Arnulf of Lisieux

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Bishop; b. possibly Rouen, Normandy, France; d. monastery of Saint-Victor, Paris, France, Oct. 31, 1184. He was born of a well-known family in Normandy, and under the tutelage of his uncle John (fl. c. 1150), who was bishop of Sées, he began intensive literary studies. He became an archdeacon and subsequently went to Rome, where he remained for some time engaged in the study of Canon Law. While in Rome he was a witness to the difficulties caused by the antipope Anacletus II (see pierleoni), who opposed the election of innocent ii, and in 1134 he wrote a violent letter in defense of the pope against Gerard, bishop of Angoulême (d. 1136). Elected bishop of Lisieux in 1141, he was for some time prevented from taking possession of his see until bernard of clairvaux interceded with Pope Innocent to prevail upon Geoffrey, count of Anjou (d. 1151), to withdraw his objections. In 1147 he accompanied louis vii on his crusade. Arnulf was an important figure and was deeply involved in the political events of his time. In the schism that followed the election of Pope alexander iii he was faithful to the pope and encouraged his fellow bishops in France, as well as henry ii and the English bishops, to remain loyal. Arnulf became involved in the Thomas becket affair and attempted to arbitrate the difficulties although he has often been accused of being motivated by personal interests. In spite of serving the cause of the Plantagenet kings he was disgraced by the king, but successfully defended himself against his charges. He resigned his episcopacy in 1181 and spent his final years in the monastery of saint-victor in Paris. His works included the treatise on the schism of Anacletus and 130 letters to important personages of his time, as well as a collection of sermons and poems (Patrologia latina 201:5200).

Bibliography: h. wolter, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche 2 1:900. a. noyon, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie eccléiastiques 4:609611. m. manitius Geschichte der lateinischen Literatur des Mittelalters 3:5960, 903905. Histoire Littéraire de la France 14:304334; 16:655679.

[v. a. schaefer]