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Saint-Félix Lauragais: everything starts here

 

The 1167’ Council, a key moment in Cathar history

 

In 1167 in Saint-Félix, 4 Cathar bishoprics are founded: Toulouse, Albi, Carcassonne and Agen. This is a major event in the story of the heresy in Occitan South-West. The individual heresy becomes a community.

 

Then came Nicetas

In 1167, bishops from current southern France, Catalonia and Lombardy, led by Nicetas Bogomil bishop of Constantinople, gather in Saint-Félix Lauragais. Bogomilism is a heterodox belief considered as the root of Catharism. Spreading from East to West, Catharism originally comes from Anatolia before it settles in the South of France. This council ordains Cathar bishops and marks out the borders of Toulouse and Carcassonne’s territories. It organizes the worship and sets up what can be called “a new Cathar Church” with its servants.

The acts of the synod are known thanks to a lost document that had been published in 1660. The document was a copy of the original text, written in 1232 or 1233 by Pierre Poulhan, Cathar bishop of Carcassonne. Historians are debating on its authenticity. Nevertheless, Occitan Catharism was well established and logically in need for structure.

An important fact is to be taken in consideration: the men who swing with their bishoprics in the Cathar faith were Roman Catholic priests. This explains the raising of a crusade by the Pope: Rome was in peril!