Ecclesiastical historian; b. Orléans, France, May 31, 1869; d. Bernay (Eure), France, Oct. 25, 1939. After studying at the Lycée Louis le Grand and the École normale, he received his university degree in history and was sent to the École française in Rome for further studies. During World War I he served in the Red Cross because his physique was too frail for combat duty. From 1927 until 1938 he was professor of mission history at the Institut Catholique de Paris. He served the Roman Congregation of Rites as a consultor in historical matters. He married Lucie Félix-Faure (b. 1866), a writer, in 1903. After her death in 1913 he married Juliette Heuzey (1862–1952), also a well-known writer, who later published a biography of her husband.
Goyau's prolific pen produced nearly 100 works on diverse topics of religious history, including biographies, the missions, and social Catholicism. His Histoire religieuse de la France (1922) formed the seventh volume of the Histoire de la nation française, edited by Gabriel Hanotaux. His best-known books were his nine volumes on the Church in modern Germany, Allemagne religieuse (1898–1913). Goyau contributed about 170 articles to the Catholic Encyclopedia. Many of his writings were aimed at a wide popular audience, but all of them were characterized by accuracy and by esteem for the Church. He was elected to the French Academy in 1922 and was the recipient of many other honors, including membership in the Order of Leopold, in the Order of St. Gregory as a commander, and in the Legion of Honor as a chevalier. Throughout his life he was a fervent Catholic. After his death Pius XII praised him as a model of charity.
Bibliography: f. veuillot, G. Goyau (Paris 1942). j. p. heuzey, G. Goyau: Sa vie, son oeuvre (Paris 1948). j. morienval, Catholicisme 5:128–129, 711; 4:1161–62.
[m. h. quinlan]