Grandier, Urbain

Grandier, Urbain, a French priest of the 17th century of unhappy memory. He was educated among the Jesuits, entered the order, and became cureo of St. Peter's, and canon of the Holy Cross in Loudun. His preaching became very popular, and not the less so because of his attacks upon the vices of the clergy. Bitter enmities were excited, sand he was charged with favoring Protestantisnne. A manuscript essay against the celibacy of the. clergy was found among his papers. He was condemned by the bishop of Poitiers in 1630 to do penance, and interdicted from service as a priest far five years.. From this penalty he was freed, on appeal, by the archbishop of Bordeaux. This triumph increased his boldness; he returned to Loudun, and soon got into new trouble. In 1632 the nuns of the Ursuline convent of Loudun became, as they said, possessed with devils: hysterical convulsions and all sorts of extravagances abounded among them. Grandier was charged with "bewitching" them, and sending "legions of devils into their bodies." A libel on cardinal Richelieu, published in 1632, was charged upon Grandier, with no ground whatever. He was arrested and conducted to Angems December 7, 1633. The charges against him were sacrilege, adultery with the wife of a magistrate of Loudun, and with bewitching the Ursuline nuns. The records of the trial are very curious. One of the necessary signs of "possession," according to the Romish has, is the knowledge of languages not acquired in the ordinary way. The exorcist who was appointed to test the nuns asked one of them in Latin "Quem adoras?" She answered, with convulsive contortions, "Jesus Christuns." One of the judges could not help remarking, "This devil, at least, does not know syntax." The trial lasted a long time, and ended in the condemnation of Grandier, who was burnt alive August 18, 1634. But the devils still kept possession of the nuns; it was not till November 5, 1635, that "Leviathan" was dislodged from the head of the superior of the convent; and "Behemoth," the strongest of all the daemons, stubbornly kept his place till August 15,1637. The affair, of course, caused immense scandal, and a small library of pamphlets and books was written upon the subject. Alfred de Vignay recounts the story of Grandier at length in his Memoirs. A similar trial took place in 1647 with regard to certain cases of possession (or of crime) in the convent of Louviersn. See Michelet, Louas Quatorae, page 455 sq.; Journal des Savans, Mai. 1689; Audin, Hist. des Diaeles de Losdun (Amst. 1693, 12mo); Bayle, Dictionnaire; Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Generale, 21:644 sq.

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