Maur (St), Congregation of
Maur (St.), Congregation Of The Benedictines afford the only example of a monastic order which, after declining from an originally high position, and after remaining, so to speak, dead for two centuries, revived and took again a leading place in the Church by its activity and learning.
As early as the latter part of the Middle Ages the Order of Benedictines had lost much of their influence. The convents had become too wealthy, and the monks, instead of devoting themselves to study and religious exercises, were entirely given up to idleness and worldly enjoyments. This state of things continued through the 16th century. In the early part of the 17th a reform took place in the Convent of St. Vannes, near Verdun, under the influence of Didier de la Cour, and it was soon imitated by the formerly renowned convents of Moyenmoutier and Senones. Clement VIII confirmed the organization of this Congregation de S. Vannes, which produced some distinguished men, among them Dom Calmet and Dom Cellier. In 1614 the assembly of the French clergy expressed the wish that all the Benedictine convents throughout the country should connect themselves with St. Vannes; the general chapter of the congregation, however, was afraid of the consequences which might result from such extended power. In 1618, however, Dom Benard, one of the monks of St. Vannes who had been employed in reforming other convents, obtained from Louis XIII authority to establish a congregation, which when organized took the name of St. Maur, for fear of awakening jealousy if it took that of any particular convent. This congregation was confirmed by Gregory XV in 1621, and by Urban VIII in 1627. The first convent subjected by Benard to the new regulations was that of the Blancs- Manteaux at Paris. Soon a number of others joined it. In 1652 they counted forty convents; in the beginning of the 18th century their number reached 180, divided into six provinces. The most important of all these establishments was the convent of St. Germain des Pres, near Paris. It was the residence of the general of the order, was endowed with episcopal authority, and possessed a library particularly rich in ancient MSS. Its statutes, drawn up to accord with the spirit of the times, the strict morality, intellectual pursuits, and great learning of its members, gained universal respect for the congregation. Amid the looseness of morals which then prevailed among the French clergy, the Congregation of St. Maur belongs to the few exceptions which reflect honor on the Church of Rome. According to the confession of a Romanist writer, they are perhaps the only order in the history of convents of which this can be said. It is also to be remembered that, conscious of serving higher and universal interests, they remained entire strangers to all persecutions both of the Jesuits and the Gallican clergy.
To secure a high degree of scholarship among the Congregation, the first general, Dom Tariffe, carefully prepared a scheme of studies; and as early as the 17th and 18th centuries the congregation counted a large number of distinguished men. Their labors were promptly directed to the gathering of materials for the history of the convents belonging to the congregation, and to that of the saints. These researches soon led them into paleological and diplomatic works. The finished education given to the novices required a large number of new books or improved reprints of old ones, which were prepared by order of the superiors by members of the congregation. Thus arose a large number of very important and valuable works. They treat of a great variety of subjects, but especially of the history of France and of the Church. The most distinguished among the monks were entrusted with the editorship, and the others were employed in gathering the materials, or making up some particular part of it: if one of them died before his task was complete, another took his place, and continued it in the same spirit and with the same learning. No other order ever made the same use of its riches: they bought the rarest MSS. and books, made journeys to visit foreign libraries and to establish relations with foreign savans. Their publications also possessed an outward finish previously unknown in typography. Their religious independence is shown in the fact that they remained in friendly relation with the recluses of Port Royal (q.v.), and suffered persecution for their refusal to endorse the bull Unigenitus (q.v.), and they were often and severely attacked by the Jesuits. The order continued in existence until the French Revolution.
The historical works of the Congregation of St. Maur are numerous, and embrace an extensive field. Dom Mabillon may be considered as the founder of diplomacy, of which he established the basis in his De re
diplomatica (1681, 6 vols. fol.); this was followed by a supplement in 1704, in consequence of the attacks of the Jesuit Germon. As these works related almost exclusively to France, a general work on the same subject was published by Dom Toustain and Dom Tassin, under the title Nouveau traite de diplomatique (1750-65, 6 vols. 4to), which is still the most perfect of the kind. To these must be added Montfaucon's Paleographia Graeca (1708, fol.), which, however, has been surpassed by subsequent publications. Chronology may almost be said to have been created by them. The Art de verifier les dates, commenced by Dantine and finished by Clemencet (1750, 2 vols. 4to), is well known to every student of history. A second edition was published by Clement (1770, fol.), and then a third (1783-92, 3 vols. fol.), each time with numerous additions. The fourth, much enlarged edition, due also to Clement, appeared first in 1818 (37 vols. 8vo), and was often reprinted; there are also an edition in folio and one in quarto. This work has justly been called the most important monument of French learning in the 18th century. Montfaucon's Antiquite expliquee en figures (1719, 10 vols. fol.) has now become somewhat antiquated in consequence of the new sources discovered since. In the domain of philology, the congregation took an active part in a yet unsurpassed work, the Glossarium mediae et infimae Latcainitatis of Dufresne Ducange (1678), which, if it did not originate with them, was at least increased one half by Dom Dantine and Don Charpentier (1733-36, 6 vols. fol., with a supplement by Charpentier, 1767, 4 vols. fol.), and acquired its full importance by their labors. This work is not only important for its philological value, but also for the information it contains on the literature, laws, and civil and ecclesiastical customs of the Middle Ages. Charpentier is also the author of the Alphabetum tyronianum (1747, fol.). They published the sources of the history of France. Such as had been furnished by Pithon and Duchesne were insufficient, and Colbert and Louvois vainly sought to have the work continued; but D'Aguessau finally succeeded in inducing the Benedictines to apply themselves to the task. It finally came into the hands of Dom Bouquet, who completed the first eight volumes of the Scriptores rerum Gallicarum et Franicarum; Dom J. B. Haudiguier and C. Haudiguier accomplished the 9th, 10th, and 11th; Dom Clement the 12th and 13th, and Dom Brial, the last of the Benedictines of St. Maur, the 14th and 15th (17381818, fol.). The work has since been continued by the Academie des Inscriptions, which published the 21st volume in 1855. To this class of works belongs the edition of the writings of Gregoire de Tours, published by Dom Ruinart (1699, fol.). They never gave a complete history of France, but only the beginning of it, and the history of particular parts. Dom Martin wrote La Religion des Gaulois (1727, 2 vols. 4to), and Dom de Brezillac Histoire des Gaules et des Conquetes des Gaulois (1752, 2 vols. 4to), both of little importance now. Their histories of particular provinces are more valuable. The most important are Histoire generale du Languedoc, by Vaissette and De Vic (1730-45) 5 vols. fol.); Histoire de Bretagne, by Veisserie (who subsequently became a Protestant) and Lobineau (1707, 2 vols. fol.). This was afterwards entirely remodeled, although not completed, by Maurice de Beaubois (1742, 3 vols. fol., and 2 vols. 4to); Histoire de Bourgogne, by Plancher (1739 sq., 3 vols. fol.); Histoire de la Ville de Paris, by Felibien and Lobineau (1725, 5 vols.). Finally, the Histoire litteraire de la France (1733-63, 12 vols. 4to), inaugurated by Dom Rivet and others, and continued by the order till 1814, when it was taken up by the Academie des Inscriptions; the 20th volume was published in 1842. It is a very valuable collection of documents, not only for the history of French literature, but also for that of the Middle Ages generally. The researches in the libraries of the convents, also the journeys, principally in Italy, Germany, and the Netherlands, gave occasion to publish extensive catalogues and descriptions of them. Among these we notice the Spicilegium veterum aliquot scriptorum of D'Achery (1553-1677, 13 vols. 4to; new edit. by De la Barre, 1723, 3 vols. fol.); Vetera Analecta, by Mabillon (1675-85, 4 vols. 4to); Collectio nova veterum scriptorum, by Martene (1700, 4to); Thesaurus novus Anecdotorum, by Martene and Durand (1717, 5 vols. fol.); Voyage litteraire de deux religieux Benedictins, by the same (1724, 4to); Diarium Italicum (1702, 4to), and Bibliotheca bibliothecarum manuscriptorum nova (1739, 2 vols. fol.), both by Montfaucon. In Church history, their most important works are their revision of the Gallia Christiana of the brothers De Sainte-Marthe (1656, 4 vols. fol.). The new work was commenced by another member of that distinguished family, Dom Denis de Sainte-Marthe. It was intended as an introduction to a contemplated Orbis Christianus, for which a large amount of documents were collected, yet this work was never completed. The first volume of the Gallia Christiana appeared in 1715. Sainte-Marthe died on the completion of the third volume, in 1725. The order continued the work until the thirteenth volume, which appeared in 1785. It was then interrupted, until of late years Haureau, the author of the Histoire de la Philosophie scholastique (1850, 2 vols.), took it up again, and in 1856 he published his continuation. The Gallia Christiana was used as a model for other similar works, such as the Italia sacra, the Espana sagrada, the Illyria sacra, etc. It also gave rise to numerous histories of special convents by others of the congregation; the greater part of them, however, remain unpublished. The only two which appeared are the Histoire de l'Abbaye de St. Denis of Felibien (1706, fol.), and the Histoire de l'Abbaye de S. Germain des Pres of Bouillart (1724, fol.). The collection of the French councils, commenced by Dom de Coniac, and afterwards continued by Dom Labat, was to be appended to the Gallia Christiana. The first volume appeared in 1789, at the moment of the outbreak of the French Revolution, and the congregation was dispersed before the second was complete. The history of martyrs was treated by Dom Ruinart in his Acta primorum martyrum (1689, 4to). Of greater interest are the works on the old liturgies and convent customs, some of which are among the earliest works of the congregation. Menard published the Sacramentarium of Gregory the Great (1642, 4to), Mabillon the Liturgia Gallicana (1645, 4to), Martene his Libri V de antiquis monachorum ritibus (1690, 2 vols. 4to), and his De antiquis ecclesiae ritibus (1700, 4 vols. 4to; 2d edit. 1736, 4 vols. fol.); finally, among the most renowned works in that line, we must mention the Acta Sanctorum Ordinis S. Benedicti, commenced by D'Achery, and continued by Mabillon and Ruinart (1668, etc., 9 vols. fol.: the tenth remained unpublished); the Annales Ordinis S. Benedicti, the celebrated work of Mabillon, completed by Massuet (1703, etc., 6 vols. fol.). The same congregation wrote also a history of their own order, which formed 3 vols. fol. in MS., but the superiors refused permission for publication. Dom Tassin published, however, an abstract from it, down to 1766. Dom Clemencet wrote a history of Port Royal, of which the first part alone appeared (1755, 10 vols. 12mo); the second part remained in MS., as being too favorable to the Jansenists.
The greatest claim of the Benedictines of St. Maur to the gratitude of theologians lies in their editions of the works of the fathers. They had at first contemplated only publishing the complete works of authors of their own order; but the favor with which their productions were received, as also the requirements of their schools, induced them to publish first the works of the Latin fathers, and afterwards of the Greek also. For this purpose they compared the various texts of the different works existing in France, Italy, England, Holland, Germany, etc. The result was a set of works which for correctness of the text remains unsurpassed, especially for the works of the most. important among the fathers. Among these works we must not forget their valuable Latin translations of the Greek fathers, and their Indices, so important for all historical students. The first Latin father whose works they published is St. Augustine. His views afforded them powerful weapons in the Jansenistic controversy. The edition was commenced by Dom Delfau, and continued by Blampin and Constant (1679-1700, 11 vols. folio); Garet published Cassiodor (1679, 2 vols. fol.): Du Frische and Le Nourri, Ambrosius (1686-90, 2 vols. fol.); Constant, Hilarius of Poitiers (1693, fol.); Martianay, Jerome (1693-1706, 5 vols. fol.). The works of Cyprian, commenced by Baluze, who was not of St. Maur, were completed by Dom Maran (1726, fol.). In 1645 the Benedictines published the Epistle of Barnabas (4to). But it is only towards the close of the 17th century that they seriously applied themselves to this branch of ancient ecclesiastical literature. Montfaucon published the works of Athanasius, (1698, 3 vols. folio); this was followed by his Collectio nova patrum (1706, 2 vols. fol.), containing additions to Athanasius; the works of Eusebius of Caesarea, and the Topography of Cosmas. Massuet published Irenaeus (1710, fol.); Montfaucon, Chrysostom (1718-38,13 vols. fol.); Toutee, Cyril of Jerusalem (1720, fol.); Garnier, Basil the Great (1721-30, 3 vols. folio); Charles de la Rue and his nephew Vincent de la Rue, Origen (1733-59, 4 vols. folio); Maran, Justin and the other apologetists (1742, fol.). Maran commenced an edition of the works of Gregory of Nazianzum, which was continued by Clemencet, but the breaking out of the French Revolution prevented the publication of any but the first volume (1788, folio).
Among the works of writers of their order and others of the Middle Ages which they published, we notice the rule of St. Benedict of Aniane, Concordia regularum, published by Menard (1628, 4to); Lanfranc, by D'Achery (1648, fol.), and Guibert of Nogent, by the same (1651, fol.); St. Bernard, by Mabillon (1667, fol.; 2d ed. 1690, 2 vols. fol.; 3d ed. 1719, 2 vols. fol.); Anselm of Canterbury, by Gerberon (1675, fol., 2d ed. 1721) ; Gregory the Great, by Denis de Sainte-Marthe (1705, 4 vols. folio); Hildebert de Mans, by Beaugendre (1708, folio). Dom Constant compiled a collection of the letters and decrees of the popes, only the first volume of which appeared (1721, folio). To aid in the use of the Biblioth. patrum maxima of Lyon, Le Nourri wrote his Apparatus (1703, fol.), which, however, does not extend further than the 4th century; it consists of biographical, historical, and literary notices of the writers whose works are contained in the Bibliotheca. Finally, among their most valuable publications are those relating to the ancient translations of the Bible. Such are the Hexapla of Origen, by Montfaucon (1713, 2 vols. fol.); the Bibloth. divina of Jerome, by Martianay (1693, vol. i of the works of Jerome), and the Latinae versiones antiquae, by Sahatier, Baillard, and Vincent de la Rue (1743-49, 3 vols. fol.).
Their zeal and their liberal views could not fail to involve them in numerous and bitter controversies; yet even then they generally preserved a tone of great moderation, whilst their greater learning often gave them the advantage over their adversaries. Perhaps the weakest contest they ever engaged in was their defense of the claims of their fellow Benedictine abbot Gersen as the author of the Imitatio Christi, against the attacks of the Augustinian canon regulars, SEE KEMPIS. They ably defended themselves against the insinuations of De Rance, founder of La Trappe, who accused them of worldliness on account of their studies. Mabillon was thus provoked to publish his renowned Traite des etudes Monastiques (1691, 4to, and 1692, 2 vols. 12mo; it was translated into Latin and Italian). They also got into difficulties with the Jesuits, who accused them of Jansenism on account of their edition of St. Augustine, and otherwise attacked them in the Journal of Trevoux. During this controversy they published very important essays against the bull Unigenitus. Gerberon published the Histoire generale du Jansenisme (1700, 3 vols. 12mo), and Le Cerf the Histoire de let Constitution Unigenitus en ce qui regarde la Congregation de St. Maur. The French Revolution, in forbidding the existence of convents, dispersed also the Benedictines. Several of the works they had then on hand remained uncompleted. The Academie des Inscriptions undertook to finish such as related to the history of France. The last of the Benedictines of St. Maur, Dom Brial, died a member of the French Academy in 1833. In later times an attempt was made to revive the order. La Mennais (q.v.) with some of his friends bought the abbey of Solesmes, formerly occupied by the Benedictines of St. Maur. The pope made it the regular abbey of the restored Order of Benedictines Sept. 1, 1837, and Geranger (afterwards called Gueranger), a German professor, formerly a Protestant, was made superior-general of the order. Yet so far, the attempts of the new monks to rival the fame of their predecessors have proved unsuccessful; the ultramontanism which pervades the French clergy is not favorable to profound studies. Its first work gave evidence of the spirit which now animates the institution: Origines catholiques, origines de l'Eglise Romaine (Paris, 1836, 4to; vol. 1 only has appeared). By his
Institutions liturgiques (Paris, 1846) Gueranger helped to introduce the use of the Roman liturgy in the French dioceses, in spite of the remonstrances of the Gallican clergy. The most eminent of the new Benedictines is Pitra, yet even his works will prove of more value to the papacy than to science. In an article published in the Correspondant of 1852 he attacked the Regesta pontificum of Jaffe, and asserted that the making of the pseudo-decretals (q.v.) affords proof that the primacy of the See of Rome was then already recognized by all. Pitra has published a Histoire de St. Leger et de l'Eglise de France au 7me siecle (Paris, 1846): — Etudes sur la Collection des Actes des Saints par les Bollandistes (Paris, 1850), a valuable work. Since 1852 he has been working at a Spicilegium Solesmense, of which three volumes have been published (Paris, royal 8vo). They do not continue the important works commenced by the old order, leaving even the series of the fathers unfinished. See Petz, Biblioth. Benedicto-mauriana (Vienna, 1716, 8vo); Le Cerf, Bibliotheque historique, etc., des Auteurs de la Cong. de St. Maur (Hague, 1726, 12mo); Tassin, Histoire liter. de la Congr. de St. Maur (Paris, 1726, 4to); Herbst, Die Verdienste d. Mauriner um d. Wissenschaften (Tubinger theol. Quartalschrift, 1833, part i, ii, iii; 1834, pt. i). — Herzog, Real- Encyklopadie, 9:190 sq.