Lépicier, Alexis

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Cardinal, theologian; b. Vaucouleurs, France, Feb. 28, 1863; d. Rome, May 20, 1936. At the age of 15 Lépicier left France and joined the Servite Order in London. After completing his studies at various priories of the Order in England and at the Seminary of Saint-Sulpice, Paris, he was ordained in London, in September of 1885. Two months later he was called to Rome by his superior general to study at the Propaganda Fide, where he earned doctorates in theology and philosophy. In 1890 he returned to England as master of novices.

In 1892 at the age of 29 he was appointed by Leo XIII to the chair of dogmatic theology left vacant by his former professor, Francesco Satolli, who had been appointed first apostolic delegate to the United States. Lépicier held this post for 21 years, until he was elected superior general of the Servites in 1913. The prodigious theological work of these years culminated in his Institutiones theologicae dogmaticae ad textum S. Thomae Concinnatae (25 v.). His tract De Beata Virgine Maria Matre Dei (5 eds.) was one of the earliest scholastic treatments of Marian theology. His writings influenced the neoscholastic revival. In addition to a busy teaching career, Lépicier filled positions in five Roman Congregations and was assigned to various commissions. Moreover, he undertook long journeys in the interest of the Curia. In 1912 he was apostolic visitor in Scotland and upon his return to Rome he was made delegate to that country without the obligation of residence.

In May of 1924 he was consecrated archbishop of Tarsus and sent as apostolic visitor to India, where he remained for nearly two years. In 1927 he traveled to Abyssinia and Eritrea as visitor. In December of 1927 Pius XI made him a cardinal, and the following year he became prefect of the Congregation of Religious.

Bibliography: a. m. lÉpicier, Le Cardinal Lépicier, des servites de Marie, 2 v. (n.p. 1946).

[j. m. ryska]