Jean-Baptiste de Brancas

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Jean-Baptiste de Brancas, Anonymous, 1750/70

Jean-Baptiste-Antoine de Brancas (born April 12, 1693 Pernes-les-Fontaines , † August 30, 1770 Aix-en-Provence ) was a French cleric . He was Bishop of La Rochelle from 1725 to 1729 and Archbishop of Aix from 1729 to 1770.


Jean-Baptiste-Antoine de Brancas was one of thirteen children and the sixth son of Henri de Brancas, Marquis de Céreste , and Dorothée de Chelys. His brother Louis de Brancas became Marshal of France in 1741 , his brother Henri-Ignace de Brancas became Bishop of Lisieux in 1715 .

Jean-Baptiste studied at the Collège Royal de Bourbon in Aix (now the Lycée Mignet) under the direction of the Jesuits, then went to Paris, where he studied at the Saint-Sulpice Seminary , which was directed by the Congregation for Orators . At the same time he attended theology courses at the Sorbonne Faculty , and completed his training with a doctorate at the Paris Archevêché.


In 1717, thanks to his brother Louis, who was a close friend of the regent Philippe II. De Bourbon, duc d'Orléans , he became Commendatarabb of the Benedictine Abbey of Saint-Père in Melun , who brought in 4,000 livres a year without having to deal with the administration of the abbey was involved or required to be present. In the same year he was appointed almsman of the king, an office which he shared with seven other chaplains at the Palace of Versailles , and which introduced him to the king. In 1720 he was elected agent général du clergé , a function that was a kind of mediator between the clergy and the king during general assemblies.

On April 25, 1725 he was appointed Bishop of La Rochelle. It was consecrated on October 21, 1725 by Cardinal Armand I. Gaston Maximilien de Rohan-Soubise , Bishop of Strasbourg . He began his work here - just as he later continued in Aix - in a hostile position towards Jansenism . On June 14, 1729 he became Archbishop of Aix thanks to the support of Cardinal André-Hercule de Fleury and his predecessor there, Charles Gaspard Guillaume de Vintimille du Luc , who became Archbishop of Paris . At that time the holdings of the Archdiocese of Aix were quite extensive compared to other dioceses, a property that had been developed in the 15th century thanks to the donations of René d'Anjou , Count of Provence , and the incumbent an annual income of 33,000 livres brought in.

The Archbishop of Aix

Brancas hardly left his diocese in the forty years that he served as archbishop, but maintained his relations with the court intensively, especially with the Cardinals Fleury and Pierre Guérin de Tencin , who was Minister of State from 1742 to 1752, and with Louis René Édouard de Rohan-Guéméné and Philibert Orry , who had a great influence at court.

To his clergy and the faithful he showed all the characteristics of a prelate of the Counter-Reformation . The clergy were constantly monitored and they did not hesitate to send pastors who were inclined to Jansenism into exile. On the other hand, he created a fund that made it possible to support those pastors who were no longer able to exercise their office for reasons of age.

Most striking, however, is the relationship between politics and the church. He was in open conflict with the Parlement of Provence, the majority of which were Gallicans . This conflict reached its climax when Louis XV. banished him to Lambesc for his intransigence to resolve political and religious tensions. Humiliated, Brancas did not return to Aix until 1759. Between 1760 and 1770 the fighting continued, with the increasingly Gallican parliament on one side and the archbishop on the other defending their ultra-montane positions. In this regard, the situation in Aix was representative of that in the entire kingdom, especially since the Jesuits in Provence held a strong position and were also supported by Brancas in various lawsuits that the parliament brought against the court until 1763.


  • Armand Jean, Les évêques et les archevêques de France depuis 1682 jusqu'à 1801 , Paris et Mamers, 1891


predecessor Office successor
Étienne de Champflour Bishop of La Rochelle
Augustin Roch de Menou e Charnizay
Charles Gaspard Guillaume de Vintimille du Luc Archbishop of Aix
Jean de Dieu-Raymond de Boisgelin de Cucé