Ivan Gagarin - Life

Life

He was the son of the Russian state-councillor, Prince Sergius Gagarin, and Barbara Pushkin. He entered the service of the state at an early age, and was first named attaché to his uncle, Prince Gregory Gagarin, at Munich, on whose death, in 1837, he acted as secretary to the legation at Vienna. He was afterwards transferred to the Russian embassy at Paris, where his services were requisitioned in a similar capacity.

He frequented the salon of his near relation, Madame Sophie Swetchine, and was on terms of familiar intercourse with Father de Ravignan, Lacordaire's successor in the pulpit of Notre-Dame de Paris.

His conversion to Catholicism took place in 1842. On 19 April of that year Gagarin made his profession of faith, and was received into the Catholic Church by Ravignan. According to Russian law, this put an end to his diplomatic career, and he forfeited all rights to his inheritance.

In the latter half of 1843 he entered the Society of Jesus, and passed his novitiate at Saint-Acheul. He was afterwards sent to Brugelette (in Belgium) where the French Jesuits in exile had a High School. He then taught church history and philosophy, at the College of Vaugirard and the school of Ste-Geneviève, and at Laval. He spent some time in Versailles and, in 1855, was back at Paris. From this time onwards he wrote extensively in the Catholic cause.

When the religious orders were expelled from France, Gagarin went to Switzerland, but soon returned to Paris, where he died.

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