Maurand (or Mauran), Pierre

Maurand (Or Mauran), Pierre the first leader of the Albigenses in Southern France, was born at Toulouse, of a noted family, in the early part of the 12th century. From his youth he gave himself entirely to spreading the doctrines of the Albigenses (q.v.) throughout Languedoc. Rich and learned, preaching incessantly, traveling barefooted, sleeping on the ground, living in the midst of danger, he strongly impressed the southern mind, always easily excited, and in a short time made a great number of converts, whom he assembled in two of his mansions, one in the city, the other in the country. Maurand said boldly "that the clergy performed their ecclesiastical duties without learning, without morals, and without capacity; that usury was common, and that in many churches all was venal, the sacraments and the benefices; that the clerks, the priests, the canons, and even the bishops, associated publicly with abandoned women; that if the same vices were remarked in the lords and laity, it was owing to the general ignorance, an excuse which the clergy could not plead." As for his belief, he admitted two grand directing principles, independent and uncreated; good and evil; light and darkness. He did not consider almsgiving a means of salvation; and life should not be an incessant commerce. He did not admit that a priest could, by a few words, transform the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ, and persisted in seeing in the mass and sacrifice only a commemoration, a symbol. He rejected all the ceremonial service of the Church as an abuse which should be destroyed. He led, moreover, a most regular and sober life, prayed on his knees seven times a day and seven times each night. He did not acknowledge the remission of sins on the earth, not being able to believe that a mere mortal, a priest "all covered with the leprosy of vice," could absolve that of which he was himself knowingly guilty each day. As for the members of the clergy, he called them net pastors, but ravishing wolves, etc. The court of Rome was not slow in being roused, and the number of heretics multiplied so prodigiously that an appeal was made to the secular arm. After having condemned the sectarians in several synods, the archbishops of Narbonne and Lyons made some arrests, and burned alive those who would not recant. After the action of the Council of Albi in 1176, pope Alexander III himself inaugurated a crusade against the heretics, who were particularly strong in the dominion of Raymond V of Toulouse. The legate and the bishops entered Toulouse in the midst of the insulting clamors of the people. One of the prelates however preached, and attempted to refute the doctrines of the Albigenses; the latter, apparently convinced not so much by his reasoning as by fear of the count of Toulouse, did not dare to be seen or to speak in public. The legate, not contented with this success, caused the Roman Catholics to promise with an oath to denounce and deliver up all the heretics they knew. Pierre Maurand was one of the first reached by this measure. They induced him by caresses and promises to appear before the legate. In the examination to which he was obliged to submit, he declared that the bread was not the body of Christ. The inquisitors asked nothing more; they delivered him to the count of Toulouse, who immediately imprisoned him, ordering that his goods should be forthwith confiscated and his mansions demolished, whilst other punishment was yet to follow. Pierre Maurand, seeing himself on the verge of an ignominious death, promised to abjure his faith. They then brought him out of prison, and on the public square, before the assembled people, he kneeled to the legate and his colleagues; begged their pardon, and promised to submit to their orders. The next day the bishop of Toulouse and the abbot of Saint-Sernin took Maurand from his prison, naked and barefooted, and led him through the city, flogging him from time to time. Arriving at the cathedral, he paid a heavy fine, renewed the abjuration of his faith, and heard the sentence which condemned him to start within forty days for Jerusalem, and remain there three years in the service of the poor; his goods were confiscated, half to the profit of Raymond V, half to the profit of the clergy. He was also obliged to pay a fine of five hundred pounds' weight of silver to the count of Toulouse, to make numerous gifts to religious establishments, to the poor, etc. However, when Maurand returned from Palestine, he recovered the greater part of his estates. See Dom Vaissette, Histoire de Languedoc, t. 3, chap. 19; Dict. des Heresies, article Albigeois, in the Encyclopedie theologique of the abbe Migne; Benoit, Hist. des Albigeois, t. 1; Langlois, Histoire des Croisades contre les Albigeois; Basnage de Beauval, Hist. de l'Eglise, t. 2, chap. 29. — Hoefer, Nouv. Biogr. Generale, vol. 34, s.v.

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