A disciple of Bernard, was b. between the years 1115 and 1120, at Auxerre; d. some time after the year 1188, probably at the abbey of Haute Combe, Savoy. At an early age he entered the ranks of the clergy, and followed for some time the course of lectures given by Abelard. In 1140 St. Bernard of Clairvaux came to Paris, and before the assembled scholars preached a sermon "De conversione ad clericos" (P.L., CLXXXII, 832 sqq.), in which he dwelt on the vanities of a life in the world, on the necessity of a sincere conversion, and on the peace to be found in the monastic profession. Geoffrey was so struck by this forcible discourse that, with several others, he followed St. Bernard and joined the monastic community of Clairvaux. Soon he won the special confidence of the saintly abbot, became his notarius , or secretary, and his permanent companion. In 1145 he accompanied him to Toulouse and other cities of Southern France, where the saint preached against the Manichaean or Albigensian heresy of a certain Henry and his partisans. During the years 1146-47 he travelled with St. Bernard through France and Germany, where the saint aroused people for a crusade to the Holy Land. At the council held at Reims in 1148 he took an active part in the discussion concerning the errors of Gilbert de la Porrée. In 1159 he was made abbot of the monastery of Igny in the Diocese of Reims, and in 1162 he became the fourth Abbot of Clairvaux. Owing to difficulties with the monks, he was forced to resign in 1165; but in 1170 he was appointed to the Abbey of Fossa Nuova in the diocese of Terracina, Italy, and in 1176 to that of Haute Combe, Savoy. In the political events of the time he had only a small share; thus, in 1167 and 1168, he took part in the negotiations tending towards the reconciliation of Alexander III (1159-81) with the Emperor Frederic Barbarossa (1152-90) and King Henry II of England (1154--89)
Most of the literary activity of Geoffrey has reference to the life and work of St. Bernard. Thus, while still notarius of the saint, he collected the letters of his abbot, variously estimated at 243 or 310 (P.L. CLXXII, 67 sqq.) He was the chief author of a life of St. Bernard in five books, furnishing materials for the first two books, revising them, and adding three of his own (P.L., CLXXXV, 225 sqq.) He also wrote fragments of a life of St. Bernard, probably used in the first books of the complete life (P.L., CLXXXV, 523 sqq.); an account of the saint's journey to Toulouse, in a letter to his teacher Archenfredus (P.L., CLXXXV, 410 sqq.); an account of the saint's journey through Germany, the third part of the sixth book of St. Bernard's life in P.L., CLXXXV, 395 sqq. (this description and the parts in the life of St. Bernard relating to Germany were edited also by waitz, in Mon. Germ. Hist.: Script., XXVI, 109-20, 133-37); a panegyric delivered in 1163 on the anniversary of Bernard's death (in P.L., CLXXXV, 573 sqq.); "Declamationes de colloquio Simonis cum Jesu" (in P.L., CLXXXIV, 437 sqq.), an ascetical work compiled from the sermons of St. Bernard; "Libellus contra capitula Gilberti Pictaviensis Episcopi (in P.L., CLXXXV, 595 sqq.), a refutation of the errors of Gilbert de la Porrée ; a letter to Albinus, Cardinal Bishop of Albano, on the same subject ( P.L., CLXXXV, 587 sqq.); a life of St. Peter, Archbishop of Tarentaise (1175), published in Acta Sanctorum Boll., May, II, 330 sqq.; a letter to the above-named Cardinal of Albano, as to whether the water added to the wine in the chalice is changed into blood of Our Lord ( Baronius, Ann. Eccl. ad. an. 1188, n. 27); sermons and commentaries on books of Scripture, partly in print and partly manuscript.
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed between 1907 and 1912 in fifteen hard copy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online