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Xavier Barbier de Montault
Born at Loudun, 6 February, 1830; died at Blaslay, Vienne (France), 29 March, 1901. He came of a noble and large family, and, when only eight years old, was confided to the care of his great-uncle, Mgr Montault des Isles, Bishop of Angers. He studied theology at the Seminary of St. Sulpice, and went to Rome to continue his studies in theology and archæology at the Sapienza and the Roman College. After four years his health obliged him to return to France (1857), where he was appointed historiographer of the Diocese of Angers. He searched the archives of the diocese with great diligence, studied its inscriptions and monuments, and founded a diocesan museum, a project in which de Caumont took a lively interest. Another sojourn of fourteen years in Rome (1861-75) enabled him to augment his already extensive knowledge of liturgy and Christian antiquities. Meanwhile he was of great service to different French bishops as canonical consultor, and at the Vatican Council acted as theologian to Mgr Desflèches, Bishop of Angers. His first archæological study appeared in 1851 in the "Annales archéologiques", and Didron assigned him the task of making an index for this publication. Mgr Barbier de Montault was one of the most prolific contributors to the "Revue de l'art chrétien" from the inception of this periodical, his articles continuing to appear until 1903 (two years after his death). He also wrote numerous articles for other reviews as well as several separate works on iconography, ecclesiastical furniture, liturgy, canon law, etc. In 1889 he began to reprint his scattered works, classifying them according to subjects. This publication was to comprise sixty volumes, but went no further than the sixteenth, and is to be recommended more for its erudition than for its critical value. Works: "Œuvres complètes" (unfinished): I. "Inventaires ecclésiastiques"; II. "Le Vatican"; III. "Le Pape"; IV-V. "Droit papal"; VI-VIII. "Dévotions populaires"; IX-XVI. "Hagiographie" (Rome, 1889-1902); "Traité d'iconographie chrétienne" (2vols., Paris, 1890); "Collection des décrets authentiques des ss. congregations romaines" (8 vols., Rome, 1872).
HELBIG, Mgr Xavier Barbier de Montault in Revue de l'art chrétien, (1901), 357-60; GIRON, Mgr X. B. de Montault, bio-bibl., Hommes (1910).