Jean, Cardinal of Lorraine

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Jean de Lorraine
Cardinal, Bishop of Metz
Appointed26 July 1501
Term ended10 May 1550
Other post(s)Cardinal-deacon of Sant 'Onofrio
Created cardinal28 May 1518
by Leo X
Personal details
Born9 April 1498
Bar-le-Duc, Lorraine
Diedc. 18 May 1550(1550-05-18) (aged 52)
Neuvy-sur-Loire, France
ParentsRené II, Duke of Lorraine
Philippa of Guelders
Coat of armsJean de Lorraine's coat of arms

Jean de Lorraine (9 April 1498 – c. 18 May 1550[1]) was the third son[2] of the ruling Duke of Lorraine, and a French cardinal, who was (at one time or another) archbishop of Reims (1532–1538), Lyon (1537–1539), and Narbonne (1524–1550),[3] bishop of Metz, and Administrator of the dioceses of Toul, Verdun, Thérouanne, Luçon, Albi, Valence, Nantes and Agen (1538–1550).[4] He was a personal friend, companion, and advisor of King Francis I of France. Jean de Lorraine was the richest prelate in the reign of Francis I, as well as the most flagrant pluralist.[5] He is one of several cardinals known as the Cardinal de Lorraine.


Born in Bar-le-Duc, Jean was the sixth child of twelve, of René II, Duke of Lorraine and his wife Philippa of Guelders, sister of Charles, Duke of Guelders. He was a younger brother of Antoine, Duke of Lorraine and Claude, Duke of Guise.[6] His younger brother, François, Comte de Lambesc, died in the Battle of Pavia in 1525. In 1520 his mother retired to the Convent of S. Claire du Pont-à-Mousson, where she became a professed nun.[7]

Bishop of Metz[edit]

In 1500 baby Jean succeeded Cardinal Raymond Peraudi as Coadjutor of his uncle Henri de Vaudemont-Lorraine, Bishop of Metz. The Chapter of the Cathedral gave its consent, on 3 November 1500, and Pope Alexander VI gave his consent in 1501. The Cardinal was compensated for his trouble with the monastery of S. Mansu in Toul. The purpose of such a strange arrangement was the desire of Duke René to keep the bishopric of Metz in family hands.[8] Bishop Henri formally resigned the See of Metz on 16 July 1505 in favor of his nephew Jean, but, due to Jean's extreme youth, Henri continued as Administrator until his own death on 20 October 1505. From that point the Cathedral Chapter, whose Dean was the Bishop of Toul, assumed responsibility for the administration of the diocese, until Jean de Lorraine became twenty in 1518, with Jean receiving one-third of the episcopal revenues. Spiritual functions were in the hands of the Bishop of Nicopolis, Conrad de Heyden, O.Cist., suffragan of Metz.[9]

Despite his youth, on 19 October 1517, following the death of Bishop Hugh de Hazards, Jean de Lorraine was elected Bishop of Toul by the Chapter of the cathedral. He resigned the bishopric in 1524.[10]

It is conjectured that Jean was introduced to the French Court and met King Francis for the first time at the wedding of his brother Antoine to Renée de Bourbon on 26 June 1515.[11]


Cardinal Thomas Wolsey

On 28 May 1518 Jean de Lorraine, Bishop of Metz, aged twenty, was created a Cardinal-Deacon by Pope Leo X in his seventh Consistory for the creation of cardinals. Jean was the only cardinal created on that occasion. Leo, who had been made a cardinal himself at the age of thirteen, could hardly refuse the King of France on the grounds of youth. On 7 January 1519 he was assigned the Deaconry of S. Onofrio in Trastevere, and his red hat was sent to him in France. He visited Rome in April 1521, at which time he was admitted to Consistory.[12] He had already returned home when Leo X died on 1 December 1521, and thus he did not attend the Conclave of 27 December 1521 − 9 January 1522, which elected Cardinal Adrian Florenszoon Dedel, who took the throne name Pope Adrian VI.[13]

In 1520 Jean de Lorraine was present at the Field of the Cloth of Gold, along with Cardinals Adrien Gouffier de Boissy, François Louis de Bourbon, and Amanieu d'Albret; but he played no political role.[14] And indeed his non-political position continued to be the case throughout the 1520s.[15]

Cardinal Jean de Lorraine was appointed Bishop of Terouanne (Morinensis) on 29 October 1521, taking possession of his church on 7 January 1522.[16] He held the See until 1535. From 1522 his career path is that of an individual who enjoys without interruption the favor of the King, all the way to the King's death in 1547. He enjoyed the status of favorite, along with the realities of familiar and counsellor.[17]

Archbishop of Narbonne[edit]

On 7 January 1524 Cardinal Jean was named Archbishop of Narbonne, in succession to Giulio de' Medici who had been elected Pope Clement VII. He held the church until his death.[18]

In August 1527 the Cardinal de Lorraine was appointed by King Francis to meet and greet Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, who had come to France to negotiate with King Francis, and to escort him to the French Court. He was not yet a royal advisor or a member of the Royal Council, but was being tested and groomed. He was, after all, only twenty-nine years old. Negotiations were conducted with Wolsey by royal commissioners, leading to the Treaty of Amiens, ratified by the King on 18 August.

The treaty addressed the joint English and French reaction to the Sack of Rome (1527) in May 1527 and the imprisonment of Pope Clement VII in the Castel S. Angelo. But the Cardinal de Lorraine had no part in that business. The principal negotiator was the Chancellor, Antoine du Prat. He was, however, one of the four French cardinals who were present at Compiègne on 16 September and wrote, under Wolsey's leadership as Papal Legate, to the Pope, informing him that they were praying for his release from captivity and planned, if the Emperor should not accommodate them, to refuse any papal orders issued under duress. He also witnessed the investing of the Chancellor, Antoine du Prat, with the symbols of the cardinalate which had been granted him by the Pope at the request of King Francis. His growing importance is reflected in a list of precedence of 1528, in which he and the King of Navarre follow immediately after the King.[19]

Abbeys: Cluny, Fécamp, Gorze[edit]

Francis I of France

In 1528 he was named Abbot Commendatory of the Abbey of Cluny by King Francis I, a benefice he held until his death in 1550. The monks of Cluny had tried to reassert their old rights of election, and had chosen Jacques le Roy, Abbot of Saint-Florent, to be the new abbot of Cluny, but the King and the Pope intervened, in accordance with the Concordat of Bologna of 1516, and Le Roy was made Archbishop of Bourges instead.[20]

On 1 August 1530, Pope Clement VII granted the Cardinal of Lorraine an indult allowing him to hold and accumulate the benefices in his diocese of Narbonne and the benefices of his abbeys.[21]

On 26 March 1531, King Francis signed an order to his treasurer to pay his lost wagers to the Sieur de Villiers, the result of a tennis match with the Cardinal de Lorraine and others on March 1.[22]

In 1532, Jean de Lorraine was named Abbot Commendatory of the royal abbey of Fécamp by the patronage of King Francis I.[23] He held the Abbey during his lifetime. In 1534 Pope Paul III named Cardinal de Lorraine his Apostolic Legate in the dioceses of Metz, Toul and Verdun.[24]

Part of his ecclesiastical preferment he gave up in favour of his nephews, as part of the strategy of establishing the family of Lorraine permanently in various benefices.

Pope Clement VII died on 25 September 1534, having lived 56 years. The Conclave of 1534 opened on 10 October 1534, and Cardinal de Lorraine was present as the leader of the French faction, which numbered between ten and twelve members. Their candidate was Cardinal François de Tournon, who had negotiated the marriage of Henri, King Francis' second son, and Catherine de' Medici. Cardinal Alessandro Farnese was supported by Cardinal Ippolito d'Este and his fellow Florentine cardinals who had been created by Clement VII. The Italians favored Agostino Trivulzio, the Protector of France before the Holy See and the holder of several French episcopal benefices, whose uncles were Marshals of France, but he realized that he could not marshal sufficient votes to be elected. He therefore threw his support behind the oldest of the cardinals, Alessandro Farnese, hoping that Farnese's reign would be a short one and that he would be in a better position at the next conclave. Farnese was elected by acclamation on 11 October, the first day of voting, and was formally elected by ballot the next morning. He chose the name Paul III, and reigned for fifteen years. Trivulzio died the year before Paul did.[25]

Royal Councillor[edit]

He became a regular member of the royal council in 1530.[26] In 1536 he was entrusted with an embassy to Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor.[27] He met the Emperor, who was travelling north to Genoa, at Siena on 24 April 1536. He spent three days with the Emperor explaining the concessions which Francis I was prepared to make, but Charles was prepared for war, and rejected the French overtures. After a quick trip to Rome to inform the Pope of the situation and to discover what the Pope's intentions were, Jean de Lorraine headed back north toward Bologna to try one last time to argue peace to the Emperor. The Pope, who was trying to maintain neutrality, sent legates to both sovereigns on 29 April to argue for peace, but it was without effect.[28] The invasion of southern France by the Emperor was inevitable.

There survives a document showing that on 12 July 1536 the Cardinal de Lorraine was possessed of the dioceses of Metz, Toul and Verdun, of the Abbey of Gorze in southern Lorraine (1533–1542),[29] and of the castellanies of Hattonchâtel, Dombasle-en-Argonne, Thilly, Mangiennes, Fresnes-en-Woevre, Dieudouard, and Sampigny.[30] In 1537 he was granted the Abbey of Saint-Médard in Soissons, which he held for two years.[31]

When the Dauphin Francis died at Château Tournon-sur-Rhône on 10 August 1536, the rest of the courtiers tried to delay presenting the disastrous news by telling the King that the Dauphin was increasingly ill. When Francis finally realized he was being lied to, it was the Cardinal de Lorraine who was left alone with the King by the courtiers and he had to confirm the news of the death of the King's son. The King retired to indulge his grief without witnesses, and left it to Cardinal de Lorraine to make the appropriate arrangements.[32]

Constable Anne de Montmorency

In April–May 1537, Jean de Lorraine was sent as Ambassador to the Emperor and granted powers to negotiate with him. He returned to Court on 17 May.[33] In accordance with the Concordat of Bologna of 1516, King Francis nominated Jean de Lorraine to the diocese of Lyon in 1537. He took possession of the diocese by procurator on 13 August 1537, and was immediately sent along with the Constable, Anne de Montmorency, on a diplomatic mission to the Emperor to put the final touches on a treaty of peace between France and the Empire. They returned to Narbonne on 13 January 1538, and Montmorency returned to report to the King at the end of January. In May and June the pair were at Nice, engaged in additional negotiations with the Emperor.[34] On his return he resigned the administration of the diocese of Lyon in favor of Cardinal Ippolito d'Este, who was appointed by King Francis and whose bulls were dated 29 October 1539. The Cardinal de Lorraine had been Administrator for only two years and two months.[35]

The Cardinal de Lorraine travelled with King Francis to Aigues-Mortes for his meeting with the Emperor Charles, which took place between 14 and 17 July 1538, and was present at at least one private meeting.[36]

On 14 August 1540 the Cardinal de Lorraine renounced all his interests in the succession to the Duchy of Lorraine in favor of his brother, for a consideration of 50,000 francs.[37]

On 22 March 1542, King Francis signed letters ratifying the nomination of the Cardinal de Lorraine as Abbot Commendatory of the Abbey of Blanche-Couronne in Brittany (1542–1548).[38]

A document of 11 April 1544 indicates that the Cardinal was possessed of the Abbeys of Fécamp, Saint-Ouen, Marmoutier, and the Priory of La-Charité, from which the King had ordered extraordinary cutting of old-stand trees in their forests for the purpose of building galleys. The Cardinal was instructed to deliver the timber to Rouen at his expense.[39]


Jean de Lorraine, by Cellini

The Cardinal was also an open-handed patron of art and learning, as the protector and friend of the humanist scholar Erasmus,[40] the poet and translator Clément Marot, and the satirist Rabelais. It has been argued that the character of Panurge in Gargantua and Pantagruel is based on the Cardinal de Lorraine, and his residence at the Hôtel de Cluny.[41]

In 1527, upon the recommendation and urging of Erasmus, the Cardinal de Lorraine took on Claude Chansonette (Cantiuncula) as his Chancellor.[42]

In 1537 Benvenuto Cellini, the Florentine jeweler, sculptor, and medallist, was in Paris, and was commissioned to create several pieces for King Francis I. On one occasion, the King invited Cellini to an after-dinner gathering, at which he found himself in the company of Mme. d'Estampes, the Cardinal de Lorraine, and the King of Navarre and his wife, Marguerite, the sister of King Francis, the Dauphin and the Dauphine.[43] Cellini produced a medal of the Cardinal de Lorraine. The reverse shows the allegorical figure Truth, holding a mirror and a compass, with the legend SIC•ITUR•AD•ASTRA ('This is the way to the stars').[44]

In 1549 at Piacenza (not the Plaisance in the south of France[45]) he met the Franciscan André Thevet, one of the future chaplains of Queen Catherine de' Medici, and encouraged him (par l'autorité et faveur duquel, j'ay eu l'opportunité de faire le voyage de Ierusalem) to make his journey to the Holy Land and the Levant, which began his career as a cosmographer.[46]

Conclave of 1549–1550[edit]

Cardinal Jean de Lorraine participated in the Conclave following the death of Pope Paul III, which began on 29 November 1549. The Cardinal de Guise, Jean de Lorraine's nephew, had been instructed (by the King, it was said) to support the Cardinal de Lorraine, then the Cardinal de Tournon, and any other French cardinals; failing those, he was to work for Salviati, Ridolfi or de Cupis. Ridolfi took himself out of the contest when he died during the Conclave.[47] It is recorded that, on the fifteenth Scrutiny on 18 December, even before Guise's arrival, Lorraine had received five votes. Jean de Lorraine, though, did not arrive in the Conclave until 29 December, by which time alliances and antipathies had solidified. In the evening of 7/8 February 1550, Cardinal Giovanni Maria Ciocchi del Monte, aged sixty-three, was elected and chose the throne name Julius III.[48] Julius III, was crowned on 22 February 1550, the Feast of St. Peter's Chair.

The Cardinal de Lorraine died from a stroke in Neuvy-sur-Loire[49] on 18 May 1550, on his way back to France from Italy. He was buried in Nancy in the Church of Saint-François-des-Cordeliers.[50] In his Last Will and Testament, he left 30,000 livres to the poor orphans of the Three Bishoprics, Metz, Toul, and Verdun.[51]


  1. ^ Gulik and Eubel (pp. 18, 98) give the date of 10 May.
  2. ^ Andre Thevet (1584). Les vrais pourtraits et vies des hommes illustres grecz, latins et payens, recueilliz de leur tableaux (etc.) (in French). Vol. Second tome. Paris: Vefue J. Kervert. p. 355b.
  3. ^ Gulik and Eubel, p. 253.
  4. ^ Gulik and Eubel, p. 98. Jean de Lorraine was appointed on nomination by the King.
  5. ^ Edelstein, Marilyn Manera (1974). "The Social Origins of the Episcopacy in the Reign of Francis I". French Historical Studies. 8 (3): 377–392, at p. 380. doi:10.2307/286018. JSTOR 286018.
  6. ^ André Podsiadlo (2004). Les ducs de Lorraine de René Ier à François III (in French). Paris: Editions Publibook. p. 8. ISBN 978-2-7483-8794-0.
  7. ^ Martin Meurisse (1634). Histoire des évêques de l'Eglise de Metz (in French). Metz: Par Jean Anthoine. p. 602.
  8. ^ Martin Meurisse. Histoire des évêques de l'Eglise de Metz. p. 597.
  9. ^ Meurisse, pp. 598–600. Gulik and Eubel, p. 242 and n. 2. Eubel, Hierarchia catholica medii aevi II edition altera (Monasterii 1914), p. 242 with notes 2 and 3; and p. 279.
  10. ^ Meurisse, p. 602. Gulik and Eubel, p. 321 and n. 3.
  11. ^ Michon, pp. 35–36.
  12. ^ Gulik and Eubel, p. 18, with notes 1 and 2.
  13. ^ J. P. Adams, Sede Vacante 1521–1522. Retrieved: 2016-5-6.
  14. ^ Michon, pp. 35–36, 39. Glenn Richardson (2014). The Field of Cloth of Gold. New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-16039-0.
  15. ^ Michon, p. 39.
  16. ^ Gallia christiana 10 (Paris 1751), p. 1570. Meurisse, p. 602. Gulik and Eubel, p. 250, who point out that by 10 March 1521 the Cardinal still had not been consecrated a bishop.
  17. ^ Michon, p. 60.
  18. ^ Gallia christiana 6, p. 112. Gulik and Eubel, p. 253.
  19. ^ Michon, p. 41. Starkey, pp. 42–78. Ethelred Luke Taunton (1902). Thomas Wolsey: legate and reformer. London: John Lane. pp. 160–162. ISBN 9780804610865.
  20. ^ Gallia christiana 10 (Paris 1751), p. 1570. Prosper Lorain (1845). Histoire de l'abbaye de Cluny: depuis sa fondation jusqu'à sa destruction à l'époque de la Révolution francaise : avec pièces justificatives ... (in French) (deuxieme ed.). Paris: Sagnier et Bray. pp. 220–227.
  21. ^ Catalogue des actes de Francois Ier (Tome premier ed.). Paris: Imprimerie nationale. 1888. p. 718 no. 3750.
  22. ^ Catalogue des actes de Francois Ier (Tome deuxieme ed.). Paris: Imprimerie nationale. 1888. p. 18 no. 3928.
  23. ^ Gallia christiana 11, p. 214. Léon Fallue (1841). Histoire de la ville et de l'abbaye de Fécamp (in French). Rouen: Nicétas Periaux. pp. 312–318.
  24. ^ Fisquet, p. 385.
  25. ^ J. P. Adams, Sede Vacante 1534. Retrieved: 2016-05-11.
  26. ^ Michon, p. 42.
  27. ^ Barbiche and Dainville-Barbiche, p. 153.
  28. ^ Bourrilly, V.-L. (1918). "Charles-Quint en Provence (1536)". Revue Historique. 127 (Fasc. 2): 218–220. JSTOR 40942336.
  29. ^ He resigned the Abbey of Gorze in favor of his nephew, Nicholas of Lorraine.
  30. ^ Catalogue des actes de François Ier (Tome sixième ed.). Paris: Imprimerie nationale. 1888. p. 424 no. 21083.
  31. ^ Gallia christiana 9, p. 421.
  32. ^ Martha Walker Freer (1895). The Life of Marguerite D'Angoulême, Queen of Navarre, Duchesse D'Alençon and de Berry, Sister of Francis I, King of France. Vol. II. Cleveland OH USA: Burrows. pp. 185–187.
  33. ^ Catalogue des actes de François Ier Tome IX, p. 42.
  34. ^ Catalogue des actes de François Ier Tome IX, p. 43.
  35. ^ H. Fisquet (1864). La France pontificale (Gallia Christiana): Metropole de Lyon et Vienne: Lyon (in French). Paris: Etienne Repos. pp. 383–386.
  36. ^ Gustave Masson (1881). Francis I. and the Sixteenth Century ...: Francis I and the Emperor Charles V. London: Sampson Low, Marston. pp. 110–111.
  37. ^ Michon (2003), p. 37 and n. 13.
  38. ^ Catalogue des actes de François Ier (Tome sixième ed.). Paris: Imprimerie nationale. 1888. p. 658 no. 22339. Pierre-Hyacinthe Morice de Beauboix (1839). Abbe Tresvaux (ed.). L'église de Bretagne depuis ses commencements jusqu'à nos jours... (in French). Paris: chez Méquignon junior. p. 477.
  39. ^ Catalogue des actes de François Ier (Tome quatrième ed.). Paris: Imprimerie nationale. 1890. p. 595 no. 13778.
  40. ^ Collignon Le Mécènat du cardinal Jean de Lorraine, pp. 11–36.
  41. ^ Alexandre Du Sommerard; Edmond Du Sommerard (1838). Les arts au moyen âge: en ce qui concerne principalement le Palais romain de Paris, l'Hôtel de Cluny, issu de ses ruines, et les objets d'art de la collection classée dans cet hôtel (in French). Paris: Hôtel de Cluny. pp. 207–214.
  42. ^ Peter G. Bietenholz; Thomas Brian Deutscher (2003). Contemporaries of Erasmus: A Biographical Register of the Renaissance and Reformation. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. p. 260. ISBN 978-0-8020-8577-1.
  43. ^ Cellini, Autobiography § 105; Thomas Roscoe, tr., ed. (1904). Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini. London: G. Newnes, limited. p. 358.
  44. ^ Eugène Plon (1883). Benvenuto Cellini, orfévre, médailleur, sculpteur: recherches sur sa vie, sur son œuvre et sur les pièces qui lui sont attribuées (in French). Paris: E. Plon et cie. pp. 335–336 and Planche LXI, no. 3.
  45. ^ Henry Percival Biggar (1901). The Early Trading Companies of New France: A Contribution to the History of Commerce and Discovery in North America. Toronto: University of Toronto Library. p. 231. ISBN 9780722225646., who seems unacquainted with the clear statement of Thevet himself, à Plaisance en Italie.
  46. ^ André Thevet (1556). Cosmographie de Levant, par F. André Thevet... (in French). Lyon: Ian de Tournes et Guil Gazeau. p. 15. Andre Thevet (1584). Les vrais pourtraits et vies des hommes illustres grecz, latins et payens, recueilliz de leur tableaux (etc.) (in French). Vol. Second tome. Paris: Vefue J. Kervert. p. 355b.
  47. ^ Petruccelli II, pp. 25–26.
  48. ^ J. P. Adams, Sede Vacante 1549–1550. Retrieved: 2016-05-06.
  49. ^ Fisquet (p. 385) notes that other sources put the place of death at Nevers or Nogent-le-Roi. Gallia christiana 4 (Paris 1728), p. 182, prefers Nevers.
  50. ^ Carroll p. 41.
  51. ^ Fisquet, p. 386.


See also[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by Bishop of Metz
Succeeded by
Preceded by Administrator of the diocese of Toul
Succeeded by
Preceded by Administrator of the diocese of Valence
Succeeded by
Preceded by Bishop of Thérouanne
Succeeded by
Preceded by Bishop of Verdun
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Ladislaus Dufau
Administrator of the diocese of Luçon
Succeeded by
Preceded by Archbishop of Narbonne
Succeeded by
Preceded by Administrator of the diocese of Toul
Succeeded by
Preceded by Archbishop of Reims
Succeeded by
Preceded by Archbishop of Albi
Succeeded by
Preceded by Administrator of the diocese of Lyon
Succeeded by
Preceded by Administrator of the diocese of Agen
Succeeded by
Preceded by Bishop of Nantes
Succeeded by
Preceded by Administrator of the diocese of Toul
Succeeded by