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Pierre Berland

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Archbishop of Bordeaux, b. 1375 in Médoc; d. 1457 at Bordeaux. Being of humble extraction, it was only through the liberality of friends that he was able to study the humanities at Bordeaux and canon law at Toulouse. Ordained priest, he was, first, secretary to the Archbishop of Bordeaux, then canon of St. Andrew's, and afterwards pastor of Soliac. In 1430 he was made Archbishop of Bordeaux. During his incumbency, he took a great interest in educational matters, founded the University of Bordeaux, endowed St. Raphael's College with twelve scholarships for indigent students, and in general won the character of a highly cultured and saintly prelate. His position as archbishop was most delicate. During the Hundred Years' War, the province of Guyenne had showed marked preference for the English Crown. On the other hand, the conduct of the English toward Joan of Arc , martyred shortly after Berland's preferment, coupled with the ambition of Henry VI, who had himself solemnly crowned King of France at Paris, could not meet the approval of the worthy archbishop. Twice he went north in an endeavour to bring his suzerain to greater moderation. Having failed in this, he transferred his allegiance to Charles VII, King of France, and was instrumental in bringing about the submission of the whole province to the French Crown, and with the termination of the Hundred Years' War. Berland, old and inform, resigned his see in 1457 and died shortly afterwards, venerated by his people. His remains were laid at rest in the vault of the cathedral, and his name is yet honoured at Bordeaux. The tower he caused to be built at St. Andrew's church in 1440, is called in his honour "Pey Berland" or "Pere Berland" even to this day. Louis XI had obtained from Sixtus IV the appointment of a commission with a view towards Berland's beatification, but the cause fell through at that prince's death. This fact, coupled with the veneration of the people, accounts for the appellation "Bienheureux Berland" by which he is known.


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