Odilo, De Mercoeur

Odilo, De Mercoeur,

Saint, fifth abbot of Clugny, noted as an ante-reformer, was born in Auvergne in 962. Tradition relates that he was brought up in the church of St. Julian at Brioude, and that St. Maieul, passing through that town, induced him to become a monk. However that may be, after he had entered the convent of Clugny, St. Maieul having resigned his charge, Odilo was appointed his successor. Sigebert, Alberic de TroisFontaines, and the authors of the Histoire litteraire, state that he became a monk only in 991. But the authors of the Gallia Christiana quote documents showing that he was already abbot of Clugny in 990. In 1027 Odilo was present at Rheims at the coronation of Henry, son of king Robert. In 1032 his reputation had become so great that pope John XIX appointed him archbishop of Lyons, and sent him the pallium and ring. The regular clergy at the time had a very high opinion of the services they rendered to the Church, and great contempt for the secular clergy. Odilo therefore declined, according to Raoul Glaber, to accept the appointment. Labbe, in his Concil. p. 858, quotes a letter of John XIX to the abbot of Cllngny, which mildly reproves Odilo for this refusal. Odilo was highly esteemed by popes Sylvester II, Benedict VIII, Benedict IX, John XVIII, John XIX, and Clement II, and enjoyed the especial consideration of pope Gregory VI, and stood at the head of the German Reform party. He first introduced the festival of All- souls' day, and gave the real impetus to the so-called treuga Dei (truce of God). Under his administration the abbey of Clugny rose to great prosperity and renown. It is said that three bishops — Sanchez of Pampeluna, Gautier of Macon, and Letbald, see unknown — left their churches, and came to Clugny to live under the direction of Odilo; and that the emperors Otho III, St. Henry, Conrad the Salique, Henry the Black (his son); Hugh Capet and Robert, kings of France; and also Sanchez, Ramir, and Garsias, kings of Spain, showed the greatest veneration for him. Odilo obtained deserved praise on account of his many charitable works, especially among the poor people during a severe famine in France, and was so much thought of by the populace as to be reputed even to have worked miracles. He died at Souvigni Jan. 1, 1049. The Church commemorates him on Jan. 2 and June 21; Baillet indicates April 12 and Nov. 13. Odilo wrote a life of St. Adelaide, the wife of emperor Otho I, which was first published by Canisius (Lectiones Antiquc, vol. iii). Basnage claims that it is erroneously attributed to Odilo, but his arguments are refuted in the edition accompanied by a preface published by Duchesne and Marrier (Bibliotheca Cluniacensis, p. 353). Odilo wrote also a biography of his predecessor, St. Maieul, published by Surius and the Bollandists under the date of May 11, and in the Bibl. Cliniacensis, p. 279; the latter work contains also fourteen sermons of Odilo, and two others are given by Martene (Anecdota, v. 621). Most of his letters, which according to Jotsaud, one of his biographers, were very numerous, are now lost; there are four given in the Bibl. Cluniacensis, and three others by Luc d'Achery (Spicilegium, 2:386). Finally, the Bibl. Cluniacensis gives under his name some small poems, a writing entitled Credulitas, etc. See Gallia Christiana, vol. 4, col. 1128; Hist. litter. de la France; 7:414; Jotsaud, Vita de eodenr (id.); Mabillon, Acta Sanctorum, 8:680; S. Odilonis (Bibl. Cluniacensis); Basnage, Auctorum Testimonia; Canisius's Lectiones (1725); Baxmann, Politik der Papste, vol. ii; Gieseler, Ch. Hist. 2:176;: Neander, Ch. Hist. 3:418; Schrockh, Kirchengesch. 23:35 sq.

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