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CAMBRAI, cɑ̄n´´brê´: An ancient archbishopric in the north of France. As early as the beginning of the fifth century, when the Franks invaded Gaul, Cameracum was an important town, as is evident from Gregory of Tours (Hist. Francorum, ii. 9). On the death of Lothair II. it passed to Charles the Bald. Later its possession was contested by the emperors, the counts of Flanders, and the kings of France. It was taken from the French by the Spaniards in 1595, but has been a part of France since 1677.

The traditional list of its bishops begins with Diogenes, said to have been sent by Pope Siricius (384–398); but this is untrustworthy. Firm historical ground is reached first with St. Vedast, who was consecrated bishop of St. Remigius, bishop of Reims, and presided over the churches of Arras and Cambrai until his death in 540. The see was transferred to Cambrai under Vedulf (545–c. 580), but the two remained united until Arras received a bishop of its own in 1093. Among later incumbents of the see of Cambrai may be mentioned the holy Odo (1105–06), the unfortunate Cardinal Robert of Geneva (bishop from 1368, antipope 1378–94), the renowned Pierre d’Ailly (1397-c. 1425); and, after its elevation in 1559 to the rank of an archbishopric, Fénelon (1695–1715), and Cardinal Dubois (1720–23). The Revolution deprived Cambrai of its metropolitan dignity, subjecting it as a simple bishopric to the see of Paris, but in 1842 it was once more made au archbishopric, with Arras as suffragan. Its magnificent ancient cathedral was destroyed in the Revolution, with the exception of the tower, which fell in a great storm in 1809. The present cathedral was formerly the Benedictine church of the Holy Sepulcher.

Bibliography: M. A. le Glay, Recherches sur l’église metropolitaine de Cambrai Cambrai 1825; idem, Cameracum christianum, Lille, 1849; H. J. P. Pisquet, La France pontificale, s.v. Cambrai, 22 vols., Paris, 1864–71; KL, ii. 1750–55.

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