Thursday, January 10, 2013

Thurs, Jan 10, 2013 - Litany Lane Blog: Ecumenical, First John 4:19-5:4, Psalms 72:14-17, Luke 4:14-22, St William of Bourges, Bourges Cathedral, University of Paris, Catholic Catechism Chapter 2:1-3 Christ Jesus "Mediator and Fullness of All Revelation"

Thursday, January 10, 2013 - Litany Lane Blog:

Ecumenical, First John 4:19-5:4, Psalms 72:14-17, Luke 4:14-22, St William of Bourges, Bourges Cathedral, University of Paris, Catholic Catechism Chapter 2:1-3 Christ Jesus  "Mediator and Fullness of All Revelation"

Good Day Bloggers!  Happy New Year, Bonne Annee!
Wishing everyone a Blessed Week!

Year of Faith - October 11, 2012 - November 24, 2013

P.U.S.H. (Pray Until Serenity Happens). It has a remarkable way of producing solace, peace, patience and tranquility and of course resolution...God's always available 24/7.

The world begins and ends everyday for someone.  We are all human. We all experience birth, life and death. We all have flaws but we also all have the gift of knowledge and free will, make the most of these gifts. Life on earth is a stepping stone to our eternal home in Heaven. Its your choice whether to rise towards eternal light or lost to eternal darkness. Material items, though needed for sustenance and survival on earth are of earthly value only. The only thing that passes from this earth to Purgatory and/or Heaven is our Soul, our's God's perpetual gift to us...Embrace it, treasure it, nurture it, protect it...

"Raise not a hand to another unless it is to offer in peace and goodwill." ~ Zarya Parx 2012


January 02, 2013 Message From Our Lady of Medjugorje to World:
 "Dear children, with much love and patience I strive to make your hearts like unto mine. I strive, by my example, to teach you humility, wisdom and love because I need you; I cannot do without you my children. According to God's will I am choosing you, by His strength I am strengthening you. Therefore, my children, do not be afraid to open your hearts to me. I will give them to my Son and in return, He will give you the gift of Divine peace. You will carry it to all those whom you meet, you will witness God's love with your life and you will give the gift of my Son through yourselves. Through reconciliation, fasting and prayer, I will lead you. Immeasurable is my love. Do not be afraid. My children, pray for the shepherds. May your lips be shut to every judgment, because do not forget that my Son has chosen them and only He has the right to judge. Thank you."

December 25, 2012 Message From Our Lady of Medjugorje to World:
Our Lady came with little Jesus in her arms and she did not give a message, but little Jesus began to speak and said : “I am your peace, live my commandments.” With a sign of the cross, Our Lady and little Jesus blessed us together.

December 2, 2012 Message From Our Lady of Medjugorje to World:
Dear children, with motherly love and motherly patience anew I call you to live according to my Son, to spread His peace and His love, so that, as my apostles, you may accept God's truth with all your heart and pray for the Holy Spirit to guide you. Then you will be able to faithfully serve my Son, and show His love to others with your life. According to the love of my Son and my love, as a mother, I strive to bring all of my strayed children into my motherly embrace and to show them the way of faith. My children, help me in my motherly battle and pray with me that sinners may become aware of their sins and repent sincerely. Pray also for those whom my Son has chosen and consecrated in His name. Thank you." 


Today's Word:  ecumenical   ec·u·men·i·cal  [ek-yoo-men-i-kuh l]

Origin: 1835–45;  < Late Latin oecumenicus  belonging to the whole inhabited world (< Greek oikoumenikós,  equivalent to oikoumen-  (stem of passive present participle of oikeîn  to inhabit) + -ikos -ic) + -al1  

1. general; universal.
2. pertaining to the whole Christian church.
3. promoting or fostering Christian unity throughout the world.
4. of or pertaining to a movement (ecumenical movement)  especially among Protestant groups since the 1800s, aimed at achieving universal Christian unity and church union through international interdenominational organizations that cooperate on matters of mutual concern.
5. interreligious or interdenominational: an ecumenical marriage


Today's Old Testament Reading -  Psalms 72:1-2, 14-17

1 [Of Solomon] God, endow the king with your own fair judgement, the son of the king with your own saving justice,
2 that he may rule your people with justice, and your poor with fair judgement.
14 From oppression and violence he redeems their lives, their blood is precious in his sight.
15 (Long may he live; may the gold of Sheba be given him!) Prayer will be offered for him constantly, and blessings invoked on him all day.
17 May his name be blessed for ever, and endure in the sight of the sun. In him shall be blessed every race in the world, and all nations call him blessed.


Today's Epistle -   First John 4:19-5:4

19 Let us love, then, because he first loved us.
20 Anyone who says 'I love God' and hates his brother, is a liar, since whoever does not love the brother whom he can see cannot love God whom he has not seen.
21 Indeed this is the commandment we have received from him, that whoever loves God, must also love his brother.
1 Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is a child of God, and whoever loves the father loves the son.
2 In this way we know that we love God's children, when we love God and keep his commandments.
3 This is what the love of God is: keeping his commandments. Nor are his commandments burdensome,
4 because every child of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world -- our faith.


Today's Gospel Reading -  Luke 4:14-22a

Jesus, with the power of the Spirit in him, returned to Galilee; and his reputation spread throughout the countryside. He taught in their synagogues and everyone glorified him. He came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day as he usually did. He stood up to read, and they handed him the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. Unrolling the scroll he found the place where it is written: The spirit of the Lord is on me, for he has anointed me to bring the good news to the afflicted. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives, sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim a year of favour from the Lord.  He then rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the assistant and sat down. And all eyes in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to speak to them, 'This text is being fulfilled today even while you are listening.' And he won the approval of all, and they were astonished by the gracious words that came from his lips.

• Animated by the Spirit, Jesus returns toward Galilee and begins to announce the Good News of the Kingdom of God. Being in the community and teaching in the Synagogues, he reaches Nazareth, where he grew up. He was returning to the community, where, since he was small, had participated in the celebration during thirty years. The following Saturday, according to his custom, he went to the Synagogue to be with the people and to participate in the celebrations.

• Jesus rises to go to read. He chooses a text from Isaiah which speaks about the poor, of the prisoners, of the blind and the oppressed. The text reflects the situation of the people of Galilee, in the time of Jesus. In the name of God, Jesus takes a stand to defend the life of his people, and with the words of Isaiah, he defines his mission: to proclaim the Good News to the poor, to proclaim freedom to the prisoners, to restore sight to the blind, and freedom to the oppressed. Going back to the ancient tradition of the prophets, he proclaims: “a year of grace of the Lord”. He proclaims a jubilee year. Jesus wants to reconstruct the community, the clan in such a way that once again it may be the expression of their faith in God! And then, if God is Father/Mother of all we should all be brothers and sisters of one another.

• In ancient Israel, the great family, the clan or the community, was the basis of social living together. It was the protection of the families and of the persons, the guarantee of the possession of the land, the principal channel of tradition and of the defence of the people. It was a concrete way of embodying the love of God in the love for neighbour. To defend the clan, the community, was the same as defending the Covenant with God. In Galilee at the time of Jesus, there was a two-fold segregation, that of the politics of Herod Antipas (4 BC to 39 AD) and the segregation of the official religion. And this because of the system of exploitation and of repression of the politics of Herod Antipas supported by the Roman Empire. Many people were homeless, excluded and without work (Lk 14, 21; Mt 20, 3.5-6). The result was that the clan, the community, was weakened. The families and the persons remained without any help, without any defence. And the official religion maintained by the religious authorities of the time, instead of strengthening the community, in a way in which it could receive and accept the excluded, strengthened this segregation even more. The Law of God was used to legitimize the exclusion of many people: women, children, Samaritans, foreigners, lepers, possessed, Publicans, sick, mutilated, paraplegic. It was all the contrary of the Fraternity which God had dreamt for all! And this was the political and economic situation, as well as the religious ideology, everything conspired to weaken the local community more and hinder, in this way, the manifestation of the Kingdom of God. Jesus’ program, based on the prophecy of Isaiah, offered an alternative.

• After finishing the reading, Jesus updated the text applying it to the life of the people, saying: “Today, this reading, which you have heard with your own ears, has been fulfilled!” His way of joining the Bible with the life of the people, produced a two-fold reaction. Some remained surprised, amazed and admired. Others had a negative reaction. Some were scandalized and wanted to have nothing more to do with him. They said: “Is he not the son of Joseph?” (Lk 4, 22). Why were they scandalized? Because Jesus says to accept and receive the poor, the blind, the oppressed. But they did not accept his proposal. And thus, when he presented his project to accept the excluded, he himself was excluded!

Personal questions
• Jesus joined the faith in God with the social situation of his people. And I, how do I live my faith in God?
• Where I live, are there any blind, prisoners, oppressed? What do I do?

Reference: Courtesy of Order of Carmelites,


Featured Item of the Day from Litany Lane


Saint of the Day:  St William of Bourges

Feast DayJanuary 10
Patron Saint University of Paris

Saint William of Donjeon (c. 1155 – January 10, 1209), also referred to as St William of Bourges and St William the Confessor, was Archbishop of Bourges from 1200 until 1209. As William Berruyer (French: Guillaume Berruyer), he was a descendant of the family of the ancient Counts of Nevers. He was educated under the care of Peter, Archdeacon of Soissons, his maternal uncle. At an early age he learned to eschew the vanities of the world and to give himself with ardor to exercises of piety and to the acquisition of knowledge. Upon entering the ecclesiastical state he became Canon of Soissons and of Paris. Later he resolved to abandon the world and enter the Order of Grandmont. He lived in this Order for a period of time and practiced great austerities. Owing to dissensions between priests and lay brothers, he decided to go over to the recently founded but more austere Order of Cîteaux (the Cistercians).

He took the habit at Pontigny, and after some time became Abbot, first of Fontaine-Jean near Sens, and later of Chaalis near Senlis.

He had a special devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and loved to spend much of his time at the foot of the altar. In the year 1200, the clergy of the Church of Bourges elected him to succeed Henry de Sully, their Archbishop. The news quite overwhelmed him with grief. Only a stern command from the general of the Cistercians, the Abbot of Citeaux could move him to accept that dignity. In his new office of archbishop, he continued his austerities, to the point of constantly wearing a hair shirt and never eating meat.

He was instrumental in the on-going construction of the Gothic Cathedral of St. Stephen, begun under his predecessor, Henry de Sully, in 1195. In the early part of his ecclesiastical reign, the lower half of the cathedral was completed and by December, 1208, the choir was partially finished, at which time he was able to celebrate the Christmas liturgy.

He was preparing for a mission among the Albigensians when he died kneeling at prayer in 1209. In his last will and testament he requested to be buried with his hair shirt and in ashes. His feast day is commemorated on January 10.

Witnesses claimed that he performed eighteen miracles during his saintly life and that he performed another eighteen miracles after his death.

Saint William was canonized on May 17, 1218 by Pope Honorius III. He is a Patron Saint of the University of Paris


  1. St William's birthdate is surmised as on or near the date of his baptism, as most infants were baptised within days of their birth, as was the case during the entire length of the Middle Ages and up to the present era.
  • "Lives of the Saints: For Every Day of the Year" edited by Rev. Hugo Hoever, S.C.Cist., Ph.D., New York: Catholic Book Publishing Co., (1955)


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Today's Snippet I: Bourges Cathedral

Bourges Cathedral (Cathédrale Saint-Étienne de Bourges) is a Roman Catholic cathedral, dedicated to Saint Stephen, located in Bourges, France. It is the seat of the Archbishop of Bourges.
The diocese was founded in the 3rd century. Its first bishop was St. Ursinus of Bourges. In the Middle Ages there was a dispute between the bishop of Bourges and the bishop of Bordeaux about the primacy of Aquitaine. Bourges was the place of many synods. The synods 1225 and 1226 are the most important and dealt with the Albigenses.

Figurehead of the Capetian domain facing the south of France, St Etienne's Cathedral had to be unique in design. The architectural style chosen by the unknown Master-builder is based on a plan with no transept and plastic effects of great modernity for their time. The Cathedral is still surrounded by the half-timbered houses of the medieval town.


Inside of the Cathedral
The site occupied by the present cathedral, in what was once the northeastern corner of the Gallo-Roman walled city, has been the site of the city's main church at least since Carolingian times and probably since the foundation of the bishopric in the 3rd century. The present Cathedral was built as a replacement for a mid-11th-century structure, traces of which survive in the crypt. The date when construction began is unknown, although a document of 1195 recording expenditure on rebuilding works suggests that construction was already underway by that date. The fact that the east end protrudes beyond the line of the Gallo-Roman walls and that royal permission to demolish those walls was only granted in 1183 shows that work on the foundations cannot have started before that date. The main phase of construction is therefore roughly contemporaneous with Chartres Cathedral (begun 1194), some 200 km to the northwest. As with most Early- and High-Gothic cathedrals, the identity of the architect or master-mason is unknown. The choir was in use (though not necessarily complete) by 1214 and the nave was finished by 1255. The building was finally consecrated in 1324. Most of the west façade was finished by 1270, though work on the towers proceeded more slowly, partly due to the unfavourable rock strata beneath the site. Structural problems with the South tower led to the building of the adjoining buttress tower in the mid-14th century. The North tower was completed around the end of the 15th century but collapsed in 1506, destroying the Northern portion of the façade in the process. The North tower and its portal were subsequently rebuilt in a more contemporary style.

Important figures in the life of the cathedral during the 13th century include William of Donjeon who was Archbishop from 1200 until his death in 1209 (and was canonised by the Pope in 1218 as St William of Bourges) as well as his grandson, Philip Berruyer (archbishop 1236-61), who oversaw the later stages of construction.

Following the destruction of much of the Ducal Palace and its chapel during the revolution, the tomb effigy of Duke Jean de Berry was relocated to the Cathedral's crypt, along with some stained glass panels showing standing prophets, which were designed for the chapel by André Beauneveu.

Generally the cathedral suffered far less than some of its peers during the French Wars of Religion and in the Revolution. Its location meant it was also relatively safe from the ravages of both World Wars.
The cathedral was added to the list of the World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 1992.

Dimensions and structure

The cathedral's nave is 15 m wide by 37m high; its arcade is 20m high; the inner aisle is 21.3 m and the outer aisle is 9.3 m high. The use of flying buttresses was employed to help the structure of the building. However, since this was a fairly new technique, one can easily see the walls were still made quite thick to take the force. Sexpartite vaults are used to span the nave.


Plan and Elevation

Floorplan of the cathedral
Bourges Cathedral is notable for the simplicity of its plan, which did without transepts but which adopted the double-aisled design found in earlier high-status churches such as the Early-Christian basilica of St Peter's in Rome or in Notre Dame de Paris. The double aisles continue without interruption beyond the position of the screen (now largely destroyed though a few fragments are preserved in the crypt) to form a double ambulatory around the choir. The inner aisle has a higher vault than the outer one, while both the central nave and the inner aisle have similar three-part elevations with arcade, triforium and clerestory windows; a design which admits considerably more light than one finds in more conventional double-aisled buildings like Notre-Dame.[1] This design, with its distinctive triangular cross section, was subsequently copied at Toledo Cathedral and in the choir at Le Mans.[2] The flying buttresses surrounding the cathedral are relatively slender and efficient, particularly compared to the contemporary but much heavier flyers at Chartres. Their steep angle helps to channel the thrust from the nave vaults and the wind loading on the roof to the outer buttress piers more effectively.

Portals and Facades

A mid-19th-century engraving of the west façade
The west façade is on a particularly grand scale when compared to earlier cathedrals. The four side aisles and central nave each have their own portal reflecting the scale of the spaces beyond. As is often the case with Gothic churches, the central portal carries sculpted scenes related to the Last Judgement, whilst the south portals are dedicated to the lives of saints - here St Ursinus and St Stephen. The north portals were destroyed when the tower collapsed but surviving fragments indicate that their sculptural programmes were dedicated to the life and death of the Virgin. Unifying all five portals is a dado screen of gabled niches which stretches the whole width of the façade. The spandrels between these niches feature an extended Genesis cycle which would originally have told the story from the beginning of Creation to God's Covenant with Noah.[3]

Romanesque carved portals from about 1160-70, probably intended for the façade of the earlier cathedral, have been reused on the south and north doors (occupying the spaces normally reserved for transept portals). Their profuse ornamentation is reminiscent of Burgundian work.

Stained Glass

Apart from the axial chapel, Bourges Cathedral retains most of its original ambulatory glass, which dates from about 1215 (around the same time as Chartres Cathedral). The glazing programme includes a famous Typological window (similar to examples at Sens and Canterbury), several hagiographic cycles, the story of the Old Testament patriarch, Joseph and symbolic depictions of the Apocalypse and Last Judgement. Other windows show the Passion and three of Christ's parables; the Good Samaritan, the Prodigal Son and the story of Dives and Lazarus. The French art historian Louis Grodecki identified three distinct masters or workshops involved in the glazing, one of whom may also have worked on the windows of Poitiers Cathedral.[4]

The Light

A rare array of early 13th century stained glass windows adorns the three levels of the choir and illuminates the stone with a mosaic of coloured light. Bourges is a masterly expression of the pursuit of " lux continua " that accompanied the surge in spirituality of the 12th century. The play of light and inner volumes commands the conception of the whole.

These books of light illustrate the instruction of the Church : the Christ of the Last Judgement and the Apocalypse, the Blessed Virgin and Saint Etienne are flanked by the trade guilds, parallel scenes from the New and Old Testaments, the life of the Saints and Martyrs, the Archbishops of Bourges, the Prophets and Apostles. At the end of the 14th century, the window known as " Le Grand Housteau ",which is a gift of Duke John of Berry, gives the finishing touch to the west facade.

In a completely different vein, the side chapels of the 15th and 17th centuries are decorated with windows commissioned by eminent families of Bourges, the best known no doubt being the window of The Annunciation in the Chapel of Jacques Coeur. 

The Stone

The side portals (dating originally from around 1160) display fine examples of Romanesque carvings. The Cathedral is also a museum of sculpture throughout the ages. Living humanity is incarnated in the stone of the central portal of the west facade to form a grandiose representation of the Last Judgement with is both realistic and timeless. It is a masterpiece of Gothic sculpture of the 1240s. Carved at the same time, the rood screen is removed in 1757. Fine fragments of it are now on display in the lower church together with the recumbent statue of Duke John of Berry (early 15th century).

The Paintings

The astronomical clock and clockface representing the signs of the Zodiac, painted by Jean d'Orleans, have been restored. The original mechanism, which is the work of Canon Fusoris (1424) is well-preserved. The discovery of emblematic murals (in the sacristy of the Chapter House decorated by Jacques Coeur in honour of Charles VII around 1450) is followed by another less expected and more enigmatic one : the frescoes of the Crucifixion on a seascape background and of the resurrection of Christ in the Chapel of Du Breuil which date from about 1475.


  1. ^ Branner, Richard, The Cathedral of Bourges and its Place in Gothic Architecture, Paris (1962)
  2. ^ Bony, Jean (1985). French Gothic Architecture of the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries, p. 212. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-05586-1.
  3. ^ Bayard, Tania, Thirteenth-Century Modifications in the West Portals of Bourges Cathedral, in Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Vol. 34, No. 3 (Oct., 1975), pp. 215-225
  4. ^ Louis Grodecki. A Stained Glass Atelier of the Thirteenth Century: A Study of Windows in the Cathedrals of Bourges, Chartres and Poitiers, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, Vol. 11, (1948), pp. 87-111



Today's Snippet II: University of Paris

The University of Paris (French: Université de Paris) was a university in Paris, France, and one of the earliest to be established in Europe. It was founded in the middle of the 12th century and was officially recognized as a university from between 1160 and 1250 approximately. After many changes, including a century of suspension (from 1793 to 1896), it ceased to exist in 1970, and thirteen autonomous universities were created at the same time to succeed it. The university is often referred to as the Sorbonne or la Sorbonne, after the collegiate institution (Collège de Sorbonne) founded around 1257 by Robert de Sorbon, although the university was never completely centered on the Sorbonne. Of the thirteen current successor universities, four have premises in the historical Sorbonne building, and three of them include "Sorbonne" in their names.

The universities in Paris are now independent from each other, and some of them fall within the Créteil or Versailles education authorities instead of the Parisian one. Some residual administrative functions of the thirteen universities are formally supervised by a common chancellor, the rector of the Paris education authority, whose offices are in the Sorbonne.

Origin and early organization

Like the other early medieval universities (Bologna, Oxford, Salamanca, Cambridge, Padua), the University of Paris was already well established before it received a specific foundation act from the Church in 1200.[2] The earliest historical reference to the university as such is found in Matthew of Paris's reference to his own teacher's study (an abbot of St. Albans) and his acceptance into "the fellowship of the elect Masters" at the university of Paris in about 1170. Additionally, it is known that Pope Innocent III, having assumed the papacy at the age of 37, had completed his studies at the University of Paris by 1182 at the age of 21. It grew up in the latter part of the twelfth century around the Notre Dame Cathedral as a corporation similar to other medieval corporations, such as guilds of merchants or artisans. The medieval Latin term universitas had the more general meaning of a guild. The university of Paris was known as a universitas magistrorum et scholarium (a guild of masters and scholars). Later universities such as the Charles University in Prague or the University of Heidelberg had different origins.

The university had four faculties: Arts, Medicine, Law, and Theology. The Faculty of Arts was the lowest in rank, but also the largest as students had to graduate there to be admitted to one of the higher faculties. The students were divided into four nationes according to language or regional origin: France, Normandy, Picardy, and England. The last came to be known as the Alemannian (German) nation. Recruitment to each nation was wider than the names might imply: the English-German nation included students from Scandinavia and Eastern Europe.

The faculty and nation system of the University of Paris (along with that of the University of Bologna) became the model for all later medieval universities. Under the governance of the Church, students wore robes and shaved the tops of their heads in tonsure, to signify they were under the protection of the church. Students operated according to the rules and laws of the Church and were not subject to the king's laws or courts. This presented ongoing problems of students abusing the laws of the city, which had no direct recourse for justice and had to appeal to Church courts. Students were often very young, entering the school at age 13 or 14 and staying for 6 to 12 years.

The original schools

Sorbona 2005a.jpg
Three schools were especially famous at Paris, the palatine or palace school, the school of Notre-Dame, and that of Sainte-Geneviève Abbey. The decline of royalty brought about the decline of the first. The other two were ancient but did not have much visibility in the early centuries. The glory of the palatine school doubtless eclipsed theirs, until it completely gave way to them. These two centres were much frequented and many of their masters were esteemed for their learning. The first renowned professor at the school of Ste-Geneviève was Hubold, who lived in the tenth century. Not content with the courses at Liège, he continued his studies at Paris, entered or allied himself with the chapter of Ste-Geneviève, and attracted many pupils via his teaching. Distinguished professors from the school of Notre-Dame in the eleventh century include Lambert, disciple of Filbert of Chartres; Drogo of Paris; Manegold of Germany; Anselm of Laon. These two schools attracted scholars from every country and produced many illustrious men, among whom were: St. Stanislaus of Szczepanów, Bishop of Kraków; Gebbard, Archbishop of Salzburg; St. Stephen, third Abbot of Cîteaux; Robert d'Arbrissel, founder of the Abbey of Fontevrault etc. Three other men who added prestige to the schools of Notre-Dame and Ste-Geneviève were William of Champeaux, Abélard, and Peter Lombard. Humanistic instruction comprised grammar, rhetoric, dialectics, arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy (trivium and quadrivium). 

To the higher instruction belonged dogmatic and moral theology, whose source was the Scriptures and the Patristic Fathers. It was completed by the study of Canon law. The School of Saint-Victor arose to rival those of Notre-Dame and Ste-Geneviève. It was founded by William of Champeaux when he withdrew to the Abbey of Saint-Victor. Its most famous professors are Hugh of St. Victor and Richard of St. Victor. The plan of studies expanded in the schools of Paris, as it did elsewhere. A Bolognese compendium of canon law called the Decretum Gratiani brought about a division of the theology department. Hitherto the discipline of the Church had not been separate from so-called theology; they were studied together under the same professor. But this vast collection necessitated a special course, which was undertaken first at Bologna, where Roman law was taught. In France, first Orléans and then Paris erected chairs of canon law. Before the end of the twelfth century, the Decretals of Gerard La Pucelle, Mathieu d'Angers, and Anselm (or Anselle) of Paris, were added to the Decretum Gratiani. However, civil law was not included at Paris. In the twelfth century, medicine began to be publicly taught at Paris: the first professor of medicine in Paris records is Hugo, physicus excellens qui quadrivium docuit.

Two things were necessary to become a professor: knowledge and appointment. Knowledge was proved by examination, the appointment came from the examiner himself, who was the head of the school, and was known as scholasticus, capiscol, and chancellor. This was called the licence or faculty to teach. The licence had to be granted freely. No one could teach without it; on the other hand, the examiner could not refuse to award it when the applicant deserved it.

Lasorbonne photo2.jpg
The school of Saint-Victor, which shared the obligations as well as the immunities of the abbey, conferred the licence in its own right; the school of Notre-Dame depended on the diocese, that of Ste-Geneviève on the abbey or chapter. The diocese and the abbey or chapter, through their chancellor, gave professorial investiture in their respective territories where they had jurisdiction. Besides Notre-Dame, Ste-Geneviève, and Saint-Victor, there were several schools on the "Island" and on the "Mount". "Whoever", says Crevier "had the right to teach might open a school where he pleased, provided it was not in the vicinity of a principal school." Thus a certain Adam, who was of English origin, kept his "near the Petit Pont"; another Adam, Parisian by birth, "taught at the Grand Pont which is called the Pont-au-Change" (Hist. de l'Univers. de Paris, I, 272).

The number of students in the school of the capital grew constantly, so that lodgings were insufficient. French students included princes of the blood, sons of the nobility, and the most distinguished youths of the kingdom. The courses at Paris were considered so necessary as a completion of studies that many foreigners flocked to them. Popes Celestine II, Adrian IV and Innocent III studied at Paris, and Alexander III sent his nephews there. Illustrious German and British students included Otto of Freisingen, Cardinal Conrad, Archbishop of Mainz, St. Thomas of Canterbury, and John of Salisbury; while Ste-Geneviève became practically the seminary for Denmark. The chroniclers of the time called Paris the city of letters par excellence, placing it above Athens, Alexandria, Rome, and other cities: "At that time", we read in the Chroniques de Saint-Denis, "there flourished at Paris philosophy and all branches of learning, and there the seven arts were studied and held in such esteem as they never were at Athens, Egypt, Rome, or elsewhere in the world" ("Les gestes de Philippe-Auguste"). Poets said the same thing in their verses, and they compared it to all that was greatest, noblest, and most valuable in the world.

The Sorbonne covered in snow
Soon, the university required greater organization to maintain order among the students and define the relations of the professors. First, the professors formed an association, for according to Matthew Paris, John of Celles, twenty-first Abbot of St Albans, England, was admitted as a member of the teaching corps of Paris after he had followed the courses (Vita Joannis I, XXI, abbat. S. Alban). The masters as well as the students were divided according to national origin, for as the same historian states, Henry II, King of England, in his difficulties with St. Thomas of Canterbury, wished to submit his cause to a tribunal composed of professors of Paris, chosen from various provinces (Hist. major, Henry II, to end of 1169). This was probably the beginnings of that division according to "nations" which was later to play an important part in the university. After a decision made by Celestine III, both professors and students had the privilege of being amenable only to the ecclesiastical courts, not to civil courts. Other decisions dispensed them from residence in case they possessed benefices and permitted them to receive their revenues.

The three schools of Notre-Dame, Sainte-Geneviève, and Saint-Victor may be regarded as the triple cradle of the Universitas scholarium, which included masters and students; hence the name University. Henry Denifle and some others hold that this honour is exclusive to the school of Notre-Dame (Chartularium Universitatis Parisiensis), but the reasons do not seem convincing. He excludes Saint-Victor because, at the request of the abbot and the religious of Saint-Victor, Gregory IX in 1237 authorized them to resume the interrupted teaching of theology. But the university was in large part founded about 1208, as is shown by a Bull of Innocent III. Consequently the schools of Saint-Victor might well have furnished their contingent towards its formation. Secondly, Denifle excludes the schools of Ste-Geneviève because there had been no interruption in the teaching of the liberal arts. Now this is far from proved, and moreover, it seems incontestable that theology also had never ceased to be taught, which is sufficient for our point. Besides, the chancellor of Ste-Geneviève continued to give degrees in arts, something he would have ceased to have done when the university was organized if his abbey had no share in its organization. And while the name Universitas scholarium is quite intelligible on the basis of the common opinion, it is incompatible with the recent (Denifle's) view, according to which there would have been schools outside the university of paris.

Organization in the thirteenth century

Meeting of doctors at the University of Paris. From a medieval manuscript.
In 1200, King Philip II issued a diploma "for the security of the scholars of Paris" that made the students subject only to ecclesiastical jurisdiction. The provost and other officers were forbidden to arrest a student for any offence, unless this was done to hand over the culprit to ecclesiastical authority. The king's officers could never lay hands on the head of the schools unless they had a mandate from an ecclesiastical authority. This action was motivated at least in part by a violent incident between students and officers outside the city walls at a pub.

In 1215, the Apostolic legate, Robert de Courçon, issued new rules governing who could become a professor. To teach the arts it was necessary to have reached the age of twenty-one, to have studied these arts at least six years, and to take an engagement as professor for at least two years. For a chair in theology the candidate had to be thirty years of age with eight years of theological studies, of which the last three years were devoted to special courses of lectures in preparation for the mastership. These studies had to be made in the local schools under the direction of a master, for at Paris one was not regarded as a scholar unless he had a particular master. Lastly, purity of morals was as important as reading. The licence was granted, according to custom, gratuitously, without oath or condition. Masters and students were permitted to unite, even by oath, in defence of their rights, when they could not otherwise obtain justice in serious matters. No mention is made either of law or of medicine, probably because these sciences were less prominent.

Priscian's "Grammar", Aristotle's "Dialectics", mathematics, astronomy, music, rhetoric and philosophy were taught in the arts course; to these might be added the Ethics of the Stagyrite and the fourth book of the Topics. But it was forbidden to read the books of Aristotle on Metaphysics and Physics, or abbreviations of them.
In 1229, a denial of justice by the queen led to suspension of the courses. The pope intervened with a Bull that began with lavish praise of the university: "Paris", said Gregory IX, "mother of the sciences, is another Cariath-Sepher, city of letters". He commissioned the Bishops of Le Mans and Senlis and the Archdeacon of Châlons to negotiate with the French Court for the restoration of the university, but by the end of 1230 they had accomplished nothing. Gregory IX then addressed a Bull of 1231 to the masters and scholars of Paris. Not only did he settle the dispute, he empowered the university to frame statutes concerning the discipline of the schools, the method of instruction, the defence of theses, the costume of the professors, and the obsequies of masters and students (expanding upon Robert de Courçon's statutes). Most importantly, the pope granted the university the right to suspend its courses, if justice were denied it, until it should receive full satisfaction.

The pope authorized Pierre Le Mangeur to collect a moderate fee for the conferring of the license of professorship. Also, for the first time, the scholars had to pay tuition fees for their education: two sous weekly, to be deposited in the common fund.

The rector

The university was organized as follows: at the head of the teaching body was a rector. The office was elective and of short duration; at first it was limited to four or six weeks. Simon de Brion, legate of the Holy See in France, realizing that such frequent changes caused serious inconvenience, decided that the rectorate should last three months, and this rule was observed for three years. Then the term was lengthened to one, two, and sometimes three years. The right of election belonged to the procurators of the four nations.

The four nations

Map showing the territories covered by the four nations of the University of Paris during the Middle Ages.
The "Nations" appeared in the second half of the twelfth century; they were mentioned in the Bull of Honorius III in 1222; later they formed a distinct body. By 1249 the four nations existed with their procurators, their rights (more or less well-defined), and their keen rivalries: the nations were the French, English, Normans, and Picards. After the Hundred Years' War the English nation was replaced by the Germanic. The four nations constituted the faculty of arts or letters.

The territories covered by the four nations were:
  • French nation: all the Romance-speaking parts of Europe except those included within the Norman and Picard nations
  • English nation (renamed 'German nation' after the Hundred Years' War): the British Isles, the Germanic-speaking parts of continental Europe (except those included within the Picard nation), and the Slavic-speaking parts of the Europe. The majority of students within that nation came from Germany and Scotland, and when it was renamed 'German nation' it was also sometimes called natio Germanorum et Scotorum ("nation of the Germans and Scots")
  • Norman nation: ecclesiastical province of Rouen, which corresponded approximately to the Duchy of Normandy. This was a Romance-speaking territory, but it was not included within the French nation.
  • Picard nation: the Romance-speaking bishoprics of Beauvais, Noyon, Amiens, Laon, and Arras; the bilingual (Romance and Germanic-speaking) bishoprics of Thérouanne, Cambrai, and Tournai; a large part of the bilingual bishopric of Liège; the southernmost part of the Germanic-speaking bishopric of Utrecht (the part of that bishopric located south of the Meuse River; the rest of the bishopric north of the Meuse River belonged to the English nation). It was estimated that about half of the students in the Picard nation were Romance-speakers (Picard and Walloon), and the other half were Germanic-speakers (West Flemish, East Flemish, Brabantian and Limburgish dialects).


To classify professors' knowledge, the schools of Paris gradually divided into faculties. Professors of the same science were brought into closer contact until the community of rights and interests cemented the union and made them distinct groups. The faculty of medicine seems to have been the last to form. But the four faculties were already formally established by 1254, when the university described in a letter "theology, jurisprudence, medicine, and rational, natural, and moral philosophy". The masters of theology often set the example for the other faculties, e.g. they were the first to adopt an official seal.

The faculties of theology, canon law, and medicine, were called "superior faculties". The title of "Dean" as designating the head of a faculty, came into use by 1268 in the faculties of law and medicine, and by 1296 in the faculty of theology. It seems that at first the deans were the oldest masters. The faculty of arts continued to have four procurators of its four nations and its head was the rector. As the faculties became more fully organized, the division into four nations partially disappeared for theology, law and medicine, though it continued in arts. Eventually the superior faculties included only doctors, leaving the bachelors to the faculty of arts. At this period, therefore, the university had two principal degrees, the baccalaureate and the doctorate. It was not until much later that the licentiate and the DEA became intermediate degrees.


Rue Saint-Jacques and the Sorbonne in Paris
The scattered condition of the scholars in Paris often made lodging difficult. Some students rented rooms from townspeople, who often exacted high rates while the students demanded lower. This tension between scholars and citizens would have developed into a sort of civil war if Robert de Courçon had not found the remedy of taxation. It was upheld in the Bull of Gregory IX of 1231, but with an important modification: its exercise was to be shared with the citizens. The aim was to offer the students a shelter where they would fear neither annoyance from the owners nor the dangers of the world. Thus were founded the colleges (colligere, to assemble); meaning not centers of instruction, but simple student boarding-houses. Each had a special goal, being established for students of the same nationality or the same science. Often, masters lived in each college and oversaw its activities.

Four colleges appeared in the twelfth century; they became more numerous in the thirteenth, including Collège d'Harcourt (1280) and the Collège de Sorbonne (1257). Thus the University of Paris assumed its basic form. It was composed of seven groups, the four nations of the faculty of arts, and the three superior faculties of theology, law, and medicine. Men who had studied at Paris became an increasing presence in the high ranks of the Church hierarchy; eventually, students at the University of Paris saw it as a right that they would be eligible to benefices. Church officials such as St. Louis and Clement IV lavishly praised the university.

Besides the famous Collège de Sorbonne, other collegia provided housing and meals to students, sometimes for those of the same geographical origin in a more restricted sense than that represented by the nations. There were 8 or 9 collegia for foreign students: the oldest one was the Danish college, the Collegium danicum or dacicum, founded in 1257. Swedish students could, during the 13th and 14th centuries, live in one of three Swedish colleges, the Collegium Upsaliense, the Collegium Scarense or the Collegium Lincopense, named after the Swedish dioceses of Uppsala, Skara and Linköping. The German College, Collegium alemanicum is mentioned as early as 1345, the Scots college or Collegium scoticum was founded in 1325. The Lombard college or Collegium lombardicum was founded in the 1330s. The Collegium constantinopolitanum was, according to a tradition, founded in the 13th century to facilitate a merging of the eastern and western churches. It was later reorganized as a French institution, the Collège de la Marche-Winville. The Collège de Montaigu was founded by the Archbishop of Rouen in the 14th century, and reformed in the 15th century by the humanist Jan Standonck, when it attracted reformers from within the Roman Catholic Church (such as Erasmus and Ignatius of Loyola) and those who subsequently became Protestants (John Calvin and John Knox).

Later history

The Old Sorbonne on fire in 1670.

The Sorbonne, Paris, in a 17th-century engraving
In the fifteenth century, Guillaume d'Estouteville, a cardinal and Apostolic legate, carried out a project to reform the university, correcting its abuses and introducing various needed modifications. This reform was less an innovation than a recall to the better observance of the old rules, as was the reform of 1600, undertaken by the royal government, with regard to the three superior faculties. However, as to the faculty of arts, the reform of 1600 introduced the study of Greek, of the French poets and orators, and of additional classical figures like Hesiod, Plato, Demosthenes, Cicero, Virgil, and Sallust. The prohibition to teach civil law was never well observed at Paris, but in 1679 Louis XIV authorized the teaching of civil law in the faculty of decretals. Thus, the name "faculty of law" replaced that of "faculty of decretals". The colleges meantime had multiplied; those of Cardinal Le-Moine and Navarre were founded in the fourteenth century. The Hundred Years' War was fatal to these establishments, but the university set about remedying the injury.
Remarkable for its teaching, the University of Paris played an important part: in the Church, during the Great Schism; in the councils, in dealing with heresies and divisions; in the State, during national crises. Under the domination of England it played a role in the trial of Joan of Arc.

Proud of its rights and privileges, the University of Paris fought energetically to maintain them, hence the long struggle against the mendicant orders on academic as well as on religious grounds. Hence also the shorter conflict against the Jesuits, who claimed by word and action a share in its teaching. It made liberal use of its right to decide administratively according to occasion and necessity. In some instances it openly endorsed the censures of the faculty of theology and pronounced condemnation in its own name, as in the case of the Flagellants.

Its patriotism was especially manifested on two occasions. During the captivity of King John, when Paris was given over to factions, the university sought to restore peace; and under Louis XIV, when the Spaniards crossed the Somme and threatened the capital, it placed two hundred men at the king's disposal and offered the Master of Arts degree gratuitously to scholars who should present certificates of service in the army (Jourdain, Hist. de l'Univers. de Paris au XVIIe et XVIIIe siècle, 132-34; Archiv. du ministère de l'instruction publique).

Suppression of the colleges and establishment of the University of France

The Sorbonne as seen from rue des Écoles.
The ancient university disappeared with ancient France in the French Revolution. On 15 September 1793, petitioned by the Department of Paris and several departmental groups, the National Convention decided that independently of the primary schools,
"there should be established in the Republic three progressive degrees of instruction; the first for the knowledge indispensable to artisans and workmen of all kinds; the second for further knowledge necessary to those intending to embrace the other professions of society; and the third for those branches of instruction the study of which is not within the reach of all men".
Measures were to be taken immediately: "For means of execution the department and the municipality of Paris are authorized to consult with the Committee of Public Instruction of the National Convention, in order that these establishments shall be put in action by 1 November next, and consequently colleges now in operation and the faculties of theology, medicine, arts, and law are suppressed throughout the Republic". This was the death-sentence of the university. It was not to be restored after the Revolution had subsided, any more than those of the provinces.

All the faculties were replaced by a single centre, the University of France. After a century, people recognized that the new system was less favourable to study. They restored the old system of separate faculties in 1896, but without the faculty of theology.

Student revolt and reorganization

In 1968 the cultural revolution (see also Situationist International), resulted in the closing of the university for the third time in history. (The first occasion had been in 1229, and the second had been due to the invasion by the German army of 1940.) In 1968, students were protesting against the organization of the university and its restrictions, as well as general social issues.

The University of Paris has subsequently been reorganised into several autonomous universities and schools, some of which still carry the Sorbonne name. The historical campus, located in the Quartier Latin on the Rive Gauche, in the 5th arrondissement of Paris, features mural paintings by Pierre Puvis de Chavannes. It was divided for use among several of the universities of Paris, the prestigious École Nationale des Chartes and the Rector's services.

In March 2006 la Sorbonne was occupied again as part of country-wide protests against the government's introduction of the CPE (first employment contract), which some young people thought would adversely affect them.

Present universities

The thirteen successor universities to the University of Paris are now split over the three academies of the Île-de-France region.

Thirteen successor universities

I Pantheon-Sorbonne University Academy of Paris Hautes Études-Sorbonne-Arts et Métiers
II Pantheon-Assas University Academy of Paris Sorbonne University
III University of the New Sorbonne Academy of Paris Sorbonne Paris Cité
IV Paris-Sorbonne University Academy of Paris Sorbonne University
V René Descartes University Academy of Paris Sorbonne Paris Cité
VI Pierre-and-Marie-Curie University Academy of Paris Sorbonne University
VII Denis Diderot University Academy of Paris Sorbonne Paris Cité
VIII University of Vincennes in Saint-Denis Academy of Créteil not in an alliance
IX Paris Dauphine University Academy of Paris Paris Sciences et Lettres
X University of Paris Ouest Academy of Versailles not in an alliance
XI University of Paris Sud Academy of Versailles Campus Paris-Saclay
XII University of Paris Est Academy of Créteil Université Paris-Est
XIII University of Paris Nord Academy of Créteil Sorbonne Paris Cité


  1. ^ Haskins, C. H.: The Rise of Universities, page 292. Henry Holt and Company, 1923.
  2. ^ Rubenstein, Richard E.: Aristotle's Children, page 161. Harvest Books, 2004.
  3. ^ §1. The University of Paris. X. English Scholars of Paris and Franciscans of Oxford. Vol. 1. From the Beginnings to the Cycles of Romance. The Cambridge History of English and...
  4. ^ Miscellanea Scotica.: A Collection of Tracts Relating to the History
  5. ^ Historical Tales of the Wars of Scotland, and of the Border Raids
  6. ^ « Picard » et « Picardie », espace linguistique et structures sociopolitiques, by Serge Lusignan and Diane Gervais, August 2008
  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "University of Paris". Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company.

Further reading

  • André Tuilier: Histoire de l'Université de Paris et de la Sorbonne (History of the University of Paris and of the Sorbonne), in 2 volumes (From the Origins to Richelieu, From Louis XIV to the Crisis of 1968), Paris: Nouvelle Librairie de France, 1997 ;
  • Jean-Louis Leutrat: De l'Université aux Universités (From the University to the Universities), Paris: Association des Universités de Paris, 1997
  • Philippe Rive: La Sorbonne et sa reconstruction (The Sorbonne and its Reconstruction), Lyon: La Manufacture, 1987
  • Jacques Verger: Histoire des Universités en France (History of French Universities), Toulouse: Editions Privat, 1986


Catechism of the Catholic Church

Part One: Profession of Faith, Chapter 2:1-2



III. Christ Jesus -- "Mediator and Fullness of All Revelation"DV 2

God has said everything in his Word

65 "In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son."Heb 1:1-2 Christ, the Son of God made man, is the Father's one, perfect and unsurpassable Word. In him he has said everything; there will be no other word than this one. St. John of the Cross, among others, commented strikingly on Hebrews 1:1-2:
In giving us his Son, his only Word (for he possesses no other), he spoke everything to us at once in this sole Word - and he has no more to say. . . because what he spoke before to the prophets in parts, he has now spoken all at once by giving us the All Who is His Son. Any person questioning God or desiring some vision or revelation would be guilty not only of foolish behaviour but also of offending him, by not fixing his eyes entirely upon Christ and by living with the desire for some other novelty.St. John of the Cross, the Ascent of Mount Carmel 2, 22, 3-5 in The
   Collected Works of St. John of the Cross, tr. K. Kavanaugh OCD and O.
   Rodriguez OCD (Washington DC: Institute of Carmelite Studies, 1979),
   179-180: LH, Advent, week 2, Monday, OR.

There will be no further Revelation

66 "The Christian economy, therefore, since it is the new and definitive Covenant, will never pass away; and no new public revelation is to be expected before the glorious manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ."DV 4; cf. I Tim 6:14; Titus 2:13 Yet even if Revelation is already complete, it has not been made completely explicit; it remains for Christian faith gradually to grasp its full significance over the course of the centuries.

67 Throughout the ages, there have been so-called "private" revelations, some of which have been recognized by the authority of the Church. They do not belong, however, to the deposit of faith. It is not their role to improve or complete Christ's definitive Revelation, but to help live more fully by it in a certain period of history. Guided by the Magisterium of the Church, the sensus fidelium knows how to discern and welcome in these revelations whatever constitutes an authentic call of Christ or his saints to the Church.
Christian faith cannot accept "revelations" that claim to surpass or correct the Revelation of which Christ is the fulfilment, as is the case in certain nonChristian religions and also in certain recent sects which base themselves on such "revelations".