Albi, Cathédrale Sainte-Cécile


    Little is known of the earlier cathedral. The initiative to build was taken by Bishop Bernard de Castanet, soon before his arrival in the city in January 1277 with the agreement of the chapter which provided one twentieth of its revenues for a period of twenty years. The powerful cathedral was intended to project the power of the bishop, seigneur of the city, over the recalcitrant bourgeois and the still-Cathar elite of the city. Bishop Bernard is known for his support of the mendicants and for his role as Inquisitor. Mobilizing a powerful financial structure derived from episcopal rights over the churches of the diocese, he constructed not only the cathedral but also a formidable bishop's palace. The foundation of the new cathedral is celebrated on August 15 1282: the Assumption of the Virgin. A 1295 document names the master mason Pons -- this might be the Catalan Pons Descoyl, who had served the king of Mallorca as military architect. Pons may have been summoned first to build the episcopal palace.


    Begun 1282

    Biget, J.-L. Sainte-Cécile d'Albi: sculptures. Graulhet, 1997
    -----, et al. "Le choeur de la cathédrale d'Albi," Cong. arch. CXL, 1982, 63-91
    -----, Cathédrale Sainte-Cécile d'Albi, Graulhet, 1998
    ---- Sainte-Cecile d'Albi: 500e anniversaire des peintures de la voûte, 1509-2009, Graulhet, 2009
    Cathédrale d'Albi, Albi, 1950
    Desachy, Matthieu, Obituaires du chapitre cathédrale d'Albi, dir. Favier, Jean and Lemaitre, Jean-Loup, Paris, Académie des Inscriptions et belles lettres, Bocard, 2007