The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church

Biographical Dictionary
Pope Benedict XIII (1724-1730)
Consistory of September 11, 1726 (V)
Celebrated in Rome


(8) 1. FLEURY, André-Hercule de (1653-1743)

Birth. June 22, 1653, Lodève, France. Of an ancient family of Languedoc. Third of the eleven children of Jean de Fleury, seigneur of Dio, Valquières and Vernazobres, and Diane de la Treilhe. From childhood he was destined to the ecclesiastical state. Sent to Paris in 1659.

Education. Studied at Jesuit Collège de Clermont (now Louis-le-Grand (humanities); at Collège d'Harcourt (now Saint-Louis (philosophy); at the Royal Collège de Navarre (Latin and Greek literatures); and at La Sorbonne University, Paris (licentiate in theology, 1676).

Early life. Received the clerical tonsure, 1666. Canon of the cathedral chapter of Montpellier, 1668.

Priesthood. Ordained, 1679. Almoner of Queen Marie-Therèse (wife of King Louis XIV), 1679. Deputy of the second order to the Assembly of the Clergy, 1682. Almoner of King Louis XIV, 1683, after the death of the queen. Abbot of Cistercian abbey of Sainte-Marie de Rivour, diocese of Troyes, Champagne, 1686.

Episcopate. Elected bishop of Fréjus, May 18, 1699. Consecrated, November 22, 1699, Feuillants, rue St-Honoré, Paris, by Louis-Antoine de Noailles, archbishop of Paris, assisted by Henri Feydeau, bishop of Amiens, and by François de Clermont-Tonnerre, bishop of Langres. He was one of the French bishops who immediately and without reservations accepted and published the bull Unigenitus Dei Filius of Pope Clement XI. Resigned government of the diocese, May 3, 1715, because of poor health or to become preceptor of Dauphin Louis, future King Louis XV, 1715. Abbot of Tournus, diocese of Cavaillon, 1715. Member of the Académie Française, April 22, 1717. Declined promotion to the metropolitan see of Reims, October 1721; at the same time, he was named abbot commendatario of Saint-Étienne de Caen, Bayeux. Minister of state of France and superintendent general of Posts, June 11, 1726 until his death.

Cardinalate. Created cardinal priest in the consistory of September 11, 1726; he never went to Rome to receive the red hat and the title. Presidd the Assambly of the Clergy of 1726, 1730 and 1734. Provisor of La Sorbonne University and of the Royal collège de Navarre, May 1729. Did not participate in the conclave of 1730, which elected Pope Clement XII. Did not participate in the conclave of 1740, which elected Pope Benedict XIV.

Death. January 29, 1743, Issy, near Paris. Buried in the parish church of Issy; later, his body was transported to the church of church Saint-Louis du Louvre, Paris, and buried in a magnificent monument, built for him by King Louis XV, in the chapel donated by the chapter to the Fleury family (1).

Bibliography. Cardella, Lorenzo. Memorie storiche de' cardinali della Santa Romana Chiesa. 9 vols. Rome : Stamperia Pagliarini, 1794, VIII, 210-214; Chapeau, O.S.B. André and Fernand Combaluzier, C.M. Épiscopologe français des temps modernes, 1592-1973. Paris : Letouzey et Ané, 1974, p. 297-298; Chaussinand-Nogaret, Guy. Le cardinal de Fleury : le Richelieu de Louis XV. Paris : Payot & Rivages, 2002; Hardy, Georges. Le cardinal de Fleury et le mouvement janséniste. Paris : H. Champion, 1925; Notizie per l'anno1753. In Roma MDCCLIII : Nella Stamperia del Chracas, p. 123; Ritzler, Remigium, and Pirminum Sefrin. Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recientoris Aevi. Volumen V (1667-1730). Patavii : Typis et Sumptibus Domus Editorialis "Il Messaggero di S. Antonio" apud Basilicam S. Antonii, 1952, pp. 36 and 204; Sars, Maxime. Le cardinal de Fleury, apôtre de la paix. Paris : Hachette, 1942; Wilson, Arthur McCandless. French foreign policy during the administration of Cardinal Fleury, 1726-1743 : a study in diplomacy and commercial development. Cambridge : Harvard University Press ; London : H. Milford, Oxford University Press, 1936. (Harvard historical studies, XL).

Links. Biography by Georges Goyau, in English, The Catholic Encyclopedia; biography, in English (Britannca); his portrait and biography, in French, abbe-papon.net; his portrait and biography, in French, L'Histoire en Ligne; his portrait and biography, in French, Wikipedia; his portrait, studio of Hyacinthe Rigaud, The National Gallery, London; his portrait by François Albert Stiemart, based on the one by Hyacinthe Rigaud, châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon, Réunion des musées nationaux; his engraving by François Chereau, l'Ancien, châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon, Réunion des musées nationaux; his engraving by Jacques Fabien Gautier d'Agoty, Bibliothèque nationale de France; his statue, before the Palace of Justice of Montpellier, France, Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication; his effigy on a medal, Numismatic collection of Olomouc archiepiscopate, Czech Republic, his effigy on a medal, Numismatic collection of Olomouc archiepiscopate, Czech Republic, his effigy on a medal, Numismatic collection of Olomouc archiepiscopate, Czech Republic, his effigy on a medal by Jean Dassier, musée national de la Renaissance, Ecouen, France, Réunion des musées nationaux; and models of his monument by Edmé Bouchardon, Requiem Datenbank.

(1) This is the inscription in his tomb, taken from Requiem Datenbakn:

HIC JACET ANDREAS HERCULES DE FLEURY S.R.E. CARDINALIS
ANTIQUUS FOROJULIENSIS EPISCOPUS LOUDOVICI XV
PRAECEPTOR MAGNUS REGINAE ELEEMOSINARIUS REGNI
ADMINISTER. SORBONAE PROVISOR. REGIAE NAVARRE
SUPERIOR. UNUS EX XL. ACCADEMIAE GALLICAE VIRIS
NATUS DIE XXII. M. JUNIJ MDCLIII.
OBIJT DIE XXIX. M. JANUAR MDCCXLIII.
DE PATRIA BENEMERITO REX MEMOR. PON. JUSSIT.

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