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 The Life of Saint Francis by Julian of Speyer - 364 

but he did not stay long. For reasons that remain unknown, later in 1230 Julian moved back to Paris.7

By the time of Julian’s arrival in Paris in 1230, a center of studies sponsored by the Order as a whole was well established. Although the first brothers arrived in Paris in 1218 or 1219 with little intention of becoming involved in academic activities, the situation changed in 1226 when four doctors of the University of Paris entered the Order.8 Within a few years, the brothers moved from outside the city at Saint Denis into the university quarter. By 1229 the brothers and other students were attending lectures and the academic importance of the Parisian fraternity was established. Its growth was so notable that in 1236, when Alexander of Hales, the leading theologian of the university, joined the Order, the pope appealed to the citizens of Paris to help the brothers build a larger structure to house the school of theology. Completed in 1240, it became known as the “Grand Couvent des Cordeliers.”

From 1230 until his death in 1250, Julian participated in the development of this center of learning. He was able to tend to his passion of organizing, teaching, and composing music. During these twenty years, he served his brothers as “cantor Parisiensis et corrector mensae,9 whose responsibilities were to oversee the proper singing of the Divine Office, to teach music to the students, and to correct any mistakes that were made in the public reading during the Divine Office, meals or other community gatherings.

During his first decade in Paris, according to Jordan of Giano, “. . . Julian . . . wrote the offices of Blessed Francis and Blessed Anthony in a lofty style and beautiful meter, [and] ordered a provincial chapter to be held at Cologne on the Feast of the Apostles Simon and Jude (October 28, 1227).”10 Julian also may have been the author of a lost work on musical theory, Mensurae et Modi Canendi Divina Officia.11

During his second decade in Paris Julian lived with Parisian theologians like Haymo of Faversham, Alexander of Hales and John of La Rochelle and certainly influenced new students such as John of Parma and Bonaventure of Bagnoregio, both of whom were subsequently to become General Ministers. There is also evidence that the Dominicans had asked Julian for an office of Saint Dominic, but Julian’s death prevented the project.12

The Life of Saint Francis: Context and Purposes

Julian’s biography of Saint Francis was written in Paris by someone who had never met Francis and had no first-hand experience of the early days of the new fraternity. Unlike Thomas, from the small Italian mountain town of Celano, Julian was formed with experiences of the German Speyer and French Paris, both emerging urban centers. The Speyer of Julian’s youth was involved in founding a league of cities during the wars of imperial succession and was usu-




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 364

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