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Pierre Hélyot

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(Usually known as HIPPOLYTE, his name in religion )

Born at Paris, in 1660; died there 5 January, 1716. He came of noble family, and at twenty-three took the habit of the Third Order of St. Francis, in a monastery (Picpus) founded by his uncle, Jerome Hélyot. The lengthy journeys which he made all over Europe afforded him opportunity to collect material for his great work on the religious orders, to the composition of which he had already devoted much time. The first four volumes appeared after twenty-five years of preparation; but he died while the fifth was still in press. The work was completed by his fellow religious, Maximilian Bullot, and treats of the history of religious and knightly orders, and of congregations of both sexes, down to his own time, and exhibits more particularly their origin, growth, deterioration, suppression, or dissolution, various offshoots and reforms; he added also the lives of the chief founders, and illustrations of different monastic habits. The work appeared at Paris in 1714-1719, and comprised eight quarto volumes entitled: "Histoire des ordres monastiques, religieux et militaires, et des congregations séculières de l'un et de l'autre sexe, qui ont été établis jusqu'à présent . . ." Being written on scientific principles, though not always with critical insight, it was very favourably received, and achieved a wide circulation. The French edition was reprinted three times (1721, 1792, and 1838). An Italian edition by Fontana appeared at Lucca in 1737; a German one in eight quarto volumes at Leipzig in 1753, and another at Frankfort-on-the-Main in 1830. Hélyot's work was made the basis of an alphabetical dictionary of religious orders, "Dictionnaire des ordres religieux, ou histoire des ordres monastiques", prepared by M. L. Badiche, which appeared in Migne's "Encyclopédie Theologique" (Paris, 1858) xx-xxiv.

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