Agobard

, archbishop of Lyons, was one of the most celebrated and learned prelates of the ninth century. Dr. Cave and Olearius tell us he was a Frenchman, but Du Pin says there is no absolute proof of this. He was born in the year 779, as father Mabillon deduced from a short martyrology, upon which Agobard seems to have written some notes with his own hand. In the year 782 he came from Spain to France. Leidrade, archbishop of Lyons, ordained him priest in the year 804, and nine years after he was appointed coadjutor, or corepiscopus to that prelate, and when, in the year 816, Leidrade returned to a monastery at Soissons, Agobard was substituted in his room with the consent of the emperor, and the whole synod of the French bishops, who highly approved of the choice | which Leidrade had made of a successor. This ordination, however, was objected to, as it is contrary to the canons, that a bishop should choose his successor himself. Agobard notwithstanding enjoyed the see quietly till he was expelled from it by the emperor Louis le Debormaire, because he had espoused the party of his sou Lothaire, and been one of the chief authors of deposing him in the assembly of bishops at Compiegne in the year 833. For Lewis, having secured himself against the injustice and violence which had been offered by Lothaire and the bishops of his party, prosecuted the latter in the council of Thionville in the year 835. Agobard, who had retired to Italy, with the other bishops of his party, was summoned three times before the council, and refusing to appear, was deposed, but no person was substituted in his room. His cause was again examined in the year 836, at an assembly held at Stramiac near Lyons: but it continued still undetermined, on account of the absence of the bishops, whose sole right it was to depose their brother. At length, the sons of the emperor having made their peace with him, they found means to restore Agobard, who was present in the year 838, at an assembly held at Paris; and he died in the service of his sovereign, in Xaintonge, June 5, in the year 840. This church honoured him with the title of saint. He had no less share in the affairs of the church, than those of the empire; and he shewed by his writings that he was a much abler divine than a politician. He was a strenuous defender of ecclesiastical discipline, very tenacious of the opinions he had once espoused, and very vigorous in asserting and defending them. Dupin, however, acknowledges that he was unfriendly to the worship of images, and it appears that he held notions on that subject which would have done honour to more enlightened times. He wrote a treatise entitled “Adversus dogma Faslicis ad Ludovicum Imp.” against Felix Orgelitanus, to shew that Christ is the true son of God, and not merely by adoption and grace. He wrote likewise several tracts against the Jews, a list of which may be seen in the General Dictionary, 10 vols. fol. from whence our account of him is principally taken. His style is simple, intelligible, and natural, but without elevation or ornament. He reasons with much acuteness, confirming his arguments, as was the custom then, by the authority of the fathers, whom he has largely quoted. His works were buried in obscurity | for several ages, Until Papirius Masso found a manuscript of them by chance at a bookseller’s shop at Lyons, who was just going to cut it to pieces to bind his books with. Masso published this manuscript at Paris in 1603 in 8vo, and the original was after his death deposited in the king of France’s library. But Masso having suffered many errors to escape him in his edition, M. Baluze published a more correct edition at Paris, 1666, 2 vols. 8vo, from the same manuscript, and illustrated it with notes. He likewise added to it a treatise of Agobard entitled “Contra quatuor libros Amalarii liber,” which he copied from an old manuscript of Peter Marnæsius, and collated with another manuscript of Chifflet. This edition has been likewise reprinted in the “Bibliotheca Patrum.1

1 Gen. Dict.-Mosheim’s Hist. —Moreri. —Saxii Onomast, Cave.