Morvillier, Jean De

Morvillier, Jean De a French prelate, was born of noble and distinguished parentage at Blois December 1, 1506. He early decided to enter holy orders, and therefore received careful training, and after filling various minor positions, was made successively dean of Bourges and Evreux, abbot of St. Pierre de Melun and BourgeMoyen, and was finally designated by king Henry II for the bishopric of Orleans, and confirmed in this see by the pope, April 21, 1552. This is, however, not the complete list of his benefices; he possessed many others, the functions of these being performed by vicars or proxies. Entirely taken up with service to the king, he appeared rarely even in his bishopric. One of his few visits to Orleans gave occasion to a strange controversy; it was in November 1552. He was more of a gentleman than of an ecclesiastic, and, according to court fashion, wore a long beard. This exercised the canons of Orleans to such an extent that in a chapter they resolved unanimously that the lord bishop must divest himself of this uncanonical ornament at the earliest moment possible. He received the summons, but did not comply. Hence new complaints, another refusal of obedience, judicial pleadings, quotations from the common law, and great tumult in Orleans. This grave and stormy dispute lasted nearly four years. Finally, thinking that the cause of his beard was lost, he appealed to the king for intervention. In 1556 the king notified the canons of Orleans in writing that he had the intention of sending J. Morvillier to foreign countries, "in quibus necessaria erat barba," and thus the contest terminated. It was J. Morvillier who in 1560 received Francis II and his consort, Mary Stuart, in Orleans. In 1561 he attended the colloquy at Poissy, and in 1562 the council at Trent. In 1564 he resigned the bishopric of Orleans in favor of his nephew, Mathurin de la Saussaye. From 1568 to 1570 we find him keeper of the seals of France, succeeding the celebrated L'Hopital. On his return from a journey to Poitiers he was at Tours attacked by a sickness, which cut short his life, October 23, 1577. During thirty-five most turbulent years Morvillier stood in high esteem and favor at the French court, where his moderation and suavity, no less than his skill in transacting diplomatic affairs, won and retained him friends and adherents. See Gallia Christiana, 8, col. 1485; Martin, Hist. of France; Jager, Hist. de l'Eglise Catholique en France depuis son originejusq'au Concordat de Pie VII (Paris, 1863-66, 13 vols.), volume 11; Wessenberg, Gesch. d. Kirchl. Conferenen, 3:483; North Brit. Rev. January 1870, page 266.

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