Armand I. Gaston Maximilien de Rohan-Soubise

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Cardinal Armand I von Rohan, portrait by Hyacinthe Rigaud
Coat of arms of the cardinal in the window of the Romanesque church Notre-Dame de la Nativité in Saverne , Alsace

Armand Gaston Maximilian de Rohan-Soubise (born June 26, 1674 in Paris , † July 19, 1749 ibid) was a French politician and prince of the church. He was Bishop of Strasbourg since 1704, was appointed cardinal in 1712 and Grand Chaplain of France in 1713 .



Since Strasbourg and part of Alsace were annexed to France in 1681, King Louis XIV endeavored to recatholize the new province and to strengthen French influence. For this he chose the 16-year-old Gaston de Rohan -Soubise, who came from a noble family in Brittany . In 1690 he entered the chapter of the Strasbourg cathedral .

To support these efforts, he was appointed by Pope Innocent XII. appointed Coadjutor of the Bishop of Strasbourg with the right of succession and Titular Bishop of Tiberias . He was ordained bishop on June 26, 1701 in the Church of St-Germain des Près in Paris by Cardinal Wilhelm Egon von Fürstenberg , Bishop of Strasbourg , co- consecrators were Louis-Anne de Roussillon , Bishop of Laon , and François-Louis de Clermont-Tonnerre , Bishop of Langres . After the death of his predecessor Wilhelm Egon von Fürstenberg in 1704, he was unanimously elected by the cathedral chapter as the only candidate.

During the re-catholicization he relied mainly on the Jesuits , who had already settled in the city in 1683. At the same time he tried, together with the new administration, to French the population, since they were considered too German, too Protestant and too republican. His great-nephew and successor Armand II von Rohan-Soubise continued these efforts.


Since Strasbourg was a free imperial city , the prince-bishops resided in Saverne . After a fire in the old castle in 1709, Gaston von Rohan had the castle restored by the respected architect Robert de Cotte . The interior design was also adapted to the taste of the time and equipped with tapestries, furniture and pictures from Paris.

At his suggestion, the most important mountain pass over the Vosges, the Zaberner Steige , was expanded between 1728 and 1737.

From 1732 to 1741 he had a new bishop's residence, the Palais Rohan, built in Strasbourg between the cathedral and the Ill . This magnificent baroque palace is now home to three of the city's most important museums: the Archaeological Museum ( Musée archéologique , basement), the Museum of Applied Arts ( Musée des Arts décoratifs , ground floor) and the Museum of Fine Arts ( Musée des Beaux-arts , first and second floors) .

Other offices

In 1703 he was admitted to the Académie française and took over the 23rd chair that Charles Perrault had held before him .

As Grand Chaplain of France, one of the prestigious offices at the royal court, he oversaw the religious side of court life from 1713. At the same time he was commander of the Order of the Holy Spirit .

Pope Clement XI. elevated Rohan-Soubise to cardinal dignity on May 18, 1712. After his participation in the conclave in 1721 he received from the new Pope Innocent XIII. the red hat and the appointment as cardinal priest of Santa Trinità dei Monti . He held this office until his death in 1749.


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