St Vaast, the principal church of Bethune, belongs to the 16th century.
The seigneurs of Bethune, avoues (advocati) of the great abbey of Saint-Vaast at Arras from the I 1 th century, were the ancestors of a great French house whence sprang the dukes of Sully, Charost, Orval, and Ancenis; the marquises of Rosny, Courville and Chabris; the counts of Selles and the princes of Boisbelle and Henrichemont.
Charles VII., who in spite of the efforts of the cardinal of Ste-Croix and the conferences held by him at Auxerre and Semur had hitherto refused to return to France, finally decided to take part in the conferences which were opened at St Vaast d'Arras on the 6th of August 1435, and to which the whole of Christendom attached very high importance, all the princes of Europe and the pope and the council of Basel being represented.
It occupies the site of the church of the abbey of St Vaast, the buildings of which adjoin it and contain the bishop's palace, the ecclesiastical seminary, a museum of antiquities, paintings and sculptures, and a rich library.
Christianity was introduced by St Vedast (Vaast), who founded a bishopric at Arras about 500.