Patristic scholar, b. Bar-le-Duc, France, May 14, 1688; d. Flavigny, France, May 26, 1761. He entered the Benedictine monastery of Moyen-Moutier in the Vosges in 1704, where he was ordained in 1710 and taught theology until 1716. In 1718 he became prior of St. Jacques de Neufchâteau and in 1733 of Flavigny-sur-Moselle, where he is buried. His first work was the Apologie de la morale des Pères (1718), a defense of the moral doctrine of the Fathers from Athenagoras to Augustine against the strictures of Jean Barbeyrac of Lausanne. The Nouvelle bibliothèque des auteurs ecclésiastiques, published by Louis Dupin in 1686, inspired Ceillier to begin a collection of sacred writers. In 1729 the first volume of his annotated Histoire générale des auteurs sacrés et ecclésiastiques appeared. Aided by his confreres he completed 23 volumes in the next 34 years. The series begins with the Old Testament and extends to the middle of the 13th century. Supplied with a two volume index in 1782, the work was re-edited by Armand Caillau, and republished in 17 volumes by L. M. Bauzon (1858–69). Although suspected of Jansenistic tendencies, even in passages quoting or explaining the Fathers on grace and free will, Ceillier was highly regarded by Benedict XIV.
Bibliography: a. beugnet, Étude biographique et critique sur Dom Remi Ceillier (Mémoires de la Société des Lettres, Sciences et Arts de Bar-le-Duc 2.10; Bar-le-Duc 1891). Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant et al., 15 v. (Paris 1903–50; Tables générales 1951– ), 2.2:2049–51.
[f. x. murphy]