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Dominic [1]

a saint of the Romish calendar, founder of the order of "Dominicans." His name was Domingo de Guzman, and he was born in 1170 at Calahorra, Spain. He completed his education at the University of Palentia, in 1193 was made canon of the cathedral of Osma, and in 1198 a priest and archdeacon. He subsequently became known as an eloquent preacher, and was sent on missions to various parts of Spain, and into France. Having had his zeal inflamed by the progress of the Albigenses, he bent all his energies to their conversion. Finding his own efforts insufficient, he appears to have conceived the idea of founding an order of preaching friars, whose special duty should be the conversion of heretics; and about the commencement of the 13th century he began to carry his purpose into effect. He soon found numerous volunteers to his new order, and, to disarm opposition, he and his followers adopted the rule of St. Augustine. As a distinct order, they did not, however, receive the formal verbal approval of the pope, Innocent III, till 1215. (See Dominicans).

Dominic did not, however, trust for the uprooting of heresy simply to his own preaching and that of his followers. Finding that his eloquence failed to convert the Albigenses, he, with the papal legates, Peter of Castelnau and Rainier of Raoul, obtained permission of Innocent III to hold courts, before which they might summon by authority of the pope, and without reference to the local bishops, any individuals suspected of heresy, and inflict upon them, if obstinate, capital punishment, or otherwise any lesser penalty. Peter of Castelnau, who had made himself especially obnoxious by his severity, was killed at Toulouse in 1208; and then was proclaimed by the pope, at the instigation of Dominic, that fearful 'crusade,' as it was designated by Innocent, to which all the barons of France were summoned, and which, under the captaincy of De Montfort, led to the slaughter of so many thousands of these so-called heretics. (See Albigenses).

Dominic himself, it has been said, was not personally cruel; but towards heretics he had no compassion, and it is certain that, so far from attempting to lessen the horrible slaughter, he did what he could to stimulate it. Dominic is very frequently said to have been the founder of the Inquisition, but this is an error. He and his companions in the commission to examine and punish the Albigenses were commonly called 'Inquisitors,' but their commission was merely local and temporary. The 'Holy Office' was not formally established till 1233, when Gregory IX laid down the rules and defined the jurisdiction of the courts, which he appointed for various countries under the name of 'Inquisitorial Missions.' It is, however, worthy of notice that the chief inquisitor was a Dominican monk, Pietro de Verona, and that the governance of the Inquisition was placed pretty much in the hands of the Dominicans. The Romish accounts make Dominic a miracle-worker even to the extent of raising the dead to life, as in the case of a young nobleman named Napoleon, at Rome, on the Ash-Wednesday of 1218, and by other miracles. Dominic died at Bologna in 1221. He was canonized by pope Gregory IX on July 3, 1234: the Church of Rome keeps his festival on August 4. Dominic is said to have written some commentaries upon St. Matthew, St. Paul, and the canonical epistles, but they have not come down to us." English Cyclopaedia; Butler, Lives of Saints, August 4; Acta Sanctorum, Aug. 1:545 sq.; Lacordaire, Vie de S. Dominique (Bruxelles, 1848), and OEuvres (Paris, 1864), volume 1.