Frayssinous, Denis Antoine
saint conferences sulpice
FRAYSSINOUS, DENIS ANTOINE Luc, COMTE DE (1765-1841), a Gallican prelate and Bourbonist minister, distinguished as an orator and as a controversial writer, was born of humble parentage at Curieres, in the department of Aveyron, on the 9th of May 1765. Alter a course of training, first at the diocesan seminary of Rodez and afterwards in Paris under the priests of Saint Sulpice, he was ordained priest in 1789. In 1801 lie began to give private lectures on dogmatic theology in the Faubourg Saint Jacques, and at the same time to deliver, in the church of the Carmelites, a series of " catechetical lectures" which afterwards developed into the " conferences " of Saint Sulpice, to which admiring crowds were attracted by his lucid exposition and by his graceful and glowing oratory. The freedom of his language in 1809, when Napoleon had arrested the pope and declared the annexation of Rome to France, led to a prohibition of his lectures ; and the dispersion of the congregation of Saint Sulpice in 1811 was followed by his temporary retirement from the capital. He returned with the Bourbons, and resumed his conferences, in 1814 ; but the events of the Hundred Days again compelled him to withdraw into private life, from which he did not emerge until February 1816. As court preacher and almoner to Louis XVIII., he now entered upon the period of his greatest public activity and influence. His Panegyrique de Saint Louis, his ()raison Funeire die Prince de Conde, and other orations are said to have profoundly impressed the public mind, and their effect was still further deepened by the publication of his Essai sur lindrPrence ea Hatiere Religieuse (1818). In connexion with the controversy which had been raised by the signing of the reactionary concordat of 1817, he published, also in 1818, a treatise entitled Irrais Principes de l'Eglise Gallicane sur In Puissance .Ecclesiostique, which though unfavourably criticized by the Ultramontane Lamennais, was received with favour by the civil and ecclesiastical authorities. The consecration of Frayssinous as bishop of Hermopolis "in partibus," his election to the French Academy, and his appointment to the grand-mastership of the university, followed in rapid succession. In 1824, on the accession of Charles X., he became minister of public instruction and of ecclesiastical affairs under the administration of Villele ; and about the same time he was created a peer of France with the title of count. His term of office was chiefly marked by the recall of the Jesuits. In 1825 he published his conferences under the title Defense die Christianisme. The work passed through 15 editions within 18 years,`and was translated into several European languages. In 1828 he, along with his colleagues in the Villele ministry, was compelled to resign office, and the subsequent revolution of July 1830 led to his retirement to Rome. Shortly afterwardshe became tutor to the duke of Bordeaux at Prague, where he continued to live until 1838. The remaining years of his life were passed in great privacy on his native soil. He died at St Geniez on the 12th of December 1841. His biography by Henrion was published in 1842, and a posthumous volume, containing some of his earlier "conferences," appeared in 1843 (Conferences et Discours Inedits).