Archdekin, Richard (DNB00)

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For works with similar titles, see Richard Archdekin.


ARCHDEKIN, or ARSDEKIN, RICHARD (1618–1693), an Irish Jesuit, who has adopted both forms of his name on his own title-pages, and is also known as Mac Giolla Cuddy, was the son of Nicholas Archdekin and his wife Ann Sherlock, and was born at Kilkenny 16 March 1618. He went throvigh a course of classical studies, and for two years applied himself to philosophy before he entered the Jesuit order; and he studied theology for four years at Louvain.

Entering the Society of Jesus at Mechlin 28 Sept. 1642, he was in due time enrolled among the professed fathers of the order. He was teaching humanities in 1650; he studied under the Jesuits at Antwerp and Lille; and arrived at the Professed House at Antwerp 26 March 1653. For six years he taught humanities, and he was professor of philosophy, moral theology, and Holy Scripture for a long period, chiefly at Louvain and Antwerp. His death occurred in the latter city 31 Aug. 1693.

Father Archdekin, who was proficient in the Latin, Irish, English, and Flemish languages, composed the following works:— 1.'A Treatise of Miracles, together with New Miracles, and Benefits obtained by the sacred r eliques of S. Francis Xaverius exposed in the Church of the Society of Jesus at Mechlin,' Louvain, 1667, 8vo, in English and Irish. This very scarce book is supposed to be the first ever printed in the two languages in conjunction. 2. 'Precipuæ Controversiæ Fidei ad facilem methodum redactæ; ac Resolutiones Theologicæ ad omnia Sacerdotis munia, præsertim in Missionibus, accommodatæ,' Louvain, 1671, 8vo. At the end of this volume, which is a summary of theology, is usually found: 3. 'Vitæ et Miraculorum Sancti Patricii Hiberniæ Apostoli Epitome, cum brevi notitiâ Hiberniæ et Prophetiâ S. Malachiæ' (Louvain, 1671, 8vo), a life of St. Patrick, with a short notice of Ireland, and the prophecy of St. Malachi respecting the succession of the popes. The 'Controversiæ Fidei' had a wonderful success. A few copies of the work which found their way to the university of Prague were received with such enthusiasm that some transcripts of the whole were made for the use of the students; and in 1678 the book was reprinted, without the knowledge of the author, at the University Press. The third edition, which was printed at Antwerp with the author's corrections and additions, was followed by a fourth and fifth at Cologne and Ingolstadt; and the sixth, again at Antwerp, by a seventh again at Cologne. These particulars are gathered from the prefaces to the eighth edition, which appeared at Antwerp in 1686, and where the title, the bulk, and the arrangement of the work are so altered that it would hardly be recognised as the same. The 'Controversiæ Fidei' of 1671 is a small octavo of 500 pages. In the edition of 1686 the title is 'Theologia Tripartita Universa,' and the three volumes quarto, of which it consists, comprise in all about 1,100 pages closely printed in double columns, containing about five times the matter of the 'Controversiæ.' The work includes a life of Oliver Plunket, the catholic archbishop of Armagh, who was executed at London in 1681, and a life of Peter Talbot, the catholic archbishop of Dublin, who died in imprisonment at Dublin in 1680. In addition to these Archdekin's work contains a number of anecdotes connected with the history of Ireland, introduced as examples in support of his theological doctrines. Archdekin's work displays much order, knowledge, and precision, but some of his decisions in cases of conscience have been controverted by higher authority in the catholic church. In 1700 it was prohibited until correction should be made by the Congregation of the Index. The first edition published with the necessary corrections appears to have been also the last. It appeared at Antwerp in 1718, and was the thirteenth of the whole.

[Foley's Records, vii. 15; Oliver's Collectanea S. J., 231; O'Reilly's Irish writers, 198; Ware's writers of Ireland, ed. Harris, 203; Thomas Watts, in Biog. Dict. Soc. D. U. K.; Ribadeneira, Bibl. Scriptorum Soc. Jesu. ed. Southwell, 718; Backer, Bibliothèque des Écrivains de la Compagnie de Jésus (1869), 267; Foppens, Bibl. Belgica, 1066.]

T. C.