« Pithom Pitra, Jean Baptiste Pitzer, Alexander White »

Pitra, Jean Baptiste

PITRA, pî´´'trā, JEAN BAPTISTE: Cardinal; b. at Champforgeuil, near Autun (230 m. s.e. of Paris) Aug. 12, 1812; d. at Rome Feb. 9, 1889. He studied at the seminary at Autun, became priest in 1836, entered the order of St. Benedict in 1840, and lived in the abbey of Solesmes. In 1843 he was sent as prior to a new monastery at Paris, whence he made journeys throughout France, Switzerland, Holland, Belgium, and England, in the interest of his order. He devoted himself to historical research and at Paris he helped to project the Patrologia of the Abbé Migne, and assisted in the publication of the first four volumes. In 1858 Pope Pius IX. sent him to Russia in the hope of effecting a union with the Greek Church, and he took occasion to prosecute his researches in archives, monasteries, and libraries. In 1861 he entered the service of the Propaganda; two years later he was made a cardinal priest; in 1869 he became librarian of the Vatican; in 1879, cardinal bishop) of Frascati; and in 1884 he retired to the bishopric of Porto. He was an earnest advocate of the papal supremacy. He was the author of Études sur la collection des actes des saints par les Bollandists (Paris, 1850); and Histoire de Saint Léger (1846). His greatest work is Spicilegium Solesmense (4 vols., 1852–58), followed by Analecta sacra spicilegio Solesmensi parata (8 vols., 1876–91), and Analecta novissima (2 vols.,1885–88); the whole monumental work is of immense value as it is a treasure-house of hitherto unprinted documents relating to ecclesiastical history. To be added are the Juris ecclesiastici Græcorum historia et monumenta (Rome, 1864–68), and Triodion katanacticon (1879); both the fruit of four years of travel and special study after 1858, when the pope directed him to devote his attention to the ancient and modern canons of the eastern churches; and Hymnographie de l’église grecque (1867).

Bibliography: Biographies are by A. Battandier, Paris, 1893; and F. Cabrol, ib. 1893.

« Pithom Pitra, Jean Baptiste Pitzer, Alexander White »
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