  • Saissac
  • Termes
  • Usson
  • Villerouge-Termenès

Principal 'cruisaders' against the cathars

  • Simon de Montfort
  • Dominique De Guzman (Saint Dominique)
  • Arnaud Amaury, abbé de Cîteaux


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