On Tue, 3 Sep 1996, GP. Ferzoco wrote:
> * Brocard or Burchard (1231?)
> - list member Paul Chandler knows more about this figure than any
> one of us, I believe; Brocard was head of the hermits of Mount Carmel at
> the time that pope Honorius III confirmed their rule (thanks to a vision
> of the Virgin Mary) in 1226
Well, George, it's nice of you to say so, but as almost nothing is
known of "Brocard" it's not much of an achievement.
"Brocard" is a later solution of the abbreviation "B." in the rule or
formula vitae which the Latin hermits on Mount Carmel requested from
Albert of Vercelli, patriarch of Jerusalem, sometime between 1206 and
1214: it is addressed to "dilectis in Christo filiis B. et ceteris
eremitis qui sub eius obedientia iuxta fontem in monte Carmeli morantur".
That's about it for what we know of "Brocard": his name started with B.
and in those years he was leader of the group of hermits which became the
Carmelite order. He was never considered its founder. It's not certain
that he was still around in 1226, _pace_ Butler, for Honorius III's
confirmation does not mention any names.
It's possible of course that the later works which give his name
preserve a genuine memory. Joachim Smet, author of the now standard
history of the Carmelites, seems to think so. However, his name doesn't
appear on the scene until the late 14th century (John Grossi, John of
Hildesheim, Catalogus sanctorum); his legend is developed only in the
second half of the 15th century (Thomas Bradley, Palaeonydorus, Arnold
Bostius). Medieval Carmelites had much experience of invention and are
probably not to be trusted even in so simple a matter as his name, not to
mention the like of his papal embassy to Damascus, the healing of the
vice-sultan of Egypt of leprosy and his baptism in the Jordan, etc.
His cult was not prescribed till 1564, removed again in 1585,
reintroduced in 1609, and has now again been suppressed.
Sometime I mean to send in an annotated bibliography on the
Carmelites, if anyone is interested, because so much of what is written is
either misleading or wrong. On Carmelite saints the most reliable source
is _Santi del Carmelo_, ed. Ludovico Saggi, Rome: Institutum Carmelitanum,
1972, (which draws largely from articles previously published in the
Bibliotheca Sanctorum, some of which are corrected or expanded). Saggi
also contributed a very important and unfortunately little-noticed
introduction, "Agiografia carmelitana", which is indispensable for studies
of the early Carmelites in general and Carmelite hagiography in
Paul Chandler || Yarra Theological Union
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