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GEORGES DARBOY (1813-1871)

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Originally appearing in Volume V07, Page 828 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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GEORGES DARBOY (1813-1871), archbishop of Paris, was born at Fayl-Billot in Haut Marne on the 16th of January 1813. He studied with distinction at the seminary at Langres, and was ordained priest in 1836. Transferred to Paris as almoner of the college of Henry IV., and honorary canon of Notre Dame, he became the close friend of Archbishop Affre and of his successor Archbishop Sibour. He was appointed bishop of Nancy in 1859, and in January 1863 was raised to the archbishopric of Paris. The archbishop was a strenuous upholder of episcopal independence in the Gallican sense, and involved himself in a controversy with Rome by his endeavours to suppress the jurisdiction of the Jesuits and other religious orders within his diocese. Pius IX. refused him the cardinal's hat, and rebuked him for his liberalism in a letter which was probably not intended for publication. At the Vatican council he vigorously maintained the rights of the bishops, and strongly opposed the dogma of papal infallibility, against which he voted as inopportune. When the dogma had been finally adopted, however, he was one of the first to set the example of submission. Immediately after his return to Paris the war with Prussia broke out, and his conduct during the disastrous year that followed was marked by a devoted heroism which has secured for him an enduring fame. He was active in organizing relief for the wounded at the commencement of the war, remained bravely at his post during the siege, and refused to seek safety by flight during the brief triumph of the Commune. On the 4th of April 187 1 he was arrested by the communists as a hostage, and confined in the prison at Mazas, from which he was transferred to La Roquette on the advance of the army of Versailles. On the 27th of May he was shot within the prison along with several other distinguished hostages. He died in the attitude of blessing and uttering words of forgiveness. His body was recovered with difficulty, and, having been embalmed, was buried with imposing ceremony at the public expense on the 7th of June. It is a noteworthy fact that Darboy was the third archbishop of Paris who perished by violence in the period between 1848 and 1871. Darboy was the author of a number of works, of which the most important are a Vie de St Thomas Becket (1859), a translation of the works of St Denis the Areopagite, and a translation of the Imitation of Christ. See J. A. Foulon, Histoire de la vie et des ceuvres de Mgr. Darboy (Paris, 1889), and J. Guillermin, Vie de Mgr. Darboy (Paris, 1888), biographies written from the clerical standpoint, which have called forth a number of pamphlets in reply.
End of Article: GEORGES DARBOY (1813-1871)
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