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The Cathars

Cité épiscopale d’Albi

Who could believe that at Saint Salvi, half a dozen canons, renouncing baptism, the priesthood and their vows, could be heretics?

It was in 1278 that, according to Vinhals: “A few days after my admission into the sect I was invited by the chaplain of Saint Salvi, Dom Jean Donat, and by his colleague, Dom Guilhem Guirbaut, to go down to the old boutique in front of the gates of the monastery to see what they called a ’good catch’ I found myself in the presence of two diminutive ministers before whom I made the customary three genuflections. I learnt later that our canons had gratified them at their departure after two days and two nights in the company of Cathars.

At his death, Jean Donat was succeeded by Dom Bernard Mémori as head of the Chaplains of Saint Salvi. Vinhals attended a meeting between Mémori and two Perfecti1 brought by the canon Huc Galinier. The Cathar heresy found refuge in Saint Salvi and its dependent parishes.

From this to the claim that an act of apostasy had been committed at the site of the tomb of Holy Bishop of Albi, Saint Salvi, was but a small step. Bernard de Castanet took this step.

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