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AVRANCHES


162


AVRIL


was not ended. This accounts for the favour with which miUtary orders were regarded beyond the Pyrenees, in Portugal as well as in Spain; for in them the vow of fighting against the infidels was perpetual, like other monastic vows. Ivnights Templars were found in Portugal as early as 1128, and received a grant from Queen Teresa in the year of the Council of Troyes, which confirmed their early statutes, A native "order of this kind sprang up in Portugal about 1146. .\fTonso, the first king, gave to it the town of Evora, captured from the Moors in 1211, and the Knights were first called " Brothers of Santa Maria of Evora". Pedro Hennquez, an illegitimate son of the king's father, was the first grand master. After the conquest of .\viz the military castle erected there became the mother-house of the order, and they were then called " Knights of St. Benedict of Aviz", since they adopted the Benedictine ride in 1162, as modified by John Ziritu, one of the earliest Cistercian abbots of Portugal. Like the Knights of Calatrava in Castile, the Knights of Portugal were indebted to the Cistercians for their rule and their habit — a white mantle ^^•ith a green fleur-de- lysed cross. The Knights of Calatrava also surrendered some of their places in Portugal to them on condition that the Knights of Aviz should be subject to the ^■isitation of their grand master. Hence the Knights of Aviz were sometimes regarded as a branch of the Calatravan Order, although tliey never ceased to have a Portu- guese grand master, dependent for temporalities on the Portu- guese king. At the accession of King Ferdinand (13S.3) war broke out between Castile and Portugal. Wlien Joaci I, who had been grand master of the Knights of Aviz, ascended the throne of Portugal, he forbade the knights to submit to Castil- ian authority, and consequently, when Gonzalvo de Guzman came to A\-iz as Visitor, the knights, while according him hospitaUty, refused to recognize him as a superior. Guzman protested, and the point remained a sub- ject of contention until the Council of Basle (1431). when Portugal was declared to be in the wrong. But the riglit of the

Calatra vans was never exercised, and the next grand master of the Knights of Aviz, Rodrigo of Sequirol, continued to assert supreme authority over them. The mission of the military orders in Portugal seemed to fail after the overthrow of Moslem domina- tion, but the Portuguese expeditions across the sea opened up a new field for them. The first landings of Europeans in Africa, the conquest of Ceuta bj' King Joiio I (1415), the attacks upon Tangier under Joao's son Duarte (1437), were also crusades, inspired by a religious spirit and sanctioned by similar papal Bulls. The Knights of Aviz and the Knights of Christ, scions of the Knights Templars, achieved deeds of valour, the former under the Infante Fernando, the latter under Henrique, brother of King Duarte, Fernando displayed a no less heroic forbearance during his six years of captivity among the Moslems, a long martyr- dom which after his death placed him among the Blessed (Acta SS. , 5 June). This splendid enthusiasm did not last. Soon the whole nation became affected by the wealth that poured in, and the Crusade in Africa degenerated into mere mercantile enterprise;


A Knight of St.


the pontifical Bulls were made a vulgar means of rais- ing money, and after tlie grand mastership of the order (1551) had been vested in the king in perpetuity, he availed himself of its income to reward any kind of service in the armj' or the fleet. If the wealth of the Knights of Aviz was not as great as that of the Knights of Christ, it was still quite large, drawn as it was from some forty-three commanderies. The reli- gious spirit of the knights vanished, and they with- drew from their clerical brothers who continued alone the conventual life. Thej- were dispensed from their vow of celibacy by Alexander VI (1492), who tolerated their marriage to prevent scandalous concubinage; Julius III (1551) allowed them to dis- pose freel}' of their personal properties. Nobility of birth remained the chief requirement of as- pirants to the mantle, a requirement confirmed by a decree of 1604. Queen Maria I, supported by Pope Pius VI (1 Aug., 1789), attempted a last reformation and failed. Finally, the militarj' orders were suppressed by Dom Pedro, after the downfall of the Miguelist usurpation (1834),

For DocrMEXTs: Noronha. Coti- stitu^oes de S. Bento de Avis (Lisbon, 1631). For History; Jos. da Puri- Fic-\o, Catalogo dos Mestrea de Ariz, me (.\cad. Real da Historia); Brito, ChTonica de Cisier, onde. etc. (.Li.=bon, 1602); cf. Almeid.a in Mtm. acad. scient. Lisboa (1S37); HfetvoT, Did. des ordres rdiffieuz (1847). I. 348-330; ScH.EFER, Gesch, von Portugal iGotha, 1834-54); Hercclano, History of Portugal (Lisbon, 1854-731.

Oh, Moeller. Avranches, Diocese of. See,

CODT.^NCES,

Avranches, Council of, — In 1172 (Sept,, 27-28) a council wag held at Avranches in France apropos of the troubles caused V. in the English Church by the murder of St, Thomas Beckct, Henrj- II, King of England, af- ter due penance, was absohed from the censures incurred by the assassination of the holy prelate, and swore fidelity to Alexander III in the person of his legate. It was forbidden to confer on children benefices that carried with them the cure of souls, or on the children of priests the churches of theii fathers. Each parish was re- quired to have an assistant (vicarius) and the Advent fast was commended to all who could observe it, es- pecially to ecclesiastics.

Mansi. CoU. Cone. (1778), XXII, 136; Bessin, Cone. Rotomig. (I7I7), 84, 263-295; Chevalier, Topo-bibl. (Paris, 1894-99). 286. Thom.^S J. Sh.VHAX.

Avril, Philippe, Jesuit, b. at Angouleme, France, 16 September, 1654; d. in a ship\\Teck in 1698. He w.as professor of philosophy and mathematics at Paris when he was summoned to the missions of China. Following the instructions of Father \'erbi- est, then at Pekin, he attempted an overland jour- ney, and travelled for six years through Kurdistan. Armenia, Astrakhan, Persia, and other countries of the East. Arriving at Moscow, he was refused per- mission to pass through Tatary, and was sent by the Government to Poland, from whence he made his way to Constantinople and from tliere went back to France. Though exhausted by haemorrhages he set out again on a vessel, which was lost at sea. He has left inter- esting and valuable accounts of his long wanderings.

SoMMERVoGEL, BibliothequG de ta c. de J., I. 706; Michacd, Biblwg. univ. rj-. J. C.A.MPBELL.