Louis of Toulouse

  (Redirected from Saint Louis of Toulouse)

Louis of Toulouse (9 February 1274 – 19 August 1297) was a Neapolitan prince of the Capetian House of Anjou and a Catholic bishop.


Louis of Toulouse
Simone Martini - Saint Louis of Toulouse.jpg
Fresco by Simone Martini
Born9 February, 1274
Brignoles, France
Died19 August 1297(1297-08-19) (aged 23)
Brignoles, France
Venerated inRoman Catholic Church
Canonized7 April, 1317 by John XXII
Major shrineValencia, Spain
Feast19 August
Attributesboy bishop, often with a discarded crown by his feet; represented vested in pontifical garments and holding a book and a crosier
PatronageValencia (Spain); Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa; Town in Italy; Baler (Philippines)


Louis was born in Brignoles, Provence (or in Italy, at Nocera, where he spent a part of his early life), the second son of Charles of Anjou and Maria Arpad of Hungary.[1] Charles became king of Naples in 1285. When Charles was taken prisoner in Italy, during the war with King Peter III of Aragon that followed the Sicilian Vespers, he obtained his own freedom by giving over his three sons as hostages.[2] The boys were taken to Catalonia, where they were placed under the care of Franciscan friars for their education and held for seven years.[3] Impressed by one of the friars in particular, Arnauld de Villenueve, Louis took up the study of philosophy and theology.[4] Though still held in captivity, Louis was made archbishop of Lyon as soon as he reached his majority. When his older brother died of plague in 1295,[5] Louis also became heir apparent to his father's kingdom; however, when he was freed that same year, Louis went to Rome and gave up all claims to the Angevin inheritance in favor of his brother Robert and announced that instead he would take the Franciscan vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.[6]

On 5 February 1297, Louis was also consecrated Bishop of Toulouse by Boniface VIII,[7] where his uncle Alphonse had until recently been count, but had died in 1271 leaving no heir. In this ambivalently dynastic and ecclesiastical position, in a territory between Provence and Aquitaine that was essential to Angevin interests, despite the princely standing that had won him this important appointment at the age of about 22, Louis rapidly gained a reputation for serving the poor, feeding the hungry, and ignoring his own needs. After just six months, however, apparently exhausted by his labors, he abandoned the position of Bishop. Shortly thereafter he died at Brignoles of a fever, possibly typhoid, at age 23.[7]

Two music theory treatises, De musicae commendacione and Sentencia in musica sonora subiecti, are sometimes attributed to him, but are now thought to be the work of Lodewijk Heyligen (1304–1361).[8]


Silver reliquary of Saint Louis of Toulouse (Musée de Cluny)

Procedures for the canonization of Louis were quickly urged. His case was promoted by Pope Clement V in 1307, and he was canonized by John XXII on 7 April 1317[9] with the bull Sol oriens.[10] His brother Robert at Naples who owed his crown to Louis commissioned a great altarpiece from Simone Martini, depicting Louis being crowned by angels as he simultaneously crowned Robert.

The cult of Saint Louis of Toulouse took hold in Hungary. His nephew Charles I of Hungary (1307–1342) exalted his image and veneration, consecrating churches and a monastery in the settlement of Lippa in his honor, and giving the name of the saint to his eldest son, Louis I of Hungary (1342–1382). Louis of Toulouse was not otherwise widely venerated in the rest of Europe, but the Franciscans embraced him, keeping his day in their calendar and removing his relics in 1423 to Valencia, where he was made its patron saint.

Louis can be recognized in iconography as a young bishop, usually wearing a brown or grey Franciscan habit under his cope. The cope is usually decorated with the French fleur-de-lys. Sometimes there is a discarded crown by his feet.

A polyphonic motet, Flos/Celsa/Quam magnus pontifex, was written in honor of Louis's canonization in 1317. The piece appears anonymously in the Ivrea Codex and has been attributed by modern scholars to Philippe de Vitry.

Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, a Franciscan mission in California founded in 1772, is named for him as are the surrounding city and county of San Luis Obispo, California. Kolleg St Ludwig in Vlodrop, the Netherlands, was dedicated to him.[11] A Vlodrop hotel is also named for Saint Ludwig.[12]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Ronald G. Musto, Apocalypse in Rome: Cola di Rienzo and the Politics of the New Age, (University of California, 2003), 78.
  2. ^ Toynbee, Margaret (1 January 1929). S. Louis of Toulouse and the Process of Canonisation in the Fourteenth Century. Manchester University Press.
  3. ^ In Some Way Even More than Before: Approaches to Understanding St. Louis of Anjou, Franciscan Bishop of Toulouse, Holli J. Grieco, Center and Periphery: Studies on Power in the Medieval World in Honor of William Chester Jordan, ed. Katherine L. Jansen, G. Geltner and Anne E. Lester, (Brill, 2013), 137.
  4. ^ Johnson, Timothy (24 April 2007). Franciscans at Prayer. BRILL. ISBN 9789047419891.
  5. ^ Pryds, Darleen N. (1 January 2000). The King embodies the world: Robert d'Anjou and the politics of preaching. BRILL. ISBN 9004114025.
  6. ^ Arnold, John H. (21 August 2014). The Oxford Handbook of Medieval Christianity. OUP Oxford. ISBN 9780191015014.
  7. ^ a b Tolan, John V. (26 March 2009). Saint Francis and the Sultan: The Curious History of a Christian-Muslim Encounter. OUP Oxford. ISBN 9780199239726.
  8. ^ Giger, Andreas (2001). "Ludovicus Sanctus". In Root, Deane L. (ed.). The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. Oxford University Press.
  9. ^ Poverty and Charity: Pope John XXII and the canonization of Louis of Anjou, Melanie Brunner, Franciscan Studies, Vol. 69 (2011), 231.
  10. ^ Cusato, Michael F.; Geltner, Guy (1 January 2009). Defenders and Critics of Franciscan Life: Essays in Honor of John V. Fleming. BRILL. ISBN 978-9004176300.
  11. ^ Max, Arthur (19 February 2006). "A Guru's Goals Still Center on Peace and Love". The Washington Post. p. D.01.
  12. ^ St Ludwig Hotel Restaurant

External linksEdit

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Bérard de Got
Archbishop of Lyon
Followed by
Louis de Villars
Preceded by
Hugues Mascaron
Bishop of Toulouse
Followed by
Arnaud-Roger de Comminges