Nicolas Psaume (1518, in Chaumont-sur-Aire – 10 August 1575, in Verdun) was a count-bishop of Verdun and prince of the Holy Roman Empire. The Bishopric of Verdun was then a French-speaking State of the Holy Roman Empire. Nicolas Psaume was originary from the Duchy of Bar.
Having studied classics at the Norbertine Abbey of St. Paul at Verdun, of which his uncle François Psaume was commendatory abbot, he completed a higher course of studies at the Universities of Paris, Orléans, and Poitiers; and then entered the Abbey of St. Paul. Ordained priest in 1540, he was sent to the University of Paris, where, after a defence of numerous theses, he won his doctorate of theology. But for the intrigues of François, Cardinal of Pisa, Psaume, who had already been made Abbot of St. Paul, Verdun, would have been elected Abbot General of Prémontré, for his nomination had already been confirmed by Francis I, King of France.
In 1546 he was chosen to represent the Norbertine Order at the Council of Trent, but John, Cardinal of Lorraine retained him and, with the pope's consent, resigned the Bishopric of Verdun in favour of Psaume, who was consecrated bishop 26 August 1548. In the following year he attended the Provincial Council of Trier, and in the same year he published its canons and decrees in his own diocese.
He was also present at the General Council of Trent from May, 1551, until its prorogation on 28 April 1552, distinguishing himself by his eloquence and learning and by his zeal in defence of the doctrine and the prerogatives of the Church. He was active in condemning certain abuses, especially those of the commenda. On 2 January 1552, he was charged by the papal legate with the editing of the canons of the council. In 1562 he returned to Trent, where the sessions of the council had been resumed.
To provide a sound education for youth he gave financial assistance to the Jesuits in founding a college at Verdun. He is buried near the altar of the Blessed Sacrament in the Cathedral of Verdun.
On both occasions at the Council of Trent, Psaume kept a diary of all that passed at the various sessions; it was printed at Paris (1564–80), at Reims and at Verdun in the same year. Hugo, the annalist of the order, also edited it in two parts, but much was left out in the second part. Hugo's "Collectio" was edited by Le Plat in the fifth volume of his "Monumenta Conc. Tridentin." The parts omitted are supplied by Ignaz von Döllinger, "Ungedruckte Berichte u. Tagebücher z. Geschichte d. Konzils v. Trient", II (Nördlingen, 1876), p. 172.
Psaume was also requested by the Archbishops of Reims and Trier to co-ordinate French ecclesiastical legislation and make it agree with the canons and decrees of the Council of Trent. He wrote much in defence of the Catholic doctrine against the Calvinists and Lutherans.
- Psaulme, Preaume, Psalmaeus.
- Hugo, Annales, I, preface, §xvi; II, 523
- Calmet, Biblioth. lorraine, II
- Spilbeeck, in Précis Historique (Brussels, 1888–89)
- Goovaert, Dic. Bio-bibliog., II, 66 sqq. (Brussels, 1902).