Our Lady of Nazareth Cathedral is a former Roman Catholic cathedral, situated in Orange, in the Department of Vaucluse. The seat of the bishopric of Orange until 1801, it then reverted to parish church. It was listed as a historic monument on 4 January 1921.
Our Lady of Nazareth Cathedral was the seat of the diocese of Orange during the early Middle Ages (6th to 8th centuries), then from the 12th century to the Revolution. Mentioned from the 6th century onwards (it was consecrated in 528), it suffered destruction a number of times in the course of history. The spire, which dates back to 1338, also accommodated the provost of the cathedral chapter during the Middle Ages. In February 1480, King Louis XI confirmed its protection through letters patent. The current cathedral dates back to the 12th century, but is was severely damaged in 1561, during the wars of religion. Ransacked by the Huguenots on 20 December, it was used as a Protestant church for some time, and later heavily restored. During the Revolution it became a Temple of Reason.
Our Lady of Nazareth Cathedral is the venue of the yearly Mass of the Chorégies d’Orange, held as an introduction to the Festival, always offering a fine moment of communion between the Christian community and the artists gathered for the Chorégies. During those masses, the congregation is privileged to discover one of the finest of the voices that can then be heard at the Roman theatre during the performances.
Since 1966, on the common initiative of the Parish Association, the Friends of the Religious Heritage and of the Organ, and of the Chorégies d’Orange, Our Lady of Nazareth Cathedral offers during the Festival two ‘Musical Hours’, gathering believers, lovers of classical music and interested tourists and passers-by.
Singers from the choirs that perform on the scene of the Roman theatre present a lyric concert on the evenings after the second performance of each of the two operas.
Our Lady of Nazareth Cathedral is also the venue for some performances included in the programme of the Chorégies d’Orange, as was the case in 2012 with Rossini’s Small Solemn Mass.