Louvard, Francois

Louvard, Francois a French Jansenistic theologian of the Benedictine order, was born in Chamgeneteux in 1661, entered the convent of Saint Melaine, in Brittany, in 1679, and studied sacred and profane literature. In 1700 he was transferred to the convent of St. Denis, near Paris, to devote himself to the study of the text of St. Gregory Nazianzen. In 1713 pope Clement XI published the memorable bull "Unigenitus." The ecclesiastics of St. Maur all silently opposed it except Louvard, who openly denounced it, and was therefore greatly censured by P. le Tellier as one disobeying the apostolic decrees. He was exiled to Corbie, in the diocese of Amiens, but here also he frankly pronounced his opposition to the bull, and he was sent into confinement in the monastery of Landevence, in Brittany. In 1715, on the death of Louis XIV, Louvard was restored to the monastery of St. Denis. In 1717, several bishops and two monks, one of them Louvard, called a meeting of the opponents of the bull, and became so troublesome even to the government that Louis XV exiled some of them, and published an edict that whosoever recommenced the controversy should be treated as a rebel to the public peace. Louvard protested. He had been the first of his order to oppose the bull; now, almost all the Benedictines were on his side; and, receiving no reply, he renewed his appeal with the four bishops in 1720. On complaint to the general of the order Louvard was specially interrogated, and, being found thoroughly bent on both present and future opposition, he was exiled to Tuffé. Here he wrote new polemics, preached, and taught the simple inhabitants that there was a difference between the holy religion of P. Quesnel and the manufactured heresies of the disciples of Loyola. In 1723 he was transferred to Cormori, diocese of Tours. Here he continued proselyting. The general of his order offered to forgive him all the past if he would cease. He refused, and had to be placed in the monastery of St. Laumer, at Blois; but, still continuing his opposition, he was removed to the monastery of St. Gildas de Bois, in Brittany. Louvard persisting in his attacks on the Jesuits, the latter brought charges against him as plotting against the state, and he was imprisoned in the castle of Nantes in 1728. Here he published a manifest against his accusers, and was therefore transferred to the Bastile in the same year. In 1734 a lettre de cachet, signed by the king, transferred him to the monastery of Rabais, diocese of Meaux. But Louvard, continuing in his former course, was to be rearrested. Apprised of this, he made his escape to the Carthusian monastery of Schonau, in Holland, where he died in April 1739. Among his numerous works the following are of special importance: Lettre contenant quelques Remarques sur les OEuvr'es de St. Gregoire de Nazianze, in the Nouvelles de la Republique des Lettres, volume 33 (1704): — Prospectus novae editionis operum S. Gregorii (1708) : — OEuvres de St. Gregoire (1778-1840): — De la Necessite de l'Appel des eglises de France au futur Concile general (1717): — Lettre au Cardinal de Noailles, pour prouver a cette eminence que la constitution Unigenitus n'est recevable en aucune facon (1718): — Relation abregee de l'Imprisonnment de dom Louvarde (1728). See D. Tassin, Hist. Litter. de la Congregation de St. Maur; D. Clemencet, Preface de l'Edition des OEuvres du St. Gregoire de Nazianze; B. Hareau, Hist. Litter. du Maine, 2:175; Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Generale, 32:28 sq.

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