Henry of Lausanne

Henry of Lausanne (frequently called HENRY OF CLUGNY), founder of the sect of Henricians in the 12th century. He is represented by Papal writers as a heretic and fanatic, but the truth seems to be that he was one of the "reformers before the Reformation." He is said to have been an Italian by birth, and a monk of Clugny. Disgusted with the corruptions of the times, he left his order, and became "a preacher of repentance." At first he was held in high honor even by the clergy. The field of his labor was the South of France; the time between A.D. 1116 and 1148. His first efforts were made at Lausanne and its neighborhood (hence his surname). His piety, modesty, and eloquence soon gained him a wide reputation. He preached vigorously against that "sham Christianity which did not prove its genuineness by the fruits of good living, and warning against the prevalent vices. This led him next to warn men against their false guides, the worthless clergy, whose example and teaching did more to promote wickedness than to put a stop to it. He contrasted the clergy as they actually were with what they ought to be; he attacked their vices, particularly their unchastity. He was a zealot for the observance of the laws of celibacy, and appeared in this respect, like other monks, a promoter of the Hildebrandian reformation. It was probably his practical, restless activity, and the opposition that he met with on the part of the higher clergy, which led him to proceed further, and, as he traced the cause of the corruption to a deviation from the primitive apostolical teaching, to attack errors in doctrine. He must have possessed extraordinary power as a speaker, and this power was enhanced by his strict mode of living. Many men and women were awakened by him to repentance, brought to confess their sins, and to renounce them. It was said a heart of stone must have melted under his preaching. The people were struck under such conviction by his sermons, which seemed to lay open to them their inmost hearts, that they attributed to him a sort of prophetic gift, by virtue of which he could look into the very souls of men" (Neander, Church History, Torrey's, 4, 598). He was invited to Mans, where Hildebert, the bishop, favored him at first; but his preaching soon excited the people against the priests to such a degree that even the monasteries were threatened with violence. Hilbebert drove him from Mans; and, after various wanderings, he joined the disciples of Peter of Bruys, in Provence. The archbishop of Aries arrested him, and at the second Council of Pisa, 1134, he was declared a heretic, and confined in a cell. "Subsequently, however, he was set at liberty, when he betook himself again to South France, to the districts of Toulouse and Alby, a principal seat of anti-churchly tendencies, where also the great lords, who were striving to make themselves independent, favored these tendencies from hatred to the dominion of the clergy. Among the lower classes and the nobles Henry found great acceptance; and, after he had labored for ten years in those regions, Bernard of Clairvaux, in writing to a nobleman and inviting him to put down the heretics, could say, The churches are without flocks, the flocks without priests, the priests are nowhere treated with due reverence, the churches are leveled down to synagogues, the sacraments are not esteemed holy, the festivals are no longer celebrated.' When Bernard says, in the words just quoted, that the communities are without priests, he means the priests had gone over to the Henricians, for so he complains in a sermon, in which he speaks of the rapid spread of this sect: 'Women forsake their husbands, and husbands their wives, and run over to this sect. Clergymen and priests desert their communities and churches; and they have been found sitting with long beards (to mark the habitus apostolicus) among weavers"'(Neander, 1. c.). Bernard of Clairvaux opposed him earnestly. Pope Eugene II sent Bernard, with the cardinal of Ostia, into the infected district. Henry was arrested, and condemned at the Council of Rheims, A.D. 1148, to imprisonment for life. He died in prison A.D. 1149. See Basnage, Hist. des Eglises Reformes, 4, ch. 6:p. 145: Neander, Ch. Hist. 4, 601 sq.; Neander, Heilige Bernard p. 294 sq.; Hahn, Geschichte der Ketzer, cent. 12; Gieseler, Church History, period 3 § 84.

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