Crisóstomo Henríquez

Crisóstomo Henríquez (1594 – 23 December 1632) was a Spanish Cistercian monk and ecclesiastical historian, who belonged to the Spanish congregation of that order, and who worked in the Spanish Netherlands.


Early life, education, and careerEdit

Henríquez was born in Madrid, Spain, in 1594. At the age of 13, after having finished his humanities, he entered the Cistercian Abbey of Huerta, Spain, where he received the religious habit, and in 1612 was admitted to monastic profession. He was then sent by his superiors to various monasteries of the Order, where he studied successively philosophy and theology under the most eminent professors. During his studies he manifested a marked aptitude and taste for historical research; while yet a student, he published his first work, the History of the Monastery of Meyra.

Having completed his studies, he returned to Huerta. During this time his parents had left Spain to take up their residence at the court of the Archduke Albert, Habsburg Governor of Flanders, and at their request this prince wrote to the Abbot General of the Cistercian Congregation of Spain to ask that Henríquez be sent to the Low Countries. The abbot acceded to this petition, and Henríquez left Spain, never to see it again.

He now received from his superiors the command to write the history of the Cistercian Order. With this end in view, he visited the various Belgian monasteries, especially those of Aulne, Villers, and Our Lady of the Dunes Abbey – all then the most flourishing in all Europe – consulting their libraries, studying their archives, and seeking all the information obtainable for the realization of his great project; everywhere he received cordial cooperation, his amiable character having won the sympathy and goodwill of all.


He died on 23 December 1632, at Louvain, which still has the major Catholic university in the Low Countries.

Reputation and honorsEdit

He was considered an exemplary monk from every point of view, his knowledge was only equaled by his humility and his submission to his superiors unqualified, while his agreeable demeanor gained for him the affection of all. His superiors were lavish in bestowing on him marks of esteem and honorable titles. He was appointed historian of the Spanish Congregation of the Cistercian Order, afterwards Vicar General of the same Congregation, and finally Grand Prior of the Military Order of Calatrava.


Crisóstomo Henríquez, Menologium Cistertiense Notationibus illustratum, Antwerp, 1630

(incomplete list) From 1619 until 1632, he published upwards of 40 separate works in Dutch, Latin, and Spanish, chief among them being:

  • Thesaurus Evangelicus vel Relatio Illustrium Virorum Ordinis Cisterciensis in Hibernia, about famous Irish Cistercians, which was among his earliest works
  • Sol Cisterciensis in Belgio (History of men remarkable for their virtues and miracles of the Abbey of Villers, so fruitful in saints)
  • Fasciculus SS. O. C., wherein he recounts the lives of the patriarchs, prelates, abbots, defenders of the Faith, and martyrs of the order, and speaks of the origin of the military orders
  • Coronae Sacrae O. C. (Sacred Crowns of the Cistercian Order), in which he documents the lives of queens and princesses who had renounced the world in order to be clothed with the Cistercian habit
  • Bernardus Immaculatus, wherein he explains and justifies the opinion of St. Bernard of Clairvaux concerning the Immaculate Conception of Mary, the sanctification of St. John the Baptist, and the beatitude of the elect before the general resurrection
  • Phoenix Reviviscens (Resurging Phoenix), wherein he gives interesting notices of ancient Cistercian authors in England and contemporary ones of Spain, and provides a short autobiographical sketch
  • Menologium Cisterciense (in folio), his principal work. In the first volume he gives the lives of Cistercians notable for their sanctity, while the second volume contains the rule, the constitutions, and privileges of the order, with a history of the founding of the military orders thereunto attached. It was through him that portraits were engraved of very many of the beatified and other illustrious members of the Cistercian Order, for the honor and glory of which he never ceased to labor during his brief life.

All his works are written in a style at once elegant and concise, and manifest a profound erudition. Nevertheless, they are not wholly without fault: Claude Chalemot, Cistercian Abbot of La Colombe abbey in France, an esteemed historian, reproached his omitting many saints of the Order and inserting persons in his Menology who have no right to be there, either because they did not merit it or because they were never clothed with the Cistercian habit. Another fault is that he does not always give the dates with exactitude.

Alternate titleEdit

His name has been also spelled: Chrysostomus Henriquez-the Latin form, and Chrysostome Henriquez.


  •   Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Crisóstomo Henríquez". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.

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