Henry of Lausanne

Henry Of Lausanne

Henry of Lausanne

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Henry of Lausanne (variously known as of Bruys, of Cluny, of Toulouse, of Le Mans and as the Deacon, sometimes referred to as Henry the Monk), French heresiarch of the first half of the 12th century. His preaching began around 1116 and he died imprisoned around 1148.

Life and teachings

Practically nothing is known of his origin or early life. He likely received his orders in the Benedictine Abbey of Cluny. If St Bernard's reproach (Ep. 241) is well founded, Henry was an apostate monk—a black monk (Benedictine) according to the chronicler Alberic de Trois Fontaines. The information we possess as to his degree of instruction is scarcely more precise or less conflicting.

When he arrived at Le Mans, his terminus a quo was probably Lausanne. At that moment Hildebert, the bishop of Le Mans, was absent from his episcopal town, and this is one of the reasons why Henry was granted permission to preach (March to July 1101), a function jealously guarded by the regular clergy. Whether by his prestige as a hermit and ascetic or by his personal charm, he soon acquired enormous influence over the people. Our knowledge of his ministry is admittedly hearsay and mostly obtained from a pamphlet by Peter of Cluny. He seemingly rejected the invocation of saints and also second marriages, and preached penitence. Women, inflamed by his words, gave up their jewels and luxurious apparel, and young men married prostitutes in the hope of reclaiming them.

He was a tall, charismatic preacher had a...
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