The diocese of Lisieux was a more modern establishment than any other in Normandy. Even those who are most desirous to honor it by antiquity, do not venture to date its foundation higher than the middle of the sixth century. Ordericus Vitalis, a monk of the province, suggests with some reason that we ought not to be hasty in forming our judgment upon these subjects; for that, owing to the destruction caused by the Norman pirates and the abominable negligence (damnabilis negligentia) of those to whom the care of the records of religious houses had subsequently been intrusted, many documents had been irretrievably lost.—The see of Lisieux was also peculiarly unfortunate, in having twice been in a state of anarchy, and on each occasion for a period of more than a century. The series of its prelates is interrupted from the year 670 to 853, and again from 876 to 990.
It is rather extraordinary, that no one of the Lexovian bishops was ever admitted by the church into the catalogue of her saints. Many of them were prelates of unquestionable merit. Freculfus, in the ninth century, was a patron of literature, and himself an author; Hugh of Eu, grandson of Richard, Duke of Normandy, was one of the most illustrious ecclesiastics of his day; Gilbert is described by Ordericus Vitalis as having been a man of exemplary charity, and deeply versed in all sciences, though it is admitted that he was somewhat too much addicted to worldly pleasures, and not averse from gambling; and Arnulf, whose letters and epigrams are preserved among the manuscripts of the Vatican, was a prelate who would have done honor to St. Peter’s chair.—All these were bishops of Lisieux, during the ages when canonization was not altogether so unfrequent as in our days. Arnulf particularly distinguished himself by taking a leading part in the principal transactions of the times. He accompanied the crusaders to the holy land in 1147; five years subsequently he officiated at the marriage of Henry Plantagenet with Eleanor of Guyenne, the repudiated wife of Louis le Jeune, which was performed in his cathedral; he assisted at the coronation of the same king, by whom he was shortly afterwards employed in a mission of great importance at Rome; and he interposed to settle the differences between that sovereign and Thomas a Becket; and though he espoused the part of the prelate, he had the good