Henry The Hermit, Or Henry Of Lausanne founder of the sect of the Henricians, born probably in Italy, died at Clairvaux, France, in 1149. He lived at first as an anchorite, but about 1113 abandoned his hermitage, and travelled through northern Italy, preaching his peculiar views. It is said that he rejected a great part of the Scriptures, baptized only adults, denied the real presence, suppressed the mass, declared churches and altars useless, and forbade the use of the cross as a symbol of worship, and prayers for the dead. He was tall and poorly clad, wore a hair shirt, shaved his beard, and walked barefoot. He was eloquent and earnest, and gained many disciples, having a reputation for piety and devotion. Driven by persecution, he crossed the Alps to Lausanne, and his reputation spread throughout France. He was invited to Le Mans, but first sent two disciples, and then followed them. He there excited a great opposition of the people to the priests, and the archbishop Hildebert interposed, forbidding him to preach, and ordering him to leave the diocese. Henry then went to Poitou, Langue-doc, and Guienne, and made many disciples at Poitiers and Bordeaux. Driven still by persecution, he went to Dauphiny, where ho met Peter de Bruys, whom he acknowledged as his master.
His doctrines were so widely adopted, that Pope Eugenius III. in 1147 sent Cardinal Alberic, bishop of Ostia, to combat this heresy, accompanied by Geoffroy, bishop of Chartres, and St. Bernard, and asked the interference of temporal princes, especially of the king of France and the duke of Savoy. Peter de Bruys was arrested and burned at the stake, but Henry escaped to Toulouse, and continued to spread his doctrines in Gascony and the adjacent countries. Bernard spoke against him, but without persuading the people, who cherished Henry and his doctrines. He was cited several times before the legate, but, admonished by the fate of Peter de Bruys, fled from city to city. He was taken at length, carried before the bishop of Toulouse, and finally before the council of Rheims in 1148, and convicted. Eugenius III. would not allow him to be burned, but condemned him to prison, where he soon died. His followers made common cause with the Vaudois and Albigenses.