©Office de Tourisme Bugey Sud Grand Colombier


(1106 – 1178)
Prior and reformer of the Grande Chartreuse, bishop, then prince bishop of Belley.

Anthelme de Chignin was born into a noble family at the castle of Chignin around 1106, near Chambéry.
Wishing to devote himself to religion, he was first a young provost of the Church of Geneva.He was elected seventh prior of the Grande Chartreuse, and thus superior general of the Carthusian monks.
As prior, he had the abbey rebuilt after it was damaged by landslides. He convened the first general chapter of the order.
This was an opportunity to structure and reform the Carthusian order.
He founded the female branch, the Chartreuses.
He expelled two monks who complained to Pope Alexander III.
The pope intervened on their behalf.
Anthelme resigned his office to preserve peace and willingly shared the ascetic life of the simple monks.

Better informed, the pope reversed his decision and honored him by appointing him bishop of the city of Belley in 1163.
As bishop of Belley, he set out to correct the morals of the clergy and nobles of the time.
He built an episcopal palace.

His episcopacy took place during a period of intense tension between the Church and the rulers.
He refused to support an antipope supporter of Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, at war in Italy against Pope Alexander III.
The pope, appointed him legate, charged with reconciling the Archbishop of Canterbury St. Thomas Becket with the King of England Henry II.The Emperor submitted to the pope, after which he offered to Anthelme as a sign of reconciliation the authority on the city and the dignity of prince of the Empire in 1175.
The bishops of Belley kept this title until the French Revolution.
These new political functions gave rise to oppositions between the power of Anthelme and that of Count Humbert III of Savoy (beatified in 1836), suzerain of Bugey.

At Anthelme’s death in 1178, the cathedral’s candles lit up, a miracle evoked on the frescoes of the Saint Anthelme chapel in the cathedral.

A shrine donated by the Carthusian monks in 1901 containing his relics is still preserved in the cathedral of Belley.
He leaves the image of a true churchman, more attracted by the spiritual than the temporal and of great humility.
After his death and sanctification, Anthelme was named patron saint of the city.
A statue represents him on the facade of No. 55 Grande rue.
The Saint Anthelme welcome house, a former seminary, bears his name.