Bruno, St.

, founder of the Carthusian monks, was descended from an ancient and honourable family, and born at Cologn about the year 1030. He was educated first among the clergy of St. Cunibert’s church at Cologn, and afterwards at Rheims, where he attracted so much notice by his learning and piety, that on a vacancy occurring, he was promoted to the office or rank of Scholasticus, to which dignity then belonged the direction of the studies, and all the great schools of the diocese. In this office, which he filled with great reputation, he continued until 1077, when the scandalous conduct of Manasses, archbishop of Rheims, who, by open simony had got possession of that church, induced him to join with some others in accusing Manasses in a council held by the pope’s legate at Autun. Manasses accordingly was deposed, and the church of Rheims was about to choose Bruno for his successor in the archbishopric, when he resigned his office, and persuaded some of his friends to accompany him into solitude. After searching for some time to discover a proper place, they arrived at Grenoble in 1084, and requested the bishop to allot them some place where they might serve God, remote from worldly affairs. The bishop having assigned them the desert of Chartreuse, and promised them his assistance, Bruno and his companions, six in number, built an oratory there, and small cells at a little distance one from the other like the ancient Lauras of Palestine, in which they passed the six days of the week, but assembled together on Sundays. Their austerities were rigid, generally following those of St. Benedict; and, among other rules, perpetual silence was enjoined, and all their original observances, it is said, were longer preserved unchanged than those of any other order. Before the late revolution in France, they had 172 convents divided into sixteen provinces, of which five only are said to have been nunneries, all situated in the catholic Netherlands, and where the injunction of silence was dispensed with. There | were nine monasteries of this order in England at the dissolution under Henry VIII.

After St. Bruno had governed this infant society for six years, he was invited to Rome by pope Urban II. who had formerly been his scholar at Rheims, and now received him with every mark of respect and confidence, and pressed him to accept the archbishopric of Reggio. This however he declined, and the pope consented that he should withdraw into some wilderness on the mountains of Calabria. Bruno found a convenient solitude in the diocese of Squiiiaci, where he settled in 1090, with some new disciples, until his death, Oct. 6. 1101. There are only two letters of his remaining, one to Raoul le Verd, and the other to his monks, which are printed in a folio volume, entitled “S. Brunonis Qpera et Vita,1524, but the other contents of the volume belong to another St. Bruno, first a monk of Soieria in the diocese of Ast, and hence called Astiensis. He distinguished himself at the council of Rome in 1079 against Berenger, and was consecrated bishop of Segni by Gregory VII. He died in 1125, and is reckoned among the fathers of the church. He is reputed to have written with more elegance, clearness, and erudition, than most authors of his time, and there are several editions of his works. The Carthusian Bruno wrote on the Psalms and on some of St. Paul’s epistles. He followed the system of Augustine concerning grace, but it seems doubtful if any genuine works of his remain, unless what we have mentioned. 1


Butler’s Lives of the Saints. Dupin. Mosheim, &c.