GRAFFIN, RENÉ (1858-1941)
A French prelate and Orientalist. He was born at Pontvallain, Sarthe. He gave a decisive impetus to the study and editing of Eastern Christian languages and literatures. He studied at the French Seminary in Rome and then completed this work at Innsbruck. In charge of Syriac studies at the Institut catholique in Paris, he conceived the project of an “Oriental Migne,” which was at first confined to Syriac with the Patrologia Syriaca series, consisting of three volumes only: Aphraate (1897), Bardesane (1907), and Livre des degrés (1927; Book of Steps), with vocalized texts and Latin translations.
Beginning in 1903, in the Patrologia Orientalis series, he published texts in Arabic, Armenian, Coptic, Ethiopian, Greek, Georgian, Slavonic, and Syriac, with translations on the facing page (usually French). From 1896 to 1940 he edited Revue de l’Orient chrétien (29 volumes), which unfortunately terminated with Volume 30 in 1946. His indefatigable and principal collaborator was Abbot François NAU, followed by Abbot M. Brière. The Patrologia Orientalis was continued by his nephew, François Graffin, S.J., and as of 1984, it comprised some 191 fascicles.
FRANÇOIS GRAFFIN, S.J