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   Chapter 14 The Transition To The Middle Ages. The Foundation Of The Germanic National Churches

A Source Book for Ancient Church History By Joseph Cullen Ayer, Jr., Ph.D. Characters: 100955

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:02


While the doctrinal system of the Church was being wrought out in the disputes and councils of Rome and the East, the foundations of the Germanic national churches were being laid in the West. In the British Isles the faith was extended from Britain to Ireland and thence to Scotland (§ 96). Among the inmates of the monasteries of these countries were many monks who were moved to undertake missionary journeys to various parts of Western Europe, and among them St. [pg 565] Columbanus. But even more important for the future of Western Christendom was the conversion of the Franks from paganism to Catholic Christianity. At a time when the other Germanic rulers were still Arian, Clovis and the Franks became Catholics and, as a consequence, the champions of the Catholic faith. The Franks rapidly became the dominant power in the West, and soon other Germanic races either were conquered or followed the example of the Franks and became Catholics (§ 97). The State churches that thus arose were more under the control of the local royal authority than the Catholic Church had previously been, and the rulers were little disposed to favor outside control of the ecclesiastical affairs of their kingdoms (§ 98). Toward the end of the sixth century the greatest pontiff of the ancient Church, Gregory the Great, more than recovered the prestige and influence which had been lost under Vigilius. By his able administration he did much to unite the West, to heal the schism resulting from the Fifth Council, and to overcome the heresies which divided the Arians and the Catholics. At the same time he advanced the authority of the see of Rome in the East as well as in the West (§ 99). Of the many statesman-like undertakings of Gregory none had more far-reaching consequences than the conversion of the Anglo-Saxons and the establishment in England of a church which would be in close and loyal dependence upon the Roman see, and in consequence of that close connection would be the heir of the best traditions of culture in the West (§ 100).

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§ 96. The Celtic Church in the British Isles

Christianity was probably planted in the British Isles during the second century; as to its growth in the ante-Nicene period little is definitely known. Representatives of the British Church were at Arles in 314. The Church was in close connection with the Church on the Continent during the fourth century and in the fifth during the Pelagian controversy. The Christianity thus established was completely overthrown or driven into Wales by the invasion of the pagan Angles, Jutes, and Saxons circa 449-500. (For the conversion of the newcomers, v. infra, § 100.) Early in the fifth century the conversion of Ireland took place by missionaries from Britain. In this conversion St. Patrick traditionally plays an important part.

Additional source material: Bede, Hist. Ec., Eng. trans. by Giles, London, 1894; by A. M. Sellar, London, 1907 (for Latin text, v. infra, a); Adamnani, Vita S. Columb?, ed. J. T. Fowler, 1894 (with valuable introduction and translation); St. Patrick, Genuine Writings, ed. G. T. Stokes and C. H. H. Wright, Dublin, 1887; J. D. Newport White, The Writings of St. Patrick, 1904. For bibliography of sources, see Gross, The Sources and Literature of English History, 1900, pp. 221 f.

(a) Bede, Hist. Ec. Gentis Anglorum, I, 13. (MSL, 95:40.)

The Venerable Bede (672 or 673-735), monk at Jarrow, the most learned theologian of the Anglo-Saxon Church, was also the first historian of England. For the earliest period he used what written sources were available. His work becomes of independent value with the account of the coming of Augustine of Canterbury, 597 (I, 23). The history extends to A. D. 731. The best critical edition is that of C. Plummer, 1896, which has a valuable introduction, copious historical and critical notes, and careful discrimination of the sources. Wm. Bright's Chapters on Early English Church History is an elaborate commentary on Bede's work as far as 709, the death of Wilfrid. Translation of Bede's History by J. A. Giles, may be found in Bohn's Antiquarian Library, and better by A. M. Sellar, 1907.

In the following passage we have the only reference made by Bede to the conversion of Ireland, and his failure to mention Patrick has given rise to much controversy, see J. B. Bury, The Life of St. Patrick [pg 567] and his Place in History, 1905. This passage, referring to Palladius, is a quotation from the Chronica of Prosper of Aquitaine (403-463) ann. 431 (MSL, 51, critical edition in MGH, Auct. antiquiss, 9:1); from Gildas, De excidio Britanni? liber querulus (MSL, 69:327, critical edition in MGH, Auct. antiquiss, 13. A translation by J. A. Giles in Six Old English Chronicles, in Bohn's Antiquarian Library), is the reference to the letter written to the Romans; from the Chronica of Marcellinus Comes (MSL, 51:913; critical edition in MGH, Auct. antiquiss, 11) is the reference to Bl?da and Attila.

In the year of the Lord's incarnation, 423, Theodosius the younger received the empire after Honorius and, being the forty-fifth from Augustus, retained it twenty-six years. In the eighth year of his reign, Palladius was sent by Celestinus, the pontiff of the Roman Church, to the Scots212 that believed in Christ to be their first bishop. In the twenty-third year of his reign (446), A?tius, the illustrious, who was also patrician, discharged his third consulate with Symmachus as his colleague. To him the wretched remnants of the Britons sent a letter beginning: "To A?tius, thrice consul, the groans of the Britons." And in the course of the letter they thus express their calamities: "The barbarians drive us to the sea; the sea drives us back to the barbarians; between them there have arisen two sorts of death; we are either slain or drowned." Yet neither could all this procure any assistance from him, as he was then engaged in a most dangerous war with Bl?da and Attila, kings of the Huns. And though the year next before this, Bl?da had been murdered by the treachery of his brother Attila, yet Attila himself remained so intolerable an enemy to the republic that he ravaged almost all Europe, invading and destroying cities and castles.

(b) Patrick, Confessio, chs. 1, 10. (MSL, 53:801.)

The call of St. Patrick to be a missionary.

There is much dispute and uncertainty about the life and work of St. Patrick. Of the works of Patrick, two appear to be genuine, his Confessio and his Epistola ad Coroticum. The other works attributed to him are very probably spurious. The genuine works may be found [pg 568] in Haddan and Stubbs, Councils and Ecclesiastical Documents relating to Great Britain and Ireland, vol. II, pt. ii, 296 ff.

I, Patrick, a sinner, the most ignorant and least of all the faithful, and the most contemptible among many, had for my father Calpornius the deacon, son of the presbyter Potitus, the son of Odissus, who was of the village of Bannavis Tabernia; he had near by a little estate where I was taken captive. I was then nearly sixteen years old. But I was ignorant of the true God213 and I was taken into captivity unto Ireland, with so many thousand men, according to our deserts, because we had forsaken God and not kept His commandments and had not been obedient to our priests who warned us of our salvation. And the Lord brought upon us the fury of His wrath and scattered us among many nations, even to the end of the earth, where now my meanness appears to be among strangers. And there the Lord opened the senses of my unbelief, that I might remember my sin, and that I might be converted with my whole heart to my Lord God, who looked upon my humbleness and had mercy upon my youth and ignorance, and guarded me before I knew Him, and before I knew and distinguished between good and evil, and protected me and comforted me as a father a son.

… And again after a few years214 I was with my relatives in Britain, who received me as a son, and earnestly besought me that I should never leave them after having endured so many great tribulations. And there I saw in a vision by night a man coming to me as from Ireland, and his name was Victorinus, and he had innumerable epistles; and he gave me one of them and I read the beginning of the epistle as follows: "The voice of the Irish." And while I was reading the epistle, I think that it was at the very moment, I heard the voice of those who were near the wood of Fochlad,215 which is near the [pg 569] Western Sea. And thus they cried out with one voice: We beseech thee, holy youth, to come here and dwell among us. And I was greatly smitten in heart, and could read no further and so I awoke. Thanks be to God, because after many years the Lord granted them according to their cry.

(c) Bede, Hist. Ec., III, 4. (MSL, 95:121.)

St. Ninian and St. Columba in Scotland.

In the year of our Lord 565, when Justin the younger, the successor of Justinian, took the government of the Roman Empire, there came into Britain a priest and abbot, distinguished in habit and monastic life, Columba by name, to preach the word of God to the provinces of the northern Picts, that is, to those who are separated from the southern parts by steep and rugged mountains. For the southern Picts, who had their homes within those mountains, had long before, as is reported, forsaken the error of idolatry, and embraced the true faith, by the preaching of the word to them by Ninian,216 a most reverend bishop and holy man of the British nation, who had been regularly instructed at Rome in the faith and mysteries of the truth, whose episcopal see was named after St. Martin, the bishop, and was famous for its church, wherein he and many other saints rest in the body, and which the English nation still possesses. The place belongs to the province of Bernicia, and is commonly called Candida Casa,217 because he there built a church of stone, which was not usual among the Britons.

Columba came to Britain in the ninth year of the reign of Bridius, the son of Meilochon, the very powerful king of the Picts, and he converted by work and example that nation to the faith of Christ; whereupon he also received the aforesaid island [Iona] for a monastery. It is not large, but contains about five families, according to English reckoning. His successors [pg 570] hold it to this day, and there also he was buried, when he was seventy-seven, about thirty-two years after he came into Britain to preach. Before he came into Britain he had built a noble monastery in Ireland, which from the great number of oaks is called in the Scottish tongue218 Dearmach, that is, the Field of Oaks. From both of these monasteries many others had their origin through his disciples both in Britain and Ireland; but the island monastery where his body lies holds the rule.

That island always has for its ruler an abbot, who is a priest, to whose direction all the province and even bishops themselves are subject by an unusual form of organization, according to the example of their first teacher, who was not a bishop, but a priest and monk; of whose life and discourses some writings are said to have been preserved by his disciples. But whatever he was himself, this we regard as certain concerning him, that he left successors renowned for their great continency, their love of God, and their monastic rules. However, they followed uncertain cycles219 in their observance of the great festival [Easter], for no one brought them the synodal decrees for the observance of Easter, because they were placed so far away from the rest of the world; they only practised such works of piety and chastity as they could learn from the prophetical, evangelical, and apostolical writings. This manner of keeping Easter continued among them for a long time, that is, for the space of one hundred and fifty years, or until the year of our Lord's incarnation 715.

§ 97. The Conversion of the Franks. The Establishment of Catholicism in the Germanic Kingdoms

Chlodowech (Clovis, 481-511) was originally a king of the Salian Franks, near Tournay. By his energy he became king of all the Franks, and, overthrowing Syagrius in 486, pushed his frontier to the Loire. In 496 he conquered a portion of the [pg 571] Alemanni. About this time he became a Catholic. He had for some time favored the Catholic religion, and with his conversion his rule was associated with that cause in the kingdoms subject to Arian rulers. In this way his support of Catholicism was in line with his policy of conquest. By constant warfare Chlodowech was able to push his frontier, in 507, to the Garonne. His death, in 511, at less than fifty years of age, cut short only for a time the extension of the Frankish kingdom. Under his sons, Burgundy, Thuringia, and Bavaria were conquered. The kingdom, which had been divided on the death of Chlodowech, was united under the youngest son, Chlotar I (sole ruler 558-561), again divided on his death, to be united under Chlotar II (sole ruler 613-628). In Spain the Suevi, in the northwest, became Catholic under Carrarich in 550. They were conquered in 585 by the Visigoths, who in turn became Catholic in 589.

(a) Gregory of Tours, Historia Francorum, II, 30. 31. (MSL, 71:225.)

Gregory of Tours (538-593) became bishop of Tours in 573. Placed in this way in the most important see of France, he was constantly thrown in contact with the Merovingian royal family and had abundant opportunity to become acquainted with the course of events at first hand. His most important work, the History of the Franks, is especially valuable from the fifth book on, as here he is on ground with which he was personally familiar. In Book II, from which the selection is taken, Gregory depends upon others, and must be used with caution.

The baptism of Chlodowech was probably the result of a long process of deliberation, beginning probably before his marriage with Chrotechildis, a Burgundian princess, who was a Catholic. While still a pagan he was favorably disposed toward the Catholic Church. About 496 he was baptized, probably on Christmas Day, at Rheims, by St. Remigius. The place and date have been much disputed of late. The earliest references to the conversion are by Nicetus of Trier (ob. circa 566), Epistula ad Chlodosvindam reginam Longobardorum (MSL, 5:375); and Avitus, Epistula 41, addressed to Chlodowech himself. (MSL, 59:257). A careful examination of all the evidence may be found in A. Hauck, Kirchengeschichte Deutschlands, fourth ed., I, 595 ff. Hauck concludes that "the date, December 25, 496, may be regarded as almost certainly the date of the baptism of Chlodowech. The connection as to time between the first war with the Alemanni and the [pg 572] baptism may have given occasion to seek for some actual connection between the two events." The selection is therefore given as the traditional version and is not to be relied upon as correct in detail. It represents what was probably the current belief within a few decades of the event.

Ch. 30. The queen (Chrotechildis) ceased not to warn Chlodowech that he should acknowledge the true God and forsake idols. But in no way could he be brought to believe these things. Finally war broke out with the Alemanni. Then by necessity was he compelled to acknowledge what before he had denied with his will. The two armies met and there was a fearful slaughter, and the army of Chlodowech was on the point of being annihilated. When the king perceived that, he raised his eyes to heaven, his heart was smitten and he was moved to tears, and he said: "Jesus Christ, whom Chrotechildis declares to be the Son of the living God, who says that Thou wilt help those in need and give victory to those who hope in Thee, humbly I flee to Thee for Thy mighty aid, that Thou wilt give me victory over these my enemies, and I will in this way experience Thy power, which the people called by Thy name claim that they have proved to be in Thee. Then will I believe on Thee and be baptized in Thy name. For I have called upon my gods but, as I have seen, they are far from my help. Therefore, I believe that they have no power who do not hasten to aid those obedient to them. I now call upon Thee and I desire to believe on Thee. Only save me from the hand of my adversaries." As he thus spoke, the Alemanni turned their backs and began to take flight. But when they saw that their king was dead, they submitted to Chlodowech and said: "Let not, we pray thee, a nation perish; now we are thine." Thereupon he put an end to the war, exhorted the people, and returned home in peace. He told the queen how by calling upon the name of Christ he had obtained victory. This happened in the fifteenth year of his reign (496).

Ch. 31. Thereupon the queen commanded that the holy Remigius, [pg 573] bishop of Rheims, be brought secretly to teach the king the word of salvation. The priest was brought to him secretly and began to lay before him that he should believe in the true God, the creator of heaven and earth, and forsake idols, who could neither help him nor others. But he replied: "Gladly do I listen to thee, most holy Father, but one thing remains, for the people who follow me suffer me not to forsake their gods. But I will go and speak to them according to thy words." When he met his men, and before he began to speak, all the people cried out together, for the divine power had anticipated him: "We reject the mortal gods, pious king, and we are ready to follow the immortal God whom Remigius preaches." These things were reported to the bishop, who rejoiced greatly and commanded the font to be prepared.… The king first asked to be baptized by the pontiff. He went, a new Constantine, into the font to be washed clean from the old leprosy, and to purify himself in fresh water from the stains which he had long had. But as he stepped into the baptismal water, the saint of God began in moving tone: "Bend softly thy head, Sicamber, reverence what thou hast burnt, and burn what thou hast reverenced."…

Therefore the king confessed Almighty God in Trinity, and was baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, and was anointed with the holy chrism with the sign of the cross. Of his army more than three thousand were baptized. Also his sister Albofledis was baptized.… And another sister of the king, Lanthechildis by name, who had fallen into the heresy of the Arians, was converted, and when she had confessed that the Son and the Holy Ghost were of the same substance with the Father, she was given the chrism.

(b) Gregory of Tours, Hist. Francorum, II, 35-38. (MSL, 71:232.)

Clovis at the head of the anti-Arian party in Gaul.

Ch. 35. When Alarich, the king of the Goths, saw that King Chlodowech continually conquered the nations, he sent [pg 574] messengers to him saying: "If my brother wishes, it is also in my heart that we see each other, if God will." Chlodowech was not opposed to this and came to him. They met on an island in the Loire, in the neighborhood of Amboise, in the territory of Tours, and spake and ate and drank together, promised mutual friendship, and parted in peace.

Ch. 36. But already many Gauls wished with all their heart to have the Franks for their masters. It therefore happened that Quintianus, bishop of Rhodez, was driven out of his city on account of this. For they said to him: "You wish that the rule of the Franks possessed this land." And a few days after, when a dispute had arisen between him and the citizens, the rumor reached the Goths who dwelt in the city, for the citizens asserted that he wished to be subject to the rule of the Franks; and they took counsel and planned how they might kill him with the sword. When this was reported to the man of God, he rose by night, and with the most faithful of his servants left Rhodez and came to Arverne.…

Ch. 37. Thereupon King Chlodowech said to his men: "It is a great grief to me that these Arians possess a part of Gaul. Let us go forth with God's aid, conquer them, and bring this land into our power." And since this speech pleased all, he marched with his army toward Poitiers, for there dwelt Alarich at that time.… King Chlodowech met the king of the Goths, Alarich, in the Campus Vocladensis [Vouillé or Voulon-sur-Clain] ten miles from Poitiers; and while the latter fought from afar, the former withstood in hand to hand combat. But since the Goths, in their fashion, took to flight, King Chlodowech at length with God's aid won the victory. He had on his side a son of Sigbert the Lame, whose name was Chloderich. The same Sigbert, ever since he fought with the Alemanni near Zulpich [in 496], had been wounded in the knee and limped. The king killed King Alarich and put the Goths to flight.… From this battle Amalrich, Alarich's son, fled to Spain, and by his ability obtained his father's kingdom. Chlodowech, however, sent [pg 575] his son Theuderic to Albi, Rhodez, and Arverne, and departing he subjugated those cities, from the borders of the Goths to the borders of the Burgundians, to the rule of his father. But Alarich reigned twenty-two years.

Chlodowech spent the winter in Bourdeaux, and carried away the entire treasure of Alarich from Toulouse, and he went to Angoulême. Such favor did the Lord show him that, when he looked on the walls, they fell of themselves. Thereupon when the Goths had been driven from the city he brought it under his rule. After the accomplishment of these victories he returned to Tours and dedicated many gifts to the holy Church of St. Martin.

Ch. 38. At that time he received from the Emperor Anastasius the title of consul, and in the Church of St. Martin he assumed the purple cloak and put on his head a diadem. He then mounted a horse and with his own hand scattered among the people who were present gold and silver in the greatest profusion, all the way from the door of the porch of the Church of St. Martin to the city gate. And from this day forward he was addressed as consul, or Augustus. From Tours Chlodowech went to Paris and made that the seat of his authority.220

(c) Third Council of Toledo, A. D. 589, Acts. Mansi, IX, 992.

This council is the most important event in the history of the Visigothic Church of Spain, marking the abandonment of Arianism by the ruling race of Spain and the formal acceptance of the doctrine of the Trinity or the Catholic faith and unity. The Suevi had accepted Catholicism more than thirty-five years before; see Synod of Braga, A. D. 563, in Hefele, § 285 (cf. also Hahn, § 176, who gives the text of the anathematisms in which, after a statement of the Catholic doctrine of the Trinity, the balance of the anathematisms are concerned with Priscillianism). Reccared, the Visigothic king (586-601), became a Catholic in 587, and held the council of 589 to effect the conversion of the nation to his new faith. For a letter of Gregory the Great on the conversion of Reccared, see PNF, ser. II, vol. XII, pt. 2. p. 87, and two from Gregory to Reccared himself (ibid., vol. XIII, pp. 16, 35). The creed, as professed at Toledo, is the first instance of the authorized use of the term "and the Son" in a creed in connection with the doctrine [pg 576] of the "procession of the Holy Spirit," the form in which the so-called Nicene creed came to be used in the West, and the source of much dispute between the East and the West in the ninth century and ever since.

I. From the Speech of Reccared at the Opening of the Council.

I judge that you are not ignorant, most reverend priests [i.e., bishops] that I have called you into our presence for the restoration of ecclesiastical discipline; and because in time past the existence of heresy prevented throughout the entire Catholic Church the transaction of synodical business. God, who has been pleased by our action to remove the obstacle of the same heresy, warns us to set in order the ecclesiastical laws concerning church matters. Therefore let it be a matter of joy and gladness to you that the canonical order is being brought back to the lines of the times of our fathers, in the sight of God and to our glory.

II. From the Statement of Faith.

There is present here all the famous nation of the Goths, esteemed for their real bravery by nearly all nations, who, however, by the error of their teachers have been separated from the faith and unity of the Catholic Church; but now, agreeing as a whole with me in my assent to the faith, participate in the communion of that Church which receives in its maternal bosom a multitude of different nations and nourishes them with the breasts of charity. Concerning her the prophet foretelling said: "My house shall be called the house of prayer for all nations." For not only does the conversion of the Goths add to the amount of our reward, but also an infinite multitude of the people of the Suevi, whom under the protection of Heaven we have subjected to our kingdom, led away into heresy by the fault of an alien,221 we have endeavored to recall to the source of truth. Therefore, most holy Fathers, I offer as by your hands to the eternal God, [pg 577] as a holy and pleasing offering, these most noble nations, who have been attached by us to the Lord's possessions. For it will be to me in the day of the retribution of the just an unfading crown and joy if these peoples, who now by our planning have returned to the unity of the Church, remain founded and established in the same. For as by the divine determination it has been a matter of our care to bring these peoples to the unity of the Church of Christ, so it is a matter of your teaching to instruct them in the Catholic dogmas, by which they may be instructed in the full knowledge of the truth, that they may know how to reject totally the errors of pernicious heresy, to remain in charity in the ways of the true faith, and to embrace with fervent desire the communion of the Catholic Church.… As it is of benefit to us to profess with the mouth what we believe in the heart … therefore I anathematize Arius with all his doctrines … so I hold in honor, to the praise and honor and glory of God, the faith of the holy Council of Nic?a.… I embrace and hold the faith of the one hundred and fifty Fathers assembled at Constantinople.… I believe the faith of the first Council of Ephesus … likewise with all the Catholic Church I reverently receive the faith of the Council of Chalcedon.… To this my confession I have added the holy constitutions [i.e., confessions of faith] of the above-mentioned councils, and I have subscribed with complete singleness of heart to the divine testimony.

Here follows the faith of Nic?a, the so-called creed of Constantinople, with the words relating to the Holy Ghost, ex Patre et Filio procedentem (proceeding from the Father and the Son); the actual form filioque does not here occur.

III. From the Anathemas, Hahn, § 178.

3. Whosoever does not believe in the Holy Ghost and will not believe that He proceeds from the Father and the Son, and will not say that He is co-essential with the Father and the Son, let him be anathema.

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IV. From the Canons, Bruns, I, 212.

Canon 1. After the damnation of the heresy of Arius and the exposition of the Catholic faith, this holy council ordered that, because in the midst of many heretics and heathen throughout the churches of Spain, the canonical order has been necessarily neglected (for while liberty of transgressing abounded, and the desirable discipline was denied, and every one fostered excesses of heresy in the protection and continuation of evil times, a strict discipline was far off, but now the peace of the Church has been restored by the mercy of Christ), everything which by the authority of early canons may be forbidden is forbidden, discipline arising again, and everything is required which they order done. Let the constitutions of all the councils remain in their force, likewise all the synodical letters of the holy Roman prelates. Henceforth let no one aspire unworthily to ecclesiastical promotions and honors against the canons. Let nothing be done which the holy Fathers, filled with the Spirit of God, decreed should not be done. And let those who presume to violate the laws be restrained by the severity of the earlier canons.

Canon 2. Out of reverence for the most holy faith and to strengthen the weak minds of men, acting upon the advice of the most pious and glorious King Reccared222 the synod has ordered that throughout the churches of Spain, Gaul, and Gallicia, the symbol of the faith be recited according to the form of the Oriental churches, the symbol of the Council of Constantinople, that is, of the one hundred and fifty bishops; [pg 579] and before the Lord's prayer is said, let it be pronounced to the people in a clear voice, by which also the true faith may have a manifest testimony, and the hearts of the people may approach to the reception of the body and blood of Christ with hearts purified by faith.

§ 98. The State Church in the Germanic Kingdoms

So long as the Germanic rulers remained Arian, the Catholic Church in their kingdoms was left for the most part alone or hindered in its synodical activity. But as the kingdoms became Catholic on the conversion of their kings, the rulers were necessarily brought into close official relations with the Church and its administration; and they exercised a strict control over the ecclesiastical councils and the episcopal elections. The Merovingians, on their conversion from paganism, at once became Catholics, and they consequently assumed this control immediately. With the extension of the Frankish kingdom, the authority of the king in ecclesiastical affairs was likewise extended. In Spain the Visigoths were Arians until 589. On the conversion of the nation at that date, the king at once assumed an extensive ecclesiastical authority (for Reccared's confirmation of the Third Synod of Toledo, 589, see Bruns, I, 393), and in the development of the system the councils of Toledo became at once the parliaments of the entire nation, now united through its common faith, and the synods of the Church. This system was cut short by the Moslem invasion of 711, and the development of the Church and its relation to the State is to be studied in the Frankish kingdom in which from this time the ecclesiastical development of Western Europe is to be traced. The best evidence for the legal state of the Church under the Germanic rulers is chiefly in the acts of councils.

But there was also in the Catholic Church in the Germanic kingdoms a strong monastic spirit which was by no means willing to see the Church become an "establishment." This [pg 580] fitted in poorly with the condition of the State Church. It is illustrated by the career of St. Columbanus.

(a) Council of Orleans, A. D. 511, Synodical Letter. Bruns, II, 160.

The king summons the council and approves its findings. Extract from the synodical letter in which the canons are sent to Chlodowech.

To their Lord, the Son of the Catholic Church, Chlodowech, the most glorious king, all the priests223 whom you have commanded to come to the council.

Because your great care for the glorious faith so moves you to reverence for the Catholic religion that from love of the priesthood you have commanded the bishops to be gathered together into one that they might treat of necessary things, according to the proposals of your will and the titles [i.e., topics] which you have given, we reply by determining those things which seem good to us; so that if those things which we have decreed prove to be right in your judgment, the approval of so great a king and lord might by a greater authority cause the determinations of so many bishops to be observed more strictly.

(b) Council of Orleans, A. D. 549, Canons. Bruns, II, 211.

Canons regarding Episcopal elections. The first instance in canonical legislation in the West recognizing the necessity of royal consent to the election of a bishop. For the relation of the Pope to metropolitans, see in § 99 the Epistle of Gregory the Great to Vigilius of Arles.

Canon 10. That it shall be lawful for no one to obtain the episcopate by payment or bargaining, but with the permission of the king, according to the choice of the clergy and the people, as it is written in the ancient canons, let him be consecrated by the metropolitan or by him whom he sends in his place, together with the bishops of the province. That if [pg 581] any one violates by purchase the rule of this holy constitution, we decree that he, who shall have been ordained for money, shall be deposed.

Canon 11. Likewise as the ancient canons decree, no one shall be made bishop of those who are unwilling to receive him, and neither by the force of powerful persons are the citizens and clergy to be induced to give a testimonial of election.224 For this is to be regarded as a crime; that if this should be done, let him, who rather by violence than by legitimate decree has been ordained bishop, be deposed forever from the honor of the episcopate which he has obtained.

(c) Council of Paris, A. D. 557, Canon. Bruns, II, 221.

Canon 8. No bishop shall be ordained for people against their will, but only he whom the people and clergy in full election shall have freely chosen; neither by the command of the prince nor by any condition whatever against the will of the metropolitan and the bishops of the province shall he be forced in. That if any one with so great rashness presumes by royal appointment225 to reach the height of this honor, let him not deserve to be received as a bishop by the bishops of the province in which the place is located, for they know that he was ordained improperly. If any of the fellow bishops of the province presume to receive him against this prohibition, let him be separated from all his brethren and be deprived of the charity of all.

(d) Gregory of Tours, Hist. Francorum, IV, 15. (MSL, 71:280.)

The difficulty of the Church in living under the Merovingian monarchs with their despotism and violence is illustrated by the following passage. The date of the event is 556.

[pg 582] When the clergy of Tours heard that King Chlothar [511-561; 558-561, as surviving son of Chlodowech, sole ruler of the Franks] had returned from the slaughter of the Saxons, they prepared the consensus226 that they had chosen the priest Eufronius bishop and went to the king. When they had presented the matter, the king answered: "I had indeed commanded that the priest Cato should be ordained there, and why has our command been disregarded?" They answered him: "We have indeed asked him, but he would not come." And as they said this suddenly the priest Cato appeared and besought the king to command that Cautinus be removed and himself be appointed bishop of Arverne.227 But when the king laughed at this, he besought him again, that he might be ordained for Tours, which he had before rejected. Then the king said to him: "I have already commanded that you should be consecrated bishop of Tours, but, as I hear, you have despised that church; therefore you shall be withheld from the government of it." Thereupon he departed ashamed. But when the king asked concerning the holy Eufronius, they said that he was a nephew of the holy Gregory, whom we have mentioned above.228 The king answered: "That is a distinguished and very great family. Let the will of God and of the holy Martin229 be done; let the election be confirmed." And after he had given a decree for the ordination, the holy Eufronius was ordained as the eighth bishop after St. Martin.230

(e) Gregory of Tours, Hist. Franc., VIII, 22, (MSL, 71:464.)

Royal interference in episcopal elections was not infrequent under the Merovingians. Confused as the following account is, it is clear from it that the kings were accustomed to violate the canons and to exercise a free hand in episcopal appointments. See also the preceding selection. The date of the event is 585. For the Synod of Ma?on, A. D. 585, see Hefele, § 286.

[pg 583] Laban, Bishop of Eauze,231 died that year. Desiderius, a layman, succeeded him, although the king had promised with an oath that he would never again ordain a bishop from the laity. But to what will not the accursed hunger for gold drive human hearts? Bertchramnus232 had returned from the synod,233 and on the way was seized with a fever. The deacon Waldo was summoned, who in baptism had also been called Bertchramnus, and he committed to him the whole of his episcopal office, as he also committed to him the provisions regarding his testament, as well as those who merited well by him. As he departed the bishop breathed out his spirit. The deacon returned and with presents and the consensus234 of the people, went to the king235 but he obtained nothing. Then the king, having issued a mandate, commanded Gundegisilus, count of Saintes, surnamed Dodo, to be consecrated bishop; and so it was done. And because many of the clergy of Saintes before the synod had, in agreement with Bishop Bertchramnus, written various things against their Bishop Palladius to humiliate him, after his236 death they were arrested by the bishop, severely tortured, and stripped of their property.

(f) Chlotar II, Capitulary, A. D. 614. MGH, Leges, II. Capitularia Regum Francorum, ed. Boretius, I, 20, MGH, Leges, 1883.

Not only did the councils admit the right of the king to approve the candidate for consecration as bishop, but the kings laid down the principle that their approval was necessary. They also legislated on the affairs of the Church, e.g., on the election of bishops. The text may also be found in Altmann und Bernheim, Ausgew?hlte Urkunden. Berlin, 1904, p. 1.

Ch. 1. It is our decree that the statutes of the canons be observed in all things, and those of them which have been [pg 584] neglected in the past because of the circumstances of the times shall hereafter be observed perpetually; so that when a bishop dies one shall be chosen for his place by the clergy and people, who is to be ordained by the metropolitan and his provincials; if the person be worthy let him be ordained by the order of the prince; but if he be chosen from the palace237 let him be ordained on account of the merit of his person and his learning.

Ch. 2. That no bishop while living shall choose a successor, but another shall be substituted for him when he become so indisposed that he cannot rule his church and clergy. Likewise, that while a bishop is living no one shall presume to take his place, and if one should seek it, it is on no account to be given him.

(g) Fredegarius Scholasticus, Chronicon, 75f. (MSL, 71:653.)

The Chronicon of Fredegarius is important, as it continues in its last book the History of the Franks by Gregory of Tours. The best edition is in the MGH, Scriptores rerum Merovingicarum II, ed. Krusch. An account of the work may be found in DCB, art. "Fredegarius Scholasticus." In the Frankish kingdom the higher clergy, especially the bishops, assembled with the great men of the realm in councils under the king to discuss affairs of State. These councils have been called concilia mixta. They are, however, to be distinguished from the strictly ecclesiastical assemblies in which the clergy alone acted. A change was introduced by Charles the Great. The following passage shows the king consulting with the bishops, along with the other nobles.

§ 75. In the eleventh year of his reign Dagobert came to the city of Metz, because the Wends at the command of Samo still manifested their savage fury and often made inroads from their territory to lay waste the Frankish kingdom, Thuringia, and other provinces. Dagobert, coming to Metz, with the counsel of the bishops and nobles, and the consent of all the great men of his kingdom, made his son, Sigibert, king of Austrasia, and assigned him Metz as his seat. To Chunibert, [pg 585] bishop of Cologne, and the Duke Adalgisel, he committed the conduct of his palace and kingdom.238 Also he gave to his son sufficient treasure and fitted him out with all that was appropriate to his high dignity; and whatsoever he had given him he confirmed by charters specially made out. Since then the Frankish land was sufficiently defended by the zeal of the Austrasians against the Wends.

§ 76. When in the twelfth year of his reign a son named Chlodoveus was born by Queen Nantechilde to Dagobert, he made, with the counsel and advice of the Neustrians, an agreement with his Sigibert. All the great men and the bishops of Austrasia and the other people of Sigibert, holding up their hands, confirmed it with an oath, that after the death of Dagobert, Neustria and Burgundy, by an established ordinance, should fall to Chlodoveus; but Austrasia, because in population and extent it was equal to those lands, should belong in its entire extent to Sigibert.

(h) Jonas, Vita Columbani, chs. 9, 12, 17, 32, 33, 59, 60. (MSL, 87:1016.)

Columbanus (543-615) was the most active and successful of the Irish missionary monks laboring on the continent of Europe. In 585 Columbanus left Ireland to preach in the wilder parts of Gaul, and in 590 or 591 founded Luxeuil, which became the parent monastery of a considerable group of monastic houses. He came into conflict with the Frankish clergy on account of the Celtic mode of fixing the date of Easter [see Epistle of Columbanus among the Epistles of Gregory the Great, to whom it is addressed, Bk. IX, Ep. 127, PNF, ser. II, vol. XIII, p. 38; two other epistles on the subject in MSL, vol. 80], his monastic rule [MSL, 80:209], and his condemnatory attitude toward the dissoluteness of life prevalent in Gaul among the clergy, as well as in the court. Banished from Burgundy in 610 partly for political reasons, he worked for a time in the vicinity of Lake Constance. In 612, leaving his disciple Gallus [see Vita S. Galli, by Walafrid Strabo, MSL, 114; English translation by C. W. Bispham, Philadelphia, 1908], he went to Italy and, having founded Bobbio, died in 615. Gallus (ob. circa 640) subsequently founded the great monastery of St. Gall in Switzerland, near Lake Constance. The Celtic monks on the continent abandoned their Celtic peculiarities in the ninth century and adopted the Benedictine rule.

[pg 586] Jonas, the author of the life of Columbanus, was a monk at Bobbio. His life of Columbanus was written about 640; see DCB, "Jonas (6)." In the following, the divisions and numbering of paragraphs follow Migne's edition. There is an excellent new edition in the MGH, Script. rerum Merovin., ed. Krusch, 8vo, 1905.

Columbanus sets forth.

Ch. 9. Columbanus gathered such treasures of divine knowledge that even in his youth he could expound the Psalter in polished discourse and could make many other discourses, worthy of being sung and useful to teach. Thereupon he took pains to be received into the company of monks, and sought the monastery of Benechor [in Ulster] the head of which, the blessed Commogellus, was famous for his many virtues. He was an excellent father of his monks and highly regarded because of his zeal in religion and the maintenance of discipline according to the rule. And here he began to give himself entirely to prayer and fasting and to bear the yoke of Christ, easy to those who bear it, by denying himself and taking up his cross and following Christ, that he, who was to be the teacher of others, might himself learn by teaching, and by mortification to endure in his own body what he should abundantly show forth; and he who should teach what by others ought to be fulfilled, himself first fulfilled. When many years had passed for him in the cloister, he began to desire to wander forth, mindful of the command which the Lord gave Abraham: "Get thee out of thy country and from thy kindred and from thy father's house unto a land that I will show thee" [Gen. 12:1]. He confessed to Commogellus, the venerable Father, the warm desire of his heart, the desire enkindled by the fire of the Lord [Luke 12:49]; but he received no such answer as he wished. For it was a grief to Commogellus to bear the loss of a man so full of comfort. Finally Commogellus began to take courage and place it before his heart that he ought to seek more to advance the benefit of others than to pursue his own needs. It happened not without the will of the Almighty, who had trained His pupil for [pg 587] future wars, that from his victories he might obtain glorious triumphs and gain joyful victories over the phalanxes of slain enemies. The abbot called Columbanus unto him and said that though it was a grief to him yet he had come to a decision useful to others, that he would remain in peace with him, would strengthen him with consolation, and give him companions for his journey men who were known for their religion.…

So Columbanus in the twentieth239 year of his life set forth, and with twelve companions under the leadership of Christ went down to the shore of the sea. Here they waited the grace of Almighty God that he would prosper their undertaking, if it took place with His consent; and they perceived that the will of the merciful Judge was with them. They embarked and began the dangerous journey through the straits, and crossed a smooth sea with a favorable wind, and after a quick passage reached the coasts of Brittany.…

Columbanus founds monasteries in Gaul.

Ch. 12. At that time there was a wide desert called Vosagus [the Vosges] in which there lay a castle long since in ruins. And ancient tradition called it Anagrates [Anegray]. When the holy man reached this place, in spite of its wild isolation, its rudeness, and the rocks, he settled there with his companions, content with meagre support, mindful of the saying that man lives not by bread alone, but, satisfied with the Word of Life, he would have abundance and never hunger again unto eternity.

Ch. 17. When the number of the monks had increased rapidly, he began to think of seeking in the same desert for a better place, where he might found a monastery. And he found a place, which had formerly been strongly fortified, at a distance from the first place about eight miles, and which was called in ancient times Luxovium.240 Here there were [pg 588] warm baths erected with special art. A multitude of stone idols stood here in the near-by forest, which in the old heathen times had been honored with execrable practices and profane rites. Residing here, therefore, the excellent man began to found a cloister. On hearing of this the people came to him from all sides in order to dedicate themselves to the practice of religion, so that the great crowd of monks gathered together could hardly be contained in the company of one monastery. Here the children of nobles pressed to come, that, despising the scorned adornments of the world and the pomp of present wealth, they might receive eternal rewards. When Columbanus perceived this and that from all sides the people came together for the medicines of penance, and that the walls of one monastery could not without difficulty hold so great a body of converts to the religious life, and although they were of one mind and one heart, yet it was ill fitted to the intercourse of so great a multitude, he sought out another place, which was excellent on account of its abundance of water, and founded a second monastery, which he named Fontan?,241 and placed rulers over it, of whose piety none doubted. As he now settled companies of monks in this place, he dwelt alternately in each and, filled with the Holy Ghost, he established a rule which they should observe that the prudent reader or hearer of it might know by what sort of discipline a man might become holy.

The quarrel of Columbanus with the Court.

Ch. 32. It happened one day that the holy Columbanus came to Brunichildis, who was at that time in Brocariaca.242 When she saw him coming to the court she led to the man of God the sons of Theuderich, whom he had begotten in adultery. He asked as he saw them what they wanted of him, and Brunichildis said: "They are the king's sons; strengthen them with thy blessing." But he answered: "Know then that these will never hold the royal sceptre, for they have sprung [pg 589] from unchastity." In furious anger she commanded the boys to depart. The man of God thereupon left the royal court, and when he had crossed the threshold there arose a loud roar so that the whole house shook, and all shuddered for fear; yet the rage of the miserable woman could not be restrained. Thereupon she began to plot against the neighboring monasteries, and she caused a decree to be issued that the monks should not be allowed to move freely outside the land of the monastery, and that no one should give them any support or otherwise assist them with offerings.

Ch. 33. Against Columbanus Brunichildis excited the mind of the king and endeavored to disturb him; and she encouraged the minds of his princes, his courtiers, and great men to set the mind of the king against the man of God, and she began to urge the bishops that by vilifying the religion of Columbanus they might dishonor the rule he had given his monks to observe.…

Columbanus founds Bobbio.

§ 59. When the blessed Columbanus learned that Theudebert had been conquered by Theuderich, he left Gaul and Germany,243 which were under Theuderich, and entered Italy where he was honorably received by Agilulf the Lombard king, who gave him permission to dwell where he wished in Italy. It happened by the will of God that, while he was in Milan, Columbanus wishing to attack and root out by the use of the Scripture the errors of the heretics, that is, the false doctrine of the Arians, lingered and composed an excellent work against them.244

§ 60. While things were thus going on, a man named Jocundus came before the king and reported to him that he knew of a church of the blessed Peter, prince of the Apostles, in a desert region of the Apennines, in which he learned that [pg 590] there were many advantages, being uncommonly fruitful and supplied with water full of fish. It was called in old time Bobium245 on account of the brook which flowed by it; another river in the neighborhood was called Trebia, on which Hannibal, spending a winter, suffered great losses of men, horses, and elephants. Thither Colum

banus removed and restored with all possible diligence the already half-ruined church in all its former beauty. The roof and the top of the temple and the ruins of the walls he repaired and set to work to construct other things necessary for a monastery.

§ 99. Gregory the Great and the Roman Church in the Second Half of the Sixth Century

Gregory the Great was born about 540. In 573 he was appointed prefect of the city of Rome, but resigned the following year to become a monk. Having been ordained deacon, he was sent in 579 to Constantinople as papal apocrisiarius, or resident ambassador at the court of the Emperor. In 586 he was back in Rome and abbot of St. Andrew's, and in 590 he was elected Pope. As Pope his career was even more brilliant. He reorganized the papal finances, carried through important disciplinary measures, and advanced the cause of monasticism. His work as the organizer of missions in England, his labors to heal the Istrian schism, his relations with the Lombards, his dealings with the Church in Gaul, his controversy with Constantinople in the matter of the title "Ecumenical Patriarch," and other large relations and tasks indicate the range of his interests and the extent of his activities. As a theologian Gregory interpreted Augustine for the Middle Ages and was the most important and influential theologian of the West after Augustine and before the greater scholastics. He did much to restore the prestige of his see, which had been lost in the earlier part of the sixth century. He died 604.

Additional source material: Selections from the writings of Gregory, including many of his letters, may be found in PNF, ser. II, vols. [pg 591] XII and XIII; see also A Library of the Fathers of the Holy Catholic Church (Oxford).

The selections under this section are arranged under four heads: (1) Relations with Gaul; (2) Relations with Constantinople; (3) Relations with the Schism in Northern Italy; (4) Relations with the Lombards; for English mission, v. infra, § 100.

1. Relations with Gaul.

(a) Gregory the Great, Ep. ad Vigilium, Reg. V, 53. (MSL, 77:782.)

The following letter was written in 595 in reply to a letter from Vigilius, bishop of Arles, asking for the pallium (DCA, art. "Pallium," also Cath. Encyc.) and the vicariate. For the relation of the Roman see to the bishop of Arles as primate of Gaul, see E. Loening, Geschichte des deutschen Kirchenrechts. The relation of the vicariate to the papacy and also to the royal power is indicated by the fact that the pallium is given in response to the request of the king. The condition of the church under Childebert is also shown; see § 98 for canons bearing on simony and irregularities in connection with ordination.

As to thy having asked therein [in a letter of Vigilius to Gregory] according to ancient custom for the use of the pallium and the vicariate of the Apostolic See, far be it from me to suspect that thou hast sought eminence of transitory power, or the adornment of external worship, in our vicariate and the pallium. But, since it is known to all whence the holy faith proceeded in the regions of Gaul, when your fraternity asks for a repetition of the early custom of the Apostolic See, what is it but that a good offspring reverts to the bosom of its mother? With willing mind therefore we grant what has been requested, lest we should seem either to withhold from you anything of the honor due to you, or to despise the petition of our most excellent son, King Childebert.…

I have learned from certain persons informing me that in the parts of Gaul and Germany no one attains to holy orders except for a consideration given. If this is so, I say it with [pg 592] tears, I declare it with groans, that, when the priestly order has fallen inwardly, neither will it be able to stand outwardly for long.…

Another very detestable thing has also been reported to us, that some persons being laymen, through the desire of temporal glory, are tonsured on the death of bishops, and all at once are made priests.…

On this account your fraternity must needs take care to admonish our most excellent son, King Childebert, that he remove entirely the stain of this sin from his kingdom, to the end that Almighty God may give him so much the greater recompense with himself as He sees him both love what He loves and shun what He hates.

And so we commit to your fraternity, according to ancient custom, under God, our vicariate in the churches which are under the dominion of our most excellent son Childebert, with the understanding that their proper dignity, according to primitive usage, be preserved to the several metropolitans. We have also sent a pallium which thy fraternity will use within the Church for the solemnization of mass only. Further, if any of the bishops should by any chance wish to travel to any considerable distance, let it not be lawful for him to remove to other places without the authority of thy holiness. If any question of faith, or it may be relating to other matters, should have arisen among the bishops, which cannot easily be settled, let it be ventilated and decided in an assembly of twelve bishops. But if it cannot be decided after the truth has been investigated, let it be referred to our judgment.

2. Relations with Constantinople.

(b) Gregory the Great, Ep. ad Johannem Jejunatorem, Reg. V, 44. (MSL, 77:738.) Cf. Mirbt, n. 180.

On the title "Ecumenical Patriarch."

The controversy over the title "Ecumenical Patriarch" was a result of Gregory's determination to carry through, as far as possible, the Petrine rights and duties as he conceived them. The title was probably [pg 593] intended to mark the superiority of Constantinople to the other patriarchates in the East, according to the Eastern principle that the political rank of a city determined its ecclesiastical rank. It seemed to Gregory to imply a position of superiority to the see of Peter. As it certainly might imply that, he consistently opposed it. But it had been a title in use for nearly a century. (Cf. Gieseler, KG, Eng. trans., vol. I, p. 504.) Justinian in 533 so styled the patriarch of Constantinople (Cod. I, 1, 7). For the difference in point of view between the East and the West as to rank of great sees, see Leo's letters on the 28th canon of Chalcedon, A. D. 451, supra, in § 86.

At the time when your fraternity was advanced in sacerdotal dignity, you recall what peace and concord of the churches you found. But, with what daring or with what swelling of pride I know not, you have attempted to seize upon a new name for yourself, whereby the hearts of all your brethren would be offended. I wonder exceedingly at this, since I remember that in order not to attain to the episcopal office thou wouldest have fled. But now that thou hast attained unto it, thou desirest so to exercise it as if thou hadst run after it with ambitious desire. And thou who didst confess thyself unworthy to be called a bishop, hast at length been brought to such a pitch that, despising thy brethren, thou desirest to be named the only bishop. And in regard to this matter, weighty letters were sent to thy holiness by my predecessor Pelagius, of holy memory, and in them he annulled the acts of the synod,246 which had been assembled among you in the case of our former brother and fellow priest, Gregory, because of that execrable title of pride, and forbade the archdeacon whom he sent according to custom to the feet of our Lord247 to celebrate the solemnities of the mass with thee. But after his death, when I, an unworthy man, succeeded to the government of the Church, I took care, formerly through thy representatives, and now through our common son and deacon, Sabianus, to address thy fraternity, not indeed in writing, but by word of mouth, desiring thee to refrain thyself from such presumption; and in [pg 594] case thou wouldest not amend I forbade his celebrating the solemnities of the mass with thee; that so I might appeal to thy holiness through a certain sense of shame, and then, if the execrable and profane assumption could not be corrected through shame, I might resort to canonical and prescribed measures. And because sores that are to be cut away should first be stroked with a gentle hand, I beg of thee, I beseech thee, and, as kindly as I can, I demand of thee that thy fraternity rebuke all who flatter thee and offer thee this name of error, and not consent to be called by a foolish and proud title. For truly I say it weeping, and out of deepest sorrow of heart attribute it to my sins, that this my brother, who has been placed in the episcopal order, that he might bring back the souls of others to humility, has, up to the present time, been incapable of being brought back to humility; that he who teaches truth to others has not consented to teach himself, even when I implore him.

Consider, I pray thee, that by this rash presumption the peace of the whole Church is disturbed, and that it is in contradiction to the grace poured out on all in common; in which grace thou thyself wilt be able to grow so far as thou thyself wilt determine to do so. And thou wilt become by so much the greater as thou restrainest thyself from the usurpation of proud and foolish titles; and thou wilt advance in proportion as thou art not bent on arrogation by the humiliation of thy brethren.… Certainly Peter, the first of the Apostles, was a member of the holy and universal Church; Paul, Andrew, John-what are they but the heads of particular communities? And yet all are members under one Head. And to bind all together in a short phrase, the saints before the Law, the saints under the Law, the saints under grace, all these making up the Lord's body were constituted as members of the Church, and not one of them has ever wished himself to be called "universal."…

Is it not the fact, as your fraternity knows, that the prelates of this Apostolic See, which by the providence of God I [pg 595] serve, had the honor offered them by the venerable Council of Chalcedon of being called "universal"?248 But yet not one of them has ever wished to be called by such a title, or seized upon this rash name, lest, if in virtue of the rank of the pontificate, he took to himself the glory of singularity, he might seem to have denied it to all his brethren.

(c) Gregory the Great, Ep. ad Phocam, Reg. XIII, 31. (MSL, 77:1281.)

Epistle to Phocas congratulating him on his accession.

Phocas (602-610) was a low-born, ignorant centurion whom chance had placed at the head of a successful rebellion originating in the army of the Danube. The rebellion was successful, and the Emperor Maurice was murdered, together with his sons. Maurice had been unsuccessful in war, unpopular with the army, and his financial measures had been oppressive. Phocas was utterly incompetent as a ruler, licentious and sanguinary as a man. His reign was a period of horror and blood.

Gregory to Phocas. Glory to God in the highest, who, according as it is written, changes times, and transfers kingdoms, because He has made apparent to all what He has vouchsafed to speak by His prophet, that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will [Dan. 4:17]. For in the incomprehensible dispensation of Almighty God there is an alternating control of human life, and sometimes, when the sins of many are to be smitten, one is raised up through whose hardness the necks of subjects may be bowed down under the yoke of tribulation, as in our affliction we have long had proof. But sometimes, when the merciful God has decreed to refresh with His consolation the mourning hearts of many, He advances one to the summit of government, and through the bowels of His mercy infuses in the minds of all the grace of exultation in Him. In which abundance of exultation we believe that we, who rejoice that the benignity of your piety has arrived at imperial supremacy, shall speedily be confirmed. "Let the heavens rejoice and let the earth be glad" [Psalm 96:11], and let the whole people [pg 596] of the republic, hitherto afflicted exceedingly, grow cheerful for your benignant deeds. Let the proud minds of enemies be subdued to the yoke of your domination. Let the sad and depressed spirit of subjects be relieved by your mercy. Let the power of heavenly grace make you terrible to your enemies; let piety make you kind to your subjects. Let the whole republic have rest in your most happy times, since the pillage of peace under the color of legal processes has been exposed. Let plottings about testaments cease, and benevolences extorted by violence end. Let secure possession of their own goods return to all, that they may rejoice in possessing without fear what they have acquired without fraud. Let every single person's liberty be now at length restored to each one under the yoke of the holy Empire. For there is this difference between the kings of the nations and the emperors of the republic: the kings of the nations are lords of slaves, but the emperors lords of free men. But we shall better speak of these things by praying than by putting you in mind of them. May Almighty God keep the heart of your piety in the hand of His grace in every thought and deed. Whatsoever things should be done justly, whatever things with clemency, may the Holy Ghost, who dwells in your breast direct, that your clemency may both be exalted in a temporal kingdom and after the course of many years attain to heavenly kingdoms. Given in the month June, indiction six.

3. Gregory and the Schism in North Italy.

Among the results of the Fifth General Council of Constantinople, 553, was a wide-spread schism in the northern part of Italy and adjacent lands. The bishops of the western part of Lombardy, under the lead of the bishop of Milan, together with the bishops of Venetia, Istria, and a portion of Illyricum, Rh?tia Secunda, and Noricum, under the bishop of Aquileia, renounced communion with the see of Rome, and became autocephalic. Even bishops in Tuscany abandoned communion with the see of Rome because the council and Vigilius had condemned Theodore, Theodoret, and Ibas (v. supra, § 93). Justin II attempted to heal the schism, and his verbose edict may be found [pg 597] in Evagrius, Hist. Ec., V, 4. A serious problem was presented to the Roman see. In dealing with them, however, it was possible to treat each group separately. On account of the Lombard invasion the bishop of Aquileia removed his see to Grado. Gregory the Great had some success in drawing the schismatics into more friendly relations. But not till 612 was the see of Aquileia-Grado in communion with Rome. A rival bishop was elected, who removed his see to old Aquileia. See extract from Paulus Diaconus (f). And the opposition was maintained until about 700. The Milanese portion of the schism had long since ended. Of Gregory's epistles several bearing on the schism are available in PNF, ser. II, vols. XII and XIII: Reg. I, 16; II, 46, 51; IV, 2, 38, 39; V, 51; IX, 9, 10; XIII, 33.

(d) Gregory the Great, Ep. ad Constantium, Reg. IV, 2. (MSL, 77:669.)

Gregory to Constantius, Bishop of Milan. My beloved son, the deacon Boniface, has given me information from a private letter of thy fraternity: namely, that three bishops, having sought out rather than having found an occasion, have separated themselves from the pious communion of thy fraternity, saying that thou hast assented to the condemnation of the three chapters and hast given a solemn pledge. And, indeed, whether there has been any mention made of the three chapters in any word or writing whatever, thy fraternity remembers well; although thy fraternity's predecessor, Laurentius (circa 573), did send a most strict security to the Apostolic See, and to it a legal number of the most noble men subscribed; among whom, I also, at that time holding the pr?torship of the city, likewise subscribed; because, when such a schism had taken place about nothing, it was right that the Apostolic See should be careful to guard in all respects the unity of the universal Church in the minds of priests. But as to its being said that our daughter, Queen Theodelinda,249 after hearing this news has withdrawn herself from thy communion, it is perfectly evident that though she has been seduced to some little extent by the words of wicked men, yet [pg 598] when Hippolytus the notary and John the abbot arrive, she will seek in all ways the communion of the fraternity.

(e) Gregory the Great, Ep. ad Constantium, Reg. IV, 39. (MSL, 77:713.)

In reply to a letter from Constantius of Milan informing Gregory that the demand had been made upon him by the clergy of Brescia that he should take an oath that he, Constantius, had not condemned the Three Chapters, i.e., had not accepted the Fifth General Council, Gregory advises him to take no such oath.

But lest those who have thus written to you should be offended, send them a letter declaring under an imposition of an anathema that you neither take away anything from the faith of the synod of Chalcedon nor receive those who do, and that you condemn whatsoever it condemned and absolve whatsoever it absolved. And thus I believe that they may soon be satisfied.… As to what you have written to the effect that you are unwilling to transmit my letter to Queen Theodelinda on the ground that the fifth synod is named in it, for you believed that she might be offended, you did right not to transmit it. We are therefore doing now as you recommended, namely, only expressing approval of the four synods. Yet as to the synod which was afterward called at Constantinople, which is called by many the fifth, I would have you know that it neither ordained nor held anything in opposition to the four most holy synods, seeing that nothing was done in it with respect to the faith, but only with respect to three persons, about whom nothing is contained in the acts of the Council of Chalcedon;250 but after the canons had been promulgated, discussion arose, and final action was ventilated concerning persons.

[pg 599]

(f) Paulus Diaconus, Historia Langobardorum, IV, 32, 33, 36. (MSL, 95:657.)

The continuation of the schism in Istria and the rise of the two patriarchates of Aquileia. The Emperor Phocas and the title "Head of All the Churches."

32. In the following month of November [A. D. 605] King Agilulf concluded peace with the Patrician Smaragdus for a year, and received from the Romans twelve thousand solidi. Also the Tuscan cities Balneus Regis [Bagnarea] and Urbs Vetus [Orvieto] were conquered by the Lombards. Then appeared in the heavens in the months of April and May a star which is called a comet. Thereupon King Agilulf again made a peace with the Romans for three years.

33. In the same days after the death of the patriarch Severus, the abbot John was made patriarch of old Aquileia in his place with the approval of the king and Duke Gisulf. Also in Grados [Grado] the Roman251 Candidianus was appointed bishop. In the months of November and December a comet was again visible. After the death of Candidianus, Epiphanius, who had formerly been the papal chief notary, was elected patriarch by the bishops who stood under the Romans; and since this time there were two patriarchs.

36. Phocas, as also has been related above, after the murder of Maurice and his sons, obtained the Roman Empire and ruled for eight years. At the request of Pope Boniface252 he decreed that the seat of the Roman and Apostolic Church should be the head of all churches [caput omnium ecclesiarum], because the Church of Constantinople in a proclamation had named itself first of all. At the request of another Pope Boniface,253 he commanded that the idolatrous rubbish should be removed from the old temple which bore the name of the Pantheon, and from it a church should be made to the holy Virgin Mary and all martyrs, so that where formerly the service [pg 600] not of all gods but of all idols was celebrated, now only the memory of all saints should be found.

4. Gregory the Great and the Lombards.

The Lombards entered Italy 568, and gradually spread over nearly all the peninsula. The territories retained by the Emperor from the conquests of Justinian were only the Exarchate of Ravenna, the Ducatus Romanus, and the Ducatus Neapolitanus, the extreme southern parts of the peninsula and Liguria. The Lombards were the last Germanic tribe to settle within the Empire, and like so many others they were Arians. Theodelinda, the queen of the Lombards, was a Bavarian princess and a Catholic. Her second husband, Agilulf, seems to have been favorably disposed to Catholicism, far more so than Authari, her first husband.

(g) Paulus Diaconus, Historia Langobardorum, IV, 5-9. (MSL, 95:540.)

Paulus Warnefridi, known as Paulus Diaconus (circa 720-circa 800), was himself a Lombard, and in writing his History of the Lombards shows himself the patriot as well as the loyal son of the Roman Church. To do this was at times difficult. The work is one of the most attractive histories written in the Middle Ages. For nearly all of his history, Paulus is dependent upon older sources, but he restates the older accounts in clear and careful fashion. The connection between the various extracts is not always felicitous, yet he has succeeded in producing one of the great books of history. For an analysis of the sources, see F. H. B. Daniell, art. "Paulus (70) Diaconus" in DCB. The best edition is that by Bethmann and Waitz in the MGH, Scriptores rerum Langobardorum et Italicarum s?c. VI-IX, also in the 8vo edition. There is an English translation of the entire work in the Translations and Reprints of the Historical Department of the University of Pennsylvania.

5. At that time the learned and pious Pope Gregory, after he had already written much for the benefit of the holy Church, wrote also four books concerning the lives of the saints; these books he called Dialogus, that is, conversation, because in them he has introduced himself speaking with his deacon Peter. The Pope sent these books to Queen Theodelinda, whom he knew to be true in the faith in Christ and abounding in good works.

[pg 601] 6. Through this queen the Church of God obtained many and great advantages. For the Lombards, when they were still held by heathen unbelief, had taken possession of the entire property of the Church. But, induced by successful requests of the queen, the king, holding fast to the Catholic faith,254 gave the Church of Christ many possessions and assigned to the bishops, who had theretofore been oppressed and despised, their ancient place of honor once more.

7. In these days Tassilo was made king of Bavaria by the Frankish king Childebert. With an army he immediately marched into the land of the Slavs, and with great booty returned to his own land.

9. At the same time the patrician and exarch of Ravenna, Romanus,255 went to Rome. On his return to Ravenna he took possession of the cities which had been taken by the Lombards. The names of them are: Sutrium [Sutri], Polimarcium [near Bomarzio and west of Orte], Horta [Orte], Tuder [Todi], Ameria [Amelia], Perusia [Perugia], Luceoli [near Gubbio], and several others. When King Agilulf received word of this, he at once marched forth from Ticinus with a strong army and pitched before the city of Perusia. Here he besieged several days the Lombard duke Marisio, who had gone over to the side of the Romans, took him prisoner, and without delay had him executed. On the approach of the king, the holy Pope Gregory was so filled with fear that, as he himself reports in his homilies, he broke off the explanation of the temple, to be read about in Ezekiel; King Agilulf returned to Ticinus after he had settled the matter, and not long after, chiefly on account of the entreaties of his wife, Queen Theodelinda, who had often been advised in letters by the holy Father Gregory to do so, he concluded with Gregory and the Romans a lasting [pg 602] peace. To thank her for this, the venerable priest sent the following letter to the queen:

Gregory to Theodelinda, queen of the Lombards. How your excellency has labored earnestly and kindly, as is your wont, for the conclusion of peace, we have learned from the report of our son, the abbot Probus. Nor, indeed, was it otherwise to be expected of your Christianity than that you would in all ways show assiduity and goodness in the cause of peace. Wherefore, we give thanks to Almighty God, who so rules your heart with His lovingkindness that, as He has given you a right faith, so He also grants you to work always what is pleasing in His sight. For you may be assured, most excellent daughter, that for the saving of much bloodshed on both sides you have acquired no small reward. On this account, returning thanks for your good-will, we implore the mercy of God to repay you with good in body and soul here and in the world to come. Moreover, greeting you with fatherly affection, we exhort you so to deal with your most excellent consort that he may not reject the alliance of the Christian republic. For, as I believe you yourself know, it is in many ways profitable that he should be inclined to betake himself to its friendship. Do you then, after your manner, always strive for what tends to good-will and conciliation between the parties, and labor wherever an occasion of reaping a reward presents itself, that you may commend your good deeds the more before the eyes of Almighty God.

§ 100. The Foundation of the Anglo-Saxon Church

The Anglo-Saxon Church owes its foundation to the missionary zeal and wise direction of Gregory the Great. Augustine, whom Gregory sent, arrived in the kingdom of Kent 597, and established himself at Canterbury. In 625, Paulinus began his work at York, and Christianity was accepted by the Northumbrian king and many nobles. On the death of King Eadwine, Paulinus was obliged to leave the kingdom. Missionaries [pg 603] were brought into Northumbria in 635 from the Celtic Church, the centre of which was at Iona, where the new king Oswald had taken refuge on the death of Eadwine. Aidan now became the leader of the Northern Church. As the Christianization of the land advanced and Roman customs were introduced into the northern kingdom, practical inconveniences as to the different methods of reckoning the date of Easter, in which the North Irish and the Celts of Scotland differed from the rest of the Christian Church, came to a settlement of the difficulty at Streaneshalch, or Whitby, 664. Colman, Bishop of Lindisfarne, the leader of the Celtic party, withdrew, and Wilfrid, afterward bishop of York, took the lead under the influence of the Roman tradition. The Church of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, now in agreement as to custom, was organized by Theodore of Canterbury (668-690), and developed a remarkable intellectual life, becoming, in fact, for the first part at least of the eighth century, the centre of Western theological and literary culture.

Additional source material: Bede, Ecclesiastical History of the English People, for editions, v. supra, § 96. This is the best account extant of the conversion of a nation to Christianity. H. Gee and W. J. Hardy, Documents Illustrative of English Church History, London, 1896; A. W. Haddan and W. Stubbs, Councils and Ecclesiastical Documents, 1869 ff.

(a) Bede, Hist. Ec., I, 29. (MSL, 95:69.)

The scheme of Gregory the Great for the organization of the English Church A. D. 601.

Gregory, in planning his mission, seems not to have been aware of the profound changes in the kingdom resulting from the Anglo-Saxon invasion. He selected York as the seat of an archbishop, because it was the ancient capital of the Roman province in the North, and London, because it was the great city of the South. The rivalry of the two archbishops caused difficulties for centuries, and was a hinderance to the efficiency of the ecclesiastical system. By this letter, the British bishops were to be under the authority of Augustine, a position which was distasteful to the British, who were extremely hostile to the Anglo-Saxons, and incomprehensible to them, as they saw no reason or justification in any such arrangement without their consent. They withdrew from all intercourse with the new Anglo-Saxon Church and retired into Wales.

[pg 604] To the most reverend and holy brother and fellow bishop, Augustine, Gregory, servant of the servants of God.

Although it is certain that the unspeakable rewards of the eternal kingdom are laid up for those who labor for Almighty God, yet it is necessary for us to render to them the benefits of honors, that from this recompense they may be able to labor more abundantly in the zeal for spiritual work. And because the new Church of the English has been brought by thee to the grace of Almighty God, by the bounty of the same Lord and by your toil, we grant you the use of the pallium, in the same to perform only the solemnities of the mass, in order that in the various places you ordain twelve bishops who shall be under your authority, so that the bishop of the city of London ought always thereafter to be consecrated by his own synod and receive the pallium of honor from the holy Apostolic See, which by God's authority I serve.256 Moreover, we will that you send to York a bishop whom you shall see fit to ordain, yet so that if the same city shall have received the word of God along with the neighboring places, he shall ordain twelve other bishops, and enjoy the honor of metropolitan, because if our life last, we intend, with the Lord's favor, to give him the pallium also. And we will that he be subject to your authority, my brother. But after your decease he shall preside over the bishops he has ordained, so that he shall not be subject in anywise to the bishop of London. Moreover, let there be a distinction of honor between the bishops of the city of London and of York, in such a way that he shall take the precedence who has been ordained first. But let them arrange in concord by common counsel and harmonious action the things which need to be done for the zeal for Christ; let them determine rightly and let them accomplish what they have decided upon without any mutual misunderstandings.

But you, my brother, shall have subject to you not only the [pg 605] bishops whom you have ordained and those ordained by the bishop of York, but also, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, the priests [i.e., the bishops] of Britain; so that from the lips of your holiness they may receive the form both of correct faith and of holy life, and fulfilling the duties of their office in faith and morals may, when the Lord wills, attain to the kingdom of heaven. May God keep you safe, most reverend brother. Dated the 22d June in the nineteenth year of the reign of Mauritius Tiberius, the most pious Augustus, in the eighteenth year of the consulship of the same Lord, indiction four.

(b) Bede, Hist. Ec., III, 25 f. (MSL, 95:158.)

The Easter dispute and the synod of Whitby. The triumph of the Roman tradition.

The sharpest dispute between the Celtic and the Roman churches was on the date of Easter as presenting the most inconveniences. The principal points were as follows: Both parties agreed that it must be on Sunday, in the third week of the first lunar month, and the paschal full moon must not fall before the vernal equinox. But the Celts placed the vernal equinox on March 25, and the Romans on March 21. The Celts, furthermore, reckoned as the third week the 14th to the 20th days of the moon inclusive; the Romans the 15th to the 21st inclusive. The Irish Church in the southern part of Ireland had already adopted the Roman reckoning at the synod of Leighlin, 630-633 [Hefele, § 289]. The occasion of the difference of custom was, in reality, that the Romans had adopted in the previous century a more correct method of reckoning and one that had fewer practical inconveniences. For a statement by a Celt, see Epistle of Columbanus to Gregory the Great, in the latter's Epistol?, Reg. IX, Ep. 127 (PNF, ser. II, vol. XIII, p. 38). In the following selection space has been saved by omissions which are, however, indicated.

At this time [circa 652] a great and frequent controversy happened about the observance of Easter; those that came from Kent or France asserting that the Scots kept Easter Sunday contrary to the custom of the universal Church. Among them was a most zealous defender of the true Easter, whose name was Ronan, a Scot by nation, but instructed in ecclesiastical truth, either in France or Italy, who disputed [pg 606] with Finan,257 and convinced many, or at least induced them, to make a stricter inquiry after the truth; yet he could not prevail upon Finan … James, formerly the deacon of the venerable archbishop Paulinus … kept the true and Catholic Easter, with all those that he could persuade to adopt the right way. Queen Eanfleda [wife of Oswy, king of Northumbria] and her attendants also observed the same as she had seen practised in Kent, having with her a Kentish priest that followed the Catholic mode, whose name was Romanus. Thus it is said to have happened in those times that Easter was kept twice in one year;258 and that when the king, having ended the time of fasting, kept his Easter, the queen and her attendants were still fasting and celebrating Palm Sunday.…

After the death of Finan [662] … when Colman, who was also sent out of Scotland, came to be bishop, a great controversy arose about the observance of Easter, and the rules of ecclesiastical life.… This reached the ears of King Oswy and his son Alfrid; for Oswy, having been instructed and baptized by the Scots, and being very perfectly skilled in their language, thought nothing better than what they taught. But Alfrid, having been instructed in Christianity by Wilfrid, a most learned man, who had first gone to Rome to learn the ecclesiastical doctrine, and spent much time at Lyons with Dalfinus, archbishop of France, from whom he had received the ecclesiastical tonsure, rightly thought this man's doctrine ought to be preferred to all the traditions of the Scots.…

The controversy having been started concerning Easter, the tonsure, and other ecclesiastical matters, it was agreed that a synod should be held in the monastery of Streaneshalch, which signifies the bay of the lighthouse, where the Abbess Hilda, a woman devoted to God, presided; and that there the controversy should be decided. The kings, both father and son, came hither. Bishop Colman, with his Scottish clerks, [pg 607] and Agilbert,259 and the priests Agatho and Wilfrid. James and Romanus were on their side. But the Abbess Hilda and her associates were for the Scots, as was also the venerable bishop Cedd, long before ordained by the Scots.… Then Colman said: "The Easter which I keep, I received from my elders who sent me hither as bishop; all our fathers, men beloved of God, are known to have kept it in the same manner; and that the same may not seem to any to be contemptible or worthy of being rejected, it is the same which St. John the Evangelist, the disciple especially beloved of our Lord, with all the churches over which he presided, is recorded as having observed.…"

Wilfrid, having been ordered by the king to speak, said: "The Easter which we observe we saw celebrated by all at Rome, where the blessed Apostles, Peter and Paul, lived, taught, suffered, and were buried; we saw the same done in Italy and France, when we travelled through those countries for pilgrimage and prayer. We found the same practised in Africa, Asia, Egypt, Greece, and in all the world, wherever the Church of Christ is spread abroad, through several nations and tongues, at one and the same time … except only those and their accomplices in obstinacy, I mean the Picts and the Britons, who foolishly, in these two remote islands of the world, and only in part of them, oppose all the rest of the universe.… John, pursuant to the custom of the law, began the celebration of the feast of Easter on the fourteenth day of the month, in the evening, not regarding whether the same happened on a Saturday or any other day.… Thus it appears that you, Colman, neither follow the example of John, as you imagine, nor that of Peter, whose traditions you knowingly contradict.… For John, keeping the paschal time according to the decree of the Mosaic law, had no regard to the first day after the Sabbath [i.e., that it should fall on Sunday], and you who celebrate Easter only on the first day after the Sabbath do not practise this. Peter kept Easter [pg 608] Sunday between the fifteenth and the twenty-first day of the moon, and you do not do this, but keep Easter Sunday from the fourteenth to the twentieth day of the moon, so that you often begin Easter on the thirteenth moon in the evening … besides this in your celebration of Easter, you utterly exclude the twenty-first day of the moon, which the law ordered to be especially observed."

To this Colman rejoined: "Did Anatolius, a holy man, and much commended in ecclesiastical history, act contrary to the Law and the Gospel when he wrote that Easter was to be celebrated from the fourteenth to the twentieth? Is it to be believed that our most reverend Father Columba and his successors, men beloved of God, who kept Easter after the same manner, thought or acted contrary to the divine writings? Whereas there were many among them whose sanctity was attested by heavenly signs and the workings of miracles, whose life, customs, discipline I never cease to follow, not questioning that they are saints in heaven."

Wilfrid said: "It is evident that Anatolius was a most holy and learned and commendable man; but what have you to do with him, since you do not observe his decrees? For he, following the rule of truth in his Easter, appointed a cycle of nineteen years, which you are either ignorant of, or if you know yet despise, though it is kept by the whole Church of Christ.… Concerning your Father Columba and his followers … I do not deny that they were God's servants, and beloved by Him, who, with rustic simplicity but pious intentions, have themselves loved Him.… But as for you and your companions, you certainly sin, if, having heard the decrees of the Apostolic See, or rather of the universal Church, and the same confirmed by Holy Scripture, you refuse to follow them. For though your Fathers were holy, do you think that their small number in a corner of the remotest island is to be preferred before the universal Church of Christ throughout the world? And if that Columba of yours (and, I may say, ours also, if he was Christ's servant) was a holy man and [pg 609] powerful in miracles, yet could he be preferred before the most blessed prince of the Apostles, to whom our Lord said: 'Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it, and to thee I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven'?"

When Wilfrid had thus spoken, the king said: "Is it true, Colman, that these words were spoken to Peter by our Lord?" He answered: "It is true, O king." Then he said: "Can you show any such power given to your Columba?" Colman answered: "None." Then the king added: "Do you both agree that these words were principally directed to Peter, and that the keys of heaven were given to him by our Lord?" They both answered: "We do." Then the king concluded: "And I also say unto you that he is the doorkeeper whom I will not contradict, but will, as far as I know and am able in all things, obey his decrees, lest, when I come to the gates of the kingdom of heaven, there should be one to open them, he being my adversary who is proved to have the keys." The king having said this, all present, both small and great, gave their assent, and renounced the more imperfect institution, and resolved to conform to that which they found to be better.… [ch. 26]. Colman, perceiving that his doctrine was rejected and his sect despised, took with him such as would not comply with the Catholic Easter and the tonsure (for there was much controversy about that also) and went back to Scotland to consult with his people what was to be done in this case. Cedd, forsaking the practices of the Scots, returned to his bishopric, having submitted to the Catholic observance of Easter. This disputation happened in the year of our Lord's incarnation, 664.

(c) Bede, Hist. Ec., IV, 5. (MSL, 95:180.)

The Council of Hertford A. D. 673. The organization of the Anglo-Saxon Church by Theodore.

As the important synod of Whitby marks the beginning of conformity of the Anglo-Saxon Church under the leadership of the kingdom of Northumbria to the customs of the Roman Church, so the [pg 610] synod of Hertford brings the internal organization of the Church into conformity with the diocesan system of the Continent and of the East, where the principles of the general councils were at this time most completely enforced. Theodore of Canterbury was a learned Greek who was sent to England to be archbishop of Canterbury by Pope Vitalian in 668. The Council of Hertford was the first council of all the Church among the Anglo-Saxons. For the council, see also Haddan and Stubbs, Councils and Ecclesiastical Documents, III, 118-122. The text given is that of Plummer.

In the name of our Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ, in the perpetual reign of the same Lord Jesus Christ and His government of His Church. It seemed good that we should come together according to the prescription of the venerable canons, to treat of the necessary affairs of the Church. We are met together on this 24th day of September, the first indiction in the place called Hertford. I, Theodore, although unworthy, appointed by the Apostolic See bishop of the church of Canterbury, and our fellow priest the most reverend Bisi, bishop of the East Angles, together with our brother and fellow bishop Wilfrid, bishop of the nation of the Northumbrians, present by his proper legates, as also our brethren and fellow bishops, Putta, bishop of the Castle of the Kentishmen called Rochester, Leutherius, bishop of the West Saxons, and Winfrid, bishop of the province of the Mercians, were present. When we were assembled and had taken our places, each according to his rank, I said: I beseech you, beloved brethren, for the fear and love of our Redeemer, that we all labor in common for our faith, that whatsoever has been decreed and determined by the holy and approved Fathers may be perfectly followed by us all. I enlarged upon these and many other things tending unto charity and the preservation of the unity of the Church. And when I had finished my speech I asked them singly and in order whether they consented to observe all things which had been canonically decreed by the Fathers? To which all our fellow priests answered: We are all well agreed readily and most cheerfully to keep whatever the canons of the holy Fathers have prescribed. [pg 611] Whereupon I immediately produced the book of canons,260 and pointed out ten chapters from the same book, which I had marked, because I knew that they were especially necessary for us, and proposed that they should be diligently observed by all, namely:

Ch. 1. That we shall jointly observe Easter day on the Lord's day after the fourteenth day of the moon in the first month.

Ch. 2. That no bishop invade the diocese of another, but be content with the government of the people committed to him.

Ch. 3. That no bishop be allowed to trouble in any way any monasteries consecrated to God, nor to take away by violence anything that belongs to them.

Ch. 4. That the monks themselves go not from place to place; that is, from one monastery to another, without letters dismissory of their own abbot;261 but that they shall continue in that obedience which they promised at the time of their conversion.

Ch. 5. That no clerk, leaving his own bishop, go up and down at his own pleasure, nor be received wherever he comes, without commendatory letters from his bishop; but if he be once received and refuse to return when he is desired so to do, both the receiver and the received shall be laid under an excommunication.

Ch. 6. That stranger bishops and clerks be content with the hospitality that is freely offered them; and none of them be allowed to exercise any sacerdotal function without permission of the bishop in whose diocese he is known to be.

Ch. 7. That a synod be assembled twice in the year. But, because many occasions may hinder this, it was jointly agreed by all that once in the year it be assembled on the first of August in the place called Clovesho.

[pg 612] Ch. 8. That no bishop ambitiously put himself before another, but that every one observe the time and order of his consecration.

Ch. 9. The ninth chapter was discussed together: That the number of bishops be increased as the number of the faithful grew;262 but we did nothing as to this point at present.

Ch. 10. As to marriages: That none shall be allowed to any but what is a lawful marriage. Let none commit incest. Let none relinquish his own wife but for fornication, as the holy Gospel teaches. But if any have dismissed a wife united to him in lawful marriage, let him not be joined to another if he wish really to be a Christian, but remain as he is or be reconciled to his own wife.

After we had jointly treated on and discussed these chapters, that no scandalous contention should arise henceforth by any of us, and that there be no changes in the publication of them, it seemed proper that every one should confirm by the subscription of his own hand whatever had been determined. I dictated this our definitive sentence to be written by Titillus, the notary. Done in the month and indiction above noted. Whosoever, therefore, shall attempt in any way to oppose or infringe this sentence, confirmed by our present consent, and the subscription of our hands as agreeable to the decrees of the canons, let him know that he is deprived of every sacerdotal function and our society. May the divine grace preserve us safe living in the unity of the Church.

(d) Bede, Hist. Ec., IV, 17. (MSL, 95:198.)

Council of Hatfield, A. D. 680.

At the Council of Hatfield the Anglo-Saxon Church formally recognized the binding authority of the five general councils already held, and rejected Monotheletism in accord with the Roman synod A. D. 649. It seems to have been, as stated in the introduction to the Acts of the council, a preventive measure. In Plummer's edition of Bede this chapter is numbered 15.

[pg 613] At this time Theodore, hearing that the faith of the Church of Constantinople had been much disturbed by the heresy of Eutyches,263 and being desirous that the churches of the English over which he ruled should be free from such a stain, having collected an assembly of venerable priests and very many doctors, diligently inquired what belief they each held, and found unanimous agreement of all in the Catholic faith; and this he took care to commit to a synodical letter for the instruction and remembrance of posterity. This is the beginning of the letter:

In the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, in the reign of our most pious lords, Egfrid, king of the Humbrians, in the tenth year of his reign, on the fifteenth day before the Kalends of October [September 17] in the eighth indiction, and Ethelred, king of the Mercians, in the sixth year of his reign; and Adwulf, king of the Kentishmen, in the seventh year of his reign; Theodore being president, by the grace of God, archbishop of the island of Britain and of the city of Canterbury, and other venerable men sitting with him, bishops of the island of Britain, with the holy Gospels laid before them, and in the place which is called by the Saxon name of Hatfield, we, handling the subject in concert, have made an exposition of the right and orthodox faith, as our incarnate Lord Jesus Christ delivered it to His disciples, who saw Him present and heard His discourses, and as the creed of the holy Fathers has delivered it, and all the holy and universal synods and all the chorus of approved doctors of the Catholic Church teach. We therefore piously and orthodoxly following them and, making our profession according to their divinely inspired teaching, believe in unison with it, and confess according to the holy Fathers that the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost are properly and truly a consubstantial Trinity in unity, and unity in Trinity; that is, in one God in three consubstantial subsistencies or persons of equal glory and honor.

[pg 614] And after many things of this kind that pertained to the confession of the right faith, the holy synod also adds these things to its letter:

We have received as holy and universal five synods of the blessed Fathers acceptable to God; that is, of the three hundred and eighteen assembled at Nic?a against the most impious Arius and his tenets; and of the one hundred and fifty at Constantinople against the madness of Macedonius and Eudoxius and their tenets; and of the two hundred in the first Council of Ephesus against the most wicked Nestorius and his tenets; and of the six hundred and thirty at Chalcedon against Eutyches and Nestorius and their tenets; and again of those assembled in a fifth council at Constantinople [A. D. 553], in the time of the younger Justinian, against Theodore and the epistles of Theodoret and Ibas and their tenets against Cyril.

And a little after: Also we have received the synod264 that was held in the city of Rome in the time of the blessed Pope Martin in the eighth indiction, in the ninth year of the reign of the most pious Constantine.265 And we glorify our Lord Jesus Christ as they glorified Him, neither adding nor subtracting anything; and we anathematize with heart and mouth those whom they anathematized; and those whom they received we receive, glorifying God the Father without beginning, and his only begotten Son, begotten of the Father before the world began, and the Holy Ghost proceeding ineffably from the Father and the Son, as those holy Apostles, prophets, and doctors have declared whom we have mentioned above. And we all who with Theodore have made an exposition of the Catholic faith have subscribed hereto.

[pg 615]

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