Humbert of Romans

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Fifth master general of the Order of Preachers; b. Roman, Diocese of Vienne, c. 1194; d. Valence, July 14, 1277 (also given as Jan. 15, 1274). Having graduated as master of arts at Paris, Humbert of Romans (de Romanis) became a Dominican in 1224. He was appointed professor of theology in 1226 and elected prior at Lyons in 1236, serving until 1239. In 1240 he was elected provincial of the Roman Dominican province and in 1244, of the French province. The 1254 general chapter at Budapest elected him master general. After nine years as general, he resigned in 1263, retiring to Valence where he devoted the remainder of his life to writing books that were the fruit of his experience as master general. These works still exercise an influence within the order. While he was general the order perfected itself liturgically, academically, and governmentally. The broad lines of administration that he laid down remained guiding principles for many of his successors.

In 1256, Humbert completed the revision of the Dominican liturgy, which had been started in 1244. He also consolidated the order's internal regime of studies and unified its ranks. During the conflict between the mendicant orders and the University of Paris in 1252, Humbert sponsored the creation of the office of procurator general to represent the order at the papal court, and with papal support, vindicated the position of the mendicant orders at the University. Humbert's ascetical worksEpistola de tribus votis substantialibus religionis, Expositio Regulae B. Augustini, Expositio in Constitutiones (a partial commentary), De Officiis Ordinis, De Eruditione praedicatorum, De Dono timoris, De Praedicatione Crucis contra Saracenos as well as his encyclical letters to the order, did much to solidify and interpret the Dominican spirit and have always been highly regarded within the order.

Bibliography: f. heintke, Humbert von Romans (Berlin 1933). j. quÉtif and j. Échard, Scriptores Ordinis Praedicatorm, 5 v. (Paris 171923) 1:141148.

[c. lozier]