More evidence the d’Arcis memo is suspect

More evidence the d’Arcis memo is suspect…

The Bibliotheque Nationale of Paris possesses two copies of the Memorandum. Neither is
dated. One is complete, the other incomplete. No trace of the Memorandum is found in the
Promptuarium Tricassinae Diocesis of the canon Nicolas Camusat, assiduous collector of the
ancient archives of the Diocese of Troyes, even though he expressly wrote of the Lirey
church, of Henri de Poitiers, the bishop who approved the activities of Geoffroy I, and of
Pierre d’Arcis and his dispute with Geoffroy II. It is not possible to know why Camusat chose
to omit a transcription of the Memorandum. Perhaps it is not far from the truth to suppose
that the omission is due to the fact that the document seemed to be only a rough draft never
put in final form to be sent to the Pope. Even Chevalier defines it as a pro-memoria.
Eschback remarks, “With neither date nor signature, it is a rough draft of such faulty style
that one could not attribute it to an episcopal pen”.

The letter of 28 May 1356 is the only extant document of Bishop Henri de Poitiers which
bears upon the question. Its contents are a direct refutation of what is alleged in the
Memorandum; the Bishop informs Geoffroy I that he is satisfied with all he has done for the
divinum cultum and adds his laudamus, ratificamus, approbamus (we praise, ratify and

My curiosity led me to the Bibliothèque Nationale to examine the famous evidence and I
did not come away convinced. This so-called ‘original memorandum’, in XV th century
calligraphy, bore neither date nor signature; nothing that could permit a guarantee of
authenticity nor attribution to an author…. It must be remarked, furthermore, that no authentic document of the period alludes to a
commission named by Henri de Poitiers, nor any confession [of a painter]. Who are these
experts who have decreed that this document is complete and certainly the handwriting of
Pierre d’Arcis?

In his letter to Bishop Pierre d’Arcis of 6 January 1390 — the same date as the second Bull —
Clement VII says nothing of a previous communication from the Bishop. It was and still is
curial practice for whatever document is motivated by specific circumstances, to refer to that
motivating communication.