To the Eve of the Reformation

by Philip Hughes


5. CHARLEMAGNE, 768-814
4. THE LATIN EAST, 1100-1151



Let us begin by making clear what we mean by " The West." It is the western half of the Roman Empire as Gratian reorganised it in 379, the Pretorian Prefectures of Italy and the Gauls, the dioceses of Italy, Rome, Africa, Gaul, Spain and Britain, all Europe west of the Rhine, south of the Danube and west, roughly, of the meridian of 20 deg. E. with, in Africa, the modern Morocco, Tunis and Tripoli. The West had not been created a separate empire by Diocletian's far-reaching reforms in the administration. It was, in his time, simply the sphere of jurisdiction of the junior of the two partners who, henceforward, were jointly to share the indivisible imperium?.

This new system was only more or less preserved in the next hundred years. For thirteen years (324-337), under Constantine the Great, the Empire had but a single emperor; and after a short interval it was again united under his son Constantius II (351-361). Valentinian I divided it once again in 364, and so it remained until the assassination of Valentinian II nearly thirty years later. This emperor left no heir, and his eastern colleague, mastering the usurper who had murdered Valentinian, now became sole emperor of the Roman world. This was Theodosius, called the Great, destined, though he could not know it, to be the last man to rule effectively the vast heritage in which, since the days of Augustus, the lands that encircle the Mediterranean had been politically and culturally united. Theodosius died (January 28, 395) prematurely, only a few months after his final establishment, and within ten years the forces, to ward off which the best efforts of every great mind in the last hundred years had been directed, surged up yet once again, this time to have their will. They were destined -- these forces which, carelessly and none too accurately, we have come to lump together as the Barbarian Invasions -- so to transform the West that, in the end, it became a new thing, politically and culturally. In that long process political unity disappeared and the Western Emperor, too, who was its symbol and its source. The Catholic Church survived.

To understand what this meant we need to recall how much of Catholicism there was to survive; we must survey the Catholic achievement in the West at the moment when the Barbarian Invasions began, describe the history of the Church in the West between the act of Constantine which definitely gave it legal security and the death of the last great personality whom that new age of the Christian Empire produced, St. Augustine. It is the story of Catholicism in Africa, perhaps the most Catholic province of the West, slowly shaken to pieces by the terrible experiences of the long Donatist schism; the story of Spain similarly disturbed but in less degree by the friends and the enemies of Priscillian; the story of the first attempts to evangelise what was the least Catholic part of all -- the countrysides of Gaul -- and of the Roman See's careful organisation of new means through which to develop the exercise of its traditional primacy. It is the story, too, of a great dogmatic conflict about the fundamentally important truth of the nature of the divine activity in the soul's progress towards God. It is the story, finally, of the life work of St. Augustine, the greatest mind as yet given to the Church.

The Donatist Schism, which, in the fourth century, wrought as much damage to the Church in Africa as did the contemporary Arian trouble to the Church in the East, was a legacy from the persecution of Diocletian. Africa, on that emperor's partition of the State, fell within the jurisdiction of Maximian and although with Maximian's abdication (305) the persecution practically ceased, it had been, for the two years it lasted, a very bitter reality indeed. The Church had suffered particularly from a very stringent inquisition after the sacred books and vessels; and a very great proportion of the numerous nominal apostasies which occurred, had taken the form of surrendering the sacred books and vessels for profanation and destruction.

Against such traditores, now more or less repentant, there was the same indignant feeling that had shown itself fifty years before in the time of St. Cyprian against the semi-apostates of the persecution of Decius. In Egypt, too, and in Rome, the Church was experiencing a similar period of strain. And, in Africa, as elsewhere, amongst those accused, or suspected, of thus throwing the holy things to the Pagans were a number of the bishops.

One such episcopal suspect was the Bishop of Carthage, the Primate of Africa himself, Mensurius. Whatever the degree of his apostasy, [ ] Mensurius had had to face from a number of those whose loyalty won them imprisonment -- the confessors -- the same kind of trouble that had marked the beginning of St. Cyprian's episcopate. History was repeating itself; the confessors, once again, were endeavouring to subordinate episcopal authority to their own personal prestige. The bishop had to take disciplinary action. He made careful distinction between the real victims of the persecution and those who, in danger of the law for other, less avowable, reasons, now used their faith to win alms and help from the charity of the faithful, or who were in prison as the inevitable result of their own acts of bravado. Whereupon the self-created and self-glorified " confessors" declared him cut off from communion with them and therefore from the Church.

Mensurius died in 311. In his place the Church elected the deacon Cecilian who had been his chief ally in the recent troubles, and to whom there had fallen the unpleasant task of carrying out the details of the late bishop's policy in respect of the rebellious " confessors." Immediately all the latent hatreds fused. There were the " confessors," now long freed from prison, and their cliques; there were Cecilian's rivals, embittered since his election; there were his predecessor's trustees whom Cecilian had, at the eleventh hour, just been able to foil in a scheme of embezzlement; there was a pious and wealthy woman -- Lucilla -- mortally offended by Cecilian's refusal to enthuse over her private cult of her own privately canonised " confessor"; there were the bishops of Numidia, already embittered with Mensurius and very willing to embarrass his successor. Finally, there was Donatus, Bishop of Casae Nigrae in Numidia, but living now in Carthage, a born leader of men with a genius for organisation and propaganda. He it was who organised the party, and from him it has its name.

The discontented appealed, then, against Cecilian's election; and the Primate of Numidia, whom it in no way concerned, came into Carthage with seventy bishops to try the case. Cecilian ignored the " council's " summons; he was declared to be an intruder. As " successor " to Mensurius the assembled bishops, and their motley of cranks and fanatics, elected one of Lucilla's clerics, half-chaplain, half-secretary, the lector Maiorinus. But the most serious feature of the affair was not the mere fact that a second Bishop of Carthage had been intruded, but the theological basis by which the intrusion was justified and Cecilian condemned.

Cecilian's consecrator had been the Bishop of Aptonga, Felix; and Felix of Aptonga, it was alleged, had in the recent persecution been among the traditores. Such apostasy, declared the electors of Maiorinus, a fall from grace, entailed necessarily the loss of all spiritual power in the apostate. Felix could no longer be a means of grace: he could no longer baptise, no longer ordain, nor consecrate. It was the old theory of St. Cyprian which Rome had condemned so vigorously, which he had died without retracting, and which had survived him as a peculiar tradition of the African Church, to be used now against his own legitimately elected successor. Cecilian was, then, no bishop, according to this theory; the priests he ordained were no priests; the sacrifices they offered a mere parade, their baptisms a ceremony only. Whoever depended on Cecilian ceased by the fact, necessarily inevitably, to be in the Church at all. Whence from the very beginning of the schism a terrible aggressive bitterness on the part of the schismatics; and within a very short time the quarrel within the Church had become a problem of public order. The civil authority could not but intervene.

Cecilian was elected in 311, Maiorinus in 312 -- in the October of which year, Africa, by the battle of the Milvian Bridge, came under the control of Constantine. It was the very moment of the emperor's conversion, and to arrange the religious troubles of the province was one of his first concerns. He decided in favour of Cecilian, and the letter to the imperial Vicar of Africa, notifying this decision, is interesting witness to the emperor's high conception of his new role as the Church's protector. " I must admit," he wrote, " that I do not feel free to tolerate or to ignore these scandals, which may provoke the Divinity not only against the human race but against myself. For it is an act of the divine good pleasure which has chosen me to rule the world. Should I provoke Him, He may choose another. True and lasting peace I can never achieve, nor can I indeed ever promise myself the perfect happiness which comes from the good will of God Almighty, until all men, united in brotherly love, offer to the most holy God the worship of the Catholic faith."

Constantine, thirty years of age, had marched from victory to victory ever since, on his father's death, he had forced himself on the other emperors as his successor. He was now, thanks to the unfamiliar nature of the problem, to meet a decisive check. His dual role of head of the State and protector of the Faith, his double anxiety for public order and the unity of the Church, were to be his undoing.

He began (313) by recognising Cecilian and ordering the local authorities to effectuate the dispossession of the Donatists where these were in power. The Donatists appealed against the decision, alleging the invalidity of Cecilian's ordination and asking for judges from among the bishops of Gaul; and Constantine agreed that the question should be reopened. He chose three Gallic bishops, ordered others, Italians, to be added to them and with the pope at the head of the tribunal the affair was solemnly judged at Rome (October, 313). This episcopal court, sitting in the Lateran (the first appearance in ecclesiastical history of that famous palace), heard both sides and declared that Donatus had not proved his case. Cecilian was, undoubtedly, the lawfully elected Bishop of Carthage.

The Donatists appealed once more. The affair was spreading rapidly, and already, in most of the African sees, the Catholic bishop had a Donatist competitor. Constantine ordered a new enquiry. Its subject this time was not Cecilian but his consecrator, the alleged traditor Felix of Aptonga, and the enquiry was an affair of State, conducted by the imperial officials in the courts. The police books of the time of the persecution were produced; the magistrate who had ordered the search and the arrest of Felix appeared to give evidence. It was proved that Felix was innocent, that he had in fact never even been arrested during the persecution, and also it transpired that the Donatists had been busy forging an official certificate of Felix's guilt. This evidence the emperor sent to Gaul where, at Aries, a great council from all the West had been convoked to adjudicate on the matter once more. The council (August, 314) examined the whole affair and, noting the Donatists as " crazy fanatics, a danger to Christianity," it declared for Cecilian.

The Donatists appealed yet again, and for a third time Constantine listened to them. He summoned both Cecilian and Donatus [ ] to Brescia, and while he kept them there, sent to Carthage a commission to see if, with both of the leaders away, the rival factions could not be reconciled. Only when this was found impossible and the commission had reported that a decision must be given, did he judge. And once more, after another examination, he decided for Cecilian (November, 316). This decision Constantine followed up by an order that the churches which the Donatists held were to be restored to the Catholics, and that the Donatists were to be forbidden to meet.

Constantine's unwillingness to enforce the judgements of the different judges to whom he had referred the matter and his readiness, time and again, to reopen it, are to be put down to. his anxiety for the preservation of public order. He knew his Africa, and knew that this was no mere question of a theologians' quarrel. It was, then, with the greatest reluctance that he issued the orders which were the logical consequence of the judgement, and the reception which met them must have seemed to justify his hesitation. Everywhere there were riots, destruction and bloodshed; and nowhere more of it all than in Numidia where, in the five years of the agitation, the Donatists had gained the upper hand and had driven the Catholics under.

The movement, like Monophysitism a century later in Egypt, was beginning to draw to itself all that survived of the native tradition below the veneer of Roman civilisation, all that life so long exploited for the benefit of the cosmopolitan capitalist and adventurer, ancient social hatreds which would find in this religious crusade a long awaited opportunity, and which would turn it very soon into a peasants' war of rapine and murder. Wherever the Donatists gained ground, indeed, there soon appeared, as the militant auxiliaries of their bishop, the organised bands of the Circumcellions.

It is not easy to find, in later history, a parallel which would serve to explain them. They were nominally Christian, fanatically attached to their own interpretation of the Gospel's social teaching, self-appointed judges and avengers of social inequality, rigorist in matters of morality in the narrow sense, and wholly unconcerned with its obligations where these stood in the way of their customary procedure. Armed with bludgeons they roamed the countrysides, ravaging the estates of the wealthy, compelling assent by outrage and terror, with forever on their lips the incongruous war cry of Deo Laudes. Their dearest aspiration was to die for the Faith, and if, since there were no longer any persecutors, this was now a matter of some difficulty, then to die at any rate and to seek death at the hands of the chance passer-by. So the tragicomic spectacle, at times, of the peaceful citizen bidden to murder the fanatic under the menace of the like fate for himself. Donatism did not invent the Circumcellions. Their extravagance was a local product of the spirituality of the century, akin to the extravagances of the undisciplined pioneers of monasticism in the deserts further to the East. But Donatism, with its insistence that the Catholics were laxists, the descendants of traditores, and with its profession of a higher and more rigorous sanctity, rallied these bands to the schism. As long as the schism lasted they were the picked agents of its propaganda, terrorists who came to hold whole provinces in their grip. Wherever they gained the upper hand the Catholics who held firm were massacred, those who yielded, re-baptised, and, if clerics, re-ordained. The churches which escaped destruction were washed and re-washed to purify them from the effects of the rites of the traditores, the Blessed Sacrament consecrated by Catholics thrown to the dogs. In the days of the Donatist power whole provinces laboured under this tyranny.

Under these circumstances the policy of repression speedily developed into a local civil war, which another war of propaganda kept active and alive for years; and at last when, in 321, the Donatists made an appeal for toleration, Constantine granted it. He did so in letters which make no secret of his disgust and contempt for the sect. They are not to enjoy the privileges which the Catholics have; nevertheless they may live, and live as Donatists; the Catholics he exhorts to remember the Gospel and the duty of pardoning, and even of loving, those who hate them; the Donatist bishops were freed from prison: and the movement proceeded to consolidate what it had gained.

The regime of tolerance inaugurated by Constantine lasted for just over twenty-five years until his son, Cons tans, in 347, felt himself strong enough to pick up the long-standing challenge. For that quarter of a century had been for the Donatists-especially in Numidia -- a period of licence, in which their violence had had full play. Now at last the Government proposed to come to the aid of the oppressed Catholics. It needed an army to execute the edict. Once more there were riots and massacres, but finally the Donatist bishops were rounded up and exiled, their churches handed over to the Catholics, and for fifteen uneasy years there was peace.

That peace endured until Julian the Apostate, in the acknowledged hope of embarrassing Catholicism, recalled the exiles. Their return was the signal for a renewed reign of terror, and although Julian died the next year (363), his successor, Valentinian I, did not reverse this part of his policy. Valentinian was indeed a Catholic, but his religious belief was most carefully kept out of his public policy. Religious disputes, he held, were the bishops' affair, and he declined to take official notice of them. With his accession there set in for the African Church the worst period of its history so far. From the State it no longer received the protection of a privileged party. Donatist and Catholic were alike in the State's regard.

The Church was dependent entirely on its own resources and unhappily these, at the moment, were not great. Notably it suffered from a lack of leaders, and from a hierarchy in which the proportion of nullities was unduly high. Restitutus, the Catholic primate, had even played a prominent part in that Council of Rimini which a few years earlier (359) had capitulated to the Arian Constantius II, while the Donatist primate -- Parmenian -- was a man of real ability, an organiser, a scholar and a good controversialist. His one competent Catholic opponent was the Bishop of Milevis, Optatus. But despite the logic of Optatus, and despite the jealousy that tore the Donatists into rival factions, and despite the differences which led to the expulsion of their greatest writer Tyconius, the schism maintained its gains. In 372 there was a great native rising against the Roman power. Many of the Donatists were implicated, and henceforward the government of Valentinian was a little less neutral; but for all that, and especially in Numidia, the Donatist supremacy was far from destroyed.

Then, as the century came to an end, three things happened which promised to reverse the history of the thirty years since Julian. In 390 Parmenian died, after ruling his church for thirty-five years, and the Donatists were never again able to produce a leader of his ability. Two years later, by the death of Valentinian II, Africa came under the rule of Theodosius the Great, a convinced and enthusiastic Catholic, a stern Spaniard for whom compromise and half measures had no meaning. But more important, by far, than either of these events was the entry into Catholic life of St. Augustine, ordained priest in 391, Bishop of Hippo from 396.


St. Augustine's first official connection with Donatism was his attendance at the Council of Carthage in 393. He was then a man close on forty [ ]; he had been a priest two years, and a Catholic for six. He was, like many another in this century of religious transition, the child of a mixed marriage in which the mother was Catholic and the father Pagan. From that mother he had gained, in earliest infancy and childhood, his first notions of Catholicism, a knowledge and love of God and of Jesus Christ which remained, despite the Pagan education of boyhood and adolescence, to be the source of never-ceasing self-questioning and discontented criticism of whatever system of thought attracted his mind. He was intellectually precocious, with the temperament of the artist, and all the frank sensuality of the Pagan. From his very schooldays, in the matter of sexual morality he ran amok, to settle down at the age of eighteen to something like sobriety with the girl who bore him the child Adeodatus.

Meanwhile, amidst all his dissipated recreations and the financial anxieties that accompanied them, the thought of God and the attraction of Christ never left him, and with this, an ever-growing anxiety for intellectual security about God's nature and about the nature and origin of evil. The Church's doctrine on these problems, like many another since, he partly misunderstood and wholly disliked. Catholics, he thought, had an anthropomorphic idea of God (whence their retention of the Old Testament); and a doctrine which made man's free will responsible for evil, not only conflicted with his philosophical creed (which made evil to be a thing material), but conflicted also with his desire to possess Christ and yet follow his own way of life. Cicero's Hortensius set once more aflame his old desire for wisdom -- though he grieved that the wonder book lacked the savour of Christ; and then, at nineteen, he gave himself to the Manichees.

St. Augustine's adherence to Manicheeism is one of the earliest, and perhaps the most noteworthy, of all the contacts between Catholicism and a religion that harassed it for a good thousand years. Mani, its founder, was a Persian, and it was about the year 240 that he began to publish his supplement to the world's revealed religion. Mani, it is his own account of himself, is the herald of a doctrine in which all revelation is summed up and completed, the successor of Buddha, Zoroaster and Our Lord Himself. The Paraclete promised by Our Lord has appeared, revealing all truth to Mani, past and future equally with the present, and Mani is now one body and one soul with the Paraclete. But there is nothing of the Montanist ecstatic about this Persian prophet. Clear, cool-headed reflection marks all his writings. The chief influences upon his thought are eastern. There is in it nothing directly Hellenistic. The prophet never himself crossed the frontiers of the Roman Empire. His religion is not a product of Paganism, but a kind of bastard Christianity, the outcome of Mani's ambition to complete Christianity, and of the accident that his own life coincided with the flood tide of the syncretist movement observable in the religious world since the death of Alexander the Great. It is this Syncretism that is responsible for the curious juxtaposition of Christian and anti-Christian elements in the work. It is responsible, too, for the presence in Manicheeism of a particularly disgraceful mythology. In some respects the system recalls those of the Egyptian Gnostics, and in others Marcionism.

Mani was a capable organiser. He not only prophesied that his religion would conquer the world, but, like Marc ion, he set it in a strong close-knit framework. Like Marcionism it taught a dual origin of life and the universe, and the perpetual antagonism of the two supreme principles, the one good and the other evil. It advocated much the same kind of materially inspired austerity, prohibitions of certain foods and drinks and of marriage. On the other hand the sect was twofold. There were the Elect, bound to all observances, and the Hearers who accepted the system and would one day qualify for salvation by passing into the ranks of the Elect, but who, until then, had no more onerous obligation than to hold fast to their resolution to do so.

For St. Augustine the system had the same general attraction that all Gnostic systems held for the educated mind. It professed, ultimately, to give a purely rational explanation of the riddle of life, of man and his destiny, the nature of God, the problem of evil. It did not, like the Church, offer a teaching which, very often, was above the power of reason to understand. The Manichees knew; and they would, in time, teach the disciple all. There was about the system a great parade of learning, philosophical and astrological; it had all the appearance of being the academic thing it seemed. It had the further advantage, for Augustine, that it offered a way to be at rest intellectually without first regulating the moral disorder of his life.

For nine years he remained in the sect -- never quite so secure as he would have liked; and then came Scepticism, and enough of Aristotle to shake to bits what security he had; and, the great Manichee of the day failing to restore his confidence in the system, Augustine abandoned it. He was back once more in the chaos of conflicting doubts and then, in 383, there came a nomination to the chair of rhetoric in the western capital, Milan.

Augustine accepted it gladly and, with the sermons of the city's bishop, St. Ambrose, at which he most assiduously assisted, his intellectual life passed into another and richer phase. In the first place St. Ambrose, too, was a rhetorician -- though by genius and not profession; and through his oratory something of the thought of the greatest of Christian philosophers hitherto, Origen, came to influence Augustine. Catholicism and philosophy were, then, by no means incompatible. The religion of the Church could survive the test of philosophical discussion, could possibly be the shrine of that Wisdom so long sought. Also the sermons at Milan enlightened Augustine's prejudiced ignorance. Catholics, he knew now, had not an anthropomorphic idea of God.

Nevertheless, Augustine was still far from Catholicism. There still remained his old difficulty that all is matter; and since it was impossible to explain materially the God of the Catholic Theology how could the Church's religion be true? Deliverance came through Neoplatonism, [ ] with its insistence that the spiritual world is a reality, that it is self-sufficient, immutable, its truths necessarily, universally valid, and that to the spiritual the material is, and must be, subject. God then, his reason now acknowledged, was Spirit -- and spirit, too, the soul; evil was no creature but lack of being. The last barrier between Augustine's intellect and the Church was down. There still remained the facts of sense, and the legacy in his soul of the years of moral disorder.

Here, too, alas, his primary deliverer was Neoplatonism -- alas, for just as truly as the Neoplatonic speculation about spirit ran easily to Pantheism, so, in the practical order, it ran to a wrongly ordered asceticism, an asceticism based on the idea of the radical opposition of spirit and matter. The divine in man, the soul, is the prisoner of the material. The soul can never be free, never realise its possibilities until the body is broken by systematic constraint, the sense-nature ruthlessly destroyed. In nothing is the opposition of spirit and matter so evident as in what relates to sex, and after a life of sexual disorder Augustine verged on desperation. faced with the habits that threatened to keep him permanently exiled from the Church and Christ. To the Church he came but, in morals as in intellectual assent, by way of Neoplatonism -- whence the violently-phrased reaction, the language, for example, about sex that is almost a denunciation, the statements that even Christian marriage involves a contamination of spirit. It is a reaction whose colour here is Neoplatonic and not Christian at all. but from it derived a tradition that lived on among Christian writers for centuries. [ ]

The immediate effect upon Augustine of his new discoveries was to drive him yet nearer to despair. Despite the very evident urge of his senses -- Adeodatus' mother had gone, and he had taken a mistress in her place -- he refused to marry. There was a last most violent struggle of all, and then it ended as the saint himself describes in the most famous passage of all his writings-the reading of the heroism of the Christian ascetics, the ensuing hour of despair broken by the child's voice " Tolle, lege" and the happening on the words of St. Paul. "Not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and impurities, not in contention and envy: But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh in its concupiscences." [ ] Grace alone can set man free from the slavery to sin. Thenceforward he knew only peace, and giving in his name he was prepared for the sacrament, and at Easter, 387, St. Ambrose baptised him.

Since that time Augustine had lived with his friends the life of a monk on what property he retained at Tagaste, the little town in Proconsular Numidia where he was born. He was no doubt the most famous man of the place when, in 391, an accidental circumstance of a visit to Hippo compelled his acceptance of the priesthood. Two years later, and with the Council of Hippo he made his first entry into the history of Donatism.

In the June of that year (393) the domestic quarrels of the Donatists had come to a head and a great council of their bishops at Cabarsussi had deposed the primate, Primian, and installed Maxim Ian in his place. There seemed a chance of appeals from the defeated party for admission to the Catholic Church. One of the matters for which this Council of Hippo was called was to decide the conditions on which such reconciliation should be effected, and at the council St. Augustine, simple priest though he was, was asked to preach to the bishops. Three years later he was himself Bishop of Hippo, in the very heart of the Donatist country, the stronghold of the party of Primian, where the Circumcellions had it all their own way; and where once he came himself very near to death at their hands. He was soon the recognised leader of the Catholics. By his tireless activity, his innumerable letters, his sermons, his treatises, songs he wrote for the people, and anti-Donatist placards to cover the walls, he was gradually putting new life into the laity, while the sudden apparition of a first class mind among the bishops was transforming the hierarchy also.

To win victories in controversy, however, was far indeed from Augustine's aim. It was the re-union of the Church and the convincing of the Donatists that he desired; and side by side with the controversy there went on a persistent effort, maintained with a patience and charity that never tired, to open up negotiations with the Donatist bishops. The council of Catholic bishops decided for this policy in 401, and again in 403. But each time the Donatists held aloof. On the other hand the anti-Catholic violence steadily increased, and after the failure of the last attempt at negotiation the bishops appealed to the emperor, Honorius, (395-423) for protection. The edict of February, 405, was his reply. The Donatists were to be considered as heretics, to be proscribed as such and rooted out.

The new edict was undoubtedly a severe blow. The realisation that the State would now protect the Catholics, lost to the Donatists all those converts whom they had gained through the terror, and it doubtless lost them also a great number of their own more indifferent members. But the edict was by no means so consistently applied as to destroy the sect outright. With the assassination of the all-powerful minister Stilico (408) there came a change of policy. But the bishops appealed, and the edict of 405 was renewed. In 410 the policy was a second time reversed, and an edict of tolerance published. The situation was by this time easily worse than at any time for twenty years.

Once more the bishops appealed, and this time the emperor adopted the often discussed plan of a conference between the two episcopates. It was to take place at Carthage under the presidency of a high imperial official; the procedure was carefully drawn up; official stenographers were appointed, and on June 1, 411, the rival armies of bishops -- 286 Catholics and 279 Donatists, two bishops to almost every see in the country -- came together. It was a weary encounter, as all who knew the history of the controversy could no doubt have foretold. The Donatists had no case in theology, in law or in history. They had no argument except the fact that they had survived for a hundred years. Naturally and necessarily they made the greatest possible use of the only tactics open to them -- obstruction and delay. The president decided that they had no case and must submit, and the following January (412) a new imperial decree confirmed his judgement. All Donatists were ordered to return to the Catholic Church under pain of banishment; their churches and other property were confiscated and handed over to the Catholics. Commissioners appeared everywhere to carry out the decree; and since, this time, there was no reversal of the policy, the end of Donatism seemed assured. But before the Catholics could flatter themselves that the double influence of Catholic propaganda and the imperial laws had converted the mass of the schismatics, the Vandal invasion came (429) to wrest Africa for a century from the rule of Rome and subject it to barbarians who were militant Arians, fanatically anti-Catholic.


Donatism, for all the importance of the questions it raised as to the nature of the Church and the validity of sacraments, had been, in itself, a purely local matter. It was hardly disposed of by the imperial decree of 412 when there came to Africa a more far-reaching trouble. This was a new theory of the relation in which the restored humanity of the Christian stood to its Restorer, a theory so far-reaching, indeed, that it involved nothing less than a revolution in the traditional idea of the redeeming activity of Jesus Christ. The author of the theory was the British monk Pelagius, important hitherto not so much as a scholar or theologian, for all his learning, but as a director of souls. He was a man of holy life, given to ascetic practices and held in high esteem at Rome, where he lived during the closing years of the fourth century. With him were associated another Briton, Celestius, and, later on, an Italian bishop, Julian of Eclanum, who organised the ideas of Pelagius into a reasoned system of thought. [ ]

Man, according to the new theory, was by his nature free to do evil or not. Whatever his activities they were his alone, and they were the only source of what merit he possessed in the sight of God, his only title to any reward. The human will is all-powerful, and there is nothing to hinder the man who so chooses from living a life of perfection. The traditional Catholic doctrine that the sin of the first man Adam had, for one of its effects, the loss to all Adam's descendants of certain of the privileges with which he was created, and for another the sowing in their souls of an inclination to sin, was rejected. Adam's sin, the Pelagians maintained, affected his progeny as a bad example indeed, but not otherwise. Human nature itself had not in any way suffered by his lapse. As Adam was created so were his descendants, who, therefore, stood in no need of any special divine aid to heal their nature. Nor did they stand in need of any special help in order to act rightly. For this, the free will of their unimpaired human nature was all-sufficient. Divine intervention could make the right choice in action easier, but the choice itself was within the capability of all. Men, since Adam had chosen to choose wrongly, had shown themselves depraved; but, since the nature of man remained unimpaired, no restoration of human nature was called for, no new life needed to replace an old thing tainted and vitiated, no regeneration. Baptism then was not a new birth. The divine action of the Redeemer upon the souls of the baptised, whether in the redeeming action of His death or in His subsequent glorified life, is not a principle animating man from within his very soul, but a thing wholly external -- the stimulus of a moral lesson, enforced indeed by the most powerful of all examples, but nothing more. The mystery of the Redemption, if Pelagius was right, was emptied of its main significance, the Incarnation became a wonder wholly out of proportion with its object. Finally, if in the work of his salvation man can succeed without the divine assistance, what place is there in the scheme of things for religion at all? God becomes a mere inspector of man's chart of duties, any inter-relation of love, confidence, gratitude disappears. Prayer is a non-sense. The theory was, in fact, a most radical deformation of the very essence of Christianity, and it must produce inevitably in all who held it a corresponding deformation of character. The Pelagians, for whom humility was an impossibility, were, in their spiritual life, really cultivating themselves. Their own spiritual achievement was the chief object of their attention, and with their theory all the old harsh pride of the Stoics returned to the Christian Church.

It was as refugees fleeing before Alaric that, in the year of the sack of Rome (410), Pelagius and Celestius came to Africa, Pelagius halting there but for a moment on his way to the East, Celestius staying to seek admission into the presbyterate of Carthage. Carthage, Jerusalem and Rome are the theatres of the different crises of the next ten years.

Celestius, apparently, made no secret of his views and when he applied for ordination found himself denounced to the bishop as a heretic (411). There was an enquiry, Celestius was asked to abjure a series of propositions that summed up his theory, and when he refused he was excommunicated. Whereupon he too left Africa for the East, and, at Ephesus, succeeded in obtaining the ordination he sought. He left behind him in Africa a great number of disciples, drawn chiefly from the better educated classes and from those dedicated to the higher life of asceticism. It was in the endeavour to undo this work of Celestius that St. Augustine first came into the controversy, exposing the tendencies of the theory in private letters, in sermons and in books.

Pelagius himself, meanwhile, was well established in Jerusalem and thanks to the severity of his life, to his powerful friends, and to the Greek ignorance of Latin, he pursued his way unhindered. There was, however, another Latin ascetic in Palestine, a much greater man than Pelagius, and, even in his old age, an utterly tireless hunter-out of novel untraditional theories. This was St. Jerome, and it was only a matter of time before he turned upon Pelagius all the attention of his acute mind -- and his biting pen. The Bishop of Jerusalem, Pelagius' patron, was forced into action, and his protege summoned before a synod to explain himself. He evaded the points at issue by using phrases whose ambiguity was not apparent to the Easterns, inexperienced in the tierce and quart of this particular controversy, and the synod, without condemning Pelagius, recommended that the matter be referred to Rome (July, 415).

St. Jerome was left to prepare his next move. This time he was reinforced by allies from the West -- two bishops of Gaul, exiled through a political revolution, and a young Spanish priest, Orosius, sent by St. Augustine. The Bishop of Jerusalem had proved fallible. The appeal was now made to his superior, the Metropolitan of Cesarea. A new synod was called to meet at Diospolis, and at Diospolis (December, 415) the comedy of the earlier synod was repeated. The bishops from Gaul were kept away by illness; Pelagius again had his skilfully ambiguous submission to offer; and, yet again, the bishops found it satisfactory. Orosius returned to Africa with the news of his failure; and the African bishops determined on a formal joint appeal to Rome. Two great councils were held, at Milevis and at Carthage, and with their exposition of the traditional doctrine there were sent also to the pope -- Innocent I, 402-417 -- letters from the two Gallic bishops, the minutes of Celestius' condemnation in 411 and a letter, drawn up by St. Augustine, explaining the controversy: all this was some time in the late summer, or autumn, of 416. In March of the new year the pope's reply arrived. The African doctrine was approved and the excommunication of Pelagius and Celestius ratified. [ ]

So far the controversy had progressed along the accustomed lines, according to the normal procedure in cases of a charge of heresy. If progress was slow that was but natural, considering the distance which separated the protagonists. But now, in 417, there came into the affair, to add very much to its complexity, the old trouble of ecclesiastical politics, of episcopal ambitions and jealousies. The death of the pope (March 12, 417) was its opportunity.

The new pope, Zosimus, was, for some reason or other, very much under the influence of Proclus, Bishop of Arles, the city which was, at the moment, the most important city of the Western Empire, the seat of government of the day's one strong man, the future Emperor Constantius III. Proclus had helped Constantius and Constantius had made him bishop, and upon the Bishop of Arles the new pope now heaped privilege upon privilege, making him to all intents and purposes a vice-pope in southern Gaul-despite the protests of the other bishops. One urgent motive of their protests was their poor opinion of this favourite of both pope and emperor. Proclus had been installed as bishop in the place of a bishop uncanonically thrust out to make room for him. That predecessor was still alive -- was none other than the chief accuser of Pelagius at the synod of Diospolis! Now, thanks to Proclus' influence with the new pope, the most active adversaries of Pelagius in the East were themselves excommunicated. The hopes of the Pelagian party rose, and Celestius himself went to Rome, offering submission to Zosimus and offering, too, an acceptance of the doctrine of Pope Innocent's letter to Africa, though he still refused to abjure the propositions for maintaining which he had been condemned in 411.

Pelagius, too, made a kind of submission, sending to the pope a long treatise on the freedom of the will in which, more haeretico, carefully chosen ambiguities masked what was new in his teaching.

Influenced by these reasoned protestations Zosimus reopened the case, and wrote to Africa what amounted to a panegyric of Pelagius and Celestius, in which they figured as the calumniated victims of the malice of the bishops! (November, 417). The African bishops sent an elaborate reply, detailing the shiftiness of Pelagius' habitual mode of procedure and the pope (letter of March 21, 418) thereupon capitulated. His letter reached Carthage just as a great council of two hundred and more bishops was about to open. Of this assembly St. Augustine was the soul. It drew up a statement of the faith against Pelagius in nine canons and sent these to Zosimus with a letter asking his approval. Also, to leave no stone unturned, the African bishops approached the emperor, Honorius, and obtained a rescript ordering the pursuit and suppression of Pelagius wherever found. The pope now acted with decision and in a document called the Tractoria [ ] definitely condemned Pelagius and Celestius and their doctrines. About the same time an eastern council, too (at Antioch, in 418), condemned Pelagius, and with this he disappears from history.

Pelagianism was now an officially proscribed heresy, and orders went forth from the government that all the bishops should formally sign a prescribed form of condemnation. In Africa there was nothing but willing support for the measure, but in Italy, while there was no objection to condemning Pelagius, there was a certain reluctance to sign the condemnation if in so doing the signatory was taken as approving the theories of St. Augustine. This was especially the case in southern Italy, among the bishops who were immediately subject to the pope. Eighteen of them openly repudiated what they styled "the African Dogma", and the pope promptly deposed them. With this resistance a new phase of the heresy begins, its leader one of the eighteen, Julian, Bishop of Eclanum.

Julian was a scholar, a master of logic -- an Aristotelian it is interesting to note -- a controversialist, perhaps, rather than a theologian. He it was who worked the ideas of Pelagius into an ordered system, and the history of Pelagianism is, very largely, the history of Julian's controversy with St. Augustine. With Julian, who was personally well known to the saint, as his father had been before him, the whole character of the movement changes. It is no longer merely defensive, resorting to one subterfuge after another in its furtive endeavour to escape condemnation. Henceforward it is a bold and vigorous attack on St. Augustine in the name, of course, of a more primitive and truer faith.

But Julian found himself isolated. He went to the East, as Pelagius had done, and in the East, too, he found hardly a supporter except in the old Bishop of Mopsuestia, Theodore, with the tendencies of whose naturalistic theology [ ] -- he was the real father of the Nestorian heresy soon to trouble the East -- Julian's theories of grace accorded well. In Theodore of Mopsuestia, then, Pelagianism found its last patron, and in far off Cilicia the main movement gradually faded from sight. Julian survived until 454, never reinstated, despite his efforts, as Bishop of Eclanum.

The only other country where, after the condemnation of 418, Pelagianism survived in any force, was Britain. Here, since the Roman general Constantine had led away the legions to assist him in his desperate bid for the imperial throne nine years before, the imperial mandates could safely be ignored. More than one bishop was openly Pelagian, and the heresy seemed likely to prosper. That it ultimately failed, and that its followers were rallied to the Roman faith, was due to Germanus, Bishop of Auxerre, whom in 429, and again in 447, the pope, St. Celestine I (422-432), sent to Britain for this purpose. With this triumph of St. Germanus in Pelagius' native country the history of his heresy, as an organised anti-Catholic thing, comes to an end.


St. Augustine, however, did more than merely fight the Pelagians as the great controversialist he undoubtedly was. The need of the moment brought from him the work which is his chief title to glory as a theologian, the construction of a whole theory to explain the original state of man, the nature and effect of the first man's fall, the nature of the Redemption, and the way in which, in virtue of the Redemption, God acts upon the souls of the redeemed. It is a work in which he had singularly little help from preceding writers, and a work which was to give rise, as it still gives rise, to passionate discussions; a work, too, since proved erroneous in more than one point, but a work which in its main lines has long since passed into the traditional theology of the Catholic Church.

Adam was, by a special act of the divine liberality, created with the gift of immortality, with a will inclined to good, a harmony of reason and senses, with infused knowledge, in habitual justice. He sinned, and his sin is transmitted ever after to all his posterity, as Scripture, the Christian writers, the rite of Baptism and -- a point of which St. Augustine makes very much indeed -- the chronic misery of mankind testify. The universal misery from which no man has ever escaped, the opposition between spirit and flesh, especially in what relates to sex, are for the saint a final culminating argument, and in the anarchic desire for sex pleasure that, of itself, denies all restraints, he sees that effect of Adam's sin through the instrumentality of which it is transmitted to us. "Hoc est malum peccati in quo nascitur omnis homo." [ ]

This is not a radical vitiation of human nature. Human nature is not, since Adam, a thing of simple badness. But it suffers a permanent inherited weakness, a disability that is inherent and is therefore transmitted to all who possess a human nature. The channel by which that transmission is effected is, once again, the anarchic activity of sex-desire which accompanies the act of sex. Adam's progeny then, is, inevitably, born deprived of those special gifts -- immortality and the like -- which graced him, and, deprived of the will's inclination to good, needs henceforward a special divine help if it is to avoid sin. All mankind, since Adam's sin, left to itself is inevitably, eternally, lost: a mass of perdition, a mass condemned -- of itself helpless, in a pit whence nothing but a new divine act can extract it. From this abyss God has in fact delivered us all, creating man anew, giving mankind the beginnings of a new life through the Redeeming death of the God-Man Jesus Christ. For St. Augustine the religion of the Church is essentially a redemption, a redemption based on the Incarnation.

In the new arrangement, God, as always, gives everything, even the first help to arrive at that belief upon which all is built. With the God-Man Jesus Christ, by incorporation with Him, Humanity is to be re-created, made one with Him in Baptism and the Holy Eucharist -- and this not in so many isolated individual unions, but as a corporate body. This idea of the salvation of Humanity as the members of Christ -- members of a body whose head is the God-Man -- is the very heart of St. Augustine's theology. His explanation of the system by which from the head the members receive direction and power to move -- in more technical language his theory of Grace -- is but his application of this theology to a special point.

The Redemption is the work of the Incarnate God in His historical earthly activity. This activity is continued, and continuously manifested thenceforward, in all the subsequent supernatural activity of the redeemed: manifested as the very source and internal principle of that supernatural activity. It is then really Jesus Christ Who prays, Who lives, Who performs the salvific actions in the individual. This is the meaning of St. Augustine's elaborate, well-articulated theory of Grace. It is St. Paul re-thought, the tradition set out afresh with new profundity, new lucidity, with passionate fervour, disciplined logic and a wholly new rhetorical splendour, in answer to the menace of Pelagius' sterilising divorce of man from God in the spiritual life. Thanks to St. Augustine's genius the tradition would conquer and mould anew the piety, the interior life, of all the succeeding centuries. It is this which most of all survives of his work. Far from Grace -- the freely-given divine aid that makes possible man's production of actions supernaturally valuable -- being unnecessary to Christians, Christianity is essentially Grace! and the primary attitude of the Christian is humility, the complete consciousness of his unlimited dependence on God. Nor can the Christian be solitary in his Christianity, for Christianity's very life is the union between all who are Christians, the union between each as a Christian and Christ Himself, so that the whole Church is nothing more than "the one Christ loving Himself." The importance of the Church in St. Augustine's theology it is impossible to overestimate.

The system constructed by St. Augustine had its difficulties-particularly in the matter of adjusting the relations between the divine activity of Grace and man's free-will, difficulties about which, after further centuries, men still dispute as keenly as in St. Augustine's time.

To the Catholics of his own day St. Augustine was the great champion of the church against the Manichees, the Donatists, the Pelagians. To the Catholic of a day fifteen hundred years later he is still the doctor of Grace and Ecclesiology, the builder who set on the stocks every single one of the later treatises of systematic theology. But to Catholics of the thousand years which followed his death he was more even than all this. He was almost the whole intellectual patrimony of medieval Catholicism, a mine of thought and erudition which the earlier Middle Ages, for all its delving, never came near to exhausting. He was the bridge between two worlds, and over that bridge there came to the Catholic Middle Ages something of the educational ideals and system of Hellenism; there came the invaluable cult of the ancient literature, the tradition of its philosophy and all the riches of Christian Antiquity. In St. Augustine were baptised, on that momentous Easter Day of 387, the schooling, the learning, the learned employments, and the centuries of human experience in the ways of thought, which were to influence and shape all the medieval centuries. His own great achievement, and the authority it gave to his genius, legalised for all future generations of Catholics the use in the service of Catholic thought of the old classic culture. For this prince of theologians is no less a prince of the humanities, and in himself he determines, once and for all, the Christian attitude to the pre-Christian arts, poetry and thought. This genius, the range of whose mind is encyclopaedic, gifted with an insatiable desire to know yet more, with a passion for work and the temperament of a poet, the disciplined thinker whose very profession it is to reason and expound, saw Christianity as a whole, with a completeness beyond anything that any of his philosophical predecessors had known. And from his masterly understanding there comes the most masterly presentation hitherto seen, and which will endure for nearly a thousand years without a rival, until there comes another mind, as great as his own, and equipped with still better instruments. [ ]

In theology, beyond what has been already described, St. Augustine is responsible for a philosophically inspired exposition of the teaching on the Trinity which is one of the marvels of Christian thought; and which remains to this day impossible to better. In his teaching on the Incarnation, there is, once again, a richness of new light and a new precision, thanks to his philosophical mind; and as his exposition of the Trinity precludes the difficulties over whose solution Eastern Catholicism tore itself to shreds, so here his solutions leave no place for the misunderstandings out of which Nestorianism and Monophysitism were to rise.

He readily gives philosophy a role in the provinces of faith. Philosophy it is which first of all must test the credentials of faith. If these satisfy the mind, then faith henceforward has the principal role. By faith the mind accepts the mysteries. The office of reasoning is now secondary: the better understanding of truths acquired by faith, the explanation of them and of their mutual harmony. In his own use of reason to explain the truths of faith, St. Augustine employs the philosophy of his adoption, Neoplatonism as he had re-thought it. It was by no means a perfect instrument, as he himself uneasily realised. But with a happy confidence in the ultimate coincidence of all true teaching, relying on the surer way of faith where philosophy failed, he yet managed to build up with Neoplatonism the greatest philosophical exposition of its religion which the Church had yet seen. His was a mind that never ceased to develop, and a recent writer has been able to describe the years of Catholic life to which, with Grace, Neoplatonism brought him as "a continual argument with Neoplatonism. . . a progressive deliverance from Neoplatonism and a growth into essential Christianity". [ ] Something of the Neoplatonist spirit, however, survived all this argument, to provide him with problems he never lived to solve and which, unsolved, remained to confuse the philosophical Catholic until the great deliverance wrought by St. Thomas.

Like his secular master Plato -- and unlike Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas -- St. Augustine has, from the very beginning, been eagerly read far beyond the limited circle of professional philosophers and theologians. "There was passion in his philosophy," [ ] it has been excellently said; and again, equally truly that " everything he writes is inspired by (his own mystical experiences) and looks backward or forward to them." [ ] No other theologian is so personal. Never before nor since, was there given to the sacred sciences a thinker for whom, in this passionate degree, there was but one reality -- the action of God in his own soul -- and a thinker of genius so mighty that, writing all he wrote in the light of this reality, he has somehow written the history of the hearts of all who read him. It is this passion for psychological self-portrayal, the dominant colour of all his work, which has led so many of his admirers to see in him the first of the moderns; and it is undoubtedly the explanation of his unsurpassed hold-which not even his most serious defects have shaken -- on the Christian imagination, affection and understanding. It is also, inevitably, one great source of weakness.

Another source of weakness is the fact that his great corpus of thought and learning lacks systematic organisation. The score of mighty tomes that confronts the student of St. Augustine is the varied production of a man, who, for all that nature cast him for a student, was forced for the best part of his time into the less congenial life of a man of affairs. His works are the productions of a busy bishop, harassed with a thousand temporal cares, from the ordering of diocesan charities to the high business of the State, and it is not surprising that, occasionally, they suffer from a lack of co-ordination and harmony. Thence, too, no doubt, derive in part the apparent and unexplained contradictions -- despite the famous Retractations written as a correction at the end of his days. St. Augustine never had Newman's comparative leisure in which to revise and to bring into harmony the detail of his vast output of half a century's exposition and polemic. Hence it is, that often enough, both sides in a vital dispute can make some claim to call him their master; and that partial study has sometimes been able to make out of him whatever it chooses. But whatever the flaws in the vast work, the work remained and remains. St. Augustine, in the East only a name, is in the West everything for the next eight hundred years, and without some knowledge of him the life of these centuries is unintelligible.

There is one book, especially, of St. Augustine which never ceased to be read and studied for the next thousand years and to influence western thought and even political action -- the De Civitate Dei. [ ] Not only was this a principal means whereby much of the saint's theological teaching passed into the minds of others than the professional theologians, into the minds of schoolmasters and lawyers and administrators and even rulers, forming the mind of the educated layman, but the book was the first attempt to understand the meaning of history, and it was the foundation of all the later Christian speculation about what we now call social philosophy. For a thousand years it was the European's guide to the rights and duties of man vis a vis the state, his vade mecum in the complexity where he found himself, subject at once of his temporal lord and of the spiritual kingdom which was the Church. It is a very lengthy book, [ ] and, in its discursive somewhat meandering fashion, it is encyclopaedic in the generality of problems it raises and endeavours to solve. There is here, in fact. a little of everything: brilliantly written religious apologetic; criticism of non-Christian ideals and solutions, that is humane, humorous, witty; expositions of the Christian mysteries fired with the fervour of a great love. It was the most popular, and to this extent, the most influential, book St. Augustine ever wrote; and its influence is by no means ended yet.

The City of God took the saint something like fourteen years to write, and he published the parts as they were completed, between the years 412 and 426. When he began it he was in the full maturity of his powers; he was an old man of seventy-two when he wrote the last wonderful pages "on the quality of the vision with which the saints shall see God in the world to come," and " of the eternal felicity of the City of God, and the perpetual Sabbath." What inspired the book was the storm of anti-Christian recrimination that followed Alaric's sack of Rome in 410. Had the empire not gone over to Christianity, said the pagans, those things would never have happened. So the saint examines Paganism, and its history, in the light of Christian teaching and ideals. He lays bare what Paganism was, and must be. and what its effects on human nature. And he sets forth, constructively, the positive hope, and achievement, of Christianity and the Catholic Church. The Church as it exists, is not, indeed, adequated with the saint's City of God, any more than the ancient pagan empire is identified with that other "city" which is under the rule of sin. But the vision is presented of the Church, God's creation, as "the new humanity in process of formation, and [of] its earthly history [as] that of the building of the City of God which has its completion in eternity." [ ]

Not only is a solution offered for the difficulties urged by the pagans, [ ] but a solution too for those difficulties which the facts of imperfect Christianity present, only too continuously, to believers also. The work brings out the ideal of the Church "as a dynamic social power," and it expounds a Christian social doctrine, of moral freedom and of personal responsibility, that is necessarily fatal to ideas of the state as superhuman and ever omnipotent, and to an organism so destructive of human personality as was the ancient Roman empire. St. Augustine is commonly declared to be, by this book, the founder of what is called the philosophy of history. It is no less true that the theories he there sets forth "first made possible the ideal of a social order resting upon a free personality and a common effort towards moral ends." [ ]

The City of God was the favourite reading of Charlemagne, whose empire may be fairly considered as the mighty attempt of a somewhat less than saintly Christian genius, to set that City up as an actual political institution; and seven hundred years later still, it was with a series of public lectures on the work that the author of the Utopia introduced himself to London, and to Europe, as a political thinker and reformer.


Of the history of the Church in Spain in the first three centuries after Christ we know almost nothing. St. Paul was, in all likelihood, one of its first evangelists. It gave martyrs to the Church in the persecution of Decius. Fifty years later than Decius, on the eve of the greater persecution of Diocletian, its bishops, to judge from what we know of the Council of Elvira (c. 300-305), were preoccupied with the problems of a Catholicism so extensive and so universally popular that in many respects it had become gravely relaxed. There were Catholics who, even in time of peace, continued to make their offerings to the pagan gods. Marriages between Christians and the heathen priests were not unknown. The clergy showed too keen an inclination to engage in commerce -- bishops no less than priests and deacons. Others practised as moneylenders. The habit or example of idolatry was still strong and, lest they should be worshipped, all pictures were now ordered to be removed from the churches Clerics who are married are to live with their wives as with their sisters, under pain of deposition. Rules are laid down for the cases of conversion from such special classes as the charioteers of the circus, and the comedians from the theatre who, once converted, are strictly forbidden to return to their unhallowed profession. With this council, held in the first ten years of the fourth century, the veil falls once more on our knowledge of the early Spanish Church. When it lifts, some seventy years later, it is to disclose a Church torn by internal controversy, and to reveal one of the most curious figures of all Church history. This was Priscillian. He was a man of great distinction, well-born, cultivated, wealthy, gifted with eloquent speech, with a genius for propaganda, and he was wholly devoted to the cult of the ascetic life.

The different churches in Spain already by this time had each of them its circle of ascetics -- men and women who had specially dedicated themselves by a vow of continency in a spiritual union with Our Lord. They would continue to live in their own homes, but all follow a more or less universal rule, which prescribed special daily prayers, daily reunions in the church, additional fasts, and abstinences, and a sober manner of dress -- the women for example were veiled, wore no jewellery, used no cosmetics. They would be, in Spain as elsewhere, the local church's agents in the organised charities that played so great a part in the primitive Christian life, care of the sick, of widows and orphans, relief of the indigent poor. Priscillian was not in any sense a pioneer in this ascetic movement, but his powerful personality gave it a new impetus and speedily began to transform it.

Gradually, the multitudes whom he influenced -- and his disciples grew in number very speedily indeed -- looked to Priscillian for direction and not to the head of the local church, to Priscillian and his private inspirations. And Priscillian was not limited by the traditional sources of Christian Asceticism. The myths of the Gnostically-inspired, apocryphal gospels served him with ideas no less than the genuine Scriptures. The basis of his ascetic practices again was not Christian, but the old oriental theories of the radical badness of matter, and of the inevitable fundamental opposition between matter and spirit. This showed itself in the exaggerated abstinences to which he was given and which he recommended, condemnation of marriage, of the use of wine, and the use of flesh meats as things bad and to be shunned. Little by little his followers began to have the appearance of a sect apart, to whom other members of the Church were as an inferior race. The Priscillianists -- to anticipate a later name for them-habitually went barefooted. Periodically, at fixed times, they withdrew themselves from the world to give themselves to their own peculiar religious observance in a kind of "retreat." They had their own use of the Holy Eucharist. Women, especially, had an important place in the movement.

It was not long before the genius of Priscillian had completely disturbed the Spanish Church, especially in the west and northwest, in Portugal and Galicia. His ascetic reputation and what was known of the severity of his life, were, for many people, decisive. Thousands joined him and among them even some of the bishops. Other bishops began to question the tendencies of the movement, to suspect the principles that inspired it and then to organise against it. In 379 they sent to consult the pope, Damasus I, and the following year, in a great council at Saragossa, a number of the practices to which the followers of Priscillian were said to be given, were forbidden under the strictest penalties.

How strong, by this time, the movement had grown may be judged from the next event in the story -- the election of Priscillian himself as Bishop of Avila on the very morrow of the Council of 380. Immediately he assumed the offensive, and made a great effort to oust his superior, the Metropolitan of Lusitania. But that bishop, Idace, was not to be easily overthrown. He had an influential friend at the imperial court -- no other indeed than St. Ambrose -- and the only result of Priscillian's manoeuvre was an edict from the emperor, Gratian, in general terms, against "false bishops and Manichees." Already there was, in this, menace of what the future might hold for Priscillian, for the Manichee-to whose anti-social morality his own alleged customs bore so striking a resemblance -- had been under the ban of the empire since long before the conversion of Constantine. Priscillian, with some friends, then set out for Italy, for Rome and Milan to assure himself of the support of both pope and emperor. The pope would not receive them; but from Milan they obtained, in the end, a decree which in effect annulled that from whose execution they had fled.

Once more Priscillian was free to take the offensive, this time with the civil authority behind him. The leaders opposed to him, menaced now by the State as disturbers of the peace, took themselves to Treves, the seat of the pretorian prefecture of the Gauls in which Spain lay. There they found support in the bishops and the high officials, but Priscillian's influence in Milan was still too great to be overthrown. Suddenly the whole situation changed when, in 383, Maximus, the imperial commander in Britain, declared himself emperor. He landed in Gaul with an army and Gratian, marching north to meet him, was assassinated at Lyons. Maximus was master of Britain, of Gaul and of Spain. Of this empire Treves became the capital, and still at Treves was the bishop who was Priscillian's chief enemy -- Ithacus, a man of loose life, worldly, ambitious and, as the enemy of the bishop who had found protectors at the court of Milan, likely to find a favourable hearing with the victorious Maximus.

Maximus was sufficiently won round by Ithacus' charges to order that Priscillian and a like-minded colleague, Instantius, should be arrested and tried at Bordeaux by a council of bishops. Instantius was deposed, but Priscillian, refusing a trial, appealed from the bishops to the emperor. The scene changed to Treves and this time it was to the criminal courts, on criminal charges, that Ithacus denounced his rival. Priscillian was tried on an indictment accusing him of sorcery, of diffusing obscene doctrines, of presiding at midnight reunions of women, and of stripping himself naked to pray. With six associates he was condemned; and, since sorcery was a capital offence, executed.

The sentences and their execution caused a sensation. St. Martin, Bishop of Tours, had protested in advance against any sentence of death. Ithacus, in his plea against Priscillian, had made the most of his congenial opportunity to demonstrate publicly against all asceticism and all ascetics, even to the extent of denouncing St. Martin himself as a Manichee. The saint, undismayed, had continued to urge his plea that in an affair which concerned questions of Catholic doctrine, the lay court had no jurisdiction. The emperor had promised that there should be no question of a death sentence and the bishop returned home. Then, influenced by the anti-Priscillianist bishops, Maximus had ordered an enquiry and, on the prefect's report that Priscillian was guilty of sorcery, had ordered the trial that resulted in the conviction and the executions. Nor was this the end. Commissioners were sent to Spain to deal similarly with Priscillian's adherents.

St. Martin returned to Treves and broke off all relations with the Bishop of Treves and those who had shared in the enquiries and the trial. Nor did he cease to protest against the iniquity of the death sentences, until the emperor promised, as the gauge of his communion, to halt the persecution then beginning in Spain. The pope, too (Siricius, 384-396), asked for an explanation of the proceedings and, fully informed by the emperor, excommunicated Ithacus and his associates. Nor would St. Ambrose when, in the course of the year, a political embassy brought him to Treves, give any recognition to the bishop, "not wishing to have anything to do with bishops who had sent heretics to their death."

For three years, however, despite St. Martin, the repression continued until in 388 Maximus was slain and the West was once more ruled from Milan. With this restoration of Valentinian II, Priscillian came, posthumously, into something like his own. With the other supporters of the late usurper the persecutors of Priscillian paid the inevitable penalty. Ithacus and the others were deposed and exiled. The remains of Priscillian were brought back from Germany with all manner of ceremony to become the centre of a popular cultus, and soon Spain was once more given over to the bitter fights of religious factions, Galicia and the West ever more strongly Priscillianist, Betica and Carthaginia just as strongly orthodox. For years the episcopate was divided. A council at Saragossa (395) excommunicated the Priscillianist bishops and these, reverting to the manoeuvre of their master, fled to Milan to enlist the support of the court. St. Ambrose showed himself sympathetic, but insisted on an abjuration of Priscillian's distinctive doctrines and on the renunciation of the cult of his memory and his remains. The exiles consented, and thereby gained the support not only of St. Ambrose but also of the pope. They returned to Spain only to break their promises, and at a new council (Toledo, 400) they were yet again condemned. This time the condemnation broke the unity of the party, for while some of the bishops submitted, others remained obstinate. Curiously enough the submission was the cause of yet another division. Rome, consulted as to the procedure to be adopted towards the repentant bishops, gave its traditional advice that they should be shown every consideration. Whereupon, as always, a faction ""more Catholic than the pope" showed itself, declining to re-admit the repentant Priscillianists to communion and breaking off all relations with those who did so. There were now three kinds of Christians in Spain, the Priscillianists, the moderate Catholics with whom, thanks to Rome, the repentant Priscillianists were now united, and the fanatical Catholic opponents of the reunion -- a lamentable state of affairs after thirty years of controversy. Before any real improvement could take place there came, in 406, the flood of the great barbarian invasion to submerge for a time, with much else, these evidences of religious weakness and dissension.


The history of the Roman Church in the first three centuries is noteworthy for two things. First, there is really very little mention of it at all -- for much of the period we have little more than the names of its bishops. Secondly, whatever record of it has survived is almost invariably concerned with its exercise of a supervisory authority in the affairs of the other churches. It is in this role, indeed, that the Roman Church makes its first entry into history with the intervention at Corinth which is the subject of St. Clement's celebrated letter. Later still, the exercise of this primatial power, so to call it, and the reactions to that exercise, are the chief matters of the history of some seventy years -- the years when in turn Rome imperially corrects all the great churches of Africa and the East; Ephesus in Polycrates, Carthage in St. Cyprian, Alexandria in St. Denis. The Roman primacy, whatever the use its bishops made of it, is one of the undeniable features of primitive church history. But it is also a thing which functions only on special occasions.

There existed also, side by side with this universal jurisdiction of the Roman Church, and in addition to its purely local authority over its own actual members, the clergy and the faithful of the city of Rome, yet a third and intermediate kind of jurisdiction whose sphere was originally the bishops of Italy and which eventually grew to be, what it is to-day, an effective, continuous, supervision over all the churches of the Church Universal, really felt in the everyday life of each. That development which has made the papacy of modern times the source and centre of all Catholic life, and thanks to which the popes can, and do, effectively control that life's every movement, has been the work of the sixteen hundred years between Constantine and Pius XII, Trent and the Council of 1870 being its latest stages.

Its first stages are to be observed in the first century in which the Roman Church had any real opportunity to organise the administration of its primacy, the century following Constantine's conversion. It was also the last century, for very long indeed, in which political conditions made any such organising really possible; for it closed with the " Barbarian Invasions " and the dislocation, for generations more, of all organisation but the most primitive. In what relation then -- beyond that of final and ultimate authority -- did the pope stand to the bishops of the West in this last century before the West was transformed into something new? [ ]

The bishops of Italy form the nearest group of extra-Roman churches with whom the pope is in contact. Over them, so the canons of Nicea (325) are witness, he exercises such a supervisory jurisdiction as that possessed by the Bishop of Alexandria in Egypt. Thirty years later the Arian troubles have brought the pope of the day, Liberius, into conflict with the emperor. He has been ordered into exile and an imperialist, Felix, intruded into his see. The Bishop of Milan too, the new Western capital which has now displaced Rome, is exiled for the same good reason, and he, too, is given a successor, the notoriously Arian Auxentius. And the imperial power has gone still further. Henceforward it is the Bishop of Milan who exercises this archiepiscopal jurisdiction over the bishops of northern Italy (the civil diocese of Italia). To Rome are now left only the churches of the civil diocese of Rome. Milan, it might seem, was to be an imperially created rival to Rome in the West as Constantinople was about to become in the East. But when the end of Auxentius' long episcopate (355-374) came, he was succeeded by the most eloquent defender of the Roman Supremacy the Church had yet known, St. Ambrose (374-397); also, within seven years of that great man's death Milan had ceased to be the capital. None the less, the metropolitan jurisdiction of the see endured, save over such churches as it had lost to the new centres Aquileia and Ravenna. Over the churches in central and southern Italy and the islands, about 200 sees in all, the pope, during the fourth century, continued to exercise, then, a close and continual supervision.

Within this sphere no bishop is consecrated without the pope's consent. The local church elects, but its choice must be ratified at Rome, and the newly-elect must be consecrated by the pope. This is a discipline much older than the letter of Pope Siricius (386) in which it is formally recalled. It is the reason for the mention, in the notices of these earlier popes in the Liber Pontificalis, of the number of those they ordained. For example "This pope," it is Fabian, "held five ordinations, [ordaining] 22 priests, 7 deacons, and 11 bishops for various places." In later times the number grows. Damasus (366-384) ordains 62 bishops, Innocent I (402-417) 54, and St. Leo I (440-461) 185! These bishops of the pope's special province meet annually at Rome on the anniversary of the pope's own consecration (Natale Papae) unless, for some special cause, they are explicitly dispensed. To Rome they apply at every turn for advice in difficulties and the Roman practice is a norm to which they endeavour to conform their own administration. At Rome itself the administration is in the hands of the seven deacons. They are the chiefs of the growing ecclesiastical bureaucracy, and it is from their ranks that the pope is usually chosen. The archdeacon is at this time the most important personage after the pope, and the office is very often a last step before the highest office of all. So was it, for example, with St. Leo the Great.

It is to the pope directly that complaints against these bishops are addressed. He investigates, either personally or by delegates, and, when necessary, he deposes the guilty bishop; and the basis and justification of this authority, as the successive popes never tire of repeating, is that they are the heirs of St. Peter.

In the affairs of the other churches of Italy, those subject now to the metropolitan authority of Milan, of Aquileia, of Ravenna, the pope interferes but rarely. Normally he has no share in the election of their bishops nor does he consecrate them. Here, as between each church and the Roman, there is yet no systematic centralisation. For all the community of Faith and the full acceptance of the Roman Supremacy to which, let us say, St. Ambrose witnesses, these churches in their everyday administration went their own way. Only for the greater councils did they go to Rome, and only in cases of disputes and appeals did Rome intervene in elections. Otherwise there is a complete administrative autonomy -- strikingly in contrast with the dependence on Rome in matters of Faith.

Beyond the limits of Italy the churches divide into four main groups, those of the (civil) dioceses of Spain and the Gauls, the churches of Africa, and those of the two dioceses of Dacia and Macedonia. [ ] Like those Italian churches which lie outside the sphere of Rome's special supervision, these churches too enjoy a wide autonomy. Their bishops are normally elected -- and if need be deposed -- without any reference to Rome; and in their ordinary administration they follow each their own interpretation of the traditions. Nevertheless, communication with Rome is frequent, is even continual, and the relation in which these churches all stand to Rome is undoubtedly one of subordination.

Spain, when the century opened, numbered close on fifty bishoprics. Its bishops were represented in the several great councils of the century, at Arles in 314 for example and at Sardica in 343 and one of them, Hosius of Cordova, actually presided at Nicea. But though there were so many sees, the higher organisation was defective. There were several metropolitan sees around which the others were grouped provincially, but there was no one central see and never any real unity among the bishops. How extensive the effects of this disunion could be, the troubles centering round Priscillian made very evident. The detail of their history brings out, also, the role of the Roman Church in this distant Western province. It is from Rome that the bishops seek counsel when first they approach the question of Priscillian's orthodoxy; and it is to Rome that Priscillian goes, for the declaration of the purity of his faith that will reinstate him: "ut apud Damasum obiecta purgarent" says the contemporary historian-Damasus, whom Priscillian salutes as senior omnium nostrum, senior et primus. Later still, after the executions of 385, there is again reference to Rome for direction at every stage of the complex sequel, the question of the reconciliation of Priscillian's followers, and the question, deriving therefrom, of the ultra-rigorist Catholic opponents of the reconciliation.

There is also the famous letter of Pope Siricius in 385. The Spanish bishops had applied for a ruling on a whole series of important matters. The evils to which the Council of Elvira was a witness, eighty years before, still afflict the Church. There are still to be found Christians who dabble in Paganism and clergy who, after ordination, continue to live with their wives as before. The pope's reply is no mere solution of a case of conscience. It is a peremptory reminder of the law -- "the things the Apostolic See has decided". "We order," says the pope, "We decree," and to coerce any reluctance to obey there is the menace of excommunication from Rome, and for justification of the threat and proof of the power there is the reminder that through Siricius it is Peter who is speaking. The Roman Supremacy is writ large all over this letter -- and Rome's consciousness of its universal acceptance in the Church.

Nor is it otherwise in Roman Gaul, the vast tract that stretches from the Rhine to the Pyrenees, whose capital is Treves on the Moselle. Gaul was the one province of the West which Arianism had really troubled -- thanks to the manoeuvres of Constantius II and his Council of Arles in 353. The formation round Saturninus of Arles of a group of pro-Arian bishops, the struggle with them and the easy task of reconciliation once Constantius had disappeared (361) are the most important events of the century which have come down to us. The hero of this struggle and of the restoration was St. Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers, one of the greatest of the earlier Latin ecclesiastical writers, and -- himself, for four years, an exile for his staunch defiance of the Arian emperor -- the chief forerunner of St. Ambrose in the theoretical exposition of the limits of Caesar's rights in the Church of Christ. Related to the events of this restoration of Catholicism is the letter Ad Gallos Episcopos, seemingly of Pope Damasus and dating from about 374. Whatever pope wrote it -- one theory puts it down to Damasus' successor Siricius -- the letter is a reply to an appeal for judgement. Some sixteen points in all are dealt with, the question of consecrated virgins who have broken their vow, of clerical celibacy, and of the conditions requisite for the lawful ordination of clerics and the consecration of bishops. In the reply the typical Roman notes are all immediately observable-the insistence, for example, that no bishop be consecrated without the consent of his metropolitan, since such would be contrary "to the episcopal discipline of the Apostolic See." The pope nowhere suggests that he is enacting a law. Everywhere he is but reminding the bishops of Gaul of existing law, and yet he speaks as though he were its author and the one primarily responsible for its observance. Ten years later and Rome is again intervening to excommunicate the Gallic bishops who had shared in the grave irregularities which preceded the execution of Priscillian, and in 400, fifteen years later still, a council of Italian bishops [ ] continues to refuse these bishops recognition since they have not fulfilled the conditions laid down years before by Ambrose (the late metropolitan of the Italians) and the Roman bishop.

Two replies of Pope Innocent I (402-417) to Gallic bishops-Victoricius of Rouen and Exuperius of Toulouse -- have passed into the very foundations of the great corpus of the Canon Law; and the reign of his successor Zosimus saw the papal intervention suddenly pressed forward to a development that was revolutionary when that pope gave to the Bishop of Arles a kind of superiority over all the metropolitans of Gaul, decreeing that all ordinations of bishops should be referred to him and that through him all the other bishops should henceforward transact all their business with the Roman See. The policy was as unpopular as it was unprecedented, and after a short twelve months it was set aside by the new pope, Boniface I (418-422), and the old regime restored of autonomous provinces each under the rule of its own metropolitan, the Bishop of Narbonne being specifically authorised to disregard the extra-provincial jurisdiction of Arles and to proceed "metropolitani iure munitus et praeceptibus nostris fretus." What the pope was for the scattered churches of Gaul during this century is aptly described in a letter of the pope whose reign brings it to a close -- Celestine I (422-432). The pope, he declares, is in a post of observation and general superintendence, to arrest untimely developments, to decide and to choose, a post such that "no violation of discipline escapes us" -- for so far there is but question of discipline.

With Africa we come to what probably was the most Catholic province of all the West -- certainly the province where the Church was most completely organised. To begin with, it was a region extraordinarily rich in bishops; at the time of the Council of 411 there were 470 of them. And, unlike the bishops of Spain and Gaul, this vast assembly was a well-organised body. The bishops of each of the six civil provinces formed together an autonomous ecclesiastical province over which presided, not the metropolitan of any fixed see, but the senior of the bishops. But, in addition to this machinery of provincial councils, the Bishop of Carthage had, since the beginning of the third century, exercised a superior primatial jurisdiction over all. There was also the Concilium Universale of all Africa, and this, meeting regularly once a year, was, with the primacy of Carthage, a most potent means of unity. The churches of Africa were the most perfectly organised of all, and it is symbolical of that organisation that it was from this group that there came the first code of canon law -- the Codex Canonum Ecclesiae Africanae, published by the Council of Africa of 419.

The African Church had another distinction, the tradition of a singular "insularity" in its activity. In the long fight with the Donatists, for example, it never makes appeal for help to other churches; even in this controversy which, more than any other, brings out African understanding of the nature of the Roman primacy, a controversy in which the fact of that primacy and African acceptance of it is the very foundation of the Catholics' case, there is never an appeal to Rome for assistance. And, it is to be noted, Rome allowed for this "insular" habit when it permitted the Africans in the matter of reconciling the Donatists to depart very seriously from the accepted discipline in such matters. The relations with Rome are continuous and friendly. The faith in Rome's supremacy is as evident here, and at this time, as in any other part of the Church. But the administrative separation could hardly be more complete. Before the period had ended, and the Vandals come in to make an end for ever of Roman Africa, a series of crises were to bring out very strikingly what a high degree of autonomy Rome could allow in matters of administration and discipline where there was no question of the unity of faith.

The history of Pelagius has shown the African bishops turning to Rome once the controversy ceases to be merely local. In this matter where the faith is at stake there is no mention of Milan, the capital, along with Rome. It is to the pope they appeal because " You, from the Apostolic See, speak with greater persuasiveness." And in his reply Innocent r greets them as one episcopate among many who come to drink of the fons apostolicus. "Like yourselves, all bishops, whenever the faith is in question, can do no more than refer it to Peter who is the foundation of all episcopal dignity."

Under Innocent's successor, the rash and hasty Zosimus, the rare pope of whom one is tempted to say he must have been a nuisance to all concerned, the loyalty of the Africans was seriously tried. There was, to begin with, his apparent eagerness to reverse his predecessor's judgement on Pelagius; and next, when the firm and dignified protest from Africa halted him, there was a conflict over appeals to Rome which, for its intensity, recalls that of St. Cyprian with St. Stephen I. The African Church -- by a singular exception to the general practice -- had ceased to allow appeals to Rome from its final judgements, and even menaced with excommunication whoever pursued such appeals. Zosimus not only ignored this legislation, by receiving and deciding appeals, but sent a commission into Africa itself to examine the facts of the case and to bring the bishops to reverse their policy. How the matter would have developed had he lived it is not easy to say, but he died while the dispute was barely begun and his successor, busy with the anxiety of a disputed election, went no further with it. But six months-after Zosimus' death, the Council of Africa (May 419) published its code -- and the law forbidding appeals to be taken overseas, with its penalty for disobedience, appeared in its due place.

Seven years later the conflict broke out once more, and over the same miserable person whose misdeeds had been the occasion of trouble in 419, the priest Apiarius. Pope Celestine acted just as Zosimus had done. He received the appeal and he sent legates to Carthage. The Bishop of Carthage agreed to reopen the case and then, while the Roman legates were eloquently pleading for Apiarius, the wretched fellow made a clean breast of his crimes. As far as Apiarius was concerned the affair was ended. But not so for the African bishops. They determined that the question of Roman intervention in disciplinary matters should be settled once and for all. Accordingly, the Council of 426 made a formal request to the pope that he would not for the future be so ready to receive appeals, and that he would not receive to communion those excommunicated by the African bishops, and that he would not restore those whom the African bishops had in council deposed; that he would not for the future send any more commissioners into Africa, much less commissioners charged to enlist the services of the police, since nowhere can the bishops find these things are allowed by the synods of the past, nor should the pride of this world find any counterpart in the Church of Christ. To this extraordinary remonstrance -- the most extraordinary surely it has ever received -- Rome made no reply. As with the Catholic council of Sardica's attempt to prescribe to Rome the manner in which its primacy should function, [ ] so was it with the attempt of these African bishops, equally loyal in faith. Rome made no sign; but in her own time, and as opportunity called for it, she continued to exercise in respect of Africans, as of Gauls, Egyptians and Orientals, all the fullness of her right.

The prefecture of Illyricum completes the round of these more distant churches of the West; and here, in the last half of the fourth century Rome, to meet a wholly exceptional difficulty, created a really exceptional regime. The difficulty arose from the transference to the Eastern Empire, by Gratian in 379, of the civil dioceses of Dacia and Macedonia. Henceforward in temporal matters they would be ruled from Constantinople. The popes, however, did not intend that in spiritual matters, too, these churches of what was now called Illyricum Orientale should look to Constantinople; and to counteract any influence tending to draw them thither, the popes established the bishop of the chief see of the prefecture, Thessalonica, as their permanent representative for these provinces. He was charged to supervise the elections of all the bishops and, although the existing system of metropolitans was retained, he was given authority over the metropolitans too. All the business between the different bishops and metropolitans was to pass through him, and his jurisdiction was enlarged to try appeals, with discretion to decide himself what appeals were to go forward to Rome. The Bishop of Thessalonica from the time of Pope Damasus (366-384) is the papal agent, a kind of permanent legate, for these border provinces where Greek and Latin meet, acting, as say the letters of Boniface I, vice sedis apostolicae, vice nostra.

Inevitably the system met with opposition. Many of the bishops of Illyricum disliked it, and not least from the barrier it raised against all chance of making an ecclesiastical career via the court at Constantinople. The emperor too, Theodosius II (408-450), showed himself hostile and in 421 a rescript was published attaching the sees of Illyricum to the jurisdiction of Constantinople. The pope, unable or unwilling to make any open reprisal, persuaded the Western Emperor, Honorius (395-423), to intervene with his nephew and, Theodosius giving way, the incident closed. But the ambition of Constantinople persevered, as did also the desire of the Eastern Emperor to see no exception to the rule that all the sees of his empire were grouped around the three great sees of the East, Antioch, Alexandria and Constantinople. The question of the Roman jurisdiction over Illyricum Orientale remained, to be for the next two centuries one of the chronic causes of trouble between West and East.



CATHOLICISM was not the product of the civilisation in which it first appeared; nor did it draw from that civilisation the strength by which it developed and spread abroad. It could not, in the nature of things, be essentially dependent on that civilisation, but it was immensely conditioned by it in all the circumstances of its growth. The Roman roads, the ease of communication, the internal peace and order secured to a whole world through the single political administration, the common languages, the common cultural idiom of Hellenism, all these undoubtedly helped the early propaganda. With the fortunes of the Roman State those of the new religion were, inevitably, very closely linked indeed. Whatever menaced the one would certainly handicap the other.

It so happened that, in little more than two centuries from the first preaching of the Gospel, the political regime we call the Empire was brought to the verge of disruption. The basis of the Empire was military power. The emperor was, in essence, the magistrate to whom the command of the army and dictatorial power were made over for life. Upon the commander-in-chief's hold over the army, therefore, upon the reality of his command, all was based. The senate's delegation of powers, its assent to his nomination were, from the beginning, formalities merely. The real power lay with the army, and increasingly, as the first two centuries went by, it was the man who could manage the army who ruled. Periodically the army got out of hand. Rival armies supported rival claimants to the supreme power, and civil wars had to be fought to settle the issue. There was one such crisis in 68-69, another in 192-193, and the emperor who emerged victorious from this last, Septimius Severus, summed up for his successors the policy which alone would make the position safe for them, "See that the soldiers have plenty of money. Nothing else matters."

In the seventy years that followed the death of this shrewd realist, the weakness inherent in the State's foundations bred all its fullness of destruction. Emperor after emperor was set up by the soldiers, only to be murdered when he ceased to please them, twenty-six emperors in fifty years. One they slew because he proved an incompetent general in the field; another because he strove to restore military discipline; another because, his private fortune exhausted, he ceased to be able to be generous; others again from sheer boredom. In different parts of the empire different armies set up their own emperors, none of them strong enough even to attempt to suppress his rivals, and for the best part of a generation whole provinces were ruled as independent states. Finally, a succession of able soldiers from Illyria (Diocletian and Constantine the chief of them) halted the long anarchy. The State was now reorganised. Every last vestige of the republic was swept away. The emperor was, henceforth, an absolute monarch of the oriental type; and by a careful redistribution of the powers of his subordinates -- whether generals in the army or governors of provinces -- and a systematic separation of the civil and military authority throughout the administration, barriers were set against any return of the anarchy. Diocletian recognised, too, how inevitable was the competition for the supreme position, and to guard against this he associated others with himself as joint emperors of the one state. There were two emperors from 285 and four from 293.

Even this far reaching change did not immediately succeed. On the retirement of Diocletian and his senior colleague in 306 the new senior looked outside the imperial families for his two new assistants. Whereupon Constantine and Maxentius, the sons of the late emperors, Constantius and Maximian, took up arms, and a new civil war began among the six emperors. It ended in 312 with Constantine master of the West. Eleven years later he had conquered his eastern colleague and was sole lord of the Roman world. He was almost the last to hold that place for any length of time. When he died (337) he left his power by will-betraying thereby an un-Roman conception of political power simply monstrous in its scale -- to his sons and nephews. Organised murder disposed of the nephews, a civil war of the eldest son (340), and for ten years the dyarchy was restored to the profit of Constans and Constantius II. In 350 Constans was murdered, and three years of war followed between his murderer and his surviving brother. Constantius was in the end victorious and thenceforward, until the one surviving nephew of Constantine rose to contest his supremacy in 360, he ruled alone like his father thirty years before. Death came to him in 361, just in time to prevent a new struggle between himself and Julian his cousin. Julian, in his short reign of twenty months, had no rival nor had his successor Jovian in his still shorter reign. But with the accession, on Jovian's death (364), of Valentinian I, the army insisted on his associating his brother as emperor. Thenceforward, except for a brief three months at the end of the reign of Theodosius I (November, 394-January, 395), no one man ever ruled again the lands of the empire of Augustus.

For all who could read, death was written very evidently on the face of the imperial system. It was, indeed, only the chance of the succession of great princes in the second century that had preserved the empire beyond its first hundred years. The empire was a pyramid balanced on its apex and the most marvellous thing about it is that it survived at all. Thanks to Diocletian and to Constantine in the first place, it survived even the wholesale destruction of the third century and, even as a united political system, it was to outlive in the East by many centuries its disappearance from the West. But there was a further fundamental weakness against which even the greatest of emperors could not secure the State -- weakness of an economic nature. It is one of the capital facts of the situation that the political breakdown and the invasions of the fifth century occurred while an economic revolution was in progress.

The world in which the Church was founded and in which it had so far developed, was a world in which the town was all important, and in which the countryside existed only for the sake of the town. It was the towns that were, necessarily, the first centres of the new religion; and the bishops, one in each city, the cells which together made up the Church Universal. By the time of Diocletian's restoration of the Roman State -- or, to look at it from another point of view, by the time of Constantine's conversion -- the first beginnings were, however, apparent of a social revolution whose final effect would be to reverse this relation of town and countryside. The towns were already beginning to lose their primacy as social organisms. During the whole of the fourth century the pace of this new development increased rapidly. It was still in its first stage when the mainstay of the town's importance as against the countryside -- the central imperial government -- disappeared altogether from the West. Simultaneously with that disappearance there broke over the ill-defended frontiers wave after wave of primitive nomadic peoples bent on plunder; and there also took place, through the so-called barbarian troops of the army, the establishment in Spain, Gaul, and Italy itself, of kingdoms which, theoretically within the empire, were in fact autonomous. In-these momentous years were laid the foundations of that new civilisation in which the Catholic Church was to work for the next eight hundred years. To understand at all what the Church did for that civilisation, to understand how the Church's development was in turn conditioned by it, there must be borne in mind something of its leading characteristics as they differentiate it from the older world in which the Church was founded. The army, at the end of that century whose early years saw Constantine's conversion, still kept the frontier. What of the life within?

From about the end of the reign of Marcus Aurelius (16-1-180) there is observable a slow but unmistakable drift in the economic life of the Roman world, a strong ebb towards a more primitive (or more natural) system. There is a persistent debasement of the coinage (hardly checked until Diocletian). There is that debasement's inevitable effect in a chaotic flux of prices. Money-gold coins which really are gold, silver which really is silver-disappears. All that remains are the copper coins covered with a mere wash of silver, "metal assignats," as Mommsen called them. The State begins to be willing to take its taxes in kind, in goods and services. It even begins to grade and to pay its salaries, too, in kind. The army had always been the empire's greatest burden, and in this third century (Septimius Severus to Diocletian) the army was absolute master, greater than ever, better paid, the empire its prey to be looted at will. The bureaucracy, too, swelled its numbers beyond anything hitherto known. Industries -- the commercialised industries of modern times-there were none to speak of, none to be a source of wealth to the State. Commerce on the large scale, again hardly existed. The one real source of wealth was land. The chief means, apart from land, open to the man who wished to "invest" money was the letting it out at interest or the farming of taxes. The towns in such a system, were parasites, places where the middlemen lived, markets where they traded, barracks where were housed the soldiers who protected the exploitation. For exploitation was really the ultimate end of the system. The very rich grew richer still, the poor remained poor. The middle class disappeared.

Diocletian's success as restorer was, in the economic sphere, inevitably limited. His reforms amounted, often enough, to little more than a legal consecration of existing abuses. He restored the coinage; he simplified, while he extended, the system of imperial taxation; he tried, but failed signally, to stabilise prices by imperial edict; his great feat was to inaugurate a regime in which the whole population of the empire was gradually conscripted and bound down, each class with its descendants -- for the burden was hereditary -- to work for the welfare of the State. The taxes are not excessive, the administration is not extravagant. But every possible source of wealth is surveyed and its owner assessed -- land, cattle, slaves, serfs, peasants and owners too. All are now bound by law to the trade in which they work, and their children are bound to follow them in it -- civil servants, the artificers in the armament factories and in the textile factories where are made the costumes for the court and the uniforms for the army; the ship owners, millers and bakers on whom the population of the cities depends for its daily food-allowance; the various building crafts and trades; the bath keepers, and by no means least, the army of workmen, keepers, charioteers, gladiators, actors -- "slaves of the people's pleasure" the law styles them-who produce the public games given now, at Rome, on 175 days of the year. The free farmer, the colonus, is likewise bound to the land. The owner cannot dispossess this class of tenant. If he sells the land the coloni go with it. It is to the land, rather than to the owner, that the new regime enslaves them. The free peasants of the villages are likewise bound to their village. No man shall escape his due share of the great burden. Nor is this a matter that affects only the trader and the working class. For there is yet another conscription -- of the time and brains of the more leisured class to the service of the city where they live.

The Roman civitas is more than a town. It is the town and the hinterland of countryside, often very extensive, upon which the town lives. It is a thing founded for the purpose of exploiting that countryside. It has its "constitution," its senate and its magistrates. It is a tiny State in itself, with considerable autonomy, and from this point of view it is not incorrect to describe the empire as a federation of self-governing municipalities. For the senate and the high offices there is a considerable property qualification. It is the local aristocracy who rule, and amongst whom the honours, the titles, the social consideration of high office are shared. This cursus honorum entails expense on whoever proceeds through it, expense which is ever increasing. Moreover, the class from which the office-holders are drawn is made responsible for the taxation. In case of deficit or maladministration this class, as a class, is liable. Whence supervision from- the central government and, often enough, an endeavour to escape from the burden of one's rank. Whence conscription here too, and a conscription which, once more, is hereditary. The man born a curialis cannot escape his destiny of ruling the civitas and of being responsible to the State for the quota it should contribute to the imperial revenue. One way out there did remain -- a way only the very wealthiest could take. This was to buy rank as an honorary member of the Roman senate itself. It was a way all who could ultimately went, and these last two centuries of the Empire in the West saw a steady flight of these clarissimi viri from the towns to their country estates.

The towns, then, slowly shrank. They became once again mere centres for bargaining, and for the offices of what local government still went on. The great landed estate, on the other hand, gained a new importance. It was a fiscal unit independent of the civitas and gradually it became, under the protection of its privileged owner, an asylum for all who fled the heavy burden of the urban regime, for the impoverished curialis and the harassed artificer alike. Economically the landed estate had always been self-sufficient. Now it slowly began to acquire a political self-sufficiency too. The owner gradually began to exercise judicial authority over those who lived on his land, settling their disputes, punishing their misdoings. He had his prison. He had his armed guards. The emperors protested and legislated, but in vain. Nor was it merely in an accidental fashion that one wealthier private citizen thus became the master of his co-citizens, and his private will more powerful in their lives than the law. Already, from the beginning of the fourth century, the weaker man had begun consciously and deliberately to surrender himself to the more powerful, the poorer man to the richer, for the sake of the influential patronage he thereby gained. This is the patrocinium and here, too, the emperors legislated in a contrary sense and here, too, they legislated in vain. Here, very notably, the coming "invasion" will wear down to nothing the check of their government.

The federation of self-governing municipalities is, throughout the later fourth century, steadily losing its importance. More and more there is beginning to count this new arrangement of patron and client -- we cannot yet say overlord and vassal -- and the empire in the West is beginning to be a mass of such private associations, based on ownership of land, associations not yet legal, a mass held together by one thing only, the fact -- itself steadily less and less of a reality -- that all these inhabitants are citizens of the one state that the central government protects. That central government is, too, the last support of the importance of the towns, and with the fifth century it is to disappear.

During these centuries of the steady decay of the imperial regime, of alternate chaos and temporary restoration, the Catholic Church has steadily grown and developed. It is the one institution that escapes the universal mortification, the one living free thing amid the new all-embracing mechanical despotism. Here alone does the tradition of individual initiative continue, of spiritual liberty, of social activity. Here alone do men continue to govern themselves, to find an escape from the paralysis to which, ultimately, the over-governed succumb. Popular life can, here, still find corporate expression; personality, stifled elsewhere, save in the army, can flourish. It is no matter for surprise that the best thought of the time is within the Church, that it is the Church alone which continues to breed thinkers and orators and rulers. The only live literature of this dull stagnant time is ecclesiastical, and inevitably the bishop's power and prestige increase enormously. He is indeed, in the city, the "one power capable of counterbalancing and resisting the all-pervading tyranny of the imperial bureaucracy." When that bureaucracy disappears what will be left to rival his place? Moreover, the possession of land is, in this new regime, to be the all-important, determining factor of political importance. The owner of land is to be ruler. In the coming age the Church is to be one of the greatest landowners of all. For in the new system of a rural economy the abbeys are to be, in the flourishing countrysides, what the bishops continue to be in the diminished towns.


The Empire which, at the time of Constantine's conversion, had thus, for a good hundred and fifty years already, suffered the continuous strain of these internal weaknesses, had during the same time been obliged to face the menace of troubles no less serious from beyond its frontier -- the menace of the "Barbarians." These were the people who dwelt beyond the frontier -- Picts to the north of Hadrian's wall in Britain, Goths, Franks, Alamans and other tribes of Germanic race to the east of the Rhine and the north of the Danube, Moors and Nubians to the south of Roman Africa. They were pastoral and agricultural peoples, living on the produce of their lands, civilized in various degrees, with a primitive and fluctuating political system and an equally primitive social organisation. For those among them who lived near to the frontier, the life within the empire was a source of perpetual attraction, partly from the comfort its superior material civilisation promised, partly from the greater security and protection of its more settled organisation. For these pastoral Barbarians were, and had been for centuries, at the mercy of peoples still more primitive, the hordes of fierce nomads whose sphere of operation was the vast continent that stretches from the Carpathians across the steppes of Russia beyond the Urals and the Caspian Sea as far as the very wall of China, a world of savage plunderers and destroyers never at rest, yellow-skinned non-Aryan peoples, Huns, Avars, Magyars, Tartars, Mongols, Turks. Against these the pastoral tribes had no defence. The organised might of the Roman world, its guarded frontier, its settled towns promised them security; and from a very early time they sought to enter it.

From the time of Marcus Aurelius (161-180) the defence of the long northern frontier was the chief anxiety of the State, the final reason for the army's domination of its life, political and economic. This anxiety was, in the later empire -- the empire of the third and fourth centuries -- enormously increased by the new developments within the army itself. In the first place the tactics, strategy and system of fortification were so altered by the necessity of this frontier warfare that the army almost disappeared as a mobile thing, before the demands made on it to provide the innumerable garrisons of the new system. It was indeed a serious development that the time had now come when it was hardly possible to put 10,000 troops in the field, for all that the army numbered half a million. But far more serious was the fact that the army had really ceased to be Roman at all. Since Septimius Severus (193-211) it had been more and more recruited from the Barbarians themselves. By the time of Valentinian I (364-375) it was entirely Barbarian. The words "soldier" and "Barbarian" were henceforward synonymous.

It was a still graver development that the command, too, had ceased to be Roman. In the third century (Gallienus 253-268) the Roman senator and his class had been debarred from the command. The exclusion had then been extended to the provincial aristocracy, both the senatorial and that of the curiales. Already in the time of Constantine's father the officers of this almost Barbarian army were of the lowest ranks of provincial citizens. By the time of Constantine's death (337) they had ceased to be Roman at all. The army was, henceforth, a wholly Barbarian thing, officered by Barbarians, armed as the Barbarians were armed, using their methods as it used their weapons, even beginning to be clad in the once-despised Barbarian dress. Constantine favoured Franks; Theodosius Goths. Vandals and Alans, too, were to be found, and in the very highest posts. As in the third century the low class of officer had produced, inevitably, a low class of emperor in this state where the soldier was ruler, so now the Barbarian-held command brought the supreme posts of the empire within the Barbarians' grasp. No Barbarian, it is true, ever took for himself the imperial crown, but the daughters of Barbarians married the sons of emperors and Theodosius the Great's own grandson was thus half Barbarian in blood.

In addition to the now Barbarianised " regular " army, the empire disposed also of the troops of its allies, the Foederati. These were groups, tribes, "nations" of Barbarians, admitted within the Empire, granted lands on which to live, and giving in return military service. Such a nation were the Goths, settled on the Danube by Valens in 376. These Foederati kept all their national organisation, including their king, and their own laws. As it suited the imperial policy, or as their kings were able to exact the concession, they moved about within the empire for the empire's service.

The difference between the western empire in the fourth and in the fifth centuries is the difference between the first and second stage of a continuous development. In the fifth century that empire as a political unity disappears, but the disappearance is not due to revolution nor to conquest by foreign peoples. It is the term of the previous development -- a development whose pace has been accidentally quickened by unforeseen events, and which has of course been conditioned in its detail by the chance of the particular personalities engaged in it. The emperor has steadily ceased to count. The sixty years which followed the death of Theodosius the Great saw in succession two crowned weaklings -- his son, Honorius (395-423) and his grandson, Valentinian III (423-455) -- inert, incompetent princes who lived in an orientalised retirement at Ravenna while mightier forces decided the fate of their world. The Barbarian elements, already present in overwhelming force in the army of the fourth century had come, in the fifth century, to dominate it entirely and to dominate the court too. Between these Barbarians and what remained of Rome in the high places of the State, the rivalry was continuous. Ravenna is a court of endless intrigue. More than once the all-powerful subject is murdered: Stilicho, a Barbarian, by the order of Honorius; Aetius, the last great man of the Roman line, by Valentinian III -- a miserable debauchee who recalls the last of the Valois. In the next stage (455-476) the Barbarian is more powerful still. He murders Valentinian, the last of the line of Theodosius, and for the next twenty-one years sets up and dethrones and sets up again as emperor whoever seems most likely to play the part as he desires. For a short period there is no emperor at all. The Barbarian has not thought it worth while to nominate one. Finally, in 476, the Barbarian decides that the institution may just as well end. He orders the child who holds the title -- Romulus, whom in a kind of appropriate mockery men called Augustulus -- to resign, and he sends the insignia of the office to the emperor at Constantinople. No more emperors are needed in the West. The Barbarian will continue to rule as for the last fifty years, to rule nominally in the name of the remaining eastern emperor as, for those fifty years, he had ruled through his western colleague.

This period of the passing of the emperors was marked by the most serious breakdown of the frontier yet known, when hordes of the fiercer Barbarian nomads poured into Gaul and Spain and, unhindered, ravaged and plundered for the best part of two years (407-409). From the anarchy of those years the imperial hold on these provinces never really recovered. It was now that the kings of the Barbarian foederati, thanks to accidental combinations of favourable circumstances -- the emperor's weakness, the unstable position of his Barbarian ministers, the jealousies of the court, and the scale of this unprecedented invasion -- were able to wrest unheard-of concessions, and so to achieve the beginnings of real independent political power.

To dislodge the marauding hordes the government at Ravenna could do no better than despatch into Gaul the nation of the Visigoths who, since the death of Theodosius in 395, had been a continual embarrassment. Their king, Alaric, had turned against the eastern emperor in whose territories this people was first settled, and, disappointed in his hopes of advancement, he had then for two years (406-408) ravaged Macedonia and Greece as far as the Peloponnesus. Next, as the price of peace, he was named commander-in-chief of Illyricum -- the key province where the two empires met. He used his position to attempt to dislodge his enemy the Vandal, Stilicho, then supreme at the western court. But Stilicho was too much for him, and Alaric's invasion of Italy from Illyricum was turned back. Stilicho's murder in 408 left the road open, and after an attempt to wring from the western emperor a concession of rank and a commission Alaric and his people swept down upon Italy as far as Rome, which in 410 fell to them. Alaric died shortly after, as he was preparing to cross from Sicily to Africa, and his nation was still in southern Italy when it was "commissioned" to serve in Gaul and Spain to deal with the remnants of the great invasion of 407-409. In southern Gaul the fighting went on in a haphazard, Barbarian fashion for another ten years, Visigoths as foederati in the service of Honorius fighting first against Alans, Suevi and Vandals, and then against the emperor's own Barbarian army under Constantius. The new feature of this war was that it ended in the establishment of the Visigothic king as the emperor's representative in the lands where he had defeated the empire's invaders. The first of the Barbarian kingdoms was thus founded, Toulouse its capital.

The Visigothic king at Toulouse was not independent of the emperor. The cession involved no revolution in law or administration, no wholesale change in ownership. It was not in any sense a conquest. The king of a Barbarian allied nation was now the supreme authority, under the empire, in territory governed for the empire until now by imperial officials. The emperor's hold on these provinces through these officials had been lessening steadily before the change. With the change it shrank to a mere formality. Everything was still done in the emperor's name, but it was the new king's will that settled what should be done. For his own nation he was, as he had always been, master so far as their own law made him so. For the Roman population his rule was exercised through the Roman law and the courts and administrative service which, in the main, the Romans still manned. It cannot be too often emphasised that, in the establishment of these kingdoms, no political revolution was involved. What did accompany them was a wholesale material destruction, towns sacked and burnt, countrysides ravaged. The material organisation by which the ordered central government lived -- means of communication for example -- suffered too. And, the most important point of all, the substitution of Barbarian kings for the centralised rule of the Respublica Romana aided most powerfully that social revolution already in progress by which one class of citizens was becoming the master, the political and juridical lord, of another, and in which ownership of land and political authority were becoming fast associated. This revolution, under the new regime, proceeded, one may say in very general terms, with the positive assistance of the rulers.

The Barbarian kingdoms of this kind, ultimately established within the limits of the Roman Empire of the West, were five in all -- the Visigoths in Spain and Gaul; the Burgundians, from 443, in the valley of the Rhone and the lands between the Rhone and Italy; the Vandals in Africa from 430; the Franks in northern and western Gaul from 486; and the Ostrogoths in Italy from 493.


The transformation of Western Europe in the course of the fifth century was by no means a uniform affair. The Barbarians were not all equally Barbarian. The mode of their establishment differed very greatly, and since the degree of the Catholic conquest, before the upheaval, also differed from province to province, [ ] the effect of the transformation was as varied in the religious world as in the political. Two questions naturally arise: the effect upon the papal centralising policy of this violent disintegration of political life; and its effect on the Catholic establishment in the several provinces, in Spain, Africa, Gaul, and Italy.

Spain had suffered greatly in this century of change. There were the invasions of 407-409, then the long war of Visigoths against Vandals, and Suevi. The Vandals soon passed into Africa, but the Suevi remained, established in Portugal and Galicia, to carry on for the next eighty years a sporadic warfare with the Visigoths.

Almost the only incident of the religious history of which any record remains, is the intervention of the pope St. Leo I in the controversy over Priscillian. Not all the losses of the upheaval had diminished that fierce animosity, and at the very beginning of St. Leo's pontificate, in the years 444-447, Turribius Bishop of Astorga in Galicia sent to Rome a kind of memorandum explaining that Priscillianism was by no means dead, that it numbered even bishops among its supporters, and asking the aid of the Roman See. St. Leo, in his reply, refers to the difficulty of communication with this distant country since the breakdown of the imperial system. There is no authority to enforce the old anti-Priscillianist legislation -- so useful a complement, with its heavy sanctions, to the Church's clemency -- synods are no longer held and therefore the heresy has a new lease of life. To sift out the hidden Priscillianists from the hierarchy, the pope sends a syllabus condemning in sixteen propositions the chief doctrines of the sect, and, his only means of intervening, he suggests that a general council of the bishops of Spain be summoned and the syllabus proposed for their signature. Those who refuse to sign are to be excommunicated. If it is not possible to summon a general council the bishops of Galicia, at any rate, should meet.

Neither council could meet. Instead a formulary was drafted and sent to all the bishops. They signed without an exception: more than one, however, with strong reservations. There, apparently, the matter ended. The pope could advise, could command, but in the circumstances of the time, he must leave the execution of his decision to the local council and if this council could not meet the trouble must endure.

Apart from this incident we know little until, seventy years later, there is record of yet another Roman intervention. Spain had, for the time, passed under the rule of Theodoric the Ostrogoth, the Barbarian king who from Ravenna had ruled Italy since 493. In a sense Spain and Italy were, for a moment, reunited. The years of Theodoric's rule were years of peace, and it is perhaps to a new facility of communications that we owe the appeal of the Bishop of Ilice to Pope Hormisdas in 517. It was for a decision in disciplinary matters that Rome was approached. There was the question of communion with what Greek clergy came to Spain, for the sees of the East had been in schism for now thirty years and more. There was, too, the eternal question as to the lawfulness of episcopal elections, the ever-increasing complaint of simoniac prelates. Hormisdas replied by letters for all the bishops of Spain. The old laws governing elections were recalled, the sanctions against simony re-enacted. Provincial synods were to be held annually, and to provide for the execution of the reforms the pope named the Bishop of Astorga his vicar. As to the Greeks, they were to be received only on condition that they signed the formulary which the pope sent with his letters. [ ]

The Vandal kingdom in Africa was exceptional in its relation to the empire for it was definitely the result of conquest, and the Vandals henceforward continued to be actively hostile to the empire now ruled from Ravenna. The Vandals first came into the empire as a body in the great invasion of 407, and not for nearly a century did they lose their original character of ferocious marauders. From Gaul they passed to the south of Spain, where the province of Andalusia to this day preserves in its name their memory. Thence they crossed the narrow strait into the Roman Mauritania and, at the invitation of its governor, into Africa itself, as his allies in a revolt against the central government. They occupied Africa by conquest, with pitched battles and regular sieges, sacking and pillaging as they went. It was while they were besieging his city of Hippo that St. Augustine, in 430, sickened and died. The fruits of this conquest the government of Ravenna confirmed to the Vandals in a whole series of treaties. The great man of the movement was their king, Genseric, under whom they not only conquered Africa but, taking to the sea, became for half a century the terror of the Mediterranean. Political intrigue had brought them into Africa, and it invited Genseric to Italy too where, in 455, he sacked the ancient capital and carried off into captivity, in true Barbarian fashion, the widow and daughters of the recently murdered Valentinian III. One of these girls was married to a Vandal, and it is with the last of the Vandal kings of Africa that the race of Theodosius finally disappears from history.

The kingdom was exceptional, too, in that the Vandals, alone of these Arian barbarian rulers, were bitter persecutors, and under their rule a last chapter was added to the African Church's martyrology. The Vandals brought with them into Africa an organised clergy, and soon there began what was, to all intents and purposes, a war of Arian revenge on Catholicism. The churches were burnt, all assemblies of Catholics forbidden, the bishops and priests rounded up and deported. After twenty years of this the emperor, Valentinian III, intervened and Genseric answered his pleas to the extent of allowing a Catholic bishop at Carthage. This bishop died in 457 -- two years after Valentinian's murder, at the opening of the last twenty years of the imperial regime -- and Genseric reverted to the policy of repression. It was forbidden to elect a new bishop and for another twenty years the persecution resumed its way. The administrative system had remained unchanged since the days of the Roman governors, and its personnel was still Roman and therefore Catholic. Whence an active Arian propaganda among the official classes and, from the refusals, numerous martyrdoms.

Genseric died, after a reign of fifty years, in 477 and was succeeded by a still more fanatical Arian, Huneric. The new king set himself to exterminate Catholicism within a given time. A great congress of Catholic bishops was summoned -- they still numbered as many as 466 -- and on their refusal to be convinced by their Arian rivals, the king announced that the full Roman law against heretics would now be applied against the Catholics, who were given four months in which to apostatize. The bishops were exiled, some to Corsica where they were set to work in the forests, others to the interior of Africa. The laity found every profession and every trade closed against them unless they could produce a certificate of conformity. There were numerous apostasies, numerous forced baptisms. There were also many martyrs, who died in terrible tortures. Within the year the persecutor was dead, putrefactus et ebulliens vermibus, but the work of extermination continued. The pope, Felix III, and the emperor, Zeno -- excommunicated through the Acacian schism -- both intervened, pleading for a mitigation of the terror, but in vain.

Meanwhile, within African Catholicism chaos reigned. There were no bishops, no churches, hardly any priests, apostates of all degrees, and in 487 the pope, in a council at Rome, drafted a series of rules to regulate the reconciliation of the apostates.

That same year the persecution began to slacken. Once again a bishop was allowed in Carthage and then, in 494, other bishops were recalled from exile and their churches restored to them. In the provinces where the Arians were fewest, there was a kind of peace. Elsewhere the old law of repression was maintained in force.

The peace, such as it was, lasted but a short time. With the accession of Trasimund (500) the bishops were once more deported -- this time to Sardinia. Among them was the most distinguished Latin theologian of the century, St. Fulgentius, Bishop of Ruspe. For the quarter of a century during which Trasimund reigned the persecution continued and then, with the accession of Hilderic in 523,-it ceased as suddenly as it had begun. This king was the son of the savage Huneric by his marriage with the captive daughter of Valentinian III. In him the line of Theodosius the Great plays its last part in history. He recalled the bishops, restored the churches, allowed all the vacant sees to be filled. For the first time in almost a hundred years African Catholicism knew the peace of ordinary life.

In that hundred years Mauritania, the most westerly province had been abandoned to the native tribes; the Moors had occupied Numidia, and from Zeugitana the Church had disappeared entirely. The Vandal kings ruled over an Africa that had shrunk very considerably by comparison with the Africa they had conquered in the last days of St. Augustine's life.

Hilderic, by blood half Roman and the last descendant of the old imperial family, pro-Catholic in his religious sympathies, in friendly relation with the reigning Roman Emperor, Justinian, was too novel a type to win much sympathy from his Vandal nobility. That he was not a soldier increased their hostility, and in 532 a revolt broke out headed by the heir to the throne. Hilderic was captured and dethroned and thereupon Justinian -- braving the warnings of counsellors who recalled the disastrous defeat at sea of the last Roman force that had ventured itself against these barbarians -- intervened with a fleet and an army. Hilderic and his friends were promptly massacred and then, on the 14th September, the imperial general Belisarius laid hold of Carthage. His victory was the beginning of the end of the Vandal regime. With ease, almost, in the next few years he subdued one district after another and by 539 Africa -- as much as the Vandals had managed to keep of it -- was reunited to the empire. The empire's religion was Catholicism and it was now the Arians who were persecuted as heretics.

The Church in Gaul, at the moment when the upheaval of the fifth century began, had just lost its first great historical figure. This was St. Martin, Bishop of Tours, who died in 397 and whose work was the foundation upon which all the later structure of French Catholicism was built, for it was St. Martin who first systematically undertook to convert the pagan countryside. He was not himself a native of Gaul but was born in Pannonia, about the time of Constantine's conversion. His father was a soldier and a successful one and this determined the saint's early career. He, too, though much against his will, must be a soldier. His first preference, for a life of prayer and solitude, survived his military life, however, and a meeting with St. Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers, led to his establishment as a solitary in the wild and inaccessible retreat of Marmoutier, on the Loire, nor far from Poitiers itself. Disciples gathered round him and here, between 360 and 375, there was formed the first monastic settlement of the Western Church.

Like the monks of the earliest Eastern groups, these disciples of St. Martin lived as solitaries, coming together for certain common exercises of piety, and practising heroic austerities. Unlike their Eastern models they lived in the midst of a population wholly Pagan and, inevitably, they added to their monastic occupations the work of their neighbours' conversion. Sermons, instructions, the exposure of the foolishness of the rustic Paganism, the practical exercise of the charity of Christ, the example of their own heroic virtue began gradually to tell. By the time of St. Hilary's death much had been accomplished and more still when, eight years later, the clergy of Tours came to announce to Martin that he was their new bishop. His elevation was for the saint simply an occasion of extending the scope of the work to which he had given himself. He established a new monastery at Tours and, dressed in the same simple costume, he continued as a bishop to live with the same austere simplicity to achieve which he had left the world thirty years before. Long before he died he was the greatest force in the Church of Gaul. Everywhere in the West his monks were sought as bishops. From his death (397) his tomb at Tours became the goal of innumerable pilgrimages, the scene of many miracles, and to Martin were speedily paid the same liturgical honours which, for a long time now, it had been customary to pay to the martyrs. He is the first holy man not a martyr to be regarded officially, as we say now, as a saint.

The west of Gaul had been the field of Martin's apostolate. In the generation that followed his death a new centre of similar work, also monastic, arose in the south. This was the settlement on the island of Lerins, off the coast of Province. The monks, here also, lived a life that followed Eastern fashions, a combination of the solitary and the cenobite, an austerity in the matter of abstinences that verged on the heroic, with an attachment to the practice of manual labour and, also, a devotion to the study of Sacred Scripture.

In the first quarter of the fifth century, as the range of the central power began to shrink, Treves had lost its civil importance; it was Arles that was now the chief town of Roman Gaul. To the west of it the Visigoths were established, with Toulouse as their chief centre. To the east the Burgundians would soon be ceded a similar settlement. But for yet another fifty years or so, the centre of Gaul with Arles for its capital would continue to be occupied by armies and officials obedient to the, by now, distant emperors in Ravenna. Something of the ecclesiastical history of Arles we have seen in Pope Zosimus' exaltation of its bishop as a kind of papal vicar with authority over all the other metropolitans and in the speedy revocation of this novelty by Pope Boniface I. The bishop for whom it had been created, Patroclus, survived by just five years the death of the Emperor Constantius III, whose favour had been the true cause of his temporary greatness. To succeed Patroclus the Church of Arles called in Lerins, electing as bishop the founder of that holy place, Honoratus (426). He reigned, however, for two years only and in his place yet another monk of Lerins was chosen -- Hilary.

St. Hilary of Arles showed himself a true bishop. He continued his life of mortification. He gave himself to preaching and to the conversion of the countryside, to the correction of his clergy and of his suffragans, and to providing good bishops -- very often from Lerins -- as the sees fell vacant. Like every reformer he made enemies, and these appealed complainingly to Rome. Finally, his zeal to correct abuses took him into territories beyond his metropolitan jurisdiction. He was found arranging episcopal successions as far away as Besancon -- and that before the bishop, Celidonius, was really dead. When the bishop recovered and found that, during his illness, St. Hilary had consecrated a good man to take his place there was more than a little trouble. St. Hilary then took it upon himself to summon a council and depose Celidonius.

Celidonius had in his time served the emperor as a judge. The death sentences he had passed on criminals were, it was now said, an obstacle lo his consecration. Again, he had been married and, it was said, he had married a widow. This again made his consecration irregular. Celidonius appealed to Rome (444) and went there in person to see the case through. St. Hilary followed, actually to lecture the pope on the facility with which he listened to complaints from the disaffected and disobedient and then, in his simplicity, to depart with the appeal still pending, in what looked very like flagrant contempt. the trial finished. Celidonius cleared himself. Then the storm broke over the unlucky Bishop of Arles. The pope, unfortunately for Hilary, was St. Leo the Great. Celidonius he reinstated, and in a letter to the bishops of the province he denounced the usurpation of the Bishop of Arles unsparingly. As a punishment he stripped him of all his rights as metropolitan, attaching his province to the see of Vienne and only allowing him to retain his own see as a special act of grace. It was an execution with the full rigour of the law, nor, despite St. Hilary's endeavours, did the pope relent. After St. Hilary's death (448) a new division of provinces was indeed made, and Arles recovered its rank as a metropolitan see, but for as long as St. Hilary lived he was a living witness of the reality of Rome's superior jurisdiction (as was to be, a few years later, a much greater than he, the Patriarch of Alexandria) and of the West's unquestioning acceptance of it.

The year that saw the death of St. Leo (461) saw also the murder of the last emperor to matter in the West -- Maiorian. He was also the first emperor for nearly a century to show himself in Gaul. Three years later the death of the patrician Aegidius removed the last Roman general who remained in touch with Ravenna. The last days, the last hours of the Roman rule were approaching. The Visigoths at Toulouse knew it well and, abandoning the fiction of their status as the emperor's men defending a menaced province, they set themselves to capture what they could of the now deserted centre of Gaul.

One by one the great cities were attacked and fell to them, the inhabitants sometimes resisting not unsuccessfully until orders came from the emperor to surrender. He had found it more convenient to arrange with the enemy.

Of the life, ecclesiastical as well as civil, of this unhappy time, we possess a by no means inconsiderable memorial in the work of St. Sidonius Apollinaris. He was himself of Lyons, sprung from a family of senatorial rank. His wife's father -- Avitus-was for a brief moment emperor, and Sidonius climbed the cursus honorum to its heights, becoming Prefect of Rome in 468. He returned to Gaul and in 470 was elected Bishop of the Auvergne. It needs no great effort to believe how greatly this was against the wishes of this cultured, leisurely aristocrat upon whom, now, the end of all things seemed come. The Visigoths were attacking. He was isolated from Ravenna, even had Ravenna been disposed to help him. He rallied the city to defend itself and resisted stoutly. In 475, however, the end came. The empire -- it was almost its last act -- ceded the city to Euric the Visigothic king. The bishop was carried off a prisoner to Toulouse. From his letters written during this time we learn much of the " Barbarians " -- amongst other things that their Arianism seems to have sharpened with the new spirit of conquest, and that the king had found means to prevent the election of bishops to many of the sees. Two years later Sidonius was allowed to return. Euric had no longer any anxiety that the ex-emperor's son-in-law, the one-time prefect of Rome, might combine with Ravenna against him. Since 476 the emperors had gone. At Ravenna, too. the Barbarian now ruled openly.

During these twenty years that lie between the deaths of St. Leo and of St. Sidonius (461-479) the council of bishops continued to meet, irregularly, haltingly, in a kind of ever feebler decrescendo. The Visigothic advance toward the east, and the Burgundian advance down the valley of the Rhone slowly set up a new barrier against communications with Italy. The action of the Papacy on these now distant churches is felt more and more rarely. To the north of the new Visigothic conquests, however, all isolated Roman army still maintained itself: Its leader was Syagrius whom the Barbarians called "the King of the Romans." He was the son of that Aegidius who died in 464, and he too was about to disappear.

The conquerors of Syagrius were not, however, the hitherto invincible Visigoths. They were the Franks, associated with the empire for two centuries, now as -foes and now as foederati, and settled under their several kings (for they lacked the unity of the Visigoths) on the lower Rhine since the time of Constantine's rather, Constantius I (293-306). The Franks were, of all the foederati, the least civilised. There was still about them a crude brutal bloodthirstiness that had long disappeared from the Goths and the Burgundians, and, another mark of the small effect of their long contact with the empire, they were still pagans. The final stage in their history, in which they, too, begin to occupy the territory of the empire as rulers really independent, begins with the succession of Clovis as king of the Franks centred round Tournai. This was in 481. Five years later he had overcome Syagrius and was master of the north of Gaul as far as the Loire. He then turned on the Alamans whom he drove back across the Rhine, and upon the other kings of his own nation whom he also defeated and slew. In 493 he married, and his wife, a Burgundian, was a Catholic. Three years later he himself became a Catholic and was baptised at Rheims by the bishop, St. Remy. Thousands of his warriors followed his example.

The stupendous importance of this conversion to all the succeeding history of the Church is one of the commonplaces of history. At the moment when it took place not one of the princes who ruled what had been, and what still was, the Roman Empire was a Catholic. The remaining emperor, Anastasius, was a Monophysite and his Catholic subjects were cut off from the head of the Church by the Acacian Schism. [ ] The new Barbarian rulers of the West, Ostrogoths, Burgundians, Visigoths, and Vandals were, all of them, Arians. That the new conqueror of the north should prefer to be Catholic was the first break in a century of steady loss, the first sign of Catholicism's future grip on the public life of the new Western world.

Its effect upon the future of the Franks was not less momentous. In their case, and in their case alone, there was not between the civilised subjects and the Barbarian ruler the greatest of all barriers, namely, that the one was Catholic and the other anti-Catholic. Here alone was the fusion of Roman and Barbarian possible from the very beginning, and it began from the very moment of the baptism. The bishops, who, when the chaos of the change had passed, were everywhere revealed as the only leaders of what still endured, were, in the kingdom where the Catholic Franks ruled, not merely neutral spectators of the new order but its most active supporters. Alone of these Barbarian kingdoms the kingdom of the Franks survived, and it gave their name to the vast Roman territory where they established it. The Vandals in Africa lasted until 534, the Ostrogoths in Italy till 554, the Visigoths in Spain until 711. But under the Franks, Gaul became France, the fruit of the union between Frank and Gallo-Roman based on their common acceptance of the Catholic Faith. Gibbon was right when he spoke of the French monarchy as founded on the Catholic bishops.


St. Leo, pope from 440 to- 461, is the first of the three popes who alone of the long line are popularly styled "the Great." He was not Roman by birth, but from an early age he was one of the Roman clergy. He rose to be one of the seven deacons, and he was by 430 sufficiently important for St. Cyril of Alexandria to enlist his support against Nestorius. He was the friend also of Cassian, and with Cassian he assisted Celestine I in the Nestorian trouble. So, too, a few years later, it was his advice that guided Sixtus III in the final despatch of Julian of Eclanum. The imperial court, also, realised his worth and made use of his diplomatic talents. He was, in fact, acting as its ambassador in Gaul when, Sixtus III dying (August, 440), he was elected pope. As pope he was destined to fulfil all his early promise, to be, above all, the firm administrator and ruler, the touch of whose hands of steel an apostolic diplomacy kept ever from harshness. To this invaluable asset of a truly Roman spirit informed by the charity of the Gospel, St. Leo added intellectual attainments of a very high order. He was master of a singularly beautiful Latinity, clear, simple, and strong as his own disposition, and he was that rare thing among popes, a constructive theologian. He is almost the last pope to use as his mother tongue the Latin of classical antiquity, and the only pope to add his personal quota to the corpus of early Catholic theology. With St. Leo the golden age of the fathers reaches its term. His theological competence found full scope in the controversy as to the relations of the human and the divine in Our Lord which, twenty years after Nestorius, still divided the East, and which issued, in St. Leo's time, in the two great opposing councils at Ephesus (the Latrociniunm and at Chalcedon (431 and 451). [ ]

The West knew the pope rather as an administrator and, in the domain of faith, as the most brilliant exponent so far of the prerogatives o f his primatial see. How he exercised that superior authority in the distant churches of Gaul and Spain has already been noted. He was equally active in what provinces of the diocese of Africa remained to the empire. From the most of them he was cut off once the anti-Catholic Vandals were possessed of them, but for fifteen years yet western Numidia and Mauretania Cesariensis escaped Genseric; and during that time St. Leo's intervention, in the traditional manner, is constant. He had heard of disorders in the matter of episcopal elections and in a letter to the hierarchy of the province of Mauretania he commissioned the bishop, Potentius, to enquire into the matter in his name. The enquiry proved the accusations true. Men had been consecrated who were the husbands of widows, or who had themselves been twice married. Others again had been elected who were not already clerics. St. Leo acted with moderation. Except for the bigamists (in the canonical sense) he would overlook what had been done, confirming these irregularly elected bishops but insisting that the law must be observed for the future. A convert Donatist bishop -- for from the moment of the Vandal invasion the penal code against the sect was no longer enforced and it revived in more than one place -- he allowed to keep his rank and authority over his people converted with him. Other cases he left to the judgement of the local bishops. Finally he directed that, for the future, care should be taken not to create sees outside the cities. To set up bishops in the villages would bring the episcopate to ridicule.

To appreciate as it deserves the record of St. Leo's intervention in Africa, we need to recall the relations between the African bishops and Rome twenty years earlier, in the days when St. Leo was still but a deacon of the apostolic see. [ ] The pope makes no apology for his intervention, nor does he seem to think the occasion has come for any comment on the anti-Roman legislation of the famous Council of 427. Nor does he propose himself as the obvious substitute for that great annual council whose operation the invasions have so rudely interrupted. Like his predecessors before him, he makes the fact of his holding the Roman See the sole reason for all he says and does, in Africa as elsewhere. All that the Africans in 426 had protested the pope must not do -- hear appeals from Africa, send legates into Africa to hold enquiries and execute his judgements -- St. Leo, twenty years later, continues to do, and this as simply as though none had ever questioned these rights of his see. He was of course fully aware of the delicate susceptibilities of these African bishops and, if he was resolute in his practical affirmation of the rights of Rome, he could, on occasion, study their sensibilities. So it was, for example, in the case of the bishop Lupicinus who had appealed to him from their excommunication, and whose case he sent back to them to be re-tried. Nevertheless the pope desires that in all future cases where there is question of litigation between the bishops, a full report shall be sent to him of the matters in dispute and the solution arrived at, so that it may be strengthened by his sentence too.

St. Leo was the pope in whose time fell Attila's invasion of Italy and Genseric's descent on Rome. Tradition describes him as warding off the first from the threatened city by the sheer might of his own holy personality, and history records how he persuaded Genseric to retire with what booty he cared to take. The saintly pope is already creating the role in which the medieval bishop was so often to figure, the protector of his people in temporals no less than in spirituals. In the affair of the Manichees -- the one domestic event of his reign known to us in any detail -- it may be conceived that he protected them in both.

It was the fate of Manicheeism to be universally persecuted. On account of the moral aberrations it harboured and encouraged, it was proscribed by pagan emperors like Diocletian, by Buddhists in India and China, and of course by Catholic princes too. Already before the conversion of Constantine, Manicheeism was reduced, in the Roman Empire, to the condition of a secret society. From time to time there were arrests, trials, and revelations of disgusting moral disorder. Rome was the scene of such an exposure in 443. The ancient capital had been for some years a natural place of refuge for the Africans in flight from the Vandal invasion. They brought with them a proportion of Manichees, to swell the ranks of the existing organisation in Rome. The expansion of the sect did not escape St. Leo. He brought the matter to the notice of the civil authority and soon, at Rome, too, there were arrests and trials and revelations. Those proved guilty were condemned to life imprisonment. St. Leo did more. He circularised the bishops of Italy, communicating the official reports of the trials and bidding them guard their people from the new contamination. The emperor, Valentinian III, on his side, renewed the law of his pagan predecessor, but, it is interesting to note, he did not renew the penalty of death by fire there enacted.

Rome itself was by the time of the death of St. Leo (November 11, 461) a Catholic city at last. All that was left of the old religion were the temples, unoccupied, empty, falling slowly into ruin (for as yet none had been consecrated to Catholic uses), and the social habits of such feasts as the Lupercalia. It was Gelasius I (492-496) who finally brought about their suppression. Year by year the churches increased in number, and around them a first beginning of the system of parishes. The dissident heretics who, in one degree or another, had troubled the unity of the Roman church for two centuries were gone, Donatists, Novatians, Manichees and their "Bishops of Rome" with them. Gone too were the Pelagians, although sufficient of these survived in Venetia to provoke from St. Leo a strong reminder to the metropolitan of Aquileia of his duty as guardian of the purity of the faith. Thirty years later still and Pope Gelasius is again exhorting to the same effect. To this universal submission of Rome to its bishop there was but one exception. The Barbarians who were now Rome's real rulers were Arians, and the popes had perforce to submit to the facts of Arian churches in their own city and an Arian bishop. To distinguish themselves from the heretical titulary they signed themselves " Bishop of the Catholic Church of Rome," or " Bishop of the Catholic Church," a style which has survived to this day as the consecrated formula for certain official acts.

These years so barren, in the West, of events of ecclesiastical importance are years in which the routine of administration becomes more and more of a tradition; and for all that the new "national" frontiers are proving more and more of a barrier to easy communication between the pope and the bishops of the more distant sees, the tradition of intervention, of appeal and judgement, never weakens, is never lost. The opportunities are fewer, the intervention less efficacious. But the Roman habit remains, nor is it ever repudiated by the churches of these countries now politically independent of that power on which, in its last years, the popes had begun to rely as on the effective agent through whom their sanctions might function.

The main centre of interest in the Church History of the fifth century is of course east of the Adriatic, in the great Christological controversies associated with the Councils of Ephesus (431) and Chalcedon (451), and in the long drawn out social and political crisis which follows this last. [ ] Syria and Egypt are, during this half-century, the scene of a never ending religious warfare that strains all the resources of the imperial government, until, to save the empire's political unity it devises a compromise between Catholics and heretics. This is the famous Henoticon of the emperor Zeno (482). Its author is the Catholic Bishop of Constantinople, Acacius. For his share in it he is excommunicated by that zealous guardian of orthodoxy Pope Felix III (483-492), and his church -- and indeed all Eastern Catholicism -- supporting him, there begins, in 484, the long Acacian Schism (448-519). The century ends with the pope in a curious isolation. Throughout the West the rulers, with one exception, are heretical Arians: and the exception is the one real Barbarian among them, and a Catholic of very recent conversion. The ruler of the East, the Roman Emperor, is a heretic too, a Monophysite; and the Catholics of the empire, thanks to Acacius, are in schism. It is at this lamentable time that the ambition and jealousy of some of the leading Roman clergy inaugurate a series of disputes which are to trouble the peace of Rome itself for nearly forty years. Before they are healed there is once more a Catholic emperor at Constantinople. The peaceful relations of the Arian king in Italy, Theodoric, with the Empire are broken. There is a kind of persecution, and the pope dies in Theodoric's prison (526), and the last great intellectual of Christian Antiquity, Boethius, is put to death at his command. The truce between Italy and the desolation, which until now has spared her, is at an end; nor will] peace return until Italy, the old Italy, is burnt and ravaged as was no other part of this unhappy empire.

The Roman Church itself had been singularly fortunate during this century of political revolution. While the empire was fast disappearing, and while everywhere in the West Catholicism was becoming subject to Arian rulers, its calm, ordered life went on with hardly any disturbance. But as the century drew to its close this happy state of things came to an end, and, thanks very largely to clerical ambition, an age of bitter dissension succeeded, marked by schisms and destined to leave to future generations more than one mischievous precedent in the matter of papal elections.

The choice of the Roman bishop, like the choice of every other bishop, had originally been the exclusive business of his own church. Disputed elections were not unknown, even in the days of the persecutions, nor scandalous attempts to enthrone a rival to the pope. It was one of the inevitable consequences of the growth of the Church after Constantine, and its new status as a body recognised and protected by the emperor, that, henceforward, such disputes passed rapidly into the political life of the city, so that the government could no longer be indifferent to the circumstance of the election. Twice in the fourth century, when the hostility of the rival parties had developed into riots and pitched battles in the streets, the government had intervened in the interests of public order. The first occasion was during the reign of the usurper Maxentius (307-312). We know almost nothing about it, except that a faction set up Heraclius in opposition to the pope, Eusebius, that the emperor banished both pope and anti-pope, that the pope died shortly afterwards, and that the Roman See then remained vacant for nearly two years.

The second occasion was the much more serious affair of Ursinus fifty years later. This dispute went back to the exile of Pope Liberius in 356 for his opposition to the Arian emperor, Constantius II. Liberius exiled, the government installed in his place Felix, his archdeacon. Three years later Liberius was allowed to return and, although the government seems to have had in mind a regime where Liberius and Felix would together rule the Roman Church, the faithful were of another mind. They rose and Felix fled. Later he returned, and made another bid for power. He was once more defeated and thenceforward lived in retirement until his death (365) when, thanks to the tact and clemency of Liberius, his followers submitted and unity was restored. Nine months later, however, before there had been time for the old bitterness to disappear, and while the expediency of Liberius' policy was still a subject of bitter disagreement, Liberius too died. The minority of intransigents whom the dead pope's mercy had scandalised, thereupon elected Ursinus. The majority elected Damasus -- a one-time supporter of Felix. The immediate sequel to the election was a siege of the basilica held by the Ursinians and a three days' riot in which many lives were lost. The government recognised Damasus. Ursinus and his supporters were banished. None the less, so long as Damasus reigned (366-384), they continued to be a menace to the peace of his Church.

Thirty years after Damasus the civil authority once more had occasion to intervene, and again on the ground of public order. This time, however, it seems to have made its own convenience the rule by which it decided which of the rivals was the legitimate bishop. Pope Zosimus, as the story of his intervention in the affair of Pelagius has shown, was as headlong in his methods as he was imperious in his tone. Long before the end of his short reign there were complaints from his clergy and petitions to the emperor. These were still undecided and Zosimus occupied with the petitioners when, somewhat unexpectedly, he died (December 27, 418). The division in the Church showed immediately. While the majority of the clergy were burying the pope at St. Laurence-outside-the-walls, his chief assistant Eulalius assembled his supporters at the Lateran and had himself elected. The next day, ignoring this coup de main, the rest of the clergy met in accordance with canonical custom, and elected the priest Boniface. The government decided for Eulalius and Boniface was banished. He appealed against the decision and, thanks to the influence of the Empress Galla Placidia, the emperor [ ] now allowed that the election was doubtful and summoned both parties to Ravenna where a council would judge the matter. The council, however, could not come to a decision, and a greater council was thereupon convoked to meet at Spoleto in six months. Meanwhile neither Eulalius nor Boniface were to return to Rome. This pact Eulalius broke, in his ambition to pontificate at Easter in the Lateran basilica. He was, however, arrested and expelled while, under the protection of the soldiery, the Bishop of Spoleto, whom the emperor had appointed to administer the Roman Church until the coming council, carried out the accustomed solemnities. This raid of Eulalius ended the government's dilemma. He was simply set aside and Boniface recognised without further formality. The council at Spoleto was revoked, and the incident closed. The twelve weeks it had lasted were the sole brief interruption of a peace otherwise unbroken for a hundred and twenty years (379-498).

The disturbances that marked the end of the fifth century were of a more serious character. Their cause did not lie solely in differences of policy, but, to some extent, in the increasing attraction of the papacy as a source of wealth and power. The see had been liberally endowed by Constantine, and the social importance of the pope fifty years later had been the subject of the pagan Prefect of Rome's reply to Damasus asking when he too would become a Christian, "To-morrow -- if you will make me Bishop of Rome." Now, in 483, the Pope Simplicius -- either to check a growing custom or to provide against an abuse that threatened -- forbade and annulled in advance any alienation of church property by a future pope made as a reward to those who had hoped to elect him. The decree witnesses certainly to a decline from the primitive simplicity of the Roman clerical life.

In the two elections which followed, those of 492 and 496, the decree does not seem to have been transgressed, but when Anastasius II died, in 498, there was a double election and a division which lasted throughout the whole pontificate of the new pope Symmachus (498-514), and in the course of this schism the decree of 483 was renewed in a rather curious fashion. Anastasius II, like Liberius in the previous century, had alienated many of the clergy by his conciliatory policy towards repentant schismatics. At his death each party elected its pope, the intransigents Laurence and the late pope's supporters Symmachus. As in 418, and in 366, there were riots, battles in the streets between the two parties, sieges of basilicas, general disorder and not a few deaths. There was no longer any emperor in Italy. It fell to the Gothic king Theodoric to intervene, and Theodoric was an Arian. He decided in favour of Symmachus and Laurence made his submission.

It was, however, a submission in name alone, for Laurence turned next to direct a campaign against his rival's good name and he was so successful that Symmachus was summoned to Ravenna to clear himself, while Theodoric appointed a Visitator at Rome to rule the see until the affair was judged. It was Theodoric again who chose the judges -- a council of bishops which met in Rome in May, 500. Symmachus, after a first consent, refused to appear. The bishops, refusing to judge an absent man, wished to go home. Theodoric constrained them to remain. The deadlock was complete and it lasted for eighteen months until in October, 501, the council solemnly left the question of the pope's guilt to God. They would not condemn where they had not judged, nor would they consent to judge the accused in his absence. It was indeed "absolution by default." [ ] 'The council then broke up and, to add to the trouble, Laurence reappeared, strong this time in support of Theodoric. The riots and the street fighting were resumed.

Symmachus, free from the royal council, now called his bishops together and in November, 502, solemnly protesting that his see was beyond man's judgement, he consented to clear himself of the charges made. It had been alleged that he had contravened the decree of 483. This he did not so much deny as declare the crime impossible since the decree, from the circumstances in which it was made, was null and void. Now, remodelled, he presented it to the council. It was accepted, and confirmed, too, by Theodoric. Symmachus, however, did not manage to secure more than a minority of his clergy, and despite the council of 502 the miniature civil war continued for another five years, until Theodoric abandoned Laurence, whereupon his party collapsed. Symmachus, for the remainder of his reign, was undisturbed, but it was not until his death (514) and the election of Hormisdas that the dissentients really submitted and that unity was restored.

Hormisdas (514-523) owes his place in Church History to the settlement of a greater scandal than the local dissensions in Rome. This was the schism of Acacius, which for thirty-five years had divided East and West, and given the Monophysites a whole generation in which to entrench themselves unhindered in Syria and Egypt. The religious reunion involved of course a renewal of relations between pope and emperor, between, that is to say, these Roman subjects of the Gothic king and their distant sovereign at Constantinople who was also, nominally, Theodoric s sovereign too. The schism -- which antedated Theodoric's coming into Italy -- had certainly helped to make his independence a reality. Its termination might be expected to have some reaction on his standing. Theodoric had also been intimately concerned with the affairs of the Roman Church, and it was very natural that when, in 515, the new pope first approached the emperor, the Gothic king should be consulted. He made no objection to the scheme which would bring together once more his Catholic subjects and their ancient sovereign. Perhaps the fact that the sovereign was himself as little a Catholic as Theodoric -- Monophysite where the Goth was Arian -- made it easy to acquiesce. The negotiations, however, failed.

Four years later, in very different circumstances, the matter was reopened. The Monophysite emperor was now dead. His successor was a Catholic and, a thing unknown for more than a hundred years, a Latin. This was Justin I, and to seek reconciliation with Rome was the first act of his reign. Hormisdas stated his terms -- the famous Formula of Hormisdas [ ] which all the bishops of the East were to sign, renewing their belief in the traditional primacy of the Roman See -- and soon the Eastern Empire was the scene of a vigorous restoration of Catholicism directed by the imperial government. One of its features was the renewal of the old policy against religious dissidents. The remnants of the old heretical sects were persecuted, their property confiscated, and their churches handed over to the Catholics. Among these sects were the Arians.

Theodoric moved by the complaints of his co-religionists, undertook their defence. The news of the persecution, apparently, fanned into flame Theodoric's growing suspicion -- bred of the new frequency of relations since the healing of the schism -- of a plot between his Romans and the emperor. A timely denunciation led to the arrest and trial for treason of three officers of high rank, almost the last representatives in public life of the old consular stock, the Patrician Albinus, Boethius, and Symmachus his father-in-law. They were judged by the senate and unanimously judged guilty. After a longish interval they were put to death. That interval Boethius employed to write the classic ever since associated with his name, De Consolatione Philosophiae, one of the world's great books. But in Boethius the Gothic king's fury slew a much greater man than even the author of this famous meditation. Boethius was perhaps the last man in the West to possess, as his natural inheritance, the philosophic and scientific culture of classical antiquity. He was a Catholic and a theologian and, most important of all for the historian of the medieval culture, a student of Aristotle. His translations and commentaries of Aristotle were, in fact, almost the only source through which the early Middle Ages knew anything at all of the thought which its greatest mind was one day to use to make good the insufficiencies of St. Augustine and to give the Christian faith, at last, an exposition rationally adequate. [ ]

Boethius and his companions were not Theodoric's only victims. To save the Arians the king despatched an embassy to Constantinople with the request that the forcibly converted should be given back their religious liberty, and that the confiscated churches should be restored to them. It was a request for the restoration of Arianism, and to lead the embassy that made it, Theodoric chose the pope. This was John I, who had succeeded Hormisdas two years before. The mission made its way to the capital and the pope, the first pope ever to set foot in Constantinople, was received with every imaginable honour. But his diplomacy gained nothing for Theodoric, and on their return, empty handed, the king threw the ambassadors into prison. There, in May, 526, the pope died of his sufferings. [ ]

Three months later Theodoric, too, was dead, but not before he had made over the Catholic churches of his capital to the Arians. Also he had perpetrated the striking innovation of naming the new pope -- Felix IV, ex iussu Theodorici regis, to quote the simple phrase of the Liber Pontificalis which is all we know of the affair. With this heretic king's nomination of Felix IV in 526 there opened for the Roman See a highly disturbed ten years. Felix, pope by grace of Theodoric's innovation, proceeded, by an innovation still more striking, to nominate the cleric who was to be his own successor, giving as his reason that this method would save the expense of the inevitable disputes. He first of all made certain of the support of the new king who had succeeded Theodoric, and then named the man of his choice, the archdeacon Boniface. The senate, too, supported him, and all went well until, November 22, 530, Felix died. His procedure had been novel and it had also flagrantly broken the law of Symmachus, not yet thirty years old, which forbade such preoccupation with the succession while the pope was yet alive. The majority of the clergy, therefore, ignored the late pope's nomination and elected Dioscoros, an able Greek to- whom had been owing the final victory of Symmachus over his foes, and who had been the chief agent of the peace with the East in the time of Hormisdas. Boniface of course had his partisans. Both were consecrated, and only the sudden death of Dioscoros saved Rome from a renewal of the scenes of 499. His party were sufficiently disinterested not to give him a successor but to recognise Boniface. Once more all seemed well.

Boniface, however, was not of those whom success chastens. He treated the one-time supporters of his rival with contumely and then, but more solemnly, in full synod, imitating Felix IV, proceeded also to name his successor -- the deacon Vigilius. Some time afterwards he rescinded the decree as being beyond his powers, and then, October 17, 532, his short but not uneventful reign ended. At his death the disorders, to whose presence the unseemly transactions of the last few years point so unmistakably, broke out in all their unpleasantness: intrigues, of course, riots, and bribes, to pay which even the church plate was sold, are what the history of the vacancy has to record, and one of the chief acts of the pope who followed -- John II -- is a strong law against simony.

John II reigned for little longer than his predecessor (532-535) and his successor, Agapitus I, died abroad -- at Constantinople, where he had gone as the envoy of the Gothic king in a hopeless attempt to ward off Justinian's impending reconquest of Italy. It so happened that his arrival at Constantinople coincided with an attempt of the empress, Theodora, to install a Monophysite there as bishop. The pope was- able to defeat her and to secure the succession-for a-Catholic, whom he himself consecrated. Whence, on the pope's sudden death (536) the not unnatural scheme on the part of the empress to secure the election- as pope of one who would be her tool. Her choice fell on one of the dead pope's entourage -- the deacon Vigilius who had been Pope Boniface II's nominee in 532. Vigilius, with this illustrious patronage to support him, hurried home to find, however, the election over and-the new pope, Silverius, consecrated. It was not, of course, too late to intrigue. Silverius was given his chance of making the concessions the empress desired. He refused. The Gothic army, meanwhile, had begun the siege of Rome, and Vigilius presented to the imperial commander, Belisarius, forged letters according to which the pope promised to deliver to the enemy the gate nearest his palace of the Lateran. Silverius was summoned to the palace. An interview with Belisarius followed at which Vigilius alone assisted, and Silverius disappeared. It was announced that he had gone to be a monk and that the see was vacant. At the assembly of the clergy Belisarius presented Vigilius as the imperial candidate and he was elected. A few months later Silverius died of starvation, on the island off the Italian coast whither he had been exiled. [ ]

Theodora's plan had succeeded and the precedent of imperial intervention in papal elections thus set was to hold for the next two hundred years. For in the Gothic war just beginning the empire was victorious. Its practical result was the annexation of Italy to that Eastern political system whose centre was Constantinople -- the empire that had long ceased to be Roman and was already Byzantine -- and although in the election of the pope the clergy kept their freedom, it was henceforward the practice that their choice should be confirmed by the emperor before the pope-elect was consecrated.


The century in which the central government in the West collapsed, and whose close saw barbarian kings ruling in all the old provinces, was not the most favourable time for propaganda and expansion. Western Catholicism might be thought fortunate, if, amid the new chaos, it contrived to hold what it had already gained. In two respects, however, it did more than this. It converted the Irish and it produced the Benedictine rule, thereby preparing all-unconsciously two of the chief instruments for the future Catholicising of the Western peoples and for the restoration of letters and thought when, after a century yet more barbarian than the fifth, they seemed about to perish entirely from continental Europe.

The agent of the conversion of the Irish was St. Patrick-about whose life we know so much and so little. He was born, where exactly no one knows and all the authorities dispute, somewhere in Britain towards the close of the fourth century. Maximus, the commander of the legions in Britain, had lately crossed with them to the continent to dispute successfully with Gratian the sovereignty of the West, and, more recently still, he had in his turn been defeated and destroyed by Theodosius (388). These were years in which Britain was increasingly the objective of pirate raids from the coasts of Germany and from Ireland, and in one such raid Patrick, a lad of sixteen, was captured by the Irish and sold into slavery. In Ireland he remained for six years, a slave shepherding his master's sheep, and in the long nights of vigil discovering the joys of union with God in prayer. In a vision or dream he was bidden to make his escape, and after an adventurous journey across the whole length of the country, and a sea voyage on a pirate ship, he came to south-western Gaul-then in the throes of the struggle between contending Roman armies. The interval of eighteen years between this escape and the saint's return to Ireland in 432, as a bishop commissioned to preach the faith, he employed in preparation for the work to which already he knew himself divinely called. In Italy, or in Gaul, he embraced the monastic life and, like many another, wandered from one centre to another always seeking yet better teaching. Amongst other places Lerins, then in the glory of its first beginnings under St. Honoratus, almost certainly knew him, and Marmoutier too where the memory of St. Martin, dead only twenty years before, was still fresh. Later, for a long time, Patrick lived at Auxerre. It was here that he was ordained deacon and here, under its famous bishop, St. Germanus, he made his studies and perfected his ascetical equipment. He was still at Auxerre when the great moment of his life came and he was chosen-the first nominee Palladius having seemingly died unexpectedly-to lead this new venture "to the Scots who believed in Christ." [ ]

That there were already Catholics in Ireland before St. Patrick's mission is certain, possibly even scattered groups of them, the fruit of commercial relations with the already evangelised Britain and Gaul. They were, however, so few as to be historically unimportant. Irish Catholicism, henceforth an astonishingly permanent feature of the life of the universal church, undoubtedly has St. Patrick for its founder. And the foundation was his personal work. [ ] For the next thirty years the saint unceasingly toured the country -- preaching and instructing, establishing centres and ordaining from his converts bishops to rule them. From the beginning the new conquest was markedly monastic in its inclinations. The number of those of both sexes among the first converts who sought to follow the apostle in the perfection of his own monastic life moved his deepest admiration. In this willingness of the first neophytes to embrace a life of ordered austerity, there lay dormant a force which, in the next century, was to revolutionise the new ecclesiastical organisation and produce a most singular anomaly in Church government.

There was in Ireland nothing of that urban organisation of life which characterised the empire in which Patrick was born. There were no cities in which to place his numerous bishops. The seat of the primitive see was a kind of clerical village, founded for the purpose, where dwelt together bishop and clergy, catechists, monks and nuns, a centre of administration and of further propaganda. The distance between such settlements and monasteries of the Eastern type is not very great. In a country already enthusiastic for the life of perfection under a vow of obedience, and in an age of monastic propaganda, that distance was soon bridged. It was from Britain that the first impetus came of that new development, which, sixty years after St. Patrick's death (461), began to sweep all before it and transform the Irish Church. Here, in the dark century which followed the Roman abandonment of the province, the church was organised on strongly monastic lines and the personage to whom the new prestige of monk over cleric, of abbot over bishop, owed its being was, apparently, the British monk St. Gildas. Once this new influence had crossed the Irish Sea with the British-trained Irish monks like St. Enda and St. Finian of Clonard, the clerical settlements became monasteries and their abbots the first ecclesiastical personages of the country. The see is now lost to view behind the monastery. Jurisdiction is no longer confined to bishops, nor even to bishops who are also abbots. It comes, in the course of the sixth century, to be exercised by abbots who are not bishops at all. The line of bishops continues, but, while the government is in the hands of an abbot in priest's orders, the bishop -- one of the monks, chosen for consecration by his abbot -- confines himself to the ritual and sacramental functions proper to his order. All the great names henceforward are abbots and if, at the same time, the abbot is a bishop, it is as the abbot that he is celebrated. Even the metropolitan see fixed by St. Patrick at Armagh ceased to function as such, and the all-conquering prestige of monasticism is witnessed by descriptions of the pope as the Abbot of Rome and, even, of the devil as the Abbot of Hell.

For a hundred years after St. Patrick's death his work steadily developed, and then, the country converted and the church " monasticised," the zeal and asceticism of the Irish monks began to look overseas for new objectives. So there began that astonishing missionary odyssey of the race that is still with us. Upon Britain and Gaul and Germany and Italy they poured out, taking with them much of their own peculiar spirituality, and, through their own stark asceticism, scaring into repentance the decadent Catholics of the now barbarised Roman provinces.

The earliest influences in Irish Monasticism were, it seems agreed, Egyptian, passing to Ireland through such Western centres as Lerins. Obedience to a superior, publicly vowed for life in an explicit formula, is the foundation on which it rests. The earliest rule that has survived -- in the modern sense of a code of regulations -- is that of St. Mochuta (637). The most famous of all, that of St. Columbanus, drawn up for continental monks, reflects Irish conditions and is inspired by the Irish spirit. The-monasteries were of the utmost simplicity, collections of tiny huts of wood or stone with one or more oratories, a kitchen, and a common refectory; the whole enclosed by a wall. There were convents too for women, the oldest known of which is St. Brigid's (450-525) famous foundation at Kildare. The novices were recruited almost exclusively from the higher and middle classes. Monastic life as these Irish founders conceived it, and as their disciples practised it, was a life of continuous, incredible severity -- the " white martyrdom," it was called, in contradistinction to the more suddenly ended "red" martyrdom of persecution. The standard for all was not merely high but heroic: in Irish Monasticism there was no place for mediocrity. Obedience, of course, was absolute, nor could the monk own. There was an absolute avoidance of the other sex, and generally no communication at all with one's family. Prayer, manual work and study filled the monk's day. Prayer, the recitation day by day of the psalter interspersed with readings from Holy Scripture and the Fathers; and prayer, too, as a penance -- with peculiarities that were to mark the Irish and their converts throughout Europe, with endless prostrations and genuflections, and the Endurance of the "crossfigel," prayer, that is to say, with the hands stretched in the form of a cross: prayer too with the pray-er immersed in icy water. Manual work might be agricultural, and it took in all the crafts and the arts necessary to provide for the community's needs. Mass was celebrated, with much diversity of rite, on all Sundays and feasts, and the monks communicated.

Almost every day the monk fasted. His one meal he took about three in the afternoon, vegetables, eggs and fish. Meat he never ate. For drink there was milk, whey and a beer that is likened to whey, and water. To drink nothing but water was a special asceticism, and for the practice of it tradition honoured St. David of Wales as "the Waterman." Silence held the monastery all day. On the rare feast-days there was a milder regime. The tale of the rule's austerity ends with the mention that it allowed as little sleep as was necessary. Breaches against the rule were punished by corporal punishment liberally administered. The monk who broke the silence received six strokes, for leaving the monastery without the abbot's blessing twelve strokes, for needless gossiping conversation fifty, for speaking to a woman a hundred. This particular austerity was all the more shocking in a country where flogging had no place in the civil law. The sick of course were exempted from these rigours and tenderly cared for. The dead were buried with special office and mass for three days-suffrages repeated annually at the anniversary of their death. For the repose of their souls the brethren offered prayers and fasts and alms. By the year 600 there was a certain uniformity of observance along these lines, and we can speak of Irish Monasticism as a definite recognisable force.

The monks also studied. "To the Irish mind an illiterate monk was a contradiction in terms. [ ] The summit and crown of their learning was the knowledge of Holy Scripture. It was for this that, in the conning centuries, students were to cross to Ireland in their thousands. All other study was, originally, ancillary to this. The Gospels, the epistles of St. Paul and the Psalms -- these, above all, were the objects of this devoted meditation. The monks learned the text by heart and gave themselves lovingly to the commentaries -- allegorical, in the fashion of the time. It is impossible to exaggerate their familiarity with the Bible. Its imagery, its histories, passed into the common treasury of the writers; and in one saint's life after another the re-appearance of the biblical stories in a new dress witnesses to the lore in which the hagiographers were steeped.

But the Latin bible which they studied was written in a foreign tongue. Western Catholicism was, for the first time, faced with the problem of converting a people to whom its own language was unknown. Whence in these Irish schools a preliminary course of Latin studies, the essential grammar alone at first and with it the Fathers. Then, inevitably, with the study of those last great products of the ancient-classical culture something, little by little, of that culture itself, the Latin poets and orators, the Hellenistic mathematicians and natural philosophers. The accident that for the study of Sacred Scripture -- the aliment without which no monk could live -- the Irish monk must learn the classic Latin language, and learn it, necessarily, in the masterpieces, made the Irish monk something of a cultured scholar at a time when, in the monasteries of the Latin culture itself, such scholarship was frowned on as worldly, and the masterpieces banned.

The accident had thereby another important effect. It did much to preserve for the later centuries a knowledge of the Latin language that was scientific, for it was taught and learnt in Ireland as a dead language, carefully and, if at times pedantically, correctly -- where, universally, throughout the continent, its purity was suffering violence from the tongues of the new Barbarian kings. In the religious homes of this remote isle the light still painfully burned from which, a little later, the continental church was to be re-illumined. The old native Irish culture was at first most carefully shunned as a Pagan thing. Then, as the new faith showed itself unquestionably victorious, this, too, began to influence the monks, and from the end of the sixth century a certain fusion is evident and a mixed Biblical-Classical-National culture is in process of formation. A system of orthography was devised and now, for the first time, the ancient Irish language began to be written with letters.


In St. Patrick's boyhood the Empire still ruled all the West, even his native Britain. He had been dead nineteen years when St. Benedict of Nursia was born (480) and by that time the Empire had disappeared even from Italy. The Italy of St. Benedict was the Italy of the Ostrogoths and Theodoric, of Belisarius and Justinian's war of recovery. The seventy years or so of his life covered that period when plague and famine and war cleaved the abyss that separates Romans from Italians. He himself is one of the last of the Romans, and it may be safely said that the spirit of Rome, baptised now, is the inspiration of all that is new, revolutionary even, in his work. St. Benedict was not, however, Roman by birth, although educated in the ancient capital. He came from Nursia, which is near Spoleto, and his family were wealthy country landowners. At the age of seventeen he fled from Rome to live as a solitary, thirty miles away, in the wild fastness that is now Subiaco (c. 497). Disciples gathered round him whom finally he organised in twelve communities of twelve monks each. There were rebellions against his rule, attempts even to poison him, and twenty years or so after his first coming to Subiaco he moved to Cassinum, half way between Rome and Naples. Here he dwelt for the remaining years of his life, the years that saw the murder of Boethius, the downfall of Theodoric's kingdom and the victories of Belisarius and Narses. Here the Gothic king Totila visited him, and heard the prophecy of his fate. Here, too, most important of all, the saint wrote the Holy Rule. The date of his death is not accurately known. The year which used, traditionally, to be considered correct -- 543 -- is almost certainly wrong and the latest, well-reasoned, theory would place it between 555 and 557.

The circumstances in which the great work was composed are not known. The latest and most ingenious suggestion is that it was written, not for any particular monastery St. Benedict had founded, or was about to found, nor for any particular group to be formed in the future from his own foundations, but simply as a universal rule for monks: that it was compiled to serve for all time as the quasi-official code of monastic life and compiled at the request of some pope, most probably Hormisdas (514-523). [ ] We do, however, know of St. Benedict's varied experience through twenty-five years of life as a superior of monks, and the text of the rule itself reveals him as a man thoroughly well acquainted with all the earlier literature of Monasticism. Holy Scripture, the preceding rules of the Egyptians and Eastern founders, the lives of the primitive saints, the works of the Fathers -- especially of John Cassian who, founder of the monastery at Marseilles, was to the West the greatest of all guides in this matter -- a knowledge of all these is easily traced in the rule. It is however no mere mosaic of compilation, but a work of striking originality.

Earlier rules had been little more than lists of prohibitions, or of spiritual maxims, with brief statements of practical details. Now, for the first time, there came into being an ordered practical code, covering every aspect of the monk's life, a code which itself created a way of living and would, ultimately, create a type of monk. Monastic life, so far, had been life in the tradition of some great monastic personality. Henceforward not personalities, but the universal decreed law is to form the monk, the "Holy Rule" (a new expression), the "Mistress Rule" to use the saint's own phrase. Not the abbot as such is supreme, but the rule which he administers and whence he, too, derives. It is the old Roman notion of the rule of law transferred to the service of the religious life, and thence derives one of the rule's leading characters -- it does not counsel but commands. It is objective, permanent, absolute. The superior does but apply it.

The Holy Rule-begins with a succinct survey of current monastic practice, and its decision that monks who "fight under the rule and an abbot" lead a life superior to that of the solitary who is his own lawgiver, ended for all time ill the West the prestige that so easily accrues to more picturesque methods of asceticism. The rule describes itself as "a little rule for beginners." It sets up " a school of divine service," and its whole spirit is described when it orders that "all things must be done in moderation for the sake of those who are less hardy." Again and again this experienced discretion shows itself. The first psalm of the night office is to he said slowly, in order to give the laggard a final chance. The food is to be sufficient and, since what suits one may not suit another, two dishes are always to be provided. Again, " Although we read that 'wine is not the drink of monks at all,' yet, since in our days they cannot be persuaded of this, let us at least agree not to drink to satiety, but sparingly, Because wine maketh even the wise to fall away." [ ]

A sufficiency of sleep is prescribed and of clothing too. There is no such thing as corporal punishment, nor any provision for such penitential exercises as hair-shirts, spiked belts, self-inflicted scourgings. Private feats of this nature are sternly discouraged. The monks should do nothing except what the common rule of the monastery and the example of superiors exhorts. Once and for all, with this "Rule for Monks," the extravagance of the East, whose example burdened early Western Monasticism beyond what the ordinary man could bear, is set aside. In the matter of mortification, as in all else, individualism ceases to be set at a premium. Rivalry in such things is not to be tolerated. Association in a common mode of life is the way of the monk's sanctification. This twofold break, with corporal austerities and individual self-maceration, is again revolutionary.

The asceticism of the rule is none the less real. Its basis is, of course, an utter renouncement of one's own will "to walk by another's judgement and command." The routine of prayer, study and work; the frequent fasts; the perpetual abstinence from meat; -- these were the monk's aids, striving ever more earnestly to strip himself of all slavery to self, that he might give himself wholly to God. The monks "do not live by their own free will, or obey their own desires and pleasures, but walk by another's judgement and command." "It is not lawful for monks to have either their bodies or their wills at their own disposal."

The rule carefully prescribes the hours of rising and for sleep, different in winter and summer. It regulates in detail the order of the day's occupations, the different hours for the common prayer, which is "the work of God," for the reading, the manual labour, the meals. Monks who are priests are exceptional, and they are warned against temptations to pride and insubordination which may arise from the distinction.

The nature of the primitive life under the rule of St. Benedict has, in recent years, been the subject of much discussion. The first monasteries, it is suggested, would be founded by the generosity of the wealthy, endowed with lands and all that then necessarily went with the land, its villages, its slaves and its serfs (mancipia and coloni). The rule seems to suggest that agricultural work would be exceptional, a thing to which the monk ought gladly to submit if poverty or local necessity made it inevitable. Abbot Chapman even says, "the idea that monks were agriculturalists would have horrified St. Benedict." What then was the work which occupied the monks? The different arts and crafts necessary for the maintenance of the property, and the household duties: kitchen, cellar, service, garden, wood and metal work; copying, teaching the younger monks "To 'study' or to write books would be rare" [ ] and St. Bede is almost the only simple monk of the early times to be an author (as he remains the one Benedictine canonised as a simple monk). "The sixth-century monk was not a scholar nor an author like some of the Maurists, nor a farm labourer like the Trappists. But he worked hard and he read enormously." [ ]

The discipline is never that of a regiment, but that of an ordered Christian family whose aim is to realise the gospel ideal. The continuity of this family spirit is based upon yet another of St. Benedict's innovations, the famous vow of stability by which the monk pledges himself, not merely to live as a monk for ever, but to live as a monk for ever in the community which now receives him. This has been described as St. Benedict's most important and most characteristic contribution to Monachism in the West. Since the rule contemplates a family, the superior is primarily a father, and if the rule gives to the abbot practically unlimited discretion, it never ceases to remind him that his authority is paternal and that his pattern in its exercise is Christ Himself-Whose name indeed few pages of the rule are without. Here, again, is to be noted the trace of the saint's experienced humanity -- the abbot is bidden to consider the weaklings and not to allow the strong to set the pace of the monastery's observance, and he is warned "not to be too suspicious, or he will never be at rest." It is the monks who choose their abbot, and they choose him for life. In turn the abbot chooses his assistants -- chooses them and changes them at will.

A compassionate understanding of the weakness of human nature, a serene patience in presence of its failure, a calm confidence in the ultimate attainment of the highest ideals through the perfecting of the ordinary ways of life, an absence of exaggeration -- in the Holy Rule the Gospel finds the greatest of its human reflections. It was to produce in the ensuing centuries hundreds and thousands of communities, and the autonomous self-sufficing monasteries where they dwelt were to be, in the nature of things, centres of economic and social life no less than of religion. With their slaves, their tenants, the pilgrims whom religious motives drew, the abbeys became inevitably centres of trade, fostering the arts and crafts, with a social role like to that of the Roman cities now rapidly decaying. Along with the bishop, the abbey was to be the greatest force staving off the universal tendency to social disruption; and for the Church it was the appointed instrument of apostolic work in the age of transition from an urban to a rural economy.



ST. GREGORY THE GREAT was Roman by birth and heir to one of the last surviving names of the old pre-Christian aristocracy. He was born during the first period of Justinian's war to recover Italy for the central government, and his boyhood saw the successive sieges of Rome by Goth and Roman, years of famine, plague and destruction which left-on his sensitive spirit an expectancy of doom thenceforth ineffaceable. He was a child of six when, in 546, Totila, meditating to erase from memory the very knowledge of where Rome had stood, cleared the city of its entire population and left it for six weeks abandoned to the beasts of the Campagna. He was fourteen when, the last Goth driven out, Justinian, in the Pragmatic Sanction, gave the ruined country its new constitution as a province of the empire whose centre was Constantinople. Another fourteen years and then, in 568, over the Alps from the north-east came the last and most savage of Italy's barbaric invaders: the Lombards. In ten years they wrested from the empire the greater part of the interior, and inaugurated a war of raids and sieges on the rest which was to go on with little intermission for another two centuries.

St. Gregory, at the time of the Lombard invasion, was already well advanced in the public life which his rank and wealth opened to him. He was by now Praetor of Rome, responsible for the city's financial administration and for the police, sitting as judge in the courts and, an immense responsibility in these days of continuous warfare, charged also with the task of maintaining the city's supply of food. At the age of thirty-five the praetor became a monk, after long hesitation bred of doubts whether in such time of crisis it was not his first duty to serve the State. He sold his vast property, and from part of the proceeds founded seven monasteries. One of them was his own Roman house on the Coelian. Here he continued to live as -one of the monks, following, the thing seems certain, the rule of St. Benedict. He was allowed just f- r years of the peace he craved. Then, in 579 the newly-elected pope, Pelagius II, ordained him deacon and despatched him to Constantinople as apocrisiarius -- ambassador at the Imperial Court. There he remained for seven years, occupied with the delicate business of restraining the Byzantine habits of the cesaro-papist sovereigns whenever they threatened to invade the sphere of the papal primacy. Political affairs, too, were in his charge: the Lombard menace to Rome the insufficiency of the imperial representatives who, from Ravenna, governed Roman Italy; the plight of Rome itself where, already, the pope was de facto ruler. The city often enough was undefended, lacked troops, and, almost as often, when it had a garrison it lacked the means to pay it. Hence the Romans feared the troops within as much as they feared the Barbarian without. The responsibility for the city's welfare was already falling on the pope, who, however, before the law, was only the emperor's subject. There was abundant matter to occupy the diplomacy of the apocrisiarius.

The contrast between the half-abandoned, ruined city from which he had come and the glory of Constantinople as Justinian had left it would matter the less to the new ambassador since, during all his stay in the splendid capital, he still contrived to live as a monk. Several of his brethren went with him from Rome and the embassy became a monastery. At Constantinople St. Gregory met the Spanish bishop, Leander of Seville, then in exile and negotiating the emperor's help for his patron, the Catholic heir to the Visigoth throne. So began one of the many great friendships of St. Gregory's life. Here too, in conferences given to his monks, he began one of the most celebrated of his works, the Commentary on Job, and in a matter of theological controversy he engaged no less a personage than the Patriarch of Constantinople himself.

So for seven years the rich new experience continued and then the pope needed him in Rome. In January 590, four years later, Pelagius II died and the expected happened: St. Gregory was elected in his place -- the place two of his family had already filled before him, Agapitus I, and his own great-grandfather Felix III.

The new pope revealed himself immediately as a reformer of abuses. The archdeacon -- now and for a long time yet to come the first personage in the Roman Church after the pope -- was dismissed for peculation, the deacons ordered to confine themselves to their original duty of relieving the poor and the relief service of the Roman Church was reorganised from top to bottom. The papal household, too, underwent a similar reform. The lay element disappeared. The Lateran, hitherto the palace of an ecclesiastical prince, was henceforward a house where none but clerics dwelt, where business was transacted in an ordered round of prayer. It was almost a monastery. Fees for ordinations were abolished, fees due from those who received the pallium, fees for dispensations, and special licences. Finally St. Gregory took in hand the reorganisation of the great estates in Sicily, Italy and Gaul which were the source of the Roman Church's vast wealth-the Patrimony of St. Peter. This was his own personal work, and many letters remain to show how intimately he scrutinised its personnel and their accounts, and how scrupulously he observed the principle that these revenues should be employed in unstinted almsgiving.

One of the most distinguished of French scholars [ ] has borrowed all English idea hi which briefly to sum up the essence of St. Gregory's personality. He sees in him the "landlord" of the best type, with the tradition of unstinted service for the public welfare, a sense of responsibility, and care, for dependants that knows no limits. To his rulership of the Church he brought something of the technique of the old imperial administration, and all the best of the Roman tradition: fidelity to law, respect for rights, impatience of disorder, whether from insubordination o r injustice, and the courtesy of business regularity.

It is this same shrewd, kindly, fatherly spirit, practical always, never speculative, that informs all his writings. For St. Gregory wrote much, despite his well-filled days, and more directly even than St. Augustine did he, through his writings, influence the next thousand years. He is no scholar writing for scholars -- or the scholars for whom he writes would hardly have been recognised as such by the earlier writer -- but he is a great populariser of doctrine, the principal source of the forms of the popular piety and preaching of the early Middle Ages, the storehouse whence derived much of its legend and a hagiographical tradition, the creator of its liturgy, and the creator of the ideal by which it judged its spiritual rulers. As a theologian he is never, it is true, all original thinker. He has, in this respect, all the mediocrity that characterises all age of intellectual decline. He is not widely read. St. Cyprian, St. Ambrose and St. Augustine are his sources -- St. Augustine above all, not the boldly speculative St. Augustine but the preacher, the mystic and the moralist.

It is the moralist who is supreme in St. Gregory. He is indeed one of the master moralists of Catholicism, and he sums up Catholic spirituality, as a life, in a wealth of clear and adequate phrases. His Moralia is an extension of the conferences on Job begun during his stay at Constantinople. It is a free running commentary on the text as it lies before him, whence a certain prolixity that runs out into thirty-five books. The sense of each verse is expounded, the literal, the allegorical and the moral, this last in the place of honour, the literal being no more than "the bark of the tree." The Moralia is a practical guide to the spiritual life. For centuries after St. Gregory it was the classic vade mecum of spiritual directors, thanks to its wealth of teaching on, for example, the contemplative life, its nature and the signs by which an aptitude for it is discerned, thanks to its directions for fostering and safeguarding that life, and to the saint's analysis of the temptations that beset it. Job, and the exegesis, are secondary to this practical aim. Equally important in its universal and long-lived influence was the book of St. Gregory's sermons, The Homilies. These are simple familiar " talks " on the gospel, preached during Mass. There is no rhetoric, no dogmatic profundity, but much allegory -- perhaps to our modern notions fantastic at times -- and the gift of summing up a lesson in axiomatic phrase, real genius for spiritual epigrams. There is, too, an abundance of stories, stories of the saints and stories of their miracles. St. Gregory, and through his book known as the Dialogues [ ] above all, is the great storyteller of the early Middle Ages, and here again he is one of that culture's primary founders.

Finally, to conclude this rough summary of the most important of his many writings, he wrote the Regula Pastoralis -- a rule for bishops as important in its way as St. Benedict's rule for monks. It is a book to train and instruct and its aim is to raise the tone of the episcopate generally, to serve as an examen de conscience for those who are bishops. How much the book was needed other sections of this chapter will perhaps show, and the remark of a friend of St. Gregory's who had read it, " You lay down that no one should be consecrated who is not trained. Where then shall we find bishops at all?" [ ] The book was, from the first, an immense success. St. Gregory himself gave copies of it profusely, and it was immediately translated into Greek -- a rare honour indeed in this new age when the Romans of Constantinople were beginning to speak of Latin as a barbarian tongue. Many centuries later, as is well known, our own King Alfred had it translated into Anglo-Saxon for the benefit of a church more afflicted even than the church for which St. Gregory wrote it. All through the Middle Ages it continued to be copied and studied, and to be the basis of the spiritual formation of the medieval clergy. Had St. Gregory as pope done no more than write these three books he would still deserve his unique place among popes. But he was also, and primarily, a man of affairs, ruler and restorer of the spiritual kingdom committed to him.

It was to a troubled heritage that St. Gregory came, the care. of churches universally afflicted, some of them seemingly to death. He took up that heritage in the spirit of one for whom the future could hold little promise, convinced as he was, and by signs apparently certain, that there was not even to be a future. None the less, his charge is henceforth his life; to it he consecrates all the energy of his practical administrative genius; he consoles the failing churches of the West; and he lays there the foundations of a new church, where the ancient cultures which are his by inheritance will shortly find their chief refuge when new barbarism drives them from their own homes, a church whence these cultures will return, to be the basis of the first revival of thought once the long night of war and rapine is passed. The first of the long line of monk-popes is, in the event, the greatest of all papal administrators; the saint whom only the sense of duty held from despair, and from the temptation to flee into solitude from the chronic desolation of his age, builds the foundations on which, even yet, much of our political and social life rests. More than any other. St. Gregory is, if any man can be it, the founder of Medieval Europe.


In Italy by the time the Lombards arrived (568) the municipal regime of the empire as Diocletian rebuilt it had disappeared. In every city it was the bishop and the tribune who supported the burden of government, the ecclesiastical power and the army: at Rome the pope and the duke. From the safety of Ravenna and its lagoons the exarch ruled, in the emperor's name, what parts of Italy had escaped these Lombards: strips and patches along the coast-line, Rome, Naples, Aquileia, Apulia and Sicily, and kept the road between Ravenna and Rome. As the years went by this rule was less and less of a reality. Rome, in particular, the Lombard kings and dukes never ceased to covet. Its danger was henceforward a permanent feature of life. The emperors could not spare troops enough to clear the Lombards out of Italy, could not, very often, even defend adequately the towns the Lombards menaced. Policy and tradition, on the other hand, forbade them to negotiate with the Barbarian. They could not make war, they would not make peace. To protect Rome, and yet not betray the imperial policy, was already the great problem of papal diplomacy.

Pelagius II had, in 586, successfully negotiated a three years' truce. It ended in 589 and three years later the Lombard army again marched on Rome. It fell to St. Gregory to organise the defence, to find money to pay the arrears of the imperial army's wages, to appoint military governors. There followed a military demonstration in the Campagna, and the Lombards retired. Next year they returned, in greater force than ever, headed by their king. This time it was by spiritual weapons that the pope conquered, and by the offer of tribute. In an interview he bought off the Lombards with an offer of 500 gold pounds annually. His real aim was a perpetual peace throughout Italy between the emperor and the Barbarian. Meanwhile he acted as intermediary, working on behalf of the prisoners taken in the numerous raids, finding ransoms, and assisting their distressed families. All this to the mixed amusement and annoyance of the incompetent Byzantine functionaries at Ravenna, who put every obstacle in his way, even to denouncing him at court as a traitor. In the end the pope's patient diplomacy won this much of success at least that, in 598, after thirty years of war, the emperor and the Lombards signed a definitive treaty.

In matters more purely ecclesiastical St. Gregory exercises, and with refreshing vigour, all the rights of his see over the other churches of Italy. Dioceses depopulated in the long wars are united, vacant sees visited and administered by his delegates. Complaints against bishops are received and heard and decided without the intervention of any council. The Bishop of Amalfi is warned that if he will not reside in his diocese he will be interned in a monastery. The Bishop of Tarentum is suspended for causing a woman to be flogged. The Bishop of Naples is deposed.

Outside the special sphere of St. Gregory's jurisdiction as metropolitan, there lie the suffragans of the other metropolitan sees, Milan, Aquileia, Ravenna. With these bishops the pope has, still, little direct relation. It is still their own metropolitan who confirms their election and gives them episcopal consecration. On the other hand the metropolitans themselves are in close relation with the pope. When the See of Ravenna falls vacant, it is the pope who names the Bishop of Cervia to make the visitation, and the newly-elected metropolitan goes to Rome to be consecrated by the pope. In 595 neither of the candidates proposed to the pope suited him, and he named one of his own monks. With Aquileia relations were still strained. After thirty years the schism bred of the action of Pelagius I during and after the General Council of 553 still endured. [ ] Nor was St. Gregory's patience ever able to end it. It survived his death, and Aquileia was only reconciled under Honorius I (625-638). If Aquileia was in schism, Milan was by this time foreign territory, in the power of the Lombards. It was as a refugee at Genoa, still imperial territory, that the successor of Laurentius (593) was consecrated. St. Gregory's delegate assisted, to confirm the election and to see that the newly-elect was consecrated by bishops of his own province as the custom there demanded. To him, as to the Metropolitan of Ravenna, St. Gregory sent the pallium.

The leading figure in the religious life of Gaul during the first part of the century of St. Gregory was St. Caesarius, Bishop of Arles. Like St. Honoratus and St. Hilary, Bishops of Arles a hundred years before, he was a monk of Lerins. Like them, too, he was a zealous missionary who by his continuous preaching and his endless journeys throughout the province where- he was metropolitan, did much to give the fervent ideals of Lerins a very wide influence indeed. He was also himself a monastic founder and the author of a very famous rule which, particularly in convents of women, carried all before it in Gaul until the coming of the rule of St. Benedict. But St. Caesarius has a greater claim to a place in history, as the agent responsible for a work of more general importance than the maintenance of the good Arlesian tradition of religious life. It was due to his decisive action that, after a century of more or less open conflict, the debates of the rival schools of Augustinians and semi-Pelagians were brought to an end. St. Caesarius is the hero of the Council of Orange of 529.

To explain this we must go back to the closing years of St. Augustine's life, when his great theories on the nature and the working of Grace, after routing the pretensions of the system of Pelagius, were beginning to be a cause of lively discussions among the Catholics of southern Gaul. To make the story clearer it is perhaps better to anticipate what the controversy ultimately showed to be true -- that although the Church recognised officially the main lines of St. Augustine's teaching as against Pelagius, there were elements in that teaching -- on predestination, for example, and on the fate of unbaptised children -- which it did not make its own. It was in part around these points that the new discussions took place (419-429); but in opposing what we may call St. Augustine's personal theories, his critics -- followers of Cassian at the beginning of the fifth century and of St. Faustus, Bishop of Riez, at the end of it -- fell foul of the implications of the official anti-Pelagian teaching. The story can hardly be told, even summarily, without the introduction of more theological matter than there is space for here. [ ]

The troubles came to a head -- and Rome was brought into them at the time of the reconciliation of the Eastern churches in 519. [ ] The treatise of St. Faustus, directed against the supporters of St. Prosper, who was himself a strong Augustinian, had come into the hands of those monks of Constantinople who, throughout the late schism, had been Rome's constant supporters. They read it as Pelagianism, and appealed for a decision to the Apostolic See. They also brought the book to the notice of the greatest theologian of the day, the African bishop, St. Fulgentius, then exiled for the faith to Sardinia. The pope, Hormisdas, referred his enquirers to the writings of St. Augustine and St. Prosper, and especially to the decision of the Roman Church given in the previous controversy a hundred years before. This, in the circumstances, was not enough to halt the discussions; and soon all southern Gaul was again filled with their noise

It was how that St. Caesarius, metropolitan and also, by appointment of Pope Symmachus (498-514), papal vicar for the Visigothic Kingdom, took up the matter. He drew up and sent to the pope, Felix IV, a list of nineteen propositions which purported to resume the Catholic teaching on the disputed points, and asked the pope officially to sanction it. The list was returned, with some changes: the sections that treated of predestination and of reprobation were struck out; other clauses, taken from the Sententiae of St. Prosper (which again derived from St. Augustine), were added. St. Caesarius added- to the list thus revised more matter of his own, touched up the whole, and presented the document, thus arranged, for acceptance to the bishops of his province assembled at Orange for the dedication of the basilica there (July 3, 529). They signed it; and St. Caesarius next sent the document to Rome for ratification. Felix IV was dead. It was to his successor, Boniface II, that the decree came. He approved it, January 25, 531, [ ] as an adequate expression of the Church's teaching, and thus gave it all the force needed to end the controversy.

Little by little, as the decree circulated, the controversy died out. The critics of St. Augustine had to admit, as part of Catholic teaching, that, even for the first movements of man in the work of his salvation, grace was needed; and that, apart from grace-left to its own resources -- human free-will is incapable of sustained moral goodness. On the other hand, those developments which had, in part, caused the controversy -- St. Augustine's theory on the intrinsic malice of concupiscence, on the transmission of original sin from parent to child through the parental concupiscence which the act of generation involved, on the lot of unbaptised children, and some of his ideas regarding predestination-none of these were approved. [ ] The Augustinian doctrine, as against Pelagius, was fully confirmed. On the other hand the controversy had brought out clearly that others of the saint's conclusions -- and some of them are extremely repugnant -- were no more than the theories of a learned theologian: and were not the Church's teaching. [ ]

The Gaul of St. Caesarius, however, where Arian princes ruled, Visigoth or Ostrogoth, was soon to give place to a new condition of things once the now baptised Franks of the north made themselves masters of the whole country. By the time of St. Gregory the Great, all Gaul was Frank and Arianism had disappeared. The saint's task in Gaul was, however, hardly easier, for all that the princes with whom he had to deal were Catholics.

The first important event in the ecclesiastical history of the new Barbarian kingdom, after the baptism of Clovis, was the national council held at Orleans in 511. Clovis was by this time master of two-thirds of Gaul. He had, in a few years, destroyed the Visigothic sovereignty of the south-west and with the victory his new religion, too, had triumphed. "I cannot tolerate that Arians should rule so great a part of Gaul," he had declared; and on his way south he had prayed as a pilgrim at the shrines of St. Martin and St. Hilary. The Council of Orleans was the first event to mark the new national unity. It marked also the beginning of those close relations between Church and State that were to characterise all later French history. Clovis, apparently, had summoned the council; and to Clovis it made its report, begging him to support with his power the decisions it had made. The whole of Gaul was represented, bishops even from the districts still in the hands of the Burgundians. On the other hand there was not a single bishop from the sees of the distant north-eastern frontier -- Mainz, Treves, Cologne, Tongres, Metz, Toul, Verdun -- some of which had apparently disappeared in the century of disorder which began on that fatal day, in 407, when the great flood of marauders had destroyed the Rhine frontiers once and for all.

With Clovis the 3,000 soldiers of his guard accepted the new faith in 496. The rest of his people remained, for the moment, pagan, their conversion an additional task before the Gallo-Roman Church still occupied with the conversion of the pagan countrysides. The Catholicism of the ensuing century was necessarily a very mixed affair. St. Gregory of Tours, our chief source for the history of the Franks at this time, has left us a dark picture indeed, of a society almost wholly pagan in its morals. Cruelty, drunkenness, debauchery, sacrilege and superstition are its leading features, and Catholicism a thin, scarcely recognisable veneer. The reigning princes set the fashion, their nobles follow it, and in the train of their crimes come blood-feuds and private wars to destroy all security. To add to the causes of misery, the kingdom of Clovis is, upon his death (511), divided among his sons. Reunited in 558, it is once more divided in 561, to remain divided for another fifty years. Between the closely related kings civil war is continuous, and the pages of St. Gregory are a record of revolting cruelties.

Good men are, however, by no means lacking; there are saints even, and in every walk of life. Preachers like St. Caesarius of Arles remind these decadent and half-civilised princes and their associates that God is just and the avenger of wickedness in high places. Missionaries tour the pagan countrysides risking, often enough, their very lives, in an endeavour to make the Gospel known. For paganism dies hard, its devotees, lords as well as peasants, resist violently this new "Roman" conquest. Even so late as 626 councils are still legislating against sacrifices, and against Catholics who assist and take part in them.

One method of stabilising the spiritual conquest and of guarding against any relapse into the attractions of the old servitude is the substitution of Christian feasts for the pagan saturnalia. Shrines are built in the place where once the gods were worshipped-shrines of the martyrs and, more often still, of the champions of ascetic austerity, such heroic bishops as St. Martin, St. Hilary, St. Germanus of Auxerre. The cult of the saints spreads rapidly. Every town, every village has its patron. He is its special protector and in time of crisis he is expected to deliver his clients -- if need be, by miracle. It is the age of the miraculous. The lives of the saints are, often, little more than a catalogue of marvels; and the popular conception of sanctity, the test which gives the right to veneration, is the power of working such miracles. In the shrine there is preserved the body of the saint, or, where this is not possible, some relic: not, as yet, a part of his body, for in the West such mutilations are held in horror. " Who dares to touch the bodies of the saints dies," St. Gregory wrote to the empress when she asked of him the head of St. Paul. He sent instead part of the saint's chains. The saints are a coveted treasure. Around their earthly life a new genre of literature grows. First the neo-Manicheans, to capture the prestige of the saints for their sect, and then the Catholics, produce a whole series of romantic histories, with one or other of the saints for the hero. Soon a type is created, a fixed formula of events and characteristics, and for one life historically valuable there are a score of these colourless legends based on a common pattern. The prestige of a town, of a see, of an abbey is not infrequently measured by that of the saint it possesses. Fights over relics are not unknown, and pious thefts. A more permanent influence, possibly, is that the local chapels gain in importance and achieve a first beginning of administrative independence from the church of the episcopal city.

The bishop of this sixth-century Gaul is not merely a pastor of souls but the chief personage in the social life of his see city and of all its neighbouring territory. He has the immense prestige that falls to the one surviving institution of the imperial regime, to which men look back, already, with an almost religious veneration. The bishop is a royal officer. Almost always he is of good family; and not impossibly the same see has been held in his family for generations. So it was with St. Gregory of Tours, who wrote that all the bishops of Tours save five were of his family. It is the bishop who stands between the people and the exactions of the king's lay representative, the count. Often the temporal administration is in his hands and he makes himself responsible for public works, for dykes, canals, fortifications. He undertakes the burden of finding ransoms for the innumerable victims of the endless wars, and systematically, with registers, poor-house and hospitals, he provides for the destitute. Especially is he the protector of widows and orphans and, from 585,' [ ] no judgement can be given in any suit that relates to them without the bishop's intervention. Another thoughtful council even forbids bishops to harbour fierce dogs lest they scare away the poor seeking alms and comfort. The church itself was a sanctuary, in which the criminal was safe from the unlawful violence of the mob or of the royal officers. Only on their swearing to give him a fair trial would the bishop hand him over. The serfs again, if they were the property of the Church, were to be treated with especial consideration, [ ] and the development began which ended in assimilating the serf to the cleric and placing him wholly under the jurisdiction of the bishop's court. Others gladly made themselves the bishop's men by recommendation, free men as well as serfs, and transferred to him their domain. Hence the subjects and dependants of the bishop could often be numbered by tens of thousands.

The churches were inevitably increasing in wealth. Generous giving was the great virtue of the time -- whether in expiation, or from devotion or from interest. The custom of tithes too, though not yet of obligation, was slowly spreading. By the time of St. Gregory the Great, the Church was easily the greatest proprietor in Gaul. Its vast personnel was, by royal concession, immune from the numerous customs and tolls, as it moved about the country on business; and the church lands enjoyed a like freedom. They enjoyed, too, as the lands of all the great lords were beginning to enjoy, and again by royal grant, immunity from the action of the king's officers. On the domain of his church the bishop was ruler, judging and taxing his people; and his own personal subjection to the king was the only link between them and the crown. The property of the Church was inalienable-because it was the property of the poor; of which the bishop [ ] was only the administrator. This inalienability, partial at first, had been absolute since the intervention of Pope Symmachus in 513.

The bishops themselves enjoyed complete immunity from the royal jurisdiction. As bishops, only bishops could judge them. They made the like claim for their clergy, but, at first, with only partial success. The conflict between the two tendencies went on throughout the sixth century. Finally, in the great council of 614, a compromise was arranged. Civil suits between clerics were to be decided by the bishop. If one of the parties was a layman, a mixed tribunal should judge. In criminal cases if the accused cleric was subdeacon, deacon or priest, the bishop was to judge him: if he was only in minor orders, the count.

This system of immunity and privilege was of course always at the mercy of the half-civilised Barbarian upon whose good will it was built. "It is the conqueror who commands. I obey," said St. Remy, the bishop who baptised Clovis, in explanation of some departure from the canons; and the great council of 511, in which that far reaching conversion produced its first effects, laid the foundation of that dependence on the State which was to characterise ever afterwards the Catholicism of the French.

No layman, it was there enacted, should be ordained or consecrated without the king's consent. Where Clovis had -- and of course successfully -- suggested candidates for the vacant sees, his still more brutal sons imposed them. Gradually laymen, their own brutal warriors, came to be named, and to be consecrated even, without that year's novitiate which the canons prescribed for such cases. The councils protested, but in vain. Saints were never lacking in the hierarchy. More than one paid with his life for his bold reproof of wickedness in high places. But bad bishops abounded; and the pages of Gregory of Tours are filled with the record of these drunkards, debauchees and brigands, monsters of cruelty and avarice, politicians and intriguers.

There was no centralisation of the Church in Gaul, no one primatial see. The old predominance of Arles had never matured. The century of invasion, and its division of Gaul into three mutually hostile kingdoms, had broken up the first attempt at any unity of ecclesiastical administration. The councils apart, each bishop was a law unto himself. Rome was far away, and, by now, in a foreign country where a heretic ruled. Communications were more difficult than ever.

None the less the churches increased, and religious life within their boundaries. New sees had been established in the fifth century, and in the hundred years between Clovis and St. Gregory still more were added. The development of chapels outside the episcopal city, begun already in the fourth century and then so rudely interrupted by the invasion, was renewed. There were, for example, the private chapels established by the lords of the great estates for their population of Catholic dependants, and there were the new chapels erected as memorials to the saints. These last were at first regarded as the property of the local see and what revenues they possessed went to the bishop. From 511 the clergy who served them were allowed to keep two-thirds of the casual offerings they received. From 527 a permanent funded revenue was guaranteed to them and finally, at the Council of Orleans, 538, the principle was fixed that the clergy of such rural churches live on their revenues. The bishop, of course, retained all his authority, though he is warned not to abuse it, by, for example, robbing the church of its movables during a vacancy. A more serious menace than the chance of such a bishop was the permanent lay patron of the chapel built for the great estates. He was often an obstacle to the development of clerical discipline. Often he kept the revenues, and even the offerings, and in some cases the parish, by recommendation, made him its rector.

These rural clergy were simply trained. The Council of Vaison, 529, urges the priest to house and supervise those who wished to be priests. If they are not free men, the lord's consent is necessary. If they are married they must promise to live henceforth in continency, though, as yet, there is no obligation to separate from their wives. The scholastic training is the very minimum. The priest must be able to read, must know something of the chant, of Holy Scripture, and how to baptise. To safeguard his good name the councils lay down a minute code of observances in all that relates to his business with the other sex. That there were abuses and disorders in this primitive organisation is certain-as it is certain that such disorders cause more comment, and leave more trace, than the humdrum virtue of the rest. The brutality of the time finds its habitual reflection in the clerical scandals that are recurrent. Drunkenness, incontinence, scandals from the renewal of married life after ordination, theft and murder -- all these occur in the indictment. That these rural clergy were, personally, poor enough may be gathered from such counsels as that of St. Caesarius that the priest should supplement his income by manual work. St. Caesarius, himself a tireless preacher and missionary, would have the priest supplement his first primitive schooling. He should, for example, read through the whole Bible four times a year. He should also preach to his people -- an office so far reserved to the bishop and to supply the less competent with the means, the saint compiled a whole series of homilies.

To this live and turbulent Church so large-hearted a man as St. Gregory the Great could not be indifferent. His first opportunity came in 593 when Childebert II, King of Austrasia, [ ] became, by the death of his uncle, King of Burgundy too. Childebert, now the most powerful of the Frankish kings, wrote to St. Gregory asking him to restore the vicariate at Arles. The pope readily consented. It would be a means of extending his direct influence on affairs in Gaul and of introducing the much needed reforms. In his reply he goes to the root of the troubles when he asks the king never again to appoint a layman to the episcopate, and warns him that such practices imperil his salvation.

The hope of royal assistance in the work of reform died, however, almost as soon as it was born. By 594 Childebert was no more. His kingdom was divided between his baby sons, Theodebert II and Thierry II, and their grandmother Brunhilda ruled as regent -- a valiant woman truly, who shrank from no extremity of violence and treachery to repel that with which the baby princes' inheritance was attacked by their next of kin. For the next few years this task was her sole occupation. The outlook for religious revival was decidedly poor and the stream of exhortations from Rome fell on deaf ears. The aged queen did indeed pause in the midst of her strife with her rival fury, Fredegonda, to assist the mission of St. Augustine 011 its way to England, but that was the limit of what St. Gregory's patience and piety achieved. His aim was a national council, and he even selected his legate -- one of his own monks. Brunhilda, needing the pope's assistance in a negotiation with Constantinople, listened with a show of interest and consented. This was in 599, but though St. Gregory lived until 604 the plan never went any further. When the council finally met, St. Gregory had been ten years in his grave and a new religious force had entered Gaul and the Catholic life of the continent. This was the mission of the monks from Ireland, and its pioneer was St. Columbanus.

St. Columbanus, the incarnation of Irish monasticisms's uncompromising austerity, was a man sixty years of age when, with a dozen companions, he left his monastery of Bangor in self-inflicted penitential exile. Providence guided the band to Gaul, and in 591 they appeared at the court of Gontran, King of Burgundy. Monasticism was, of course, by no means unknown in Gaul. The pioneer work of St. Martin, of St. Caesarius and the saints of Lerins had flourished exceedingly. Monasteries of men and of women were numbered by the hundred, and monastic saints among the Franks themselves -- St. Radegonde of Poitiers for example (for whom Fortunatus wrote the Vexilla Regis) -- were known and revered and a real force in religious life. But the Irish monks were almost a new revelation.

The king treated them kindly, edified by the miracle of their surviving such austerities, and gave them site after site in the wild abandoned mountain country of the Vosges. There they founded successively the monasteries of Annegray, Luxeuil and Fontaines. Presently this deserted corner of Gaul became a centre of the most amazing spiritual revival. The new monks were the most zealous of apostles, the most terrifying of preachers. They knew no other desire than to win souls from sin, and presently disciples flocked in by the hundred. Presently too their troubles began, for trouble was inevitable once these saints turned to save the souls of the kings and their courts. Their blunt rebuke of the customary sexual licentiousness lost them their first patron. Next there was trouble with the local bishops. Monasteries in Gaul, as universally throughout the continental churches since the Council of Chalcedon, 451, were subject to the local bishop. The Irish monks brought with them a very different tradition. Also they brought their own local customs in such matters as the date of the feast of Easter, which was the centre of the year's liturgical cycle.

The disputes ended with the condemnation of St. Columbanus by a synod of bishops (600). Whereupon he wrote the famous letter to St. Gregory in which, among other matters, with the blunt direct speech characteristic of his whole activity he rebuked the pope for his approval of the General Council of 553. No one escaped this new, hardy, undiplomatic, if not too well informed, sincerity, whether the kings for their animality, the bishops for their servile connivance at the royal sins, the very pope himself for his orthodoxy! The day came when kings and bishops united and the fearless monk, after twenty years of labour in Burgundy, was driven forth. For three years he wandered -- Paris, the west of France (Neustria), the Rhine valley, Mainz, Zurich, Bregenz-sowing monasteries as he passed, and finally came to Bobbio where, under Lombard protection, he founded the most famous of all his abbeys, and there in 615 he died, an old man of eighty-five. His vigorous missionary spirit survived in all his abbeys, and in the century which followed they continued to be centres from which, year by year, missionaries pushed out ever further into the hitherto untroubled Paganism of the German lands.

St. Gregory had met with little success in Gaul. In Spain, however, his lifetime saw the great change of the conversion of the royal family to Catholicism. Ever since their first occupation of Spain, in the early fifth century, the Visigoths had clung to their own old-fashioned heresy, the vague Arianism of the Council of Rimini (359). Of their relations with their Catholic subjects during the fifth century we know very little, except that Euric (485), towards its end, for political reasons, persecuted them more or less. With the end of that century, and the Visigothic conquest of the north-east of Spain, Catholicism began to know peace once more. The custom of provincial councils was revived, and once again relations with Rome were renewed. These councils make hardly any reference to the Arians or to their Arian sovereign. Their one positive achievement is the development of the primacy of Toledo, and the establishment of a single liturgical observance.

In 552 the empire once more reappeared, after a hundred and fifty years, called in by rebels. Justinian's armies, fresh from the reconquest of Italy and Africa, regained a great part of the provinces of Baetica and Carthagena and henceforward, almost until the Mahometans swept all into a common oblivion, a Byzantine Spain continued to exist along with the Visigothic kingdom. One result of the reconquest was to link, in the minds of the Visigothic kings, Catholicism -- the religion of Justinian-with treason, and to add to their existing grievances against the Church. These grievances were largely domestic, and arose from mixed marriages; for by this time the Visigoths were the only survivors of the once large group of Arian royalties. The daughters were married to Frankish princes, and on their marriage they went over to Catholicism. The sons married Frankish wives, and the new Spanish princesses remained Catholic, despite a certain persecution. The French wife of Hermenegild, for example, was forcibly re-baptised by an Arian to please her Arian mother-in-law.

It was not among the Visigoths that Catholicism made its first gains, but among their neighbours to the west and north-west, the Suevi, settled in Galicia since the time of the great invasion of 407. The hero of the conversion of the Suevi is St. Martin of Braga, and the first preparation for the change was the miraculous cure of the king's heir through devotion to St. Martin of Tours. This was about 550, and it was about the same time that St. Martin came to the Suevi. He was a monk and an oriental, a learned man and a writer, bishop, first of all of Dumio and then in 570 of Braga. By 560 the king had become a Catholic, and the remainder of his court soon followed. In 561 the bishops of the kingdom met in council at Braga at the king's command. What remains of their deliberations is the last evidence of the survival of Priscillianism. Of Arianism, curiously enough, there is no mention at all.

St. Martin died in 580, by which time the conversion of the Visigoths, too, was in operation -- a story whose centre is a family tragedy. Their king, at this moment, was Leovigild (567-586), an administrator and lawgiver, and a mighty warrior who, before he died, was to destroy the kingdom of the Suevi and make the Visigoths supreme in Spain. His eldest son was the husband of that Frankish princess, Ingonda, whose forcible re-baptism has been mentioned. To ease the family situation Hermenegild was sent, in command, to Seville. There he met the Catholic bishop, St. Leander, and himself became a Catholic. The next act in the drama was a civil war in which Hermenegild, allied to the Suevi and to the Byzantines, attacked his father. Leovigild, in reply, adopted a new policy of religious uniformity -- on an Arian basis of course -- and for the next five years (579-584) waged a war of repression. Ingonda was banished and took refuge at Constantinople. Leander accompanied her, and at the capital met St. Gregory. It is from Leander's story, given to St. Gregory, that this account of the matter derives. Galicia was annexed, the Suevi monarchy destroyed, and Hermenegild murdered. [ ]

Two years later (586) Leovigild died. His younger son, Reccared, succeeded. He recalled Leander, and the bishop was henceforth his chief adviser. The new king wished to embrace the faith in which his brother had died, but he also wished for national unity, and before he made his submission he spent two years in an endeavour to win over his co-religionists. The national Council of Toledo in 589 was the scene of this solemn reconciliation. The king and his nobles and the Arian bishops -- eight in all -- made their submission. Two liturgical details of this council's proceedings are of interest. The Filioque made its first appearance in the so-called Nicene Creed, and the Creed was ordered henceforth to be sung at Mass "as is the custom in the East."

In this unexpected spiritual conquest St. Gregory had had no share. He was not, even, at the time pope. It was largely the work of his friend St. Leander and it was several years before the official reports of what had happened reached Rome. Of St. Gregory's relations as pope with Visigothic Spain little survives. We have his joyful letter to Leander acknowledging the news of the Council of Toledo, and a reply to the homage of the newly converted Reccared and his thanks for Reccared's present of a chalice to St. Peter. In return he sent the king relics of St. Peter's chains and of the wood of the true Cross. To Leander he sent the pallium, sparing him, the pope gracefully says, the usual admonition to live worthy of this new dignity, "since your good deeds outstrip my words."


St. Gregory's labours for the Church in Gaul had borne little fruit. Owing to the increasing difficulty of communications, Spain was becoming more and more remote. In the third of the lands which had once formed the Roman West, the saint was, however, able to lay the foundations of the most papal of all extra-Roman Churches. This was in Britain, henceforward to be known as England, from the name of one of the barbarian tribes who now occupied it. The saint, in the same time that he began this far reaching work, also gave the Benedictine rule its first great mission, for it was to these monks, from his own monastery at Rome, that he entrusted the task. England, the most papal in its origin of all the Christian conquests, was also the first great stronghold of Benedictine monasticism.

One of the most important of St. Gregory's works, from the point of view of his influence on the Catholicism of the whole Middle Ages, is undoubtedly The Dialogues. Its original object was to gather up the traditions of the saints of St. Gregory's own country, or, more exactly, to preserve the tradition of the miracles they had wrought. It was written after his election to the papacy, in the years 593-594, and his own title for it was The Miracles of the Italian Fathers. This is not the place to discuss the alleged credulity of St. Gregory as displayed in this collection, where he is so careful to give his reader the provenance of his information. It is the matter of the second book which is our concern, for this is the primary source of what we know of the life of the great monk who wrote the Benedictine rule. The pope, Gregory the Great, writing as pope the first life of St. Benedict, a panegyric of the thaumaturge and saint, giving thereby an extrinsic prestige to what of itself possessed incomparable value, laid the foundation of the later Benedictine conquest of western Europe. Whatever truth the conjecture may hold that St. Benedict wrote his rule at the bidding of a pope, it is true beyond all doubt that the later commendation of the first monk-pope was the beginning of the rule's opportunity. And the first scene of that opportunity was England.

At the moment when England came into St. Gregory's thoughts it had ceased to be a province of the empire for a matter of nearly two centuries. Of what went on in the island in those centuries, of the details of the slow, hardly-won success of the pirates from Frisia, Jutland and the north German coast, of the breakdown of the system of Roman administration, of the relations between the newcomers and the more civilised peoples who resisted them, we know almost nothing at all. These centuries are truly, to us at least, the Dark Ages.

Of the Church as it existed in the island in the last century of the imperial regime, that is, between Constantine's conversion in 312 and the withdrawal of the Roman garrisons in 410, we do not know much. There were bishops at London, Lincoln, York and Caerleon, for their presence is recorded at the Councils of Arles (314) and Rimini (359). Like the rest of the episcopate of the Western Church, their ecclesiastical life moved in subordination to the Roman Church, and with the majority of their brethren they fell victims to the manoeuvres of the Arian emperor, Constantius II. These few details, and the names of three martyrs, put to death in the time of Diocletian -- St. Alban at Verulam, SS. Aaron and Julius at Caerleon -- are all that has survived in literary record.

Relations with the central government of the empire ceased in the reign of Honorius (410) and the next glimpse of the religious condition of the country is the anti-Pelagian mission of St. Germanus of Auxerre (429), at which time, it has been reasonably conjectured, the whole country was Catholic. Twenty years later came the first settlement, in the county of Kent, of the Barbarians who, for a century and a half already, had been the scourge of this most exposed province. With these invasions a period of wars began that lasted for a hundred years and more. The material achievement of the Roman rule was largely destroyed, and with it a great part of the Christian fabric too. St. Gildas, writing a century and more after the events he describes, hands on a tradition of churches destroyed, of priests massacred, of loot and sacrilege, and of a wholesale flight of the survivors.

The century in which the troubles of this British Catholicism began, troubles from Pelagianism, troubles from the invasions, was apparently the century in which the monastic life was first introduced, and it is with visits of St. Germanus of Auxerre (429 and 447) that the event is generally associated. He is said to have founded the first monastery, for all that he himself was never a monk, and to have ordained St. Illtyd -- the first great abbot of the British Church. Illtyd was the master, possibly, of St. Gildas and of St. David -- the first of whom was the greatest influence in that monastic transformation which is the leading feature of the Irish Church's history in the next century. Another great name in British monasticism is that of St. Cadoc. His first master was an Irishman, but in the monastery which he himself later founded, at Llancarvan, there was formed the first of the great monastic founders of Ireland, St. Finian of Clonard. Such evidence as we possess of the interaction between the monasteries of Britain and Ireland throughout the sixth century goes to show that, despite the barbarity of the Anglo-Saxon invasion, the life of the Church was by no means wholly destroyed. Monasteries, clergy and bishops undoubtedly survived and flourished in the parts of the island still defended against the Barbarians. Even so late as 615 -- a hundred and sixty years after the appearance of " Hengist and Horsa " -- the great monastery of Bangor, near Chester, numbered a community of some 2,000 monks. Even in the parts of the island where the invaders ruled, there were still traces of what had been -- the Roman church, for example, which St. Augustine found at Canterbury.

While in the east of what is to-day England the religion of Roman Britain had been practically destroyed, and while in the west it survived and, apparently, became more and more monastic in its organisation, in the north of the island Catholicism won new victories over the Celtic peoples hitherto pagan. The workers, here again, were monks and from Ireland. Voluntary exile was, with the Irish, a peculiar and favourite penitential discipline, the crowning exercise indeed of the ascetic life. As with St. Columbanus it led to the evangelisation of eastern France, of Switzerland, Bavaria and northern Italy, so, earlier in the same century, it had driven others to the north. It was, for example, from Irish solitaries that the Orkneys and the more distant Faroe Islands first learnt of the Gospel. The stories of St. Brendan's voyages are another testimony to the existence, and the popularity, of the practice.

One of these pioneers, and one of the greatest, if we are to measure by his personality and the ultimate results of his achievement, was St. Columba -- or to use his own native monastic name, St. Columcille. He was a man close on forty years of age when, about 563, after a richly varied religious training at Moville and Clonard, and after founding the great monasteries of Derry and Durrow, he left Ireland for ever, "desirous to be a wanderer for Christ." He was a scholar as well as a saint, "of an excellent nature, polished in speech, holy in deed," and with his twelve companions founded his new monastery in the little island of I, seventy miles from Ireland and a mile or so from the great island of Mull in the modern county of Argyll. The kingdom of Dal Riada in which Iona lay (for, thanks to a scribe's mistake, it is thus that we call the island) was an Irish conquest and the people were nominally Christian. To the north lay the fierce pagan Picts; to the south, in Galloway, other Picts converted once by St. Ninian but who had long since lapsed into paganism. Iona was a centre from which other monasteries were formed and the monks undertook their apostolic work. For thirty-four years St. Columcille trudged and laboured, converting the king of the Picts and many of his people.

The new conquest was organised after the monastic fashion then beginning to sweep all before it in Columcille's native land. The head of the vast whole, of the confederation of monasteries, the priests, the bishops, was -- to the surprise of St. Bede -- the Abbot of Iona, who was himself only a priest. Gradually from the isles of the west the new force spread to the south-west, the Galloway of St. Ninian, and to the eastern lowlands. Nearly forty years after the death of Columcille it crossed the frontier of the Celtic culture, and made its first contacts with the victorious Barbarians from the German coasts.

St. Gregory's first recorded interest in the religious conditions of the distant island of Britain goes back to the years between his return from Constantinople and his election as pope (586-590), and it relates not to the desolated church of the Britons, but to their heathen conquerors. It is the well-known story of his sight of the English captives in the Roman slave market. He designed to be himself their apostle, but popular opposition, recognising in him Rome's coming salvation, compelled the pope of the day to recall him. Five years after his election as pope he had another scheme. The official in charge of the papal estates in Gaul was commissioned to buy young English slaves and to send them to Rome, there to be formed in the monasteries as missionaries and teachers. A second letter of the pope, of July, 596, to Brunhilda, makes known that the English themselves had asked for teachers and that, since the neighbouring bishops were utterly unconcerned, the pope himself would find a means.

By the time this letter was written, the band of chosen missionaries had already left Rome. Its leader was the superior of St. Gregory's own monastic house on the Coelian -- Augustine. As the monks made their way into southern Gaul they heard terrifying reports of the savagery of the English, and, discouraged, they halted while Augustine went back to Rome for new instructions. St. Gregory consoled him, gave him new courage, letters to several of the Gallic bishops, to the kings of Austrasia and Burgundy and to Brunhilda their grandmother, and sent him north once more. From the Franks they were given interpreters, and finally, towards Easter, 597, they landed in Kent at Ebbsfleet. Here the king's wife was a Catholic, a Frankish princess and Brunhilda's niece. She already had her priests and a church.

The king, Ethelbert, received the newcomers very hospitably and listened to their preaching. By Christmas of that same year, thanks to the preaching of the missionaries and to the miracles wrought at their prayers, the converts were to be numbered by the tens of thousands. Augustine was by this time a bishop, and soon a second party of missionaries arrived from Rome, while the pope, for whom this marvellous conversion was the great joy of his life, strove to interest in it the Frankish bishops too. In 601 he sent to Augustine the pallium, a new custom to mark the especial favour of the Roman See to subordinate bishops, and with it the plan of the new church's organisation. There were to be two provinces. The first should have the metropolitan see at London (Augustine had fixed his see at the Kentish capital Canterbury) and twelve suffragans. A bishop was to be placed also at York, and as the people were converted, York, too, was to become a metropolitan see with twelve suffragans. Augustine, for his lifetime, was to rule both provinces. Slowly, very slowly, the pope's great scheme began to take shape. London and Rochester received their bishops in 604, but Augustine remained at Canterbury. It is interesting to notice that the government set up by the pope is the normal system of metropolitan and suffragans. There is no provision for a special vicar of the Apostolic See such as St. Gregory had recently hoped to establish in France. Nor is any place whatever given to the royal authority. From the very beginning this English Church, the direct creation of the pope, is free of the State.

St. Augustine of Canterbury lived only three years to enjoy his new pre-eminence. He died in 604, but not before he had attempted, and failed, to win for the mission the co-operation of the other bishops of the north and west, the successors of St. David and St. Ninian. How they regarded the heathens who had despoiled them, massacred their priests and sacrilegiously destroyed the holy places, we can only guess. How far had they refused to attempt their conversion, how far did they still mistrust the foes only recently so savage? St. Bede, an Englishman undoubtedly, saw in the slaughter of the monks of Bangor, in 613, the justice of God on a church that refused to spread the light. The Irish chronicler gives us the Celtic view when he speaks sorrowfully of the same event as "the massacre of the saints." Ethelbert's protection covered the new missionaries to the very confines of the conquest, and it was in the west, probably near Chepstow, that the celebrated conference between the two hierarchies took place. At first no one of the British bishops would consent to appear. The priests they sent to represent them saw little in the Roman apostle but the bishop who invited them to bless, and spiritually enrich, their bitterest enemies. Even a miracle did not move them. At a later conference, seven British bishops took part and with them the Abbot of Bangor and some of the most learned of his monks. The discussion was long and heated. The Britons reproached the Romans for their patronage of the English and, through the Abbot of Bangor, swore yet again that they would never preach the faith to the cruel and treacherous race who had deprived their ancestors of their native land. By comparison with this strongly worded declaration, the disputes on such liturgical differences as the date at which Easter should be kept, the shape of the clerical tonsure, the details of the rite of baptism, had little importance. Henceforward, for the best part of two centuries, the two hierarchies ignored each other, with what disastrous results who shall say?

The Britons refused to share in the toil: they could not rejoice in the success it brought; and for the first few years the success was great indeed. Ethelbert's nephew was king in Essex. Augustine consecrated Mellitus as Bishop of London, and soon, with the church of St. Paul for its centre, a movement of conversion was working strongly throughout that kingdom, too. St. Augustine's own successor was Laurence, another monk from the Coelian. One of his difficulties, too, was the hostility of the British. It showed itself in an aggravated form when an Irish bishop, or abbot, passing through Canterbury refused to acknowledge the archbishop or even to lodge or to take a meal with him. Nor did a letter from the new hierarchy to the bishops of Ireland and Scotland have any effect.

Meanwhile the king of East Anglia, too, had become a Catholic -- for political reasons apparently, for on the death of Ethelbert (616) he returned to his idols, compromising with his newer faith by erecting a Christian altar side by side with the one to the pagan gods. Ethelbert's own successor, his son, was a pagan and so, too, were the sons of the king of Essex who had died in the same year. A general restoration of paganism seemed inevitable. The Bishops of London and Rochester abandoned the seemingly hopeless task and fled to Gaul. The archbishop was preparing to follow them when, in a vision, St. Peter appeared to him, upbraided him, and scourged him so severely that the next morning he could show his pagan sovereign the bruises in testimony of the miracle. Apparently this, for Eadbald, was the turning point. He asked for baptism and for the rest of his life remained loyal to the Faith. Kent was assured if Essex had fallen away. The work of St. Augustine, threatened for a moment with extinction, was saved. It was scarcely more than saved, for outside Kent it had ceased to be, and from Kent it had for the moment ceased to spread.

It was from Kent, nevertheless, that the next development came, through the marriage of the King of Kent's sister to the pagan King of Northumbria, Edwin, who now (624) occupied that position of preponderance among the seven kings which had been Ethelbert's in 597. With the new Queen of Northumbria there travelled to the north yet another of the Roman monks, Paulinus, newly consecrated a bishop. York was at last to have its bishop as St. Gregory, years before, had designed. For the moment, however, the new bishop's flock numbered no more than the new queen and her attendants. The king received him courteously and there the matter ended. Victory in battle which Edwin believed to be the result of the bishop's prayers, and the king's recognition in Paulinus of the man whom, years before, he had been mysteriously warned would appear in his life to be his guide, won him over. At the Christmas of 625 the king was baptised and with him many of his nobles and the high priests of the old religion. For eight years Paulinus and his priests were free to labour and, with the king's patronage and the prestige of his example, to reap a rich reward. But in 633 Edwin fell. An unnatural alliance of the Christian British king of North Wales and the pagan Saxon king of Mercia, Penda, was too much for him. He was defeated and slain at the battle of Hatfield Chase near Doncaster, and his army annihilated. His widow fled to Kent, with her children and Paulinus, while the British king laid waste Northumbria. Once more a political revolution had destroyed in a day the religious work of years. Restoration was however to follow, and speedily, but its agents were not the monks from Rome. It was from the north that the new missionaries came. They were monks of Iona.

The family to which Edwin belonged was one of two rivals with claims to the Northumbrian throne. He had himself spent his youth in exile, and his death and the flight of his family were the signal for the return of the prince whose father Edwin had overthrown in 616. This prince was Oswald. He, too, was a Catholic, converted in his exile by the monks of Iona to whom now he offered a new field of work that stretched from the Forth to the Humber. The greatest figure of this new apostolate is that of the lovable St. Aidan, who established the monastic centre from which he worked his vast diocese, not in York, Edwin's old capital, but on the tiny island of Lindisfarne, two miles from the rock fortress of Bamburgh where Oswald resided.

The work of Edwin and Paulinus was resumed, the preaching, the baptisms, the pious foundations and then, after another brief nine years, disaster came upon the nascent Church as it had come upon that of Paulinus. In 642 Oswald, too, fell a victim to the ruthless Penda. At the Maserfield he was slain and his army defeated. But Oswald's work did not die with him. His brother Oswin, who succeeded, shared his faith and assisted St. Aidan as Oswald had done. Oswin, however, reigned only in Bernicia, the northern half of Oswald's kingdom. The south had fallen to a kinsman of Edwin. Another nine years and the strained relations between the two ended in war, and once again St. Aidan's patron was slain (651). The saint's grief overwhelmed him and eleven days later he died.

In the twenty-six years since the coming of St. Paulinus, Northumbria had been converted. Of the remaining Barbarians, the West Saxons had been won over by a third mission from Rome, led by the bishop Birinus whom Pope Honorius I (625-638) had himself consecrated. Mercia was the last of the kingdoms to be opened to the mission -- thanks to the intractable Penda. But in 655 Penda was slain in battle. His successor was already baptised, and in the next few years the people of the Midlands, too, were brought into the Church. A native clergy was already in being. The first bishop of English stock -- Ithma of Rochester -- was consecrated in 644, and in 655 the first English Archbishop of Canterbury, Frithonas, a West Saxon who took the name of Deusdedit.

Thus, in a fashion very different from that he had planned, slowly, and with many vicissitudes, the hopes of St. Gregory were realised, within a lifetime from the first hardy expedition of 597. South of the Thames the conquest was due to the monks sent directly from Rome; in the north, the midlands, and the east it had been largely the work of the monks of Iona. It only remained to secure uniformity of religious practice where, indisputably, there was unity of belief, and to centralise the supervision of the different sees. This done, there would be a Church of the English people. Its founder in this sense was a monk of yet a third school of monasticism, the Greek Theodore of Tarsus whom, like Augustine in 597 and Birinus in 635, the pope consecrated and despatched to England. He arrived in 668 to find the most delicate part of the work -- liturgical uniformity -- already arranged.

The liturgical differences between the Roman monks who came with St. Augustine and the British bishops have been noticed. As the double conversion of the English proceeded it could only be a matter of time before the age-long controversy began to divide the newly-converted. In Northumbria especially was the question acute where Roman and Celtic missionaries had both worked. Bernicia was entirely Celtic in its observance, Deira partly Celtic, partly Roman. The chief point of difference was the date at which Easter should be celebrated, and since the whole cycle of religious life depended on this, and since with this first generation of converts religious life was the foundation of social life, the question was by no means a mere matter of archaeology. Like the Irish Church from which they had originally come, and the still older British Church, the Celtic missionaries in England calculated the date of Easter according to a system devised in the early fourth century, which was, at that time, the system used also by the Roman Church. It was a faulty system and in 447 it was considerably modified. Ten years later the Roman Church gave it up entirely, and adopted the new system of Victorius of Aquitaine. This system it was which the mission of 597 brought to England, and which St. Augustine sought to impose on the British bishops. How they refused it has been told, and also how the Irish and Scottish Churches still held out for the older system in the time of Laurence, St. Augustine's successor. But twenty years later the situation had changed. Thanks to the intervention of Pope Honorius I, the southern Irish had, in 628, adopted the system of Victorius. The northern Irish, however, still stood firm, despite an admonition from Rome in 640. Nevertheless, even among the northern Irish, there were critics of this conservatism, and they began to make themselves heard in the foundations beyond the sea. The dispute soon spread to Iona, and thence to the Northumbrian foundation at Lindisfarne. In the time of St. Aidan's successor, Finan, it became especially bitter when one of the monks, an Irishman, returned from Rome with a new enthusiasm for the Roman practice. The question then was eminently actual, awaiting only the arrival of a strong personality whose insistence should force an open conflict and decision. That personage now appeared, an Englishman, Wilfrid, Abbot of Ripon, and Bishop of York to be.

St. Wilfrid, at this time (664), was perhaps thirty years of age. He was of noble birth, handsome, educated, and he had travelled as few men of his time. He had lived as a monk at Lindisfarne, had been initiated into the clerical order at Lyons, and had gone thence to Rome along with a fellow noble turned monk, the scholarly Benet Biscop. At Rome his doubts on the Easter question were solved and he learnt, not merely that the Celts in Northumbria were in the wrong, but that the Roman Church had introduced yet further improvements into the elaborate system of calculation. He also, at Rome, made his first acquaintance with the rule of St. Benedict -- which since the flight of St. Paulinus thirty years before had disappeared from Northumbria. Wilfrid returned to Deira, to become a power at Court. It was possibly his influence that moved the king to suggest to the monks at Ripon that they should adopt the Roman use and when, refusing, they returned to Melrose, the king gave the abbey to Wilfrid.

A year or two later, in 664, a conference was called to settle the whole question. It met at St. Hilda's abbey of Whitby. The two Northumbrian kings took part, Wilfrid of course, and, among the bishops who shared his views, Tuda, a southern Irishman then labouring in Northumbria, and Agilbert of Dorchester who had recently ordained St. Wilfrid. The Roman chaplain of the Bernician queen assisted and, venerable relic of a bygone time, the deacon James who had first come to Northumbria with Paulinus forty years before. On the other side were Oswy, the King of Bernicia, and St. Colman of Lindisfarne. The debate was decided as soon as the king learnt which was the system of the successor of St. Peter. He demanded if both parties agreed that it was to Peter that Christ had given the keys of heaven. Here they all agreed. Then said the king, "I cannot decide against him who holds the keys of heaven, or when I appear at the gate he may not open it to me." The majority submitted to the decision, but St. Colman with many of his monks, Northumbrians as well as Irish, made his way back to Iona and thence to his native land, to Inishboffin, a tiny island off the coast of Mayo. There ten years later he died.

Whitby settled the dispute once and for all as far as it had affected the English. It was from an English abbey in Northumbria, Jarrow, that, in the next generation, the northern Irish were won over to the Roman calendar (688-704), the Picts (710) and even Iona itself (716). The British Church, too, ultimately came in: Cornwall about 705, thanks to St. Aldhelm, Bishop of Sherborne, and Wales from about 768.

Within a year or so of the Synod of Whitby Tuda, the Irish champion of the Roman uses, was dead of the plague. Wilfrid was named in his place as Bishop of York and, declining to receive consecration from any prelate less Roman than himself, crossed to Gaul for the ceremony. It took place at Compiegne. Meanwhile Deira, Wilfrid's country, had passed again to the King of Bernicia, and since it had no bishop he named one of the Celtic monks, Chad, Abbot of Lastingham. Chad, who since the great synod had adopted the Roman uses, was himself in a difficulty to find a consecrator. Canterbury, to which he first went, was vacant and Agilbert of Dorchester was abroad (he had just assisted at the consecration of Wilfrid). It was the Bishop of Winchester who in the end performed the rite -- a bishop whom Agilbert would probably not recognise, since the diocese of Winchester had been carved out of Dorchester by the royal order and without Agilbert's consent. Worse still, as later events were to show, the assistant bishops at St. Chad's consecration were from the British hierarchy of the west. Chad returned to rule his see, and some time afterwards Wilfrid too returned, and finding himself thus dispossessed returned to his abbey of Ripon. Then, in 669, there arrived from Rome the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Theodore, the direct nominee of Pope Vitalian.

The new archbishop was reputed one of the most learned men of his time. With him he brought the abbot Hadrian, an African, and Benet Biscop, books, equipment, a plan of organisation, and a live tradition of culture. With Theodore of Tarsus the English Church passes very definitely out of its pioneer stage. His school of Canterbury was to be one of the springs whence flowed the culture of the next two hundred years. Hadrian was its chief, and thanks to the Greek archbishop and this African, the school was delivered from the intellectual sterility that lay over so much of the West. Its intellectual life was real, its mastery of the ancient tongues more complete. Latin was taught as a dead language by the ancient rules, and in the coming centuries English-trained scholars were to return to the continent and re-instruct the semi-barbarised descendants of Caesar and Cicero in the language of their ancestors.

The new primate's first task was to end the chaos in the hierarchy Chad was asked to resign York, and Wilfrid was restored. Then, for Theodore recognised the man's saintliness, he appointed Chad to be the bishop of the Mercians, with a see fixed at Lichfield. In 673 the Church held at Hertford its first national synod. The bishops were henceforth to confine their zeal within geographical limits. The free and easy Celtic system was to go. The clergy were to be strictly subject to their proper diocesan bishop, the monks to their abbots. Neither monk nor cleric was, for the future, to wander about as his taste and zeal suggested.

In that same year a second see was formed in East Anglia, and the Bishops of London and Rochester were deposed for various misdemeanours or disobedience to the archbishop. Next came the creation of five new sees in the midlands -- Worcester, Leicester, Stow, Dorchester and Hereford. In the north Benet Biscop founded the monasteries of Wearmouth and Jarrow, under the Benedictine rule, and they speedily became the centres of a new intellectual life for the north as Canterbury for the south. Lindisfarne was by this "romanised," and ruled by the monk Cuthbert whose sanctity was later to make the northern see so famous. At York Wilfrid, with all his great energy, was introducing a systematic organisation into his vast territory and, inevitably, making enemies. One of these was his sovereign and when, with the king's assistance but without Wilfrid's consent, Theodore divided the diocese of York, the Bishop of York resisted. He appealed to the pope, and Theodore, once he had left for Rome, judged him to have resigned, and consecrated another bishop in his place. Dogged by the hired assassins of the Northumbrian king, Wilfrid made his way to the papal court. There he assisted at the synod preparatory to the General Council of 680. He won his case, but on his return the king first threw him into prison and then exiled him. Not for seven years was he free to return to York. He used the years of exile to convert the people of Sussex -- the one kingdom that still remained pagan.

Four years after Wilfrid's return Theodore died (September 19, 690), an old man now, close on ninety. Of whatever unity English Catholicism possessed, of its scholarship and culture this learned Greek is the undoubted founder. To none of its saints is our country more indebted. That he treated his subordinates with undue rigour cannot be denied and although, before the end, he made his peace with Wilfrid, the mischief lasted. No more than Theodore himself was the prelate he had planted at York disposed to obey the Roman decision. A second appeal from Wilfrid to the Apostolic See, decided in his favour as was the first, was likewise ignored. A third, eleven years later, led to a lengthy investigation, and mandatory letters from the pope -- John VI to the different kings and bishops and to the new Archbishop of Canterbury ordering Wilfrid's reinstatement. This finally took place, after violent discussions, at a great council of Northumbrian notables at which the archbishop assisted. Five years later Wilfrid died (709). He had been born in the terrible time which saw the death of Edwin and, as it seemed, the definitive ending of the missionary achievement of St. Paulinus. Now, not only Northumbria, but the whole of the English conquest was Catholic, and not only Catholic but united in discipline as well as in belief, organised on the systematic Roman model. To that work of conversion, and of disciplinary unity, and especially to the extension of the prestige of the Roman See, Wilfrid had contributed more than most. He has a claim to stand here as the peer of Theodore who had done so much to thwart the even way of his episcopal life.

There is hardly a better way of realising how much the initiative of St. Gregory the Great did for the heathen conquerors of England than by a consideration of the life and achievement of the Venerable Bede. Here, in an Englishman, born within seventy years of the great pope's death, and within twenty years of the defeat of the last pagan offensive, we are face to face with the greatest scholar of his age, and an original genius from whom much of our historical studies derive. The mere fact of St. Bede is witness to the power of the new monasticism as an agent of culture as well as religious devotion.

St. Bede was born at Wearmouth or Jarrow in 673. His parents died while he was very young and from childhood to his death he lived in the great monastery of SS. Peter and Paul lately founded by St. Benet Biscop -- in St. Bede's time the latest product of the direct action of the Roman See in English affairs. He was a boy in the school, he became a monk. In 692 he was ordained deacon, in 703 priest, and in 735 he died, after a life of uninterrupted prayer and study. St. Bede's works, which fill five of Migne's closely printed tomes, are universal in their content. Like St. Isidore of Seville, almost a century earlier, one of St. Bede's achievements was to salvage and to store all he could find of the culture of antiquity and of the earlier Christian centuries. He writes on the theory of poetry, on modes of reckoning time, on the nature of things, something of philosophy, something of science; He is -- and in his own view it is the central point of all his studies -- a keen student of Holy Writ, and a careful commentator. We have forty-nine Or his sermons on the Gospels, and a smaller number of his letters. Also he wrote verse, and though most of this has perished a hymn has survived in honour of St. Audrey, one of the innumerable crowned saints who are the peculiar distinction of this early age of Anglo-Saxon Catholicism. Bede was an omnivorous reader. With the Fathers -- particularly St. Ambrose, St. Jerome, St. Augustine and St. Gregory the Great -- with Cicero and Virgil too, he is thoroughly at home. As a theologian he does little more than hand on the tradition to the coming generation. For speculation he had, apparently, little taste. Philosophy had, by this time, almost disappeared from the equipment of the theologian, and Bede could say, truly enough if somewhat harshly, that there is no school of philosophy which has not been charged with lying by some other equally imbecile school. There is in the reference, and in others, something like a general impatience with merely human reasoning about things divine.

But for all his immense importance as perhaps the most gifted of the band that salvaged so much from the wreck of the ancient world, St. Bede's ultimate importance is of another order. For, besides his innumerable theological and scholastic works, he wrote the Ecclesiastical History of the English People. The character of this work, its literary grace, the even critical fairness of the treatment, make St. Bede the superior of any other historian for centuries yet to come. It is the one production of his century that is still alive, the only thing between St. Augustine and the twelfth century that is to-day more than an important piece of archaeology. Of itself it sets St. Bede in a class with the very greatest of the pioneers of scholarship. The scholarship with which, through Theodore, Abbot Hadrian and Benet Biscop, Rome in 668 endowed the English Church, was already producing something greater than its founders. The heritage was secure for yet another generation, for it was a living thing and no sterile pedagogy that Bede in turn handed down to Egbert of York, to Alcuin and through Alcuin to Carolingian Europe and the whole Church.


At the time when St. Gregory, still laboriously striving to protect his people from the barbarian Lombards, was finding the great consolation of his life in the first success of the mission in England, a new power was preparing that was to show itself, within fifty years, the greatest scourge the Church had yet known -- the religion of Mahomet, Islam. Not for the next generation merely, but for the next thousand years it was to be an ever present menace, a factor which would influence every aspect of Catholic development and life.

The scene of the new world-religion's origin was the peninsula of Arabia, a curiously neglected no-man's-land where the Roman and Persian empires fought through tributary kingdoms and "spheres of influence." The centre was desert and the bulk of its inhabitants warlike nomad tribes, whose chief source of living was pillage of the caravans that came and went, continually, from Egypt and the west to Persia and India. Along the coast there were towns and a settled, traders' civilisation; to the south an organised Arab state. The religion of these tribes was polytheistic, and of all the sanctuaries the most famous was at Mecca, the chief of the trading cities and the centre of an annual religious festival to which Arabs came from the whole peninsula. Here was worshipped, with bloody sacrifices, a smooth black stone-the Kaaba. It was a brutal and degrading cult. It was not, however, the only religion known to the Arabs. In all the cities there were Jewish colonies, and the vassal states to the north had many Christians among their subjects. The southern kingdom was for a hundred and fifty years a battle ground between Jewish and Christian influences, and the kings were now Jewish, now Christian, in belief. Along the Persian Gulf there were five bishoprics. Few of these Christians were, however, Catholics. They were mostly exiles, either by compulsion or choice, from the Roman laws against heresy and religious dissent, and they brought to Arabia the fundamentally impaired Christianity of Nestorianism or Monophysitism, according to which Christ Our Lori was not really divine or not really human.

A further source through which the Arabs had some knowledge of Christian ideas was the professional story-teller who wandered from place to place, charming his audience with, for example, picturesque and detailed descriptions of Paradise and Hell. But, of the Christians themselves, it was the solitary ascetics of the desert who most influenced the Arabs -- the hermits, and the strange figures of the column-dwelling saints of whom St. Simon Stylites may serve as the type. There are many traces in Arab poetry of the admiration which these feats of austerity and self-forgetfulness aroused -- admiration, too, for the ideals and beliefs which formed such heroes.

The Arabia of Mahomet was the vast central region where the native paganism dominated. It was strongly "nationalist", for it had never known foreign domination. On the other hand it had never known unity, for the tribes were continually at war, and in the cities the rivalry of the clans brought about a like continual unrest.

Mahomet was born at Mecca, about 570-580, and educated by his uncle, a wealthy trader and a personage of importance in the life of his clan. The nephew followed the family career, and his business journeyings took him to the West and to Christian Syria. He was already far removed from the primitive Arab cult, when, about 610, he announced to his family the vision that called him to be the herald of Allah -- the supreme God of his native religion, too long overshadowed by the goddesses worshipped conjointly with him. Mahomet was now one of the many " Hanifs" -- Arabs, that is to say, who, in their search for a purer religion, had evolved a belief that there is but one God; they refused to worship the Kaaba, had a certain knowledge of the Jewish Scriptures, and practised the beginnings of a religious morality. It was Mahomet's first innovation that he was a Hanif who aimed at converting others.

His first teaching was very simple. There is only one God, and Mahomet is his prophet. God will one day judge all men, and according to their conduct will reward or punish them everlastingly. A ritual of prayer and ablutions is prescribed, honest dealing and almsgiving are recommended. More significantly still, the wickedness of the clan which dominates Mecca -- its commercial dishonesty, its oppression of the poor -- is unsparingly denounced.

The first followers were the Prophet's own kinsfolk, and then a great number of the down-and-outs and the slaves. The natural result followed. There was a persecution of the sect and its members fled. A second revelation to Mahomet now most opportunely made known that the goddess whom his persecutors worshipped had great power with Allah. The Prophet was revealing himself as a political genius too. Soon he was back in Mecca and peace reigned once more. It did not endure for long, and by 620 Mahomet was again an exile. Two years later he had found at Medina not merely a refuge, but, thanks to the political circumstances of the place and to his own genius, honour and acceptance as a civic leader. The bitter rivalry of Jew and Arab, and of the Arabs among themselves, was ended by a compromise which Mahomet proposed. All in Medina were to have equal rights. There was but one enemy -- the wealthy clan which had driven Mahomet from Mecca. They were Allah's enemies too and to destroy them was a first religious duty.

Mahomet was now Medina's supreme judge, and the commander-in-chief of its forces. He set himself to organise the temporary alliance and to prepare it for the coming war. The religious reformer disappears for the moment behind the statesman, the organiser, and the warrior. The religious observance is modified. The almsgiving is directed to replenish the war chest, food taboos of a Jewish character are introduced, and Abraham, reverenced hitherto as the Father of all the truly religious, of Mohammedan, Christian and Jew alike, is now discovered to be the father of the Arab alone. He is Mahomet's precursor, and Mahomet's mission is to purify Abraham's religion from its Jewish and Christian accretions. More than ever is it necessary to capture Mecca, for Mecca -- the one common centre for Arab life, with its superstition and idolatry -- is Abraham's institution. The new religion is now an exclusive, independent thing; and its immediate aim is the capture of Mecca. This it achieves, in alliance with paganism, by the Holy War -- in other words by treachery and massacre, with, in addition to the necessary lure of pillage, the promise of eternal felicity, since the Holy War is of all duties the one most pleasing to Allah. By 630 Mahomet had succeeded. He was master of Mecca and of all central Arabia, strong enough now to disembarrass himself of his allies, pagans and Jews alike. Some he exiled, others he massacred. In 633-the year of the defeat of Edwin of York at Hatfield -- he died.

That Mahomet sincerely believed in his mission to destroy idolatry is certain, and it is equally certain that his idealism declined in proportion to his success. Success, indeed, revealed him as the prince of opportunists, a spirit for whom morality had no meaning. Trickery, pious trickery, theft and murder beyond what even the paganism of his origin allowed -- all these were, when useful, lawful means. His revelations and their teachings are contained in the Koran, a collection made after his death by his secretary and officially published in 660. There is also the sacred book of his sayings -- Hadith -- more than a million of them by the ninth century, very few of which go back to the Prophet. The chief sources of the religion are the Old Testament and the Talmud, and there are traces, too, of a considerable knowledge of the apocryphal gospels. The leading doctrines remain what they were originally -- that God is but one, that Mahomet is his prophet, and that there is for all men judgement by Allah, reward or retribution. There have been other messengers of Allah before Mahomet, the greatest of whom is Jesus Christ, Who, for Mahomet, is everything but God and second only to Mahomet himself. As Mahomet expressly rejects the doctrine of the Trinity, so he rejects that of the Redemption, giving the crucifixion a Docetist explanation. His doctrine of the end of creation, of judgement, heaven and hell, is derived from Christian sources, with every metaphorical expression now given its most literal meaning. Heaven is a place of never-ceasing pleasure, where every human desire, even the most lowly, finds limitless opportunity for its fullest satisfaction. A prominent feature of the believer's religious duty is the Holy War to destroy the infidel. "Kill all pagans wherever found." It is not a war to convert, or to impose the new religion on others, but, in the event, becomes a simple canonisation of natural bloodthirstiness and the instinct for pillage. It is the most meritorious of good works, death in battle is better than martyrdom; and in this primitive religion where neither asceticism nor mysticism find any encouragement, "The Holy War is Islam's monasticism."

Within ten years of Mahomet's death, his invention had not only overrun the whole of his own country but had conquered the Persian Empire and robbed Rome of Egypt, Palestine and Syria. Something must be said to explain some of the circumstances which made it possible for a system so lacking in any appeal but the most lowly to achieve so surprising a success. Islam, to begin with, had made a nation of the scattered mutually hostile Arab tribes. The strong clan spirit survived, but the clan was now the nation and the aggressiveness directed outside Arabia. All the traditional ideals of vengeance remained at its service, given a higher value, even blessed as a virtue, in the new system. Outside Arabia the prospects for a new military venture were more inviting than for centuries. Rome and Persia, the two neighbours, before whose alternate supremacy the middle east had been so long powerless, were, each of them, at the time of Mahomet's death, exhausted from a long thirty years' war. In the eastern provinces of the Roman Empire -- Egypt, Palestine and Syria -- the mass of the population had for nearly two hundred years, ever since the General Council of Chalcedon in 451, been waging an intermittent war on the government for religious reasons. They had long since ceased to be loyal to the sovereigns who stood to them chiefly as persecutors. Finally, in this moment of Arabia's opportunity, when in Islam the East had at last produced its reply to the Hellenism dominant since Alexander, there was given to the Arabs a military leader of genius, Omar. Omar's adherence to Mahomet had been one of the turning points of the prophet's later development. He was the embodiment of the reforming spirit of Islam, a man who lived hardly, and used himself hardly for the cause, the proverbial fighting Puritan. On Mahomet's death he succeeded to his place.

Palestine and Persia were simultaneously invaded in 634. In each country the Arabs advanced steadily from victory to victory. Persia was conquered in two years, and in 636 the last Roman army in Syria defeated too. After a thousand years of Hellenism and seven hundred years of Roman rule Syria was again in the hands of the East. That same year Damascus fell, in 638 Jerusalem, in 640 Cesarea, Ascalon and the coast. To the Monophysite inhabitants -- who, despite all that they had suffered, did not play the traitor -- the revolution was no tragedy. It was simply " deliverance from the cruelty of the Romans." Egypt was invaded in 639. In 640 Heliopolis was taken, to become, as Cairo, one of the greatest centres of Islam. Here, too, the Monophysites went over to the new rulers. Alexandria fell the next year and, to add to the confusion, Heraclius died -- the emperor who, thirty years earlier, had saved the State after a similar catastrophe. The succession was disputed, and meanwhile in 642 the- Romans evacuated Egypt. With the armies and the officials there went, too, the little that remained of the country's Catholicism.

There, for a space, the movement halted, after annihilating the power of Persia, and reducing the empire of Rome by a good two-thirds. In its richest provinces there was now installed this new, aggressive, hostile thing; and of the native population there were none who wished the Romans back. If the movement halted, it was only because internal troubles, and a civil war, had begun to occupy its leaders.


The hundred years that follow St. Gregory's great effort, the years between his death and the appearance of the next outstanding European personality, Charles Martel, are years that see an interesting diversity of development in the Catholicism of the new Western realms -- Italy, Gaul, Spain, England and Ireland now begin their national history.

In Spain, from the moment of the conversion of the Arians (589) the Church had a unique position in the national life. It was, very evidently, the only source from which unity could come. So far there had been in Spain two laws, one for the conquering Visigoths, the other for the "Romans." The Church, on the other hand, had never made any distinction between the two races. The kings, henceforth, regularly employed the clergy in the service of the administration. The church councils, now held regularly, and meeting year by year in all the great cities turn by turn, were attended also by the royal officials. Civil business was transacted there as well as ecclesiastical. They became national councils in a very real sense, and a final court of appeal. The Church, with its permanent, stable, objective law and teaching, was all the more important since the monarchy of the Visigoths was elective -- a political weakness whose ultimate effect was to leave Spain an easy prey to such an organised despotism as the Arabs were, at this time, developing. Church and State in Spain tended to become one thing. It was the king who summoned these national councils, and the decrees passed by the bishops about religious matters became thereby the law of the land. The Church of Visigothic Spain, not unnaturally, was one of the first to produce a body of canon law, the famous collection Hispana. The Spanish Church was well organised. The sees and the metropolitans, too, were grouped round the primatial see of Toledo, and the primacy of Toledo was a reality. It was, for example, the primate who, in concert with the king, nominated all the other bishops.

Relations with Rome, if always good, were very interrupted. Spain was more and more at the end of the world. The route by land lay through the territory of the Lombards and Franks and little ordered security, while the sea route, since the Arab advance, was no less dangerous. Certainly the mention of Rome in the affairs of Spain is rare during all this time (604-715). Only eight letters survive of whatever correspondence passed from Rome to Spain. There is one of Honorius I urging the bishops to show greater eagerness in religious matters, and not to be dumb dogs who never bark. There are the letters of Leo II communicating the decisions of the General Council of 680, and two letters of Benedict II (684-685). To Pope Honorius the Council of Toledo, in 638, sent an official reply protesting the virtue of the bishops. To Benedict II's first letter, also, a Council of Toledo (the fourteenth) sent a reply which the Primate of Toledo, Julian, composed. The pope found his letter -- an acceptance of the condemnation of Monothelism -- unorthodox in its expressions and desired him to correct his words. This Julian did -- with none too good a grace.

The isolation of the Spanish Church, the long severance of relations with Rome, the civil importance of the bishops, the royal interference in their nomination, were, it has been suggested, beginning to tell. A new spirit of national self-sufficiency was developing.

The greatest figure of this Spanish Catholicism of the seventh century is the Bishop of Seville, St. Isidore. He was the brother, as well as the successor, of St. Gregory's friend St. Leander who had played so important a part in the troubles that preceded the great reunion of 589. Leander died in 600 and for the next thirty-six years Isidore ruled in his stead. He had been a monk before his appointment and, as a bishop, he composed a monastic rule. One of its characteristics is a most rigorous insistence on the obligation of the enclosure. The monastery is to have but one door and it is to be well guarded. The monks are to renew annually their vow of poverty. The abbot, three times a week, is to preach them a homily, and the monastic day opens with a distribution of manuscripts for the community to study. This last prescription is what we should expect from St. Isidore, for he was the one scholar of his age. To his contemporaries he seemed the equal of any of the Fathers, as the early writers now begin to be styled, and if he never makes any show of original thought, and quotes very often only at second-hand, it is certain that his erudition was really very great. Never had the authority of the Fathers, as a witness to tradition, stood higher, and-it was in the collection, from their writings, of texts to illustrate and prove particular doctrines that St. Isidore excelled. The philosophical presentation of Catholicism he ignored entirely. Like every Latin writer of the previous two centuries he makes St. Augustine's teaching on the Trinity his own, though he makes no mention of the work of Boethius that was to influence in centuries to come the great medieval scholastics. It is St. Gregory he follows in his teaching that the origin of the human soul is unknown, but that it is in no way corporeal. He accepts the teaching of the council of 529 that grace is necessary for man's very first movements towards God, and that his free will is of itself incapable of sustained and lasting moral good. In the other great controversy which survived from St. Augustine's intervention, he follows St. Augustine faithfully. Predestination is absolute, and independent of God's foreknowledge of merits and faults, Who is "just to those whom He rejects, merciful to those whom He chooses." Children who die unbaptised expiate in hell the guilt of original sin -- another Augustinian influence without even St. Augustine's apologetic adjective that makes the prospect almost inviting. It is St. Augustine again whom he follows in his explanation of man as redeemed from the power of the devil by the devil's abuse of his power over humanity in the death of Christ. The Church is not an assembly of saints. It does not cease to be the Church because some of its children show themselves evil livers. Whoever deserts the Church turns his back on salvation.

The close union of Church and State in St. Isidore's time leaves a very evident trace in his teaching that " as the heavenly kingdom advances by means of the kingdoms of this world, so those who, placed within the Church, conspire against its faith and discipline should be crushed by the power of the State." St. Isidore's explanation of the sacraments is Augustinian in its distinction between the rite and the grace it produces. But he adheres to a much older theory when he attributes the effect of the sacrament to the blessing previously given to the matter used in its administration. It is to the fact that the baptismal water has been duly blessed that the baptised owes his baptism. Only thus does the divine force latent in the sacrament operate. In the debated question as to the validity of heretical baptism St. Isidore, like St. Gregory and St. Leo before him, follows St. Augustine and the constant practice of the Roman Church -- the sacrament is not to be repeated, for although the heretic who receives it is not thereby cleansed from sin, he is none the less baptised. Such heretics when converted to Catholicism were, in the Spain of St. Isidore, admitted to the Church in the rite of Confirmation. Confirmation, otherwise given immediately after baptism, is an imposition of hands followed by an anointing of the forehead with chrism. [ ] Its usual minister is the bishop. Should a priest administer Confirmation the chrism he uses must have been blessed by a bishop. St. Isidore's teaching on the Holy Eucharist is slightly influenced by the Eastern theory that the bread and wine are changed in the Mass, not by the words of consecration, but at the prayer invoking the Holy Spirit's action which follows. As to the use of the Holy Eucharist, St. Augustine, in the heat of the Pelagian discussion, had taught that even children must receive It as a condition of salvation. St. Isidore, who does not follow him here, follows him in his insistence that It may be received even daily provided that the recipient is free from serious sin and motivated by religious devotion and humility. The Holy Eucharist is, again, a sacrifice that Christ Himself has instituted and St. Gregory's doctrine of the power of the sacrifice to atone for the sins of the dead finds an echo, too, in the Spanish bishop.

Christian marriage, since it is a figure of the indissoluble union between Christ and the Church, is itself indissoluble. It was to be blessed by the priest and religious considerations had their role in the matrimonial relations.

St. Isidore, in whose writings the Middle Ages found an encyclopaedia of human knowledge, is certainly not one of the greatest names in theological history. In the general history of the Church, however, he is more important, for he is one of the chief links between the golden age of the Fathers and that of the medieval scholastics; and he is almost the last writer for four centuries to merit the name of theologian at all. His work has this additional importance, for us, that it mirrors the belief and life of the Church on the eve of the next catastrophe to overwhelm it.

The history of Catholicism in Spain after the century which followed the reunion of 589 is not well known to us. If it produced an Isidore of Seville, it had never a Gregory of Tours nor a Bede. There are the scanty records of Roman intervention, there are the canons of the innumerable councils, and that is almost all. The picture we construct from such materials can hardly be complete. For whatever it is worth, it shows us a Church which is in many respects a department of the State. The kings named the bishops, and, in time of crisis, the bishops lent all their religious prestige to the kings. In this sense they were patriotic enough, though we are hardly in a position to decide whether they would not have done better for the Church and for Spain by throwing their influence against the continuance of the elective monarchy. The same evils afflicted the Spanish hierarchy that are to be noted in seventh-century Gaul -- personal loose living and, above all, simony. One result of the closer connection with the State -- the closest to obtain in any of those barbarian kingdoms -- was the almost complete failure of the bishops to act independently of the king, save occasionally in political matters. We find bishops who share in plots and rebellions: we find none who come to their death through an apostolic fearlessness that rebukes the royal sins to the sinner's face. Here the Spanish episcopate apparently falls below the standard of the bishops of Gaul. The bishops suffered as the whole of the Church suffered, and the nation too, from the country's isolation. There was never a Columbanus nor an Augustine to stimulate with the vitality of difference the sluggish evenness of national piety. Nor did the Benedictine rule penetrate into Spain, in all the two centuries that lay between St. Benedict and the Arab conquest. Nation and Church stagnated together, and as they had lived so they fell. To blame the Spanish Church for the national unpreparedness is to reverse the logic of facts, for the Spanish Church was very largely what the Spanish kings had made it. It was thanks to them that it had become part of the nation, dependent on the nation, and therefore powerless to renew its life. One thing alone could have saved Spanish Catholicism and through it the nation -- effective intervention from outside. By the end of the seventh century, with Spain, Europe and the Papacy as they were then organised, this was out of the question. And it is questionable whether Spain would have welcomed it. The significant fact remains, that the first of these barbarian Christianities to fall was the state-ridden Church of what had been the least barbarian of all the western provinces of the old empire.



THE century that opened with the pontificate of St. Gregory closed very gloomily. The Lombards, for all that they were now Catholics, still menaced the security of Rome; the churches of the East were once again tamely acquiescing in the imperial defiance of the Roman supremacy; and if England and Ireland, the new provinces of Christ's kingdom, were thriving vigorously, morality and Christian order in the older church of Gaul were in worse condition even than in the time of St. Gregory. Finally, the new power which, sixty years before, had so dramatically conquered the lands whence Christianity had originally come, was once more moving; and it was capturing the West, now, as easily as it had then captured the East.

Carthage fell to the Mohammedans in 698 and in the next ten years they were masters of the whole of Roman Africa to the Atlantic. The internal quarrels of the aristocracy in Spain, and the assistance of the governor of Ceuta, the Byzantine Empire's last scrap of territory in the West, gave them their chance. They crossed the Strait of Gibraltar (711) in the imperial vessels-12,000 men in all, of whom but a poor 300 were Arabs. The chief and the army were Moors, Catholics only a few years earlier. The Visigothic army they routed in one decisive battle, and, victorious, spread like a flood over southern Spain. Cordova, Elvira, Merida, Toledo, were occupied in turn. In 718 Saragossa was taken and in 720 the Mohammedans crossed the Pyrenees They took Narbonne, and though, in 721, they failed to take Toulouse the whole of the south-west was soon in their hands. Bordeaux, Nimes, Carcassonne were Mohammedan towns, and even Autun. In these same years other Arab-directed armies pressed with equal success to the conquest of the East. From Persia, a conquest since the first days of the new religion, they now overran Turkestan and central Asia, the valley of the Indus and the Punjab. Armenia and the Caucasus fell to them and, masters of an empire that stretched from the Atlantic to the Great Wall of China, they laid siege in 717 to Constantinople.

The rulers of what had been the Eastern division of the old Roman Empire, for all that they resisted stoutly, had been for many years powerless against this new force. Heraclius, upon whom the first disasters fell at the moment when he had barely completed his deliverance of the East from Persia, died in despair (642). Constans II (642-668) had the unhappy experience of a monotony of defeat. With his son Constantine IV (668-685) affairs mended somewhat. The new emperor was a more vigorous personality than his father and he held off for five years the boldest venture the Arabs had yet attempted -- the siege of Constantinople (673-678), defeating their fleet with terrible losses at Syllaeum, and their armies in Asia Minor. It was Islam's first real check and for twenty years there was peace.

The next emperor, Justinian II, was, alas, a fool, a half-crazed tyrant, thoroughly incompetent. A revolution drove him out and for sixteen years the empire was given over to anarchy. These were the years of the new Arab advance, of the loss to them of Africa and Spain, and of the Arab seige of Constantinople. The capital was threatened, this time, by the Bulgarians, barbarians lately settled between the Danube and the Balkan mountains. Its deliverer was the military commander of the province of Anatolia, Leo the Isaurian. He marched on the capital with his army and was proclaimed emperor as Leo III. He was to reign for twenty-three years (717-740) and in that time to re-establish order and security for centuries yet to come. Leo III is, with his son and successor, Constantine V (740-775), the creator of that Byzantine State which for another five hundred years effectively staved off the ever recurring assaults from the East.

Gradually the Arabs were driven out of Asia Minor, and Constantine V, taking the offensive, recaptured Cyprus and harried Armenia and Syria to the Euphrates. To these two princes, very largely, do we owe it that the nascent civilisation of the Catholic Middle Ages was not stifled by Islam while it was yet painfully learning to breathe. At the same time, they crippled the power which menaced from the west this one civilised Christian State-the half-civilised Bulgarians.

These warrior princes did the State equally valuable service as reformers. The process which, in the previous century, recognising the facts of the case, had consciously worked to make of the Roman Empire of the East, a Greek-speaking, Oriental-mannered State, was pressed forward more and still more vigorously. A new reorganisation of the provinces, a new distribution of powers, a military code, a code of agricultural laws to arrest the development by which the wealthy landowner was growing more and more wealthy and the peasant becoming a slave, and above all a new code of civil law -- it is for this reconstruction of the State, as well as for the military genius which ensured that there should be a State to reconstruct, that the Isaurian emperors deserve their high place in the history of civilisation.

They have another, very different, title to fame as the agents of a new religious controversy which rent the empire for sixty years, embittered their relations with the pope, who by this was the sole surviving power in the West that remained loyal to the empire, and which gave to the Church hundreds of new martyrs. This was the celebrated controversy as to the lawfulness of the reverence paid to the images of the saints, a practice which these emperors began to forbid under extreme penalties. A quotation from the classic historian of the empire, Finlay, shows the connection of this apparent aberration with the general policy of the Isaurian emperors and it explains the bitterness with which, from the beginning, they attacked the practice and punished its adherents. " [The period 717-867] opens with the efforts by which Leo and the people of the empire saved Roman Law and the Christian religion from the conquering Saracens. It embraces a long and violent struggle between the government and the people, the emperors seeking to increase the central power by annihilating every local franchise, and even the right of private opinion among their subjects. The contest concerning image-worship. . . became the expression of this struggle. Its object was as much to consolidate the supremacy of the imperial authority, as to purify the practice of the Church. The emperors wished to constitute themselves the fountains of ecclesiastical as completely as of civil legislation." [ ]

Images -- painted and sculptured representations of persons and mysteries, allegorical scenes, scenes from biblical history, or the liturgy, images even of definite historical personages, of Our Lord, His mother, and the saints, had been used by the Christian churches from at least the first century as testify, not merely the reference to them in the early writers, but the numbers of such primitive images which still survive. It is less easy to be certain that a definite cult was paid, in the period before Constantine's conversion at least, to the actual image for the sake of its subject. With Constantine's conversion there is very definitely a cult of the Cross, and apparently, about the same time, the beginnings of a cult of other images, for already the practice has its critics, and the Council of Elvira in 305-306 definitely forbids the placing of pictures in the churches "lest what is worshipped and adored be painted on the walls." [ ] A little later, at the other extremity of the Christian world, Eusebius of Cesarea, the father of Church History, is explaining to Constantine's sister that he cannot send her the image of Christ for which she asks since the Scriptures forbid the making of images. He adds that, having recently found one of the faithful with what passed for pictures of Our Lord and St. Paul in her possession, he had confiscated them, lest the practice should spread, and Christians, like the idolaters, should come to think they could carry God round in a picture.

That such reasons should prevail in a time when idolatry had hardly ceased to be the State religion and when it was still fashionable, was only natural. Despite such critics -- Eusebius did not lack successors -- the use of images spread, however, and by the time of Justinian (527-565) it was generally established in the East at least, and along with it, but more slowly, the practice of paying a reverence to the image itself. Theologians noted carefully the precise import of such reverence. Thus Leontius, Bishop of Neopolis (c. 582-602), explains (in reply to a Jewish gibe that the Christians, too, are idolaters in their veneration of images and the cross) that the reverence is purely relative; the prostrations before them, the kisses lavished upon them, the place of honour given to them in the churches are directed to the personage they represent. The whole apologetic of Catholic practice in the matter appears here so fully developed that fifteen hundred years of further controversy have added nothing to it.

The practice of the Church in the West was, in this as in other matters, somewhat behind the practice in the East. One of the earliest traces of reverence to images of the saints in the West is the reference, in a poem of Fortunatus, written at the latest in 576, to the lamps that burn before the picture of S. . Martin of Tours. Twenty years later than this we have a witness to the custom in no less a personage than St. Gregory. The pope writes to the Bishop of Marseilles who, fearing his people may make an idolatrous use of the statues, had had them broken up. He points out to the bishop that such pictures and images serve as books to the illiterate. Since it is for this purpose, and not for adoration, that the images are placed in the churches, the bishop does wrong in destroying them. Does he set himself against the universal practice of the Church? Does he claim a monopoly of sanctity and wisdom?

St. Gregory, in these texts, can hardly be claimed as urging the use of images for devotional purposes. [ ] Still less can he be said to oppose it, or condemn it. The practice continued to spread in the West, and within a century from the death of St. Gregory it was as general there as in the East. The criticism from outside the Church did not cease. Besides the Jews there were the Manichees of the type known as Paulicians. They refused to reverence the Cross because they regarded with horror all that it represented. The Monophysites, too, opposed the use, and even the making, of sacred images. Severus, Peter the Fuller, and other leaders of the party have all gone down to history as strenuous opponents of the practice. To make an image of Jesus Christ was to imply that He had a true human nature and since many of the Monophysites believed Him to be only partly human their objection to the picture or statue is understandable.

It is not easy to say exactly why the emperor Leo III suddenly showed himself in the role of iconoclast. It may have been associations of his youth, for he came from a province not far from the centre of the Paulician movement. It may have been from Monophysite associations, for again he came from a region where the sect had been strong and persecuted. Or again his opposition may be taken as an example of the anti-Hellenist side of that revival of the East which, in progress now for two hundred years, was about to reach its climax, the century of Mohammedan culture's apogee, of Asiatic emperors and Oriental popes. The cult of the beauty of the human form was one element of the domination of Hellenism to which not all the centuries had ever really converted the East. Now, in a variety of ways, the reaction against that cult was showing itself. One of its fruits, perhaps, was the revolutionary religious policy of Leo III.

There was nothing to shock or surprise contemporary opinion in the circumstance that the emperor should occupy himself with reform in religious matters. These were, and had been, his acknowledged province -- so far as the mass of the Eastern bishops were concerned -- almost from the days of Constantine himself. [ ] The semi-divine emperor of the pagan empire had never so abdicated his prerogative as to be no more than one of the faithful in the body of the Church. Gradually, in all that concerned its administration, he had come to be its head. He patronised orthodox or heretic as he chose, and whom he patronised prospered. He never, of course, pretended to exercise spiritual powers, to give sacraments for example, nor, if he were a Catholic, did he claim to alter the faith. On the other hand he certainly claimed the right to decide the expediency of issuing condemnations of heresy, and to choose the method of condemnation. He never denied the Church's infallibility, but he expected to control the movement of its exercise. He named the bishops of his empire, and when they crossed his path, as to their credit they frequently did, he deposed and exiled them without scruple. When Justinian came to give the imperial law its classic recasting, the Church law went into his code en bloc. "Nothing should escape the prince, to whom God has confided the care of all mankind," he said. Never did any State lay its hand on the Church so effectively; and when Leo III declared "I am priest no less than emperor," he was little more than a faithful echo to his predecessors.

It was in 726 that the first edict against religious images appeared. The text has long been lost, but apparently it provided for the removal of the images, and the attempt to take down the image of Our Lord which was placed above the gate of the imperial palace, provoked a riot at Constantinople. Throughout the European provinces, in Greece and in Southern Italy, there were similar demonstrations, and even an attempt to dethrone Leo. The Greek insurrection came to an end with the defeat of the pretender's fleet: in Italy the Iconoclasts were less fortunate. In 730 the emperor advanced his policy a step further. He summoned the Patriarch of Constantinople, Germanus I, to sign a decree condemning the veneration of images. Germanus refused, and was promptly deposed and imprisoned. Shortly afterwards he was put to death. A compliant successor was provided and soon the emperor had a substantial following in the very episcopate. The pope, Gregory II (715-731), one of the rare popes of this time who was not an Oriental, now intervened. He had had a long experience of the Byzantine tyranny in ecclesiastical affairs and, in the days when he was still no more than a deacon and the half-mad Justinian II was emperor, he had by his diplomacy extricated the reigning pope -- Constantine -- from a difficult situation (710). [ ] Later, as pope, he had been the chief means of preserving the empire's Italian territories for Leo III in the first difficult years of his reign. His letters to Constantinople [ ] dealing with the new crisis recall bluntly to the emperor the realities of the situation. The empire's hold on the pope is but a name, and he has at hand more powerful protectors, the new Barbarian princes: " If you send troops for the destruction of the images of St. Peter, look to it." The successor of St. Germanus was threatened with deposition unless he amended. This correspondence must have been one of the pope's last activities, for in 731 Gregory II died.

His successor, Gregory III (731-741), took up his policy. Five times at least he wrote to the emperor, begging him to return to the traditional practice, and then, summoning a council at Rome on November 1, 731, the pope condemned and excommunicated whoever condemned the veneration of images or destroyed them. The emperor, for reply, copied his predecessors. As Justinian I had arrested Vigilius in 545 and brought him to the capital, as Constans II in 654 had similarly outraged St. Martin I, as Justinian II had attempted to kidnap Sergius I in 695, and had forced the appearance in 710 of Constantine, so Leo III now sent off a fleet to arrest Gregory III. The fleet was, however, destroyed by storms as it crossed the Adriatic, and the emperor contented himself with the seizure of the papal estates in Sicily and Calabria -- the main part of that Patrimonium Sancti Petri from whose revenues the popes financed their administration of Rome and the relief of its poor.

Leo III aroused another adversary, in addition to the pope. This was the great scholar whom we know as St. John Damascene, in whose writings the theological genius of Greek-speaking Catholicism makes its last notable appearance.

To the iconoclast controversy St. John contributed, between 726 and 730, three essays. They defend the lawfulness of making images, and the Catholic practice of paying them honour. To deny them honour because they are material things is Manicheeism. As to the honour paid them it is never more than relative. The varied usefulness of images, as a means of instruction, as reminders of the love of God, and of the virtues of the saints, as stimulating devotion -- are all set forth. As to the recent legislation, the saint declares roundly that religious matters are outside the emperor's competence. "It is not for princes to give laws to the Church. . . . The princes' business is the State's political welfare. The state of the Church is a matter for bishops and theologians." Despite St. John's reasoning, and despite the papal decision, Leo III persevered in his policy, and when he died, in 741, the new regime was triumphant in the Asiatic provinces at least, and the Eastern church was once more out of communion with Rome after a peace of fifty years.

The new emperor Constantine V (741-775) was determined to reduce the European provinces as his father had reduced those of Asia Minor. He is the curiously violent and crude figure who has gone down to history as Copronymos -- a soubriquet not so impossible to translate as, translated, to print. The accident by which as a baby he soiled the font of his baptism, whence the name derived, was an unconscious foreshadowing of one distorted side of his later life. His accession gave the Iconoclast movement new life. Once the political troubles that followed his father's death were ended Constantine made a bid to capture for the movement the support of the whole Greek episcopate. At a council held at the palace of Hieria (February 10, 753) 338 bishops assented to a declaration that to make images, to honour them, to give them any veneration was sinful. Particularly was this so in the case of images of Our Lord, for such images claimed either to present merely His humanity -- separating the natures as Nestorius had done -- or, if they claimed more, they confused the two natures. To make images of the saints is, further, a sacrilegious attempt to prolong their earthly life. All images, then, are to be removed from the churches as things contrary to faith and abominable. Whoever contravenes this decree is excommunicated, and, if a priest or bishop, deposed. The emperor would have gone further and denied the belief in the saints' power of intercession, along with the doctrines which were that belief's foundation -- the doctrines, that is, of the resurrection of the body and of the eternity of hell and heaven. The bishops, however, held firm and their orthodoxy here prevailed.

The decrees of the council were the beginning of a general war on images and on all who venerated them. They were torn down in church after church and in their place were set, for decoration, landscapes and pictures of animals and birds. From the bishops and the generality of their clergy the emperor met with little opposition. They accepted the decrees without difficulty. But in the monks he met a resistance as determined and as prolonged as the Catholic emperors had met in the matter of Monophysitism. Many were exiled, and then the emperor turned to worse penalties. From 761 when the first monks were martyred to 775, when Constantine died, was a very real reign of terror. The monasteries were forbidden to receive novices, the monks were forcibly married, the cult of the saints was forbidden. It became criminal to pray to them, and the very term " saint " was declared unlawful.

With the death of Constantine V (September 14, 775) the persecution halted, for his son, Leo IV, though himself an Iconoclast, was by no means so violently attached to the movement as his father, who had been one of its creators. Moreover his wife, the Empress Irene, secretly favoured the Catholics. Leo IV's short reign prepared the way for the reaction which followed, for on his death (780) Irene took over the government as regent for his child successor Constantine VI.

The first move towards a restoration of the tradition was the resignation of the Patriarch of Constantinople, as an act of reparation for his former surrender. In his place the Secretary of State, Tarasius, was appointed, who immediately denounced the decision of the Council of 753 and appealed for a general council. The empress agreed and the pope too -- one of the great popes of the century, Adrian I (772-795). But the first attempt to hold the council failed. The army, largely recruited from the highlands of Isauria, had always been a centre of the Iconoclast movement and it was still attached to the innovations of the first two great Isaurians. The soldiery, then, drove out the council and threatened a revolution. Irene gave way and bided her time. The mutineers were gradually replaced by troops on whom she could rely and, a year later, on September 24, 787, the council met at Nicea beyond the Bosphorus where, three hundred years earlier, the first of all the general councils had assembled.

More than 300 bishops attended the council, the pope was represented by two legates and the Patriarch of Constantinople presided. There were in all eight sessions, the last of them on October 23, 787, just one month from the first. The Roman legates, as in preceding councils, [ ] were the bearers of a letter from the pope which set out the traditional belief. The pseudo-council of 753, he lays down, is to be anathematised in the presence of the papal legates since it was held without the Apostolic See and went against tradition. Thus will the words of Our Lord that "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" and "Thou art Peter. . . " be fulfilled of that see whose tenure of the primacy shines throughout the world and which is set as head of all the churches of God. The papal letters were read and accepted; and, in successive sessions, with much citation of texts from early writers, it was declared to be part of the Church's faith and practice, that the saints should be invoked in prayer, that images and relics should be received and embraced with honour. The Council of 753, its acts detailed, was condemned; and, in a final decree, the kind of honour due to sacred images was defined-it is an adoration of honour, not the adoration of worship reserved to God as Divine. It is therefore lawful to light lamps before the pictures of the saints or to burn incense before them, since the honour paid to the image is really given to the personage it represents.

The Council of 787 should have ended the controversy for ever. Of the events that led to its reopening, and of the repercussions of the dispute in the distant western kingdom of the Franks we must, however, treat elsewhere.


While, on the Eastern frontiers of Christendom, the emperors were enforcing policies that threatened to weaken still further this remnant of the old world and to lose to the Church its last cultured people, a new movement of consolidation was, in the West, laying the foundation on which all the external activity of the Church for the next five hundred years was to be built. This was the alliance between the Papacy and the kingdom of the Franks. The agents of the work were the two Mayors of the Palace, Charles Martel and his son Pepin the Short, the Popes Zachary and Stephen II, the Lombard kings, Liutprand and Aistulf and the English missionary bishop St. Boniface.

Pepin of Heristal, in whom this family emerges as the real ruler of the Franks, died in 714. Charles Martel was one of his natural children -- then twenty-six years of age -- and, lest he should usurp the heritage, locked away in a fortress by his father's widow. He escaped, however, and, in the customary manner, made away with the heirs, his half-brothers, and seized the position his father had left. He showed himself, from the first, to be a mighty warrior, the greatest soldier Gaul had known since the last of the Roman generals. The Frisians, the Saxons, the Bavarians, the Alemanni -- all these hostile nations of the eastern frontier, felt his hand in turn. Aquitaine, Burgundy and the western Frankish kingdom too, he so thoroughly subdued that by the time of his death (741) all Gaul was once again, after three centuries, really united under one ruler.

Another enemy against whom his wars never ceased was Islam. In 732 the Mohammedan armies had penetrated as far as Poitiers. Here Charles met them, and in one of the really decisive battles of world history, he defeated them with tremendous slaughter. In 735 there was a new campaign, the Saracens having seized Arles and Avignon and penetrated even into Burgundy; and in 737 a further campaign in which, again with great slaughter of the defeated, Nimes and other strongholds in the south were restored to Christianity. By the end of his reign, Charles Martel had established himself as the natural political chief of Western Christendom. Against the Arabs he had repeated in the West the success of Leo III in the East; in his own realm he had established a political leadership it had not known for centuries; and, unlike his great Eastern contemporary, he had not been so unfortunate as to involve himself in a quarrel with the Church. So far indeed was he from enmity that he has a place as one of the chief promoters of its missionary activities. "Were it not for the King of the Franks," said St. Boniface, "I could not rule the faithful, nor defend my priests and clerics, the monks and the servants of God. Nor would I be able, without the fear his commands inspire, to hinder the paganism and idolatry of Germany."

The King of the Franks was the mission's protector, but the missionary was the Englishman Boniface, and in him the apostolic Benedictine monachism, to which his own country owed so much, now returned to the continent, in the service of the Roman Church that had first sent it to England, to be now that Church's instrument for the conversion of Germany. St. Boniface -- Winfrid was his name until the pope changed it -- was born in Devonshire about the year 680. He was of noble birth and he had to fight with his family before he was allowed his heart's desire to become a monk at Exeter. From Exeter he went to Nursling, in Hampshire, and here he came, indirectly, under the influence of St. Aldhelm, Abbot of Malmesbury, and Bishop of Sherborne, a gifted, artistic spirit, poet and musician, whose school was, for the west, something of what Jarrow and the school of York were for the north. In all this culture St. Boniface was well versed. He became rector of the abbey school and the author of a Latin grammar. He was a scholar; as the time went, a savant; and he was an ascetic too. In 710 he was ordained priest, and then he began a second siege of authority to consent to his desires -- this time to go as a missionary into Germany. Not until 716 did his abbot yield, and in that year Boniface crossed over to Frisia.

Here a one-time monk of Iona had for many years been labouring. This was Willibrord, the founder of the see of Utrecht, to which, in 695, Pope Sergius I had consecrated him, and of the famous abbey of Echternach in what to-day is Luxembourg. Boniface's first essay was not successful and he returned to Nursling. The abbot died, and Boniface had the utmost difficulty in avoiding election as his successor. His heart was still in Germany, and in 718 he set out for Rome. From Rome he returned to Frisia, officially commissioned this time, and for three years he worked with St. Willibrord.

In 722 the pope -- Gregory II -- recalled him, consecrated him bishop and once more despatched him to Germany, to work this time as the chief of an independent mission. One feature of this consecration has a great significance, for it reveals that desire of immediate control over its subordinates which characterised the policy of the Roman See since the peace of Constantine first set it free to organise its powers. The newly-consecrated bishop swore obedience to the pope in the same terms that the suffragan bishops of the Roman province had used from time immemorial. The consecration was a sign, also, that the new churches of Germany were to be the pope's own personal concern. The pope also gave Boniface letters for Charles Martel, and the Frankish king gave the missionary the sealed letter of safety which was to be, for thirty years, the human means of his protection.

For the next twenty years Boniface moved through Hesse and Thuringia preaching the simplicities of the Gospel, destroying the pagan sanctuaries and everywhere founding monasteries, for women no less than for men. Amoeneburg, Ohrdruff, Fritzlar, Bischoffsheim, Kitzingen, Ochsenfurt, all date from this time. He remained in constant communication with Rome, which the death of his patron Gregory II did not interrupt. The new pope, Gregory III, recalled him in 742 to give him the pallium, and declare him Archbishop, and to commission him to found other sees. In all there were eight of these -- Salzburg, Frisingen, Ratisbon, Passau, Buraburg, Erfurt, Wurzburg, and Eichstadt. Two years after his return from Rome he founded the most celebrated of all German abbeys at Fulda. In 753 it was made directly subject to the Roman See -- a rare distinction at that time -- and ten years later its monks numbered 400. There St. Boniface's body still rests, brought by the pious hands of his disciples after the martyrdom which came to him, in 755, in that Frisia where his missionary career had opened.

St. Boniface is the apostle of Germany, as St. Patrick is of Ireland, and through the co-operation of Frankish king and pope in support of his mission he is, in a way, a co-founder of the alliance between these two powers of western Europe. But his relations with the Frankish king, and with that alliance, were still more intimate. St. Boniface has a double career. He is a reformer in Gaul as truly as he is a founder in Germany.

The religious revival of which the Irish foundation at Luxeuil was the centre had never received any steady support from the Frankish kings. Wherever the monks of St. Columbanus settled, works of piety flourished, morals and Christian life revived, the heathens were converted. But over the great mass of the territory ruled by the Franks the old disorders still went on unchecked, clerical illiteracy and immorality, simony, the brutality of the lay nobles degrading the sees and the monasteries they forcibly appropriated. Despite all the labours of a century of saints, Frankish Catholicism was in as bad a plight at the end of the seventh century as it had been at the beginning.

The accession of Charles Martel made matters worse. The ceaseless effort of defence against Mohammedans in the south and Saxons in the east which filled the twenty-seven years of his reign, entailed a kind of universal conscription in the national life. To the needs of the sovereign everything was ruthlessly subordinated, the Church no less than the rest. Its property, its prestige, its jurisdiction and revenues were chiefly valuable to him as a treasury from which to reward the faithful vassal and to secure the allegiance of the waverer. Men little better than brigands, ancestors of the robber-baron villains of the nursery tale, began to fill the sees. Some could not even read. The luckier among them held several sees at once. Other great sees were left for years without a bishop. How the spiritual life of the Church fared under such prelates, drunkards, murderers, debauchees, can be imagined. Recalling it in years to come, and recalling the man who was so largely responsible, St. Boniface could assure Pepin, Charles Martel's son, that his father was certainly in hell, and Pepin could believe it. Against thirty years of such a regime, crowning as it did a century of steady decline, nothing but occasional, isolated, individual piety was left to survive.

St. Boniface's career in Gaul really begins with the death of the terrible Charles Martel (741). The two sons who succeeded, Pepin the Short and Carloman, had received a monastic education at St. Denis, and it was in the kingdom of Carloman, soon to become a monk himself, that St. Boniface began his new career. As in his pioneer work in Germany, so now as reformer in Gaul, he acted as agent of the Roman Church. Councils were held, the first for nearly a century, in the eastern kingdom in 741 and 744, in Pepin's kingdom at Soissons, also in 744; and, in 745, a general council met of the whole of the Frankish Church. Vacant sees were filled, new sees founded, the grouping of the sees round a metropolitan see restored. Councils were henceforth to meet annually, the metropolitan was to make the visitation of the bishops, the bishops of their clergy. The itinerant clergy were to be suppressed. The laws forbidding the clergy to marry, to carry arms, to hunt, and providing that they should wear the special clerical dress, were renewed. For delinquents appropriate sanctions were provided -- spiritual penalties and others too, imprisonment and floggings. In the monasteries the rule of St. Benedict was henceforth of obligation. Other canons dealt with the superstitious rites and survivals of paganism with which the popular Catholicism was interwoven. Sacrifices to trees and streams, the custom of honouring the pagan holy days, magical practices, witchcraft -- all these still flourished in places, and these councils provided for their extirpation.

A much less usual matter was the appearance of heretics. One of them, Adalbert, a Frank, gave himself out as a new prophet, to whom angels had brought relics of an invincible efficacy. He had new prayers, filled with mysterious names; forgave sins without confession; gave away his own hair and nails as relics; and in the course of years had gathered an immense following, and had even found two fools of bishops to consecrate him. The other heretic Clement, was an Irishman. His teaching was of a more intellectual kind -- a curious eclectic rearrangement of orthodoxy and heresy.

The reform council so earnestly desired by St. Gregory had at last been realised -- a hundred and forty years after his death. But the old obstacle to any real reform still survived. Pepin was no less attached to the royal hold on the Church than the Merovingians whom he had displaced. He was willing enough to see the disorders of clerical life corrected, and laws made to improve the quality of Frankish Christianity, but to the canons which, restoring the hierarchy, provided the only safeguard for the future, he turned a deaf ear. So long as he reigned none of the proposed metropolitan organisation passed into practice. Not even St. Boniface himself found recognition as archbishop of a particular see, for all his reception of the pallium from Pope Zachary and his extensive authority as papal legate. For all his sanctity, and the merit of his mighty labours, he was never, for these princes, anything more than the bishop of the frontier never, apparently, a force in their councils, never a political power never personally intimate with any of them. This situation had its advantages, the greatest of which was the possibility of preaching Catholicism to the Saxons as a thing not necessarily associated with their detested Frankish conquerors. The main strength of the English saint lay not in Frankish sovereigns, for all the value of the protection they afforded him, but in his constant, uninterrupted relations with the popes. At every turn he lays before them his plans and his difficulties, and it is the popes who encourage and console him. These three popes -- Gregory II, Gregory III, and Zachary -- are very truly the sources of the new German church's vitality, as they are, also, of what new life came through Boniface to the Church in Gaul. Zachary died in 752 and the saint survived him a bare three years. Before the martyrdom came which crowned his long life of self-sacrificing exile, political affairs in the Frankish kingdom had taken a new turn. The new pope, Stephen II (752-757), had inaugurated, between the Roman See and the one Catholic power in the West, that alliance which was to be the pivot of papal history for the next five hundred years, and which was to do much, in the immediate future, to change the type of character elected as Bishop of Rome. In that revolution St. Boniface had little more than a place of honour. He was the greatest bishop of the Frankish empire, and the one in closest touch with Rome; but it was others whom Pepin chose as his agents when, in 751, he besought the papal sanction for the coup d'etat he meditated.


It was now more than a century since any of the descendants of Clovis had actually reigned. Since the death of Dagobert (638) the kings had merely succeeded. The power was entirely in the hands of their chief subjects, and since 687 in the hands of the family of Pepin. It was they, the Mayors of the Palace, who ruled, the Merovingian kings only appearing in public once or twice in the course of their reign. So real was the power of the Carolingians that, within half a century, of their first laying hold of it Charles Martel was able to leave the kingship vacant for thirteen years. Pepin, when he succeeded his father, filled it once more, but in 751, flushed with a series of new victories, and, since the retirement of Carloman his brother to an Italian monastery, sole ruler of the Franks like his father before him, he determined to end the anomaly once for all. The Merovingian should be deposed and himself, with the reality of power, have the title also. He set the problem before the pope as a case of conscience. The pope agreed to the abstract case that whoever really ruled should be called king, and Pepin, strong in this ratification, assumed the succession for himself and his family in a general assembly of the nation. The last of the Merovingians was tonsured, with his son, and Pepin was consecrated king by St. Boniface.

This consecration, a solemn anointing with holy oil, already in use among the Visigoths and the Anglo-Saxons, [ ] was a novelty in Gaul. It gave the new monarchy, from the beginning, something of a sacred character; and in the eyes of the new kings also, it may be, warranted that control in Church matters which they took over from the Merovingians and which they were to develop very strikingly in the next hundred years until it reached to the nomination of the popes themselves. Three years later the anointing was repeated with even greater solemnity. This time, in 754, it was the pope himself who conferred it, and on Pepin's sons as well -- Carloman and the future Charlemagne -- announcing, "It is the Lord who through our lowliness consecrates you as king."

It was not merely to ratify the act of Boniface that, in 753, Stephen II had made the long journey from Rome to Quierzy. Between the first and second consecrations of Pepin a revolution in Italy had altered the whole temporal status of the papacy, and in that revolution the Frankish king's action had been the decisive factor. It has already been noted how, in the time of St. Gregory the Great, the Roman popes found themselves faced with the insoluble problem of being the loyal subjects of an emperor who would not come to terms with the Lombard invaders and who yet could not defeat them. As the seventh century wore on this problem grew even more acute. The Lombards increased their conquests until -- outside Calabria -- Aquileia, Venice, Rome, Naples, and their neighbouring countrysides were all that was left of Justinian's Italy. The Lombards, meanwhile, had abandoned their Arianism; they were now devout Catholics. The emperors, on the other hand, were the leaders and chief promoters of new heresies, of Monothelism in the seventh century, of Iconoclasm in the eighth. They showed themselves as ready to tyrannise in matters of religion, as willing to harry and even to murder the popes, as they were incompetent to defend their inheritance against the Lombards. Their representative at Ravenna lost his hold on all except the actual territory round that city; and while the duchies of Naples and Venice tended to become autonomous, the duchy of Rome, thanks to the popes, not only remained loyal but, more than once, helped by the circumstance that it was papal territory no less than imperial, it came to the assistance of the beleaguered exarch in Ravenna. It was a curious situation when the pope, whose properties the emperor had confiscated, whose arrest he had ordered, and against whom he had fitted out a great fleet, was the solitary defence in Italy of the emperor's representative.

But during the reigns of the popes who were the patrons of St. Boniface -- Gregory II, Gregory III and Zachary -- events occurred that brought this anomaly to an end. The Lombard chiefs were, by this time (c. 715), three in number; there was the king of the Lombards, whose capital was Pavia; there were the two dukes of Spoleto and Benevento, nominally his subjects, but actually more than half independent. The king contemporary with these three popes was Liutprand (712-744), the greatest of all the Lombard kings and, as events were to show, an excellent Catholic.

It was the new religious policy of the Emperor Leo III that occasioned the beginnings of change. When Gregory II denounced the imperial laws that forbade the veneration of images and banished them from the churches, the creaking imperial machinery was set in motion to reduce him to submission, as it had been set in motion against his predecessors, Sergius I in 695 and St. Martin I in 654. As in 695, the Roman people and the Roman division of the imperial army stood by the pope. The Lombards too joined with them, and it was their army that halted the exarch as he marched from Ravenna to execute the imperial will against St. Gregory. The exarch retreated to his capital, his troops mutinied and in the riot he lost his life. His successor preferred the ways of negotiation and, as a preliminary to reducing the pope, was bidden to break the new, unheard-of, papal alliance with the Lombards. The involved diplomacy, in which the mutual rivalry of the Lombard king and dukes played its part, ended curiously enough in a three-cornered pact between pope, exarch, and the Lombard king. This was in 730. The next year Gregory II died.

His successor Gregory III, a Syrian, was just as resolute in his opposition to the Iconoclast emperor and in his defence of Leo's victims. The emperor confiscated the papal estates in Sicily and southern Italy. He cut the communications between the pope and the bishops of these provinces. But against the pope himself he was powerless, thanks to the growing autonomy of the duchies now separated from Ravenna by intervening Lombard territories, and thanks to the Lombard reduction of the exarch's power. The ten years of Gregory III's rule (731-741) were years of Lombard conquest, and the Romans were sufficiently ill-advised to assist the Duke of Spoleto against the king, and so to give Liutprand every excuse he needed to capture Rome itself. Rome the king did not indeed attack, but he had captured four towns in the north of the duchy when Gregory III died. The next pope, Zachary -- yet another oriental -- was more diplomatic. As Liutprand marched on Rome the papal policy changed. The cause of the rebel Duke of Spoleto was abandoned. The king promised to evacuate the Roman territory, and to restore the captured towns; and the Roman army joined with his to attack Spoleto. Two years later it was the turn of Ravenna to feel the weight of the Lombard power. Liutprand, master of Bologna, and of Cesena, had Ravenna in his hands when Zachary besought him to spare it. Once more the papal diplomacy, because it was papal, was successful.

In the following year (744) Liutprand died. The new king, Ratchis, was equally warlike, and equally docile to the voice of St. Peter. As Liutprand had abandoned his campaign against Ravenna, so Ratchis now gave up the siege of Perugia. He did more, for in 749 he abdicated, and buried himself in the monastery of Monte Cassino -- an ill event for the fortunes of the imperial rule. Aistulf who succeeded him was of quite another stamp. Before Pope Zachary died (March, 752) Aistulf had taken Ravenna and its duchy, bringing the imperial rule to an end once and for all. He then turned to the towns that lay between his new territories and Rome -- Perugia, Todi, Amelia -- and to the conquest of Rome itself. The new pope, Stephen II (752-757), set
himself to negotiate, and secured a peace of forty years. That was in June, 752. By the autumn the treaty was in pieces, and Aistulf demanding tribute from the Romans as the price of his "protection." Once more the pope negotiated, but this time in vain-Aistulf was inflexible. The papal ambassadors were both of them his own subjects, and the king sent them back to their respective monasteries.

The winter passed with the Romans anxiously awaiting the descent of Aistulf's army with the first good days of spring From the emperor -- Constantine V -- all that came was an order to the pope to negotiate with Aistulf for the restoration of Ravenna. The Romans evidently must save themselves; the pope must somehow defeat the Lombards -- and he had no resources-or become their subject, losing the de facto independence he had enjoyed for half a century, and submitting to a barbarian master: unless he could find an ally who would deal effectively with the Lombards and disinterestedly with himself. The pope turned to the Franks, with whose princes, very largely because of St. Boniface, the papacy had been in close relation for thirty years and more.

That the Franks should be called in to defend Rome against the Lombards was in keeping with Roman political tradition. Its last appearance had been so recently as the time of Pope Stephen's own predecessor Gregory III, who had made a great appeal to Charles Martel in 739, but fruitlessly. The Frank was then the ally of Liutprand, and saw no good reason why he should make war on his friend to restore Byzantinism at Rome. Thirteen years later the situation was very different. Byzantinism was dead, in Rome and even in Ravenna. Nor was the pope appealing now for its restoration. It was protection for St. Peter himself, his shrine, his people, his city that was the motive of the appeal. Charles Martel, too, was dead. In his place the pious Pepin reigned, and as recently as a matter of months ago Pepin had sought, and obtained, from St. Peter that ratification which consecrated as a religious act the coup d'etat by which he and his family had succeeded to the heritage of Clovis.

The pope approached Pepin with the utmost secrecy, using a pilgrim as his agent. Pepin, in return, sent to Rome the Abbot of Jumieges. The reply which the abbot carried back to France was to the effect that the pope wished to treat personally of the important matter and besought Pepin to provide a suitable escort for his protection. Pepin agreed, and in the September of 753 the escort arrived in Rome.

It found the pope prepared for his momentous journey, and it found with him yet another ambassador from the emperor. In the very hour when the pope, determined to end at last the dangerous futility of his nominal dependence on Constantinople, was setting out to meet his new protector, Byzantinism had again intervened. The pope was ordered to seek out Aistulf and to induce him to restore Ravenna to the empire.

It was then a curiously mixed caravan, where the last of one age and the first of another met, that set out from Rome on October 14, 753, the pope, the imperial ambassador, the Franks. At Pavia they met the Lombard king. The pope made his appeal, the imperial ambassador supplemented it with his own eloquence and a letter from Constantine V. Aistulf, of course, remained unmoved. Whereupon the convoy split up. The Greeks returned to Constantinople; the pope, despite Aistulf's efforts to detain him, made his way to Aosta and the pass of the St. Bernard. At St. Moritz envoys from Pepin met him; at Langres, Pepin's son, the future Charlemagne. By the feast of the Epiphany 754 the pope had reached the royal palace at Ponthieu. Pepin with his court had gone out to meet him, had prostrated himself before the pope and in the procession walked beside him holding his stirrup.

The next day the fateful interview took place. The pope and his court appeared before the Frankish king clad in sackcloth, ashes on their heads. They besought him to bring about a peaceful settlement of the cause of St. Peter and of the Roman State. Pepin consented, and pledged himself to restore the exarchate with all its rights and territories. Negotiations with Aistulf were opened forthwith. Pepin began by demanding a pledge that the Lombards, out of reverence for St. Peter and St. Paul, would for the future abstain from all hostilities against their city. Aistulf refused, and in two great assemblies of the Franks (at Braisne on March 1 and at Kiersy-sur-Oise on April 14, 754) it was agreed-not without opposition -- that the Lombards should be compelled by force of arms. Pepin marched his army across the Alps and laid siege to Pavia. Aistulf consented to treat. He agreed to surrender Ravenna and his other conquests and even Narni, a Roman town taken years before by Liutprand. In October, 754, the pope returned to Rome.

Aistulf made over Narni to Pepin's representatives, and waited until Pepin and his army were safely over the Alps. Then he went back on his word. He refused to complete the surrender, and returned to the war of raid and pillage against Rome which had driven Pope Stephen to call in the Franks. On January 1, 756, he laid siege to Rome itself. The pope had already urged Pepin to return and complete the work of his first campaign. Now he managed to send a further embassy from the beleaguered city. The envoys took with them, among other letters, one addressed to the whole Frankish nation, written in the name of St. Peter, "I, Peter the Apostle."

Pepin did not delay. As the Frankish army moved south Aistulf abandoned the siege of Rome and marched to meet it. He was defeated and locked himself up in Pavia. Pepin followed and as he prepared to lay siege to the town, once more the ghost of Byzantine Italy appeared. The same high official from Constantinople who had accompanied the pope in the mission of 753 now returned, to demand, of Pepin this time, that the disputed territories should, when he had reconquered them, be made over to the imperial government. Pepin refused. He had gone to war, he explained, for love of St. Peter, hoping by delivering the apostle to win pardon for his sins. The ambassador retired, this time finally. It was the old empire's definitive abandonment of its claim to the city whence it had sprung. Rome was to begin its history anew, independent of the empire which still continued to bear its name.

The holy war continued. Aistulf was once more compelled to plead. This time the terms were more severe, and Pepin installed an army of occupation until they had been executed. Frankish officials went from town to town receiving the surrenders and the keys of the gates and then, making their way to Rome, they laid the collection before the tomb of the apostle. The pope was now, through the Frankish king's devotion to St. Peter, independent of any temporal ruler, was himself ruler, in name as in fact, of the city and State in which his see was fixed. A new and immense complication was thereby added to the development of Catholicism in the lands once ruled by the Roman Emperor of the West.


The history of the next twenty years showed how seriously the complication of the Papacy's new political importance could distract the popes from the task of their spiritual rulership. It showed, also, that if they had escaped subjection to the barbarian Lombards, they had by no means escaped the need to fight for their independence. Finally it introduced a new element into the ecclesiastical life of the greatest of sees. Worldly-minded clerics, ambitious for honours, had always been a possible source of trouble at Rome. Now that the Bishop of Rome was in every sense a sovereign prince, there was added the new danger that the office would be coveted by men who were not clerics at all. To the semi-brigand nobility of the little Papal State there was offered -- at the risk of a riot, a few murders, and the as yet but faintly possible intervention of the distant Franks -- a prize that might from the mere lordship of some petty rock-fortress, transform them into kings. That temptation endured, to be for the next three centuries a constant factor in papal history.

The temptation was nourished by the new hostility between the two bodies who made up the notabilities of the new State -- the clergy and the military aristocracy. In the last years of Byzantine rule the clergy, through their head the pope, had supplied the brains, and even the more material means, by which the Lombards had been warded off. Now they were in every sense rulers, and the military nobles -- no longer, even nominally, their fellow-subjects under the distant emperor -- were simply the officers and chiefs of the clergy's army. Had clergy and nobility alike been guided by nothing except the ideals of the religion they professed, humility, obedience, a passion for serving, the situation would have presented no danger. As it was, the new State, and eventually the Papacy itself, became a stage where presently a half-regenerate humanity strove and struggled in all its primitive unpleasantness.

There was, from the very beginning, in the very pope in whom the State was founded, Stephen II, the tendency and the desire to end, once and for all, the external menace to papal independence by making the pope master of all Italy. The event showed that neither he nor his successor, his brother Paul (756-767), whom the same ambition drove, was strong enough to achieve it. It was evident that the new State could not even survive, unless protected by the Frankish power that had created it. The Lombard without, and the lay nobility within, were more than these first papal kings could cope with. Hence a continual appeal to the Franks, and finally a war in which, just twenty years after the first intervention of Pepin, Charlemagne, Pepin's son, destroyed the Lombard power for ever and made himself King of Lombardy. This victory made St. Peter's protector the near neighbour of St. Peter's successor, and the protector tended, by reason of the frequent appeals for his intervention, to become something of an adviser, of a judge, of a suzerain even. The problem that drove the popes to ally themselves with the Franks had by no means been solved: it had merely changed its form. In one form or another it continued to worry the popes through the next twelve hundred years, to 1870 and to 1929; it is a problem they can never neglect, and their preoccupation with it is bound, not infrequently, to distract their attention from more directly spiritual affairs.

The history of the Papal State between its foundation and Charlemagne's conquest of Lombardy (754-774) can be told very briefly. It is in miniature what, from one aspect, Papal History will tend to be for the next thousand years. Aistulf, in 756, had pledged himself to restore what he himself had captured. The spoil of earlier wars, Bologna, for example, Osimo, was left untouched by the settlement of that year. Aistulf's death, and the appearance of rivals to dispute the succession, one of them seeking aid at Rome, seemed an obvious occasion for the pope to extend his territory (757). A treaty was signed; the pope did his part; the candidate he favoured succeeded; and he made over something, but only something, of the extensive restoration he had promised.

Pope Stephen had died before he learnt how the Lombard had deceived him. It was left to his successor, Paul, to avenge it. The negotiations now opened with Pepin were complicated by the fact that the pope had lately intervened to secure Pepin's patronage for the Dukes of Spoleto and Benevento, who were the Lombard king's subjects. Pepin was far from enthusiastic. He refused the pope's offer of the protectorate and he refused also to support the pope's plans of territorial expansion. Whereupon the Lombard king marched against his rebellious dukes, overcame them, and then turned to Rome. Pope Paul demanded the fulfilment of the promises made before his accession. The king promised a part, conditionally on the pope's securing from Pepin the return of the hostages taken in 754. Paul promised this and wrote to Pepin as the king desired. He also sent another letter, to explain that the first was mere formality. Would Pepin send an army and compel the Lombard to fulfil to the letter his first promises? Pepin sent, not an army, but two commissaries; the disputes were settled by a confirmation of existing arrangements, and the pope was advised to cultivate the friendship of the Lombard king.

This was all the more advisable in that the emperor, Constantine V, powerless to punish the pope directly for his share in the events that had made him politically free of the empire, master of Rome, and, what mattered more at Constantinople, of Ravenna too -- was now endeavouring to build up with the Lombard an anti-papal alliance. Nor was this the end of Byzantine diplomacy. It crossed the Alps and, on the basis of a common feeling in the matter of the devotional use of images, sought to draw Pepin, too, into an anti-papal combination. But Pepin refused; as he also refused to be moved, by the pope, from his friendly relations with the Lombards. So things remained for the rest of the pontificate of Paul r. He died in 767 (June 28) and his death was the occasion for the domestic dissensions in the new State to reveal themselves in all their vigour.

Paul I, thanks to Pepin, had enjoyed peace abroad; and, thanks to his own firm, not to say harsh, government, peace at home also. The dispossessed military aristocracy had in this pope a master whom they feared. The prisons were never empty; death sentences were by no means unknown; taxes were heavy. It only required the news of the pope's illness to set in motion a whole world of discontent. The nobles saw their chance to regain what they had lost. They did not propose to restore the emperor, nor dared they have planned to laicize the State. Pepin, St. Peter's protector, was still very much alive. It was simpler to force one of themselves upon the Church as Paul's successor. The leader in the conspiracy was the duke Toto, the pope-to-be was the duke's brother Constantine, a layman like himself. The conspirators first tried to make sure that the pope would not recover and then, foiled in this, called in their retainers. By the time the pope died (June 28) the nobles held the city. They found their way into the Lateran and there proclaimed Constantine, who, in the course of the next few days, received in rapid succession the tonsure, minor and major orders, and consecration as Bishop of Rome.

All had gone according to plan. The opposition was mute save for one man. This was the primicerius Christopher. He had been the power behind the throne in the late reign, and in the reign of Stephen too. He it was, apparently, who had planned and carried through the diplomatic strategy which had established the papal State. More recently, he had foiled Toto's attempt to hasten the death of Paul I; and, on Toto's army entering the city, he had brought that warrior to promise solemnly not to interfere with the election. Now he refused to acknowledge Toto's tool and realising himself to be marked for destruction -- one of his supporters, the duke Gregory, had already been murdered -- he soon fled, with his children, to St. Peter's. There he remained until Constantine promised to spare their lives. In return they pledged themselves to enter a monastery by Easter, 768, and until then to remain quiet. Easter came, they chose their monastery-at Rieti, in the duchy of Spoleto -- and were set free. But once safely across the frontier it was to the Lombard king that they made their way. He was only too happy to use the opportunity; and presently (July, 768) the exiles were at the gates of Rome with a Lombard army in support. Friends within opened the gates and, after two centuries of vain effort, the Lombards were at last in possession of the city of St. Gregory. In the fight Toto was slain, stabbed from behind, and Constantine fled, to be discovered skulking in a corner of the Lateran.

Christopher himself had not yet arrived. In his absence the Lombard priest, Wildepest, who led the expedition, held an election and proclaimed as pope an aged priest, Philip. The feast that crowned the election was barely over, and the elect not yet consecrated, when, that same day (July 1), Christopher returned. Philip's election was quashed, and he was taken to his monastery by the hero who had murdered Toto. The following day an election took place in the customary form, Christopher presiding. The choice of the assembly clergy, nobles and people -- fell upon Stephen, a priest of holy life who, from Christopher's point of view, had the further advantage that he was weak in character and utterly without experience of affairs. It only remained to punish, or to wreak vengeance on, the survivors of the election of 767 -- Constantine and his fellow-prisoners. Their eyes were poked out and they were thrust into prison, Constantine after a trial and sentence of deprivation. Along with these unfortunates, Wildepest, guilty of the election of Philip, was likewise blinded, and so roughly was the operation performed in his case that he died of it.

Pepin had died this same year (768) and it was to his successors, Charlemagne and Carloman, that Stephen III's envoys brought the news of the events which had resulted in his election. The envoys asked for a deputation of bishops to assist at a coming council where measures would be taken to guard against any repetition of the scandal of Constantine's election. Thirteen prelates were chosen, and at Easter, 769, the council opened in the Lateran. Constantine was cited, and the poor blind wretch, bidden defend himself, was treated with insults and blows and sentenced to life imprisonment in a monastery. The new pope and his electors then, on their knees, besought the pardon of the council for having during twelve months acknowledged Constantine as pope. Next, a witness to the growing barbarism of thought no less than of manners, all Constantine's ordinations were declared invalid -- a decree that went back on the teaching traditional at Rome since the beginning of things, and that repudiated the principle in whose name the pope of a bygone time had threatened to depose St. Cyprian. Finally it was enacted that, for the future, only cardinal-priests or cardinal-deacons should be eligible as candidates for the papacy, and that in the election none but clerics should take part. The laity's share was reduced to the opportunity of cheering the newly-elected pope and of signing the acta of the election in testimony of agreement.

Stephen III survived the council of 769 barely three years. He continued to rule as weakly as he had begun, and the only event of importance was the disgrace and the murder of the men who had made him pope, Christopher and his son Sergius. The pope, in fact, tired of his creators; and he found an ally in the Lombard king, offended mortally by Christopher's rejection in 768 of his candidate Philip, and by the. murder of Wildepest. In 771 the Lombard marched on Rome. It was Lent and he came on his soul's business. But Christopher filled the town with troops and locked the gates against him. The pope, however, went out to St. Peter's to meet the king, and Christopher and Sergius received orders to follow. Their supporters, seeing the tide begin to turn, forced them out and left them to the Lombards. They were dragged from the tomb of the Apostle and, at the bridge of St. Angelo, had their eyes torn out. Christopher died. Sergius, less lucky, survived for a year in the prisons of the Lateran and then, half strangled, was buried alive close by. Nor did the Lombard king keep his promises to the pope.

This tale of petty insurrection, treachery, outrage and murder is worth some detail in its recital, not only because it witnesses very graphically to the general advance of barbarism within Christianity since the days of St. Gregory and St. Leo, but because it marks the beginning of barbarism's conquest of their very see.

5. CHARLEMAGNE, 768-814

Stephen III's short reign (768-772) ran out in shame and ignominy. The very worst might have been anticipated of the election which followed his death. That election, however, had a far different result. It set on the throne one of the most capable popes the Church had known since St. Gregory the Great. This was Adrian I. By birth he came of the military aristocracy; by all his life and training he was a cleric; at the moment one of the seven deacons. He was experienced, capable, honest, and in this Roman there re-appeared all the native genius for government and administration. He was to rule for twenty-three years, a length of days not equalled for another thousand years. [ ] His first act was to enquire into the scandals which had disgraced the last years of his predecessor, and to mete out appropriate punishment to the guilty. Next he turned to the Lombard king who, with his vassal of Spoleto, was harrying the papal State as of old. Negotiations had little effect, and the new pope appealed yet once again to the Franks. Meanwhile the Lombards marched on Rome. The Franks followed their usual policy. They strove to reconcile the Lombards with the pope, to induce them to abandon their conquests -- but in vain; and in the early summer of 773, led by their new king, Charles, the Franks invaded the Lombard kingdom. The usual rout followed, but this time the Frankish victory was definitive. The Lombard king was despatched to France, where he remained to the end of his life; the King of the Franks was, henceforth, King of the Lombards too.

While the siege of the Lombard capital, Pavia, was still in progress Charles (Easter, 774) made a solemn visit to Rome. He was received with the honours traditionally used for the emperor's representative, and he renewed with Adrian the pact sworn twenty years before between his father and Stephen II. According to this agreement Spoleto, Benevento, Tuscany, Venetia, Istria and Corsica were also promised to the pope. Had it ever been carried out, the popes would have been rulers of the greater part of central and northern Italy; the Lombard kingdom would have shrunk to a mere province. Commachio, Ferrara, Faenza, and Bologna were indeed made over once Pavia had fallen, but before the magnificent promise had been further fulfilled Charlemagne's consciousness of his new role of King of the Lombards intervened. He turned a deaf ear now to the discreet papal reminders and when, in 780, he had his son, Pepin, consecrated by the pope as King of Italy, the act was a clear declaration that the Frankish kingdom of Lombardy would remain in extent pretty much what the Lombard kingdom had been. The prospect of territorial magnificence which had haunted the popes for thirty years was at an end. Occasional and important additions Charles did indeed make to the papal States, but from 780 the convention of 754 and 774 was a dead letter.

To the burden of this quite legitimate grievance, events soon added another, for Pope Adrian and his successors. This was the relation of their new State to the power which created it for them.

In the time of Pepin (754-768) the papal State had been certainly free from any Frankish interference, and of the title Patrician of the Romans, with which the grateful pope had decorated him, Pepin made no use at all. Nor did Charlemagne act differently until, after the victory of 774, he began to have permanent personal interests in Italy. Then, slowly, there began to gather round the distinction certain concrete attributes of lordship. The nobles whom, for one reason or another, the papal government deprived of rank or office, began to appeal against the pope to the Frankish king and, despite protests from Rome, the king listened to the appeals; occasionally he made recommendations thereupon to the pope. Adrian was a wise ruler, as tactful as he was strong, and in his time, for all that this new practice began slowly to establish itself, he so managed things that the papal independence did not suffer and that, on the other hand, the Frankish king remained a friend. Adrian died, however, in 795 and under his successor Leo III -- a very different type of personage indeed -- the difficulties began to show immediately.

It was a first innovation that the new pope officially notified the King of the Franks of his election, sending him, along with the keys of St. Peter's shrine, the standard of the city, and praying for a deputation of nobles to receive the Romans' oath of fidelity. Much had happened, evidently, since the last election twenty-three years before, to develop Charlemagne's importance in Roman affairs in the eyes of the Roman Church. Charles, too, has a share in the loyalty of the Romans, since they now swear an oath to him, and he has therefore a very definite -- if not well defined -- right of government. Pope and king, in some way, are together the rulers of Rome. And in his letters to the pope the king recommended him to lead a good life, to govern wisely, to put down abuses, to show himself a good pope and ruler.

Four years later (799) an attempted revolution in Rome showed how far Charles' overlordship was admitted in practice. Leo III, for good or bad, was as unpopular as Paul I had been thirty years earlier. He was not himself a noble, and it was from the family of his predecessor that the leaders of the trouble came. Trouble of a very grave kind was already preparing in 798, and it came to a head in an attempt to murder the pope on St. Mark's Day, 799. He was set upon as he made his way to the stational church for the litanies, beaten, his eyes half torn out and his tongue as well, and he was carried off to a monastery in one of the less frequented districts of the city. Thence he was rescued, and recovering, miraculously it is said, from his injuries, fled to the Frankish court. He found Charles at Paderborn and besought his protection.

From Paderborn towards the close of the year (November, 799) he returned, with a strong escort of nobles and bishops charged by the king to enquire into the business. The conspirators had no other resource than to try to turn the enquiry into a trial of the pope. The details of the proceedings are lost, but no definite findings were published and the matter dragged on until Charlemagne himself arrived in Rome a year later. On December 1, 800, there was a great assembly in St. Peter's. The king presided and spoke of his desire to end the scandal. Accusations had been made which no one could prove, and since the pope could not be tried he could not be acquitted. It was the dilemma of 501 all over again [ ] and Leo III took the same way out of it that Symmachus had chosen. He made a solemn declaration, on oath, that he was innocent, in a second assembly called for the purpose on December 23. It was perhaps hardly a satisfactory conclusion to the affair and the circumstances of the king's presence gave it quite possibly the appearance of being done at the bidding of the all powerful lord of the Western world. For that, by this time, Charles indeed was.

Two days later was Christmas Day, and as the king knelt before the shrine of the Apostle at mass, the pope placed a crown on his head while the choir acclaimed him emperor of the Romans. The deed had been done which was to haunt the imagination of the next five hundred years; the pope, so it came to be considered, had made the King of the Franks into the Roman Emperor. This it was -- whatever the realities which, in the mind of Leo III and Charlemagne, underlay that astonishing gesture -- which never left the popular imagination, the pope creating the new power and bestowing it upon the Frankish kings, the all powerful king kneeling before the pope to receive it. That Charles was not well pleased at the manner in which there came to him whatever the ceremony was meant to convey, that he had already had it in mind to acquire it through marriage with the Empress Irene-in whom, at the moment, the line of Augustus and Constantine and Justinian was represented -- may well be. What was done was done and, from the very lack of definition in the doing, it acquired all the more easily the name of being what it appeared to be. Two questions suggest themselves. Whom was it that the pope crowned, and what affect had the ceremony on the relations between the Frankish kings and the papal monarchy which, already, were developing so rapidly in the direction of patronage and subordination.

Charlemagne was the greatest figure the West had seen since Julius Caesar himself. He is of the line of Alexander and Napoleon, and the memory of what he was and what he achieved never faded from the memory of the Middle Ages, but remained to be always, in some respects, its most powerful inspiration. He was, to begin with, the mightiest warrior of his warlike family. He completed his father's work in Aquitaine; and, beyond the Pyrenees, after years of fighting, made himself master of Spain as far as the Ebro. In Italy, to his conquests of 774 he added those of the southernmost Lombard duchy of Benevento and for a time Venice and Dalmatia too acknowledged his suzerainty. His most permanent work was, however, in Germany. Bavaria now lost its semi-independent status, and after several failures he finally penetrated into the heart of Hungary, breaking the power of the Avars, a savage Hun-like people, nomads and plunderers, who for centuries had been the terror of their western neighbours. Finally, after thirty years of endless war, he mastered once and for all the Saxons, a trouble to the Franks since early Merovingian times. For thirteen years (772-785) the history of the eastern frontier is a monotonous alternation of Frankish conquest, with the establishment of churches and abbeys in its wake, and Saxon risings in which all the civilising work of Charlemagne goes up in flame while priests and monks are murdered. The Frank's revenge was as brutal as its provocation. On one occasion as many as four thousand Saxons were beheaded in a single execution while he looked on. In the end he was master, and within a generation the Saxons, dragooned into Catholicism, compelled by force to receive baptism, were a Catholic people. When Charlemagne died, in 814, the whole of Western Europe that was Christian was again united under a single ruler, save for the British Isles and the remnants of Byzantine Italy.

This vast domain was not a mere congeries of widely differing peoples. Charlemagne was not the mere brutal soldier Charles Martel had been. He was a political idealist, and his empire was an ordered attempt to realise his ideals. He was educated, and his personal enthusiasm for learning never slackened throughout his long life. One of his favourite books was St. Augustine's De Civitate Dei, and the State Charlemagne created was a very real attempt to organise the City of God on earth. For the first time in its history the Church had found a political genius wholly devoted to the task of realising the ideals of the Gospel. The State was to be the means of gaining the world for Christ, Charlemagne the immediate successor of St. Boniface. Never before, and certainly never since, has Catholicism been so identified with a political regime, and this not in order to serve the political ends of the regime but to be its inspiration and to direct it. It is hardly an exaggeration to say that Charlemagne, in the last thirty years of his life, is the Catholic Church. He is the one human being on whose energy and good-will and loyalty the well-being of all depends.

In 779 he reorganised the hierarchy and, reversing his father's policy, adopted the system of metropolitans planned years before by St. Boniface -- a conversion to ecclesiastical tradition due to Pope Adrian's gift of the collection of canons made by Denis the Short. The ancient sees were restored; and upon Mainz, and Salzburg, too, the pope now conferred metropolitan rights. The boundaries of the sees were strictly defined, and all monasteries subjected to the local bishop. At every turn the civil law came to the bishop's assistance, strengthening his hand for the correction of evildoers, whether clerics who lived unseemly lives or hunted, or laity who ignored say, the laws of fasting or who neglected to receive the sacraments. The same law, however, admonished and corrected the bishop, also; and it was the king, source of the law, who continued to name, absolutely, bishops and metropolitans alike. For all that the State was at the service of the Gospel, the ministers of the Gospel were by no means independent in their mission. The ideal of St. Amhrose [ ] was, even now, only partly realised. The decisions of synods and ecclesiastical councils had indeed the force of law, but the emperor too, when he chose, would legislate in ecclesiastical matters. Fortunately, from the point of view of the entente between Charles and the two popes with whom he had to deal (Adrian I and Leo III) the ecclesiastical affairs of his day were almost entirely matters of administration. How Catholicism would have fared had some great dispute on doctrine flared, and had Charles determined to decide it in the fashion traditional at Constantinople, is matter for speculation, but no more. For centuries before his time, in all the lands he now governed, the different kings had laid hands on ecclesiastical jurisdiction and the protests of the Church had gone unheeded. Much might be forgiven to Charlemagne, continuing the practice, since Charlemagne's ideals were those of the best of bishops and since -- despite occasional bad failures in his own life -- he was so whole-hearted in his loyalty to his ideals.

The clergy now played a greater part than ever before in the civil life of the empire. They provided all the chief officials of the highly organised civil service and the imperial diplomacy. These clerical ministers and officials were by no means always priests, though benefices were liberally showered on them, nor were they necessarily clerical in their way of life. Thus one of the king's chief ministers, Angilbert, was the Abbot of St. Riquier. He did much for the abbey, extending its buildings, enriching its library. He was one of the band of the court's literary men, as celebrated for his poems as for his success in the diplomatic missions on which the emperor employed him. He was also the lover of Charles' daughter Bertha and had two children by her. But this made no difference to his position, nor even to his relations with the emperor, who knew all. So firmly rooted, still, were the abuses to combat which St. Boniface and St. Columbanus had given their lives. Charlemagne's own private life presented an equally grotesque combination, with its tangle of wives that needs skill to unravel, to say nothing of ladies who were not even nominally wives.

Away from the court, there were, in all the chief towns of the empire, the local bishops. The civil law obliged them to live in their sees, to make regular visitations of the diocese, to hold annual synods. The bishop was obliged by law to see that all his clergy could explain the Pater Noster and the Creed, that they were conversant with the prescriptions of ecclesiastical law and the penitential codes, that they could administer the sacraments and preach. Preaching above all was, for Charlemagne, the most important duty of the priest, and his laws and admonitions to the bishops return to this subject time and again. To assist the priest whose own ability in this respect was small, Paul the Deacon, at the emperor's own command, compiled a book of sermons drawn from St. Augustine, St. Caesarius of Arles, St. Gregory and St. Bede, while St. Gregory's Regula Pastoralis was extensively circulated to serve as a general guide for the tasks of bishops and parochial clergy alike.

A further evidence of the emperor's concern for the promotion of virtue and learning in the clergy charged with the cure of souls, was his encouragement of the new way of life instituted by the Bishop of Metz, St. Chrodegang (767), one of the disciples of St. Boniface. St. Chrodegang had been, in his time, a high official of Charles Martel's chancery. As Bishop of Metz he had, later, been one of Pepin's envoys in the famous embassy of 754 to Pope Stephen II, through whose good offices he had, on the martyrdom of St. Boniface, succeeded to that saint's effectual primacy in Germany. He was one of the pioneers of liturgical reforms, introducing the Roman rite and the Cantilena Romana which later ages called the Gregorian Chant. But his most striking innovation was the establishment of the custom that, in the larger churches, which were served by a number of priests, the clergy should live a life in common under a rule. They gave up their private property, but retained the use of it personally. They kept also their hierarchical rank, priest, deacon, minor cleric. They assisted as a body at the daily church offices, were bound to receive Holy Communion on Sundays and feasts, to confess their sins twice annually. The rule made provision for systematic study, and it provided for a public correction of faults. the association took in all that vast personnel of clerics who made up the household of the Carolingian bishop, and also the boys and youths who were destined for the ecclesiastical state. It provided for grammar schools, seminary and chapter. Such an institution could not but appeal to Charlemagne, and he did much to encourage other bishops to adopt it.

For monks as monks the emperor had less favour. What monks there were, he strove to unite into a single system and one of his laws imposes the Benedictine rule on all monasteries, the emperor, with characteristic care, sending in 787 to Monte Cassino for an authentic copy of the rule.

It was piety informed by doctrine that was the quality dearest to Charlemagne's heart in ecclesiastics; the emperor, inevitably, once more the patron and protector of the clergy who were its agents. From the beginning of his reign he realised the degree to which Frankish Gaul was intellectually barbarous, and setting himself to attract the best minds of the day to the work of educating his clergy he turned to the country whence St. Boniface had come. One of St. Bede's pupils, Egbert, promoted to be Archbishop of York, had founded there the school which, at the time of Charlemagne's accession, was the intellectual centre of Europe. It was Egbert's pupil Alcuin, head of the school of York and the greatest scholar of his time, whom Charlemagne now persuaded to settle in Gaul. From Italy he brought Peter of Pisa and Paul Warnefrid, the historian of the Lombards. Spain was represented by Theodulf, whom Charles made Bishop of Orleans, a poet whose memory has outlasted much else if only because of the place of one of his hymns, Gloria laus et honor, in the liturgy of Holy Week.

The first of the schools through which these carefully gathered men of letters worked upon the new Christendom, was the imperial court itself. Set lectures, conversation classes, intellectual games in which Charlemagne's own determined enthusiasm led unflaggingly, were some of the means. And wherever the emperor went, there, too, went the imperial school. Moreover, each see, each monastery, each parish was commanded to have its school. Of the monastic schools Tours, where Alcuin himself was abbot, was the greatest. It developed into a kind of training school, whence teachers went out to revive the intellectual life of other abbeys and sees. Fulda too, the foundation of St. Boniface, bore testimony in its new intellectual strength to the scholarship which was its own founder's first title to recognition, and to the zeal for learning which he never lost and which the continual stream of missionary monks from England kept continuously alive in the heart of Germany. From Fulda came the leading intellectuals of the first quarter of the ninth century, Eginhard who was Charlemagne's biographer, Walafrid Strabo, and Rabanus Maurus.

Charles, as part of his great scheme of Christian restoration, gave force of law to all the reforms which St. Boniface had so desiderated. He showed himself equally the heir of the saint in his zeal to capture for the Gospel the still heathen tribes of the north and east. Under his patronage, protected by his power, the work of the mission went steadily forward. The Slavs then settled in central Germany, the Frisians at whose hands St. Boniface had met his death, the Saxons as far as the Elbe, the Slavs of Carinthia, and even the Avars, turn by turn submitted, often to the none too happy combination of Frankish political necessity and the disinterested zeal of the children of St. Boniface. By the time Charlemagne died, the frontier of the advance of Catholicism lay many miles ahead of the political frontier of his empire.

Against this policy which made loyalty to the empire and to Catholicism one thing, with its practical sequel of forcible baptism, all that was best in the life of the time protested. The Patriarch of Aquileia was able to induce the emperor's eldest son Pepin, the King of Italy, to put no compulsion of this sort upon the Avars whom he had recently conquered (796). They were, in the mass, ready to embrace Catholicism, and from the Danube to the Adriatic a vast campaign of instruction now opened in preparation for their baptism. Alcuin lent all his prestige to second the efforts of these frontier bishops in the delicate task of preserving the purity of faith from the taint of political policy. Tithes, he had heard, were destroying the faith of the Saxons. A bishop should not be chiefly famous for his severity in exacting such dues. And though baptism might be forcibly performed on the unwilling, faith was another matter. Such gifts of God came through prayer. Nor should the rigour of the Church's penitential code be applied to the letter, in the case of newly-converted peoples.

In what measure the spirit of Alcuin and Paulinus of Aquileia prevailed, in general, over the barbarian ruthlessness of Charles it is not possible to say. The incidents serve to illustrate, yet once again, the mortal danger to the Faith whenever zeal for its propaganda is inspired by any spirit less pure than that of the Faith itself. It was not the only way in which the magnificent protectorship of Charles, and the incredible scale of his success, threatened the life of the Church. Like his grandfather before him, he treated all Church property as his own. The abbeys, which the policy of St. Boniface had tended to save from the terrible episcopate of his day by exempting them from the jurisdiction of the local bishop, Charlemagne riveted to that jurisdiction more closely than ever. Again, like his grandfather, he used abbatial nominations -- for the custom that the monks elected their abbot had disappeared entirely -- to reward faithful service to the State. Abbeys were given to clerics who were not monks, and even to laymen. The abbot -- and the bishop too -- had to bear his share of the imperial burden. St. Boniface had fought against the abuse that clerics bore arms. Now the emperor ordained the use of arms as a duty. In time of war the abbot or bishop was to join the army at the head of the fully equipped troop that was his quota to the forces. The abbeys of Charlemagne's time were no longer merely convents of monks, whose lives were given over to prayer and mortification. They were the great centres of national life, functioning in the social organism as the cities had functioned in the Roman Empire. Prayer there was undoubtedly, and much means of sanctification, but around the abbey, attracted thither by the abbey, was all the life of the immense domain which depended, ultimately, upon the monks for the intelligent direction which had first created its economic life and which, alone, maintained it in being. That in the abbey, by the side of church, school, farm, workshops and market, courts and prison there was also now the barracks, was a new development in no wise revolutionary.

Christendom and the Carolingian state were for a century practically coterminous, and for half of that time the Carolingian state was Charlemagne. Over the whole vast edifice he presided, as a tradition after his death, but in his life, as a very concrete reality, appointing the innumerable counts and bishops who were the permanent local agents of his policies and the missi who periodically issued forth from the centre of government to inspect the working of the machine and to correct abuses. He was in many respects the greatest political force the Church had yet possessed. As his resources were so much less than those of the three great Christian emperors who preceded him -- Constantine, Theodosius and Justinian -- so does his use of them deservedly set him higher. He was an immediate social force of a magnitude they never equalled; and this by reason of his Catholicism and of his close unity with the popes, whom he dwarfed in every respect, who were very much his subjects, and yet to whose spiritual hegemony he was, in a matter-of-course way, always subordinate. How great his achievement -- in the matter of the extension and development of Catholicism, for example -- can readily be seen if the state of Catholicism, as he left it behind him at death, be compared with its state a hundred years earlier, at the accession of his grandfather, Charles Martel. Of that great restoration Charlemagne was not the principal agent. St. Boniface, and the multitude of disinterested monastic apostles whom he inspired and led, the Roman popes to whom at every turn St. Boniface looked, and not in vain, for guidance and support, hold here an unshakable primacy. Yet had it not been for Charlemagne, all that great work would never have survived to bear even its first fruits. The immense machine he set up was, however, for all its maker's sincerity, inspired by a spirit that had in it too little of St. Boniface, too little of the Gospel. Its successful working called, also, for a Charlemagne simultaneously present throughout its vast whole, and he strove to achieve this through his legates, the missi. Its permanence called for a succession of Charlemagne's through time -- and this, fortunately for the religion of the Church, no man could secure. Fortunately: for, with the creation in the West of yet such another system as that which, for now some centuries, had been slowly choking Catholicism to death in the Roman empire of the East, the ultimate fate of the Church must have been worse than even the terrible things which the next century held in store.



CHARLEMAGNE'S mighty administrative achievement was fated soon to perish. It could indeed hardly have been otherwise. In the very heart of the empire he established, forces violently hostile to the new political unity wrestled from the beginning. The social change by which the great landowners attracted to themselves the domains of their smaller neighbours, and with the domains their service and loyalty; the political change which, next, made these great men the lords of their dependants, and the system by which the domains of these lords were exempted from the authority Or the king's officers; -- all these had continued to develop through the fifty years of Charlemagne's reign. They were now developed deliberately and systematically, as the natural and traditional way of government. The care and the expense of government was transferred from the central authority, king or emperor, to the local lord. The day was fast approaching when the king would have no subjects directly obedient to him but the handful of great men -- counts, bishops, abbots -- and in that day all would depend on the power of the king to compel these great men to obey.

Another tradition that lived on through Charlemagne's great reign was the idea of the kingdom as the king's personal possession something to be divided and bequeathed like any other estate. Charlemagne so divided the empire among his sons in 806; Louis the Pious, his surviving son and successor, did the same in 817, in 829 and in 835. From all these partitions flowed a series of hitter family feuds and civil wars.

The empire was artificial in another respect. Its peoples were too varied and too different and, as yet, too little catholicised-despite the conversions and the work of the missionary monks -- to form a real unity. It is too early perhaps to speak of French and Germans and Italians, but the ancestors of these modern nations were, in Charlemagne's time, by no means a single united people. The empire was a mosaic of a thousand motley pieces. One thing alone kept it together -- the genius of the first emperor.

The really violent troubles began in 829, when Louis the Pious, in order to give the son of his second marriage -- Charles, afterwards called the Bald -- a share in the empire, revised the partition of 817. There followed ten years of civil war. The sons of the first marriage revolted, and were crushed. They revolted a second time and, the great churchmen assisting them, who stood by the old unitary traditions of their master Charlemagne, Louis was defeated and forced to resign. A little later he came back; there were new partitions, new wars; and finally, in 840, he died, leaving the imperial title to his eldest son and the empire divided among all three.

The fighting still went on, this time between the brothers -- the new emperor, Lothair, showing himself weaker even than his father. Finally, in 843, the unity of the empire was once and for all definitely broken by the treaty of Verdun. One brother took the west -- roughly France; another the German lands east of the Rhine; and Lothair took Italy and the middle lands between France and Germany, from the North Sea to the Alps, called henceforth, from his name, Lotharingia (Lorraine). Twelve years later (855) Lothair died, prematurely; and Lotharingia was itself divided to make kingdoms for his three sons. By 870 two of these had died, and though the eldest brother, Louis II, managed to retain, with the title of emperor, the kingdom of Italy, the greater part of the lands of his brothers was seized by his uncles, the two surviving sons of Louis the Pious -- Louis the German and Charles the Bald. The Treaty of Mersen, made in that year between these three princes, marks the beginning of France and Germany as separate and consciously different kingdoms.

The main feature of the history of Charlemagne's family in the twenty years following this important treaty (870-888) is the rapid disappearance of all its leading members. By 885 three only were left of all the army of Carolingian princes: Charles the Fat (a son of Louis the German), Charles the Simple (a grandson of the same prince), and Arnulf, a third grandson who, but for his own illegitimacy should have been the heir, since he was the son of the eldest son, Carloman. When Charles the Fat died in 888, Charles the Simple was little more than a baby and chaos complete and entire descended on what remained of Charlemagne's tradition. It was just seventy-four years since his death.

During these seventy-four years the frontier wars which the Franks had waged for centuries went on unceasingly: with the Slavs, in furthest Germany, with the Avars and, in southern Gaul, with the Mohammedans from Spain. And this century of political dislocation brought with it new enemies, more ferocious and destructive than any western Europe had known since the Vandals. these were the pirates from the fiords of Norway and from Denmark. It was in the last years of Charlemagne's reign that the flotillas of their long, light boats, drawing little water. easily able to sail up the rivers, began to harry the coasts of the empire. The hope of plunder, animal lust, and elementary bloodthirstiness seem to have chiefly inspired these first descents. The Northmen were also savagely anti-Christian, the monasteries and churches the especial objects of their ferocity. In 793 they sacked Lindisfarne, and in 795 made their first raids on Ireland. Gradually their policy changed. They began to winter in fortified camps, off the coasts where they operated, or on islands in the rivers. Soon no river from the Elbe to the Guadalquivir was safe from these pests. England was especially their prey. They took possession of Sheppey in 835, they made themselves masters of East Anglia, destroying monasteries and massacring the monks. Amongst others they put to death for the faith was the King of East Anglia, St. Edmund. They next turned to Wessex, and they ravaged Mercia, and finally, by the Treaty of Wedmore (878), Alfred, the greatest of the English kings, was compelled to recognise them as the rulers of all the north and east of the island.

In the empire of the Franks the Northmen established three great centres: on the Scheldt, the Seine and the Loire. Antwerp, Utrecht, Tongres, Cologne, Mainz, Metz and even Aix itself, the capital, felt their power until, after fifty years of this reign of terror, Arnulf, the last fighting man of Charlemagne's family, destroyed their camp at Louvain in the great battle of 891. Just five years before this, the pirates of the Seine had met their great check at Paris, the siege of which they had been forced to abandon after a stubborn twelve months of fighting. The emperor essayed to buy them off with money and an annual tribute, but vainly. As in Germany, town after town fell to them. The west of France suffered even more than the north. From their settlements at the mouth of the Loire, Nantes, Blois, Bordeaux, Toulouse, and as far as Tarbes, were burnt out time and again, the countrysides ravaged, and monasteries sacked until the country was little more than a desert. In Spain they had less success, thanks to the military organisation both of the tiny Catholic kingdoms and of the Arab States. But they penetrated and vexed the Mediterranean even as far as Pisa and Lucca.

A century of such savage destruction, added to the desolation of civil war and the absence of organised government, was enough to reduce Charlemagne's reign of order to a chaos such as Europe had never before known. Christendom was fast becoming a waste with, here and there, little islets where a handful of scared and terrified survivors strove to maintain the tradition of ordered life.

There remains to be noted yet a second external scourge which, in this same century, menaced the existence of what had once been the Roman Empire and was again to he European civilisation. This was the maritime empire of the Mohammedans of Africa. Here, towards the end of Charlemagne's reign, the internal rivalries which, for half a century, had occupied all the fierce energy of the State, yielded before the family of the Aghlabites. Soon the new order was visible in the appearance of a fleet, the conquest of Sicily and an endless harrying of the coasts of Italy and southern Gaul. Like the northern invaders, the Saracens made settlements and even, through their occupation of the passes of the Alps, they for years made communication between Italy and France a matter of the greatest difficulty and peril.

The century that followed Charlemagne's death was thus a century in which his empire -- Latin Catholicism -- was continuously besieged, and, under the stress of the siege, was steadily broken and wasted.


For the first thirty years or so of the period, Carolingian Catholicism continued to advance: the reform of Catholic life, the activity of the missionaries, and the fundamentally important work of intellectual revival. Louis the Pious did not share his father's failure to understand the real importance of monasticism. For him the monasteries were not merely centres of civilisation and intellectual life: they were primarily settlements of monks, sanctuaries wherein the primitive ideals of the Gospel, the perfect following of Jesus Christ, the life of prayer, were cherished and the best of opportunity provided for their realisation. Louis was the friend as well as the patron of St. Benedict of Aniane, and seconded the efforts of that great monastic reformer, as also those of his successors Arnulf of Marmoutiers and Jonas of Orleans. An imperial decree of 817 made the rule of St. Benedict obligatory on all monasteries, and laid especial emphasis on the necessity of manual labour and ascetic practices. In the same year the emperor issued, also, a rule for the canons regular and one for the nuns.

Alcuin's work for liturgical uniformity was continued by his pupil Amalric, Bishop of Treves (811-850). It is from his antiphonary, and the treatises which he wrote to explain and defend it -- a combination of the Roman antiphonary and that of the church of Metz -- that the modern Roman rite largely derives. In the countrysides, the movement to establish parishes independent of those in the towns continued to make headway and, despite inevitable opposition, the movement to free these parishes from the power of the local lord. On the other hand the king, more than ever, kept the nomination of bishops in his own hands. and, for all his patronage of the monastic life, he continued, as the needs of policy dictated, to make over the abbeys to laymen.

Nor did the missionary movement die with Charlemagne. Ebbo, Archbishop of Rheims, and foster brother of Louis the Pious, turned from his labours for the State to initiate the conversion of Denmark (822), whose king he baptised in 826. But the great name here is that of yet another Benedictine, Ansgar, a monk of Corbie. He was scarcely twenty-five when he went north to take up Ebbo's work and for nearly seventy years he spent himself to do for Denmark and the north of Germany what Boniface had done for the centre, and the Irish monks for the south. Like St. Boniface he was the pope's legate; and in Hamburg he created a second Fulda, cathedral, monastery, library and school. The apostolate in Sweden was at the same time given to Ebbo's nephew, Gauzbert.

The intellectual life of this second generation of Carolingian Catholicism, the fruits of Alcuin's genius, was richer and more striking than that of the first. One of its leaders was the most famous of all Alcuin's pupils, Rabanus Maurus, Abbot of Fulda in 822 and Archbishop of Mainz from 847: no original thinker certainly, but a trained mind and a lover of learning of the type of Isidore of Seville, concerned to re-edit for his own generation, and to save for the future lest it should perish, the thought of the Christian past. He wrote Manuals of Grammar and Philosophy, commentaries on Holy Scripture, on the Canon Law, controversial writings on Predestination against Gottschalk, and an encyclopaedia that left no knowledge unexplored. As Abbot of Fulda, Rabanus Maurus formed Walafrid Strabo, the poet of the century and yet another commentator on Holy Scripture; and he formed Gottschalk too. Fulda, in his time, was the greatest of all the schools of the continent. Elsewhere, too, the work went on: lectures on the Bible, St. Augustine, Boethius, discussions of the old questions of Grace and Free Will, of the Infinite and the Finite, the existence and nature of Universals.

In the political struggles which filled this unhappy century, churchmen had as prominent a place as they had occupied in the routine administration of the previous generation. Agobard, Archbishop of Lyons, and Ebbo of Rheims were the chiefs of the party that fought against the partition policy of Louis the Pious. When this finally triumphed, the bishops again worked strongly to set up, in place of the now destroyed unity of the single emperor, a system of permanent alliances based on the Gospel principles of brotherly love. They were successful up to a point. The kings solemnly swore to keep inviolate the rights of charity and brotherhood, and their fraternal pacts were ratified as such by the assemblies of the notables. From the royal alliances. thus inspired by the teaching of the Gospel, the peace of Christ would descend to nobles and people alike. The City of God on earth seemed a long step nearer to realisation. St. Augustine, the new age's greatest prophet, had come into his own.

The idea, and these practical policies that enshrined it, provoked a new interest in the morality of politics, and produced a whole new literature -- the De Institutione Regia of Jonas of Orleans, the Via Regia of Smaragdus, the De Rectoribus Christianis of Sedulius Scottus and, above all, the De Regis Persona of Hincmar, Ebbo's successor at Rheims after 845. Not since the days of St. Ambrose had the claim for the Church's moral supremacy in life been so insistently set forth, and never, even then, had the practical conclusions of the doctrine been proclaimed more bluntly. Political duties are moral duties; kings are as much bound to keep the moral law in their public life as ordinary men in their private lives; the Church is the divinely appointed guardian of morality, and thereby the chief power in the State. "Bishops, " said Hincmar, "are the equals of kings. More, they are superior to the king since it is they who consecrate him. As it is their privilege to anoint him, so it is their right to depose him. " So far had theory travelled since the introduction into Gaul, a hundred and twenty years earlier, of the practice of consecrating the ruler. In the Christendom of Charlemagne's successor, where Church and State continued to be one, the roles were now apparently to be reversed. The king might name the bishops, but they were to be the judges of his activities. The same ideas, but expressed with far greater force and related to the most powerful tradition in Christendom, are to be seen at work in the activities of the greatest of the contemporary popes, St. Nicholas I (858-867).

With the papacy of Nicholas I there reappears the explicit assertion of the Roman See's primitive claim to a universal primacy of jurisdiction over the Church as the consequence of Our Lord's promise to St. Peter. Thence derives Rome's unique power of summoning synods and of giving life and real value to their acts. The pope is the supreme judge of all ecclesiastical suits and the only judge in such greater causes as those to which a temporal sovereign is a party or those that concern the deposition of a bishop. In this last matter Nicholas I develops the earlier practice, according to which the popes, while reserving to themselves decisions that touched patriarchs, primates and metropolitans, left the deposition of bishops to their immediate superiors. A bishop may still be deposed by the provincial council, but the pope is insistent that the council's decision, to be effective, must have his confirmation. Not on appeal alone, does the pope show himself the immediate superior of the local episcopate.

This restorer of the idea of the papal monarchy within the Church faced 110 less boldly the great contemporary difficulty of the relations of the Church with its defender: the consecrated, Church-created empire. In the fifty years that followed Charlemagne's death the Church slowly but steadily reacted against his implied relegation of the bishops -- and the pope -- to the sanctuary. The conception that the cleric s sole clerical duty was prayer and study, while the emperor would take on himself the actual management and direction of Church affairs, was increasingly challenged. In this reaction the local episcopate led the way. It was not until Nicholas I that the papacy began to dominate the reaction. Church and State for this pope are definitely not one thing, and he urges this insistently, against the ideas implicit in the actions of Carolingians in the west and of the Byzantine emperor in the east. In its own domain each of these powers is sovereign. The State, therefore, must not interfere in Church matters. It is, however, the State's duty to assist the Church -- a principle which in a few centuries will be developed as far as the theory that the State is an instrument in the Church's hands for the realisation of the Christian ideal. Nicholas I, however, does not go so far. Nevertheless, quoting frequently the forty-fourth psalm, "Thou hast set them princes over all the earth, " he is conscious of the pope's duty to correct even kings should they break God's law. They, too, are subject to the penalty that shuts them out of the divine society. But while excommunication remains for princes, too, a possible ultimate sanction, it is not an excommunication to which any temporal consequences are attached; there is no hint that the pope may, or must, depose the excommunicated prince; and, of course, none at all of the later idea of a holy war to drive him forth.

The question has been raised as to the sources of Nicholas I's doctrine and as to his own share in its formulation. The main ideas are, of course, not his own at all. They are the traditional policy of the Roman See and he could find the classic texts that express it in the collection of canons of Denis the Short, [ ] the decretals, that is to say, of the popes of the fourth and fifth centuries and the canons of the earlier councils. He had, too, in the well-stocked armoury of the archives of his see the letters of later popes, among which the decisions of Pelagius I (556-561) and St. Gregory the Great had a special importance. Was the contemporary collection which we call the False Decretals, among the sources Nicholas I employed? The question has, apparently, never been settled absolutely. M. Fournier speaks of "un certain parfum isidorien" as discernible in his writings after 865. At the most these fabrications did no more than give new support to ideas already traditional and formed from other sources. No one, certainly, will ever again accuse the great pope of being, through his possible use of them, " a conscious liar. " The material was not, then, of the pope's own creation. But he so used it to meet the particular problem of the day, and he restated it in forms so precise and so useable that, through his letters, something of his personality passed into all the collections and thereby did much to form the mind of all the later Middle Ages.

There is a further aspect of the Carolingian attempt to restore the institutions of civilised government which must be noticed, namely the desire of the scholars who were the agents of Charlemagne and his son to relate their work to something more enduring than expediency, than the necessity of the moment or the convenience of the prince. The ultimate object of all their endeavours was the restoration of the rule of Law, and their first task, here, was to rediscover the Law. This was especially true of the movement to reform the Church, its clerics and laity alike. In the enthusiasm of these eighth- and ninth-century reformers, and in their desire to strengthen their case by the adducing of the best authority, are to be found the beginnings of the new science of ecclesiastical jurisprudence. These clerics are the ancestors of the systematised Canon Law of the later Middle Ages.

By the time of Charlemagne's accession (768) the confusion in the minds of ecclesiastics as to the detailed rights deriving from, what all accepted, the Church's universal commission to save men's souls, was complete and entire. Three hundred and fifty years of continuous war and civil disturbance -- of a general breakdown of civilisation in fact -- had done their work. To the question what powers did the Church claim to possess according to the canons, or what powers had the Church exercised in the past, no one, anywhere, could give a satisfactory reply.

Nearly three hundred years earlier, by the end of the fifth century, that is to say, in the time of Pope Gelasius I (492-496), there had been formed a carefully noted collection of all the canons of the councils so far, and of the decrees of the different popes deciding cases and enunciating thereby the principles by which future cases would be decided. Then came the complete break up of the old political unity. For the next two hundred and fifty years, Spain and Gaul went their own way. In Gaul this patrimony of the law was scattered, and in great part lost to sight. In Spain, on the other hand, where alone in these outlying lands the centralisation of the hierarchy round a single primatial see -- Toledo-survived, the collection continued to grow through the seventh century. But by 720 Spain, as an effective influence in Christendom, was dead, thanks to the Mohammedans; and Africa, the first real home of the collection of the canons, had, from the same cause, ceased to matter. The Church in Gaul was entering upon the most chaotic period of its history, and to the confusion from internal causes there was now added -- in this matter of the difficulty of knowing what was the Church's authentic tradition of law -- a new confusion from outside. This was the introduction into Gaul, through the monk-missionaries from Ireland and England, of the innumerable Penitentials -- privately compiled lists of offences and sins with arbitrarily decreed penances assigned to each.

Again, from the time of St. Boniface the movement had never flagged that aimed at a complete renovation of the discipline of Christian life, in both clergy and laity, a renovation based on a reorganisation of the hierarchy; from 742 councils began to be held once more, and frequently: whence innumerable new canons of discipline and, thanks to the caesaro-papism of the Frankish kings, innumerable royal capitularies to supplement them.

The confusion of laws was thus, ultimately, greater than ever. The idea still, however, persisted that the new laws were but attempts to restore the ancient discipline -- as the one means to restore the ancient world-unity -- and, in the minds of those who made these new laws, more important by far was the old law which lay preserved in some of the ancient collections. In these it was realised, lay salvation from the chaos. The practical problem was to decide which of the several collections of the old law was to be taken as official.

It was under these circumstances that Charlemagne asked for, and received from, Pope Adrian I (772-795) the official collection used by the Roman Church itself. The book sent to Charlemagne -- which we call the Hadriana -- was made up of an early Roman collection, as arranged by Denis the Short for Pope Hormisdas (514-523), and the texts of the later African collection. It now spread rapidly through the empire, its prestige easily outdistancing that which any other collection could claim. The reformers had in it a code and precedents that put all lesser codes out of court. The Penitentials, for example, began to be condemned in one council after another. As the ninth century went by, the influence of the Hadriana, in conjunction and combination with the Spanish collection (the Hispana), grew steadily. But although much of the old confusion was thereby lessened, this ancient law was not sufficient to serve as a basis for the correction of later-day wrongs, nor to defend the Church against the new kinds of abuses which. in ninth-century Gaul, threatened its very nature. Particularly was the old law deficient in means to stem the development by which the Church's property was gradually passing into lay hands. Charles Martel, in the eighth century, had looted the Church to finance the State; his grandson, Charlemagne, in the ninth, had turned the abuse into a legalised form of government. Deriving from the scandals was a wholesale anarchy in nomination to abbeys and sees that was still more shocking. The most pressing problem, for the reformers of the time of Charlemagne's own grandchildren (for example Charles the Bald, 840-877), was how to defend the Church from the new danger of legalised secularisation.

In the first place the bishops protested, and as their motives were open to the imputation that they sought their own aggrandisement, they turned for support to the impersonal argument of Sacred Scripture. To the new growing law of the State the Church must, ultimately, oppose its own older law -- the law that must exist, since the Church's claim was just and, in this matter, the State a usurper. The law must be fully stated; it must not be mere generality but deal with particular cases; most important of all it must possess a prestige greater than anything that the Carolingian State and the Church in Gaul could create; to serve its purpose it must be Roman, decrees of the ancient popes dealing with these very abuses in times gone by and expressing in legal form the Church's rights and claims.

Here we approach a most extraordinary happening -- extraordinary to us, but hardly so, to such a degree, in a time which had other literary habits. The collection desiderated by the Carolingian reformers did not exist. Whereupon some of them deliberately created it; they composed, that is to say, of set purpose -- probably in the diocese of Le Mans, about the year 850, and for the defence of the rights of that see -- a whole body of law, assigning each decree to a particular council or pope, going as far back as the second century in their desire to heighten the prestige of what they produced. These are the famous False Decretals, once -- when all that was known about them was that they were forgeries -- a powerful weapon in the quiver of the anti-Roman controversialist.

They served their purpose sufficiently for knowledge of them to spread. In an age that was enthusiastic for whatever bore the mark of the ancient Roman unity -- an age that knew not the science of criticism -- they were accepted for what they professed to be. Gradually they came into use at Rome too, and by the middle of the eleventh century were accepted there in their entirety.

The real importance of the False Decretals is the new detail they bring in support of the already existing acceptance of the Roman Primacy. They were devised to help Le Mans, and the best way in which Le Mans could be helped was by the invocation of Rome -- magni nominis umbra. The invention, of its own nature, turned ultimately to help Rome. It showed the Roman primacy in function in numerous detailed ways and it expressed the rights of the primacy so functioning in apt legal formulae; it undoubtedly assisted the development of systematic routine appeals to Rome in cases that involved the bishops; it developed a new system in which the importance of the metropolitan declined; it assisted the extension of the Church's privilege to try delinquent clerics in her own courts; and it did very much indeed to secure recognition of the sacred character of ecclesiastical property.

On the other hand, the general effect of the acceptance of the False Decretals, the effect of them as an agent to resolve the existing confusion of the law, was slight. The differences continued: differences between the cited authorities, differences between the books which inspired the reformers in different parts of the empire. As the ninth century drew to its close the Carolingian empire disappeared, and in the dreadful anarchy that ensued, the chances of the effective functioning of a central authority in the Church seemed as hopeless as the chances of the imperial authority itself. With the eleventh century the work of restoration had to begin yet once again.

But this work of preserving the existing knowledge, the careful encyclopaedic surveys of Rabanus Maurus, the bold revival of St. Ambrose in Hincmar and St. Nicholas I, by no means exhaust the intellectual life of this renaissance doomed to disappear so soon. In the second half of the century, the years that saw the Northmen established on every frontier of the empire, and even in his own native country, there appeared in Gaul an Irishman of genius, the greatest speculative mind since Boethius three hundred years before. This was John Scotus Erigena.

Erigena's learning was in its origin not Carolingian but Irish. [ ] Of his early life we know nothing. He makes his first appearance at the court of Charles the Bald in 847, and for thirty years he is the chief figure of this last generation of Carolingian culture. Then, after 877, history loses all trace of him. He had the advantage over all his contemporaries of a superior understanding of Greek, and he was the Catholic West's one really constructive mind between Boethius and St. Anselm. His influence on the first development of medieval philosophy was very great indeed.

It is not hard to trace the intellectual pedigree of this Irish thinker: the two most philosophical of all the fathers, St. Augustine and St. Gregory of Nyssa -- Neoplatonists both -- St. Maximus the Confessor and, above all, the anonymous writer for so long called -- and thought to be -- Denis the Areopagite.

This writer, who now for the first time begins to be a power in Western thought, had long been known in the East. [ ] The literary device behind which he hid caused him to be identified with that Athenian whose conversion was almost the sole recorded fruit of St. Paul's famous visit. [ ] This identification -- whose truth the Middle Ages took for granted -- gave an immense prestige to the doctrines his works contained. Here was a contemporary of the apostles, no less, using the philosophy of Plato to expound his new faith. It had almost the effect of an apostle himself philosophising. The reality was very different. The author of these various books -- pseudo-Denis so to call him -- was no Athenian but a Syrian, not a contemporary of the apostles but a monk of the late fifth century. Nor was he a Catholic, though a convert from Paganism, but a Monophysite. He was a contemporary of Proclus (411-485) and of the furious controversies that were the aftermath of the Council of Chalcedon. [ ]

The first reference to his works that has come down is, in fact, from the arch-heretic Severus in his controversial writings against the Church in the early sixth century. Later the Catholic theologian Leontius of Byzantium also cites him and in the next century, thanks to the prestige resulting from his glorious pseudonym, he has passed into the corpus of Catholic writers, and is used extensively as a witness against heresy. He is known and used by St. Gregory the Great, St. Sophronius of Jerusalem and St. Maximus the Confessor. It was probably the last named saint whose use of pseudo-Denis gave to these writings the last needed touch of orthodox warrant. For the pope St. Martin I at the Lateran Synod of 649 he is " Denis of blessed memory. " Pope Agatho cites him, too, in his letter to the General Council of

680; and the next General Council (Nicea II in 787) quotes Denis against the Iconoclasts. It was through the Greek monks in Rome that a knowledge of these books first began to spread in the West. Pope Paul I (757-767) sent a copy of them to Pepin; and Hilduin, abbot of St. Denis and arch-chaplain to Louis the Pious, translated them into Latin. But it was the translation, annotated, of John Scotus Erigena that was the real beginning of their striking effect on medieval thought. [ ]

To translate Denis into Latin was one of the greatest things Erigena ever did. His other great achievement was to provide the first generation of medieval thinkers with a completed system which explained Catholicism as a philosophical whole. The inspiration of all this work was Neoplatonic, and, except for his use of Aristotle's dialectic, Erigena was himself nothing if not a Neoplatonist. Medieval philosophy had made its great start, and had made it with the initial confusion that it was not to work out of its system for centuries. The weakness and the strength were apparent in Erigena's own contribution to that philosophy, the De Divisione Naturae which appeared after his translation of Denis, somewhere about 867. In this book we are presented with the most ambitious effort of the Catholic mind since St. Augustine himself, a philosophical discussion of the whole vast subject of God and His universe. [ ] This elaborate attempt to explain the Catholic view of the universe through Neoplatonism was a rock of offence to Erigena's contemporaries, and to the orthodox of later generations. Its author's confidence in the power of reasoning to explain the date of Revelation is boundless. His own use of logic is as strong as it is subtle. But, too often, he is ruined by a love of paradox, by an artist's delight in phrase-making, and by an exuberance of language that, at times, does grave injustice to his thought. It is not difficult to understand how, for all his good intentions, he was criticised and condemned as a Pantheist. The universe, as Erigena conceives its origin, is not too easily distinguishable from its Creator. The well-worked-out scheme of the flux and reflux of creation from the Creator leaves no place for the fact of evil and its eternal consequences. His theory of human knowledge breaks under the criticism of facts, and his claim for reason as the all-availing expounder of mystery can again only lead to disaster. It is not to be wondered that Erigena was repeatedly condemned, at Valence and at Langres in his own lifetime and later, in 1050, with Berengarius whom to some extent he inspired.

Erigena, nevertheless, had not lived in vain. He had stated the problems that were to occupy all the thinkers of the next four hundred years, the relations of faith and reason, the rational exposition of the data of faith, of the universe and its relation to God. He had produced, in his unsuccessful attempt to solve the problem, the first ordered systematic work of this kind that Latin Catholicism had so far seen. [ ]

The intellectual revival had, in the main, been a work of restoration. Alcuin and the lesser men had been chiefly concerned first to amass themselves, and then to transmit to their pupils, whatever could be found of the erudition of the ages before the barbarian invasions. Grammar, rhetoric, the rules of reasoning, arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, music, medicine, the meaning of the Scriptures, the theological work of the fathers, particularly of St. Augustine and St. Gregory -- of all that these had to offer they made themselves living encyclopaedias. They were essentially schoolmasters; facts rather than ideas were their chief interest, and their writings inevitably tended to be compilations and manuals for the instruction of those less learned than themselves. The revival, in its first generation, could hardly do more. And before, in the next generation, scholars could, from this erudition, develop an interest in ideas, in intellectual speculation and the beginnings of a philosophical revival, the new invasions and the collapse of Charlemagne's political system had brought the whole movement to an end.


The General Council of 787, though it marked a definite victory of tradition over the Iconoclasts, hardly weakened the party's hold in those sections of the national life where for nearly a century now it had been all powerful. One stronghold of the party was the army; and the army's attachment to the religious fashions of the great military heroes of the century was possibly strengthened when the sovereigns of the Catholic restoration showed themselves, through twenty years and more, weak and incompetent rulers. The successful military revolution of 813 brought with it a vigorous Iconoclast reaction in the religious world.

The emperor who then came to the throne, Leo V, was a soldier, an Armenian by birth. He began by commissioning the publication of a catena of texts from Holy Scripture and the Fathers which, apparently, favoured the practice of his sect. The next stage in the plan was that the Patriarch of Constantinople-Nicephorus I (806-815) -- should give the book an official approbation. But the patriarch remained true to the faith, and instead of approving what was, in effect, an Iconoclastic manifesto he summoned a council of 270 bishops and abbots in which the decisions of the General Council of 787 were renewed. The emperor bided his time and a few months later (March, 815) Nicephorus was sent into exile and a more tractable personage installed in his see. Almost immediately the new patriarch, in his turn, called a council. This time it was the Council of 753 that was re-enacted, and the canons of Nicea II were declared null and void. But the bishops were by no means unanimous in their support of this attempt to revive the heresy. They showed a much better spirit than their predecessors of sixty years before, and to subdue them the old edicts of persecution were put in force anew. The number of victims soon exceeded those of the persecution under Constantine V. Monasteries were sacked yet once again, the religious expelled and turned adrift. Many of the abbots were imprisoned and flogged, others sewn up in sacks and flung into the sea. So for five years the new reign of terror lasted, until Leo V died, assassinated, on Christmas night, 820.

His successor, Michael II, and his successor's son, Theophilus, maintained the Iconoclast tradition and were also, in their measure, persecutors. Theophilus, towards the end of his reign (834-842), showed himself the most cruel of all. When he died (January 20, 842) the government of the empire, for the second time in sixty years, fell to a woman, for the new emperor was a baby two years old. Like her predecessor Irene, the new empress-mother, Theodora, was a Catholic, and the persecution ceased immediately. But, as in 784, while this was easy to accomplish, it was quite another matter to reverse the anti-Catholic development of the last thirty years and restore Catholicism officially.

The position of the Empress Theodora was all the more difficult in that the patriarch was fanatically Iconoclast. However, within little more than a year she had negotiated the chief obstacles. The patriarch was removed and the abbot Methodius installed in his place. Methodius -- St. Methodius -- was the character for whom the circumstances called. He was a saint, he was a man of learning, firm in his principles and charitable in application of them. He gradually replaced the Iconoclast bishops, and while he made matters easy for those who abjured the heresy, he sternly repressed the tendencies towards an extravagant reaction favoured by one section of the Catholic party.

So ended, after more than a hundred years of trouble and persecution, the movement to abolish the cult of images. It was just five hundred and twenty years since Constantine's victory over Licinius had delivered the churches of the East from the last of their pagan persecutors. For a great part of that time those churches had been racked by heresy. Arians, Nestorians, Monophysites, Monothelites and Iconoclasts -- each century had added to the list of these disturbers of ecclesiastical peace and unity. Eastern Catholicism, spared the material destruction which in the West was part of the social and political transformation of the fifth and sixth centuries, had been tested in a far more fundamental way. In no case had the trial of heresy gone by unaggravated by the action of the omnipotent emperor. Sometimes, as in the Arian troubles, the emperor was himself a heretic and strove to impose on the Church the errors it had solemnly condemned. At other times, for all that he adhered to the traditional belief, the emperor did his utmost to reunite Catholic and heretic by means of vague formulae that sacrificed the truth defined. Whence again, inevitably, a breach of communion with Rome. From one cause or another, and always, ultimately, from the emperor's hold on Eastern ecclesiastical life, the churches of the East had, out of those five hundred and twenty years, spent some two hundred and three years in schism. The reign of the emperor, Michael III, that opened with the final defeat of the Iconoclasts was to close with the beginning of the most serious breach of all.

The occasion of this schism was, it is true, less important than any of the earlier occasions, and the schism lasted only a matter of ten years. But thanks to the fact that its leader, Photius, was a personality of the first rank, and thanks to his formulation of a definite case against the papal primacy, this breach in the ninth century left wounds that have never healed. The schism was indeed patched up; but during the time it lasted, a new mentality had begun to develop. The militant and aggressive anti-Roman spirit, already in evidence at the Council in Trullo a hundred and seventy years before, [ ] crystallised now into unforgettable formulae; it allied itself with the congenial principle of Byzantine superiority over the barbarised Latin West. During the century and a half that followed the final disappearance of Photius there was an apparent restoration of normal relations between Rome and the East. But below the surface the events of 858-869 had effected a permanent change, and it needed only the appearance of a second, able and ambitious personality to create anew the anti-Roman schism of Photius, in a bitter offensive, at a time when no shade of dissentient teaching troubled any of the churches in East or West.

The patriarch of the restoration of the images, St. Methodius, died ill 846. His successor, Ignatius, was the youngest son of the Emperor Michael r, forced to become a monk when Leo V deposed his father in 813. Ignatius was a good man but autocratic, something of a martinet indeed, and presently his zeal to cleanse God's house began to make enemies for him in more than one quarter. There was already a strong anti-Ignatian party at Constantinople when, in the tenth year of his occupation of the patriarchal see, Ignatius came into conflict with the court. That party was led by Gregory Asbestos, an archbishop whom Ignatius had deposed, but whose deposition Rome had refused to confirm -- despite the patriarch's demand -- until it had heard both sides of the case. To the repeated requests from Rome to state his case, Ignatius, even so late as 858, had returned no answer.

The empress-mother, Theodora, had by this time retired; the emperor, Michael III, was still only in his teens, and it was Theodora's brother, Bardas, who acted as regent with the title of Caesar -- a man of great ability, cultivated, but a loose liver. Michael III has gone down to history as Michael the Drunkard, and the Caesar, his wife turned out, was in 856 living with his daughter-in-law Eudokia. The circumstance is not, of course, unique in the history of courts, but Ignatius was not the man to let scandal go unrebuked simply because to rebuke it was to affront the man who had power of life and death over him.

Remonstrances, however, were in vain; and on the feast of the Epiphany, 858, Bardas crowned all by presenting himself for Holy Communion at the patriarch's mass. Ignatius refused to administer to him. The emperor protested that this was an insult to his uncle, but Ignatius held firm. Later in that same year the emperor and the Caesar planned to rid themselves of Theodora by locking her up in some convent. But Ignatius refused to be a party to the scheme. The thing could not be decently done without his co-operation and now, weary of his continual interference, it was arranged that he should go. He was suddenly arrested, November 23, 858, and deported to the island of Terebinthos.

The patriarchal see was declared vacant, and Bardas looked around for a likely man to fill it. Photius, upon whom his choice fell, was a candidate in every way unexceptional. He came of a great family which had suffered much for orthodoxy in the time of the Iconoclast emperors -- he was, in fact, a kinsman of the great patriarch Tarasios who had been the chief agent in the restoration of 787. Moreover, Photius had a distinguished record in the imperial service as counsellor and secretary; and he gave every sign, already at thirty, of what he was later to become-one of the most learned men who have ever lived. He was unmarried and his life was religious and beyond reproach. Had the see been really vacant Photius could hardly have been bettered as a candidate for it: save for the fact that he was a layman. But vacant it was for Bardas -- Ignatius having signed some kind of abdication, whether absolute or conditional is not clear -- and Photius accepted the nomination. On Christmas Day, 858, he was consecrated by Gregory Asbestos.

Throughout the empire, however, a considerable party of bishops stood loyally by Ignatius. Whence there began a campaign to unite the episcopate in support of Photius. The Ignatian bishops met, declared the election of Photius null and void, and excommunicated him. Photius, in reply, held a council (spring of 859) which declared Ignatius and his partisans deposed. Next the government intervened, to carry out the sentences of Photius' synod. Soon the supporters of Ignatius were, like him, locked up in prisons, where they were maltreated and tortured.

Rome, so far, had not come into the matter at all; but in 859, with the hope that the Roman prestige would reduce the opposition, both Photius and the emperor approached the pope-Nicholas I. They explained that Ignatius, broken by age and ill-health, had resigned; Photius, with extreme reluctance, had accepted the promotion in his place; there were still remnants of Iconoclasm in the capital, and Ignatius, in his retirement, had entangled himself in political matters; he had, also, been guilty of transgressing several papal decrees. For this reason Photius had been compelled to excommunicate him.

Nicholas I was determined not to recognise Photius until he had gathered independent information about the whole affair He decided that an enquiry was called for and sent to Constantinople as his legates the Bishops of Porto and Anagni. They were sent to enquire into the circumstances in which Ignatius had ceased to be patriarch -- to report and not to judge. But, exceeding their commission, they went into the history of Ignatius' own election fourteen years before, and into the history of his treatment of the Roman requests in the matter of Gregory Asbestos. Then, in May 861, they presided at a synod where Ignatius was again deposed -- because his own election was irregular, and because of his illegal procedure with Gregory. Ignatius, thereupon, appealed to the pope.

The affair dragged on very slowly. First of all the legates returned with their official report, and with more lying letters from Photius and the court. In March, 862, at a synod in Rome the whole matter was examined. The blundering of the legates was made clear: the pope disavowed them and ordered their punishment; as to Photius, he refused to recognise him as a bishop, holding Ignatius to be the holder of the see until the case against him should be established. Then, at last, there arrived in Rome the appeal of Ignatius against the synod of 861 and the legates, telling, for the first time, the story of the share of the palace in his original deposition. In a new synod (April 863) the pope, with the statements of all parties before him, now definitely decided for Ignatius; the legates were deposed; Photius was excommunicated, should he not surrender the place he had usurped; Ignatius and his supporters were solemnly restored. To the emperor the pope wrote "advising and commanding" him to restore Ignatius; while to the other patriarchs he gave the reasons for his case against Photius and the imperial court: they had condemned Ignatius without a fair trial; they had installed a successor before his case was canonically terminated; at the trial, when this did take place, Ignatius was judged by his own subjects; and finally Photius, a layman, had been consecrated patriarch without observance of the necessary canonical intervals between his receiving the successive orders of deacon, priest and bishop.

The emperor replied in a letter which the pope described as "filled with insult and blasphemy". He utterly refused to accept the Roman decision, and threatened to send an army to bring the pope to his senses. Photius struck the pope's name out of the mass -- an action tantamount to excommunication. To all of which Nicholas replied in a famous letter, (September 28, 865) as long as a treatise, [ ] in which, while he reminds the Easterners again and again that the primatial rights of the Roman Church are of divine institution, he offers, if it will satisfy them, to have the whole case tried anew.

The next two years saw no change in the situation save an additional aggravation due to the mission in Bulgaria. The Bulgarians had first made appeal for missionaries to Constantinople about the time when Photius had been intruded into the see. He had sent missionaries as they asked, and Michael III had stood sponsor to their king, Boris, at his baptism (864). But the mission had not been too successful. Boris wanted a hierarchy of bishops that would be independent of Constantinople. Photius made difficulties. And so, in 866, the Bulgarian king, influenced partly at any rate by political considerations, turned to Rome; and in answer Nicholas I sent two Latin bishops, one of them destined, in time, himself to be pope. This was Formosus, then Bishop of Porto, successor to the bishop deposed by the synod of 863.

At the same time the pope sent legates to Constantinople to explain and defend his sending a mission into Bulgaria. They carried despatches of an even more violent tone than the letter of 865, the emperor being now bidden to burn publicly the "blasphemous" letter of 863. But the legates were turned back at the frontier, and Photius made the Latin "aggression" in Bulgaria the occasion for the most effective thing he ever did. This was a long and violent anti-Roman manifesto, set forth in an encyclical letter to the other patriarchs. It was destined to be, and it still remains, the charter of the separate status of Constantinople and its dependent churches. The Latin "invasion" of the Greek missionary territory is described, and the danger to the faith of the neophyte from the Latin ignorance and errors. These are listed: the Latins fast on Saturdays; they eat milk foods in the three days between Quinquagesima Sunday and Ash Wednesday; they look down on married clergy; they reject the Confirmation given by a priest; and they have corrupted the Creed by adding the words "and from the Son" to the clause which, speaking of the Holy Ghost, says " Who proceeds from the Father". For which reasons Photius summons all the bishops of his patriarchate to a council which shall discuss and condemn these errors. Of that council we know little, save that it met and declared Nicholas I deposed, and that it deposed, too, all who supported him, "forerunners of apostasy, servants of Antichrist. . . liars and fighters against God" as the encyclical proclaimed them to be. Also, it is to be noted, Photius endeavoured to win over the emperor in the West, Louis II.

There is nothing new in Photius' refusal to accept the Roman sentence after invoking Rome's authority. What is new, and unprecedented, in a Patriarch of Constantinople, is his attack on the papacy as such, and on its hitherto universally recognised right.

It was, apparently, in the summer of 867 that these last events took place, and it is hard to say if Nicholas I ever knew of them. His health was failing all through that year and on November 13 he died, making efforts to the very end to mobilise the scholarship of the West in opposition to an opponent whom he recognised to be a man supremely learned. By the time the pope died, and before he could have known of it, that able and learned, hut shifty adversary had, however, himself been removed. But not by death. One of the imperial equerries, Basil the Macedonian, had been gradually creeping nearer to the throne. In 866 he had had Bardas murdered, and had succeeded to his place. On September 23, 867, it was the turn of Michael III; and Basil was proclaimed emperor. A wholesale reversal of his predecessor's acts followed. Among the favourites who fell was Photius, a long-standing rival of Basil at the court; and on November 23 Ignatius was solemnly restored to the patriarchal throne. Photius was sent into exile.

Between these events and the General Council of Constantinople which solemnly accepted the Roman judgement about them, there is the long interval of nearly two years -- an interval which is not merely practical testimony to the very real obstacle of geographical distance that now separated the two great centres of Christian life, but which also symbolises the distance which separated the Roman idea of the task before the council from what the new emperor, and his patriarch, had envisaged when they proposed it to the pope. Once more the meeting of a general council in the East was to be the occasion of new serious difficulties between pope and emperor, and, as on so many previous occasions, it was to leave behind memories whence would spring new, lasting troubles.

For the new emperor, Basil I, the thing that really mattered, in these years 867-870, was the very urgent problem of reconciling the two factions of ecclesiastics and their followers into which the churches of his empire had been, for ten years now, divided-"Ignatians and Photians". If the pope would consent to judge between them, on the basis of the events of 858, and if both parties would appear before him to plead their case, such a Roman decision might very well end the troubles. And what the pope decided in Rome it would be well that a council, meeting at Constantinople, should ratify.

But for the pope, these domestic troubles of the church of Constantinople were only one element of the affair. Since the original mischief arising out of the substitution of Photius for Ignatius in 858, there had occurred two events of the utmost gravity, and of far greater importance than the question, even, which of the two men was the lawful Patriarch of Constantinople. Photius, in his capacity as patriarch, had, in fact, denied the papacy's right as the divinely instituted primate of the Church of Christ; he had done this in the most solemn way, in a great council. And a host of Eastern bishops had supported his action. That Rome should, and would, forgive the now repentant bishops was very desirable and all to the good, but the pope in this reconciliation, could not, without betraying his primacy, ignore an event of such magnitude as the recent wholesale denial of its existence.

When then, in June 869, the pope -- Adrian II -- considered with his council the letters sent by the emperor and Ignatius, the main question that occupied his mind was the Photian council of 867 and the patriarch's encyclical letter that had preceded it. This was the main subject of the Roman deliberations, and while an amnesty was offered to the Eastern bishops who repented their share in the event, the council of 867 was condemned and Photius again excommunicated, with the severe proviso that, even should he repent, he was not, ever again, to enjoy more than a layman's status in the Church. The emperor had asked the pope to take part in the council planned to assemble at Constantinople, and Adrian II agreed. The three legates he sent to preside in his name carried with them letters for the emperor and for Ignatius. The pope made it clear in his instructions to the legates -- and the legates faithfully obeyed his instructions -- that the council was not to reopen the questions he had already decided at Rome, but to accept his decisions, and give them a solemn public promulgation.

The council reckoned as the Eighth General Council -- opened on October 5869. Besides the legates, and the patriarchs and their representatives, there were barely a dozen bishops present. Nor did the numbers greatly increase as the weeks went by. There were 21 bishops at the fifth session, at which Photius made his first appearance; 38 at the eighth, on November 8; 65 at the ninth and, for the solemn session which closed the council, February 28, 870, 103 -- of whom 37 were metropolitans.

There was no difficulty about the condemnation of Photius, who maintained a haughty silence before his judges. But when it came to the trial of his supporters among the bishops, and to the testimony of those who professed repentance, there were occasional scenes. Adrian II's instructions were that all were to sign the famous formula drawn up three hundred years before by Pope Hormisdas (514-523), [ ] and used by him as a test of orthodoxy in the reconciliation which ended the schism of Acacius. "The first condition of salvation" the formula declared "is to keep the rule of the true faith and in no way to deviate from the laws of the Fathers. And because the words of Our Lord Jesus Christ: 'Thou art Peter and upon this Rock I will build My Church, etc., ' cannot be passed over. What things were thus said are proved by the resulting events, [ ] because in the Apostolic See the Catholic religion has always been kept free from blemish. We then, wishing to be by no means parted from that hope and faith. . . anathematise all heresies. . . . And therefore I hope that I may deserve to be with you in that one Communion, which the Apostolic see teaches, in which [Communion] is the whole, real and perfect solidity of the Christian religion. And I promise that in future I will not say in the holy Mysteries the names of those who are banished from the Communion of the Catholic Church, that is who do not accord with the Apostolic See. " [ ]

One bishop began to argue that this Roman assertion of an indefectible faith was not historically true, and the emperor showed signs of wanting the point argued. But the legates insisted. The bishop must sign or be condemned. Nor was this the only dissension. Basil, as though to forestall any action by the legates which might endanger his own plan, namely not so to antagonise the party of Photius that it would be impossible to reconcile them with Ignatius, had sent one of the high officials of the court to control the debates, and between this personage and the legates there was more than one lively incident. Finally there was the mysterious "suspension" of the council which, suddenly, did not meet at all for two whole months [ ] -- part of which period, according to one account, was spent by the chief of the legates, Marinus, under arrest, for resisting the emperor's wishes.

But whatever the differences and difficulties the papal will was finally carried out, as the series of twenty-seven canons shows, promulgated at the final session February 28, 870. In these the Iconoclasts were again condemned. The interference of the State in episcopal elections was condemned too; elections where the State has interfered are to be held null and void: those so elected are to be deposed, even if consecrated. Synods, it is declared, do not need the presence of the emperor or his legate for the validity of their acts. No one is to presume to depose any of the patriarchs; and especially no one is to do what Photius has done of late, and what Dioscoros did of old, [ ] that is to say write and put into circulation calumnies against the pope. Should anyone so presume he is to be punished with the punishment meted out to them. Any prince who attempts to coerce the freedom of the pope, or of any of the patriarchs, is anathema. Should any doubt or controversy touching the Holy Roman Church come before a general council the matter is to be examined with becoming reverence. In no case is sentence to be defiantly given against the Supreme Pontiffs of the elder Rome. [ ] In this last session the emperor, too, intervened: with a speech urging the Church's right freely to manage its own affairs.

Nevertheless, the tension in which the council had done its work continued to the end, and survived its close. In the last few days the legates had to complain of the theft from their baggage of the retractations signed by the bishops of Photius' party. And, a much more serious matter, in those same last days there arrived at Constantinople a mission from the Bulgarian king. He was finally determined not to link himself with Rome, since the pope resolutely refused to let him have Formosus as bishop. Once more, then, Boris besought the Patriarch of Constantinople to provide him with bishops and priests. The Roman legates protested vigorously; and there was a tense period when a new schism, with Ignatius as the papal adversary, seemed not unlikely. It ended by the legates formally forbidding Ignatius, in the pope's name, to send missionaries to Bulgaria, and in Ignatius making a dutiful, but very general, declaration of submission to the pope. Then the legates departed -- but by the time they had reached Rome the patriarch had equipped the Bulgarian Church with a complete hierarchy, an archbishop and twelve bishops.

The legates were a long time on their way home. They left Constantinople in the spring of 870, but did not reach Rome until some time in June 871. The news of the council's proceedings, and of the legates' difficulties, had preceded them; and Adrian II, instead of any formal ratification of the decrees, sent, along with a complimentary letter to the emperor, a strongly worded complaint to the patriarch about his new activities in Bulgaria, threatening him with excommunication, and actually laying the sentence upon those now usurping in Bulgaria the episcopal jurisdiction.

The situation had not at all improved when, twelve months later, Adrian II died. His successor, John VIII, was a man of like views, but stronger and more vigorous in action. He had been archdeacon of the Roman Church for many years, and was thoroughly conversant with the complications of the problems before him. From the beginning of his reign this new pope took a strong line about the Byzantine "invasion" of Bulgaria. "If the treacherous Greeks do not depart, " he wrote to King Boris, "we are determined to depose Ignatius. " And, Ignatius proving obstinate, John VIII, in April 878, sent legates to offer him the choice between the faithful carrying out of his promises and deposition. But when the legates reached Constantinople they found that Ignatius was dead -- that he had died, indeed, six months before they set out. A new patriarch reigned in his place: it was Photius.

The appointment was natural enough from the emperor's point of view. The main problem in the religious life of the day was still the division, now twenty years old, that had begun with Michael III's deposition of Ignatius in 858. Photius, at the time of this second nomination as patriarch, had himself long been reconciled with Ignatius, and had been set at liberty. His diplomatic gifts had erased from the emperor's mind the memory of their old rivalry, and he had been appointed tutor to Basil's heir, the future emperor, Leo the Philosopher. There was every hope that the appointment of Photius as successor to Ignatius would finally rally all but the most fanatical of the dissidents. But what about the pope? Upon Photius there still lay the terrific sentences of the council of 869 and, above all, the pope's decision that henceforth he was to be no more than a layman in the Church.

The legates had no competence to deal with any element of this new problem. But they did not return to Rome. Instead they wrote to John VIII, telling him of the great event and, it would seem, endeavouring to win him to sympathise with the emperor's solution. The emperor also wrote, and so did Photius. And the pope showed himself very favourable.

It needs to be said that John VIII had other worries, very practical questions of life and death, which at this moment inclined him to take an easy view of the latest events at Constantinople. The Carolingian empire was now in the last stages of disintegration. It was only with difficulty that the pope could persuade one of the great family to take upon him the name of emperor: and this at a moment when the Saracens threatened to be masters, not only in southern Italy, but even in Rome itself! If the emperor at Constantinople could not be persuaded to defend the pope against the Saracens, Rome's case was desperate indeed. This political anxiety was, indeed, one of the matters with which the legates despatched to correct Ignatius in 878 had originally been charged; and in their letters reporting the re-appearance of Photius they were able to tell the pope of the emperor's sympathetic dispositions towards the problem of the safety of Rome.

It was, then, in the happiest mood towards the emperor, and Photius, that John VIII, in the spring of 879, summoned his Roman council to consider the new aspect of the patriarch's career. He determined to recognise Photius as lawful patriarch and he cancelled and quashed all the sentences of the council of 869-870, and forbade anyone, ever again, to cite them against Photius. But Photius was to give some sign of repentance for his actions in the bad days of 867, and he was to pledge himself to withdraw the missionaries sent to Bulgaria.

Once again the Roman decisions were to be given the publicity of acceptance and promulgation in a council at Constantinople and this took place the following winter, November, 879-March 880. Photius was now all that any pope could desire. He made all the prescribed promises, even about the Bulgarian mission, and the legates solemnly granted him acknowledgement, and robed him in the handsome vestments sent by the pope as a special mark of affection.

There was, however, less agreement about the Roman demand that laymen were not to be promoted to the episcopate without the usual intervals between the various sacred orders received. And, according to one account, there was a tense moment when the question of the Filioque clause in the Creed was raised. This crisis, however, was resolved by the diplomacy of Photius -- so this same account -- and all the more easily since, so far, the popes too had refused to insert the words -- even Leo III when asked by Charlemagne. John VIII confirmed all that the council had done and for the short remainder of his reign -- he died, murdered in 882 -- the peace between Rome and Constantinople continued undisturbed.

When Pope John VIII recognised Photius in 879 as the lawful patriarch of Constantinople, it was, however, an unfortunate by-product of his action that the party traditionally associated with the cause of the dead patriarch, Ignatius, the pro-Roman party of the crises of 858 and 867, now became the party whose policy was schism "on principle". The great council of 879 was to them an abomination; and their account of it, wholly misrepresenting what took place -- stating, indeed, the very contradictory of the fact -- not only served their party needs in the next generation, but continued to mislead all the Western historians until our own time. [ ] According to that false account, the pope repudiated the council of 879 and from this there resulted a renewal of the schism on the part of Photius.

Behind the screen of the falsehood and the forgeries there lies this much of the truth, namely that John VIII's action did not have the universal approval of the high officials of the Roman Curia. Among those who, at Rome, still eyed Photius askance was the one-time legate to the council of 869, Marinus; and it was Marinus who succeeded John VIII as pope in 882. Stephen V, too, in whose time Photius was deposed by the emperor Leo VI (886), was of the same mind; as was also the next pope, Formosus, a strong personality seemingly, and a strong opponent of all John VIII's policies. There followed, then, upon the pro-Photius decision of 879, a period when it might seem that the anti-Photius party at Constantinople could still look to Rome for support. The imperial deposition of Photius, in 886, was an opportunity for the party to invoke it.

But the popes were too wary to act on the first scanty statements of the events that came to them. Before granting recognition to the new patriarch Stephen -- a boy of sixteen, the emperor's own younger brother -- they asked for more information about the circumstances in which Photius had ceased to reign. In the end, it would seem, Stephen V granted the recognition. Then his successor, Formosus, intervened -- sending legates to state the Roman view about the validity of the orders conferred by Photius. This intervention, it is held, probably contented neither of the rival parties. It was not until the stormy reigns of Formosus (891-896) and his next five short-lived successors (896-898) were over that John IX, in a rare interval of peaceful papal possession of Rome, brought about a reconciliation between "Ignatians" and "Photians", and between the patriarchate and the Holy See (899).

The peace lasted just eight years. What broke it up was a furious controversy about the legitimacy of the fourth marriage of the emperor -- Leo VI. His first wife had died in 893, and his second in 896. In 899 he had married a third time, and in 900 this wife too had died. None of these wives had brought him an heir and Leo, not venturing upon a fourth alliance -- so strong was the tradition in the Eastern churches against re-marriage-was living in notorious concubinage when, in 905, a son was born to him. He now approached the patriarch, anxious for some means to be found whereby this child should be recognised as his heir. The patriarch was Nicholas, called Mystikos, one of the major personalities of his line, who by his ability and his learning and his early career in the imperial service -- as well as by kinship -- was another Photius. Nicholas proposed that he should baptise the child with all the ceremonial appropriate to the emperor's heir, but that the emperor should separate from his mistress, Zoe. To this Leo agreed. But, the baptism over, he not only brought back Zoe, but himself crowned her as empress (906) and persuaded a priest to bless their marriage.

And now, while the patriarch buried himself in his study to think out a canonical solution for the problem, the emperor bethought himself to consult, and to beg a dispensation from, the other three patriarchs of Alexandria and Antioch and Jerusalem, and from the pope. Upon this Nicholas hardened his heart. The quasi-independence of his administration seemed threatened, and when the Roman legates arrived from Sergius III with what he knew would be a reply favourable to the emperor, Nicholas refused to receive them; and he organised his own metropolitans to swear to die rather than agree that a fourth marriage could be lawful (906).

In February, 907 Nicholas was suddenly arrested, an obedient synod declared him deposed, and some kind of acceptance of his fate was obtained from him. The synod chose in his place one of the great ascetics of the day, the monk Euthymos, and it granted the emperor the permission he sought; the priest who had actually married Leo and Zoe was however deposed, for having done this without authorisation. Finally, when the emperor proposed to legalise fourth marriages the synod declared that not only fourth marriages but third marriages too were unlawful; and the new patriarch steadfastly refused to crown the empress, or to allow her to be publicly prayed for as empress. The emperor's personal problem was solved, but no more than this; and there were now new divisions throughout the East, between the partisans of Nicholas, and those who recognised Euthymos.

Five years after these events when Leo the Philosopher died (912), there was a "palace revolution"; Nicholas was brought back and Euthymos deposed. In the general "revenge" Nicholas did not forget his score against Rome; and he sent the pope, Anastasius III, an ultimatum demanding that the decision given in 906 be reversed and the legates who bore it punished; otherwise he would strike the pope's name out of the mass. The Roman reply has not survived, but presently the threat was carried out. Once again the church of Constantinople was in schism, while in the capital the patriarch and the empress-mother Zoe fought for supremacy in a maze of palace intrigues. These came to an end when, in 919, the grand-admiral, Romanus Lecapenus, forced his way to the throne, marrying the boy emperor, Constantine VII, to his daughter and compelling recognition of himself as joint-emperor. In a great council at Constantinople in 920 Romanus forced upon the various religious factions a skilfully arranged compromise; and three years later the quarrel with Rome was also healed. No details of the reconciliation have come down to us. We know of two letters from Nicholas to the pope, John X, and that the legates he asked for were sent to Constantinople. We also possess the account which Nicholas gave of the affair to the King of the Bulgarians, Simeon. It is a curious document, and ominous for the future. The patriarch, who is sending with it a letter from the pope designed to lessen the Bulgarian king's hostility to the emperor, warns Simeon that "to despise the authority of the pope is to insult the prince of the apostles". And then he tells, in his own fashion, the story of the conflict about the lawfulness of fourth marriages, of the great scandal, and of how the Roman See has finally ratified all the condemnations issued by Nicholas. " Like Photius in 880, Nicholas came out of the fight with all the honours of war. " [ ] If there was a surrender anywhere, it was -- according to his version -- on the part of Rome. The letter is, by implication, yet another assertion of Constantinople's claim to autonomy, to a jurisdiction practically sovereign. And herein lies, no doubt, the main importance in history of this long-drawn-out, and not too well-known, Byzantine aggression.


The genius of Catholicism continued, then, to transcend the weaknesses of its members even in this dying world. The weaknesses were as evident as in the days of St. Boniface -- ignorant clergy, worldly lords and successful brigands masquerading as prelates, a greedy laity taking every occasion the times offered to lay hands on ecclesiastical property and jurisdiction for their own profit. Nowhere is the struggle that shook the whole Church better seen than in the history of its primatial see, in the story of the development of the Frankish protectorate during the eighty or ninety years that followed Charlemagne's death. It is the story of the ever-increasing hold of the emperor on the papacy, and of the gradual disappearance of the principle of free election. The idea grows that the papacy, a thing eminently profitable, is worth much violence to secure, and at Rome there are soon rival factions traditionally hostile, to whom every vacancy presents an opportunity for fraud, violence, and sacrilege. These factions outlive the empire, and once the strong hand of the emperor has gone the papacy is at their mercy.

Charlemagne was scarcely dead when the faction which, in 799, had tried to murder Leo III, seized its opportunity. But now the plot was discovered in time, and arrests and executions were the order of the day. Protests went to the emperor. The death penalty, the punishment of the Roman Law for the outrage on the Roman maiestas, seemed to the Franks unnecessarily harsh. And, since the emperor was emperor of the Romans, should he not have been consulted? So Louis the Pious sent a commission to Rome to enquire, and the pope explained himself. The plots continued and the next year, 816, an insurrection broke out. It was suppressed by the Franks -- just in time to save the pope. Then, in June 816, Leo III died.

The election was made, in conformity with the decree of 769, by the clergy alone. They elected the deacon Stephen, who, like' Leo's predecessor Adrian I, was a noble and therefore qualified to unite the contending parties. He reigned only six months, but in that short time he recalled the exiles of 799 and 814, saw to it that all his people swore allegiance to the emperor, and, in October, 816, solemnly crowned Louis at Rheims.

With the unexpected death of Stephen IV (January 25, 817) the forces that had ruled during the twenty-one years of Leo III's reign returned to power, in the person of the new pope, Pascal I. The reign was as troubled as that of Leo III. It began with the now customary announcement to the emperor of the pope's election and with a confirmation of the pact of amity between the two powers. The text of the pact of 816 is the earliest that has survived. The emperor guarantees the pope's sovereignty over the Italian territories, which arc specified in detail, and he guarantees also that the papal election shall be free and unhindered. On the other hand, he reserves the right to receive appeals from the pope's subjects. In 822 there was a notable instance of the exercise of this right when Louis' son, Lothair -- whom Louis had himself crowned King of Italy, as he himself had been crowned by Charlemagne -- decided an appeal of the nobility against the pope. The next year there were more serious troubles. Some of the appellants of 822 were murdered, and the pope was accused of being privy to the deed. He protested his innocence and, following the precedent of Leo III, solemnly purged himself by oath.

Twelve months later the unhappy pope was dead, and the internal dissensions precipitated in a double election. Thanks to the influence of the monk Wala who was Lothair's chief adviser, and who chanced to be in Rome, one party gave way and the archpriest Eugene was unanimously acknowledged -- the candidate of the nobility. The emperor, weary of the endless scandals that resulted from the Roman factions, determined to end them by a careful, systematic and official delimitation of powers. A mission was sent to Rome under the nominal presidency of the young king, Lothair, after whom the pact in which it issued was called the Constitution of Lothair. On the whole the balance of the new arrangement was unfavourable to the pope. The pope, henceforth, must not put to death anyone who enjoyed the emperor's protection, nobles that is to say and dignitaries Romans accused of serious crimes were to have a choice by which law they would be judged, Roman or Frank or Lombard. The magistrates were to be nominated by the emperor, who was now to be represented at Rome by two permanent commissioners, one of them nominated by the pope. They were to make an annual report to the emperor on the papal government, and to receive appeals against its action. Should the pope refuse to do justice to such appeals the commissioners were to send them on to the emperor. Finally, the Constitution regulated the papal election. None but Romans were to take part in the election, and -- a notable reversal of existing law -- the laity were to have a share in it. And the newly-elect was to swear an oath to the emperor in the presence of the commissioners and the people. The history of the next few elections interprets the new arrangement. The emperor is very definitely the overlord of Rome, and the pope is not consecrated until the emperor's representative is satisfied that the election has been made in accordance with the prescribed form.

Eugene II accepted the Constitution, and in a council of the bishops of the Roman province he promulgated the new regulations for the election of the pope. Then, only a few months later, in August, 827, he too died. His successor, Valentine, lived for a few weeks only. The next effective pope was Gregory IV, elected in October, 827, but not consecrated until after the imperial commissioners, six months later, had come to Rome and confirmed the election. The new system was an established fact, and the nobility had been given a new hold on the papacy, a hold which tended, from the first, so to increase that the clergy's part in elections was, often enough, to be by comparison a very secondary affair indeed.

Gregory IV was an exceptionally long-lived pope. His sixteen years' pontificate saw the beginning of the disastrous civil wars between Louis the Pious and his sons, in which the pope in the interests of unity and peace opposed the emperor's schemes of partition. It saw, too, the establishment of the Mohammedans in Sicily and the beginning of their attacks on Italy itself. The duchy of Benevento was at this time disputed between rival claimants, both of whom called in bands of Saracens as auxiliaries. In every new event the end of the Carolingian peace was already beginning to be proclaimed when, in the beginning of 844, Gregory died.

The election of his successor showed once more the reality of the new imperial suzerainty. As in 824, there was a double election. The candidate of the nobility, Sergius, managed to expel his rival from the Lateran and was himself, thereupon, consecrated and enthroned. The emperor, Lothair, had not been consulted, and to maintain his right, now sent his son, the future emperor, Louis II, with an army, to examine into the election. There was an enquiry, much questioning of all who took part, and finally Sergius was recognised as pope. He proceeded, thereupon, to consecrate the young king and to swear fidelity to the emperor his father. Furthermore, it was again carefully stipulated that no one was to be consecrated pope without the sanction of the emperor or his representative.

Sergius II was elderly, gouty, and lacking entirely in the gift of ruling. His one title to consideration was his noble birth, that he came from the family that had given Eugene II to the Church, and was later to give Adrian II too. The pope's brother, Benedict, a nobleman of shifty ways and dissolute life, was soon installed as Bishop of Albano and his chief adviser. Soon it was known that the one thing necessary under the regime was money. Offices, benefices, appointments and favours of every sort, were on sale; and to supplement where these means fell short, the pope and his brother set themselves to pillage the monasteries. Then, a divinely appointed chastisement, men said, for the election of so worthless a pope, on August 23, 846, the Mohammedans landed at Ostia and making their way along the Tiber sacked and pillaged the tombs of St. Peter and St. Paul. Against Rome itself they were powerless; the old walls were an obstacle such an expedition could not hope to force. But the whole of the Christian West shivered at the sacrilege, and the emperor was moved by the general indignation to raise funds to fortify the basilica of St. Peter, and to organise an expedition and drive the Saracens from Italy. The miserable old pope did not long survive the indignity He died in January, 847.

In his place the Romans elected Leo, the priest of the church of the Four Crowned Martyrs. With the money which the imperial tax brought him, with offerings from all over Christendom, and with taxes on his own domains he fortified the district round St. Peter's -- the district called ever since, in memory of him, the Leonine City. It was no luxury of building, for the Mohammedans continued to molest the coast and the districts at the mouth of the Tiber during all the rest of the reign. Leo IV's relations with the emperor never attained to cordiality. He had been consecrated without the emperor's permission -- though this had been put right by a declaration that the pope in no way denied the emperor's rights -- and when, in 850, the young Louis II, associated now with his father as emperor, came to live in Italy as its king the delicacy of the situation was greatly increased The pope complained of the emperor's representative at Rome and the emperor seems to have supported discontented papal functionaries against the pope. Leo IV, from the point of view of imperial policy, fell very short indeed of perfection as pope. The emperor began to make plans for the future. A new departure was at hand. The emperor, at the next vacancy, would have his own candidate and, an imperialist pope elected, harmony would reign between the two powers.

The priest Anastasius on whom, for this dubiously honourable promotion, Louis II cast his eyes was a mall of no small distinction. He was the son of the Bishop of Orte, [ ] a strong imperialist, whom the emperor had more or less compelled the pope to choose as the papal member of the commission of superintendence. Anastasius was unusually well educated. In addition to a wide knowledge of ecclesiastical literature, for example, he had a good command of Greek. Now he suddenly disappeared from Rome and the next news was that he was living in the neighbourhood of the imperial court. The pope, suspecting an understanding with the emperor, and fearing perhaps a schism, ordered him to return. He refused, and thereupon, after a succession of warnings, the pope excommunicated him and specifically deprived him of any right to be elected pope in the future, laying an excommunication on whoever should presume to vote for him. The relations of pope and emperor were in this state when, July 17, 855, Leo IV died.

The sequel to the emperor's plans was curious. Anastasius was of course still absent from Rome, and unanimously the Romans elected Benedict, the priest of St. Cecilia. This election the emperor refused to ratify. His commissioners appeared at Rome with an escort and with them came Anastasius, the emperor's candidate. The number of their partisans increased as they journeyed, Benedict was arrested, and Anastasius took possession of the papal palace. But the clergy held firm. Anastasius lay under sentence of deposition and by Church Law no deposed ecclesiastic could receive promotion. The commissioners had to yield; and in a solemn assembly at St. Mary Major's, Benedict, released now, was re-elected and the election confirmed.

The sentences against Anastasius were renewed. He was reduced to the lay state and made Abbot of Sta. Maria in Trastevere. There, in studious retirement, he remained, preparing himself for the next office to which the emperor destined him, that of permanent imperial commissioner at Rome charged to keep watch on the pope. His father still held office as the papal nominee on the Commission, and so Anastasius would triumph, despite Pope Benedict's re-election ! But before the scheme matured Benedict III died (April 17, 858). This time the emperor himself assisted at the election. He did not repeat the mistake of 855 and suggest an ineligible candidate, but proposed, and succeeded in carrying, the election of a very distinguished man indeed. This was St. Nicholas I, the greatest pope between St. Gregory and Hildebrand, one of the three popes whom alone of the two hundred and sixty posterity has agreed to call "the Great. " He owed his election, none the less, to Louis II, for the Roman clergy had had another in view.

The new pope managed to keep on good terms with the emperor. Anastasius he disarmed by making him, to use a modern term, his secretary of state, in which capacity the forthcoming schism of Photius and the struggle with Hincmar of Rheims, soon gave him ample scope to show himself one of the great defenders of papal rights. When Louis II demanded the reinstatement of the Archbishop of Ravenna, excommunicated for his misgovernment, the pope held firm despite the emperor's personal intervention; and, carrying the war into the other camp, he renewed the decree of 769 forbidding non-Romans -- the emperor's envoys for example -- to interfere in papal elections. Nicholas was no mere statesman, but a man of saintly life, and his natural courage was reinforced by the invincible prestige of personal holiness. The emperor withdrew his support from the excommunicated prelate, while the pope descended on Ravenna and saw personally to the restoration of order. Finally the archbishop submitted.

This dispute was but a preliminary skirmish. In 863 a battle royal developed between pope and emperor. The cause was the annulment of the marriage of the emperor's brother, Lothair II of Lorraine, and his re-marriage. The bishops of Lorraine had sanctioned the re-marriage twice in synod. It was once more sanctioned in a great council at Metz, presided over by the pope's legates and then, in the October of the same year, the pope quashed the decisions of the councils, and since both the law and the facts were so evident that no honest man could be in doubt, deposed the Archbishops of Cologne and Treves for their share in the scandal and recalled his legates to take their trial. The decision was a signal for all the discontented to combine: the King of Lorraine of course, the emperor, still sore over the Ravenna defeat, the Archbishop of Ravenna, -- even the schismatic Photius, in distant Constantinople, was approached. Presently a great army, led by the brother sovereigns, moved on Rome. The pope gave himself to prayer. Processions filled the streets, the people prayed and fasted. For two whole days the pope prayed before the tomb of St. Peter. Then the tide began to turn. The emperor fell ill. He asked nothing better than a reconciliation. The great combination broke up and the affair ended with the pope stronger than ever.

Nicholas I died, all too soon, after a reign of only nine years (858-867). His successor, Adrian II, elected without difficulty, was again not consecrated until Louis II had approved. He was soon involved in serious difficulties with the family of Anastasius. Adrian, to begin with, without reversing the decisions of his predecessor, tended towards a policy of leniency to some of the malcontents of the late reign. Anastasius persisted in the contrary sense, and in the end had his way. Between the son, who thus dominated the spiritual administration, and his father the aged Arsenius who controlled the temporal, the papacy, with a weak pope, was very much what this family chose to make it. And behind them was the emperor. A new manoeuvre which would have extended their power still further failed however. It ended in a fearful crime -- symptomatic of the more sinister tendencies of the time and prophetic of the future -- and this ruined all. Adrian II, while as yet in minor orders, had married and his wife and daughter were still alive at the time of his election. Arsenius now planned a marriage between the pope's daughter and his own younger son Eleutherius. But the pope had other views. As in other states, so in the papal state, a matrimonial alliance could be of high political importance. This new, and unecclesiastical, novelty, had shown itself already when Adrian's two predecessors, Benedict III and Nicholas I, had been careful to marry off their nieces to important members of the local nobility as a means to secure their loyalty. Adrian had made similar plans for his daughter. Eleutherius, however, would take no denial, and finally kidnapped both mother and daughter.

The pope appealed to the emperor and presently the imperial officers were hot in pursuit. Eleutherius, surrounded, murdered both the girl and her mother. He was taken and himself put to death. Meanwhile the pope denounced Anastasius as the author of the plot and, in his anger, renewed against him all the old sentences of twenty years before and deprived him of the post of librarian (868). Later he managed to prove his innocence and Adrian reinstated him. The incident is yet another instance of the speed with which the papacy was being forced along the road of secularisation, and of what it had to fear from the brutal Roman nobility against whom the emperor was its sole defence.

On April 12, 875, the emperor Louis II died, the last effective ruler to hold undisputed sway in Italy. Adrian II had predeceased him by three years. In his stead ruled yet a fourth nominee of Louis II. This was John VIII, and to him there now fell the delicate task of deciding, since Louis II had no male heirs, to which of his uncles, Charles the Bald of France or Louis the German of Germany, the imperial title should now descend. For the first time there was a France and a Germany between which the papal diplomacy must needs choose. For the first time it depended 011 the pope whether a King of France or a King of Germany should be the dominant force in Italian politics. The emperor, for the last fifty years, had chosen the popes. Now it was for the pope to choose the emperor. Whichever prince he chose, the empire of Charlemagne was beyond all possibility Of r salvation. The imperial title, already, was become a mere decoration.

The pope chose the King of France -- the weaker of the two brothers, but the ruler of the more civilised kingdom, an intellectual, and a prince devoted to the fortunes of the Church. The choice was the signal for his rival to put all possible obstacles in his way; Louis the German and his three sons took the field. Charles, partly by arms, partly by diplomacy, circumvented them, and on Christmas Day, 875, just three-quarters of a century after the first coronation that had founded the empire in his grandfather, he too was crowned at St. Peter's. Then, disregarding the pope's appeal for aid in the holy war against the Mohammedans, he hurried back to defend his own realm against his brother and nephews.

While, beyond the Alps, the new civil war continued -- the death of Louis the German in 876 only providing an occasion for new quarrels -- the pope was occupied once more with the problem of the Mohammedans, and with the chronic discontent of his own factious subjects. From Bari and Tarentum the Saracens had been lately expelled by the fleet of the eastern emperor -- the beginning of a Byzantine restoration in southern Italy that was to last for another two hundred years -- but they now found new employ in the service of the rival petty princes. Soon there was a Mohammedan garrison at Naples, another at Gaeta. The Campagna was never free from their raids and Rome itself was menaced now from the land. The pope, a man of unusual vigour and invincible spirit, organised a fleet in addition to his army. He turned admiral, and successfully: defeating the Saracens several times, destroying a fleet, and liberating hundreds of Christian captives. Also he fortified St. Paul's as Leo IV had fortified St. Peter's.

In Rome itself there was a strong faction which viewed the policies of John VIII with deep misgiving -- the high officials whom the influence of the late emperor had forced upon the popes of the last twenty years. With the death of Louis II the opportunity had come to the pope to be rid of them. They preferred flight to the risk of what possibly awaited them, in that time where the unsuccessful politician so frequently ended his career blinded and lacking a tongue. Whereupon the pope, after in vain exhorting them to return, solemnly condemned them. Among these eminent fugitives one at least, Formosus, the Bishop of Porto, was a man of real distinction and great austerity of life. Nicholas I had employed him on a mission to Bulgaria, and the Bulgarians had wished to keep him as their primate. This the pope -- Adrian II, by this time -- refused, whereupon the disgusted Bulgarians had turned to Constantinople. As Adrian neared his end there was talk of Formosus as his successor. But another school of thought had prevailed, and the distinguished Bishop of Porto could hardly hope for favours from the candidate it succeeded in electing -- John VIII.

At this juncture, while the exiles, returning with an army, invested Rome, Charles the Bald suddenly died (October 6, 877) and the pope, for the second time in two years, had to choose an emperor and a protector. While he hesitated, his enemies took the Leonine City and held him prisoner for thirty days, using all possible pressure to induce him to name Carloman, the senior prince of the German branch of the family. But the pope held his ground, refusing to make a decision, and finally they made off.

Next, in despair, the pope made peace with the Mohammedans and sought to arrange a league of perpetual peace between the warring Carolingians. But nothing came of his great scheme; the dislocation of the ancient empire went on apace; each of the princes had more than he could successfully accomplish in the task of keeping order within the kingdom nominally subject to him; and the pope's final decision to crown as emperor Charles the Fat, the senior surviving member of the German branch of the imperial house [ ] (February 12, 881), did nothing to strengthen his own position in Rome. There his enemies were finally too much for him and on December 15, 882, they made away with him, battering him to death when the poison acted too slowly. John VIII is the first pope whom history records to have been murdered. In the next eighty years he was to have, in the manner of his death, not a few successors. The event was yet another proof how speedily the Carolingian civilisation was falling back into barbarism, proof too of what the Roman nobility were capable.

John VIII's successors -- the short lived Marinus (882-884) and Adrian III (884-885) -- recalled the exiles, and with them Formosus, absolved now from the censures laid on him and from the oath he had sworn never to return to Rome. With Stephen V (885-891) the political problem of the empire returned for, in X87, Charles the Fat was deposed, to die a few months later. Three candidates disputed the succession to his title of emperor-Arnulf the Carolingian King of Germany; Berengar, another Carolingian who ruled Italy; and Guy, the powerful anti-imperialist Duke of Spoleto in whom the old anti-Roman, anti-papal tradition of the Lombards came to life again. Guy defeated Berengar, and Stephen V, without the safeguard of any treaty, without any guarantees for the future of the papal State, had perforce to crown him emperor (891).

The papacy's real hopes centered in Arnulf, a safer protector because more distant; and for the next five years all the Roman diplomacy was directed to induce Arnulf to invade Italy and dispossess Guy. It was a dangerous game, but one that Stephen's successor, too, continued to play. This was no other than Formosus himself (891-896). Arnulf, however, was kept in the north by the problem of Germany. Not until 896 did he come, and on February 22 of that year he was solemnly crowned emperor by Formosus, who had already crowned his rival Guy and, on Guy's death in 894, Lambert his son. It only remained for Arnulf to conquer Lambert and then, the papacy freed from the new political slavery, to retire to Germany. The campaign had hardly opened however when paralysis struck down Arnulf, as it had stricken his father Carloman. The papacy was once more at the mercy of an emperor from whose inevitable vindictiveness no mercy could be hoped. The shock of the news was too much for Formosus and, just seven weeks after his coronation of Arnulf, he died (April 4, 896).

While Arnulf was slowly carried into Germany, Lambert marched to his triumph. By the end of the year he had taken i Rome. Formosus was no longer alive, but there yet remained ways to inflict exemplary punishment. The new pope -- Stephen VI -- was bidden to try the dead pope for the alleged ecclesiastical, irregularities of his election, and, that the ceremony might lack nothing, the corpse of Formosus was disinterred and, vested in the pontifical robes, set before the assembled bishops. He was condemned, and according to the ritual the body was stripped of all its insignia. Underneath the splendour they found a hair shirt. Finally they threw the remains into a disused grave, whence the mob next took them to tip them into the Tiber.

Stephen had himself been consecrated bishop by Formosus, the most serious irregularity urged against whom had been his own previous occupancy of the see of Porto. As the law then stood, no bishop could pass from one see to another. Stephen VI, then, suffered from the same irregularity as the man he now condemned. He solved the difficulty by declaring that the ordinations performed by Formosus were all null and void-including therefore his own -- since Formosus was not pope but a usurper.

Stephen VI, too, had his enemies, or perhaps his share in the frightful horror of the recent trial pointed him out as the most appropriate scapegoat once the city had come back to its senses. Be that as it may, an insurrection soon dispossessed him. In his turn he, too, was degraded and thrown into prison where, in a short time, he was strangled. Romanus, who followed him in the chair of St. Peter, lasted for four months only; Theodore II, who came next, for only twenty days. Formosus, or rather his remains, no-v reappeared, thrown up by the river. Theodore, with all possible ceremony, restored them to their original resting place in St. Peter's; and, so it is said, as the body was borne in, the images of the saints placed there by the dead pope bent in reverence before him. Theodore also restored all the clerics whom Stephen had deposed.

But if Theodore made amends for the sacrileges of his predecessor, he did not live anything like long enough to lay the old spirit of faction. When he died there was once more a double election. The party of Formosus elected John IX, their opponents Sergius III. The emperor intervened in favour of the first and Sergius, for the moment, retired.

John IX (898-900) was a reformer. The acts of Stephen VI were once more annulled. It was decreed that never, for the future, were corpses to be digged up for trial, and, a kind of recognition of the apparent truth that without the emperor there was small chance of order, the imperial rights in the matter of papal elections were again solemnly confirmed. How the new alliance would have worked it is impossible to say, but within two years Lambert had died without heirs and John IX was dead too.


So far as the Papal State was concerned, the death of John IX was the end, for nearly a century, of even the elementary decencies of life. Berengar, who claimed now to be emperor, was wholly taken up with the war against his rival Louis the Blind, of Provence. The empire had at last ceased to matter anywhere at all. The huge state of Charlemagne was now everywhere at the mercy of the local great man -- bishop, abbot or count -- all, or almost all, jealously disputing jurisdictions and territory, endeavouring in the general chaos to annex rights long coveted and to extend their existing possessions. The plague of the Scandinavian invasions had indeed for the moment been broken, but in their place there appeared a new horde of ferocious nomads from the steppes of Asia -- the Hungarians. Arnulf had used them as auxiliaries in his wars, but in 895 the whole nation, a million in all, was streaming into central Europe. For the next sixty years, almost unhindered, their disciplined cavalry swept over central and southern Europe, Italy, Provence, Lorraine and, especially, Germany, the most terrible affliction that even these centuries had seen.

These years between the disappearance of the empire and the emergence of the German King Otto I (936-973) are, except in England, perhaps the darkest in all known European history. Nowhere are they darker than in Rome, where, for sixty years a single noble family dominated, making and unmaking popes at its pleasure. The details of this story are so grotesque that they lose all relation to reality. They have scarcely any power to shock, so great is their incredibility. The head of this family was the nobleman charged with the government of Ravenna, who was also something like the commander-in-chief of the army, Theophylact. In the reign of John IX's short-lived successor, Benedict IV (900-903), another reforming pope, Theophylact plays no part. To Benedict there succeeded Leo V, whom after a few months another priest, Christopher, managed to overthrow. Christopher was in turn deposed (904) by the disappointed candidate of the election of 898, Sergius III, and sent to the prison that still held Leo V. A few weeks later the two ex-popes were murdered " out of pity" ! Sergius, a blackguardly ignoramus, was now supreme. Theophylact's hour had come.

Sergius renewed all the censures against Formosus, and honoured the tomb of the vile Stephen VI with an epitaph that exalted the infamous trial in words that defy translation. Next, annulling all the ordinations made by Formosus and the " Formosan" popes, John IX and Benedict IV, he threw the whole of Italy into indescribable confusion. Theophylact, through his wife, Theodora, slipped into the new post whence he came to control the whole papal administration, while his daughter, Marozia, there is reason to believe, became the pope's mistress. Of Anastasius III, and of Lando, who succeeded Sergius and, together, reigned for little more than two years (911-914) ] we know hardly anything save that the principate of Theophylact was in no way interrupted. Next came John X (914-928) alleged to be the lover, not of Marozia, but of her mother. He, too, was of the party of Stephen VI and Sergius III, but he showed himself a strong ruler and a capable soldier, organising a league of princes against the Saracens, defeating them in a great battle in 916 and routing them from their stronghold on the Garigliano. John X was long-lived, but towards the end of his reign he broke with the Theophylact clan. Its chief was now Marozia. She had married, in 915, one of the heroes of the war with the Saracens. Her husband soon died and it was her two sons, Alberic and John, who were, for the next few years, to play the leading parts in political life. Civil war broke out in the Papal State, between John X and Marozia. The pope called in the Hungarians, but before long a riot in Rome brought his reign to an end and in 928 he died in prison, smothered, it is said, at Marozia's orders. The next three popes were nominated by Marozia -- Leo VI, who lasted six months, Stephen VII for two years, and finally, in 931, her own son, John XI, a young pope, certainly, since his mother was scarcely forty!

Marozia's supremacy was fated soon to disappear. She now married, as her third husband, Hugh, the King of Italy. Her son, the pope, officiated at the marriage and all seemed well. But Marozia's elder son, Alberic, aspired to the mastery of Rome. Between him and Hugh, who hoped for the same prize through a revival of the empire in his favour, there could be nothing but enmity. The troubles soon came to a head; Hugh was driven back to Pavia, Marozia imprisoned, and Alberic was master as Theophylact, his grandfather, had been. During the next twenty years he was all powerful, the real ruler of the Papal State and the decisive factor in what passed for papal elections. His brother, John XI, died in 935: the next four popes [ ] were all Alberic's nominees.

A double aim inspired Alberic's policy as ruler of the Papal State (931-954). He desired to render permanent the family hold on the State, and to prevent any revival of the empire; for, whoever was crowned as emperor, this family ambition would find in him, inevitably, an opponent; the official protector of the Holy See could not allow any other master of the Roman See but himself. The danger of such revival came in the first place from Alberic's father-in-law, King Hugh. He made a series of attempts to capture Rome -- an event which would of course have been followed by his coronation as emperor -- in 933, In 936 and in 941. Each time Alberic was too strong for him and Hugh died his ambition unachieved. His son and heir, Lothair, did not live long enough to be a danger to Alberic; but a more serious competitor by far was the King of Germany, Otto I, whom Lothair's widow, Adelaide, now called in to deliver her from Berengar of Ivrea who had usurped her rights.

So, in 951, the German king descended on Italy. He took Pavia, liberated Adelaide, and married her. Then he turned towards Rome. But Alberic, once more, successfully warded off the Charlemagne-to-be; and Otto made his way back to Germany.

As ruler of Rome, Alberic was at least satisfactory. The four popes of his choice were men of good life, and the period was one of religious restoration, thanks very largely to the influence of St. Odo of Cluny. It came to an end all too soon, in the most singular departure from tradition that the century produced. Alberic's health failed prematurely. He was scarcely forty when, in 954, death claimed him, while his heir Octavian was still in his teens. Octavian, despite his age, succeeded peacefully to his father's power, and to the hope of something more, for before Alberic died he had extracted a promise on oath from the electors that, when the pope died, they would choose Octavian. So it fell out. Octavian succeeded his father in the temporal sovereignty of Rome, with its new tradition of naming the pope, and a few months later he also succeeded the pope, Agapitus 11 (956). He was then sixteen years of age.

There was this to be said for the scheme that it ended, for once, the rivalry of nobility and clergy, of the temporal and spiritual interests, since John XII -- Octavian's new style -- combined them, eminently, in his person. The pope was once more supreme in his State, and supreme because, before he was pope, he happened to be, like his father before him. "prince and senator of all the Romans. "

It was already a serious disadvantage that the person in whom these offices were combined was so young; it was another that he did not in the least realise the obligations which his spiritual rank entailed. The most serious thing of all was that the older he grew the less he seemed to care. He was master as no pope had been master since the Papal State began. How he used his power is most decently told in the spare and reticent lines of Mgr. Duchesne. [ ]

" We know, too, in what other fashion his youthful spirits overflowed, and how Rome was soon the witness of truly appalling scandals. The young pope took little pleasure in the ritual ceremonies of the Church. Matins scarcely ever saw him present. His nights, no less than his days, were spent in the company of women and young men, in hunting and in banqueting. His sacrilegious love affairs were flaunted unashamedly. Here no barrier restrained him, neither the rank of the women for whom he lusted nor even his kinship with them. The Lateran was become a bad house. No decent woman was safe in Rome. This debauchery was paid for from the Church's treasury, a treasury filled by a simony utterly regardless of the character of those who paid. We hear of a boy of ten consecrated bishop, of a deacon ordained in a stable, of high dignitaries deprived of their eyes or castrated. Cruelty crowned the debauchery. That nothing might finally be lacking, impiety, too, was given its place, and men told how, in the feasting at the Lateran, the pope used to drink to the health of the devil. "

None the less the administrative machine continued to work. What occasion the almost universal breakdown of communications left to these popes for the exercise of their primacy was not neglected. Even John XII could regulate the lives of the monks of Subiaco recently restored by his father.

The regime went on for six years. Then, driven by dire necessity, for the young pope had none of his father's political gifts, an appeal was sent to the German king. Otto, barred from Rome in 951 by Alberic, needed no second invitation from Alberic's son. As in 951, he met with little resistance in the Italian kingdom. He entered Rome, and on the Feast of the Purification, 962, John set the imperial crown on his head. This time the pope himself had knotted the rope that was to hang him.

The emperor swore to defend the pope and the pope swore to be loyal to the emperor. Once more the imperial rights in papal elections were carefully set out. In practice the only difference was to be that a German prince would now choose the pope where, for the last sixty years, he had been chosen by an Italian.

The emperor was soon called upon to exercise his privilege. Scarcely had he left Rome (February, 963) than John XII began to plan an anti-imperialist league with the defeated King of Italy. Otto returned. A hastily gathered council listened to the numerous complaints of the pope's scandalous life. He was summoned to appear and then, after a month's delay, solemnly deposed (December 4, 963). In his place, with the emperor's consent, they elected one of the lay officers of the State -- Leo VIII. The new pope lasted just as long as Otto remained in Rome. When the emperor left, John XII reappeared with his partisans and Leo fled. A new council now pronounced Leo's election invalid, since no council was competent to pass sentence on the pope and since Leo, at the moment of his election, was a layman. A few months later John XII died, in circumstances as scandalous as those in which most of his life had passed. In his place, ignoring Otto's pope, the Romans elected Benedict V (May 22). But Otto returned and, a month later to the day, Leo VIII was reinstated while Benedict was transported to Hamburg to live there as the prisoner of the archbishop.

The ascendancy of the house of Theophylact was ended. Henceforth they had a powerful rival, in their schemes to dominate the papacy. But this powerful rival, none the less, was not all-powerful and to the regime of 904-963 there succeeded a period of confusion where the emperor or the great Roman family chose the pope, according to the opportunity of the moment. It was Otto I who appointed John XIII (965-972) -- a relative of John XII, for he was the son of Marozia's younger sister -- and then, on John XIII's death, Benedict VI. The next year (973) the Roman family came once more to the fore, in the person of Crescentius, brother to the dead pope John XIII. Benedict VI was now deposed; and, through the influence of Crescentius, Boniface VII was elected in his place. At his orders Benedict was, apparently, strangled Boniface was now (June 974) driven out in his turn by the imperial commissioners, who chose as pope Benedict VII. This pope -- a reformer who, as Bishop of Sutri, had been a friend to the new monastic reform of Cluny -- reigned for nine years. When he died the emperor, Otto II, [ ] chose for pope his own chancellor, who took the name of John XIV (983). Then, prematurely, a few weeks later, Otto II died, leaving for successor a baby three years old. It was the opportunity for Boniface VII -- murderer of Benedict VI -- to return from Constantinople where, since 974, he had found shelter. John XIV was overthrown, and imprisoned in St. Angelo; where he died miserably a few months later (August 20, 984).

Boniface thenceforth reigned peaceably until his sudden death, eleven months later. His patron, Crescentius, had predeceased him. It was, then, this man's son who "managed" the new pope, John XV. When, in 996, this pope died, Otto III, now of age, was himself in Italy. Crescentius "II" dared not ignore the emperor;. and, on the Roman petition for a new pope, Otto named one of his own cousins, Bruno of Carinthia, who took the name of Gregory V: he was the first German pope. [ ] The emperor had no sooner left Rome than, as before in 963, the pope imperially imposed was expelled; and Crescentius installed a pope of his own -- John XVI. Otto however returned in the spring of 998. Crescentius was beheaded; and John XVI, his ears and nose slit, his eyes and tongue torn out, was solemnly deposed.

Gregory V did not long survive his restoration. In February, 999, he died -- poisoned, it is likely, by some henchman of the rival faction. The emperor, since the victory over Crescentius, had made Rome his residence -- the only detail he was destined to realise of his dream of really restoring the empire of Augustus. He now appointed to succeed his cousin his old tutor Gerbert, Archbishop successively of Rheims and Ravenna -- the first French pope, in immediate succession to the first German. This new pope, Silvester II, was the most distinguished scholar of the time. But the learning which made him almost a legend even to his own contemporaries, could not supply for the weakness of the young emperor; nor could it exorcise the brutal determination of the factions to regain their century-old supremacy in Rome. Otto III was driven out, two years after Silvester's succession, to die a wanderer at the foot of Soracte in January, 1002. Nor were his followers, nor the pope, strong enough to secure the burial in Rome of this last emperor to dream of making the ancient city once more the capital of the world.

Otto, twenty years of age, was not yet married. The succession passed to his kinsman Henry, Duke of Bavaria. In Rome another Crescentius had appeared -- the son of the victim of Otto's justice. It was he who, in Rome, was Otto's effective successor. The rivalry for supremacy, and for what went with this -- the power of naming the pope -- between the house of Theophylact and the foreign kings seemed ended. It was just a hundred years since the first Theophylact had arisen to power through Sergius III; and his family still maintained their hold. But it was to last only a few years longer. A rival clan was to wrest it from them; and then, after scandals that recalled John XII, a king from Germany was again to interfere. For yet another fifty years the Holy See was to remain enslaved to one lay master or another.

Silvester II died peaceably, at Rome, in 1003. John XVII who followed him reigned only for six months. Next came John XVIII (1003-1009) and Sergius IV (1009-1012). All these were the choice of the third Crescentius, and good men. Crescentius "III" predeceased his last nominee by a matter of months, and when Sergius IV died (May 12, 1012) there was a double election. The faction of Crescentius elected Gregory; while another and equally powerful band of the same old family, represented by the Count of Tusculum, supported Theophylact, one of the count's own younger sons. It was Theophylact who was finally installed -- under the style of Benedict VIII -- and Gregory carried his case, as usual, outside Italy to the German king, Henry II. Henry, however, decided for Benedict, and in 1014 received from him in St. Peter's the imperial crown.

Once again the empire of Charlemagne had been revived to honour the king of the Germans. But this time it was no mere forced compliment on the part of the pope. Benedict VIII was a strong pope who set himself to the task of repairing the damage wrought by the upheavals of the past century and a half. The invasions had finally ended. Missionaries were at work converting the Northmen in the country coming to be called Normandy and the Magyars in Hungary. At a great council at Pavia the pope opened the campaign for a religious restoration by an attack on the most serious of the novelties that had developed during the chaos -- clerical marriage. To the end of his reign he remained on the best of terms with the emperor, who, indeed asked nothing better-himself a man of saintly life [ ] -- than to co-operate in the revival.

Another powerful auxiliary was the pope's brother, Romanus, who was in practice the ruler of the State -- much as Alberic had been, eighty years before, in the time when his brother, John XI, was pope. When Benedict died, in 1024, Romanus, for all that he was a layman, took his place. He called himself John XIX, and, alas, continuing to be the secular noble, revived the worst traditions of his tenth-century predecessors. St. Henry II also had died in 1024. The new emperor, Conrad II (1024-1039), was too interested in his chances of making money out of abuses to regret the appearance of a pope in whom abuses found the highest of sanctions.

John XIX was sufficiently scandalous. His successor outdid even the scandals of John XII. John XIX died in 1032. He had still a third brother living, Alberic. This man had two sons, Gregory and Theophylact. Gregory was made ruler of the Papal State, with the title of Consul, and Theophylact became pope as Benedict IX. The emperor, Conrad II, found the arrangement excellent. The new pope was treacherous and dissolute, but he lent himself easily to the emperor's schemes. He lasted twelve years, until, in 1044, the Romans rose and drove him out, possibly with the aid of the Crescentius faction; and then, lavishly. thereto, they elected as pope the Bishop of Sabina, Silvester III (January 1045). Benedict's party, however, speedily restored him, and Silvester returned to his old see (March 10). On May 5 Benedict suddenly resigned in favour of his godfather, the archpriest of St. John-before-the-Latin-Gate. The new pope took the title of Gregory VI, and all that was healthy in Italy hailed his accession with relief. St. Peter Damian wrote to congratulate him and, from a Benedictine monastery on the Aventine, Gregory called one of the monks to be his secretary, Hildebrand. It was the entry into the history of the Church and of Europe of a man so great that it is hard to characterise him. But it was not yet his hour. There remained the Crescentius' pope, Silvester III; there remained Benedict IX, soon to return, and backed by his powerful clan; there remained, too, the question of Gregory VI's own election. [ ] In all these stirring events of the past year all parties had ignored the emperor. It was obvious, given the tradition since Charlemagne's time, that the ultimate decision between the three claimants would lie with him; and Benedict IX stood for a family always strongly imperialistic. What would the emperor -- Henry III -- do?

Throughout what was the empire of Charlemagne the same causes produced, during this century, the same effects: ecclesiastical discipline in decay, simony rife and clerical marriage the rule, nobles appointing their own kin to abbeys and sees in order the more easily to plunder them. Richard I, Duke of Normandy, gives Rouen to his son, Bayeux and Avranches to nephews, Lisieux to his grandson. Richard II continues the tradition. It is the same in the south of France where sees become a family possession, passing from uncle to nephew, and the same is frequently the case in Burgundy too. Where the lord has no rights in the election the vacancy is often the occasion for his illegal intervention, bribery and violence making the election a nullity. As one lord's son becomes pope at sixteen years old, so for another boy of ten his father buys the Archbishopric of Narbonne, and for the rest of his long episcopate this curious archbishop is put to selling lands, castles, privileges, and even ordinations, in order to pay off the debt of his initial expenses, endeavouring to sell at a profit in detail what he had bought in bulk! Sees were still, for the princes, an easy means of rewarding service; their revenues were even made over to women, as witness the French queen whose security for her creditors was her expectation of a see! In the abbeys which passed into the hands of such strange abbots the most extraordinary developments are recorded. We learn of abbots married and living in the abbeys with their families and, less credible still, that their monks followed their example, such abbeys apparently being transformed into the equivalent of a vast country club. The matter of the monastic vows was, in such places, a joke, and the abbot who tried to introduce reforms there did so at the risk of his life. Thus Erluin, who strove to restore the religious life of the great abbey of Lobbes lost his eyes and his tongue and was left for dead by the indignant monks. Between these brigands installed in cloisters, or in sees, private wars raged as furiously as between the other robber-barons. In England, too, the same kind of disorders appeared, and at one time Pope Formosus had it in mind to excommunicate the whole English hierarchy.

It was the most serious feature of all that men grew used to the sight of these abuses, and that the usurpations seemed well on the way to acquire force of law. The prince, nominating and deposing bishops now for centuries, comes to regard such nominations as appertaining to his prerogative. The see has become his property as truly as the other lordships recommended to his protection by their owners and received back from him as from their lord. Where such a development has taken place -- that is to say in the generality of abbeys and sees -- election means no more than the lord's right to appoint. That right -- and the right to exploit the monastic properties -- he disposes of as he disposes of any other property. He divides it; he bequeaths it, he sells it; he gives it as a dowry. In southern France it was more common for such rights to be owned collectively. In the north the lord generally tended to keep it whole in the hands of his family. Germany, more than anywhere, these rights remained with the king -- the emperor to be. As the Romans approached the emperor when the see was vacant, asking him to name the new pope, so did the chapters of such sees petition the lord who owned the right to name the new bishop.

Such "rights" once established there were not wanting lords to exploit them financially. The lord of Narbonne received 100,000 pieces of gold from Guifred of Cerdagne when he appointed the latter's son, the boy of ten, as archbishop. Sometimes the right to elect was sold for a single occasion, the owner being careful to arrange for a commission. It is one of the glories of William the Conqueror, set out by his biographer with all the praise it deserves, that he never sold a single ecclesiastical dignity. Systematic simony, and the other contemporary practice of clerical marriage, combined to produce the beginnings of a third abuse. The married bishop and priest had but one thought -- how best to transmit his benefice to his own family. The clergy, if such practices spread, would become a hereditary caste, and the property originally given to the churches for the support of charity be the rich endowment of the privileged few. We meet such married bishops in Normandy and in Brittany, at Rouen, Le Mans, Seez, Quimper and Nantes, at Gascogne and at Agen, all of them leaving their sees to their sons, and, in one case at least, securing the succession by associating the son with the power while the bishop himself was still alive, as the princes were beginning to have their heirs crowned in their own lifetime. The old law, that forbade the ordination of the sons of a priest born after their father's ordination, had fallen into oblivion.

With such abuses in the hierarchy, and in the monasteries, it is not surprising that the religious life of the parochial clergy suffered to the point of disappearance. The best elements of the time sought to protect themselves by enlistment in some abbey of good repute. Despite the immense losses through the long-endured royal supremacy, such abbeys still existed, and in no small number. It was now that the practice became general that the monk should be a priest, and as priests -- and not merely as preachers -- the monks began to serve the countrysides about their abbeys. Between such abbeys, loth to submit to the destructive authority of the local bishop -- and therefore often exempted from it by the Holy See -- and the bishops there was sometimes a feud that developed into war.

A final consequence of the confusion of the time was the reflected confusion in theological thought. The horror inspired by the sight of wicked bishops bred the relieving thought that such wickedness must destroy their spiritual power. The blessings, masses, ordinations of such prelates were, then, mere ritual gestures, void of real effect -- an old and often condemned heresy had reappeared, and it was to take hold of a strong party among the coming reformers. In this era of chaos it escaped condemnation, and it possibly drew support from the condemnations and re-condemnations of their predecessors' ordinations made by so many of the popes of this time.


That preaching ceased, that the sacraments were neglected, that superstition only too often did duty for faith, that the traditional Catholic piety suffered indescribably needs but to be stated. And the old poison of Manichee doctrine began to run again, a thin stream indeed but virulent, through the arteries of Christendom. A few more years and what trace would there anywhere be left in the lives of Catholics of the life and teaching of Christ?

Catholicism was, nevertheless, on the eve of a restoration so speedy in its realisation and so magnificent in its scale that, even yet, no one has adequately described it as a whole. The chief figure in that restoration was the monk Hildebrand whom Gregory VI, in 1045, took from his monastery to be his secretary. But the foundations on which Hildebrand built, the materials with which he worked, were not of his creation. Like himself they were part of the tradition of Catholic thought and practice which not all the devastation of two centuries of dissolution and barbarism had destroyed. The fact of that destruction and some of its worst effects have been noted. Something must be said of what escaped. Even in this darkest age there was light. The universal "dark ages" never existed, unless in the minds of those who had no means of reading their history.

To begin with, in no country at any time during these years of desolation were there lacking saints, men in whose lives the gospel ideals were realised through the practice of virtue that was no less than heroic. In Italy there were priests such as Bernard of Menthon whose pastoral zeal made him the apostle of the Alps, monks like St. John of Parma, St. Nil and the two founders of new orders, St. Romuald and St. John Gualbert. In every part of France, too, saints are to be met, Gerard of Aurillac, Thibaut of Champagne, Fulbert of Chartres, Abbo of Fleury and Gerard of Broigne who led a great revival of the ideals of St. Benedict's rule. Throughout Flanders, and in the lands between the Meuse and the Moselle, new foundations sprang up. Bishops like St. Gerard of Toul assisted the revival. The spirit was already active -- and nowhere so evident as at Cluny -- which will produce Carthusians, Cistercians, and the great order of Premontre.

In Germany, where, despite a more barbarous way of life, the Church had less to suffer in essentials than in Italy and Gaul, the missionary labours inaugurated by St. Ansgar, and so long interrupted, were now resumed. New sees were created in the Danish peninsula (948), the king was baptised (965) and, after a brief anti-Catholic reaction Sweyn, too, his successor. Sweyn's son Canute, King of England as well as of Denmark, was a most pious prince, multiplying monasteries and, in his devotion, even reviving the old English tradition of the royal pilgrimage to Rome. In Norway the mission prospered as in Denmark. By the time of St. Olaf (king 1014-1030) the new faith was everywhere victorious. As in Denmark, it was the kings who had been the most powerful and earnest of propagandists. Iceland and Greenland had been won over at the turn of the century (c. 1000) and in 1050 the episcopal see of Gardar in Greenland was founded. Sweden was more obstinately pagan. King Olaf was indeed baptised in 1002, but a pagan reaction drove out his Catholic successors. Sweden remained a stronghold of paganism until well into the twelfth century. One centre of this mission to Scandinavia was Hamburg but Englishmen, too, had a very large share in it.

Other missionaries, from central Germany, were engaged, in the last half of the tenth century, in a work equally arduous -- the conversion of the Slavs. Here again it was in part a work of restoration. In Scandinavia the hardy zeal of these monastic apostles endeavoured to convert peoples never as yet in relation with the empire: in eastern Germany, however, the mission had accompanied the victories of the German kings. Otto I's conquest of the Wends and Adobrites had been followed (946-949) by the foundation of sees at Havelburg, Brandenburg and Stargard. Twenty years later Merseburg, Meissen and Zeitz were founded, dependent on the new metropolitan see of Magdeburg which, in the emperor's plan, was to be the centre of all this missionary activity. As everywhere else, the speedy conquest was followed by a pagan reaction. As late as the year of the Norman Conquest, the pagans inflicted a bloody defeat on this attempt to form a Catholic kingdom of the Wends (Battle of Lenzen 1066); Mecklenburg was ravaged, Hamburg once again destroyed, and in thanksgiving to the gods priests were burnt alive in solemn sacrifice.

The movement to convert the Slavs -- not unwilling to listen to the teaching of Christ -- was also complicated by national hatreds. They suspected the German missionaries, allies doubtless of the German bishops who fought in the armies of the German king, much as the pagan ancestors of these same Germans had, in the days of St. Boniface, suspected the missionaries who were Franks. The appearance of the English monks had delivered the Faith from this impasse in the eighth century. In the ninth it was from the east that deliverance came to the Slavs of Moravia, when the Emperor Michael III sent to them two priests from Salonika, the brothers Cyril and Methodius (863). They were men of culture and wealth, sprung from distinguished families and had, both of them, abandoned brilliant careers in the service of the State to follow the monastic life. At the moment when the emperor's summons came to them their energies were employed in a mission to convert the Khazars. The success of their new mission to the Slavs naturally did not please the German bishops. They were denounced to Rome for such novelties as the use of the Slavonic tongue in the liturgy, and, Constantinople at the moment being in schism and the centre of a violent and instructed anti-Roman propaganda, the pope, St. Nicholas I was alarmed and summoned the brothers to Rome to explain themselves (867). By the time they arrived Nicholas I was dead. It was Adrian II who heard their case. Far from condemning their activities, he raised them both to the episcopate and sanctioned their liturgical innovation. Henceforth the pope was to be to them what his eighth-century predecessors had been to St. Boniface. Cyril died in Rome (869) but his brother returned to the difficult mission, to meet again the hostility of the German king and his bishops, to be imprisoned and repeatedly denounced to Rome. Adrian's successor, John VIII, as repeatedly protected him, but Methodius died (885) with his work not yet completed. Then came the Hungarian invasion, from which Moravia suffered more than most places, and the hope of a Slav Catholicism evangelised in direct dependence on Rome was destroyed for ever.

Not Moravia but Bohemia, where SS. Cyril and Methodius had never been able to penetrate, was to be the centre whence would come the conversion of the Slavs of the north. Of the first apostles of the Czechs little enough is known. As early as 845 fifteen of their chiefs received baptism at Ratisbon, and from 894 all their dukes were Catholic, the most famous of them the martyr St. Wenceslaus I (925-935). These were, all of them, supporters of the mission, and the see of Prague was founded in 973. Nevertheless the work was so slow, the relapses so frequent, that the greatest of the early bishops, St. Adalbert, lost heart and left Bohemia to preach to the still more barbarian Prussians. There in 997 he met a martyr's death. It was another fifty years before the Czechs were really converted.

Nevertheless, long before that time, there were Czechs who were missionaries, and these were already busy beyond the frontiers of Bohemia with the conversion of the Poles. A grand-daughter of St. Wenceslaus had married the Duke Miecislas and in 966 he was baptised. Two years later the see of Poznan was founded, dependent at first on Magdeburg, and in the year 1000 the second see of Gniezno, in the place where St. Adalbert had met his death. New sees at Cracow, Kolberg and Breslau were made subject to it. The first of these Catholic dukes had recommended his realm to St. Peter, receiving it back as St. Peter's vassal and thus inaugurating that close attachment to Rome which has ever since been so characteristic of Polish Catholicism. In Poland, too, there was, however, to be a pagan reaction, and it was not until the time of St. Casimir, king from 1041-1051, that paganism was finally destroyed.

One of the chief hindrances to the conversion of the Slavs had been the Hungarian invasions that filled the first fifty years of the tenth century. They thrust like a wedge between the northern and southern Slavs, and they destroyed utterly the nascent Catholicism of the Moravians. Here, too, the reign of Otto I marks a turning point. At a great battle on the Lech (955) he destroyed the military power of the Magyars for ever. They ceased to be a race of wandering plunderers, and, settling down as tillers of the soil, they willingly received the missionaries who now began to pour in. The first to organise this new activity was Frederic Archbishop of Salzburg, appointed papal legate for the purpose by Benedict VI. From Ratisbon and Freising, too, came assistance, but the great hero of the work was Piligrim, appointed Bishop of Passau by Frederic of Salzburg. The mission was his personal occupation, and one fruit of his zeal was that the next king of this newly converted people was not merely Catholic but a saint. This was St. Stephen, crowned by the pope in the year 1000, king from 997-1038? whose long reign saw new sees established, monasteries built, and a Church organised independent of the Church in Germany, under the Archbishop of Gran, his capital city.

Further still to the east, beyond the Hungarians and Poles, lay Russia, and the tenth century saw the beginnings of Russian Catholicism too, evangelised, however, directly from Constantinople, Byzantine from its very beginnings. Byzantine also was to be the Catholicism of the Bulgarians, for all that their first teachers had been Latins. The greatest of these was the austere Formosus, and when Adrian II (870) refused to give him to them as their bishop -- since he was already Bishop of Porto, and the Latin tradition frowned on episcopal translations -- the Bulgarians turned to Constantinople. John VIII made more than one attempt to regain the immediate Roman hold on this distant nation, but in vain. The more loosely organised Catholicism of their powerful neighbour the Byzantine emperor, and possibly its greater political pliancy, made a stronger appeal. Bulgaria henceforth, like Russia, would follow Constantinople

While then, in the tenth century, the Church in its older provinces suffered, almost to death, from the general chaos of civilisation, it produced for its new conquests a host of obscure heroic souls who very slowly, but continuously, with immense toil, laboured to carry the good news that the kingdom of God is at hand to thousands of souls as obscure as themselves, in lands until now veiled from the knowledge of civilisation. The eternal, divine love of God for man had by no means failed to find a faithful reflection in the Church of Christ.

Nor was it entirely dead in the older provinces of the West. In more than one place, as the invasions ceased, as the invaders were beaten back, or converted, new signs of life were evident. In England the reigns of the first conqueror of the Danes, Alfred the Great (871-901), of his son, Edward the Elder (901-924), and his grandson, Athelstan (924-940), were a time of vigorous restoration, economic, intellectual and spiritual, the very centre of which was the restoration of religious life. It was now that St. Dunstan was formed, to be another St. Boniface for his native country, scholar, musician, monastic reformer, reforming bishop, and as Archbishop of Canterbury the first of the great ecclesiastical statesmen of the English Middle Ages. In Gaul too -- which by the tenth century we may begin to speak of as France -- the intellectual and religious renaissance went hand in hand, at Rheims and Chartres, at Angers, Laon, Orleans and Paris where, around he restored cathedrals, the episcopal schools began to be founded whence were to come the scholastic philosophy and the first universities.

Most striking sign of all, new orders of religious appear. The first, and the most important, of these was the Benedictine renaissance whose centre was the abbey of Cluny in Burgundy, founded in 910 by William the Pious, Duke of Aquitaine. From its beginnings Cluny was freed from the jurisdiction of the local bishop and directly subject to the Holy See. It was Benedictine, but with a difference. Corporal austerities were added to the rule, and it acquired a regimental rigour that testified to a view of human goodwill less optimistic than that of St. Benedict. The new venture was uniquely blessed in that, for a hundred years and more, it was directed by an unbroken succession of great saints -- Berno (910-927), Odo (927-942), Maieul (942-994), Odilo (994-1048) -- all of them personalities of the first order. The popes -- the amazing popes of the tenth century -- encouraged them. authorised them to reform the other monasteries, lavished privileges on their work. It was, for example, John XI -- Marozia's son, John XII's uncle -- who set St. Odo to his work of reform in Burgundy and central France. The same saint restored Subiaco and Monte Cassino, and he founded at Rome the monastery that was to form Hildebrand. Under St. Odilo the movement spread to the tiny Catholic kingdoms of Spain. The number of houses dependent on Cluny rose from 37 to 65, and there was now established the practice which gave to the work of Cluny its peculiar strength. The old Benedictine principle that each abbey was completely autonomous was abandoned. the houses reformed by Cluny formed a kind of religious order, whose members all owed obedience to the Abbot of Cluny. The superiors of the dependent houses, the priors -- for the Cluniacs know only one abbot, the Abbot of Cluny -- were not elected by their monks but nominated from Cluny. The Abbot of Cluny was no hermit. He had the duty of visiting the dependencies, and the charge of maintaining good order throughout his immense family. Periodically all the priors met at Cluny in a general chapter. In that age of general dislocation, when unity of any kind seemed but an impossible dream, and when alone the monasteries retained a semblance of stability, the importance of the new departure that bound up in one huge federation all these cells of new religious life, can hardly be exaggerated. It was the most powerful arm for the restoration of good living, and for the preservation of the ideals of a good life, yet given to the Church. It was to the centuries which saw it rise what the Capuchins and Jesuits were to be for the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

The first Abbots of Cluny were inevitably great travellers Spain, France, Italy and Rome saw them continually. They advised the popes; kings called them in to arbitrate. Such all abbot as St. Odo or St. Odilo was perhaps the greatest figure in the Church in his time. Assuredly faith and charity were far from extinct in the tenth century despite the undoubted losses, the indescribable scandals.

Not that these were hidden, nor that men shrank from facing the problem they presented to the loyalty of practising Catholics. At a council of French bishops and notables in 991, [ ] for example it was proposed that the Archbishop of Rheims, Arnoul, should be deposed. His guilt -- treason to the first of the Capetian kings-was admitted. But the pope alone could depose a bishop, and though the king's advocates set out in detail the atrocities of the contemporary pontifical life as an argument to dispense with the pope's jurisdiction in the matter, and though the bishops elected a new archbishop, the popes quashed the judgement and in the end prevailed. the new archbishop -- Gerbert, afterwards Pope Silvester II -- resigned and Arnoul was restored. Throughout the councils of the time evidence is not lacking that Catholics still held, in the words of the Abbot of Fleury at this very council of 991, that "the Roman Church, like the key-bearer of the heavenly kingdom who was the chief of the apostolic college, has the privilege of giving life to all the churches, which dispersed throughout the world, arc, as it were, its limbs. Whoever resists the Roman Church separates himself from among its members and becomes a member of the body of Christ's enemy. " The one source of metropolitan jurisdiction is Rome, and its sign is the pallium of lamb's wool blessed by the pope and conferred by him alone. As for the scandals, they must be borne until the providence of God removes them. "Although the yoke imposed by the Holy See can scarce be borne, " said a council of the time, " nevertheless let us bear it and endure. " [ ] Not the least sign that the divine life still continues in the Church is this faith of its members in the divine institution of the primacy, despite the degradation with which men have for centuries covered it. That faith was soon to be rewarded, for it was from the papacy that there was to come, what could not come otherwise, whether from individual saints or from such a corporation of saints as Cluny aspired to be, a general restoration of Catholic life and a new spiritual age.



If there was any province of Christendom which had suffered less than another from the debacle of the tenth century it was Germany Its conversion might as yet be incomplete, but Catholicism was too powerful a factor in the hold of the Carolingian kings on their conquest for them to be wholly indifferent to its quality. It was a newer thing there than in France. It had come in with the conqueror from the West -- and very largely owing to his protection. In Germany, too, the political organisation had never been sufficiently settled for the country to suffer from the disintegration of the central government as Italy, and France especially, were suffering. The Carolingians, who survived in a weak fashion to delay the recovery of France for yet another seventy years, disappeared from Germany in the first years of the tenth century. The German kings who took their place had all the freshness, and some of the strength, and even the genius, of Charlemagne himself. From 918 to 983, under Henry I, Otto I and Otto II, the Church in Germany had all the advantages, rare in that century, that come of a strong, purposeful government. Scandals were by no means lacking, but there never came upon religion that chaos which paralysed its action in other places.

The chief feature which, in this comparatively united German Catholicism, gave cause for real anxiety was its integration in the new political unity, and the contentment of so many churchmen that it should be thus integrated. It was the monarchy that had brought the Faith to Germany, and the Church tended to be, more completely than elsewhere, an instrument in the hands of the kings. They appointed and dismissed bishops and abbots at their will; they employed them in the great affairs of State; they named mere statesmen to the sees; all the abuses and usurpation systematised by Charlemagne continued to flourish in tenth-century Germany, part of the systematic royal protection and promotion of the interests of religion.

The general contentment Or even good churchmen with this state of things, the fact that they tended only to complain when, under a bad ruler, it was used to nominate unworthy prelates, is striking evidence how far abuse had passed into a system. It was indeed, as a system, a very important part of the whole social order. In the bishopric (or abbacy -- for both were affected by the development, entities wholly different in kind, the spiritual function, the territory over which the prelate had spiritual jurisdiction, the temporal principality and the mass of property attached to this -- the lands, the buildings, the serfs, the various kinds of tenants, the rights, the privileges, the jurisdictions, the social and political obligations -- all these had for a long time now (that is by the opening years of the eleventh century) become, in the general view, a single, indissoluble whole. Like the countship, the bishopric was, in feudal language, an honor, a beneficium granted by the king. The cleric who received it became thereby the man, the vassal, of the prince who gave it; and he became, at the same time, the lord of other men. In the national scheme of things the system of bishoprics was parallel to, and counterbalanced, the system of countships, as a means whereby the country was governed; it balanced the system of countships in this important respect, that the countships had become hereditary, so that -- and this was especially true of Germany -- the royal interest in nominations to sees and abbeys was, fundamentally, a real concern that one of the main checks on the tendency of the feudal nobility to nullify the royal power should really function.

When the bishop died (or was translated to another see) the honor was in the position of that of a lord who had died without heirs -- it reverted, de plein droit, to the lord who had given it. And, like every other honor, the ecclesiastical beneficium was conveyed to the recipient through a ceremony -- this was the Investiture, about which the famous controversy was now about to begin. The Investiture was not a mere ceremony, but an act which really and actually transferred the honor, from the lord to the man on whom he meant to confer it; and the act consisted in the presentation by the lord of an object that symbolised what was conferred. From about the year 899 the custom grew, first in Provence and then in the Empire, that kings granted bishoprics by handing to the cleric the crozier or pastoral staff. This practice began to appear in France about a century later; and then, in Germany, the emperor Henry III (1039-1056) added the ceremony of placing a ring on the cleric's finger. To these new developments to this use by the lay lord of ceremonials already used in the religious rite called the consecration of a bishop, no objection ever seems to have been raised for the first hundred and fifty years.

What was it now considered that such Investiture by the lord conferred upon the cleric? Nothing else than that one juridical whole the episcopatus, in which spiritual and temporal were, for this mid-eleventh century, indissolubly conjoined -- not, of course, the sacramental powers conferred through the act of consecration, [ ] but everything else, including as well- the cura pastoralis.

So universal was this view of the indissoluble character of that socio-religious complex the bishopric, that all the first generations of reformers held it too. [ ] But while the kings, looking first to the social role of the bishops, based upon this idea of the episcopatus as a unity their claim to a final say who should be bishops, the new clerical reformers drew from the fact of the unity a very different conclusion. The bishop was primarily a spiritual personage -- therefore the layman could not lawfully appoint him to the episcopatus and must not invest him with it, using those symbols (acts and words) by the handing over of which the bishopric was considered conferred. The two views were diametrically opposed; and in the first, hot, fifty years of the conflict the aim of each of the parties was, necessarily, the unconditional surrender of the other. None, as yet, saw the distinction, which existed in fact, between the bishop as the spiritual ruler of men's consciences and the bishop as a kind of count who happened also to be a cleric. Only as the war continued, and as the theorists began to study the institution historically, did the reality of this distinction emerge, and with it the possibility of a lawful compromise between Church and State based upon it.

The great name in the history of this development is that of St. Ives, Bishop of Chartres, [ ] one of the founders of the new scientific Canon Law; the country where a solution on these lines was first attempted was England, and its ecclesiastical patron was the Archbishop of Canterbury, St. Anselm. [ ]

The danger is evident how easily a confusion might arise in an ordinary man's mind between the prince's right to transfer his own temporal authority over his subjects and, what belongs to quite another order of reality, the right to confer on a man spiritual authority over other men. But this danger was far from evident to the generations that saw the system of such investiture slowly develop and expand. Once the danger began to be evident to ecclesiastics, revolt was inevitable; and before such a revolt became general there was bound to be a transition period when ecclesiastics who were no less pious than the reformers continued to stand by the old system because they were not clear headed enough to see how dangerous the confusion was which it always implied and was now producing. For many years the reform party was therefore divided. About such evils as simony, and clerical incontinence, and clerical marriage, it was indeed always united. But it was not until the pontificate of Nicholas II (1059-1061) that the war on lay investiture as the main source of all these evils, began really to be waged by the popes, on a principle, and with any consistency. From the time of St. Gregory VII (1073-1085) this is the main object with all the party. The vision of how a good prince might use such authority in church appointments to repress clerical abuses, the memory of what, in the past, good princes had in fact accomplished -- these seem ever to have haunted many minds among the reformers. The boldness of St. Gregory VII, bent on extirpating a custom now well nigh universal, and established for the best part of two centuries was, to such men, something of a scandal.

The situation of the Church under this regime, now about to be attacked and destroyed, is seen at its best in the reign of Henry II (king from 1002, emperor in 1012, died 1024). In his own life he was a model of evangelical virtue, given to prayer and mortification, a generous almsgiver and a promoter of good works. [ ] He was, none the less, the effective administrative head of the Church in Germany, reforming monasteries, enforcing Catholic tradition against divorce -- always a difficult matter with these half-converted Barbarians -- deposing unworthy bishops, creating new sees, convoking synods and presiding at them: even, on one occasion, forbidding a bishop to say mass until he had cleared himself of an accusation. His use of the powers he usurped was admirable; and the new and growing tradition of which he is the best example finds its way into the writings of one of the earliest of the canon lawyers, Burchard, Bishop of Worms, who during this reign began to compile his famous collection.

The pope who crowned St. Henry, Benedict VIII, died, in 1024, to be succeeded by his deplorable brother, John XIX. How St. Henry would have dealt with such a pope may perhaps be inferred from the way in which Otto I had dealt with John XII. The contingency did not now arise, however, for, in that same year, 1024, St. Henry also died. He left no heir and the kingship, with the empire, passed to Conrad, the Duke of Franconia.

Conrad II was an emperor whom the new regime at Rome suited sufficiently well. For all his personal generosity to the churches he favoured, he was never hampered in his dealings with them by any interest in reform. The old abuses of simony and the marriage of clerics began to creep back. The reform movement, where it continued, did so thanks to the zeal of individuals, notably to the three bishops of Liege, Utrecht and Cambrai. Nor did the reformers find any difficulty in accepting this, by now, customary hold of the emperor on the administration of the Church.

Conrad II reigned for fifteen years. His son, Henry III, who succeeded him in 1039, was a personage of a very different order. A strong ruler, studious, reserved in manner, correct where his father had been a loose-liver, he halted the growing decadence of German Catholicism. The Church was too valuable an instrument in the work of uniting Germany for him to suffer the weakness and the wickedness of its subjects to harm it. So, while the canon law was strictly enforced that barred the sons of priests from an ecclesiastical career, and the whole force of the Church enlisted to enforce the " Truce of God," [ ] the king, more than ever, kept his hold on the nomination of bishops and abbots, investing them, on appointment, with the symbols of their spiritual authority. How such a man would deal with the Roman scandal no one could doubt. The opportunity for his intervention was the fall of the wretched Benedict IX, whose family owed the papacy very largely to the patronage of the German kings. It was, in some sense, to revenge an outrage on his crown that, in the autumn of 1046, Henry III crossed the Alps with an army.

Everything went according to the traditional programme. The emperor met Gregory VI and, with the threat of deposition, persuaded him to abdicate. [ ] This was effectuated at the Council of Sutri (December 20, 1046). Silvester III was deposed and,. making no opposition, retired to a monastery. On Christmas Eve, in the inevitable fashion of these German protectors of the Church, like Otto I in 963, and Otto III in 996, Henry III named his pope. It was, of course, one of his own German bishops: Suidger, the experienced reformer who for six years had ruled the see of Bamberg created by Henry II. He took the name of Clement II, and on Christmas Day crowned his sovereign Emperor. The coup d'etat ended, as always for now two centuries, with a renewed acknowledgement of the emperor's rights in the matter of papal elections; it was set out, this time, in the clearest possible terms.

Clement II, whatever his title to be pope, was a good man and promised an era of better things. But the foundation on which his power rested was the emperor. When the emperor withdrew, the Roman nobility, from whose hands he had rapt the papacy, emerged once more; Clement died, after a nine-months' reign, apparently poisoned (October 10, 1047) and Benedict IX reappeared. Benedict survived for another eight months. On Christmas Day, 1047, the emperor named yet another of his German bishops, Poppo of Brixen, who took the name of Damasus II. This pope's reign was shorter even than that of Clement II; it was not until July 17, 1048, that he came to Rome and was installed, and twenty-three days later he too was dead. It was another six months before the emperor filled the vacancy and meanwhile, to the easing of this complicated problem of legitimacy, Benedict IX finally disappeared. At Christmas, 1048, the emperor named his third pope, Bruno, Bishop of Toul. He took the name of Leo IX, and with his accession the leadership of the reform passed to the Holy See.

Leo IX was, at this time, forty-seven years of age. He was of mixed blood, partly Alsatian, partly Burgundian and French, and a near relative of Henry III. He had begun his career in the imperial service under Conrad II and, although in holy orders, he commanded a troop of horse in that emperor's Italian expedition of 1027. The accident that, on his return, the see of Toul was vacant, changed his whole life. After much hesitation Bruno consented to be its bishop; and thenceforward, for twenty years, he gave himself to the work of reform. The evils of the Roman situation he knew well, for, since his consecration, he had often visited the city as a pilgrim. But, unlike his two immediate German predecessors, this third choice of Henry III did not-the thing seems certain -- consider that the emperor's nomination alone sufficed to make him pope. There still remained the all-important matter of the consent of the Roman Church; and it was as the Bishop of Toul, and in a pilgrim's dress, that he arrived in Rome. [ ] He was enthroned on the first Sunday of Lent, 1049 (February 12).

The new pope took with him from Lorraine a number of experienced reformers destined, in the next ten years, to make the new tendencies the one stable feature of the papal policy. Humbert, Abbot of Moyenmoutier, one of the monasteries which Bruno had reformed, a learned and able controversialist, was the chief of them; Frederick of Lorraine (brother to the Duke of Lorraine, Godfrey) was another; Hugh the White, Abbot of Remiremont, was a third; and Halimard, the monk who had recently been made Archbishop of Lyons, a fourth. Finally there was Hildebrand, the secretary of the recently deceased expope Gregory VI, who now returned to the city whence he was one day to organise and direct the whole great movement. He was as yet, however, only one, and that the youngest, [ ] of this band of able counsellors, the picked instruments through whom Leo IX proposed to rule.

Leo IX was himself a man of great learning -- in the last month of his life, while the prisoner of the Normans, he set himself to acquire a knowledge of Greek -- and he was a saint. He had lost none of his old military skill, and his short reign was a well-planned and well-executed campaign that took him through every one of the diseased and sickly provinces of Christendom. Everywhere he went the pope presided personally at the council summoned to examine local conditions, deposing unworthy prelates, restoring the practice of elections, forbidding lay interference, and particularly the practice of selling the rights of nomination, forbidding the clergy to make war, restoring the old discipline of celibacy and enacting the most stringent penalties against simony. The list of these councils is imposing. They took the pope to the very confines of settled Christianity. They began with one at Rome in 1049; then, in the same year, the pope is at Pavia, Rheims and Mainz. In 1050 he is at Rome again, tours southern Italy and crosses the Alps to Langres. Treves is visited in 1051, Pressburg and Ratisbon in 1052, Augsburg and Mantua in 1053. By the time the pope died, the whole of the Church knew that reform was now the papacy's own concern, and its main concern. The Roman Church had been brought into direct touch with the dependent bishops in so striking a way that none could now be unaware of this.

These apostolic journeyings were the foundation upon which all the later effort of the Church as a united whole was built. The new condemnations of lay control over appointments may not yet have sounded with all the needed clearness. They were lost perhaps, for the moment, in the condemnation of more striking and more openly scandalous anomalies such as clerical marriage, clerical brigandage and simony. But already Leo IX had singled out the root cause of all the disorder. He had set in motion a force which, since the lay hold was universal, must ultimately shake all Christendom, and which must, assuredly, strain the new relations between pope and emperor. So far, and for St. Leo, too, the imperial control of papal nominations was an undiscussed feature of ordinary procedure -- the very means, indeed, by which the papacy had been transferred from the control of blackguards to men of goodwill. St. Leo was himself its creation. His own relations with the emperor were excellent, and the question did not arise.

The pontificate ended, for all that, in storm. In 1040 the Normans had invaded southern Italy, from that kingdom of Sicily which ten years earlier they had wrested from the Arabs. For all that they were Catholics, the new conquerors speedily showed themselves as great a scourge as earlier invaders. Church lands were ravaged with the rest, and in the course of his reform campaign in the summer of 1052 the pope was brought up against the Norman atrocities. There ensued a series of events that was to be of very great importance in the future development of the papacy's relation to the empire. The pope gathered an army-the German contingent for which the emperor, at the last moment, refused to let go, thanks to the Bishop of Eichstadt -- and in the summer of 1053 the campaign opened. It ended abruptly in the rout of the papal army at Civitate (June 18, 1053). The pope was captured, the Normans besought absolution for their crimes, swore fidelity and were absolved. But they held the pope prisoner for another nine months none the less. A few days after his release he died (April 19, 1054).

The first result of the short war was a strong reaction against St. Leo and his policies. The leading Italian reformer, St. Peter Damian, denounced in unmeasured language the pope's recourse to arms. The battles necessary for the Church should be fought by the emperor. The only sword a priest should know is the sword of the word of God. At the imperial court. too, there was a reaction and when, finally, after an interregnum of almost twelve months, the emperor prevailed on a German bishop to take up the unattractive responsibilities or the papacy, it was that Bishop of Eichstadt who had opposed St. Leo that he appointed. The circumstances of the "election" are curious. St. Leo's "cabinet" was scattered at the moment of his death; Humbert and Frederic of Lorraine were at Constantinople, [ ] Hildebrand in France. In September (1054) a delegation from the Roman clergy and people met the emperor at Mainz and agreed to accept his candidate. It was not until the following March that the Bishop of Eichstadt accepted, and he made it a condition that the emperor should assist him against the Normans; he styled himself Victor II.

As well as the Normans another problem called the emperor into Italy. Godfrey of Lorraine, already a troublesome and rebellious vassal, had recently, without the emperor's leave married the widow of the Marquis of Tuscany [ ] and become thereby lord of a territory of immense strategical importance that stretched across the Apennines and was a formidable obstacle to communications between Germany and Rome.

Henry III came down into Italy, to find that Duke Godfrey had managed to escape. His wife was arrested; and his brother, Frederic, chancellor now of the Roman Church and just returned from his mission to Constantinople, also judged it more prudent to take to flight. The Norman troubles continued to be the subject of negotiations without any decision being arrived at, and the proposed expedition that was to destroy them was abandoned; revolts in Germany had called the emperor home. The pope, after acting for some months as Henry's lieutenant in Italy combining the work of reform with that of policing the imperial vassals, followed him in September, 1056. A month later he was assisting at Henry III's deathbed (October 5, 1056) and securing the recognition of his heir [ ] from the great lords and bishops. Then, shortly after his return to Rome, Victor II died too, at Arezzo (July 28, 1057), reconciled in the last months of his reign with Godfrey and with his brother Frederic, now, thanks largely to the pope, Abbot of Monte Cassino (May 18, 1057) and a cardinal (June 3).

Victor II was to be the last of the imperially nominated popes. This time the vacancy was of short duration. The news of the death of Victor II no sooner reached Rome than, on August 2, the clergy elected Frederic of Monte Cassino who was consecrated and installed as Stephen IX. For the first time for centuries the I Church had a pope whom neither the emperor nor the local aristocracy had appointed. An embassy was, it is true, sent to ask the consent of the empress regent, but sent only when the new pope had been consecrated and was already acting as pope. All the pacts conveying to the emperor rights, privileges, and powers of veto had been ignored; the policy of Leo IX was carried to its logical conclusion. Meanwhile the reforms continued. Then, only eight months after his election, the new pope died (March 29, 1058) after laying a command on the Roman clergy not to: elect his successor until the return of Hildebrand, then away at the imperial court. How little progress, in one direction at least, all the labours of the three last popes had as yet accomplished was shown immediately when, without waiting for Hildebrand,: the Counts of Tusculum elected their first pope for nearly thirty years -- the Cardinal-Bishop of Velletri, John Mimicius, who took the ominous name of Benedict X (April 5, 1058). The Roman clergy, led by Humbert, refused him recognition, and so too-influenced no doubt by Hildebrand -- did the empress regent. The court fixed on Gerard, the Bishop of Florence; [ ] Hildebrand won him over to consent; Godfrey of Lorraine was commissioned to see to the expulsion of the anti-pope; and, in December, 1058, Gerard was proclaimed as Nicholas II. It was a return to the procedure which had produced Victor II.

With a mixed army, in which the forces of Godfrey of Lorraine were conspicuous, the new pope marched on Rome. Hildebrand's diplomacy had won over one of the factions, after a little street fighting Benedict X fled, and, on January 24, 1059 -- ten months after the death of Stephen IX -- Nicholas was solemnly enthroned. He was the sixth pope in twelve years, and destined to reign for little more than the average of his recent predecessors, for he died at Florence in July, 1061. His reign is, nevertheless, immensely important. For Nicholas II is the author of the law governing papal elections that is still in force; and to secure the freedom of the election from those out of whose hands the new law took it -- the Roman nobility and the emperor -- this pope made an alliance with the Normans. This was indeed a departure, for the Normans were little better than a pirate state, nowhere recognised as anything else. Here Nicholas II's adviser was, probably, the new Abbot of Monte Cassino, Didier, lately created cardinal and one day to be pope himself as Victor III.

The new electoral law was promulgated in the decree of a council held in the Lateran in April, 1059. A hundred and thirteen bishops took part in it, and after the usual condemnation of simony, of clerical marriage -- it was now forbidden to hear mass said by a priest who was not celibate -- and of lay investiture, [ ] a decree was passed making the rule of life of the canons-regular obligatory on all clerics bound to celibacy. The decree on the papal election laid down that, henceforth, the only electors were the cardinal bishops and the cardinal clergy of Rome; they are to elect, by preference, a cleric of the Roman Church; the emperor is not accorded any rights, but whatever is done is to be done "with due regard and honour to our son Henry the present king. . . in accordance with the concession we have made, and likewise to those of his successors who personally shall have received the like right from the apostolic see."

The decree [ ] fixed the law for all future times, giving to the chiefs of the Roman clergy, the cardinal bishops, priests and deacons, a new importance and practically founding their corporate existence as the College of Cardinals. It was by no means anti-imperialist in intention. The enemy against which it was directed was the anarchical influence of the Roman aristocracy, responsible for two centuries of scandal and sacrilege, and still powerful enough to force the election of their man. The emperor, nevertheless, was removed from the centre of the action. His honour was to be secured, but the decree does not confirm any one of the innumerable acts by which the consecration of the pope was made to depend on the emperor's consent to the election; a whole collection of imperial rights that had developed since Charlemagne was silently set aside. The court, naturally, was displeased. The legates who came from the council with the official communication of its decrees, were refused a hearing, and a council of German bishops condemned the pope and declared his laws null and void. Nor was the new alliance between pope and Normans to the imperial liking. Their duke, Robert Guiscard, swore fidelity to the Church, swore to assist the pope to recover his rights, made over his lands to St. Peter and received them back as St. Peter's vassal, pledging himself to pay an annual tribute in acknowledgement of suzerainty. The new, independent papacy was provided with a strong ally, should either of its ancient masters seek to re-establish his hold.

While Nicholas II lived all was well. The anti-pope, Benedict X, submitted. The German court remained passively hostile. But with the pope's death (July 27, 1061) the various hostilities fused. It remained to be seen whether the court, the defeated Roman aristocracy, and the innumerable opponents of the new reforms from among the dignitaries of the Church in northern Italy, could be united and unite on a pope. Nicholas II was at Florence when he died. When the news reached Rome there was a small-scale insurrection, and presently two missions were on their way to the court, one from the Roman aristocracy, the other from the unreformed bishops of Lombardy. There seemed small chance of the statute of 1059 being carried into effect on this the first occasion that called for its application.

It was Hildebrand who saved the situation. He was now archdeacon of the Roman Church, the first dignitary after the pope himself; and the pope's death left him in full charge. He had his candidate ready, persuaded him to allow his name to go forward, and brought him to Rome. This was Anselm of Baggio, Bishop of Lucca, who had in recent years made a name for himself as the militant leader of the reform party in Lombardy. He was a Lombard himself, a friend of St. Peter Damian and well known at the court where he had served in recent years as ambassador. He was by no means an intransigent, and represented a school of reform less drastic in its procedure than that which had bred Nicholas II. [ ]

Meanwhile Hildebrand had also won over one of the Roman factions, and had called in the Normans [ ] who were, by this, camped outside the gates of the city. On October 1, 1061 Anselm was installed as Alexander II.

Four weeks later the court declared itself, and at Basel, in the presence of the boy emperor, Henry IV, an assembly of German and Lombard bishops chose as pope the Bishop of Parma, the candidate favoured by the Roman nobility; he called himself Honorius II. The emperor ratified the election and, with an army, the imperialist pope descended on Italy. On April 14, 1062, he defeated the troops of Alexander II in the fields by the castle of St. Angelo, took possession of Trastevere and St. Peter's. Two things saved Alexander: the arrival of Godfrey of Lorraine Marquis of Tuscany -- actually a check on Honorius rather than an aid to Alexander, for Godfrey recommended both to retire to their former sees and submit their claims to a council -- and, secondly a palace revolution in Germany. The new regent, Anno, Archbishop of Cologne was a zealous reformer. He was however too much of an imperialist to acknowledge Alexander immediately and he, too, was possessed with the idea that both Alexander and Honorius should submit their claims to a council. As regent he summoned a diet to discuss the question at Augsburg.

To this diet Alexander sent as his advocate St. Peter Damian, who, zealous reformer though he was, now gave away the principle of all that the last two popes had accomplished for the freedom of religion when, confident of Alexander's legitimacy, he declared that it was for the emperor and his bishops to decide which of the rivals was really pope. [ ] The German nobles and bishops voted for an enquiry into the case against Alexander. The pope made no protest against this and, when the diet recognised him as pope, he returned to Rome, in the spring of 1063.

And now St. Peter Damian, from France, whither he had gone as legate, once again threw the pope's case into grave confusion. For, ignorant of the Augsburg act of recognition, he wrote to Anno demanding that the regent summon a general council. Alexander II was still too insecure to make the kind of reply to Anno that Nicholas II might have sent; and when the council met, at Mantua, (Pentecost 1063) the pope, although his demand that he should preside had been bluntly refused, [ ] consented to appear before it and to make a solemn protestation that his election was not simoniacal, and was according to the ancient form. As to the Norman alliance, concerning which he had to submit to a lecture from Anno of Cologne, that was his own affair. The council ended by acknowledging Alexander and it condemned Honorius. The schism was ended. Alexander had triumphed, but not without the emperor. The principle that the laity have no rights in papal elections -- to which Nicholas II had lately given so much importance -- had suffered something of an eclipse.

Alexander II had, however, by no means waited for the council's decision before beginning to rule the Church. The explanation which he made to the council at Mantua was a simple act of policy to end the schism. Ever since his election he had, in fact, continued the work of his predecessors, by synods, despatch of legates, and correspondence, working the reforms into every corner of Christendom. The direct influence of the Roman Church was beginning to be felt throughout the universal Church more continuously than ever before in its history. Southern and central Italy were now comparatively well in hand. In France the new Capetian rulers, still hardly more than nominal kings, oscillated; but legates from Rome toured the country unceasingly, preaching the new principles, and, in synods and councils, insisting on the punishment of those who contravened them. Spain, too, felt the new vigour. In Germany the chief interest, during these years, was the gradual revelation of the young emperor as another Conrad II. Like his grandfather before him Henry IV continued to traffic in sees, and he showed every sign of resentment against the new limitations on his power. He was not yet crowned as emperor, and the fear that the pope would refuse to crown him acted, for the moment, as a restraint. Nevertheless, despite the growing difficulty of Henry's hostility, the reform continued to penetrate Germany too. Alexander was even able to compel such chiefs of the German episcopate as the Archbishops of Cologne and Mainz and the Bishop of Bamberg to come to Rome and stand their trial.

One of the chief interests of this reign is that it saw the introduction of the reform into England. William of Normandy who, two years after the end of the schism. had conquered England, was a prince who had always enjoyed the confidence of the popes of the reform. He was himself the more enthusiastic for the reform in his new kingdom, since he found it a means of strengthening his own authority. When, on the death of St. Edward the Confessor (January 5, 1066), Harold succeeded to the English throne, William sent off a mission to Rome denouncing Harold as a perjurer, and the Archbishop of Canterbury who had crowned him, as schismatic -- Stigand having received his pallium from Benedict X, and having never since made his submission to the lawful pope. Alexander blessed the expedition, despite opposition from some of his cardinals, and sent William a consecrated banner as a pledge of support. Hildebrand was the main mover in this policy, and after the Conquest he reaped his reward. In 1070 two papal legates presided over a great council at Winchester. Stigand and several other bishops were deposed; Lanfranc, now abbot of Bec, was appointed archbishop, and the Church in England, too, was opened to the full tide of the new vigorous life.

When, in 1073, Alexander II -- not the least of whose merits was that he survived to rule for more years than his six predecessors put together -- came to die, the reform movement had been, for a quarter of a century, the primary occupation of the popes. They had gradually organised it throughout the whole Church, and where, in the beginning, it had depended for its success on the lucky chance that the reigning emperor was himself a good man and interested, it had now for sixteen years been independent of any temporal authority, captained by the pope himself. The imperial suzerainty over the Church, accepted without reflection, by good men no less than bad, as one of the ordinary facts of life, had been set aside. For a short sixteen years the papacy, for the first time in five centuries, had been politically free. There was now to begin the desperate fight to maintain that freedom, a fight that was begun with the freedom barely gained and the gain in no way consolidated.

The Emperor Henry IV was now twenty-three -- intelligent, cultured, an artist, but selfish and sensual. To anyone who knew his character, and the history of the popes' successful attack on the privileges which his line had so long enjoyed, conflict must have seemed inevitable. Rather than surrender to the new idea, that lay control of ecclesiastical appointments was the main cause of all the ills that afflicted religion, the emperor would throw in his lot with the anti-reform forces. The pope, just as inevitably, would, in defence of what had been won, increase the growing centralisation, tightening the links that bound bishops to the metropolitans, and metropolitans to the Roman Church. The time for compromise and half measures was gone. The moment had come when to attack abuses yet more violently was a very necessity of life. The time called for a pope who should be perfectly informed of every element in the complicated game, who should possess a will of iron, political subtlety, unshakable courage, and also, if these were not to damage himself and his cause once the spirit breathed life into the terrifying combination, a pope who should possess the heroic disinterestedness that comes of supernatural charity. It was the ultimate secret of Hildebrand's lasting success -- for he it was upon whom the burden fell -- that he remained the monk first as last, the ascetic and the man of prayer.

As in 1061, the vacancy found Hildebrand in charge. The decree of 1059 was to be applied for the second time, and in circumstances more menacing than before. Hildebrand ordered a three days' fast in preparation for the election, and proceeded with the dead pope's funeral. There was only one possible candidate, and at the very funeral, apparently, he was spontaneously, tumultuously, hailed as pope, clergy and people shouting together and bearing down his unwillingness. A month later he was ordained priest, and on the feast of SS. Peter and Paul consecrated bishop.

Hildebrand -- St. Gregory VII -- was at the time of his election a man in the middle fifties. [ ] His youth had known the Rome of the last of the popes of the House of Theophylact. He had been the secretary of the first of the reformers, and in the days of Gregory VI's exile he had come into close contact with the leaders of the reform movement in Burgundy and Lorraine. He had perhaps known Cluny, [ ] and he had certainly known Liege, the one centre, [ ] at that time, of a reform movement which was also anti-imperialistic. The Bishop of Liege it was who, alone had protested when Henry III had disposed of the popes at Sutri, who alone had ventured to oppose to the emperor the tradition that the pope has no judge on this earth. [ ] From the north St. Leo IX brought Hildebrand back to Rome, ordained him to be one of the sub-deacons of the Roman Church and set him in charge of its finances. Later he had served as legate in France at the time of the great controversy on the Holy Eucharist, and under Victor II he had returned to France, again as legate and reformer, presiding at great councils, such as that of Lyons and that of Chalons, where simoniacal bishops were deposed. He had gone as legate to the imperial court and, under Nicholas II, with Anselm of Lucca to the place where the conflict raged most violently between the reform and the old regime -- Milan. When Anselm succeeded as Alexander II, he remained at Rome to be that pope's alter ego. By the time of his own election, in 1073, he knew by personal experience every phase of the vast movement, knew, too, every personality engaged in it. Few popes have come to their task so well prepared.

The principle that gives unity to the whole of Gregory VII's varied activity, is his ever present realisation that he is responsible to God for all the souls entrusted to him. Political activity may be a necessary means, but the end in view is always wholly supernatural. The pope must answer to God for the souls of kings no less than for those of priests and peasants; for kings too must keep God's law, or find themselves in hell for all eternity. And to William the Conqueror Gregory VII wrote this explicitly, "If then, on that day of terrible judgement it is I who must represent you before the just judge whom no lies deceive and who is the creator of all creatures, your wisdom will itself understand how I must most attentively watch over your salvation, and how you, in turn, because of your salvation and that you may come to the land of the living, must and ought to obey me without delay." There is nothing new in this: it is but a particular application of the general principle that the shepherd is charged to guide the whole flock which Gelasius I, for example, had stated no less explicitly to the emperor Anastasius six hundred years before St. Gregory VII. [ ] Nor, despite the ingenuity of later, anti-papal, historians -- was this meant as a thinly-disguised means of bringing about a political system in which the pope should rule all the affairs of the Christian world. Nowhere in the pope's own declarations is there any hint that he hoped for such a position, nor in the multitudinous writings of his supporters, whether publicists or canonists, that argue for the rights he did claim; nor is there any sign that the emperor believed this to be Gregory's aim, or any of the emperor's men. To none of the pope's contemporaries, to none of those who were at the heart of the struggle, did it ever occur, even to allege, that what Gregory VII was aiming at was to be the emperor of a Christian world state. [ ]

Henry IV, too, had his problems, and chief among them that of recovering what the crown had lost during his own long minority. [ ] Appointments to sees, and the accompanying simony, were at the moment important political expedients. This return to the evil ways of his grandfather had already, in the last years of Alexander II, led to difficulties between Henry and the Holy See; and the candidate to whom the king had sold the see of Constance was, thanks to the pope, denied consecration. Despite the king, a council, presided over by papal legates, was held at Mainz (1071) and the bishop-elect of Constance was compelled to resign. In another dispute, which divided the bishops and abbots of Thuringia -- where the allocation of tithes was in question -- the king had intervened to prevent an appeal to Rome. It was already more than evident that, in Henry IV, the reform movement faced the most serious opponent who had so far arisen. In Germany itself his determination to dominate the great feudatories could only end in war, and in 1073 a general revolt broke out which came near to sweeping him away altogether. In his despair Henry appealed to the pope, acknowledging his simony and his many usurpations in the matter of ecclesiastical jurisdiction, asking for aid and humbly promising amendment of his life. Gregory VII had already planned his policy with regard to the German king. He was not by nature an intransigent. [ ] He would do his best, by kindly warnings, to turn Henry from an opponent into an ally of the reform. Only when he proved obdurate did the pope return to the drastic remedies of Cardinal Humbert and Nicholas II in order to secure the freedom of religion. Already, in September, 1073, he had forbidden the new Bishop of Lucca to receive investiture from the king, and now came the king's submission and appeal.

The pope's reply was to despatch two legates, to reconcile Henry and his subjects and to settle the details of the dispute between king and pope still hanging over from the last pontificate. By May, 1074, the war seemed practically over, and the pope and king were reconciled. The pope resumed his activities on behalf of reform in the great German sees. It was, very largely, to these great bishops, of Cologne, Mainz, Augsburg, and Hamburg, that the ruling of Germany during the minority had fallen. The accession of Gregory VII found them as little subordinate to the pope as they were to the king. It was only with the greatest difficulty that the pope's legates were able to bring together the council he desired, and strong protests came from the German clergy against the new discipline and especially against the newly enforced clerical celibacy. There was not too much hope that, in any conflict between Rome and Henry IV, the churches of Germany would make common cause with the pope.

That conflict was not long in coming. Gregory VII had begun by renewing the decrees against simony and clerical ill-living (Roman Council of March, 1074). By the Lent of 1075 it was evident to him that, almost nowhere, had the legates despatched to enforce these decrees, met with any general support from the bishops. The pope now determined to strike at the two chief causes of this failure on the part of the bishops. The abuse that appointments to sees had everywhere fallen into the hands of the lay lord, Gregory met by a solemn renewal of Nicholas II's decree of 1059, which had never been enforced. No prelate must, henceforth, receive an abbey or a see from any lay lord; no lay lord must, for the future, make such grants. And in the Dictatus Papae the pope reminded disobedient bishops that his authority was of divine institution, and that it extended to a power of deposing bishops and, if need be, of the emperor too.

This decree of February, 1075, against lay investiture was not intended, the thing seems certain, as an aggressive move against the princes -- still less was it an act which especially envisaged Henry IV; the pope was in no hurry to promulgate the decree to princes generally, and his policy in applying the law varied greatly. In the English kingdom of William the Conqueror, for example, where simony had no place in the royal appointments, and where king and bishops were at one with the pope in the work of reform, Gregory VII never raised the question at all. The new law was, indeed, " a preventive weapon designed to assist the struggle against simony". [ ] In a country where simony on the part of the king was systematic, and the king hardened in his resolve to maintain the system, conflict -- speedy conflict -- was inevitable; and such was the case with Henry IV. And, as the decree was a challenge to Henry IV so too were the blunt declarations of the Dictatus Papae a challenge to the feudalised ecclesiastical princes who occupied the sees of Germany. In these twenty-seven terse propositions king and bishops were warned that the pope's laws against simony, clerical ill-living, and the usurpation of rights to appoint were no dead letter, and that none, whatever his rank, would escape the sanctions enacted against those who broke these laws. [ ]

The war in Germany, that still dragged on despite the papal intervention of 1074, came to an end in September, 1075, with Henry IV completely victorious. Master, at last, in his own house, the king was now to show his hand against the papacy. The troubles of the see of Milan gave the king his opportunity. In March, 1075 the party of reform had suffered there a great defeat and their leader had lost his life. Whereupon their rivals had begged King Henry to appoint a new archbishop -- despite his recent acknowledgement of the archbishop, Atto, whom the pope had recognised at the council of 1074. The German king consented and nominated Tedaldo, a deacon of the Milanese church. And it was with this incident that the great struggle began between the sacerdotium and the imperium that was to be a main feature of European history for the next two hundred and fifty years.

Gregory VII answered the challenge with a solemn warning, December 8, 1075, that the decrees of the last council bound the king no less than the rest of the Church, and with a private message that if Henry persisted he should himself be excommunicated and deposed. Henry's reply was to organise against the pope all the discontented ecclesiastics of Germany and Lombardy; with them there rose, also, the anti-papal Roman aristocracy. It was not yet thirty years since Henry's father had despatched three popes in as many weeks.

It was the Romans who moved first, and as the pope sang the Midnight Mass of Christmas in St. Mary Major's he was attacked and carried off by one of the leading Roman nobles, Cencius, to be delivered however, after a few hours. Next, in January, 1076, a council of German bishops at Worms -- twenty-seven in all-denounced the pope as a usurper, elected without the king's authorisation, a mischief maker who for two years had sown dissension and trouble throughout the Church. The king added to their official decree letters of his own, inviting the Romans to expel the pope and bidding Gregory VII himself, "no pope but a false monk," abandon the see he had dishonoured. " Come down then, leave the see thou hast usurped, that another may take the place of blessed Peter. I, Henry, king by the grace of God, and all the bishops, we say to thee 'Come down, come down, thou whom all the ages will condemn." [ ]

The envoys from the German council halted on their way to Rome, to hold a council at Piacenza, where the Lombard bishops swore to refuse obedience to the pope. At Rome the pope gave the envoys a hearing -- and proceeded to excommunicate the Archbishops of Mainz and Cologne, the presidents of the German council, and with them the king himself (February 14, 1076). This last decree was promulgated in terms of unusual solemnity, which reveal the new development given by the reformers to Our Lord's promises to St. Peter. "Hearken, O Blessed Peter, Prince of the Apostles, to the prayer of thy servant, whom thou hast nourished since infancy, whom, to this day, thou hast protected from the power of the wicked. Thou art my witness, and Our Lady, God's mother, and thy brother the blessed Paul, that it was thine own holy Roman Church which set me, for all my unwillingness, at the helm. . . By thy favour it is, and not by any works of mine, that the Christian people obey my ruling. . .

In thy place, and by thy favour, God has given me authority to bind and to loose upon earth. Wherefore, filled with this confidence, for the honour and defence of thy Church, in the name of God Almighty, by thy power and thy authority, I deprive Henry the king, son of Henry the emperor, who with unheard-of pride has risen against thy Church, of all authority in the kingdom of the Teutons and in Italy. I release all Christians from their oaths of fidelity sworn to him or that they shall swear to him. I forbid any person to do him any of the service due to kings. . . . I bind him with the chain of anathema so that the whole world may know that upon this rock the Son of the living God has built his Church and that the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."

This act of unprecedented boldness, the culmination of the efforts of the reformers since 1049, was the culmination, too, of Gregory's reign, a focal point indeed of all the long history of the relation of the Catholic Church and the Catholic kings, towards which much previous history tended, to which all later history looks back. Gregory VII was to meet disaster upon disaster, to die with the Church divided, with the reformers defeated and scattered. But, because of the setting he gave it, this first papal excommunication and deposition of a king never left the Catholic memory. It fixed for all time, upon all subsequent popes and bishops. the elementary nature of their duty to secure the rights of religion and in securing them to make no distinction of persons. Imperator intra ecclesiam non supra ecclesiam est, so St. Ambrose had admonished Valentinian II seven hundred years earlier. St. Gregory VII's excommunication of the German king stamped that truth so deeply into Catholic practice that, henceforth, it ceased to be matter for discussion.

At first all went well and a great victory for the reformed papacy seemed assured. Around the papal decision all the recently quelled rebellion rose again. The great feudatories gladly renewed, under the new papal sanction, their old war on Henry. As the summer of 1076 came on his bishops, too, left him for the pope. At an assembly at Tribur (October 16, 1076) his deposition was proposed and it was agreed that this should be left to the pope who should come, in the following February, and hold a great council at Augsburg. Henry, apparently, was irrecoverably lost.

As in 1073, he resolved to save himself by submission. The pope had already left Rome for Germany when, with a few attendants, Henry crossed the Alps. He met the pope at Canossa, a fortress belonging to the pope's ally the powerful Countess Matilda, ruler since her father's death of the important marquisate of Tuscany. The pope, convinced most unwillingly that Henry's repentance was sincere, could not refuse him the absolution he sought (January 28, 1077). The king might stand, for three days, as he has ever been painted, clad only in his shirt, barefoot in the snow, beseeching the inflexible pope. It was he, nevertheless, who triumphed, staving off disaster at the last moment of the last hour, and breaking the entente between the pope and the German opposition before it had had time to take diplomatic shape. [ ]

In Germany, meanwhile, the opposition had elected another king, Rudolf of Swabia, Henry's brother-in-law (March 13, 1077). As between the two rivals the pope declared himself neutral, offering to arbitrate and judge between them. Both kings accepted, at least so far as to send ambassadors to plead their case before a great council of a hundred bishops which the pope assembled at the Lateran in the April of 1078. Once again, however, for lack of convincing evidence, the pope refused to decide. contenting himself with sending to Germany a commission of investigation. When it was clearly shown where the right lay, he would condemn the usurper.

The mission achieved very little. The war went on despite the endeavours of the legates, and presently Henry, disregarding the explicit oaths he had sworn at Canossa, was once more disposing of abbeys and sees in the old fashion. When, in the first weeks of 1080, he demanded that Gregory should excommunicate Rudolf, he merely applied the last stimulus to force the punishment that had been accumulating. At a council summoned in March of that year the pope recalled the previous decrees and renewed the excommunications of the disobedient and rebellious prelates. The rules for episcopal elections were again set forth, and finally the question of the German kings was dealt with. Henry, his bad faith since Canossa set forth in detail, was once more excommunicated and deposed, Rudolf acknowledged as lawful king.

Henry, however, was in a strong position. His nobles stood by him, his bishops too. Except in the far north he was master everywhere. The bishops of Germany, first at Bamberg (April 12, 1080) and then at Mainz, (May 31) the bishops of Lombardy at Brixen, (June 25) renewed the denunciations of the earlier council at Worms. The pope was a magician, a sorcerer, the protector of heretics, a poisoner who had made away with his four predecessors; his deposition was decreed, and in his place was "elected" the Archbishop of Ravenna who for ten years had led the anti-papal movement in Italy. He styled himself Clement III.

In October, Rudolf was slain in battle and Henry, master now in Germany, was free to invade Italy, execute the sentence of his bishops, and enthrone "Clement III." The independent papacy had endured just twenty-three years. The king was now in a position to regain what his father had held in 1046, Otto III in 996, Otto I in 963.

Before the new danger the pope was helpless. Although the Countess Matilda was as loyal as before, her energies were wholly absorbed in defending herself against her own vassals and against the towns which resented her claims; the invasion would be the signal for a general revolt throughout her territories. The Normans again had, in recent years. shown themselves so eager to raid the pontifical territory that it was extremely doubtful if they would now defend it. But finally, through the diplomacy of the Abbot of Monte Cassino, their two chiefs, Richard of Capua and Robert Guiscard, were reconciled to the pope. Further treaties were made with the petty barons of the Campagna.

Early in 1081 Henry began his march. Verona, Milan, Pavia, Ravenna, opened their gates to him in turn. Everywhere the local discontent rallied to him. On May 21 he appeared before Rome. His forces were, however, too slight to take the city, and the summer heat soon put an end to his attempted blockade. In the spring of 1082 the king made a second appearance before the walls -- but with no better fortune. In June 1083 he was, however, able to occupy the Leonine city and the pope agreed to call a general council on the condition that Henry would guarantee the safety of the bishops coming and going. This plan failed; and then, in 1084, upon a fourth military demonstration, the king was successful -- with the help of the funds sent by the emperor at Constantinople for an expedition against the Normans, and the connivance of war-weary traitors within the city. Thirteen of the very cardinals had, in fact, deserted Gregory VII when, on March 21, Rome fell to Henry. Three days later his anti-pope was enthroned at the Lateran, and on March 31, Easter Sunday, " Clement III " crowned Henry IV as emperor in St. Peter's, saluting him as Patrician of the Romans, while the old oaths were sworn anew that guaranteed the emperor's rights in the election of the popes. The old regime had been restored: the German king was once more master of the Roman Church.

His triumph was of short duration. The pope, still besieged in St. Angelo, managed to get a message through to the Normans and soon Robert Guiscard, with a huge army, was marching north to relieve him. The emperor did not await his coming but fled (May 21, 1084). Six days later the Normans arrived, and, treating the Romans as rebels, put the city to the sack. The pope was released, to become little else but the prisoner of his ferocious allies. Without them his life was not safe; when they retired with their booty he had no choice but to accompany them, to Monte Cassino, to Benevento, and finally to Salerno.

As the Normans retired, the imperialists recovered their hold "Clement III" once more reigned in the Lateran, while Gregory; protected by the Normans, passed the last three months of his life at Salerno. Isolated in southern Italy, cut off from all effective communication with the rest of Christendom, he launched a last appeal for help to all who believed "that the blessed Peter is the father of all Christians, their first shepherd after Christ, that the holy Roman Church is the mother and the mistress of all churches." The pope was broken, and in a short few months he died (May 25, 1085). [ ]

For the moment it seemed as though his work must die with him. It was a year before the cardinals could come to an agreement as to his successor, and another year before that successor would take the decisive step and seal his acceptance by receiving episcopal consecration. It was a curious choice that the sacred college had made, for the new pope -- Victor III -- was no other than the Abbot of Monte Cassino, the patron of the Normans, the negotiator of their peace with Gregory VII, and also, in the last days of St. Gregory, threatened with excommunication for his dealings with Henry IV. Victor III [ ] reigned for a matter of weeks only. On September 16, 1087, he died, and confusion descended once more on the followers of Gregory VII. Finally, on March 12, 1088. the cardinals elected Odo, the Bishop of Ostia. After three years of leaderless chaos the work of St. Gregory was to go forward once more.

The new pope was French by birth. He had made a name for himself at the school of Rheims, and had risen to be archdeacon of that see. Then he had gone to Cluny, and once again his gifts had raised him. He was prior of Cluny when, in the early days of Gregory VII, he accompanied his abbot -- Hugh -- to Rome. The pope kept him there, creating him cardinal and making him Bishop of Ostia. Thenceforward he was one of the most active of the pope's lieutenants in the work of reform. When Gregory VII, in the last days of his life, was asked whom he would prefer to succeed him, the Cardinal Odo was one of those whom he named. Odo by no means approved of Victor III, though he did not -- like some of the party -- refuse to acknowledge him as pope, and in the end he was so far reconciled to him that Victor III even recommended him as his successor.

It is the glory of Urban II -- for so the new pope styled himself-that in the ten years he reigned he made good the immense damage which the cause of reform had suffered since the excommunication of 1080. He did more; for, as devoted as Gregory VII and as determined, he supervised personally the progress of the movement as Leo IX had supervised its beginnings. [ ] The history of his pontificate divides easily. During the first five years the anti-pope and the imperialists continued to hold Rome and northern Italy: Urban II had no choice but to live under the protection of the Normans in the south. In 1090 the emperor himself again descended on the country, and for six years more the struggle went on between his forces and those of the Countess Matilda, aided now by the league of Lombard towns. But gradually the imperialists were forced out; Henry's son, Conrad, joined the rebels, was accepted by them as king, and went over to Urban II; in Germany itself, thanks to Urban's legate the Bishop of Constance, the reform party was slowly reunited. The monastery of Hirschau -- a German Cluny -- began to be a new source of strength, and even in the episcopate (now for fifteen years filled with Henry's nominees) bishops began to desert "Clement III" for the successor of Gregory VII. Urban's own personal tact, his diplomatic combination of inflexibility in principle with the traditional mildness of the Roman Church to repentant schismatics, did much to hasten these reconciliations. After 1093 he was able to live safely in Rome, where, so far, he had spent but an occasional, hazardous few weeks. .

The years of his "exile" among the Normans Urban II had -devoted to the reorganisation of that much tried land, where for the best part of a century Norman, Byzantine and Saracen had fought for the mastery. Now he turned his attention to the north. In March, 1095, he presided over an immense assembly at Piacenza, an international congress to which the loyal supporters of the policies of Gregory VII came in from all over western Europe, bishops from Germany, France and Spain, ambassadors, too, from the old empire of the East, clerics to the number of 4,000 and, it was estimated, 30,000 laity. This unprecedented success marked very definitely the end of the crisis in which the work of Hildebrand seemed fated to perish. The council also marks a definite change in the tone of Urban II's government of the Church. The pope is, once more. free of political anxieties; the canons of the council are a declaration to the world that the reform of Christian life is, once again, the sole task that occupies his mind. And from now on Urban II shows himself more and more of a rigorist in his attitude to lay investiture.

From Piacenza the pope moved slowly through Lombardy to his native France. Here many matters awaited his decision. The Church in France had, in fact, suffered cruelly from lack of leadership since Gregory VII's death, now ten years ago. There were controversies over jurisdiction between different bishops, disputes between metropolitans as to precedence and, finally, there was the scandal of the repudiation of his wife by the king, Philip I (1060-1106), and his subsequent remarriage.

Philip I was another, but less able, Henry IV. He had already incurred the wrath of Gregory VII for his crimes against the Church and his cruel oppression of his subjects. The same pope had also chastised the French bishops for the servility which kept them from protecting the weak against the king's tyranny. Now the king had turned his wife out, married another, and the Bishop of Senlis had blessed the second marriage. The Archbishop of Rheims and the other suffragans had approved, and the Bishop of Chartres, the famous canonist St. Ives, who alone had protested. was thrown into prison. For all this, Philip had recently (October 16, 1094) been excommunicated by the Archbishop of Lyons acting as papal legate.

The pope reached France in July, 1095, and for four months he moved about the valley of the Rhone, occupied in a general mission of restoring peace and unity, everywhere deciding, with authority, the disputes and controversies which, for lack of decision, had degenerated into feuds. On August 15, he was at Le Puy, to discuss the coming crusade with its bishop, Adhemar, who was something of an authority on affairs in the Holy Land. A fortnight later, at St. Gilles, Urban was in consultation with the count, Raymond, whose experience of the wars against the Saracens in Spain suggested him as the leader of the expedition which Urban had in mind. In October he consecrated the new abbey church at Cluny, where twenty years before he had ruled as prior, and in November he moved to Clermont to preside over the council summoned in the previous August.

This Council of Clermont (November 18-28, 1095) was an even greater success than that of Piacenza. Once more, although it was summoned as a council of French bishops, prelates, monks and laity came in from all parts. Accounts speak of between three and four hundred bishops and abbots. The total number of those whom the council drew to the town may have reached 100,00 () It was a second stupendous testimony, within a few months, to the hold of the papacy on the mind of Christendom, and, necessarily, an immense aid in the struggle still going on in Germany. The usual decrees on reform recently renewed at Piacenza, were explained and published once more; new decrees emphasised the cleric's independence of the lay lord and protected church property against lay usurpation; the Bishop of Cambrai was deposed for simony and for receiving investiture from the emperor, the King of France was solemnly excommunicated, and the Truce of God was officially adopted as of obligation universally throughout the Church. Finally, Urban II, on his own initiative, launched the scheme for the first Crusade.

In 1096 the pope returned to Italy. He held yet another council at Rome in 1097, one at Bari in southern Italy in 1098 and, a few months before his death, a last council in Rome, to which a hundred and fifty bishops came.

On July 29, 1099, Urban II died. The long fight for independence was by no means won, but, by comparison with the situation in 1088, victory and release might seem, were there no set-back, to be no more than a matter of time. Set-backs, however, there were to be, and the chief of them was the personality of the new pope -- Pascal II (elected August 13, 1099). His loyalty to the reform was beyond all doubt. It was Gregory VII who had made him a cardinal, and he had stood by the cause through its darkest days. Like Urban II he was a monk, an Italian, and a man whose life was a model of austerity. He was, however, of that large number of whom, sorrowfully, their friends can but regret capax nisi imperasset. A good counsellor, he showed himself as a ruler uncertain and vacillating, and he afflicted the Church for eighteen years.

The first years of his reign, however, saw one obstacle after another disappear. " Clement III " died in 1100, and left no effective successor. Philip of France made his submission in 1104. The investiture struggle which St. Anselm of Canterbury had waged in England with William II and Henry I was settled. in 1107, by a pact which recognised the Church's freedom of election. [ ] Finally, in 1105, Henry IV, defeated and crushed, was compelled to abdicate in favour of his son, the leader since 1100 of the party in opposition. And to all this series of important gains must be added the new prestige accruing to the papacy from the Crusader' capture of Jerusalem (July, 1099). The pope's position when the young Henry V, his succession secured, broke through his promise and renewed his father's policies, was already stronger than that of any pope for centuries.

Henry, inevitably, was excommunicated. He replied by invading Italy (1110). As he approached Rome Pascal II, possibly through fear that the capture of the city would entail the creation of another anti-pope and the renewal of the schism, prepared to treat. He offered, if Henry solemnly undertook to abandon the practice of investiture, to renounce all the Church's feudal rights within the empire, to make over to the king the whole vast amount, lands, privileges, temporal jurisdiction. Had it been possible to carry out, the treaty would have revolutionised the social structure of half Europe. To the king it would have conveyed immediately an immense increase of wealth and power. The Church -- bishops, abbots, schools, hospitals, pious foundations, the whole vast movement before which still lay the task of Christianising the Germans and converting the heathen -- would just as suddenly be stripped of all its material equipment and its public status while there still lay upon it the burden of maintaining all the life it had called into being in the course of seven centuries; and it would once more, inevitably, have fallen into the lay lords' power. [ ]

If the pope showed a dove's simplicity in making such an offer his bishops and abbots lacked none of the wisdom that should be its complement. When, in the presence of the emperor-to-be, on February 12, 1111, the proposals were announced in St. Peter's, there were violent scenes and presently a wild riot. The king thereupon arrested the pope, sixteen of the cardinals, and a number of the Roman nobility. When they were released it was announced that Pascal II had surrendered. All that Gregory VII had fought for was abandoned. Henry was lo be crowned as emperor, and the pope had made over to him all the rights of investiture he claimed. "What I would not have done to save my life," said the lamentable pope, "I have done for the peace of the Church."

The hard toil of the last sixty years, the labours and sacrifices of his predecessors, saved Pascal II. They had created such a spirit in the Church that he was powerless before it. The personal activity of the papacy, felt in every see of Christendom for the last two generations, the innumerable councils, the continual tours of the papal legates, the constant intervention of the popes in the local crises of so many sees, those journeys which had familiarised so many of the faithful with their very presence, all had contributed to build up an enthusiasm that would not tolerate such a surrender. Soon from all sides, and nowhere more strongly than from France, protests began to pour in. The Abbot of Monte Cassino, ordered personally to surrender his rights, refused. "I love you," he wrote, "as my lord and as my father, and I have no desire for another as pope. But the Lord has said 'Whoever loves father and mother more than me is not worthy of me.'. . . As for this outrageous treaty, wrung from you by violence and treachery, how can I praise it? Or indeed how can you?. . . Your own laws have condemned and excommunicated the cleric who submits to investiture. . . ." Another sturdy prelate the Archbishop of Lyons, urged the pope in still stronger terms. "Detestable pilot that you are, in times of peace a bully and before the storm a coward." The Archbishop of Vienne, Pascal's own legate in France, called a council, declared lay investiture to be heretical, and excommunicated the emperor. He, too, wrote to the pope, begging him to confirm the council's sentence and to break with Henry. "If you hearken to our prayer and break with King Henry we shall be your faithful and devoted sons. If you remain union with him, we pray God be merciful to us for we shall withdraw ourselves from your obedience." Cluny took the same line; and another abbot wrote bluntly to Pascal that he was a heretic. In Germany the bishops of the great sees who had so far fought the emperor -- Cologne, Mainz, Halberstadt, Magdeburg and Salzburg -- took up arms once more. The war was on again and the pope, after a temporary retirement, in which he even thought of abdicating, yielded. To the legate in France he wrote that he had withdrawn the concession, and in a great council at Rome (March, 1112), acknowledging that it was contrary to justice, he annulled the grant and confirmed once more the legislation of Gregory VII and Urban II. Four years later, in the council of 1116, Pascal was more explicitly repentant. "I confess that J failed," he said, "and I ask you to pray God to pardon me. As for the cursed privilege. . . I condemn it with an everlasting anathema, and I will that its memory be for ever hateful." [ ]

In February, 1115, Henry was badly defeated at Welfesholze, and though he attempted to renew the schism -- setting up the Archbishop of Braga as "Gregory VIII" and even, master of Rome again, having a second coronation -- the days of his power were numbered. Pascal II died in 1118, his successor, Gelasius II, lived only a year; and then (March 1, 1119 the cardinals elected as pope the Archbishop of Vienne who had, in 1111, led the Catholic movement against Pascal's concessions. He it was who now, as Calixtus II, was to arrange the treaty which ended the long struggle.

In a council at Worms (September 23, 1122) they were finally arranged. Henry conceded, once and for all, the Church's right freely to elect and consecrate its bishops, and he forswore the investiture with ring and crozier, the act by which he had created his bishops. The pope, for his part, conceded that the elections should take place in the king's presence so long as they were free and without any simony. The bishop-elect was to receive investiture of the temporalities of the see by the touch of the king's sceptre.

The Concordant of Worms was a compromise, [ ] hut a compromise which registered the victory of the principle for which the popes, during eighty years of controversy, had contended, namely that bishops should not, as of right, owe their promotion to the lay sovereign. It was more than six hundred years since, with the first of the Barbarian kings who was a Catholic, the disastrous custom had first taken root. Now, thanks to the unremitting warfare of three generations of popes, bishops, monks and faithful people, the ancient principle was re-established, to he in practice often enough ignored, but never again to he denied by churchmen or treated as non-existent. [ ]


The century that follows the reconciliation of Rome and Constantinople when Nicholas Mystikos was patriarch, is one of the greatest in all the long history of the East Roman Empire; and yet it is a time whose ecclesiastical history has gone unrecorded. Great soldiers now rule, like Nicephorus Phocas (963-969) and Basil II (963-1025), who reform the State, throw back the Bulgarians and the Saracens, and regain the ancient hold on southern Italy too. It is now that the Byzantine conversion of Russia begins, and wherever the imperial arms are victorious the prestige and jurisdiction of the see of Constantinople also gain. But of the relations between the ten patriarchs who, in these hundred years, successively rule the see and the twenty-one popes who were their contemporaries, we know very little. For the Greek chronicles of this time, the West hardly exists. So far as the Byzantine literature is concerned the East has already broken away, in this century of Marozia and John XII, of Otto I and Otto III -- himself the son of a Byzantine princess -- and of the first French and German popes.

There is, indeed, record of an embassy from Constantinople in 933 begging the support of the pope John XI for the newly-named patriarch Theophylact, a boy of sixteen, son of the emperor Romanus Lecapenus; he was to rule for twenty-three years, and to prove himself a Byzantine John XII. In the next generation there are the long negotiations for the marriage of Otto II to Theophano, a sister of the boy emperor Basil II -- negotiations rendered all the more arduous by a tactless letter from the pope, John XIII, which speaks of the German king as the Roman Emperor? and treats the princes of Constantinople as mere "emperors of the Greeks". Not only were the negotiations now broken off, but the Greeks spoke of abolishing the Latin rite in Byzantine Italy, and of annexing all these sees to the jurisdiction of the patriarch at Constantinople. It was Nicephorus Phocas who made this stand, and it was doubtless only the revolution in 969 which staved off a new schism. In that year Nicephorus was murdered, and his assassin, John Zimisces, took his place as emperor-regent for the boy emperors Basil II and Constantine VIII. Zimisces managed to Will some kind of consecration from the patriarch, and he re-opened the conversations with Otto. On Low Sunday, 971, the future king Otto II and the Byzantine princess were married in St. Peter's by the pope, John XIII.

Three years later Zimisces was offering hospitality to one of John's successors -- though that is hardly a correct description of the ruffian Franco who, in June 974, brought about the murder of Pope Benedict VI and for a few short weeks reigned in his place as Boniface VII. It was the power of the German king that brought about Franco's expulsion, and since the Germans were still the main obstacle to the Byzantine re-conquest of Italy, "Boniface VII" was made much of in Constantinople, where the lawful popes Benedict VII (974-983) and John XIV were not recognised.

Otto II died, all too soon, at the age of twenty-eight, in the first weeks of this last pope's reign, leaving a child of three to succeed him, and the mutually hostile Byzantine empress-mother Theophano, and the Burgundian grandmother, Adelaide, to share the reality of power. It was a great opportunity for Theophano's brother Basil II, now come to man's estate and about to begin his great career, and it was an opportunity for "Boniface VII", who, with Byzantine assistance, appeared in Rome again, to add the murder of a second pope to his crimes and to reign himself for a brief fifteen months (April 984-July 985).

Towards the end of the long reign of Basil II the Eastern empire and the popes were once more in contact, and in conflict, and although the facts are far from certain the troubles seem to have been wholly political. Once again the pope had reason to fear the growing Byzantine power to the south of the papal State, and once again he strove to protect himself by an alliance with the German king. Benedict VIII (1012-1024) and Henry II (1002-1024) were now allied, as John XIII and Otto the Great had been allied forty years earlier. In those forty years the heel and toe of Italy -- Apulia and Calabria -- had been conquered by Basil, and much other territory too, until now he menaced the Campagna. From the first years of the new century, however, there had been a series of revolts against the new Byzantine ruler, and Benedict VIII had given them what support he could. He had also made use of the chance presence, in the country between Rome and Naples, of a band of Normans returning from a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. The new papal-imperial alliance against Byzantium did not however achieve very much; it was the death of Basil II, in 1025, and the utter incapacity of his successors, which really saved the situation for the popes.

But the crisis had given new motives to the separatist tendencies at Constantinople, and, bringing in the Normans, it had produced the force that would not henceforth rest until the Byzantine power in Italy was wholly destroyed. That destruction the Normans were to accomplish, in part, as allies of the popes. The old scorn of the Byzantines for the Latin barbarians was, from now on, reinforced by a new hatred of the victorious Normans, and, as the empire grew ever weaker, by a new, very real fear. When Michael Cerularius, the patriarch of the new schism -- the schism which still endures -- began his attack in 1052, thirty years nearly after the last encounter between Basil II and the pope, the Greeks had a host of natural, political, and cultural reasons for wishing well to whoever proposed finally to defy and repudiate the religious supremacy of the Roman See.

Those thirty years are a lamentable chapter in Byzantine history. Basil II was succeeded by his seventy-year-old brother Constantine VIII (1025-1028), and Constantine by his daughter Zoe, a pale, and wholly incompetent version of Catherine the Great. It is around the disreputable history of this elderly lady's successive husbands, the series of marriages and murders and re-marriages, that most of the story turns. When Cerularius appears, in 1043, he tells immediately as the strongest man in public life for almost a generation. And by this time all contact with Rome -- the fact seems certain -- had ceased. The patriarchs no longer advised the popes of their election; the pope's name had ceased to figure in the list of personages officially prayed for at mass. If there was not actually a state of war between the two sees there was, at any rate, a rupture of diplomatic relations. Very possibly it went back to the days of the political troubles between Basil II and Benedict VIII. It was the achievement of Cerularius that, intent on maintaining this quasi-independence of the papacy which he found on his accession, he transformed it into the reality of formal schism.

Cerularius, like Photius, had come into the ecclesiastical world as it were by accident. Following the tradition of his family he had built up a career in the imperial court. Then, about 1040, he was involved in a conspiracy to depose the emperor, Michael IV, Zoe's second husband. Had the plot succeeded, Cerularius might himself have become emperor. When it failed, Michael IV, in order to safeguard himself against further danger from Cerularius, endeavoured, in the traditional Byzantine fashion, to make a monk of him. Cerularius, however, resisted; and then the suicide of his brother wrought a change: of his own will he entered a monastery. Three years later, Constantine IX became emperor -- as Zoe's third husband. He was an old friend of Cerularius who, once more, became a power at court. When, in 1043, the patriarch, Alexis, died, Constantine nominated Cerularius to succeed him. He was now the second personage in the empire and, since the emperor was a paralytic, there seemed no limit to what his powerful personality might achieve.

What first moved Cerularius to action was a remarkable change in the political situation in Italy which, so he was afraid, might weaken the position of his see. The feats of the Normans were now bringing pope and emperor together, where, a generation earlier, they had been a main cause of their antagonism. The Normans had, in fact, been too successful in Italy for the popes' liking. They were now, indeed, as great a menace as the Byzantines had once been; and when the chief Byzantine official in Italy, Argyros, approached the pope St. Leo IX, somewhere about 1050, with a project of alliance against the Normans, he found the pope more than agreeable to it. His own sovereign, still Constantine IX, was no less willing, and to make the alliance complete the pope went in person to Germany to win over the emperor Henry III (1052). How St. Leo's diplomacy succeeded, and what the fortunes of his army in the campaign that followed, has been already described. At the battle of Civitate (June 18, 1053) the Normans defeated the pope, decisively, and took him prisoner.

Now to all this policy of alliance with the pope Cerularius offered strong opposition. He feared that, with the closer and more friendly relations between pope and emperor which the new political necessity had bred, the papacy would re-appear as an active element in the ecclesiastical life of the empire, to the great detriment of the new autocephaly of his see. He fought Argyros in the imperial council and, when he failed to win over Constantine IX, revenged himself by excommunicating Argyros. Henceforth the patriarch and the general were desperately hostile-and the fact was soon to affect very seriously the relations of Constantinople and Rome. Next the patriarch made an attack on the Latins who lived within his immediate jurisdiction. He closed their churches, forbade all use of the Latin rite in them, and, alleging that the consecration of unleavened bread was no consecration at all, he had the Blessed Sacrament thrown out of the Latin pyxes and systematically trodden underfoot.

This took place, seemingly, in the year 1052, and some months later, in the spring of 1053, Cerularius, through the agency of one of his own clerics from Constantinople whom he had set to preside over the chief Bulgarian see -- Achrida -- despatched what was, in intention, a summons to the pope to remodel Latin ways according to the pattern of Constantinople. This letter -- of Leo of Achrida to John, Bishop of Trani [ ] -- is not a mere statement of grievances, or a declaration of independence, but an ultimatum, a monition as from a superior, a correction as from the only true believer to others who have fallen away from truth and corrupted the faith. It is another important feature of this letter that it speaks as though the union with Rome had already, and since a long time, ceased to be. Leo of Achrida, in fact, purports to set out for the Latin bishop's consideration the customs which the Latins must give up if East and West are to come together again: such are, for example, the Latin use of unleavened bread in the mass, the eating of flesh meat not killed in the Eastern manner, fasting on Saturdays, the suppression of the Alleluia in Lent. [ ]

The Bishop of Trani sent the letter on to the pope. The reply of St. Leo IX was drafted by his chief adviser, the Cardinal Humbert, that abbot of Moyenmoutier whom we have seen as a reformer of ecclesiastical life famous for his vigour, the leader indeed of the most radical of all the reforming groups, whom the Alsatian pope had brought with him to Rome in 1049. Humbert was a man of rare learning, one of the few skilled in Greek as in Latin, and a personality, therefore, whose influence on the approaching crisis was to be all but decisive; he was, in all things, active, combative, impetuous, a man without subtlety, inclined to favour drastic decisions as the way to lasting solutions.

The long letter which Humbert now sent, in the pope's name, to Cerularius is a theologian's reminder of the facts about the Roman primacy over the Church of Christ, about the divine origin of this primacy, and the indefectibility of the faith of the Roman see. It reminds Cerularius, also, that the pope has no judge in this world, and that by the very fact of judging the pope he has himself incurred a sentence of anathema which all the ancient councils would confirm. Whether Cerularius ever received this letter is doubtful. [ ] And now the disaster to the papal arms seemed likely, for the moment, to change even the patriarch's hostility. The news of Civitate was brought to the capital by John of Trani himself, sent by Argyros. Its effect was to convince the emperor, even more strongly, that it was his first political interest to develop the new friendship with the pope. He wrote to Leo promising help, and declaring his resolve to re-establish peaceful relations with the Holy See. And Cerularius also wrote, a very moderate letter, in which he stated his own wish to see peace restored with Rome. The only really ominous phrase in this letter is the patriarch's insistence -- seemingly exaggerated -- on the length of time the two sees have been in separation, as though hinting that separation was the normal state of things. He promises, however, to put back the pope's name into the mass, St. Leo -- so he presumes -- reciprocating this gesture of reconciliation.

These two letters came to the pope at Benevento, where he was still a prisoner of the Normans, about the turn of the year, 1053-1054. He decided to send an embassy to Constantinople, and chose as his legates Humbert, another cardinal, Frederick of Lorraine, [ ] and Peter the Archbishop of Amalfi. [ ] Also he sent a reply to the two letters. Again it was Humbert who wrote for the pope, and once again the temperament of the Burgundian cardinal was only too evident in what he wrote. The tone of the letters was not only fatal to a mission of reconciliation, but Humbert fell into a serious historical blunder, and, in fact, from the beginning he played into the hands of his much more subtle adversary. The emperor was told that the recent acts of Cerularius made the pope fearful for the chances of future peace, and nowhere, in this letter, was Michael styled "patriarch": he was "the archbishop" only; the only patriarchs the letter spoke of were those of Alexandria and Antioch, and the letter counted as a blame against "the archbishop" his usurpation of their jurisdiction. This was to ignore (or to be ignorant of) a state of things which the earlier popes had recognised for centuries; it was to repeat the errors with which, in the days of Photius, the learned but not omniscient Anastasius the Librarian had misled Adrian II. The same errors appeared in the letter to Cerularius himself; and not only was his sacrilegious violation of the Blessed Sacrament rebuked but the validity of his own possession of his see was questioned: he was told he was no archbishop because when he was elected to the see he was only a layman, a repetition of the charge made against Photius but in no way true of Cerularius. As for Michael's offer to restore the pope's name to the diptychs, this was noted as his simple duty in the matter: the only alternative to such recognition of the papal supremacy was to be joined with the heretics and the synagogue of Satan.

These letters would, of themselves, it may be thought, have sufficed to endanger the success of the mission. When the legates took in Apulia, en route for Constantinople, and there took counsel with Argyros, they settled its fate once and for all. It was this consultation which determined the legates to deal first with the emperor, and not to negotiate at all with the patriarch but to present him with an ultimatum; and the consultation gave Cerularius his opportunity to deny absolutely the papal character of the mission, and to assert that it was a mere trick on the part of the excommunicated Argyros. The situation was worsened by the calamitous fact that barely had the legates reached Constantinople when St. Leo IX died (April 19, 1054), and the Holy See was effectively vacant for twelve months.

At Constantinople, then, the legates found the old emperor as favourable to their mission as they had hoped. The patriarch ignored them and, as yet, they ignored him. Then a violent controversy developed between Humbert and a learned monk of the Studion monastery, Nicholas Stethatos, which turned upon a pamphlet written six months earlier by Humbert. [ ] Nicholas had written, in reply, an attack upon the Latin practice of using unleavened bread, the Saturday fast and the celibacy of the clergy. Humbert now took the opportunity to make a violent assault on Nicholas. The controversy raged for some time, and it ended, so far as Nicholas was concerned, in a debate in the emperor's presence, at which the Latins were victorious, whereupon Nicholas submitted.

This was at the end of June, 1054. The patriarch still held aloof from the whole affair, steadily refusing the emperor's pleas to meet the legates. Very evidently the mission had come to the end of its usefulness. It might as well, now, return to Rome. But the legates, before they departed, resolved to excommunicate the patriarch. They prepared the bull and, on Saturday, July 16, during the sacred liturgy, they laid it on the altar at St. Sophia. Once again, alas, the maladroit pen of the Burgundian cardinal spoiled somewhat his excellent case. In the bull the traditional primacy of the Roman See is indeed re-affirmed, and the rights of the legates thence deriving; and the rectitude and orthodoxy of the emperor and his people are recognised. The one obstacle to peace is Michael, who styles himself patriarch, and his supporters. Their innumerable heresies are listed: there is in him, and them-it is declared -- something of the Simonists, the Donatists, the Arians and the Manichees; and they have corrupted the creed by suppressing the Filiogue clause. [ ] Michael has refused to abjure and repent. He has refused audience to the legates; he has forbidden them to say mass; he has excommunicated the pope. Wherefore the legates pronounce against him the sentence already provided by St. Leo should he not submit.

The legates left for Rome two days later. But they were speedily recalled, by the emperor who, perhaps, still had hopes of reconciling Cerularius. On Wednesday, July 20, Humbert and his fellows were back in the capital. But before nightfall they were once more on the road to Rome, smuggled out of the city with great difficulty by Constantine, barely escaping with their lives. For the patriarch had not been inactive, since their first departure. He had made the bull of excommunication public, and "organised" the mob against this Latin insult. As a measure of appeasement the emperor had the bull ignominiously burned. and, now, while the legates made their slow way back to Italy the patriarch called a synod which condemned all that they had done -- not indeed as legates of the pope, for the synod denied that they were such, as it denied that the bull was the act of the Holy See. Cerularius next sent an official account of all this to the other Eastern patriarchs, and he also drew up a lengthy manifesto which set out the Eastern case against Rome. It is not now the Cardinal Humbert alone who is attacked, but all the Latins for the ways in which their practice differs from the East But, even so, there is no denial of the Roman claim to a primacy over the whole Church of Christ. The manifesto however -- and this is the most serious thing about it, much more serious than the list of liturgical "errors" put in accusation -- is penetrated with the idea already noted in Cerularius' earlier attack, namely that the East has gone its own independent way for centuries now, and that reconciliation with Rome is in no way desirable or necessary. The Latins are a conventicle of heretics -- what has the orthodox church of the Greeks to do with such? Here, at Constantinople, under the protection of the patriarch and the emperor, is the sole authentic religion of Jesus Christ.

The Patriarch of Antioch endeavoured, even so, to bring back Cerularius to a more amenable frame of mind. He admitted the barbarism of the Latin ways, but urged that these were details that did not matter essentially. As for the faith of the Latins, every pilgrim who visited the churches of the East was testimony that it was identical with that of the Greeks. Patience where there were differences, and peaceful discussion, was the only way out of the tangle, so he thought; and he besought Cerularius to reflect whether the long tale of disasters that had befallen the empire was not the penalty for the long misunderstanding and separation from the Apostolic See. At any rate Cerularius ought to wait until the new pope was elected, and then approach him in a spirit of gentleness and charity.

Cerularius, however, kept to his way. He made no move whatever towards Rome. Life within his jurisdiction would once more go on as in the years before the problem of the Normans brought St. Leo IX and Constantine IX together. And Peter of Antioch did not insert the new pope's name in the mass.

Six months after the excommunication, Constantine IX died (January, 1055). Until August, 1056, his aged sister-in-law Theodora, the daughter of Basil II, ruled, at least in name. Michael VI, whom she named as her successor, lasted barely a year. It was Cerularius who engineered [he revolution that threw him out, and who "created" the new emperor, Isaac Comnenus (August, 1057). But Isaac, once securely placed, refused to be the patriarch's tool. Soon he began to plan his removal. Just before Christmas, 1058, he had Cerularius arrested and ordered his trial. But, worn out by the crisis and the shock, the patriarch suddenly died. Whereupon the popular voice spontaneously hailed him as a saint. The emperor was compelled to bring back his body with great pomp, and himself to venerate it as that of a martyr. It was the beginning of a new career for Cerularius, of his influence as saint and martyr in the spiritual life of the Byzantine church and, above all, as a hero in the epic of its struggle with the tyrannical and heretical Latin barbarians. There was now a Byzantine myth about the events of 1054, as there was, in the Western chronicles, a Latin myth too. Upon these myths the animosity of the two races was largely to feed, and, in the next three centuries, to wax exceeding strong.

The bull of 1054 was no more than a personal excommunication of Cerularius, and, of course, of whoever adhered to him. It did not in any way condemn the Eastern churches nor their own local customs. But the whole of the Eastern churches now slid slowly into schism. Greek scorn of Latin ignorance and barbarity, [ ] national pride, a certain disgust at the scandals which for too long had disgraced Latin Catholicism, scandal at the developments which made the Latin bishop a civil prince and often, even, a general in the field -- all these helped to feed the fire. Within forty years of the excommunication came the Crusades, and the conflict of Greek and Latin interests and ambitions in the East. The treachery of the one, and the bloodthirstiness and rapine of the other, achieved the evil work. Never again, save for brief moments and under the stress of political necessity, were the Greeks to submit to that divine primacy which, whatever the occasional mistakes of the men in whom it was manifested, had been, for the Greeks too, the one bulwark against heresy and which had desired to be their defender also against the encroaching Christian State.


The solemn imperial assent, given at Worms, to the principle that the Church is spiritually autonomous, marks the end of the hardy papal offensive on a usurpation consecrated by centuries. It is one of several signs that the Church, and the civilisation of which it is the main force, has left behind it for ever one very definite phase of growth. Another such contemporary sign is the new successful Catholic offensive against Islam, an offensive undertaken in Spain, and also in those Eastern lands whence Islam had first issued forth to destroy a whole Christian empire. The popes who, in the West, have successfully challenged the hold of the civil power over spiritual things are the popes who organise and promote the first crusade.

The land where Our Lord was born and died had had a powerful attraction for the West from the time of the first Christian emperors. With Constantine's restoration of Jerusalem, with the discoveries of the holy places and of the true cross, Palestine became the goal of innumerable pious travellers. The pilgrimage was born; and a whole organisation of hospices and related services sprang up to meet its innumerable requirements. Nor did the later political chaos which wore down the empire in the West really lessen, either the attraction of the East, or the determination of thousands to make their way thither. Commercial relations between the East and the West went on uninterrupted; in every Western town of any importance " Syrian" merchants were to be found and Paris, even, at the end of the sixth century, had a Syrian for its bishop.

When, half-way through the seventh century, the armies of the new Arab religion destroyed the Christian power in the East, the difficulties of the long voyage were of course greatly increased. Nevertheless the pilgrimages persisted, and the systematic almsgiving organised for their support since the time of St. Gregory the Great. With Charlemagne there came the first attempt to win for the pilgrims a defined measure of security, through diplomatic action at the court of the caliphs. Harun-al-Raschid, in 807, gave the emperor a kind of recognition as the protector of all these Latin Christians, and the churches and monasteries began to be restored. For the next two hundred years the pilgrims to Palestine enjoyed a kind of regulated security. Then came the half mad caliph, Hakim (1009-1020), who inaugurated a violent persecution of Jews and Christians alike, and destroyed the churches. The storm ended as abruptly as it had begun. Peace was restored, but under. an entirely new regime. The protector henceforward was the Roman Emperor at Constantinople. It was under Byzantine influences that the new restoration took place and that the Christian quarter of Jerusalem was now fortified.

This change of protector was to be of immense importance in the near future, for it was barely made when, in 1054, the schism of Cerularius came to separate Constantinople from the West for ever. The pilgrimages, however, continued, organised henceforth on a scale that made them miniature invasions. In 1027, for example, a pilgrimage left Normandy that counted 700 members under the protection of the Duke. In 1035 the Duke himself led a great band. But the greatest of all was the pilgrimage of 1065, 12,000 strong, led by the Bishop of Bamberg -- a real military expedition which, more than once, had to fight for its life. Despite the new Greek prestige, the enthusiasm for these spiritual expeditions grew with every year, and the Latin churches and monasteries began to be rebuilt.

Then, in the last half of this same eleventh century, a new virile force appeared, to dominate the Mohammedan world in the East and to threaten, not merely the security of the pilgrimages, but the existence of Eastern Christianity itself. This force was the empire of the Seljuk Turks. At first the auxiliaries, and then the masters, of the Caliphs of Baghdad they began, from 1064, to conquer Asia Minor and the islands in the Aegean Sea from the Roman Empire in the East, and to menace Constantinople itself. At the same time, they attacked the hold of the Fatimite Caliphs of Cairo on Syria, and in the very year of their great victory at Manizikert over the emperor, Romanus IV, (1071) they took Jerusalem from the Fatimites. Thereupon the chivalrous idea began to develop in the West of a holy war to recover the East from the Turks.

To liberate Christians by force of arms -- for what other way was there? -- from the yoke of their Mohammedan conquerors had already, for some years, been an integral part of the papal programme of religious restoration. And the papal interest in this had naturally shown itself first of all where the Mohammedan conquests were nearest to the popes, in Sicily and in Spain. The accident that the establishment of the Normans in the south of Italy coincided with a civil war in Sicily where three Mohammedan princes contended, made the Christian task here all the more easy. It was in 1060 that Robert Guiscard crossed the straits of Messina, and he fought the long war which followed as the sworn vassal of St. Peter, and under the banner blessed for him by Alexander II.

In Spain -- where the Mohammedans were still, after three hundred and fifty years, masters from Gibraltar to within less than a hundred miles of the Pyrenees -- there were also, midway through this same century, serious feuds among the Mohammedan rulers; while in the little kingdom of Castile there appeared in 1072 a great leader in the king Alphonso VI (1072-1109). Eight years before his accession the neighbouring King of Aragon, Sancho I (1063-1094) had led an army into the valley of the Ebro and had taken Barbastro -- an expedition significant in two ways of what was soon to come, for the king had the assistance of many French knights, and their presence in his army was due in part to the pope. It was Alexander II who was the real inspirer of what was, in effect, the first of the crusades. Not only, as in Sicily, did this army fight in Spain against the Moors under the pope's banner, but, anticipating the great act of Urban II thirty years later, the pope raised the character of the military activity by granting to all those who fought what we should call a plenary indulgence.

The expedition of 1063 ended, indeed, in failure. But Alexander II was preparing a renewal of it when, in 1173, he died. St. Gregory VII, who followed him, had been a main power in this as in Alexander's other policies. and for him too it remained one of the duties before the Holy See to provide for the liberation of Spain. But from now on and for some years, there were serious obstacles to check the good will of Gregory VII. The chief of these, of course, was the struggle with Henry IV of Germany that began Within three years of the pope's election and which, from thence on, more and more absorbed his whole attention. But there were serious difficulties also from within the little Christian kingdoms of the peninsula, Leon, Castile, Navarre, Aragon and the county of Barcelona. Here too there was urgent need of a religious reformation, and the Church suffered from the same trio of evils that tried it elsewhere: clerical ill-living, simony, the lay control of ecclesiastical appointments. To root out these abuses the popes employed in Spain the services they found useful in Italy and France -- local councils over which papal legates presided, and the subjection of the local episcopate to more or less permanent resident legates. And here they came into conflict not only with Alphonso VI of Castile [ ] but with the great ecclesiastical system of Cluny also, nowhere better organised, more fruitful in good results or more powerful than in these frontier territories. When the war of reconquest began again, in 1079, the papacy had no share in it, and none therefore in Alphonso's great feat, the capture of Toledo in 1085, which had a sensational effect throughout all Europe.

After the spectacular capture of Toledo there was a strong Moorish reaction, and the early years of Urban II's pontificate are chiefly remarkable for the reconciliation which this Clunisian pope brought about between the Cluniacs in Spain and the papal legates. No pope could, through his antecedents, have been more interested personally in Spain than this one-time prior of Cluny and Urban has the great merit, too, that he brought to an end the animosity which had kept Castile and the papacy at arm's length for so many precious years. Finally, in the Spanish expeditions of 1089-1092, a great French soldier had emerged, Raymond, the Count of St. Gilles.

The papacy had, then, already quite an amount of practical experience of the hazards and difficulties of war against Mohammedans -- as well as a conviction of its real importance for the future of religion -- and Urban II himself was peculiarly well-placed to appreciate new projects when, at the council of Piacenza in March, 1095, envoys came to him from the Byzantine emperor Alexis I, begging for aid against the new enemy, the Seljuk Turks.

This was, of course, no appeal from a legendary land and a half-forgotten race. The papacy had never lost touch with Constantinople, despite the events of 1054; and to direct the Holy War to the East, as well as to the West, had very definitely been in the plans of St. Gregory VII at the outset of his reign. There was a friendly exchange of letters between this pope and the emperor Michael VII, in 1073, and a papal embassy was sent to Constantinople. In 1074 the pope made an attempt, which failed entirely, to organise an army for the defence of the Byzantine empire. In language characteristic of Gregory's generous spirit the religious case for the crusade is set out here once and for all, "These pagans have made a vigorous onslaught on the Christian empire; they have pillaged and laid waste the whole land with unheard of cruelties up to the very gates of Constantinople. They have occupied these countries with tyrannical violence and massacred thousands and thousands of Christians like beasts. If, therefore, we have any love for God, if we are truly Christian people, the unhappy fate of this great empire and the deaths of so many Christians must be for us all a great anxiety. Our Lord's own example, who redeemed us, and the duty of Christian charity, bid us not only to lament these misfortunes, but also, if it be necessary, to give ourselves in sacrifice for our brethren." [ ]

To this appeal not a single prince made any reply, and very soon came the long war with the German king to absorb all the pope's attention. But what Gregory VII had failed to do in 1074, his disciple and alter ego Urban II did achieve twenty years later.

Urban II's interest in Eastern affairs began in the first year of his reign, while the pope, still exiled from Rome, was busy in Sicily with the reorganisation of the Church in this newly-liberated land. He was, at this same time, in communication with the Byzantine emperor, tentatively suggesting a reconciliation between Rome and the Eastern Churches. It was from the pope that the first move had come; nothing less, indeed, than a complaint to the emperor that, without any synodal action to justify it, his name was no longer recited in the Holy Liturgy. From this unexpected, and somewhat embarrassing, communication, there rapidly developed, at Constantinople, an important controversy; and soon the whole case for and against the achievement of Cerularius was revived. The emperor, Alexis I, was favourable to a rapprochement with Rome; the bishops, generally, were against it. The emperor's reasons were political -- and so too were those of Urban II, anxious to ward off the menace of an understanding between Alexis, Henry IV and the anti-pope "Clement III".

A council at Constantinople decided finally for the emperor's point of view. The pope's name was restored to the diptychs and he was invited to a council where the outstanding differences that kept East and West apart would be discussed. Our information about this episode goes no further, but relations between Urban II and Alexis I continued to be friendly, and it was wholly in keeping with this new spirit and with the events of the previous seven years that, in 1095, the emperor sent his appeal to the Council of Piacenza. [ ]

In the months that intervened between that council and the one which followed at Clermont the pope had time to frame his policy, and to consult such experienced advisors as the Bishop of Le Puy and the Count of St. Gilles. When, in November, the council brought in to the ancient capital of Auvergne such an unprecedented host of lay enthusiasts, the pope was given the ideal setting for the publication of the new ideal. No doubt the circumstances fired him to make one of the great speeches of history. There were present at the council two hundred and sixty-four bishops, four hundred abbots, thousands of the lower clergy, and a vast multitude -- a hundred thousand it is said -- of nobles, knights and lesser folk. It was on November 27 that the pope made his famous speech. The text of it has not survived, but we know it was an appeal to the immense host before him to give themselves generously to deliver the Christians of the East from the new perils that beset them. The immediate result was an enthusiasm without limits and to the cry "God wills it" clerics, nobles, knights, and men of the people pressed forward to vow their lives, and to take as their badge that cross of red cloth from which came the name of Crusade.

It remained for the pope to organise this unprecedented enthusiasm into a definite fighting machine. To all who took the cross -- that is to say, to those who vowed to go to the Holy Land and fight for the deliverance of the holy places -- the pope granted plenary indulgence; whatever penances lay on them for past sins were remitted. The vow, once taken, was irrevocable; excommunication fell upon those who broke it. During the crusader's absence his property was under the Church's special protection and precautions were taken to save the would-be crusader from vowing himself without due premeditation. Monks were not to go without their abbot's permission. The faithful were bidder to take the advice of their clergy before enrolling themselves Young people were forbidden to go at all, and so, too, were married women. The Bishop of Le Puy was named as the pope, legate to preside over the whole vast affair. Constantinople was appointed as the rendezvous; the feast of the Assumption 1096 as the time. Letters were sent to all the bishops of Christendom to enlist their help, a succession of councils was held throughout France and Italy, and finally preachers were appointed to stir up enthusiasm and enlist recruits even in the smallest towns and most remote villages. Never had Europe known, in any cause such a vast campaign of propaganda. [ ]

The preaching of the crusade produced a result wholly un expected by Urban II. In the pope's mind, the movement he had called into being was to be transformed into a disciplined military expedition led by the nobles of Christendom. [ ] But long before this organised force was ready, enormous hordes of simple peasants, raised to a pitch of extraordinary fervour by the extravagance of wandering preachers, confounding often enough the heavenly Jerusalem with that the pope designed to free, victim of all manner of apocalyptic fantasies, set out for the East. Poor men, weary of the endless oppression of their masters, broken by the strain of bad harvests, driven desperate by the hopelessness of a hard life, they readily listened to what seemed the offer of an easy way to the millennium, and, a vast, unorganised rabble, with their wives, children, and old people, all their movables stowed on the farm waggon, their oxen shod and harnessed to it, by thousands and by tens of thousands, they slowly made their way through southern Germany and Hungary. Necessity made them lawless; they pillaged and looted as they went. A misguided piety led them, more than once, to wholesale slaughter of such Jews as they encountered. Long before they reached the Byzantine frontier their acts of brigandage had roused whole populations against them. The march through Hungary was a series of massacres and fights. In Constantinople itself, what of the horde survived gave itself to plunder, even stripping the churches of their lead. When, finally, they crossed the Bosphorus into infidel territory the Turks speedily made an end of the most of them. It was a very small band indeed that survived with Peter the Hermit to welcome, at Constantinople, the arrival of the real official crusaders six months later.

The military expedition was made up of four great divisions-Lorrainers, Germans, and northern French under Godfrey of Bouillon; Normans and other Frenchmen from the north under Robert of Normandy, William the Conqueror's eldest son. Provencaux under Raymond of Provence (whom the legate accompanied); and the Normans of southern Italy under the command of Robert Guiscard's eldest son, Bohemond. After varying adventures and disasters, the last of these armies arrived before Constantinople in May, 1097 -- nine months later than the appointed date. All was now ready for the Christian attempt to roll back Islam after its four hundred years, occupation of Christian lands.

It must be borne in mind that the condition of the Mohammedan world in 1096 was eminently favourable to the crusaders. Asia Minor, and Syria, too, were but recent conquests of the Turks. The populations were hostile to them, and the immediate military problem was that of disposing of the occasional Turkish garrisons scattered among their new, still hostile subjects. Moreover, since 1092, the Seljuks had lost their military unity. Where, until then, one powerful figure had dominated their world, four of his generals now disputed the succession. Asia Minor and Syria were each of them practically independent states. Syria especially, torn by a civil war between rival emirs, was in poor condition to resist the new invasion. The Mohammedan State in Egypt, by no means resigned to its defeat by the Turks twenty years earlier, was making from the south efforts to regain its ancient hold; and the very year that saw the crusade victorious at Antioch also saw the Turks defeated by the Egyptians at Jerusalem which, in 1098, reverted to Egypt after twenty-seven years.

Given competent leadership, it could only be a matter of time before the enormous crusading army defeated the weakened force of Islam. But to defeat the Mohammedans, it was already beginning to be apparent, was only half the problem. How much of the piety that had sent the crusaders into battle would remain to inspire their handling of the fruits of victory? The motives of Urban II and of the thousands who, at his appeal, took the cross were nothing but religious. So far the crusade was a gigantic, universal act of faith. Around this core of spirituality elements of more mixed quality soon gathered. There were merchants of one kind or another to whom the huge expedition offered undreamed-of opportunities of sudden commercial expansion; there were the adventurers and speculators whom every age has known and knows; and there were the ambitions and rival interests of the different princes and states to whom the actual conduct of operations was necessarily entrusted. Three princes especially, even before the expedition crossed into Asia, had already made their plans. Bohemond aimed at a kingdom with Antioch for its centre. Baldwin of Flanders -- brother to Godfrey of Bouillon-who detested Bohemond, would check him and establish a rival state at Edessa. Raymond of Provence, equally suspicious of Bohemond, would counteract his influence by his principality of Tripoli. The Italian merchant states, Genoa, Pisa and Venice, supplying much of the shipping and serving the armies with trading supplies, also looked to their compensating profits, to concessions and trading privileges in the new states. The conduct of the crusade must, in the nature of things, be entrusted to these states and princelings. The possibility, if not the certainty, was already present that they would use the great opportunity, and all that the faith of thousands had to offer, for their own personal aggrandisement, Christians still being not wholly Christian in their detachment.

And already, too, another cloud darkened the prospects of the future -- the attitude towards the crusade of the emperor at Constantinople. It is true that, more than once, he had made appeals for help-to the West. But that help, for all that it had now arrived, had not come in the way he had planned. He had looked for reinforcements, to be at his orders, in the re-conquest of the lost provinces. What had happened was the arrival of huge independent armies capable of conquering not only the Turks but also, perhaps, what the Turks had left unconquered of the imperial domain. The emperor's plans and the aim of the crusade -- to say nothing of the personal ambitions of the different princes -- were at variance. There could never be anything but mutual suspicion and continual conflict, the emperor striving always by diplomatic shifts to neutralise the crusaders' superior force, and the exasperation of the crusaders steadily growing though a hundred years until, finally, they made themselves masters of Constantinople too.

In May, 1097, the Catholic army crossed into Asia, and after a fortnight's siege the first of the Turkish strongholds fell to it -- Nicea. A fortnight later, at Dorylaeum, they routed the field army of the local sultan. The way through Asia Minor now lay open to them, and by October they were before the walls of Antioch. It was eight months before they reduced the city, and scarcely had they done so, slaughtering the garrison, when the victors were themselves besieged by a relieving Turkish army. They were utterly unprepared. In a few days plague and famine carried off a hundred thousand of their men. Many of the leaders made their way out of the apparently doomed city, and then the miraculous discovery of the Holy Lance that had pierced the side of Our Lord, revived the crusaders' confidence. Heartened by what all took as an evident sign of divine guidance, a bold sally planned by Bohemond put the besiegers to flight (June 28, 1098).

Nothing remained but to march on Jerusalem. It was, however, a good nine months before that march began, and the main cause of the delay was the quarrel between Bohemond and Raymond of Provence over the possession of Antioch. The legate, who might have been allowed to settle the matter, had died. Raymond, seeing the prize escape, began the first treacherous negotiations with the Byzantines, preferring to see them masters rather than his rival. Finally Bohemond was left in possession and in April, 1099, the crusade -- its rank and file weary of the costly sacrifice to the vanity of its leaders -- set out on the last stage of the journey.

Negotiations had been opened, a year before this, with the Egyptians, and it had been agreed that the crusaders were to have Jerusalem. But since that promise the Egyptians had themselves regained it (August, 1098) and when on June 6, 1099, after three years of marching and fighting, the Catholic army came before the Holy City there lay before it yet another siege. It was a siege of short duration. After another, alleged, vision in which the deceased legate appeared to one of the Provencal army, and after a great penitential procession, when the army, barefoot, made the circuit of the walls, while the enemy jeered and derided from the battlements, the assault was begun (July 14). The next day the crusaders were in, the defence forced at various points. It was the signal for one of the most frightful massacres of history. The victors killed all they met, soldiers and inhabitants, men, women and children, and their horses splashed through streets that ran in blood. After four hundred and sixty years of Mohammedan rule Jerusalem was once more in Christian hands. Urban II died just a fortnight later, before he had learnt of this final triumph.


Throughout the last years of the century the movement of monastic revival continued to go forward. One of its most notable fruits was the foundation of the order of hermits we know as the Carthusians. They were the outcome of the holy life of one of the great scholars of the eleventh century, Bruno of Cologne. He came of a noble family and was educated in the schools of Rheims and Paris. At Cologne, in 1055, he was ordained priest and returning to Rheims, became head of the school of theology there and a famous preacher. Among his students was the future Urban II. In 1067 Rheims received as its archbishop a prelate who had bought his appointment. Bruno, now chancellor, was in the end compelled to denounce openly the scandals of the regime and a struggle began that only ended with the archbishop's deposition in 1082. Bruno was the obvious man to succeed him, but for years Bruno's secret desire had been a life of solitude and penance. He now took the opportunity to end his academic career. He resigned his offices and his benefices and retired to the strict Benedictine abbey of Molesmes -- whence, sixteen years later, the Cistercian order was to develop. Molesmes, however, did not meet Bruno's needs and his quest next led him to the frightful solitude of the Chartreuse in the diocese of Grenoble. Here in 1084 he began the way of life around which the new order grew up. The election of his old pupil as pope, in 1088, interrupted his solitude for a time for Urban II called him to Italy and the Curia. After four years he was, however, allowed to resume his religious life, and he founded a second Chartreuse in Sicily. Here in 1101 he died.

St. Bruno left behind him a collection of sermons and, fruits of his scriptural studies, commentaries on the Psalms and on St. Paul's epistles. He did not leave a rule. It was not until half-way through the next century that Gigues, his fourth successor as prior of the Chartreuse, set down in writing the customs and way of life of St. Bruno and his disciples. The new monasticism was an ingenious combination of the hermit life and that of the cloister. All the monks lived within the monastery, but each monk had for himself his own separate hermitage where he lived, worked, prayed and slept. They only met in common for the daily solemnities of the divine office and for an occasional meal. It was -- and it remains -- a life of unremitting penance and severe austerity, the monks having no contact of any kind with the outside world.

The order took root slowly. Not until 1115 was the first new foundation made. By 1140 there were eleven in all, by the end of the century another twenty-five, and by the end of the thirteenth century a total of seventy-three. For a time each monastery was autonomous, and under the control of the local bishop. Gradually the principle of association took root. In 1142, when the first general chapter was held, five only of the charterhouses were exempt from the bishop's jurisdiction. Alexander III did much to assist the movement. During his pontificate all the houses obtained exemption, and in 1177 he gave the general chapter jurisdiction over all of them.

More immediately important in the public life of the time, than this new order of hermits, was a contemporary reform in the ancient order of monks who followed the rule of St. Benedict which, from the Latin name of the first monastery where it was adopted -- Citeaux -- we know as the Cistercian rule.

For two centuries now the great influence of Cluny had dominated Western monastic life, and gradually the influence of time had introduced new developments. The monks were no longer laymen. Most of them were priests. Study, and still more the performance of the sacred liturgy, were their chief occupation. Manual work had shrunk before the demands of these more important tasks. The hours in the monk's day which it once had filled were mow taken up with the solemn ritual of public prayer. The offices were lengthened and multiplied. Scarcely half an hour intervened after one finished before the next began. By the end of the eleventh century the Cluniac monk lived most of his life in the abbey church. This concentration of effort on the liturgy was the source from which flowed a whole renaissance of ritual, music and art. The Cluniac church was richly decorated, the mass and offices sung with stately pomp, the vestments and church furnishings were costly and elaborate. Public prayer took on a splendour it had never known before.

But in some respects Cluny's development had, perhaps, been too richly bought. The great confederation of priories over which the Abbot of Cluny ruled supreme, a kind of monastic pope, had, inevitably, grown in wealth as it grew in influence. The collective work, through centuries, of individuals vowed to live poorly, must end in the accumulation of wealth. On the other hand the possession of wealth by persons vowed to be poor -- even though it be but collective wealth and in no way enrich the life of the individual -- is always something of a stumbling block for certain people. No matter how lawful the origin of the wealth, no matter how well it is used, its possession will always, with these, militate against the spiritual usefulness of its owners. And, of course, this monastic wealth was not always well used. Though Cluny remained substantially faithful to its ideals, there were houses of the federation where fidelity to the rule left much to be desired. Cluny had, moreover, liberally adapted to northern conditions the provisions of the rule regarding the monks, dress and food-an adaptation for which St. Benedict himself had provided.

In every association there are to be found critics who long to restore the primitive observance, souls for whom modification spells relaxation, and for whom a return to the literal following of the first rule seems the only way of correcting what is wrong, and of safeguarding the future of their common ideal. Hence, as the eleventh century drew to its close, a variety of movements began within the Benedictine world, reacting against the development associated with Cluny, and all aiming at a greater simplicity of life. The movement of Citeaux was merely one of these -- and for a long time it was not the most successful. But Citeaux, proposing merely to restore the life planned by St. Benedict, ended by producing a new religious order -- the first religious order founded as such.

The pioneer of the new reform was Robert, Abbot of Molesmes. St. Robert had been all his life an enthusiast for the strict observance of the Benedictine rule. Molesmes itself had been founded-as recently as 1075 and St. Robert was its first abbot -- as a house of strict discipline. But gradually the mitigations which contemporary monasteries found necessary were introduced here too, and by 1090, although not a lax community, it was indistinguishable from its neighbours. Whence the beginnings of discontent among the surviving founders, and a period of restlessness, which the abbot determined to end by leaving, with such of the monks as preferred the harder life, to found -- with the sanction of the papal legate -- a new house at Citeaux, a dreary solitude in Burgundy. This was on St. Benedict's day -- March 21, 1098.

For a short twelve months there was peace, until the monks at Molesmes, their reputation lost by the rumours that they had driven out the saints of the community, besought the abbot to return and, to make certain his consent, the monks brought pressure to bear from the pope. In July, 1099, then, Robert went back to Molesmes, succeeded at Citeaux -- still a mere collection of cabins -- by the monk who had been his prior at Citeaux and, before that, at Molesmes. This was St. Alberic, and to him the reform owed its first set regulations and its habit which, in striking contrast to tradition, was white.

Alberic ruled for ten years and then there succeeded the onetime sub-prior of Molesmes, the Englishman, Stephen Harding, the real founder of the order to be. It was under St. Stephen that silk and gold were banished from the ecclesiastical life of Citeaux; vestments henceforward were of linen, chalices at best of silver, candlesticks and thuribles of iron, the crosses of wood; the church was bare of pictures or painted glass. The monk's dress was just as St. Benedict -- legislating six hundred years earlier -- had prescribed in his own gentler climate. The warmer underclothing, the furs, the extra garments with which Cluny had adapted the primitive austerity, were abolished. From the dietary meat, fish, eggs, cheese, butter and white bread were banished entirely. Vegetables only and coarse bread, with oil and salt as condiments, and water for sole drink were all the Cistercian allowed himself. The offices were deliberately shortened, and the time gained was given to manual labour -- the labour of reclaiming the barren waste and swamps where the monastery lay, seven hours a day from October to Easter, six hours during the summer. For sleep six hours in all was allowed, on a rude bed, clad in the habit, and this short spell was broken by the night office. For spiritual reading two hours daily was allowed, in summer three. Recreation, even in the monastic sense, there was none. Except when necessity called for it the Cistercian never spoke. Since the days when the last of the Irish monasteries adopted the rule of St. Benedict, nothing so austere had been proposed as the ordinary life of a monastic community.

But the new monks differed, in one very important respect, from those earlier ascetics. Citeaux was not a centre of intellectual life: it was an association of penitents; and for all that the chief influence in its foundation, St. Stephen, was a man of quite unusual learning, the prosecution of learning formed no part of the Cistercian vocation. Nor did the apostolate. The Cistercians became apostles, as they reclaimed the barren lands -- accidentally. They were founded to pray and to make amends for their sins. Their monasteries were to be planted in desolate solitudes, away from mankind; nor were they to possess more property than what was needed for the monks' penitential labour and their scanty support. The property would never, it was hoped, become such a distraction to the monastic life as in the great houses of Cluny which, often enough, were the centres of all life, social and economic, no less than religious, for the district in which they were placed. Another, most important, innovation was the institution of lay brothers to whom might be committed the care of the monasteries' inevitable contacts with the secular world, lest the monks in time might come to lose their primitive fervour. It is not surprising to read that, as this regime developed, the new foundations ceased to attract vocations. Less than fifteen years after the flight from Molesmes, Citeaux seemed fated to perish. Its history would have been that of yet another heroic effort that had ended with the pioneers who promoted it, but in 1113 there came to the abbey, demanding admission as novices, a band of thirty young men drawn from the noblest families of Burgundy, at their head Bernard, a young man of twenty-three. This spate of recruits was the turning point of Citeaux's fortunes, and in Bernard it received the saint whose genius was to dominate all Catholic life for the next forty years.

Immediately new foundations began to be made, La Ferte in 1113, Pontigny in 1114, Clairvaux and Morimond in 1115. The Carta Caritatis, the constitution regulating the relation of the new houses to Citeaux, was published four years later, and the rule of life. Thenceforward the order grew as no order before had grown. From the four first foundations others were made in swift succession. There were nineteen houses in 1122, seventy by the time St. Stephen died (1134) -- fifty-five of them in France -- 350 nineteen years later at the death of St. Bernard, of which sixty-eight were due to St. Bernard himself, and 530 houses in all by the end of the century; the speed of the development was such as to alarm the very founders. Not all of these houses were new foundations. Often an abbey of Benedictines or a college of Canons Regular passed over in a body to the new life.

It remains to say something of the feature which marked the Cistercian movement as little less than revolutionary in the history of monasticism. St. Stephen Harding's plan for a congregation of monasteries was not new. To omit other examples, Cluny against which Citeaux may be said to have reacted, is an obvious instance. But though Cluny had first developed the idea of submitting all the monasteries to a common power, it had not, in so doing, retained that autonomy of the individual monastery which is the very heart of Benedictine monasticism. In Cluny's system each monk did indeed remain subject to his abbot, but there was only one abbot, the Abbot of Cluny. St. Stephen devised the happy compromise that the Cistercian abbot, for all his subordination, was the real head of his own autonomous monastery. Nor was the Abbot of Citeaux the personage that the Abbot of Cluny had been and still remained. The real power in the new foundation was the general chapter of all the abbots which was to meet annually at Citeaux. [ ] The supervision of the abbots, the task of visitation to enquire into the observance of what the chapters decreed, was left to the four abbots of the first four foundations, each for the houses that derived from his own. The Abbot of Citeaux was supervised by these four acting jointly. When an abbot died his successor was not appointed from Citeaux, but elected by the monks of the abbey concerned, together with the abbots of its daughter houses and the abbot visitator. Such is the striking innovation of the great English Cistercian, destined, in time, to affect, in some degree, every other religious order. Between Citeaux and its innumerable daughter houses there was no other link but that of charity. There were no taxes, no tributes, nor dues of any kind. The order was a federation of monasteries all accepting, and bound to, the customs, uses and liturgy of Citeaux, to the rule of St. Benedict as Citeaux had re-proclaimed it and as the Chapters-General interpreted it. A new force of immense magnitude had entered Christendom.

Side by side with the new monasticism of Citeaux, there developed the order of the Canons Regular of Premontre, whose founder, Norbert of Gennep, was in his later life closely associated with St. Bernard.

St. Norbert, born in 1080, was German and, although a cleric and canon of the collegiate church of Xanten, in the lower Rhineland, he lived the life of a worldly noble at the imperial court. It was not in fact until his thirty-fifth year that a miracle halted his career of dissipation, and turned him from a worldling to a penitent and a reformer. He now received holy orders, and after a vain attempt to persuade his colleagues at Xanten to embrace a more regular observance, he withdrew from the world for three years to prepare himself in solitude for the life of preaching to which he had resolved to give himself.

This novitiate over he began to tour the villages of the Rhineland, preaching ceaselessly penance for sin and amendment of life, healing feuds and reconciling enemies. Inevitably he met with opposition, and the Council of Fritzlar, in 1118. condemned him for preaching without proper authorisation. Whereupon Norbert, giving his property to the poor, left Germany for France and the pope, Gelasius II, who, at St. Gilles in Languedoc, sanctioned his way of life and gave him licence to preach. From this moment the saint's real vocation was determined, a life of poverty and austerity while he moved from place to place preaching ceaselessly, not Latin sermons to monks but exhortations in the vernacular to the laity.

Disciples gradually came to him and, in 1119, he was at Rheims begging the new pope -- Calixtus II -- to renew the permission given by his predecessor. The pope, willing enough to bless the good work, showed himself none too enthusiastic as to the chances of the survival of this organisation of itinerant preaching ascetics. It was in the pope's cousin, Bartholomew of St. Vir, Bishop of Laon, that the little group found its first really influential patron. He did much to win the pope round to a more active support, and he insisted that Norbert should make some kind of foundation in his diocese and help in the great work of clerical reform. The first settlement, in the church of St. Martin at Laon, did not succeed. As at Xanten, the chapter had no desire to embrace a better life. Finally Norbert fixed on the desolate solitude of Premontre, not far from Laon, where, in circumstances that recall the first days of Citeaux, the settlement of the new institute took shape.

St. Norbert was a canon and, in so far as he is a reformer of clerical living, he is directly a reformer of chapters. Premontre and the numerous houses which in imitation of it now began to be founded, were not monasteries: they were houses where lived in common observance the canons who served the churches attached to them. The canon was, by definition, a cleric who, if not already a priest, was in process of becoming a priest. The church he served was not merely the rendezvous for the general spiritual exercises of a community vowed to penance, but a centre of active pastoral work. Canons were parochial clergy, and the effect of the movement that began at Premontre was to introduce into the lives of such clergy something of the systematic asceticism which, from the beginning, had been of the very essence of monasticism. The canons of Premontre lived as severely as did the monks of Citeaux. For the first fifty years of the order every day was a fast day; even after the mitigation then introduced, they fasted daily from Holy Cross [ ] to Easter. They never ate meat. They lived in perpetual silence. But while the Cistercian's life ended with his monastery the Premonstratensian, by institution and not by development merely, must have ever in view the life of the mission.

The candidate who offered himself at Citeaux need not even be able to read, but in the first statutes of the canons of Premontre it is laid down that, first of all, the newcomer's knowledge is to be tested. Again a knowledge of Grammar and Latin is required before he can be clothed, and progress in knowledge is made a condition of ordination. Study is part of the canon's day -- a prescription of the rule directly traceable to the rule of St. Victor at Paris; each house has its librarian and, from the beginning, there are instituted definite courses of study.

St. Norbert's personal share in all this organisation is not too clear. The foundation at Premontre did not, by any means, bring to an end his active itinerant apostolate. The foundation, it has been said, was a place that saw him only at intervals. Then, in 1126, he was forced into high office as Archbishop of Magdeburg, and for the last eight years of his life he was inevitably caught up in the movement of ecclesiastical politics. He played in Germany much the same role that St. Bernard played in France, securing to the cause of Innocent II the support of the emperor Lothair, and checking the same emperor when he showed a disposition to reopen the questions settled at Worms. With Norbert there went to Magdeburg his own Premonstratensians, and the city once more became a centre of missionary work for the conversion of the obstinately pagan peoples of the countrysides beyond the Elbe. Further Germany, Poland, and Scandinavia were to be strongholds of the new order down to the Reformation. With the Cistercians, and in these lands even more than the Cistercians, they must be counted one of the main forces of social development too, and civilisation.

So long as St. Norbert lived, [ ] his personal influence and example sufficed for a rule. But once the episcopate claimed him, and even more once he was dead, the order began to develop somewhat away from his plan. Here we must be cautious in assertion, for the rule now drawn up by Norbert's successor, Hugh of Fosses, was the work of the saint's most intimate friend. It seems beyond doubt, however, that the itinerant preaching now disappeared. The statutes nowhere make any mention of it. Also the canons do not merely serve the particular church attached to their house -- the monastery church so to call it -- but they serve, singly and in groups, the parishes founded by the abbey on its domain or on the adjacent domains. The development has begun that makes the Premonstratensian abbey the first seminary for the training of a parochial clergy. The success of the organised institution was equal to that of the contemporary Cistercians. It answered to a practical need of the day. In the time of Hugh of Fosses alone, two hundred abbeys were founded, and by the end of the century there were thousands of these white canons serving parishes on all the marches of Christendom.

The rule of the order was eclectic. Its basis was the so-called rule of St. Augustine. It borrowed from St. Benedict, and it borrowed from St. Victor at Paris. In its organisation the order had much in common with Citeaux. Each house was ruled by an abbot whom the canons of the house -- those engaged in work outside together with the actual community -- elected, under the supervision of the abbot of the house whence the electing house was first founded. The abbot's powers were very wide, but he was subject to visitation from the Abbot of Premontre or his deputy -- one appointed for each province -- and subject also to the General Chapter. It was the abbot who named all the officials of his abbey, the Prior, Sub-Prior and, a particular invention of Premontre, the Circator -- an official charged to watch over the general observance of the rule. In the order the Abbot of Premontre, Dominus Praemonstratensis, was a great figure. He was a kind of primate but his primacy was modelled on Citeaux, rather than on Cluny. His rule of his own abbey was controlled by visitation from the first three daughter houses of Premontre and in his rule of the order he was subject to the General Chapter.

From the beginning there were also Premonstratensian nuns, and for a time some of the abbeys were dual -- an abbey of canons and an abbey of nuns sharing a common church. From the beginning, too, there were lay brothers, homines illiterati, to whom was committed the exploitation of the domain and the necessary material cares of the abbey, and for whom, on that account, there was a milder rule of fast and abstinence.

One last point merits special notice. The chief scene of St. Norbert's labours in the years that followed the great foundation of 1120 was northern France and Belgium, then infected with heresy of a virulently anti-sacramental type. Antwerp in particular was notorious for it, and for a long time the whole city was under the dominion of such a heretic, Tanchelm or Tanchelin, an anticlerical visionary of a semi-religious, semi-social type. One of the doctrines Tanchelm most strenuosly opposed was that of the real presence of Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist. St. Norbert's sermons against Tanchelm on this point give him a place among the very first of the saints who built their spiritual teaching around the Blessed Sacrament, and his special devotion to the Mass finds many traces in the early rule and practices of the order.


The century which followed the disappearance of Erigena was intellectually, the most sterile of all the long transitional period. Of any writers in the first half of it (c. 880-930) literally no record at all has survived. The life of the second half is perhaps best seen in Gerbert, head of the school at Rheims, Abbot of Bobbio (982) Archbishop of Rheims (991), of Ravenna (996), and pope, as Silvester II, from 998 to 1003. Gerbert was, like Alcuin and Rabanus Maurus, a man of encyclopaedic knowledge. He had studied in Spain, and was a famous mathematician, but he is chiefly important as a teacher. One of his pupils, Fulbert, became Bishop of Chartres and under his rule the school of Chartres became the first great nursery of the revival of intellectual life.

The school first attained a more than local fame through Fulbert's own pupil, Berengarius (999-1089), whose philosophising led him into a controversy, about the nature of the Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist, which lasted for thirty years and more. The controversy had a more general importance in that it raised, for the first time for centuries, the bitterly disputed question as to whether it was lawful to use the secular science of dialectic to scrutinise and explain the teachings of faith Berengarius was typical of the passionate enthusiasm of this first generation to learn again the rules of logic. Its formal rules were, indeed, almost all that was known of the Aristotelian philosophy to the men of this time. This new instrument they must apply universally, and Berengarius turned to examine with it the traditional faith of the Church that Jesus Christ is really present in the Holy Eucharist. Berengarius -- for whom the conclusions of his dialectic were the ultimate source of truth, and to whose mind no accident could exist in separation from its proper substance -- from the fact that in the Holy Eucharist the appearances of bread and wine continue after the consecration, deduced that the bread and wine still continued to exist. Jesus Christ was really present, he thought. but in the bread and wine.

His great opponent was Lanfranc of Pavia (1005-1089), Prior of Bec in Normandy and later (1070) Archbishop of Canterbury. For years the discussions continued, Berengarius condemned repeatedly in different councils, yielding each time, signing the required retractations and then publishing explanations of his retractations that emptied them of all meaning. Into the controversy two of the great figures of the reform movement were drawn -- Gregory VII and St. Peter Damian. It was Gregory VII, as the legate Hildebrand, who presided over the stormy council of Sens in 1054 at which Berengarius was heard and from which he was cited to Rome, and who, as pope, in 1079, accepting as sincere his latest profession of faith, took the old theologian into his special protection So far as the Holy See was concerned this ended the controversy; but in France the discussion as to the sincerity of Berengarius continued as long as he lived.

St. Peter Damian's intervention in this confused affair was of quite another kind. Berengarius, thanks to a certain mastery of the arts of grammar and logic, had thrown doubts on the traditional belief about the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist. What else could be expected if men presumed to examine and discuss what the very angels could only adore? The first grammarian obviously was the devil, teaching the first man and woman to decline "God" in the plural; [ ] and to apply the profane sciences to the things of God was an outrage whence serious troubles were bound to follow.

There was evidently urgent need for the nature and office of reason to be made clear; and for its relations to belief to be set forth in such a way that the mischief of the confused hostility to intellectual activity, to which St. Peter Damian, among others, bore witness, might be arrested. In this useful task, which was to occupy all the efforts of all the thinkers from now on until St. Thomas, one of the pioneers was Lanfranc, with his careful insistence that a distinction must be made between the art of logic and its misuse. Between that art and the teaching of faith there is no opposition and, rightly used, the art assists belief and confirms it.

The controversy that centred round Berengarius was a kind of preliminary skirmish in which the parties who were to fight the long triangular battle of the next two hundred years made their first appearance; the philosophers, using an imperfect knowledge of what reason is, and reasoning, to criticise the traditional doctrine; the theologians denying the lawfulness of any application of philosophical methods to explain the traditional doctrine; and the middle party whom the conflict between the traditional doctrine and the results of the re-discovered dialectic urges to an ever deeper study Or the dialectic and, ultimately, to a truer understanding of what the human reason is, what its province, and what its limitations.

The first great name in the development of the middle party was also a contemporary of Berengarius, St. Anselm. Like Lanfranc he was from the north of Italy, born in 1033 at Aosta, and, again like Lanfranc, a monk of Bec, where, indeed, in 1063 he had succeeded Lanfranc as prior. Thirty years later he succeeded his old master in a still more distinguished post when he was named Archbishop of Canterbury by William II. For the remaining sixteen years of his life (he died in 1109) he is perhaps the chief figure of English history, leading in England that fight for reform and for the emancipation of religion from State control the story of which, in continental Europe, has already occupied us. [ ]

St. Anselm, in whom something of the spirit of St. Augustine comes to life again, wrote his first book -- the Monologium -- to satisfy the monks of Bec who asked for a treatise on God in which all the proofs should be from reasoning and, as far as possible not based on the authority of Sacred Scripture. From the beginning then the author is led to propound a theory of the relation between reason and belief, and to set forth their respective roles The teachings of the Faith are for him data beyond all discussion, facts and realities which reason must understand and interpret. Belief in them is the necessary preliminary to understanding their content. But such belief is not the end of man's concern with the mysteries of the Faith. There is a duty of using the reason -and therefore the art of dialectic -- to explore ever more deeply the meaning and implications of what is believed. It is not enough to say that the Fathers have already explained as much as is necessary. Had they lived longer they would have explained more. Much still awaits explanation, nor does God ever cease to enlighten the Church. How far can reason go in this matter of explaining revelation? Can it, ultimately, be expected to explain everything? Here St. Anselm shows himself optimistic. His confidence in the power of reasoning knows no limits. Even the mysteries of the Incarnation and the Trinity are proper fields for the operation of this explanatory dialectic which is not unable to prove the existence of both. This exaggeration of the role of reason, due to an imperfect understanding of what reason is and of the nature of rational proof, is a serious weakness in St. Anselm's work. But the distinction between reason and belief and the delimitation of their respective domains -- a distinction between philosophy and theology as sciences -- is an immense advance in methodology on their identification by Erigena, the last constructive thinker to appear before St. Anselm

The chief contribution of St. Anselm to the philosophical revival is his carefully worked out system of Natural Theology, rational proofs of the existence of God and deductions thence as to God's attributes, His relation to the universe in general and to man in particular. The saint's proofs of the existence of God, the famous proof based on the possibility of our conceiving the idea of God as the Being than whom nothing is greater, brought him into controversy with another monk, Gaunilo of Marmoutier.

Another contemporary thinker against whom St. Anselm wrote was Roscelin, and with this controversy begins the history of the medieval contribution to a problem related to that of the relations between reason and belief, the problem, namely, of the value of general judgements or universals. How can we -- since all our experience is of the individual, the particular -- justify our formulation of judgements which are universal? Such general judgements are the basis of all scientific knowledge. Can they really be said to be true? and in what sense? Do universals really exist? This immensely important question had come to the medieval thinkers through the translation by Boethius of Porphyry's introduction (Isagoge) to one of Aristotle's treatises on Logic, the Categories.

Porphyry stated the problem but, since it was not a purely logical problem (and not a matter for beginners in logic) offered no solution. Boethius summarised the solutions of both the Platonist and the Aristotelian schools. The solution indeed, whatever it was, would have far-reaching effects. Ultimately-although, as is often the case, those who first attempted a solution did not suspect these ramifications -- the solution must involve the whole philosophical position, reaching speedily from logic to metaphysics. For thinkers who were Catholics their solution would also determine the character of their whole philosophical exposition and defence of revelation. On the solution they adopted was to depend, ultimately, the future of Catholic Theology. More immediately, what was involved was the prestige of Platonism as the Catholic philosopher's instrument in explaining scientifically the data of faith. According to the Platonic philosophy, universals really existed as such, in another world. The individuals which exist in this, our own, world, and of which alone we have experience. reflect the natures of these elsewhere-existent universals. It was this opinion of the nature of universals which had so far prevailed. It was, for example, adopted by Erigena.

Now, in the last half of the eleventh century, thanks to Roscelin, a new explanation began to compete with it. Roscelin (born in 1050) was a pupil of John the Physician who was himself, like Berengarius, a pupil of Fulbert of Chartres. It is apparently not easy to define exactly Roscelin's contribution to the discussion since all e know of his thought we know from the writings of his opponents. But this much is certain that, for him, it is the individual alone who possesses reality: universals are merely words. Men exist: mankind is merely a name, a mental construction devised to assist thought. Roscelin next proceeded to apply his theory to the mystery of the Trinity, much as Berengarius had attempted to philosophise about the Holy Eucharist. The result was an explanation of the mystery that was indistinguishable from a theory that the three persons are three Gods, the one divine nature of the three persons being a universal, and therefore only a name, the reality being the three divine persons. Roscelin was condemned at Soissons in 1092, and at Rheims two years later. He retracted, apparently, his theories on the Trinity, hut, unmolested by authority, continued to teach his nominalistic logic until his death.

This opening of the controversy on universals at the close of the eleventh century is the first great event of the new intellectual life. [ ] The appearance of Peter Abelard among the masters is a second. Abelard was born in Brittany in 1079. He studied at Paris under William of Champeaux, at Laon under Anselm of Laon, and at Compiegne under Roscelin. It is hard to exaggerate the ascendancy so speedily gained by this bright and gifted spirit over the student world of his time. A passion for hard work, a mastery of dialectic that made him an invincible adversary imagination and the artist's temperament all combined to make Abelard's genius a brightly coloured legend even in his own lifetime. His education was hardly finished before his debating skill routed one after another of the great men of the day. Wherever he opened a school students deserted the official school to enrol themselves as his pupils. He was little more than thirty when he succeeded his recent victim, William of Champeaux, as the chief of the school at Paris. Then came the great tragedy, his falling in love with his pupil, Heloise, the birth of their child, the secret marriage, his mutilation at the hands of her guardian. Abelard resigned his post, became a monk at St. Denis and, after a few more turbulent years of success and failure, went into retirement (I 125).

Abelard was not a profoundly original thinker like St. Anselm, nor a great organiser of knowledge like Erigena. But he had an understanding of Aristotle's theory of knowledge that surpassed anything hitherto known, and he was one of the greatest teachers of all time. His influence here far exceeded what his books alone might have effected. A worker, and a master who produced other workers, he was responsible for the greatest impetus so far given to the work of the logical reconstruction of Theology.

Of all his books the Sic et Non is, from this point of view, the most important, for with it there appears for the first time the methodology which comes to perfection in the Summa of St. Thomas. It consists in setting side by side judgements from the Fathers, or from Sacred Scripture, that are apparently contradictory. Authority being at variance with itself the student can only solve the problem by reasoning. Abelard, in this, is an early precursor of St. Thomas. His theory of the role of reason in matters of faith is that of St. Anselm. Not philosophy, but the traditional faith is the all-important thing. "I have no desire to be a philosopher in contradiction with St. Paul," he wrote to Heloise, "nor an Aristotle separated from Christ, for there is no other name under heaven in which I can be saved. The rock on which I have built my knowledge is that on which Christ has built his Church. " A second innovation in method is his combining-in the Introductio ad Theologiam -- the dialectical exposition of doctrine with that based on the writings of the Fathers, a combination of philosophy with the historical method that sounds singularly modern. He wrote also a treatise on morals -- Scito Teipsum (Know Thyself) -- which is a scientific analysis of actions good and bad, and of the all-important intention from which derives their moral quality.

But, along with the Sic et Non, Abelard's greatest service is his destructive criticism of the Platonic theory of universals as so far held by practically all Catholic philosophers. It was on this point that he routed his master, William of Champeaux, and drove him into retirement. His own solution it is not easy to ascertain, for he fought Roscelin as successfully as he fought William. Though his language hesitates, there seems little doubt that he placed the reality of the universal primarily in the concept, while at the same time it has for him a source in the individual things themselves. The intelligence acquires its knowledge of universals by consideration of the common resemblance of the individual members of the class, and an activity of abstraction.

Like the great majority of the pioneers of this new movement to apply reason to the teaching of revelation, Abelard came into conflict with authority. His errors were many, on the Trinity, the Incarnation, the Redemption and Original Sin. His book on the Trinity was condemned to be burnt at Soissons in 1121, and he was obliged to declare publicly his acceptance of the Athanasian creed. How far personal considerations entered into this movement to prosecute the philosopher, and influenced the atmosphere in which the legal proceedings took place, it is not easy to say. There is no doubt that good men were divided and that some of them showed hearty vindictiveness wherever there was question of Abelard -- as there is no doubt that Abelard's rapid and easy rise to fame, his brilliance, and the arrogance with which he conducted himself, had made him as many foes as admirers. Nor were his troubles to end with his retirement to Brittany in 1125. [ ]


The Concordat of Worms marked a very definite stage in the long effort of the Roman Church to reform itself and the churches it governed. One of the chief instruments it had employed, in order to correct abuses and to introduce the new discipline, was the council of local prelates presided over by the pope or by a legate representing him. It was only fitting that a greater council than any hitherto seen in the West, the first general council to be held in the West, should seal the treaty which promised the beginnings of a new age. This was the council announced as early as June, 1122, and summoned to meet in the Lateran basilica of Rome for the first Sunday of Lent, 1123.

The official record of the council's proceedings has perished; but its canons survive, and there are accounts of the proceedings in contemporary chronicles. Apparently some five hundred bishops took part in it, and Calixtus II himself presided. There were two, perhaps three, public sessions at which the decrees were published. the first on March 18, the last on March 28. Of the machinery by which the decrees were prepared, of the discussions which preceded their introduction in the public sessions, we know nothing. The texts of the Concordat of Worms were read out and solemnly approved, and six of the council's canons form a kind of supplement to the pact. Laymen are forbidden to dispose of Church property; no bishop is to be consecrated who has not been canonically elected; the ordinations of the different anti-popes are declared null and void, as are all alienations of Church property made by them, except where these have been done with the consent of all the clergy of the churches concerned. In its preoccupation with the practical problems of church discipline and the extirpation of abuses, in its concern for the general social well being, the council only reflected the close relation of the two societies, civil and religious; and it set the pattern for all the other six councils of the Middle Ages. Of its twenty-two canons, five repeat previous legislation. [ ] Of the remaining seventeen, the most important is the twenty-first, which by making the reception of Holy Orders a diriment impediment to marriage completes at once the long Western development of clerical celibacy and the restorative legislation of the previous seventy-four years. Until now the cleric in major orders who, in contravention of the existing canons, contracted marriage, had been regarded as the equal of the cleric who kept a concubine: he must choose between his clerical career and the woman with whom he lived, whether she be his wife or not. Under the new legislation it is taken out of the cleric's power to contract a marriage at all, once he has received Holy Orders.

The whole body of the Church had been roused to recognise in the layman's hold on ecclesiastical appointments the root of all the troubles that had for too long degraded it, and to see in a married clergy, not merely a dangerous innovation in discipline that made graver clerical abuses easier still, but one of the layman's most powerful aids in maintaining that hold. The council of 1123 marked the end of the long campaign of propaganda and the victory of the ancient tradition. Free of two, at least, of the chains that hampered its freedom the Church should go forward more easily in its mission of supernaturalising the life of mankind.



ABOVE the richly crowded pageant that filled the thirty years after the triumphant council of 1123, popes, emperors, crusaders, philosophers and theologians, one figure stands in solitary grandeur -- St. Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux. Nothing of importance passed in those years without his active, and often decisive, intervention. For a lifetime he dominated the whole Christian scene, and after seven hundred and fifty years his influence is still active wherever Christian men, even outside the Catholic Church, use in their relations with God the phrases of loving informal devotion. The first foundation of the power he exercised over his own time was the completeness of his own surrender to God, made through the austere dedication of the new order of Citeaux. Sense he so disciplined, that it might no longer disturb his soul's converse with God, that for years he moved among men like a being from another world. He was known to all his contemporaries as the finest flower of a fine supernatural asceticism.

The material thus perfected by the supernatural was in itself singularly rich. The natural man had all the fiery ardour of the French nobles of the First Crusade, and it burnt a hundredfold more brightly in the setting of his religious humility. He had the passionate heart of the poet, and, in addition to the poet's gift, a natural eloquence which made of him such an orator as the Church had not known since St. Ambrose. The vast amount of his writing that has come down shows the astonishing variety of his appeal. There are ascetical treatises for his monks, admonitions to popes, hundreds of the most marvellously moving sermons, often as effective to-day as when he delivered them, polemical works in which his poetic genius forges a terrible invective against the apparent enemies of the faith, stern denunciations of clerical negligence and avarice that still burn white-hot, and a vast correspondence that shows him the willing servant and counsellor of clients in every rank of the life of his time.

He took the great congregation of Cluny to task for the degree in which, so it appeared to him, Cluny had developed away from St. Benedict's ideal. The disappearance of manual labour, the rich ceremonial, the studies, the dress, the food, all these are the subjects of a final devastating criticism. The papacy itself was not too high for his courage to admonish and warn it, particularly when that highest of dignities fell to one who, for a time, had been a monk of his own abbey of Clairvaux. It was then that he wrote, for the disciple's guidance in that high place where so easily a man might lose his soul, the De Consideratione ad Eugenium papam. It is a lengthy examination of conscience in which the pope is invited to consider how, almost necessarily, the new centralisation affords occasion for injustice and sin, with its legates, its reception of appeals, its exemptions. Eugene is to be pope, but never to cease to be, first, a father. One famous passage clamours for quotation, verbatim, for the light it throws, not only on St. Bernard's personal hardiness, but on the fierce directness that marks all the medieval saints when brought up against whatever may tarnish the beauty of God's Church.

"Scio ubi habitas; increduli et subversores sunt tecum. Lupi non oves sunt: talium tamen tu es pastor. Utilis consideratio, qua forte inveneris, quomodo, si fieri possit, convertas eos, ne ipsi subvertant te. . . . Hic, hic, non parco tibi, ut parcat Deus. Pastorem te populo huic certe aut nega aut exhibe. Non negabis: ne cuius sedem tenes, te neget haeredem. Petrus hic est, qui nescitur processisse aliquando vel gemmis ornatus, vel sericis; non tectus auro, non vectus equo albo, nec stipatus milite, nec circumstrepentibus septus ministris. Absque his tamen credidit satis posse implere salutare mandatum: Si amas me, pasce oves meas. In his successisti non Petro, sed Constantino." [ ]

The sources of St. Bernard's prayer and theological exposition are not numerous. First of all there is the Bible, which indeed he must have known by heart, and especially -- besides the Gospels -- the Law, the Prophets and the Psalms. Of the earlier Catholic writers he uses very frequently St. Ambrose and St. Augustine, the latter very frequently indeed. Of the Greeks Origen only, and Origen simply for his exegesis.

As a theologian St. Bernard is content to state the doctrine in the terms in which he finds it, or rather -- to express his mind here more adequately -- he criticises unsparingly the attempts of private enterprise further to explore the meaning of the traditional faith. Thus, to try and explain how the teaching that in God there are three Persons is not contrary to reason is an impiety that courts disaster. It is enough to know, on the authority of the infallible Church, that it is so. For the rest, man spends his time more profitably in veneration before the mystery than in trying to analyse its meaning

But it is through the commentaries on Sacred Scripture and, above all, through the sermons that St. Bernard's originality, his undoubted genius, shows itself. In a new way that marks him as the founder of a new spirituality, he gives a place to the humanity of the human element in the mysteries of the life of Our Lord, of His mother and the saints. The considerations which are, if the word may be used, the commonplaces of the ordinary man's spirituality, and which have been so for centuries, the hardships of Mary and Joseph as, in the last hours before the Divine Child was born, they sought for a home, the mixed anguish and joy of the first Christmas, or the sorrows and agonies of the Passion, of Mary at the foot of the Cross and of Jesus looking down upon her suffering innocence -- these and a thousand like moving considerations, which, moving the will through an overwhelming stirring of the emotions, must be permanently effective when they are the means by which a whole-hearted devotion conveys itself from the preacher -- all this spirituality has in St. Bernard its first great founder. Inevitably he has been, above all others, the prayer writer of later generations, more quoted, ever since his time, than any other devotional writer, with the solitary exception of St. Augustine. He stands at the head of the particular tradition of sacred eloquence which, even to-day, is perhaps the most effective of all, and his apparently inexhaustible riches continue to be a source of spiritual life to millions.


How, amid this general revival of Catholic spirituality, did the movement fare which strove to construct a reasoned exposition of Catholicism? At first, it seemed fated to decline. From the moment when this tendency to satisfy rationally the interest of the human intelligence in the truths revealed through the Church first began to show itself, it had met with opposition; and especially with opposition from ascetics. Studies of this kind were, they declared roundly, a menace to the faith of those who engaged in them. What the Church taught should suffice; and where this presented difficulties to human understanding, man should be content to bow his head and humbly accept the difficulties without seeking further to resolve them. Such had been the attitude of St. Peter Damian in the time of Lanfranc and Berengarius; such was now the attitude of St. Bernard. The eleventh century opponent of these studies had been largely influenced by the spectacle of the new difficulties into which the none too competent logicians had tumbled. The like catastrophes were not lacking in St. Bernard's time, also, to serve as a powerful argument against the new attempt to satisfy the never-old, innate desire to know.

With Abelard, for instance, the three Persons in God appeared simply as God's power, His wisdom and His love; Original Sin was an impossibility; the fall made no difference to man's ability to do good; Jesus Christ is united to God by a union that is no more than moral, and the supreme value of His life lies in its appeal to love and in its example. The tendencies of the masters at Chartres -- still the chief centre of philosophical studies -- were not more reassuring. Here Neoplatonism was influential, and the Neoplatonist inclination to Pantheism is evident in more than one of the works that issued from Chartres. God is the essential form of all things; His presence in created things is their whole being; apart from that they are nothing, cannot exist. Such was the teaching of Thierry, head of the school from 1141 to 1150.

His predecessor, Gilbert of la Porree, Bishop of Poitiers from 1142 to 1154, [ ] was Aristotelian rather, possibly because of his devotion to Boethius, who was indeed his favourite author and upon whose work he wrote more than one commentary. Gilbert adapted the theory of knowledge propounded by his master Bernard -- Thierry's elder brother. There are three kinds of being God, matter and ideas. Ideas are the eternal types of all individual things. They exist eternally in the mind of God. From them come, in some way unknown, the copies which, being united to matter, give rise to individual things. It is in the identity of characteristics among the individuals of a class, and in their common resemblance to the ideas in the divine mind, that the fact of universality exists. So far Gilbert shows himself pupil of the Platonists. When he proceeds to relate this theory to the mode of human knowledge we recognise the commentator of Boethius and the author of one of the earliest Western works on Aristotle's Logic. [ ] We acquire our knowledge of the universal by abstracting, as we study the individual, this copy of the idea that exists in the divine mind, dissociating the form from the matter, comparing the dissociated forms and noting their resemblance. From the knowledge of the copy thus acquired, we proceed to the knowledge of the idea itself. Gilbert, apparently, used this theory of the dissociation of the universal from the individual, as a method of explaining the doctrine of the Trinity. He was accused of dissociating the divinity from the Persons, and of teaching that in God, too, in the divine nature as well as in each Person, there is matter and form. Gilbert more than once came into controversy with Abelard, but he was Abelard's ally in the general battle against the opponents of the application of dialectic to theology. [ ]

St. Bernard, then, had ample material to hand to support his case against the new theologians; and to destroy their influence was, for a good ten years, one of the main concerns of his busy life. The battle opened with an assault on Abelard, provoked by that, alas, incurably bellicose person himself.

Abelard had resumed his lectures at Paris in 1136, and soon the old complaints, that had brought about his condemnation in 1121, began to be heard once more. A Cistercian abbot, William of St. Thierry, begged St. Bernard to intervene and the saint approached Abelard. The logician, apparently, was so far persuaded that he promised for the future to use more discretion in his theological expositions. But temperament was too much for him and, with a return of his old arrogance, he challenged St. Bernard to debate at the coming Council of Sens. Very reluctantly the Cistercian consented, but when the council met (1140) it resolved itself rather into a judicial examination of Abelard's orthodoxy than into the scholastic tournament he had planned. St. Bernard had prepared a list of extracts from Abelard's works in which all could read how far from the traditional faith his use of dialectic had taken him. These theses Abelard was now asked to deny or to abjure. He did neither but, appealing to Rome walked out of the assembly.

In his absence the council continued the discussion, and the theses extracted by St. Bernard were sent to the pope, to be condemned, resoundingly if somewhat vaguely, and to earn their author a sentence of perpetual imprisonment in a monastery.

The condemnation of the theses was inevitable. They destroyed the very foundations of historic Christianity. For all Abelard's good intentions, his immense influence was steadily undermining the Faith. Nevertheless, good his intentions certainly were. He was never in any sense a freethinker, and he now showed that it was not merely for the look of the thing that he had given authority, and the Church, a place in his system. Whereas the humiliation of Sens had momentarily brought out some of the worst in his character, the sympathy and kindness of the Abbot of Cluny, Peter the Venerable, worked a general reconciliation. Abelard made his submission, was reconciled to the pope and even to St. Bernard. For the short remainder of his life he lived under Peter's protection, and in one of the abbey properties he died (1142).

Four years after Abelard's death the battle was renewed and this time it was the work of Chartres, or rather of Chartres's greatest luminary, Gilbert of la Porree, that was in question.

Gilbert had been consecrated Bishop of Poitiers in the year Abelard died, and it was his exposition, as a bishop, of the theories he had been teaching for years that brought him up against St. Bernard. An address to his diocesan synod in 1146 provoked a strong protest from his archdeacons who, furthermore, denounced the bishop to Rome. The pope -- Eugene III (1145-1153) -- referred the matter for examination to a council which met at Paris the next year. But the prosecution, so to call it, mismanaged the case. They had no definite texts to allege against Gilbert, and in the debate Gilbert skilfully brought out their own mutual contradictions. The pope thereupon put off the examination. It came up a second time at a council in Rheims in 1148.

What accounts of this council survive differ in their details. It seems certain, however, that a party of the French bishops were strong enough to draw up a profession of faith and that some of the cardinals present prevented its acceptance, since they saw in the action a movement on the part of St. Bernard and the bishops to dictate to Rome. The profession was, however, published at Rheims after the council and, later, it was approved by Eugene III. It is certain, too, that Gilbert submitted. As the four propositions [ ] were read out in which his alleged errors were contained he declared to the pope, after each one of them, ' If you believe otherwise, I believe as you believe.,' Finally, it was forbidden to read or to make copies of Gilbert's commentary on Boethius until he had corrected it in accordance with his submission

Gilbert, to the end of his life, believed he had been misunderstood. He rewrote the prologue to his book and he changed the expressions which had caused the trouble. But he refused to discuss the matter with St. Bernard, inviting the saint, as a necessary preliminary, to take some lessons in the elements of logic. Six years after the council he died (September 4, 1154), still Bishop of Poitiers, undisturbed since the condemnation of Rheims, and for many years an object of great veneration.

Gilbert, not equal to Abelard in power of personality, was one of the first schoolmen to show a knowledge of Aristotle that goes beyond the logical treatises. So far Aristotle stood for logic and for little more. With Gilbert -- who evidently knew the fourth book of the Physics and the De Coelo et Mundo -- the revolution to be consummated in St. Thomas makes an important advance. Of Gilbert's later influence it is not easy to say much. His Liber Sex Principiorum did indeed win him the rare distinction of being cited, with Aristotle, as an "authority" in the schools. It was one of the classical texts upon which all the thinkers of the next centuries commented. But, this apart, he had little influence, and as a theologian none except on the Calabrian Cistercian, Joachim of Flora, in whose mystico-prophetical writings Gilbert's exposition of the mystery of the Trinity becomes the basis of a real distinction between the roles of the Three Persons in the history of the world. But on the work of those who, in Gilbert's own time, laid the foundation upon which all subsequent theological study in the Church has been built, Gilbert's own theories had, seemingly, no effect at all.

Three of these contemporaries must be noticed. They are Hugh of St. Victor, the greatest theologian of the century; Peter Lombard, whose Book of Sentences [ ] (Liber Sententiarum) fixed for many centuries the mould in which the theological teaching of beginners was cast; and Roland Bandinelli, canonist as well as theologian, and later on, as Alexander III, the first of the great lawyer popes.

Although the chief centres of this intellectual revival lay in the north of France, the leaders were of very varied origin; Abelard, for example, was a Breton, Lanfranc and St. Anselm Italians. With Hugh of St. Victor it was the German mind that made it appearance in philosophy. [ ] He was perhaps twenty years of age when in 1116 he entered the abbey of St. Victor at Paris to become an Augustinian canon, just ten years after William of Champeaux -- since then Bishop of Chalons -- had founded its school of theology on his own retirement thither after his defeat by Abelard. Of that school Hugh was to be the most distinguished product. His most important work was done in a very short time, between his entry in 1116 and his election as prior in 1133. Eight years later and he was dead, cut off prematurely at forty-five.

Hugh wrote voluminously, commentaries on Sacred Scripture, treatises on mythology, on theology, ascetical guides, discussions of mysticism and its phenomena, works of pure literature, a history, some philosophy. His most important work is the De Sacramentis Christianae Fidei, a compendium of the whole of the Church's teaching. There exists, too, a still shorter compendium, the Summa Sententiarum, often attributed to Hugh, but about whose authorship authorities are by no means agreed. The Eruditio Didascalica deals with methods of study and the interrelation of the different sciences, while the De Institutione Novitiorum and the Expositio in regulam beati Augustini contain the essence of his teaching on mysticism. [ ]

Hugh never confounds the natural processes of knowledge with the supernatural, and this careful distinction, consistently preserved through all his work, is one of the chief sources of its value. We can know God by reasoning, and we can know God by believing God's revelation of Himself. This revelation is, in turn, made known to us normally by external teaching presented to our minds, but, sometimes, by an internal illumination. Thus Hugh escapes entirely the cloudy legacy of the Neoplatonic doctrine of divine illumination as the source of natural knowledge which, coming into Catholic thought through St. Augustine and the self-styled Areopagite, had done so much to confuse its development. As a theologian he makes the consequent clear distinction between the knowledge of God we can have through reasoning about revealed truths -- the proper office of Theology-and that which comes through processes above the natural, through contemplation (to use his own terminology). For all knowledge of truths which are supernatural, Faith is essential. Faith as an instrument of knowledge is superior to reason, since the object to which it can reach is superior. But reason can work on the truths obtained for it by Faith, examining their content and showing the reasonableness of belief.

Like his predecessors, Abelard and St. Anselm, Hugh made the mistake of over-estimating the extent of the field in which reason isolated from faith can work. The full understanding of the nature of the reasoning process, of the meaning of rational certitude and proof, escaped him. Like those predecessors, and like others after him, he set reason tasks for which, by its nature, it is not apt, as, for instance, when he set it to discover that in God there are three Persons.

As a writer on mysticism, to use in its technical sense that much abused word, he makes a careful analysis of those special divine interventions which, without initiative on the part of those whom they favour, raise such souls to a knowledge and love of God altogether beyond the normal. He describes this mystical ascent, m which man is made passive by the divine action, and attempts to analyse its nature. In his mystical theology he is not a Neoplatonist, for all his reading of the Neoplatonic authors.

Hugh of St. Victor is no mere compiler, but a highly original thinker, influenced, of course, by his sources, but influenced chiefly to think out the problems anew in their spirit. Aristotle he knew so far as Boethius could make him know; Plato and Plotinus through St. Augustine. Of all the Fathers it is St. Augustine, of course, who most affects him, although here too, like St. Anselm, Hugh is a new thinker after St. Augustine's pattern, rather than a restorer. Abelard, his somewhat older contemporary, influenced him immensely. From the Introductio ad Theologiam and the Sic et Non came the new severity of dialectic which characterises Hugh's work, and its fusion of patristic evidence with argument from reasoning. Thence also there came the idea of condensing into a single orderly synthesis the vast whole of Catholic teaching. Hugh, in his turn, repaid his magnificent creditor, for it was largely due to his use of Abelard that, after the master's condemnation, Abelard's valuable spirit and technique were preserved, to be safely used by the most orthodox.

Hugh of St. Victor died prematurely, and his name was soon to be overshadowed by that of Peter Lombard, for Peter Lombard wrote the first and the most celebrated of all theological textbooks. But through Peter Lombard it is Hugh of St. Victor who still, very often, is speaking. Peter's own manuscript has its margins filled with references to Hugh. Idea, expression, text, even whole pages from the De Sacramentis and the Summa, reappear in the Liber Sententiarum. Another pupil of Hugh was Peter of Poitiers, master of the canonist who became Pope Innocent III. A third pupil was Gandulph of Bologna, through whom Hugh's thought influenced all that great school, too. In the next great century Alexander of Hales, St. Bonaventure, and St. Thomas himself, were to speak of Hugh with singular veneration. The famous bull Unam Sanctam of Boniface VIII, in defining the relations between the spiritual and the temporal power, made use of Hugh's very words; and another passage of his sacramental teaching passed through St. Thomas to find its final official sanction in the Catechism of the Council of Trent. Hugh of St. Victor stands out as the one really great theologian of his century, the first to effect a real reconciliation between the new scholastic method and orthodoxy. [ ]

Hugh of St. Victor was a thinker, Peter Lombard a compiler only; but he was a compiler of genius, and his famous book brought it about that the right of the intelligence to use all possible means in its appreciation of revealed truth was, henceforward, accepted universally wherever theology was studied.

Of Peter Lombard's early life we know nothing, save that he came from Novara. The year 1139 found him studying at Paris, where St. Bernard was his first patron. In 1142 he wrote his commentaries on St. Paul, and six years later his reputation was already such that he took part in the Council of Rheims as an opponent of Gilbert of la Porree, and was one of those whom Eugene III consulted in that thorny business. He had completed his great work, The Sentences, by 1152 and, St. Bernard again intervening, the pope rewarded him with a canonry at Beauvais. In 1159 he was consecrated Bishop of Paris, and within a year he had died.

The Liber Sententiarum is a student's manual of theology. Its author does not attempt, like St. Anselm, to show, independently of Scripture and Tradition, the reasonableness of belief. The work lacks the originality of Hugh, as it lacks the subtlety of Abelard. Its philosophical data are scanty; hardly anywhere is there a trace of metaphysics. Peter hesitates often to declare himself, and at times the hesitation is willed. In all this the book marks a falling back from the achievement of contemporaries.

It had, however, two great merits. It was impersonal, concerned, that is to say, not to instruct the student as to Peter's theories, hut to set before him all available opinions. Next, it was rigorously orthodox in its spirit. It provided the student with a vast ordered collection of authorities, texts from Sacred Scripture and from the Fathers; it neglected none of the contemporary thinkers; it was clear, brief, not encumbered with digression; and while it made good use of the fashionable dialectic. it did so with extreme moderation, chiefly to harmonise conflicting authorities, to discuss contemporary opinion, and only rarely for personal speculation. peter had no sympathy for the victims of logical extravagance-garruli ratiocinatores, he styles them -- and his studied moderation may be fairly attributed in part to his association with St. Bernard, and with the great abbot's campaign. It is another merit of his book that it is entirely free from the spirit of controversy, although not one of the conflicting opinions of the day fails to find a mention in it. But Peter's one aim is to expound the traditional doctrine, and the principal part of the book is not its dialectic -- for all the immense importance. historically, of the appearance of systematic dialectic in the work -- but in the multitude of its citations. So complete, indeed, is the Sentences in this respect that henceforward ii was a rare scholar indeed -- St. Thomas Aquinas, for example -- who did more than read his texts in Peter Lombard. "Egregius collector,'' as a none too friendly contemporary described him, Peter borrowed often, and as literally as he borrowed liberally. To his great contemporaries, Abelard. Gratian, Hugh of St. Victor and the author of the Summa Sententiarum, he is especially indebted, but to Abelard, whom he never names, most of all. It is Abelard's principles that guide his interpretation of conflicting texts, and Abelard's Sic et Non supplied him with most of his patristic erudition. What the extent of Peter Lombard's own reading was, it is hard to say. A good ninetenths of his texts are from St. Augustine, from whom there are a thousand citations, while from the next best used -- St. Hilary he takes but eighty. Denis the Areopagite is only twice cited, and no one of the Greek Fathers more than once, except St. John Damascene, referred to thirty times.

Peter Lombard's success, for all the merits of his work, was hardly won. Opposition to the method of his book showed itself immediately, and opposition also to some of his teaching. The first weak point 011 which hostile critics seized was the defective theory, which he had inherited from Abelard, to explain how Jesus Christ Our Lord is both divine and human. This theory taught, in accordance with the tradition, that He is perfect man and truly God, but it failed to understand all that is meant by the truth that that union is hypostatic, that the Humanity with the Divinity is one person. Concerned to avoid the Nestorian error, that makes the humanity itself a person, the Abelardian theory denied that the humanity is a substantial reality. The Word s man is not, according to this theory, a new reality. It has merely received a new mode of being, the full and perfect humanity being the instrument of the full and perfect divinity.

The question, eagerly debated in the rising schools for thirty years, was raised at the Council of Tours in 1163. A hundred and twenty-seven bishops were present and the pope himself, Alexander III, presided, who, in his own works, written while a master in the schools, had shown himself also a defender of the new theory. It was in connection with this controversy that the first attempt was made to bring about the condemnation of the Liber Sententiarum. It failed, however, as did the related endeavour to secure a decision on the dogmatic question. At a second great council, held at Sens in the following year, the pope contented himself with a strong prohibition of idle and useless discussions. But six years later, owing perhaps to the writings of John of Cornwall, the pope reopened the matter. A letter of May 28, 1170, renewed a command, already given, to the Archbishop of Sens charging him to see that "the erroneous opinion of Peter Lombard, one-time Bishop of Paris" is abandoned, the opinion namely that Christ according to His humanity is not a substantial reality. [ ] The masters are, on the contrary, to teach that as Christ is perfect God, so is He perfect man and truly man formed of body and soul. [ ] A further letter, of June 2 of the same year, repeated this instruction; and finally a third, dated February 2, 1177, ended the controversy, establishing sanctions to enforce the teaching.

The history of this so-called Adoptionist controversy is interesting for many reasons. It affords the spectacle of a pope condemning as pope the theories he had taught years before as a private individual, and, more important by far, it witnesses to a considerable theological progress since the comparatively crude controversies that centered around Berengarius.

The decree of 1177 was, of course, for the enemies of Peter Lombard's work an opportunity not to be lost. They took advantage of the change in Alexander III to attempt yet once again, at the General Council of 1179, what they had failed to secure in 1163. The story of the manoeuvre is extremely obscure. Walter of St. Victor, here our one source, represents the pope as willing to condemn the master of the Sentences, and only deterred by the wholesale opposition of his cardinals. Walter was, at any rate, one of the most bitter of Peter's critics, as his pamphlet-provoked by Peter of Poitiers, great commentary on the Lombard, the first of hundreds -- shows. It is called Against the Four Labyrinths of France, and attacks with a violence that knows no limits, Abelard, Gilbert of la Porree, Peter Lombard and Peter of Poitiers. Another, equally violent, critic was Joachim of Flora his exaggerations led him into manifest heresy and, after his death, to the resounding condemnation of the General Council of 1215. This marked the end of the manoeuvres to condemn the Sentences, for not only did this council condemn the latest of Peter's foes, but it paid Peter the greatest compliment any Catholic writer has ever known, of associating him by name with the decree on the Faith, "We, the sacred and universal council approving believe and confess, with Peter Lombard. . . ."

The propositions censured by Alexander III were quietly set aside, and in the course of time others went to join them. They were listed, a score of them, at the beginning or the end of the manuscripts and a simple, "Here the Master is not followed" marked that, without any solemn condemnation on these points Peter's opinions had been abandoned. By 1220 he was established in the position he was to hold until, nearly three hundred years later, St. Thomas displaced him, as the inevitable, universal text on which the teaching of theology was built; and in all the new colleges the "Bachelor of the Sentences" was as permanent an institution as the "Bachelor of Sacred Scripture."

The history of the False Decretals has shown how great an influence in the development of church law, as a branch of learning, were the necessities of the ruling authority. But for all the energy of these primitive ninth-century bishops and scholars, the difficulties against which they strove persisted, still hampering the ecclesiastical reformer and the movement to re-establish the old order of Christian life. The confusion in knowledge as to what the law was, due largely to the presence of so many divergent collections, still continued. Authorities -- the collections of canons, that is, which were cited as such -- differed, and even the collections to which the reformers appealed were by no means always in agreement. Anarchy ever menaced this age of institutions half-created, that so lacked any acknowledged central lay authority, that was so frequently lacking in practical respect for the acknowledged central spiritual authority.

Realisation of the ever present trouble produced various attempts to remedy it; the new collection of ancient decrees made by Burchard, Bishop of Worms about 1020, for example, and the Collection in Five Books made about the same time in Italy. But even these collections, compiled as they were in order to guard against the faults of the earlier collections, still contained too many doubtful texts. Nor did either of them successfully establish the great desideratum whence alone an effective unity of law could;. issue -- the active supremacy within the church of a single, strong, central, legislative and executive power.

But from about the middle of that same eleventh century the tide began to turn. The movement of papally-directed reformation that began with St. Leo IX and St. Gregory VII had its inevitable effect on the development of legal studies. Thanks to St. Gregory VII especially, systematic researches were undertaken in all the libraries of Italy, always in the hope of finding precedents to justify the new, revolutionary use he was making of the papacy's traditional supremacy. Towards the end of that century a wholly new kind of collection began to appear. of which that made by Anselm of Lucca -- nephew of Pope Alexander II -- is one of the best examples. Doubtful texts are now eliminated. New authentic texts, fruit of the recent researches, are inserted and along with these the new legislation which promulgates the reform principles as laws to be obeyed universally. All these new collections emphasise the rights of the Holy See, its effective primacy throughout the Church, its infallibility. They also bring texts to solve the eagerly debated contemporary question whether the sacraments administered by ecclesiastics who had themselves bought their consecration are valid. Anselm of Lucca, in particular, had a great share in translating into the facts of everyday Catholic life throughout the Church the traditional belief in the primacy of Rome. [ ]

The new collections, scientifically considered, were an immense advance on all that had gone before. Nevertheless the old faulty collections did not, even yet, disappear. They were still used and extensively, partly for the simple reason that they were old, partly because of the frequent, local repugnance to the new strict centralisation that flowed from the new texts as their inevitable practical sequel.

The first effect of the spread of the "Hildebrandine" collections was, then, the appearance of yet more of the hybrid books where the old-world influence and the new appeared side by side-Burchard for example with "Hildebrandine,' texts -- and even of new apocrypha. St. Ives of Chartres, the most distinguished canonist of the generation that followed St. Gregory VII, is an instance in point. His Decretum is interesting, too, for the vast amount of space theology occupies in it -- fruit of the Berengarian controversies on the Holy Eucharist. In this new fashion of setting together theological texts and decisions of law, yet another hindrance appeared to the development of Canon Law as an independent science, and therefore to the establishment of a universal reign of law within the Church as part of the Church's daily life. The first quarter of the twelfth century is then, in these respects, a period where, so far as concerns law, the progress of Catholic thought comes to a halt.

The need for a homogeneous code was, however, greater than ever. With a reform party active in every kingdom and diocese, new conflicts were continually arising which no texts clearly solved. The whole spirit of the time was towards greater certainty, greater clearness, a simplifying and a unifying of all religious knowledge. The spirit of St. Anselm and of Abelard could not but affect the canonists too. Then, from the end of the eleventh century, the Digest of Justinian began to be studied again, after being lost to Western sight for centuries. It offered the nascent Canon Law the stimulus of the conception of Law as a body of thought, the example of a scientific system of jurisprudence, with a proper and adequate classification and a system of interpretation. The time was at hand, and nothing now could delay it much longer, when, from laws, there would at last be produced the Canon Law.

The first moving force, in this last stage, was Urban II. No one of St. Gregory VII's disciples was more loyal to the cause of the reform, but it was one of the great merits of Urban II that he saw the possibility, and the need, of compromise within the limits of the essential Hildebrandine principles. The necessities of the situation as it had developed since, in 1084, the Normans drove out the emperor and rescued the pope, left Urban II no choice but to endeavour to harmonise this conflict by a careful interpretation of the laws; compelled him, for example, to distinguish between the necessary and the contingent. This initiative was developed in the next few years by St. Ives of Chartres and Bernold of Constance, who may be fairly considered the founders of critical jurisprudence within the Church. They did for the Church's law something of what Abelard, in his Sic et Non, did for the Church's theology. [ ] What they did well another man, born during their own lifetime, was to do with genius. This was Gratian.

Of Gratian's life we know almost nothing, except that he was monk of the order of Camaldoli, that he taught at the school of Bologna and that he wrote the great work which is the foundation of the science of ecclesiastical jurisprudence. We do not, know when he was born nor when he died, but the book which D gives him his unique place in history was written, apparently, by 1142. That book is commonly called, was universally called, Gratian's Decretum. Its author's own title -- Concordantia Discordantium Canonum, that is, A Harmony of Conflicting Canons-expresses best what it is, a vast collection of decrees of popes and councils with texts from the Fathers too, arranged systematically according to their subject matter and so treated as to make, of the vast miscellany, a single, ordered whole. It is a book to teach not merely laws but law, in which there is everywhere at work the practical desire to adapt the texts, intelligently, to all the actual needs of the Church. By his application, throughout the whole vast field of ecclesiastical legislation, of Abelard's critical principles for the interpretation of warring authorities, Gratian did much more than add to existing collections a newer, and best, collection of all. He produced a book of a new kind altogether, a private work indeed, but one which had the distinction not only of serving as the basis of all subsequent teaching in Canon Law, but also as the exemplar of all subsequent ecclesiastical legislation.

With Gratian the science of ecclesiastical jurisprudence is born, and thence begins the series of great lawyer popes thanks to whom the Roman Church's newly organised supremacy is, in the end, triply armed, with the great Corpus Iuris Canonici, wherein the subordination of each member to the whole Church -- realised as so essential an element of the religion of the Church since the days of St. Paul himself -- is ordered in as careful a detail as each member's faith, too, is beginning to be ordered. All earlier collections had had in view some particular practical end; they were, for example, handbooks of useful information for whoever had charge of a see, and the selection of texts they contained was influenced, very largely, by local needs and by recent local history. Gratian's achievement is fundamental. His sole aim is the law itself. From now on, the canonist ceases to occupy himself with theology, and the collections of canons discard the purely theological decrees and texts. While, until Gratian, the pioneers of the nascent theological science had quarried in the collections of the canonists, henceforward the process is reversed and the canonist, free of theology, will use the theologians as material out of which to develop his scientific law. Gratian's separation of Canon Law from theology is not the least part of his fundamental service to the development of thought.

Gratian, it has been said, made use of Abelard's critical legacy. But, much more than in Gratian, Abelard's influence is evident in one of Gratian's pupils, his first great commentator, the Bolognese professor, Roland Bandinelli, whose personality was to dominate the second half of the twelfth century as St. Bernard's had dominated the first.

The early life of Roland Bandinelli is wrapt in the same tantalising uncertainty that obscures Gratian, his master, and Peter Lombard, his contemporary. He was born -- when we know not -- at Siena. He came to teach at Bologna, then the chief centre of intellectual life in Italy, somewhere in the thirties of the twelfth century and he won the name of being the foremost professor of Sacred Scripture and Canon Law of his generation. He was rewarded with a canonry at Pisa and, in 1147, with a like appointment in the Lateran. In 1150 Eugene III made him one of the cardinal-deacons, and the next year cardinal-priest. In 1153 he became Chancellor of the Roman Church and thereby the most influential person in the Curia after the pope. Six years later he was himself elected pope, Alexander III.

Of the works of the Cardinal Roland Bandinelli two survive, to justify the immense reputation he enjoyed among his contemporaries as a scholar. The first is his Stroma, an abridgment of the second part of Gratian's book made for the use of students. It is remarkable for its order and for the singular clarity of the exposition. The second work, the Sententiae, is a theological summa. in which the influence of Abelard is evident throughout, in the method of exposition and in the scientific spirit which inspires it. Roland Bandinelli is, however, no mere compiler, and many of the master's errors are corrected in his work, the Abelardian theory of original sin, for example, the teaching on the Trinity and on the nature of faith. But other errors of Abelard he took over; that, for example, on the nature of the union in Jesus Christ of the divine and the human, which many years later he was, as pope, to condemn.

The errors into which Abelard and Gilbert had fallen, and their spectacular defeat at the hands of St. Bernard did not, then, by any manner of means, ruin the movement towards a more scientific theology which they led. The spirit which had inspired them inspired in Peter Lombard and Roland Bandinelli the two most influential minds of the next generation also. It was to meet the opposition of those who claimed to be St. Bernard's disciples but who lacked his genius as they lacked his sanctity. Then, after a sharp crisis, it was finally to establish itself, as the official tradition of theological exposition.


The strong French pope, whose diplomacy had brought to a victorious end the fifty years' controversy with the emperor, did not long survive his triumph. He died in the year which followed the Lateran Council, on December 13 or 14, 1124. His successor, Honorius II -- the cardinal Lambert -- had a long experience in the central government of the Church, that went back to the days of Urban II. Pascal II had made him a cardinal; he had been the companion of Gelasius II in that pope's flight and exile; he had been a power in the conclave that elected Calixtus II and had been, throughout the reign, that pope's most trusted adviser; as such he had played an influential part in the negotiations that preceded the Concordat of Worms, and his known conciliatory temper had won him the goodwill of the Roman nobility; it had been a career to which election as pope came as a very natural crown. Yet the election was made unwillingly, and in circumstances that might easily have led to schism, and which did, six years later, actually lead to schism.

The Roman nobility, whose interest in the frequent changes in their temporal ruler had been from the first beginnings of the Papal State, and could hardly fail to be, one of the major permanent anxieties of the popes, were still as willing as ever, at the death of Calixtus II, to attempt to renew their ancient hold on the papacy. In place of the Crescentii, the Theophylacts, the Cencii of previous centuries there were now the Pierleoni and the Frangepani. Each faction had its candidate, and the Pierleoni now triumphed, electing the cardinal Tommaso Buccapecci who took the name of Celestine II. But while the Te Deum was still in progress, the Frangepani leader broke in, tore from the shoulders of the newly-elected the papal mantle and bade him resign. The which, apparently very willingly, he did; and the terrified cardinals then elected Lambert, who took the name of Honorius II. For a few days the party of Celestine held out. But by St. Thomas's Day December 21, they had followed their leader; and then Honorius, too, resigned, to be immediately re-elected in more canonical fashion.

Almost immediately he had to face a serious crisis, for in 1125 his old adversary, the emperor Henry V, died leaving no direct heir. For a century now the imperial crown had passed from father to son, and it was as important for the popes, as for the imperial feudatories, to take full advantage of the opportunity now offered to safeguard the principle of its electoral character against any claims of family. It was no less important to secure that the new emperor should be a prince sympathetic to the settlement of 1122, and that there should be no risk of a renewal of the controversy about Investiture. To election therefore, Honorius sent his legates, and in combination with the archbishops and bishops of Germany they secured the choice of Lothair of Supplimburg. When Lothair besought the pope's confirmation of his election the principles of St. Gregory VII were given an ideal recognition, and the emperor showed that the petition was no merely formal act of goodwill by an important modification of the Concordat. Elections of bishops and abbots were henceforward to be absolutely free, "neither extorted by fear of the king nor influenced by his presence as the use has been, nor restricted by any convention." [ ] It is to the bishop thus freely elected and canonically consecrated that investiture of the temporalities is to be conferred by the touch of the sceptre.

In his relations with France Honorius was equally happy, although his tactful handling of Louis VI, in a quarrel that involved the French king and the bishops, brought him a stiff letter of reproof from the young St. Bernard.

Italian affairs were more troublesome. Much against his will the pope was forced, by losses in the field, to acknowledge the Norman hold on Apulia; and the Roman faction-fighting in which his reign was born continued through all its six years. It raged even around his very death-bed, for the Frangepani, who had so nearly lost in 1124, were determined to maintain their hold. They gathered in the palace where the pope lay dying, set it about with guards, and, the pope no sooner dead, all the cardinals present elected as his successor, the cardinal Gregory, who took the name of Innocent II (February 14, 1130). Unhappily the electors, for all their unanimity, were but a minority of the electoral college, and a few hours later their colleagues, outraged at the unseemliness of the uncanonical proceeding, elected-without any reference to Innocent's election -- the cardinal Peter Pierleoni. He called himself Anacletus II.

The Church had a practical problem without a precedent since the new system of papal elections introduced in 1059. Which of the two was really pope? The first elected? or the elect of the majority? That neither was pope, since both were the elect of fragments only -- greater or less -- of the electoral college, is a view no one seems to have taken. The law of the papal election did not as yet specify any particular majority of the votes as necessary for validity. Nor was there any machinery to decide between the rivals. Anacletus had Rome in his support, and maintained himself there until his death (1138). Innocent meanwhile, driven from Rome, followed the well-worn track of persecuted popes over the Alps to France, to win, ultimately, recognition from the majority of the Catholic bishops and princes.

The chief factor in that general recognition was the recognition accorded by Louis VI of France and the French bishops, and what determined their decision was the immense influence of St. Bernard at the Synod of Etampes. What principle, it may be asked, guided St. Bernard? Apparently the very simple one that, of the two rivals, Innocent was the better man, "une espece de divination de sa conscience." [ ] Pierleoni was the chief of the faction that had brought about his own election, an ecclesiastical politician primarily. Innocent, although the choice, perhaps even -- in the election -- the tool, of a faction, was at any rate not its leader. His election had not about it that air of self-election which, in his rival's case, was so sinister a reminder of the worst days of. the last century. And Innocent had played a distinguished part in the struggle against Henry V. He must now have been advanced in years, for the earliest thing recorded of his clerical career is his service with the rival of St. Gregory VII, the anti-pope Clement III dead now these thirty years. Pascal II had made him a cardinal in 1116, he had shared the exile of the next pope, and then, in the time of Calixtus II, he had been the colleague of the cardinal Lambert -- the future Honorius II -- in the negotiation of the Concordat of Worms.

What the influence of St. Bernard did in France, that of St. Norbert did in Germany. By the end of the year 1131 Innocent was recognised everywhere, except in Rome and southern Italy where Roger of Sicily remained true to Anacletus.

It was inevitably a troubled pontificate, and even after 1138, when the death of Anacletus brought Innocent II universal recognition, some shadow of its origins continued to darken it. The emperor, Lothair, for all his exemplary action at his election in 1125, and despite his several expeditions against Anacletus, threatened to reopen the Investiture struggle, and only the influence of St. Bernard and St. Norbert kept him loyal to the Concordat. The French king, too, was not always satisfactory and his interference in the freedom of episcopal elections drew down on France an interdict. For Innocent II, despite his misfortunes, was no weakling. St. Bernard championed a spirit fashioned like his own. The work of reform went forward, the pope maintaining the tradition of local councils where he himself presided, correcting abuses and devising guarantees to prevent their repetition. The culmination of these, and the pope's greatest achievement, was the General Council of April, 1139, held in the Lateran, that marked the restored unity of Christendom after the death of Anacletus.

The history of this great council, at which some five or six hundred bishops and abbots assisted, is curiously obscure. Its canons indeed survive, but no record of the council has come down written by anyone who was even in Rome at the time. Its canons, for the most part, [ ] repeat the legislation of earlier reforming councils. Of the new canons one regulates the dress of clerics, three are concerned with nuns -- they are formally deprived of the power to contract a valid marriage, they are not to sing the Divine Office in company with the monks, and spurious nuns who live privately at home are to be suppressed. Two new canons reflect the Church's care for religion as a social force, one against usurers a d the other against the use of catapults and bows in wars against Christians. Finally the ordinations of Anacletus are declared null and void. Two older canons are re-enacted, one against incendiaries and another against violators of the Truce of God.

The council has, too, a certain doctrinal importance, not so much perhaps for its condemnation of Arnold of Brescia -- who as yet had not developed all his latent possibilities -- as for its condemnation (Canon 23) of the new, Manichee tendencies which were, seventy years later, to menace the very existence of Catholicism in southern France. For the first time for many years there is no canon touching the matter of investiture. On the other hand three canons deal once more with the question of clerical celibacy, and, in even stronger terms than in 1123, declare null and void marriages contracted by clerics in major orders.

The principal work before the council was to remove the last traces of the late schism. Following the precedent of 1123, of Urban II in 1095 and of St. Gregory VII before that, the ordinations of the late anti-pope were annulled -- a proceeding that, in the mind of its chief historian, raises the greatest difficulty which the whole history of re-ordination presents. Innocent II was not content with this, nor with the submission of those who had followed his rival. There were numerous deprivations, and the altars these bishops had consecrated were destroyed. One victim,. especially, of the pope's revengeful spirit was the Cardinal Peter of Pisa, who had indeed been one of the anti-pope's chief supporters, but whom St. Bernard had won over to make his. submission even before the anti-pope's death. He had been a most valuable recruit to Innocent, who had received him gladly and confirmed him in his dignities. In the movement to secure the submission of the party of Anacletus, Peter had played a great part, but Innocent, now secure, thought only of the past and deprived him. Nor, despite all St. Bernard's pleading, did he ever restore him.

For all its circumstance, the council was destined to very slight success. The pope's rigour made too unhappy an impression, he was soon involved in the disastrous war with Sicily, and there began twenty years of domestic political anxiety in Rome which effectively slowed down the papacy's European activity.

Innocent II had triumphed, but to the end things continued to go badly in Rome and the south. The King of Sicily was excommunicated at the Lateran Council, and the pope himself prepared to carry out the sentence and depose him. But Roger was the better general. He captured the pope and compelled him not only to lift the excommunication but also, once more, to recognise the Norman claims to the Italian mainland. The Romans were angered by the pope's refusal to sanction the destruction of the rival Latin town of Tivoli. The new spirit of the Commune that now evidently possessed Rome as it did the whole north of Italy, showed itself in another way when Innocent was compelled to make a grant of local self-government. This developed, and a republic was proclaimed. In the midst of these new troubles the unhappy pope died, September 24, 1143.

He was succeeded by the short-lived Celestine II (September, 1143-March, 1144) who had been one of Abelard's pupils and, when Cardinal Legate in France presiding at the condemnation of Arnold of Brescia -- of whom more immediately -- had been rebuked by St. Bernard for his neglect to use that disturber of the peace more severely. As pope he reigned long enough to revoke Innocent II's concessions to the King of Sicily, thus leaving to his own successor, Lucius II, an additional worry to embarrass his endeavours to suppress the new republic.

Lucius II had been one of the legates thinks to whom Lothair III was elected emperor in 1125. The next pope had made him Chancellor of the Roman Church, and upon his election (March 12, 1144) he turned all his diplomacy to extricate the papacy from the domestic chaos in which its temporal affairs were rapidly submerging. He arranged a truce with Sicily. He allied himself
with the Frangepani -- the more easily because the Pierleoni supported the Republic -- and with their aid proceeded to military measures. While besieging the Capitol he was however killed by a chance shot, after a reign of less than a year.

In his place, that same day (February 15, 1145), the cardinals elected the abbot of SS. Vincent and Anastasius. He was

Cistercian, won to the monastic life fifteen years before by St. Bernard, and after some years spent at Clairvaux, under the saint's direction, he had gone into Italy to undertake, at the request of Innocent II, the reform of the great abbey of Farfa. The election over, pope and cardinals fled from the hostile city, and it was in the abbey church of Farfa that, as Eugene III, its one-time abbot was consecrated. Rome meanwhile was given up to anarchy and pillage and then, in reaction against the horrors the pope was invited to return. But his stay was of short duration. The arch-disturber of his age now appeared there, the mystical revolutionary Arnold of Brescia, and in the January of 1146 Eugene III was once more an exile, destined not again to see Rome until a few months before his death in 1153.

Arnold of Brescia, the ruler of Rome henceforward for a good nine years, is as typical a figure of the time as the popes he opposed, as Abelard, or as St. Bernard himself, who knew him well and whom in many respects he greatly resembled. He was much the same age as St. Bernard, born at Brescia in the last years of the eleventh century. He was ordained priest, became a canon-regular and even prior of his monastery. Like St. Bernard he was a man of amazing austerities. He was a famous speaker and gifted with a singularly charming personality. In Brescia he rapidly acquired fame as an eloquent critic of contemporary abuses, and, like many another clerical critic of clerical habits, he passed easily into a denial of the good of that he saw abused. The Church, for example, had no right to own property. Pope and bishops, by owning, were guilty of mortal sin; the Church was contaminated by the presence of such men; it ceased to be the Church; the pope was no longer pope; people should, therefore, refuse to receive the sacraments such men offered; better far, indeed, to confess to each other. Finally, he invited the attention of the emperor, to the miserable state of matters ecclesiastical. "It is in your power," he wrote to the emperor, "to arrange that for the future no pope shall be elected without your good pleasure.,'

Arnold speedily came into conflict with his own bishop, for his share in making the commune of Brescia independent of the bishop. He was denounced at the Lateran Council of 1139 and deposed from his monastic office and banished from Italy, not to return without the pope's permission. France was his place of refuge, and 1141 found him at Abelard's side at the Council of Sens. With Abelard he was sentenced by Innocent II to lifelong confinement in a monastery. The sentence was never carried into execution, and Arnold passed to Paris where, hike an anti-clerical St. Bernard. he denounced in his lectures the wealth and vices of the clergy.

St. Bernard's influence with Louis VII brought about his expulsion from France. He wandered into Switzerland, he spent some time in Bohemia in the company of the papal legate there, and then, in 1145, at Viterbo, he made a complete abjuration to Eugene III. Before the year was out he was the head and centre of the new revolt that drove the pope forth, and for the next nine years the object of rich reprobation as the most subversive enemy of the whole social order.

The chief event, however, of Eugene III's reign (1145-1153) was the Second Crusade.

4. THE LATIN EAST, 1100-1151

The success of the crusading armies in 1098-1099 was, in no small measure, due to the fact that they delivered their assault at a moment when the Moslem world was rent with bitter internal strife. The subsequent history of the Catholic hold on Syria and Palestine was to be the history of a long defensive war against the dispossessed Mohammedan, with the defenders even less united than had been the Moslem in the hour when they overcame him. To understand the quasi-inevitableness of the Mohammedan recovery it is essential to know something of the way in which the Crusaders organised their conquest.

The war had been a holy war at whose origin the Church had officially presided. The motive was the delivery of Christians from infidel tyranny, and the spirit in which this was achieved was, in theory, that of sinners working out satisfaction for their misdeeds by an heroic act of fraternal charity. The logic of the situation would have placed what conquests were made at the discretion of the Church. More even than over his own city of Rome, might the pope expect to preside over the destinies of the lands which the faithful, at his bidding and with his blessing, had wrested, for the love of God, from the infidel. The result was, however, far different.

Bohemond retained his hold on Antioch, Raymund of Provence on Tripoli, Baldwin of Flanders on Edessa; and an assembly of the nobles in August, 1099 elected Godfrey de Bouillon to be ruler of Jerusalem. His humility forbade him to call himself king. He would be simply the Defender of the Holy Sepulchre. But his brother Baldwin of Edessa, who succeeded him a year later, had no such scruples and was crowned first King of Jerusalem on Christmas Day, 110 (), in the basilica at Bethlehem.

The new states were a curious transplantation of Western feudalism to an Eastern soil. They were very French, and they were necessarily. from the beginning, in very close contact with the papacy, to which at every crisis they must turn as the source through which assistance would chiefly, would indeed wholly, come. Politically the founders of the new states -- which soon came to be related, the rest to Jerusalem, as vassals to their suzerain -- were the nobles. It was the nobles who elected the King of Jerusalem and the king's actions were wholly controlled by them. He was little more than a primus inter pares. The kingdom was doomed from its beginnings, and it needed only the shock of a united foe to bring it down. From an ecclesiastical point of view, too, the result of the Crusade was a transplantation of the West to the East. The victors continued to be Latin in their Catholicism. A Latin patriarchate of Jerusalem was set up, with four metropolitans and seven suffragan bishops depending from it. This Church was well endowed and became exceedingly wealthy, the greatest of all the landed proprietors. The patriarch was almost the king's equal, and the occasional struggles between kings and patriarchs were one of the many hindrances- to the growth of real unity.

The weakness of the State was reflected in its military organisation. As in every other feudally-organised State, the army was made up of the contingents brought in by the different nobles, and the contingent's first loyalty was, often, to its own immediate leader. Each castle was in some sense a little state, perpetually striving to escape the control of the king. Again, many of the fighting men were Armenian and Syrian mercenaries. The loyalty of this cosmopolitan feudal army to the ideals of 1095 could not but be uncertain.

To meet the situation one of the most characteristic of medieval institutions was created -- the religious order vowed to arms for the defence of the Holy Places. The first of these, the Order of the Knights Hospitallers, grew out of a work of charity whose object was the care of sick pilgrims. It was already a highly successful institution, supported from Europe by a well-organised system of begging when, in 1113, Gerard du Puy transformed it to meet the new problem of military defence. Five years later a second order began, called, from the site of its first home, the Order of the Temple. These new orders were made up of knights, all of noble birth, of serjeants, and of clerics for their spiritual service. All took the three religious vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. But the knights and serjeants were forbidden fasting and such corporal austerities as would lessen their fighting efficiency. For habit they wore, over their armour, a cloak Or distinctive character -- with, for the Hospitallers, a black cross and, for the Templars, a red cross. The new orders found no difficulty in recruiting their numbers. Fiefs, in Europe no less than in the East, were liberally conveyed to them, and while France and England were soon covered with the houses which served them as recruiting centres, in the new states of the East they rapidly became the leading military power. The orders were autonomous. The grand-master of each was, like the chief superior of every other religious order, subject only to the pope. But the constitution within a kingdom already too little centralised, of these powerful, but independent, supporters was to prove ultimately a very great weakness. King, patriarch, barons, the nulitary orders, so many forces acknowledging no subordination -- it would have required a marvellous religious spirit, an almost miraculous devotion to the ideah, to combine them a11 in any harmonious effort. It is matter of history how far from that ideal the Latin Catholics of Syria came to live. The climate, and the new luxuries and refinements of the Mohammedan civilisation were, only too often, as powerfully destructive of their morale as they had been, time and again, with their fellows who fought the Moor in Spain.

For the new Catholic settlements -- and such these kingdoms and principalities really were -- the war was never to end. The gains of the campaigns of 1098 and 1099 had to be supported by yet other gains; and then the ceaseless raids of the Mohammedans, from the north and south, must be beaten off and these in their turn raided. Egypt was weak, and for years not a serious danger. The states of the north, and the Emirs of Damascus, Kaifa and Mosul -- though stronger and more aggressive -- were mutually hostile. Then in 1127, Zengi, the ruler of Mosul, succeeded in creating a new unity that had only Damascus for a rival. The years 1131-1143 were for him a period of uninterrupted success against Antioch, Tripoli and the kingdom of Jerusalem too. Luckily for the kingdom, Damascus to some extent held off. Zengi, and, finding Jerusalem useful, its emir concluded a formal alliance with the kings which lasted until 1147.

But while the Catholics, strengthened by the reinforcements which never ceased to come, more or less numerous and well-provided, from Europe, thus maintained their hold against the Turks. they had to wage another kind of war, on another front, against the Greek emperor at Constantinople. For the Greeks, these several Latin states were so many imperial fiefs, owing the emperor homage. More than one of the princes had, in circumstances of difficulty, promised and even done homage to them as to his suzerain. None of the princes, however, willingly endured such a regime. Hence a readiness on the part of Constantinople to support any one of the Latins against the rest. So it was that the emperor Alexis Comnenus (1081-1118) aided Raymund to establish Tripoli as a counterweight to Bohemond at Antioch. Later still his son John (1118-1143) and his grandson Manuel (1143-1180) found much richer opportunities for intervention. Raymund, prince of Antioch, was compelled in h 1137, by the appearance of an imperial army to do homage to John; and although the pope, Innocent II, in the following March, forbade alliances between the Latins and the Greek emperor to the detriment of other crusading states, the troubles began again in 1142. This time it was the people of Antioch who called in the emperor against Raymund. In 1143 the emperor, John, was murdered, and Raymund seized the opportunity to invade the Byzantine possessions. John's successor, Manuel, replied vigorously, sending an army and fleet to Antioch, and Raymund was obliged to do homage once more, this time at Constantinople, and even to accept as patriarch at Antioch, a priest chosen by the emperor from the schismatic clergy of his capital. This marked the highwater mark of the Byzantine success, the nearest it arrived to what Alexis Comnenus had promised himself when the crusades began in 1095. The empire had secured Asia Minor and the Latin states had made a beginning of doing homage.

In that same year 1144 a much greater disaster befell them. On Christmas Day Zengi captured Edessa. He was murdered shortly afterwards, but in his son, Nureddin, the crusaders had to face a still more dangerous enemy, for to his father's political ability and military skill he joined an unspoiled religious enthusiasm which transformed the whole character of the campaigns. They became a renewal of the Holy War, not a mere anti-crusade.

When the news reached the pope that one of the Christian states had fallen to the Saracens, it was to the King of France, Louis VII, that he turned. Louis enlisted the aid of St. Bernard and, at a great assembly at Vezelay (March 31, 1046), along with hundreds of his nobles, knights and lesser subjects the king took the cross. St. Bernard conceived the grandiose plan of a crusade in which all Christendom should at the same time attack all its enemies, the Saracens in the east, the Moors in Spain and the still pagan tribes to the east of the Elbe. He himself led the campaign of preaching and, on Christmas Day, 1146, the emperor, Conrad III, after some resistance, followed the French king's example. By sermons, by writings, by personal exhortation St. Bernard gradually roused the West from its apathy, and soon both the emperor and the King of France had at their disposal armies of some 70,000 men.

For all its promise, however, this first crusade to enlist the personal support of the powerful kings was destined to fail. It had failed, indeed, before it set out. The Greeks, as always, made it a condition of their assistance that all conquests should be held as fiefs of Constantinople. There were disputes as to the route, which masked a more fundamental dispute, namely whether to support the Greeks or Roger of Sicily who was on the verge of war with them. Finally, the attempt to realise St. Bernard's plan had no other result than to disperse the strength-of the movement or to delay its concentration. Many of the Germans went off to fight the Wends. The English and Brabancon contingent, travelling by the sea-route, halted to take Lisbon from the Moors.

The main armies reached Constantinople by the land-route through Hungary and Thrace, the French in good order, the Germans pillaging so badly that the Greek emperor had to send an army to protect his own people. At Adrianople the Greeks fought and defeated the crusaders. Conrad III refused point blank to do homage to Manuel Comnenus; whereupon the Greek refused even to see him, and the crusaders were hurried across the Bosphorus with all possible speed. The French had a more favourable reception from the emperor, but, even so, relations between the two forces were severely strained and some of Louis VII's advisers were eager to inaugurate the crusade by taking Constantinople. After a succession of disasters, their armies very much smaller, the king and the emperor at last reached Jerusalem in the spring of 1148. To regain Edessa was more than they could hope. The King of Jerusalem, Baldwin IV, proposed instead that they should assist him -- and his Mohammedan ally, the Emir of Basra -- to take Damascus. In July, 1148, the expedition marched. The Viceroy of Damascus managed, however, to break up the coalition. The crusaders won one battle, failed in another, and, raising the siege, retired.

This was the end of the wretched affair. Conrad and Louis returned to Europe, and their armies with them, to spread, as widely as the area whence they had been recruited, the tale of the great disaster. The damage done to the very idea of the crusade was huge, and the one definite change in the situation was the destruction of the alliance between Jerusalem and Damascus, the disappearance of the one force that stood between the kingdom and the aggressive Nureddin.

In 1150 St. Bernard endeavoured to reorganise the affair, but he found no one to listen to him. Kings and lords alike, for that generation, had had their fill. .


The new reluctance of Catholicism to rally to the defence of the Holy Places was significant. The forces active within the Church in the first generation of the great spiritual revival were beginning to languish. The disinterested idealism which, for sixty years now, had so marvellously inspired the universality of the Church had almost spent itself. St. Bernard, in whom the spiritual revival and its popularity were symbolised, died in 1153, and the morrow of the crusade for which he had so devotedly, but unsuccessfully, spent himself was a new struggle between the Church and the Catholic prince. It was not a struggle, this time, to regain from the prince rights of jurisdiction which had lapsed to him through the disorder of centuries, but, more fundamentally still, a struggle to determine the respective positions of pope and emperor with the Church; a struggle in which the emperor challenged the pope at the same time that his ambition challenged also the liberties of the Italian city states. The pope, in this contest, had from the beginning allies bound to him by the political danger in which they, too, stood from the foe who was the foe of the papacy.

Thus the imperial attempt consciously to restore Justinian and the Carolingians provoked a struggle complicated by political considerations, a struggle to be fought out therefore, on both sides, by the full lay apparatus of alliances and armies, as well as by the resources of ecclesiastical censure and prayer. There is about this necessary, and inevitable, preoccupation of the popes with the new Hohenstaufen emperor a certain worldly air. It lacks the pure idealism of the earlier struggle. None of the papal champions in it -- for all the real goodness of their lives -- has even come near to canonisation. The only saint of the struggle, the one purely ideal figure, is the English Archbishop of Canterbury, St. Thomas Becket, and his idealism, it is true to say, more than once gravely embarrassed the pope at a critical moment.

The prince who willed to revive in himself all the old universal power of Justinian, was the Emperor Frederick I, elected in the very last year of St. Bernard's life, 1152. Tall and fair -- from his red beard called ever afterwards Barbarossa -- the typical German in bodily figure, as in his vague political idealism, he was at the time of his election a man thirty years of age, younger than St. Bernard by just a generation. His dream of transforming the idea of the Roman Empire into reality was soon given its opportunity. Invitations to come, armed, into Italy were not wanting. The nobles wished him to suppress the communes. In Sicily there were those who wished to see the Normans driven out. The pope desired the defeat of Arnold of Brescia.

Not until the autumn of 1154 was Frederick ready to advance. By the time he came to Italy Eugene III was dead, and his short-lived successor too. The pope whom Barbarossa met was the one Englishman to whom that high dignity has fallen, Nicolas Brakespeare, Adrian IV, a solemn, austere figure, a simpleminded reformer who had already made a name as the second founder of Norway's Christianity. Arnold of Brescia, driven out for a time in 1154, had returned to Rome. The city welcomed him, and restored the republic until, with unheard-of directness, Adrian laid Rome itself under an interdict. The measure was so far successful that Arnold's supporters deserted him, and he fled to friends outside Rome. Easter 1155 saw the pope and the Romans reconciled.

Barbarossa meanwhile had crossed the Alps, and was steadily advancing through Lombardy, where city after city opened its gates to him. Milan held out, but Frederick for the moment ignored it and passed through Tuscany towards Rome. At Campo Grasso pope and emperor met, and Frederick gave an unmistakable sign of his dispositions by utterly refusing the customary act of homage. Adrian, just as inflexibly, refused to proceed until it was given. It was three days before Frederick yielded, and when, immediately afterwards, the senate which, in Arnold's days, had ruled Rome, waited on him with a mixture of petitions and directions, he broke out violently against them. On Whit Sunday (June 18, 1155) Adrian crowned him emperor in St. Peter's. The Romans, irritated by the reception he had given the senate, attacked his troops, and the day ended in slaughter, and in Frederick's withdrawal -- with the pope, for his own safety, in the emperor's company.

The last weeks of Frederick's advance had also seen the end of Arnold of Brescia. It had been part of the pact between pope and emperor that Frederick should capture and deliver Arnold over to the pope. The heresiarch was taken and confined in the papal prison. Thence he was taken out and hanged, his body burned, and the ashes thrown into the Tiber. About his end there stilllingers a great deal of obscurity. It is not really known by whose authority he was put to death, whether by that of the pope, or of the emperor, or, as one account states, by the Prefect of Rome, without the pope's knowledge, for some private reason.

Frederick, crowned and consecrated emperor, returned into Germany. Adrian, left to himself, turned to the old diplomacy of alliance with the Normans and negotiations with the turbulent Romans. But to the emperor this Sicilian policy was most unwelcome, and at the diet held at Besancon (October, 1157) his indignation was given its opportunity. To the diet Adrian had despatched two legates -- one of them Roland Bandinelli, cardinal since 1150 and Chancellor of the Roman Church. The legates were charged to remind Frederick that as emperor it was his duty to defend the Church, the occasion of the admonition being the recent murder of the primate of Denmark. The emperor, the legate proceeded to say, must not forget that it was the Holy Roman Church which conferred on him the "signal favour of the crown", and that it was proposed to add favours still more valuable. When this part of the message was read out tumult shook the assembly. The word used by the pope to mean favour (beneficium) had also the more restricted technical meaning of fief, and at the suggestion that, as emperor, Frederick must acknowledge the pope as suzerain, the great feudatories turned on the legates. " From whom then does the emperor hold the empire if not from the pope?" said Bandinelli, a founder of the Canon Law speaking through the legate. Whereat only Frederick's personal intervention saved him from the sword of an angry German. The legates were expelled; the diet broke up.

Both parties now prepared for the struggle, Frederick organising Germany against the papal claims, protesting that the empire was not a papal fief, Adrian protesting as widely against the insult of the expulsion of his legates. The German bishops, in the main, showed as much sympathy with the emperor as, without a breach with the pope, was possible.

In the spring of 1158 Frederick once more invaded Italy. The papal legates sent to assure him that he had misunderstood the famous admonition, [ ] that beneficium meant no more than a useful favour, were ignored; and the emperor advanced 011 Milan. It speedily submitted and at the Diet of Roncaglia (November, 1158) the new imperial position was clearly set forth. The Archbishop of Milan proclaimed that the imperial will was law for the emperor's subjects, and legists from Bologna gave the sanction of the new learning to this resurrection of pagan theory. [ ] The new concept of law was rapidly translated into practical regulations. Commissioners were sent to all the cities of Lombardy to secure for the emperor his newly declared rights, the chief of them the nomination of each city's rulers.

The pope could not but be anxious. Italy being, by the new theory, a province of Frederick's empire, how soon would it be before he proceeded to exercise his imperial authority in Rome itself? What was the pope's political status for the future, if not that of a vassal to the emperor? The "Roman Question" was entering on a new chapter in its long and stormy history. If the Church's lately recovered freedom to elect its head were to survive, and that head's own independence in action, the emperor must, at all costs, be prevented from becoming the real ruler of Italy. The task was to occupy all the popes for the next hundred years.

Adrian's reply to the menace of Roncaglia was to demand imperial recognition of the papal claim to Ferrara and the lands made over to the Roman See by the Countess Matilda. Furthermore, he sought a pledge that Frederick would disclaim any right as suzerain in Rome, for Rome being papal could not be imperial. Frederick refused. "If I, Emperor of the Romans," he declared, "have no rights in Rome, I have no rights anywhere."

In April of the next year (1159) the war began. Milan revolted and Adrian, with his ally the King of Sicily, encouraged the Milanese. Frederick, in retaliation, revived the ghost of the commune and the pope was driven out of Rome. The next few months were filled with diplomatic duels. The pope endeavoured to unite the various Italian States against the emperor, while Frederick set out his claim to be, as Constantine's successor, the source of all the pope's authority as a temporal ruler. In official state documents he had begun to place his own name and style before those of the pope, and the pope's protest against the innovation only provoked the retort that a monster of pride now sat in St. Peter's chair.

At this moment, when everything was set for the conflict, and, the imperialist party among the cardinals finally convinced, on September 1, 1159, the unexpected happened, the death of the pope. Fortune had given the emperor an immense advantage, striking down his practised adversary in the very opening of the duel. Moreover, he had the further advantage that the new pope might be one of his own, for all that the emperor was too far away from the scene to be able to influence the election personally. He would indeed hardly be aware of the Pope's death before the news arrived of his successor's election.

Since the death of Urban II (1099) it had been common practice to choose the new pope the very day his predecessor died. But the emperor had his supporters even in the sacred college, and they won the first point in the struggle when they secured that the conclave should open, not at Anagni -- where Adrian, still in exile, had died -- but at Rome, on a territory hostile to Adrian and all he stood for. The English pope, then, was buried in St. Peter's -- where in the sarcophagus of red granite he still rests-and the cardinals proceeded to elect his successor. The matter occupied them for the then unusual space of three days, and the result was a double election. The majority had elected Adrian's chief adviser, no less a personage than Roland Bandinelli. He took the name of Alexander III. The rest, three voters, had chosen a friend of Barbarossa, the Cardinal Octavian, who called himself Victor IV. For the third time in less than forty years the Church was threatened with schism, this time at a moment when it was facing the greatest peril it had known for a century.

The emperor did not make the mistake of immediately declaring for Octavian. He proclaimed himself neutral until the matter was settled by a council, and he did his utmost to keep the Kings of France and England neutral too. Next he summoned a council to meet at Pavia, and cited Alexander -- as Roland Bandinelli-and Octavian, as Victor IV, to appear before it. Alexander refused to appear, denying the emperor's right to call a council without the pope's consent. To which, when the council opened (February 5, 1160), Frederick replied by a renewal of his claims "to have a right to call the council as emperor. It is well known that Constantine, Theodosius, Justinian, Charlemagne and the others called councils, and I am their successor." Fifty bishops, German and Italian, attended and after a preliminary harangue Frederick left them to their task. They were by no means of one mind. Some of the Italians were for delaying the matter until a truly universal council met. But slowly, under the influence of pressure, those who could not escape yielded, and before the week was out the desired unanimity was attained, and Octavian declared true pope. On February 12, Frederick solemnly acknowledged him as such.

Outside the empire he was less successful. By the end of the year France and England had decided for Alexander; by 1163 Spain, too, and Hungary, Scotland and Ireland. Even in Germany he had his supporters, led by the Bishop of Salzburg, and prominent among them the two new orders of Carthusians and Cistercians.

Alexander excommunicated the emperor and his anti-pope, and once more Frederick's army moved into Lombardy. Milan was again forced to surrender and the emperor ordered it to be destroyed. His treatment of the Milanese terrorised the other cities of Lombardy into immediate submission. Bologna, too, admitted him and Alexander was forced to flee from Rome (1161). Nowhere in Italy was he really safe and he finally found a home in France. The year 1162 was perhaps the most critical in the whole struggle. The pope's scheme for a league against Frederick had broken down; his chief supporters, Louis VII of France and the English king, Henry II, were quarrelling over a marriage; Frederick was master of Lombardy; and when Alexander supported Henry II -- as indeed he could not but do-Louis began to negotiate with Frederick. Thanks in very large part to the German's lack of finesse the negotiation failed -- even ludicrously (St. Jean de Losne, August 29, 1162), and though Frederick held at Dole in Burgundy the council he had planned, the kings (reguli was the term his new imperialism used to describe them) were absent. Once more the emperor declared that, since Rome was a city of his empire, he must be allowed his say in the election of its bishop.

The next year saw the breach between the English king and the Archbishop of Canterbury over a particular application of the same principle that divided Alexander and the emperor; and for the next two years the diplomacy of the harassed pope was taxed to the utmost to keep Henry II from going over to Frederick, and yet not surrender in England the rights for whose defence in Italy he was endeavouring to combine all Christendom.

Octavian died in 1164, and Frederick gave him a successor in the Bishop of Cremona, known as Pascal III. To accredit his new pope he summoned the diet of Wurzburg (Pentecost, 1165) and there it was decided that all bishops and abbots, monks and priests should swear an abjuration of Alexander under pain of deposition, loss of goods, mutilation and exile. There followed an intensive campaign throughout Germany to impose the oath. Against the new tactics Alexander was powerless. His scheme for an anti-imperialist coalition never matured, the position in England remained unsatisfactory; France was merely passive in its support; and, in 1166, the King of Sicily died leaving a child to succeed him. The pope's one hope, and he knew it well, was Lombardy and the communes' realisation that his interests were theirs too.

In 1167 the war began anew, Frederick marching once more into Lombardy, beating down on his way the resistance offered by the Bishop of Salzburg. He only halted in Lombardy to hold, at Lodi, a council which recognised Pascal III and then, heedless of the restored Milan and the incipient Lombard league, he made for Rome and Alexander. It was only a matter of time before he was inside the Leonine city; and while Alexander fled, to continue the resistance from the Colosseum, Frederick's troops ravaged and plundered, sparing not in the sack the very basilica of St. Peter. Master of the Apostle's shrine, the emperor now proposed a compromise. Both Alexander and Pascal should resign and a new election take place. This Alexander would not even discuss. Just in time he made his way out of Rome, while Pascal was enthroned and, on the morrow, crowned Frederick a second time.

The emperor's triumph, however, did not last long. Plague fell upon his army, claiming thousands of victims, and so suddenly that contemporaries saw in the disaster the avenging hand of God. The emperor had no choice but to abandon his conquest, and through an Italy now really hostile he made his way north, to find himself hemmed in, unable to advance, too weakened to attack. Only the feint of a submission to Alexander saved him.

Then (September, 1168) Pascal III died, to receive as a successor Calixtus III -- an imperial nomination that preceded a new offer of peace to Alexander, which, inevitably, failed since it refused him recognition as pope. Alexander developed his Italian policy. He sent new blessings to the league of communes, protecting it against defaulters by threats of excommunication, and in return the league named the new strong place it was building Alessandria in honour of the patriot pope.

For the next five years there was a lull in the hostilities, emperor and pope waging a war of diplomacy in which Alexander, if he did not succeed in wielding his heterogeneous supporters -- Greeks, Sicilians, Lombard Communes -- into an alliance, at any rate kept them from each other's throats and defeated the emperor's attempts to win them from him.

Then in 1174, fifteen years since the struggle began, Barbarossa resolved on a fourth invasion of Italy. It was even more elaborately conceived than the one which had ended so badly in 1167. But both at Ancona and at Alessandria the Imperialists were thwarted. Behind Frederick's back Germany seethed with discontent, and once again he turned to negotiations. In the March of 1176 he was, however, once more in the field and made a sudden move against Milan. It was the prelude to the end, for, after years of organisation, the exasperated Lombards were now ready for him. The army of the League did not wait to be locked up, and in the fiercely fought battle of Legnano (March 29, 1176) they routed the emperor and destroyed his army. For three days it was thought that Frederick himself had fallen, and then, a solitary dishevelled fugitive, he stumbled into Pavia, alive but broken finally.

It was, however, long indeed before his haughty spirit would accept the fact. In October he made an effort to separate the pope from his Lombard allies, offering him recognition as pope, restoration of all the usurped rights and fiefs, and the surrender of the Matildine lands. [ ] Alexander was too loyal to be caught, and proposed a council at Ferrara at which the Lombards and the Sicilians too should be represented. The council appointed commissioners to meet in Venice and prepare there a definitive treaty. When it seemed that the discussion over the Matildine lands would wreck the conference Alexander's diplomacy proposed a compromise. There should be a truce for six years, Frederick acknowledging Alexander as pope and the question of the Matildine lands being left for a further fifteen years; meanwhile they were to remain in the emperor's hands. Frederick's entourage brought him round to accept and on July 25, 1177, outside St. Mark's, he knelt before the pope begging for absolution. Pope and emperor together entered the great church, and eight days later the Peace of Venice was solemnly ratified. Alexander's "active patience" had been indeed rewarded, and in April, 1178 he was once more in occupation of Rome.

For the first time since his election, nearly nineteen years before, the pope was free to devote himself wholly to the normal work of the Church. His situation resembled not a little that of Calixtus II in 1123, and the shrewd mind of this first of the lawyer popes resolved to inaugurate in a new General Council the recovery of a spirituality brought low, inevitably, by twenty-five years of bitter division.


It was not the least of the tragedies of Barbarossa's aggression that it deprived the Church of a great constructive reformer, Alexander III, nineteen years of whose long reign the emperor contrived to fill with a struggle where life itself was the issue. Roland Bandinelli is, after St. Bernard, the greatest personage of his century. He was essentially of his age, in sympathy with all its aspirations, a pioneer of the new theological method and, as became Gratian's first great commentator, possessed of a mind that read principles behind decrees, tendencies in events. That. such a man should be elected pope in the very maturity of his powers, and that such a pope should reign for the almost unprecedented period of two-and-twenty years, ought to have sufficed to undo all the mistakes of the many less gifted pontiffs who, since the death of Urban II, had endeavoured to reap the harvest of the great age of St. Gregory VII. It was, however, fated that Roland Bandinelli came to his high destiny at a moment of crisis so terrible that the work of St. Gregory's generation seemed about to be destroyed. The scholar and thinker must perforce show himself man of action. Not until the new danger was laid could the slow quiet task be taken up again of renewing a right spirit within the different members of Christ's mystical body. Alexander was an old man, close on eighty years of age in all likelihood, when, in 1179, he managed to summon the General Council [ ] that would seem the natural place for his great gifts to bear their fruit.

It was in fact convoked as a reform council, and as a general council so that the reform decrees might have greater prestige. It opened, apparently, on the first Monday of Lent (March 5), 1179, and among its three hundred bishops were representatives of the new Latin hierarchies of the East. There was also present an envoy from the Greek Churches, in schism now for a century.

The details of the discussions are less than scanty. There were three public sessions for the promulgation of the decrees, and the council's twenty-seven canons created, by their form, a new precedent in ecclesiastical legislation. They are longer and fuller than those of the earlier councils, nor are they set down as mere regulations, but as the expression of a legislating mind. They are much more detailed and the reasons that promote the law are given with it. The whole legislation bears the mark of the trained legal mind that had called the council and had governed it. Especially is the new spirit shown in such canons as those [ ] which, together, set up the law creating and detailing the right of higher authority to intervene in collations to ecclesiastical benefices wherever the competent, lower authority neglects to do so, or again in the canon [ ] regulating the procedure by which bishops may judge their subjects, and their subjects appeal against their judgement.

Seven canons that deal with abuses show the pope to have been keenly aware of the damage wrought by the desire of wealth in clergy and laity alike. The exaction of fees for spiritual services -- burials for example -- or by reason of installations is forbidden. The pomp and circumstance of prelates on visitation -- and therefore the expense to their subjects -- is carefully regulated. No cleric is to hold a plurality of benefices, nor is he to dispose of ecclesiastical property by will. The custom that exists in some churches of paying a certain sum on appointment as dean is abolished. The laity are forbidden to dispose of ecclesiastical benefices and forbidden, also, to levy taxes on churches. There is, for the first time in many years, no repetition of the law forbidding clerical marriage, but the customary canon against clerical concubinage is repeated. There is, too, a new prohibition that the clergy are not to frequent convents of women unless that is their special work; penalties are enacted against delinquents.

The schism lately patronised by the emperor finds an echo in the annulment of all ordinations by all the successive anti-popes -- though Alexander showed himself more lenient here than Innocent II, depriving none of the repentant bishops, merely exacting a public oath of recognition and loyalty. Of more permanent importance was the legislation on papal elections that now completed the work of the Roman council of 1059. Then it had been decided that to elect the pope was the business of the cardinal clergy of Rome alone. Now -- with the memory of the schisms in 1130 and 1159 fresh in the mind -- it was laid down that a two-thirds majority of the voters was necessary for a valid election. Another canon fixed the age for the episcopate at thirty years and the priesthood at twenty-four. Clerics were forbidden henceforward to act as lawyers in the civil courts or as surgeons and physicians. The power of the bishops was strengthened against the encroachment of some of the new centralised exempt orders. Monks were to confine their spiritual activities to their monasteries. The principle that in capitular discussions the will of the maior et sanior pars should decide was given the highest, formal, legal sanction. In cases where more than one person had the right of presentation to a church and where the patrons could not agree, the appointment was to rest with higher authority, the custom of installing two or more rectors with joint authority being condemned.

Like the two first Lateran Councils, the council of 1179 was concerned with social problems no less than with religious questions properly so called. Tournaments were strictly forbidden. Although the sacraments might be given to those fatally injured in them -- if truly repentant -- on no account, should they die, were they to receive ecclesiastical burial. The Truce of God was once more proclaimed; pilgrims and all those who worked for the production of food were taken under the Church's special protection, military commanders who molested them being excommunicated. Usurers were once more banished from the Church, and the rights of lepers to the benefits of the sacraments, and even to a priest and church of their own where their numbers made this feasible, were reasserted. Christians who assisted the Saracens were heavily censured; those, too, who lent themselves out in service to them, or to the Jews. Excommunication was also laid down as the penalty for those who robbed and pillaged the victims of shipwreck.

A very celebrated canon denounced the new menace to the Church and to civilisation presented by the neo-Manichees, and also by the bands of unemployed mercenary soldiers. Against the heretics the canon appealed to the Christian princes. Against the vagabond soldiery, brigands who terrorised whole countrysides, it endeavoured to raise the whole body of the faithful in a kind of crusade for the home front. The people were bidden to take courage and to fight manfully against these devils, and to be assured that, whoever died fighting them, died in a holy war, meriting thereby pardon for his sins and a blessed eternity. [ ] Finally the council made it obligatory for every bishop to establish in his cathedral city a school where clerics and poor scholars might be taught, such instruction to be given without payment.

The day had not yet come when popes were to proclaim that, as God's vicars, they had a universal right of supervising earthly governments, but, as if in preparation for that claim, the newly centralised papal government of the Church was taking under its strong protection the cause of the weak and defenceless wherever found. That strength, of which the Roman Church was more and more aware as it more and more consciously centralised the organisation of its primacy, it was also beginning to use to strengthen the episcopal power throughout the world against lay usurpation and clerical acquiescence in it. To this noteworthy development, where St. Gregory VII is the pioneer, Alexander III is one of the chief contributory forces and nowhere more than in his General Council of 1179.



THE quite exceptional longevity of Alexander III [ ] had been an undoubted factor in the recent failure of the emperor to reduce the papacy. With that pope's death the phenomenon, more usual in medieval times, of short reigns returned: Lucius III reigned for four years, Urban III for less than two, Gregory VIII for a matter of weeks only, Clement III for three years, then Celestine III for all but seven. Five conclaves in the ten years that followed Alexander s death! It was all the more unfortunate for the Church in that these were the years of a new imperial aggression; and this time the means employed -- and successfully -- were those of diplomacy.

Lucius III, elected at Velletri (September 1, 1181) in accordance with the new electoral law -- for death had found Alexander III once more an exile -- was one of the late pope's most intimate counsellors. He had been, years before, a disciple of St. Bernard, who had given him the Cistercian habit. Innocent II, as far back as 1141, had made him a cardinal, and it was as Cardinal Bishop of Ostia that, in 1159, he had crowned Alexander III. He had been the chief factor in the speedy recognition of Alexander as pope in 1160 and had played a great part in the negotiations of 1177. He was of a more supple disposition than Alexander, and, at the price of concessions to the commune, he managed to regain possession of Rome within a few weeks of his election. By the following February (1182), however, he was once more driven out, and, desperate before his inability to protect the other cities of his States from the raids and violence of the Romans, he turned for help to the emperor.

It was not the new pope's first contact with Frederick. Already the emperor had sought to settle the question of the Matildine lands, left dormant in 1177, offering in exchange for them an annual percentage of his Italian revenues. Lucius had, however, refused to discuss the matter while the other question left out at the Peace of Venice remained unsettled, namely the relation of the emperor to the Lombard Communes. In 1183, however, the six years' truce expired, and Frederick and the communes came to an agreement, in the Treaty of Constance. The emperor thereby abandoned his claim to name the rulers of the Lombard cities; he acknowledged the Lombards' right to fortify their towns and to conclude alliances and leagues; and, in return, the cities pledged themselves to allow the emperor free passage through northern Italy, and to give him the means to provide for his armies.

This was in June, 1183. The Lombards had won all they had fought for. The emperor had renounced the claims that would have made Lombardy a permanent Italian base of operations. But now, by another stroke of diplomacy, he acquired a much more certain base in the south. The means of this was the marriage of his heir, the future Henry VI, to the heiress of the King of Sicily. A matrimonial alliance with Sicily had been one of Frederick's schemes in 1173, but Alexander III had been too much for him. Now, with the Lombard question settled and the aged Lucius III isolated and helpless, the emperor had his way. The betrothal took place at Augsburg, October 29, 1184, and the marriage at Milan, fifteen months later. It was the gravest check for a hundred and fifty years to the papal policy of political independence. Future popes would have to meet the permanent menace of an emperor who was not only lord of Germany, but master of Sicily and Naples and with extensive rights in Lombardy, too.

Lucius III, for all his extreme old age and the political misfortunes which brought him to the emperor as to a protector, was by no means unmindful of the danger. Nor was he afraid to protest. Despite the emperor's insistence -- in order to secure the empire for his heir -- that Henry should now be crowned emperor with himself, Lucius steadfastly refused. Barbarossa began to prepare an offensive alliance with the Lombard towns. It left the pope, if tremulous, still firm in his refusal. Before the matter could go further Lucius died (November 25, 1185), leaving to his successor an almost impossible task.

It was at Verona that the pope had made his stand, where through the summer of 1184 a long series of discussions with the emperor had taken place, in circumstances that made their meeting almost as important as a council of the Church. One of the questions then discussed concerned a heritage from the days of the schism. The Lateran Council of 1179 had declared null the ordinations of the anti-popes and of those who acknowledged them. The emperor asked for a revocation of this, and while the pope was willing to consider the matter, the cardinals urged that only a General Council had competence for it. The pope, thereupon, promised to call such a council to meet at Lyons. A further question discussed was the growth of heresy, and the outcome of this discussion was the famous joint decree of pope and emperor Ad abolendam. [ ]

Lucius III died the next year (1185). The Archbishop of Milan who succeeded, as Urban III, was unable to hinder the Sicilian marriage, already arranged, but he took what opportunities came his way of limiting Frederick's success. He supported strongly the candidature of the anti-imperialist, Folmar, for the electoral see of Treves, and when Frederick volunteered to help Milan in its attack on Cremona, the pope forbade the Italian cities to join in the war. Urban was soon an exile at Verona, undecided whether to seek a refuge in Venice; and now, while Frederick marched against his German allies, the young Henry VI invaded the Papal States.

Suddenly the news arrived that Jerusalem had fallen to the Saracens. [ ] Consternation fell upon Christendom. The emperor himself took the cross and departed for the East. He left Henry as his regent. In this young sovereign the popes were to meet the most capable foe that had so far risen against them. Henry VI's Italian career divides itself easily enough. There is a period of preparation, and a first attack that ends in failure; then a period of intense activity in Germany in which several strokes of good fortune assist him, a second Italian expedition, and the most complete success; then, in the hour of his triumph, sudden death at the age of thirty-six.

Henry was a master politician, and he had already systematically placed men he could trust in all the strong places of the Matildine lands and the March of Ancona, thus isolating the pope from Lombardy, when, on November 18, 1189, the death of the King of Sicily renewed the crisis terminated two years before by the crusade. Henry's wife, Constance, was now Queen of Sicily, [ ] but the kingdom which Henry proposed to occupy in her name was by no means unanimously agreed in her favour. There existed a powerful anti-imperialist party, and soon it had organised a new government with Tancred -- an illegitimate descendant of the Norman kings -- as king. The pope, now Clement III, secretly favoured this competitor to Henry, and by the end of 1190 Tancred was master of the situation. Henry then took the field in person, and as he marched through Italy the same good fortune fell to him as had befallen his father in 1159 -- the death of the pope (March 20, 1191). Better still, from the king's point of view, the cardinals elected an old man of eighty-five -- Celestine III. He was not at all willing to confer on Henry the imperial crown, [ ] but he had no means to prevent his occupation of Rome and no choice but to recognise him as emperor.

The new emperor next invested Naples, where Tancred and the best part of his forces lay. Here disaster followed upon disaster. The Neapolitan fleet destroyed the Pisan fleet that was in the emperor s service, and the July heats were too much for Henry's northern troops. Two of his chief lieutenants died, he himself fell gravely ill and, to crown all, his wife was captured, to become Tancred's prisoner. Henry had no choice but to return to Germany and reorganise. Southern Italy, for the moment, was free of him and the pope had a breathing space, in which to prevent new dangers -- if possible -- by diplomacy.

With the emperor, however, no understanding was possible so long as he refused to evacuate the papal territories he still held. I or Celestine's legates he had indeed nothing but new threats. The pope proceeded to develop the other policy, of alliance with Tancred. He acknowledged him as King of Sicily and gave him investiture, Tancred conceding to the pope as suzerain the right to decide appeals and the right to send a legate to the kingdom every five years. Further, in a vain hope of conciliating the emperor, the pope persuaded Tancred to release his valuable hostage, the Empress Constance.

In Germany meanwhile (1192-1193) the emperor was faced with a powerful coalition, the centre of which was Henry of Brunswick. But the capture of Henry's uncle, the English king Richard Coeur de Lion, who also was an ally of Tancred, did much to break up this league of German princes, and his enormous ransom largely solved for the emperor the question how to finance the new Italian expedition. Henry of Brunswick's marriage with the emperor's niece completed the pacification of Germany. Then, just as the emperor was ready to deal with Sicily, Tancred died, on February 28, 1194, leaving only a child to succeed him. Henry's task had lost all its difficulty. The papacy was truly at his mercy.

He set out in May, 1194. His diplomacy won him the fleets of both Genoa and Pisa, and while he was still at Pisa the Neapolitans came to proffer their homage. Henry was finally master of central and southern Italy.

He left Constance to rule his new acquisition, and returned to Germany to organise his next expedition: a crusade which should avenge the failure of that of 1190-1192, and should also make him master of Constantinople. The pope, who had not dared to protest at Henry's arrest of Richard Coeur de Lion, a crusader returning from the Holy Land, could only send a message of thanks and congratulation. Along with the grandiose plan to conquer the East and so make himself really another Constantine, there went the determination to transform the elective empire into a dignity hereditary in his own family. The emperor opened his campaign at the Diet of Wurzburg in 1196, persuading many of the bishops and nobles to give him signed promises of support. Next, to further the scheme, he sought to win from the pope the coronation of his baby son, Frederick Roger, then just two years old. With this in view he once again came into Italy. The pope was utterly helpless, but his ninety years gave him one advantage -- he could simply be deaf to the emperor's suggestion. He began by presenting Henry with a list of grievances: oppression of the Church in Sicily, the continued occupation of the papal territory by imperial garrisons; and then, when Henry became dangerously urgent, he promised to give a definite answer by the feast of the Epiphany, 1197.

That date found the emperor in his kingdom of Sicily, busy with the suppression of a widespread insurrection, long plotted under the oppression of Henry's German subordinates, and for whose explosion his own arrival was the signal. There were plots against his life, in which an alleged paramour of his wife was concerned: Henry had him tortured to death in her presence. And there were savage reprisals throughout the kingdom: plotters burnt at the stake, sawn in two, buried alive. Finally the terror triumphed. By August, 1197, Henry was once more master. A month later fever had carried him off, with just the time before he died to leave his son and heir in the wardship of the one person he could trust in a treacherous world -- the ninety-year-old pope!

Celestine III lived only a few months longer, and with the election of his successor the wheel of fortune turned indeed its full. While, in place of Henry VI, there was the baby three years old, and while in Germany rival princes fought for the imperial crown, the cardinals, instead of electing yet another octogenarian, set in place of Celestine a man of thirty-seven, the Cardinal Lothario of Segni. He took the name of Innocent III (January 8, 1198).


After the tragic fiasco, in 1148, of the Second Crusade, the Mohammedan offensive went from one success to another. Nureddin conquered what remained of the country of Edessa; he took some of the towns in the principality of Antioch; and the King of Jerusalem found his only hope of salvation to be an alliance with Constantinople.

In 1153 the king took from the Egyptians Ascalon, which had held out since the days of the First Crusade; but, as against this success, Nureddin, in the following year, took Damascus. There, for the moment, his direct attack halted: for the next fifteen years he and the King of Jerusalem fought each other indirectly, in the faction struggle which divided Egypt. By 1169 the faction which Nureddin supported had triumphed. Its leader was a man of genius, Saladin, and in 1171 he was sole ruler in Egypt. His accession to power meant the end of the religious schism which had for so long rent the Mohammedans; Egypt, to the south, was now as strong as Nureddin to the north. The Latins were yearly weaker, and more divided, while in Europe the papal energies were now wholly occupied in beating off Frederick Barbarossa's great bid for the control of the Church. It could only be a matter of time before the Latins lost their hold on Jerusalem. Only so long as rival Mohammedans faced each other in equal strength would Latins enjoy any security. Once either Saladin or Nureddin achieved a supremacy in the Mohammedan world, the remnant of Latin power would be swept away without much difficulty.

In 1174 Nureddin died; and Saladin began little by little to make himself master of Syria too. By 1183 Aleppo was his, and Damascus also. The circle was almost complete around the doomed Latin kingdom.

Its kings, of course, had not been careless of the approaching danger. From 1164 they called repeatedly on the West for help, and their appeal in 1184 had produced in France and England the new institution of a fixed tax levied for the support of the Holy Land. One very grave internal disaster was the extinction of the dynasty when, in 1186, Baldwin the Leper died without heirs. His mother Sybilla had, six years earlier, married as her second husband a French adventurer, Guy de Lusignan, highly unpopular with the barons; now, since Sybilla was herself heiress to the throne, Guy became king.

It was at this critical moment, when the internal dissensions of the kingdom were at their height, that Raynald of Chatillon, lord of the impregnable fortress of Krak, half brigand, half pirate-for he had a fleet on the Red Sea, and lived largely on the pillage of caravans -- captured a caravan in which Saladin's sister was travelling, and this during a time of truce (1186).

Saladin proclaimed the Holy War to drive the Christians out, once and for all. A Mohammedan army, fired with all the enthusiasm that had once been the crusaders', swept down on the Western disorganisation. At Tiberias, in May, 1187, a joint army of Hospitallers and Templars was defeated and on July 4, at Hattin, the army of the kingdom was cut to pieces. Nothing lay between Saladin and his prey. One by one he occupied all the towns of the kingdom, except Tyre and Jerusalem. On October 2 he entered Jerusalem, too. Tyre, Tripoli and Antioch were all that remained of the fruits of 1095. After eighty-eight years of occupation there was need of another Urban II.

The reigning pope to whom the news of the battle of Hattin came was Urban III. Before he learnt of the fall of Jerusalem he was dead; and the shock of this news, when it arrived, killed his successor, Gregory VIII (October 21-December 17, 1187). It was to the aged Clement III that the task fell of once more rousing the Catholic world, or rather of organising the new enthusiasm which, immediately, began to show itself. If Jerusalem had fallen, it was said, this was because Christendom had sinned; and in a fervour of contrition for past apathy the scenes of 1095 began to be renewed. Everywhere, under the encouraging diplomacy of the papal legates, princes long at war came to terms: Henry II of England and Philip II of France, Pisa and Genoa, Venice and Hungary, the King of Sicily and the Byzantine emperor. All took the cross, and none more eagerly than the emperor Frederick Barbarossa, one of the few survivors of the disastrous crusade of 1147. Under his leadership all Germany prepared to send into the East the largest single army yet formed. The Sicilian Fleet set out immediately and saved Tripoli for the cross, and in May, 1189, the Germans marched out of Ratisbon, 100,000 strong.

Barbarossa's host made its way through Hungary easily enough but when it reached the Byzantine frontiers it came into contact with a power, not merely suspicious, as in previous years, but so alarmed at this revival that it had already come to terms with Saladin, and was prepared to act as his ally. In the last stages of the march to Constantinople the Germans had to fight more than one pitched battle with the Greeks. In the capital itself the emperor threw the German ambassadors into prison, and the patriarch lavished indulgences on whoever would kill the Latin dogs. Frederick began to think of destroying Byzantium. He wrote home to enlist the sympathies of the pope, to beseech that the crusade might be directed against these traitors, and to his son, Henry VI, to assemble the necessary fleets. Finally the Greek emperor -- Isaac Angelus -- yielded, promising a safe passage for the Germans and opportunity to provision their forces. On March 30, 1190, they crossed the Bosphorus and began the march through Asia Minor. Despite terrible hardships they made their way successfully, taking Iconium by storm and then, on June 10, the greatest of disasters befell them. The old emperor, as he crossed the river Salef, was thrown from his horse and drowned. Consternation seized on the princes. Many turned for home; others got as far as Antioch; only a small part survived to join the main operation of the crusade, the siege of St. Jean d'Acre, the strongly defended gate to the Holy Land.

Here, as the siege continued (June, 1189-July, 1191) all the forces from all over Europe gathered, under a brilliant band of leaders, the most distinguished of whom were Philip II of France and the new King of England, Richard Coeur de Lion. As always, there were as many rivals as princes, and the jealousy of the two kings split the crusade from the beginning. But finally, thanks in great part to Richard's skill, the town surrendered. Before the month was out Philip returned to France leaving Richard supreme.

It was now decided to take Jerusalem, and through August and September the armies marched along the coast, occupying Cesarea and Jaffa. And now a wholly new feature appeared in the crusade. The long siege of Acre had done as much to familiarise the newly-arrived crusaders with their opponents as the permanent life in the East had long since familiarised the various kings of Jerusalem and their nobles. A sort of military camaraderie had begun to grow, and out of it there now came a move to end the struggle by diplomacy. But Saladin, furious at Richard's massacre of two thousand Saracen hostages, refused to treat, as he refused also the extraordinary proposal that his brother should marry Richard's sister and rule Palestine. The negotiations gave Saladin time to bring reinforcements to Jerusalem, and when Richard prepared to attack, the more experienced chiefs of the military orders could only warn him of his foolhardiness. In the end Richard and Saladin came to terms. There was to be a truce for three years, the coast towns were to be shared, and small parties of crusaders were to be allowed in Jerusalem as pilgrims. This was on September 2, 1192. The crusade was over, and five weeks later Richard set sail for Europe. Once more years of effort, tens of thousands of lives lost, an immense treasure spent, and nothing achieved.

The next year Saladin died. He left to succeed him a brother, and seventeen sons. Soon Palestine and Syria were their much-disputed prize. The crusade had a new opportunity. This time it was left to the emperor Henry VI, Barbarossa's son and successor, to make the most of it. He was perhaps the greatest man the empire had known since Charlemagne, and, apparently, about to realise that dream of universal dominion which had haunted so many of Charlemagne's German successors. A stroke of luck had brought even the King of England within the range of his policies. He was ruler of Sicily and southern Italy as well as of Germany, and now, from Sicily, he plotted the conquest of the Eastern empire too. The first object of crusading zeal threatened now to be Constantinople. Henry took the cross in a solemn assembly at Bari on May 31, 1195, and six months later, at the German diet called to organise the details of the crusade, the changes in its political objective were admirably prefigured when the kings of Cyprus and Armenia gave over their realms to Henry and received them from him as their suzerain.

Meanwhile the task of recruiting new armies was pressed forward, Henry himself taking part in it. Through the spring of 1197 the new German forces began to gather in the harbours of southern Italy -- to the dismay of the inhabitants upon whom they lived, and to whom they were " less pilgrims than thieving wolves." In September 1197 the first departures took place. The objective set them was Jerusalem, and the Holy City taken they were to join the emperor before Constantinople.

These forces came to Acre, took Sidon, defeated the most capable of their opponents, Saladin's brother, Malek, and by the capture of Beyrouth (October 23, 1197) reopened the way from Tripoli -- still in Latin hands -- to Jerusalem. They were then held up by the stronghold of Tiberias, and at the moment when they had decided to raise the siege the news reached them that Henry VI was dead -- had been dead, indeed, since three weeks after their departure. This was the end of all order in the crusade. A truce was patched up with Malek and the army dispersed under its various leaders.

In the tragic fiasco of these first attempts to regain Jerusalem, the beginnings are discernible of new secular encroachments in what was, in essence and in origin, a spiritual institution. It is the lay prince alone who now really counts in it. The crusade tends to be a thing controlled by him alone, directed to his ends, and along what lines he chooses. It ceases, at times, to be crusade at all; Catholics and Mohammedans fraternise, negotiate, and even plan marriage alliances. The old aim of expelling the unbeliever from the sacred soil of Palestine has lost its place as the absolute determining factor of the movement. And at this moment, when the papally-created institution is definitely slipping from the grasp of the papacy, the Eastern empire whose capital is Constantinople is beginning to seem to the crusader as great a foe as Islam. When next the zeal of Christendom is roused, these new tendencies will mature with unpleasant rapidity.


When in 1161 Peter Lombard died, and Roland Bandinelli, now Pope Alexander III, began to b wholly absorbed in the defence of the papacy's independence against Frederick Barbarossa, the Catholic intellectual world lost the last of the really great personalities who had led it for now a hundred years. The next generation was not to produce any successor who could be compared to them. Yet it saw the emergence of a new intellectual force none the less, and one so far reaching in its effects that, by comparison with the thought that followed, the work of the century that closed with Peter Lombard is of hardly more than archaeological importance. This new force was the mind of Aristotle. From the middle of the twelfth century the invasion of Christendom by the philosophy of Aristotle, and the slow victory of his ideas in an unending series of fiercely fought battles, is, after the duel with the Hohenstaufen, the chief feature of the Church's history.

A philosophy strongly Aristotelian in sympathy has been now for so long the officially accredited means by which, in the Catholic Church, revelation is explained and its reasonableness defended, that it requires an effort to conceive that matters were once very different indeed. The history of the century between the death of Alexander III and that of St. Thomas Aquinas (1181-1274) shows that it was only after Homeric fighting, and three generations of hard thinking that the possibilities which Aristotle held for the rational exposition of Catholicism were understood and developed. To the majority of the theologians to whom Aristotle was offered as anything more than the logician -- as the physicist, that is to say, the psychologist, the metaphysician -- this founder of what, "on the face of it is the least religious of all the great philosophies" [ ] could only seem the most dangerous of foes. This was partly due to the shortcomings and incompleteness of Aristotle himself, but it was due still more to the company with whom, and through whom, he made his appearance. Aristotle came to the Catholic West in its first century of freedom from the necessities of a struggle for life, and he came to it as part of that superior Mohammedan culture which, dominant for centuries from India to the Atlantic, had only lately ceased to menace Catholicism's very existence.

Aristotle had ceased to be studied in the lands that were once the Roman Empire since, in 529, Justinian closed the schools of Athens. The cult, so to call it, found a refuge with the Monophysites of Egypt and Syria, and in Persia too. When the Arabs conquered these lands in the first half of the sixth century, Aristotle, with much other cultural riches, passed to the new empire of Islam. How Greek philosophy developed in that empire, of the inevitable strife between its devotees and the Mohammedan theologians, of the alternations of protection and persecution from the different caliphs that were its lot throughout the next three centuries, must be read elsewhere. As the philosophy was driven from the Eastern caliphate, it began to flourish in Moslem Spain. From Spain, through translations made under the direction of the Archbishop Raymond of Toledo (1126-1150), this Greco-Arab philosophical and scientific culture began, in the last half of the twelfth century, to be known to the Catholic intellectual world which Abelard and his fellows had recently restored to life.

The translations were, to begin with, inevitably unsatisfactory, made as they were from the Spanish translation of an Arabic translation of a Syrian translation of the Greek original. But, apart altogether from translating Aristotle's text, these clerics of Toledo did something destined to fire every intelligence in France and Italy, and to give the whole Catholic world matter for thought eternally, when they translated the great Arabs and the great Jews whom in the past three centuries the study of Aristotle -- and no less importantly the study of Neoplatonic writings that passed for Aristotle -- had inspired. Finally, the translators were also authors, Catholics philosophising in the spirit of the writings they had translated. With these translations, philosophical ideas, true and false -- and often subtly akin, in their spiritual promise, to the highest aspirations of Catholic life -- entered into the very heart of the Catholic life of the next hundred years, and side by side with the fight to compel recognition of the real Aristotle's real value, another fight was waged to cast out the new, more insidious, pseudo-mystical elements of Neoplatonism.

That fight was the affair of the next century. The years which this chapter covers merely saw the Aristotelian problem stated. Was Aristotle essentially anti-Christian and his philosophy necessarily destructive of Christianity, or did it offer, rather, the best means of rationally explaining Christianity to itself and to the world? The scholastic world was bitterly divided about this, as, a hundred years earlier, it had been divided on the question of using logic to study Revelation; the positions of the parties that were to fight the question to a finish began to be defined; and finally the arena was prepared that was to be the scene of the fights, the University of Paris, founded at the end of the twelfth century under Innocent III.

That the nature of the later, thirteenth century, crisis may be understood, something must be said of the chief exponents of this Greco-Saracen thought that the twelfth century saw making its way across Christendom from Spain. There are three Mohammedans, two Jews and the chief of their translators to consider: Avicenna, Al Ghazel, Averroes, Avicebron, Maimonides and Dominic Gondisalvi.

Avicenna, (Ibn Sina), born in Turkestan in 980, is one of the greatest figures in the history of philosophy. He was a man with a truly universal mind, who possessed an extraordinary knowledge of the natural sciences, of law, of theology and -- what gave him great fame through all the Middle Ages of medicine too. He was a passionate student of Aristotle, but the Metaphysics proved an insurmountable barrier, for all that he had read them so often that he knew them by heart, until he fell in with the commentary of Al Farabi. [ ] With the mastery of Aristotle thence gained, Avicenna's formation was complete. Much of his original work in philosophy has perished, but a kind of Summa of Aristotelianism as he conceived it, in eighteen books, survives to show the scale of his achievement and to explain the fact of his enormous prestige. His work, however, like that of all these Islamic philosophers, suffers inevitably from the twin defects that he worked on a text that was a translation at second-hand, and that his Aristotle included two famous treatises which we now know are of Neoplatonic authorship. Avicenna, for all his vast Aristotelian scholarship, is really a Neoplatonist. His aim is mystical, namely to achieve union with the Divine even in this life. He is not primarily a physicist, as assuredly was Aristotle, but his interest is psychological. Here, too, thought interests him -- and he builds from an examination of thought processes -- simply as a means of arriving at his religious end. He shares the Platonist idea of the opposition between spirit and matter, the insistence of that philosophy on the immortality of the soul and its theory of Providence. Through a gradual ascent of knowledge man comes finally to the moment when in all things he sees God, and nothing but God; the knowledge of self disappears, and the mystic is rapt in contemplation.

As a system of practical mysticism related to philosophy, [ ] and in which, apparently, a place was found for all three Persons of the Blessed Trinity, Avicenna had, of himself, much to interest the Catholics who first studied him. In spirit, through his use of psychological analysis, he was something akin to St. Augustine, something very far removed from the impersonal metaphysics of Aristotle. A further point to be noted, is his attitude towards one of the major problems of Aristotelian interpretation, the theory, namely, by which Aristotle explains the spiritual character of the essential intellectual operation. For Avicenna the true first intellect of all mankind is the Demiurge-Logos, the agent of the Divinity's dealings with man. It is through this Logos, by participation in him, that is to say, that the individual mind understands.

The Spanish Jew, Avicebron (Salomon Ibn Gabirol, 1020-1058), it is convenient to consider with Avicenna, for they were later studied in combination by the school of Catholic scholastics to whom their ideas appealed. Avicebron, poet as well as philosopher, author of the Fons Vitae, had in view the same practical mystical end, namely to satisfy, even in this life, the religious man's aspiration to union with God. His Fons Vitae is remarkable for its special theory that all things are composed of matter and form -- he is possibly, here, a source of Gilbert of la Porree -- that God is the form of the universe considered as a whole, and that form is united to matter through the intellect. Avicebron supplies a common ground where mystics and natural scientists meet. He makes physics serve the needs of mystical aspiration. [ ]

Al Ghazel (1059-1111) comes to his place in this story in a very curious way, for he was one of the leaders of the Mohammedan reaction which, after Avicenna's death in 1037, destroyed the philosophical movement in the Eastern caliphate. To ruin beyond all hope of repair the hold of the philosopher on the thinking mind Al Ghazel first set out Avicenna's doctrine systematically. His summary was so clear, and so concise, that, in another country, a generation later, it did more than any other work to make Avicenna understandable and to popularise his thought. Avicenna's teaching on the soul now stood out in particular relief: that the soul is not merely the form of the body, that it is a substance, and that it is immortal precisely because it is a substance.

To translate into Latin these three related thinkers was part of the great work of Dominic Gondisalvi, Archdeacon of Toledo. Of Gondisalvi himself -- Gundissalinus, as he was to those who used him -- we know almost nothing; nor did he, in his own writings, show himself more than a mediocre compiler. But the materials which made up the compilation were new; and it was in such works as his De Immortalitate Animae and De Divisione Philosophiae that thousands into whose hands the more valuable translations never came, made their first acquaintance with the metaphysics and the ethics of Aristotle. Nor was Gundissalinus content merely to translate the greater writers. In one important particular he re-adjusted Avicenna himself. Sure as that mystic's system was of a hearing, in a generation when theology's chief importance still lay, for many, in its being a road to immediate union with God, and surer still for the undoubted half-Christian ideas it already contained, this correction made by Gundissalinus put the system's success beyond all doubt. Where Avicenna had placed the source of the intellect's illumination in the DemiurgeLogos -- a being really distinct from God -- that illumination, with Gundissalinus, was the direct act of God Himself. That in this theory -- Gundissalinus-Avicenna -- man's intelligence was almost effaced before the activity of God is true; but the prima facie resemblance of Avicenna's thought to the traditional Augustinian theory of knowledge is greatly heightened by the theory. It is, in fact, a revival of Augustinianism strengthened by the support of Avicenna. Gundissalinus, also, is practical in his aim -- he makes much use of St. Bernard's De Adherendo Deo -- and it was its writer's mystical objective, writ large all over his work, that secured the new system its first welcome, without that primary hostile scrutiny which might otherwise have been its lot.

There was, however, still more in the system thus smuggled into the heart of Catholicism than a doctrine of knowledge sufficiently resembling Augustinianism to be swallowed whole by the Augustinians. In Al Ghazel-Avicenna, Gundissalinus found a system which taught that the soul's supreme happiness consists in its union with the one, semi-divine, active Intellect; and that, even in this life, the union is possible, momentarily at least, for souls which are specially pure and detached from the body. This suggested to him an analogous Catholic theory whose summit is a mystical doctrine of ecstasy by direct union of the soul with God. Finally, this rough and ready adapter of Saracenic Neoplatonism left to the next generation a formidable problem, nothing less in fact than how really to co-ordinate this corpus of thought -- which he believed was Aristotelian, but which was in fact Neoplatonic -- with the teaching, traditional among Catholic mystics, of God as the soul's illuminator.

This Avicennian, or Gundissalinian, Aristotle was fortunate in the time of his appearance, for in the last years of the twelfth century it was the mystical theologians who dominated the scene at Paris, while at Chartres the Platonic tradition was still strong. But the intellect of the twelfth century was by no means entirely given up to the thought of the Divine, and of the surest means of earthly communion with It. Side by side with this, there ran a strong current of scientific materialism, of fatalistic astrology and, in the darker places, of atheism too. While to this side of contemporary life -- a very real side, that must never be lost sight of in the study of what have been called "the Ages of Faith"-Aristotle, as expressed in the spiritual idealism of Avicenna, made little appeal, there came from it a welcome at least as great to the Spanish Moor who seemed to those of this day, and to very many thinkers of the next century too, Aristotle born again. This was Averroes, born at Cordova in 1126, no ancient figure, for this end of the twelfth century, revived by the research of the scholarly, but, with all his superb understanding of the great master, still very much alive in the flesh. [ ] Averroes was perhaps the greatest of all who have worshipped at the shrine of Aristotle. The one aim of his life was to make Aristotle intelligible to his time, and the degree of his achievement is declared by the title the Middle Ages gave him. In a time when to comment Aristotle, or some part of him, was almost the first foundation of any intellectual fame, Averroes was, simply, "The Commentator." "Averrois," said Dante, "che il gran commento feo."

Like a true disciple of Aristotle, Averroes is first of all a physicist, and it is this fundamental interest in physics which links him immediately with those contemporary speculations, partly astrological, partly atheistical, which derived, and not merely through the Arabs, from a very distant antiquity. For Averroes, then, the First Source of all movement has an astral, cosmic character. The heavens of Averroes are a living reality, and the hierarchy of the heavenly intelligences is the chain linking man with the Primum Movens. Here Averroes shows himself, not merely Aristotelian, but as the perfection of a long Arabian and Neoplatonic tradition, the perfection because the most influenced by Aristotle. His Aristotle is none the less Neoplatonist, as witnesses this introduction of a theory of intermediary intelligences, emanated gradually through the hierarchy of the spheres. [ ]

No commentator, however, was less influenced than Averroes by the spiritual elements of Neoplatonism. So much of a physicist is he that, for him, things are absolutely one. There is no distinction between their essence and existence, no possibility of movement from non-being to being, no possibility of creation. It is a physicism so absolute that it leaves no place for freedom, freedom for example of the will. All is necessary, determined, in an eternal evolution. Form, soul therefore, for the soul is the form of the body, is part of the material cosmos. Yet the soul can think, and thought is non-material. How explain this production of an effect higher in nature than the soul that produces it? Here Averroes, like Avicenna and like all who have striven to follow Aristotle, is brought up against one of the problems to which Aristotle gives no clear solution. We have seen Avicenna's solution already. Another tradition, dating from Alexander of Aphrodisias (2nd century A.D.), which persisted down to Avempace (1138), Averroes' own contemporary, solved it by developing, from doctrines implicit in the Aristotelian corpus, the theory of an operation between the passive intellect existent in each individual and a single active intelligence of the whole cosmos. For Averroes this was a wholly unacceptable compromise. He indignantly rejected it, and showed himself here the most radical of all the commentators by postulating the unity of the passive intelligence too. What then of the soul's immortality? For Averroes the soul is only immortal in the sense that the one active intelligence is immortal. Finally the First Mover is inseparable from the whole of that which he moves.

Clearly the philosophy of Averroes -- of Aristotle too, if Averroes truly represents the essential Aristotle -- is not compatible with the revealed religion enshrined in the traditional teaching of the Church. What of his immediate effect? and what was it in Aristotle which, despite his formidable appearance of irrefutable, scientifically established materialism, was to urge the keenest and most orthodox minds of the next hundred years to attempt a new reading of his Metaphysics?

There IS one unmistakable feature of the thought of the old classical culture, and that is the common ground which it offers, both to philosophers and to scientists, in the facts of astronomy-a kind of syncretism where the observed periodicity of stellar movements served as a scientific basis for a theory of universal determinism. This syncretism passed, with much else of the GrecoRoman culture, into the rich amalgam of the Arab empire in the East. For Al-Kindi (d. 860), the first of the great translators of Aristotle, astrology was the mistress of the sciences, and his successor and disciple, Albumasar (d. 886), showed a like reverence for it. Thenceforward the cult of the stars shared the varying fortunes of the old philosophy. Even the greatest of these thinkers, Avicenna, had a place for the stars as real determining influences upon human choice.

This cult of the stars had, on the other hand, been sympathetic, at least, throughout all its history, to a very radical materialistic atheism, as well as to pantheism. To this astral determinism Aristotle's thought had given a certain support and, although atheism played a part in Greek philosophy long before Aristotle, the new philosophies that came from among the continuators of Plato and Aristotle were more favourable to atheism than the earlier philosophies.

For more than one reason astrology -- with its implicit denial of moral responsibility -- was popular. People and princes alike, in all the last centuries of the antique world, fell before the temptation to use the astrologer, and to direct their lives by his erudite calculations. With the gradual Christian conquest of that culture the astrologer lost his hold, but from the ninth century, thanks in great part to the Arabs, who were now to be found in every city of Italy and southern France, the old practices slowly revived. Works on astrology began to be translated before those of the philosophers, and they were more readily assimilated, more eagerly sought out. By the twelfth century astrology was, in a sense, omnipresent in Christendom; and the new spirit, if congenial to the school of Chartres, found its first great scientific opponent in Abelard. After Abelard's death it regained at Paris what ground it had lost, and then, as the influence of Averroes began slowly to seep through, new life came from his strongly organised thought to the allied astrological and atheistic speculations. Thanks to the new vigour thus infused, things that had slept for centuries began slowly to reawaken. Once more, the enormous prestige of Aristotle himself aided the movement.

By the end of the twelfth century there was then, undoubtedly, in the intellectual centres of the Catholic world, a strong current of ideas at once astrological and atheistic, and it was threatening to gain the chief seat of Catholic culture, the schools of Paris, in the very moment when the new organisation was forming that was to make them, with the papacy and the empire, the third great feature of Catholic life.

"Very early in the twelfth century it began to be rumoured everywhere that long before Christianity was heard of Aristotle had solved all the problems of human society." [ ] By the end of the century it was much more than rumour; and here we touch on the core of the new revolution in travail -- the genius of Aristotle himself. When the Catholic West began to read for the first time his Physics, the De Coelo et Mundo, the De Anima, the De Generatione et Corruptione, and the Metaphysics, it reeled before the sudden discovery of a new world. Here was a systematic study of the universe, in its own right and for its own sake, of things, plants, animals, man, the stars, and the Power that moulds the whole. [ ] A whole encyclopaedia of the natural sciences, a whole corpus of new facts, and a philosophy that explained them-it was a kind of sudden revelation in the natural order. And, over all, there presided the genius of the inventor of Logic. It was the key to the universe in the study of the universe, in the study of Nature for Nature's own sake, and in the light of the natural reason. There has, probably. never been anything, in the intellectual order, to equal this sudden restoration -- to a culture already possessed of one important part of the ancient culture-of all that it most lacked and most needed, namely the vast body of the natural science of that ancient culture and the best of its philosophy. Not in one single generation could the gift be truly estimated, possessed, assimilated. The first effect, inevitably, was a confusion of sudden conclusions and half-truths, the inevitable fruit of half-understood principles. For the ruling authorities in the Church it presented an anxious problem, this vast corpus of knowledge, impossible to ignore, impossible not to use, and yet a knowledge shot through with Materialism, Pantheism and all that was least compatible with the traditional Faith. [ ]

It was amid this swirl and turbulence of the new thought that in 1205, the pope, Innocent III, called into existence a new insti-tution whose special purpose was the promotion of higher studies and the safeguarding of the traditional Faith, alike among those who studied and among those who taught. This institution was the University of Paris. It was the forerunner of scores of similar institutions, set up in the next two centuries by the same papal authority and, to some extent, it was the model on which all of them were fashioned; but in one important respect it was from the beginning a thing apart. What made this university at Paris unique was the extraordinary number of its students, the fact that these students (and the masters, too) came from all over Christendom, and the prestige in its schools of theological studies and of the study of the newly-revealed Aristotelian books. Already, for nearly a hundred years continuously, before the decisive act of Innocent III, this group of schools that centred around the school of the Bishop of Paris had been the universally recognised capital of the theological intelligence of the Church. Innocent III himself was a product of these schools.

To the town of Paris the schools were, by the end of the century, an immense asset -- and a grave responsibility in more than one way. And the prosperity of the schools was no less a matter of concern to the French king. Already it was beginning to be seen that, if the Italian nation had the papal capital itself as its glory, and the Germans the Empire, the French could boast in the schools of Paris a third institution no whit less effective than either of these throughout the whole of Christendom. Whatever made for the better organisation and greater contentment of these thousands of foreign scholars who were now a permanent element of life in the French capital, and a rich source of French prestige and influence, must interest the monarchs who were welding France into a single country. The decisive act was the constitution of the whole body of these students and masters as a self-governing corporation, free at once from the jurisdiction of the local bishop and the local civil authorities; and this was what Innocent III did in 1205.

But in doing this it was far from the pope's intention to create within the Church such an unheard of novelty as an institution that was perfectly autonomous. The new universitas was the creation of the papacy; the popes would endow it liberally with privileges, they would lavish praises on it, [ ] fight its battles, defend its rights: but they would also control it -- control at least the main lines of its development -- during the first formative hundred years. For as a school to which all Christendom came in search of theological learning the university could be, inevitably, a most
powerful source of general error as well as a general benefit. [ ] This was not a national institution -- and it was more than what we would call international: the schools of Paris in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries were Christendom itself, hard at work upon the Bible, St. Augustine and Aristotle, upon divine Revelation, traditional theology, the new natural sciences and philosophy. Facing such a phenomenon, unprecedented in its kind as well as in its scale, the chief of Christendom could not be a mere spectator or patron. Here, too, he must rule.

And this papal control of the schools, in these years that were so critical, both for the faith and for the whole future of Western civilisation, [ ] was a model of practical wisdom and of truly Roman tact: -- the first, early prohibition of lectures on the Physics of Aristotle, and the Metaphysics, while these were yet such novelties that, inevitably, like men filled with new wine, students and masters fell with passionate enthusiasm into one error after another, into errors about the new doctrines as surely as into errors about their relation to the traditional faith; then, the strong insistence on the primacy of Theology among the sciences; and the gradual relaxation of the ban on Aristotle, until, finally, the great pagan is given droit de cite, and the study of his works becomes an obligatory part of the theologian's training.

As the first years of the new century went by, the translations began to multiply -- and to improve. There was now, side by side with the early work of Gundissalinus, a second series of translations, made on the Greek text itself. And presently the opposition began to harden, and to fix itself: opposition, first of all, to Aristotle, and then, more usefully, to Averroes. Averroes, "who knew all there was to be known, understood all, explained all," seemed at first to point to the happy mean between the Neoplatonism of the Augustinians, the Aristotelianism of the last generation of Abelard's influence, and the Positivism of the physicists and astrologers. It was only slowly, and by degrees, that Paris began to realise that Averroes himself was the enemy. William of Auvergne, for example, master in the schools until 1228, and from thence on Bishop of Paris until his death (1249), strenuously opposes the special doctrines of Averroes, and at the same time attacks no less strenuously those who hold them -- for their slanderous imputation of them to Averroes!

Not until the next generation, apparently, to the last few years of William of Auvergne's episcopate, was Averroes seen to be what he is. By that time the man had arrived who was equal to the new situation -- St. Albert the Great.


Between the accession of St. Leo IX, when the papacy began effectively to lead the reform movement within the Church, and that of Innocent III, lies a period of a hundred and fifty years, a period divided evenly by the Concordat of Worms and the first General Council of the Lateran. The movement which St. Leo inaugurated, and whose greatest figure is St. Gregory VII, had been, essentially, directed to the reform of abuses and to the restoration of Christian life throughout the Church. The leaders were men of holy life, monks for the most part, shocked to see the general neglect of the most elementary precepts of the Gospel, their hearts lacerated at the spiritual peril that endangered souls. Whence the bitterness of the struggle these pastors of souls waged, first against the unworthy clergy, then against the system which made their appointment possible, and finally against that lay control of clerical nominations which underlay the whole gigantic betrayal of the designs of Christ Our Lord.

It was seventy-five years before the struggle against the emperor ended, and although the fight against simony and clerical immorality, as well as the effort to restore the ancient ascetic habit of clerical celibacy, never slackened, it was inevitable that the major contest should absorb the greater part of the energies of the various popes. Despite the canons of councils, and the efforts of popes as active as they were intelligent and capable, despite the work of innumerable saints as shown in the new religious orders, in preachers like St. Peter Damian in the eleventh century and St. Bernard in the twelfth, political events, only too often, sterilised the best endeavours of all this good will. Much, very much indeed, remained to be done before every bishop was to himself and his people mainly a shepherd of souls, before every priest was competent intellectually and fit, morally, to explain the Gospel to his people and lead them to live in union with Jesus Christ.

The general condition of religion, as the storms of the ninth and tenth centuries left it, was such that even saints despaired. That even when the usurping lay power had been reduced, many of the evils still persisted is not surprising. Clerical ignorance, lay brutality and superstition were still, in the time of St. Bernard and Alexander III, only too common. Tournaments, private wars, the organised brigandage, and the laxity of the great in matters of sex, usury and new abuses which grew out of the new freedom of the clergy from the lay control, a new clerical arrogance and a new clerical greed, and a new clerical ambition to control even the non-religious aspects of lay life -- there is a wealth of evidence to show the mighty task, which, eighty years after St. Gregory VII, still lay before a reforming papacy.

Even had the popes of the last half of the twelfth century been the single-minded religious of a hundred years before, much time would have been needed before their efforts could tell. Even the strongest of moral reformers depends naturally on the goodwill of those he would reform; and, in the nature of things, the will to be reformed is not a prominent characteristic of fashionable, and successful, sinners. Under the best of popes there would have been, here and there, a certain amount of anti-clerical complaint at the slowness of the pontifical will to correct and chasten those whose lives were the causes of scandal. As it was, with the new alliance between the papacy and the political needs of the Italian States, and with the beginnings of the papacy's new financial needs, and the means devised to satisfy these, anticlericalism began to show itself on a very large scale. Impatience with the half-reformed and increasingly wealthy clergy; impatience with the opposition of the higher clergy to the movement whence came the communes; disgust with the faults of the lower clergy; lack of instruction; and a craving for the better life to which the clergy should have led them; disappointment at the collapse of the Crusade as a spiritual thing, and disgust with those held responsible for the failure -- such causes as these gradually led, in many places, as the twelfth century drew to its close, to autonomous, lay-inspired movements that aimed at the moral regeneration of their members and the conversion of others to their ideals.

With this striving for a new, simpler, higher, moral life, conceived very often as that of primitive Catholicism and as the life designed by Christ Our Lord, a religious life independent of clerical direction, there went, too, a curious expectation of coming apocalyptic change. The day was approaching when, once again, God would visit His people and another saving prophet would appear. Throughout Christendom, and especially in the south of France and in Italy, such ideas, from the middle of the twelfth century, began to spread increasingly.

The earlier part of the century had already seen the appearance of zealous Levitical preachers. Besides Tanchelin and Arnold of Brescia there had been, for example, Peter of Bruys and Henry of Lausanne. The first of these, an unfrocked priest, had been well known as an itinerant propagandist in the south of France. Organised religion, with its churches, its sacraments and its clergy, he declared to be a mockery. The Mass was a mere show, good works done on behalf of the dead a waste of time, since the living cannot in any way assist the dead. Another subject of his violent denunciation was clerical concubinage. This early pioneer of naturalistic Christianity met with a violent death at the hands of the mob in 1137. Apparently he made no effort to form a body of disciples; his mission was a personal matter, and the same is true of the ex-monk of Cluny, Henry, who followed with a similar gospel a few years later.

The most celebrated of the anti-clerical movements of the century, however, and the one with which it closed, differed from those inspired by Peter and Henry in two important respects. It definitely aimed at the permanent organisation of those who accepted it, and it made no attack on the traditional faith. This movement derived from a wealthy banker of Lyons, Peter Waldo. About the year 1176 -- whether through reading the story in the gospel of the rich young man to whom Our Lord said, "If thou wilt be perfect sell all thou hast. . ." or from hearing the story of St. Alexis, is uncertain -- he divided his wealth between his wife and the poor, and determined to devote his life to preaching to others the poverty to which he now had vowed himself. To live without owning was the one really good work, the one way of perfection, and therefore Peter Waldo, a man whose determination knew no limits, must preach it. His enthusiasm and sincerity quickly won him a following, and soon there was formed the nucleus of a kind of penitential brotherhood vowed to practise poverty and to preach it. The Archbishop of Lyons forbade them to preach, and when they persisted, expelled them from his territory. In 1179 they appeared in Rome, to appeal to Alexander III against their archbishop. The pope blessed their scheme of living a life of consecrated poverty, but he would not allow them to preach where the bishops were opposed to it.

This papal prohibition was the turning point of the movement. Against submission they urged the example of the Apostles themselves, and quoting their words to the Sanhedrin, " We must obey God rather than men," set the prohibition at defiance. Whence, in 1184, a stern condemnation of the movement from Lucius III, who, by then, had succeeded Alexander. It was now only a matter of time before these insubordinate apostles of poverty, critics already of evident abuses, would absorb some of the heretical notions in general currency everywhere since the days of Peter of Bruys. At first, however, their orthodoxy remained unspotted. Their disobedience to the prohibition of preaching is the most serious thing alleged against them by their earliest Catholic critic. Then they allowed women to preach, and they began to criticise, as useless and unavailing, good works and masse's offered for the souls of the dead.

With the beginning of the next century -- about 1202 -- their wanderings brought them into contact with other anti-clerical groups, definitely heretical and hardened by years of conflict with the bishops. Especially important in this respect were the Lombard associations of those who called themselves "The Humble" (Humiliati). This movement, too, had passed through a crisis like to that which had tested the Poor Men of Lyons. Those of the Humiliati who had refused submission had gradually come more and more under the influence of anti-sacramentarian teaching; and through contact with them the followers of Peter Waldo moved still further away from their first position as a kind of religious order within the Church vowed to heroic poverty. They began to oppose the personal merit of the individual to his sacramental status as the source whence he had power to bless or consecrate, to bind or loose in the sacrament of penance. Bad priests have lost all claim to be obeyed, they urged; to obey them is in fact sin. Confession to a layman is as good as, is even better than confession to a priest. The one source of power over souls, power, for example, to forgive sins, is to live as the Apostles lived, in absolute poverty, dependent on alms, and shod with sandals -- this last detail had a great importance. Sacramental acts were null if the priest were in mortal sin, and, since even the smallest lie was in their eyes a mortal sin, this must happen frequently. Prayers for the dead were useless. Oaths were always unlawful and so, too, it was unlawful to take human life. Any layman, in case of necessity, could, without any ordination, say mass, provided he wore sandals, that is led the apostolic life of poverty.

But although, in the early years of the thirteenth century, Waldenses and Humiliati fraternised to the extent that through the Humiliati many of the old teachings of Arnold of Brescia passed into the Waldensian movement, the two sects never fused. The Congress of Bergamo (1218) that should have united them marks definitely their final division. The Italian group had never made celibacy a condition of perfection. Its members continued to live a family life in their own families. Again, although vowed to poverty, they by no means refused to work. Indeed by making manual work a virtue they became a power in the social life of the time, playing a great part in the early history of the textile industries in Lombardy. The Italians, also, could never bring themselves to that cult of Peter Waldo which for the Poor Men he founded was of the first importance. Nevertheless the failure to amalgamate the two bodies did not result in any lessening of the power of either. Their criticism and propaganda continued to be, as they had already been for forty years, a permanent feature of the problem that every bishop had to face in southern France, in Italy, in Switzerland and even in Germany.

Contemporary with the Lyonese Peter Waldo, and the pioneer of doctrines destined also to be an embarrassment for official Catholicism was the Calabrian abbot Joachim. Not indeed that Joachim failed to accept the traditional discipline, or made a frontal attack on any of the traditional doctrines. But the sanctity of his life gave a wholly unmerited importance to the apocalyptic fantasies which ran riot through all he wrote, fantasies destined in later years to bring to nought the heroic lives of thousands, and seriously to weaken in its first years the greatest organised movement of popular spirituality the Church had yet known -- the order of the Friars Minor.

Unlike Peter Waldo and the leaders of the Humiliati, Joachim was a man of education, who had spent much of his time at the most cultured courts of Europe -- Naples and Constantinople-and had travelled extensively. He entered the order of Citeaux and in 1177 was elected Abbot of Corazzo in Sicily. In 1184 he sought, and received, permission from Lucius III to write a commentary on the Bible, and then, at fifty years of age, he began his real momentous career. For the remainder of his life, seventeen years, the commentary was to be his main occupation, and the successive popes were, all of them, interested in it. In 1191 Joachim left Corazzo for Flora, where he founded the first house of a new order of solitaries. The new departure took place without any consultation of Citeaux, and four years of trouble between Joachim and the order followed, until, in 1196, the pope authorised the change and the new order.

Joachim was not a missionary, not a popular preacher, but essentially a contemplative, a solitary, and, above all, a seer. Nor, despite his strong denunciation of the corruption of the clergy, and criticisms which did not spare the Roman curia itself, was he ever rewarded with anything but veneration during his life. He made a formal submission of all he had written -- one work only was published in his lifetime -- and long after discredit had fallen on his books owing to the part they had played in later heretical movements, the prestige of his sanctity was sufficient for the pope to authorise the traditional cultus given him in the houses of the order he had founded.

The two chief features of Joachim's own teaching are a theory of the Trinity and, related to it, a theory of human history which not only explained the present and the past but also foretold the future.

The Trinitarian doctrine, directed against Peter Lombard, derived partly from that of Gilbert of la Porree. It treated as distinct realities the divine essence and the three Persons in whom it was manifested. The unity of the Trinity was no more than the collective unity which every group possesses.

For Joachim, as for all preceding Catholic students of the Scriptures, the Old Testament was the figure of the New. His new revolutionary contribution to biblical science was that he saw in the New Testament the figure of a third age yet to come. The Old Testament had been the age of the Father; the New Testament that of the Son; in the coming age the Holy Ghost would rule. Of this new age Joachim was the herald and prophet, fitted for the work by a special divine gift which enabled him to read beneath the known meaning of the Bible its final meaning, hitherto undiscovered. As the age of law and fear, in which men obeyed God as His slaves, had given place to that of grace, of faith and the obedience of sons, so in the new age faith would give place to charity, filial obedience to liberty. Again, each age had its characteristic social type in which the ideal of Christian life was realised. In the first age it was the married; in the second age the clerics; in the age to come it would be contemplative religious, and here Joachim made the prophecy of the rise of a new order, vowed to poverty and work, which, to many of his contemporaries, seemed, in the Friars Minor, fulfilled to the letter on the very morrow of his death.

The three ages grew each from the other, and yet the end of each would be marked by immense catastrophes. The rites and sacraments of each age pass away with the age; they are but types of the better things to come. The Mass then will disappear as the Paschal Lamb had done. Even the redemption of mankind has not yet been perfectly accomplished; the Christ who appeared and lived in Palestine was Himself no more than a figure of the Christ who would appear. Nor, in the coming new dispensation, would the Church exist in its present state. The visible Church would be absorbed in the invisible, the new contemplatives would be everything and the clergy, necessarily, would lose their importance, lose their very reason for existence.

This new age was at hand. Joachim was precise, even to the year in which it would begin, 1260. Persecutions, a general religious catastrophe, would precede the final period of peace in which Jews and Greeks would return to religious unity and the revelation be made of the Gospel that was to endure for ever. This " Eternal Gospel " would not be a new gospel, but the spiritual interpretation of the existing written gospel.

Abbot Joachim, for all his pessimistic criticism of every aspect of Christian life, was no friend to either of the great movements with which he was contemporary, the anti-clerical Waldenses and the anti-Christian Cathari. His own theories were, however, no less mischievous. And yet, for long enough -- with the exception of his exposition on the Trinity -- they escaped condemnation. Partly because of his saintly life Joachim was generally, though by no means universally, accepted at his own valuation. Again, it is often the fortune of visionaries of his kind that while one type of mind mocks at their revelations as manifest lunacy, pious, or rather superstitious, fear, with another type, sterilises the power of criticism. The fact remains that from now on a new and powerful influence is discernible in Catholic life, to persist as a source of trouble for another hundred and fifty years. Vague, obscure, full of contradictions, still more involved and anarchical as interested forgers began to interpolate the authentic Joachim, and to put into circulation under his name apocrypha that he would himself assuredly never have owned, it provided the critical and dissentient elements of the Church of the later Middle Ages with an inexhaustible fount of ideas and arguments, and with material for successful popular propaganda.

When the student turns from the idealism of Peter Waldo, or the reveries of Abbot Joachim, to the history of the Catharists who were their contemporaries he has the sensation of entering a new world altogether. Here are no Catholics whom disgust with the present condition of the Church drives into opposition, but the passionately enthusiastic pioneers of a new anti-Christian social order. They were the heirs to those Manichee doctrines which had provoked the repression of Diocletian, and enslaved St. Augustine centuries before, doctrines which had troubled the Rome of St. Leo and which, in later centuries, found a continuity of disciples in Asia Minor and the Balkans. Manicheans, Paulicians, Bogomiles, Catharists and Albigenses, [ ] whatever be the truth that all are corporally related, these various sects were, at different times, all of them inspired by a common body of doctrine, and a similarity of moral practice.

In place of the one supreme God whom the Church believed to be the creator and ruler of all, the Albigenses set two gods, one supremely good, one supremely evil. God and the devil shared responsibility for the universe and power over it.

The material element in the universe, and of course in man, is the work of the devil and it is wholly evil. Man, creation partly of God and partly of the devil, stands in need of salvation. The source of this is not, however, the Incarnation and redeeming death of Christ Our Lord. Christ, for the Albigenses, is not God nor is He truly man. He is an angel who found a temporary lodging in an apparent human body; His humanity was an appearance merely; His passion and death were illusions. His mission is to teach the truth that God exists and that in every man, by reason of his soul, there is something of the divine through which he can ultimately escape the power. of the supreme evil. The Catholic Church is the enemy of Christ's Church, for it is the continuation in time of the synagogue. Hence on the part of the Albigenses an active hatred for the Catholic Church, and a never-ceasing effort to destroy its influence.

Salvation comes through the soul's emancipation from the body. So long as the soul is united to the body it is in danger of being lost to the devil, unless the person concerned has broken this power of the devil by receiving the Consolamentum -- a simple rite of sacramental character administered by the leaders of the sect. But whoever received the Consolamentum took upon himself thereby lifelong obligations of a most serious character, the momentary neglect of which annulled the rite received and involved him once again in the danger he had escaped. He was bound, for example, by accepting the rite to perpetual continency, to fasts which lasted the best part of the year, and in which little more than bread and water was allowed. He must never eat meat nor eggs nor milk nor butter nor cheese. He must never take an oath, nor take any part in a lawsuit which involved punishment. And with the rest of the Perfect -- for such he became when he received the Consolamentum -- he must live a common life. To receive the Consolamentum was then to enter an extremely severe kind of religious order.

From such an obligation the vast majority shrank. They accepted the Albigensian doctrine, they accomplished their duty of reverencing the Perfect, and they pledged themselves to receive the Consolamentum. But of those who received the Consolamentum many preferred to die, rather than face the horror that life was for the Perfect. This they achieved by a slow starvation, consecrated by the name of Endura. Suicide was the perfect act of the true Albigensian, and in the case of those whose ability to lead the life of the Perfect was doubtful, and who had yet accepted the Consolamentum under the fear of dying suddenly without it, the Endura was forced upon them. The Perfect surrounded the bed in which they lay and saw that no food came to them, and so in agonies that sometimes lasted for weeks they passed from life.

The Albigenses met for worship regularly. The service consisted of readings from the Bible -- especially from the New Testament, which they venerated highly, of which they prepared a translation into the vernacular -- and from commentaries of a militantly anti-Catholic kind.

The body, they held, was wholly evil. This pessimistic principle was the basis of all the asceticism of the Perfect. It was the foundation of all their moral teaching. Life, since it involved the imprisonment of a soul within a body, was the greatest of evils. To communicate life the greatest of crimes. And the unnatural theory nowhere showed itself so unpleasantly as in the Albigensian condemnation of marriage. Nothing was to be so shunned as pregnancy. A woman with child they regarded, and treated, as possessed by the devil. Yet while they condemned marriage so strongly the Perfect -- for all that their own lives were ordered strictly according to their vows -- looked with tolerance on the extra-matrimonial sex-relations of the Believers. So long as the man and his companion were not married there was always the hope of their ultimate separation. An affection for fornication was a less serious obstacle than marriage to the transition from Believer to Perfect.

How did such a religion of despair and self-destruction ever come to take real hold of a people? To begin with, the devotion of the Perfect to their life must be realised. They preached their doctrine everywhere, and at the root of it all was a clear and simple explanation of the problem of evil. On the other hand the average Catholic priest never preached at all. The heresy was heard by thousands who never knew why they were Catholics, nor, in very many cases, what Catholicism was, beyond a system of religious duties. Again, the Perfect lived in great poverty and austerity, while she Catholic clergy took only too readily whatever chance of wealth and luxurious living came their way. The Perfect moreover had at their disposition a great deal of money, and they used it in generous almsgiving -- often perhaps with a view to proselytes -- and used it also to subsidise industries for the employment of the Believers. The heresy thus became rooted in the country's economic prosperity, and the very name Catharist became a synonym for weaver. The Perfect were also, very often, physicians, and in their convents they organised free schools for the Believers and their children. Finally, although the system liberated the convert from the difficult struggle between himself and his own desires which is the lot of fallen humanity, even in the dispensation of grace, it did not impose on him any new set of commandments. Until he received the Consolamentum the Believer was bound by nothing but his own tastes, or the limits of his opportunity. And should he die without the saving rite he was not "lost" in the Catholic sense. There was no hell, no purgatory in the Albigensian scheme of things; but the crimes and shortcomings of life were expiated in a future life, or in a state of future trial. It was from the prospect of an endless series of possibly difficult lives -- St. Paul, they taught, had had to endure thirty-two in all -- that the Consolamentum delivered the Perfect. Nor, at the end of all, was there any resurrection of the body, for the body was essentially evil.

The distinction between the obligations of Believer and Perfect was, it may be believed, the decisive factor in the development which ultimately gave the whole of southern France and much of northern Italy to the new religion, the prospect of a life free from all external control, where "self-expression" had no sanctions to fear.

The earliest recorded appearance in western Europe of this heresy is the trial of thirteen of the clergy, charged with it at the Council of Orleans in 1022. About the same time there is evidence of it in Germany, and in northern Italy, and in the south of France too. Wherever it appeared it was universally execrated; and the mob showed no mercy to those suspected of sharing in it. Then, for years, there is little mention of it, until the second quarter of the twelfth century, when it is revealed as strongly established with Champagne, Languedoc and Milan as its chief centres. From Champagne it spread into Burgundy, Picardy, Flanders and the centre of France. From Milan the rest of Lombardy was infected, Tuscany too -- especially Florence, where by 1265 a third of the best families were Catharists -- and the March of Ancona. Rome itself did not escape, and Catharists were to be found throughout southern Italy, in Sicily and in Sardinia too. By a confusion with the groups who, at Milan, in the time of St. Gregory VII had fought clerical marriage, these opponents of all marriage were called in Italy Patarini.

The chief centre of all was Languedoc, the most cultured province of Christendom, the land where something still remained of the traditions of the Moors who once had conquered so much of it, an outpost of Saracen culture close to the very heart of Catholic Europe. It was in this wealthy, refined, orientalised civilisation, where Moors still abounded, and for which the "aggressive prosperity" of the Jews had won the name of Judaea Secunda, that heresy first began to find influential patrons. This was in the early years of the twelfth century, and from that time on, the Albigenses, under one name or another, are condemned and denounced in a whole series of councils, at Toulouse in 1119, the Second Lateran in 1139, at Rheims in 1148 and Tours in 1163 and in the Third Lateran of 1179. St. Bernard had been sent to preach against the movement but neither his sanctity nor his eloquence had availed much. From about 1160 the heretics began to have the upper hand, and from Languedoc the movement spread into Spain, to Navarre and Leon and especially into Aragon and Catalonia.

Everywhere in the south of France, St. Bernard testifies, churches were deserted, feasts no longer kept, the sacraments neglected. Thirty years later the Count of Toulouse, the chief ruler in the affected provinces, bears a like witness. Catholicism by now is quite definitely in the background. The heretics have won over many of the leading nobles, and the count declares that he dare not, and cannot, check the evil. At Toulouse itself the heresy was become the official religion of the town and the legates sent by Alexander III in 1178 were driven out with ignominy. Nor did the solemn condemnation of 1179 produce any greater effect. A mission was organised under the Abbot of Clairvaux, but though it deposed the Archbishop of Narbonne it effected little else. By the time of accession of Innocent III (1198) almost the whole population had, in greater degree or less, drifted from the Church and while the heretics preached unhindered in the streets of every city the Catholic clergy, when they did not openly go over to the sect -- as even bishops and abbots are known to have done -- sometimes secretly sympathised, and far from making any effort to organise resistance, made friends often enough with the now dominant party as the obvious means of securing favour and privilege. The Cistercians still kept to the severity of their rule, so far as their personal way of living was concerned, but the order was already collectively wealthy. Other monasteries were relaxed, abuses of luxurious living, of worldliness in dress, of simony and concubinage were rampant among the clergy. Money, it began to seem, was all-powerful in the matter of dispensations, and could even secure for the Catharists toleration, and the non-execution of the new laws enacted against them. Finally, the new count, Raymond VI, the son of the count who in 1177 had lamented his powerlessness to improve matters, himself secretly went over to the sect. The Church, he declared in 1196, had no right to own. The man who despoiled it was thereby eminently pleasing to God.

A whole important province of Christendom was drifting into aggressive anti-Catholicism, while octogenarian popes could only look on and lament -- a key province which, by its geographical situation, lay between the capital of the new centralised papal leadership and the capital of the new Catholic scholarship, between the Roman Church and its traditional protector the King of France. As with the relations between pope and emperor, so in this other urgent problem of the new Manicheeism, the election of Innocent III was to mean a revolutionary change in the papal policy.



THE newly elected Innocent III [ ] had need of all the young man's energy, need of optimism and of confidence, to speak only of human gifts, if he was not to sink under the task that faced him. There was the menace of the new Moslem-influenced philosophical materialism in the schools of Paris; the problem of the new pious anti-clericalism of the penitential brotherhoods; the problem of the Manichee conquest of Languedoc; the problem of the future relations between the papacy and those unruly children of the Church the Catholic kings; the problem, too, which this last so largely conditioned, of the Latin East; and beyond all these the chronic task of recalling to every Catholic the standard of faith and good living to which, as a member of Christ's mystical body, he was called; the resumption and the completion -- if that were possible -- of the task which had been St. Gregory VII's, of removing all obstacles to the perfect working of God's Church as teacher and shepherd of men. It was a task which the Cardinal Lothario of Segni, fresh from his book On the Contempt of this World, took up willingly, eagerly, almost joyfully.

One of the first matters to which he applied himself was the state of things in Languedoc. Within a matter of weeks he had appointed two of the local Cistercians as his agents, accredited to the Prince, prelates and people. Their mission was to induce the prince to banish the heretics and to confiscate their property as the law of 1184 directed. Disobedience was to be punished by ecclesiastical censures, and to encourage the Catholic effort liberal indulgences were granted. As the year 1199 went by, with little to show in the way of success, the powers of these monks were increased. They were named as Innocent's legates and commissioned also to reform the lives of the local clergy. Even so they did not make much headway against the heresy, nor do much to change the clerical ill-living.

In 1202 the legates were changed and two other Cistercians were appointed in their place. One of these was Peter de Castelnau; he was bold and vigorous, and the attack at last began against the real centres of the sect. The Archbishop of Narbonne-who was, as it were, the primate of Languedoc -- was deposed when he refused to co-operate; and the Bishop of Toulouse deposed also, for simony. The Bishop of Beziers was suspended, and then the pope deprived all the bishops of Languedoc of their jurisdiction in heresy cases. This the legates alone could exercise henceforward, and in addition they received the power to deprive all unworthy clergy of their benefices, the deprived being denied all right of appeal. To add to the force of the legation the pope now named as its chief the head of the great Cistercian federation, the Abbot of Citeaux himself. Another Cistercian, Fulk -- a one-time troubadour -- was appointed to the vacant see of Toulouse and the Cistercian Bishop of Auxerre added to the band. By the year 1205 an active anti-Catharist propaganda -- instructions, controversy, sermons and pamphlets -- was in full swing, directed by the best disciplined religious of the time, papal commissioners who left the wavering Catholic no chance to doubt either his own faith or the will of the pope to correct disorderly living among his clergy.

Nevertheless the mission made very little progress. The Count of Toulouse still refused to co-operate, and repeatedly the legates asked to be relieved of their task. This the pope would not hear of and then the beginnings of a new force appeared, in the form of two Spaniards, Diego, Bishop of Osma, and Dominic Guzman, the prior of his cathedral chapter, sent to Languedoc by the pope when they had begged his leave to evangelise the Tartars of the Volga.

Dominic was at this time thirty-five years of age. He came of an impoverished family of the nobles of Castile -- a family which in his own generation gave several saints to the Church -- and he had had the great advantage of ten years of study in the schools of Palencia (1184-1194) at the time when, through the intellectual enthusiasm of Spanish clerics, the new knowledge was beginning its transformation of the west. In 1194 he had become a canon of the chapter of Osma, and when the bishop proposed to restore for his canons the original community life, under the so-called rule of St. Augustine, Dominic gladly co-operated. He was named sub-prior and five years later, on the prior, Diego's, consecration as bishop, he succeeded him as prior. With Diego he had been despatched by the King of Castile to negotiate a marriage treaty with Denmark. This was in 1203, and in the following year he was again in Denmark with his bishop to fetch home the bride. The lady died, however, and the two Spaniards next went to Rome, to that meeting with Innocent III which changed both their lives and a good deal of subsequent history.

Diego suggested to the legates that, given the prestige won for the Perfect by their austerity and given the worldliness of the clergy, the pomp and circumstance of office with which, naturally, the legates surrounded themselves could not but be a hindrance to their work. He suggested that they model themselves for the future on the seventy-two disciples sent forth by Our Lord, with neither scrip nor staff -- let alone retinue or guards -- no money in their purse, no shoes to their feet. To give point to the advice he himself became a Cistercian and, with Dominic, who, however, remained a canon-regular, began to put the ideal into practice. After some hesitation the legates followed suit. The mission split itself into small groups of threes and fours, and, living h apostolic fashion, began to tour the countryside and towns preaching, instructing and -- a new feature -- holding formal disputations with the chiefs of the heretics which sometimes ran on for a week or ten days.

Through 1206 and 1207 the new kind of mission continued, its way of life commended by the papal approval. Converts began to come in, and to house those who were women Dominic made his first foundation at Prouille, a community of women to shelter converts, living under that rule of St. Augustine which he had himself followed for twelve years. The Cistercians supplied the campaign with yet more abbots, after their general chapter of 1207, and a whole body of Waldensians were converted. These Innocent III allowed to continue their life as a kind of religious order under their old chief Durand of Huesca, with the name of Poor Catholics.

It was now nearly ten years since the mission first began. Despite all the efforts the heresy still held firm, its prestige Ullshaken, and that prestige due very largely to the complicity of the princes and particularly to the complicity of the Count of Toulouse, Raymond VI. De Castelnau resolved on a final attempt to win or compel his co-operation. Twice the count had sworn to assist, and now, when he formally refused, the legate excommunicated him and laid an interdict on his territories. Three months later (January 15, 1208) one of the count's serjeants murdered the legate.

It was a crime that recalled the death, forty years earlier, of St. Thomas of Canterbury. The count was generally held responsible, and the deed drew down upon him all the Catholic energy of the time. It brought to an end the mission of simple preaching: it was the beginning of a regular war to punish Raymond and to root out the heresy once for all. The Cistercians, in a specially summoned general chapter, voted all the resources of the order for the new crusade and the pope set all his power to organise it. The murderer was excommunicated and Raymond's own sentence renewed. He was outlawed and deprived of all his rights as ruler; his vassals were freed from their allegiance to him; his allies from their treaty obligations; and the pope looked around for some prince to whom to entrust the leadership of the expedition and the execution of the sentence. The new heretics were declared to be more dangerous than the Saracens, and to all who took part in the war the same indulgences and favours were granted as to those who went out to Palestine. Presently the forces began to gather and by June, 1209, a huge army of two hundred thousand was ready at Lyons.

Raymond, after vainly trying to enlist support from the King of France, and from the emperor, surrendered himself to the legates (June 18, 1209), promising to expel the heretics, giving security in seven castles, and submitting to a public scourging in the church at St. Gilles. A few weeks later, when the crusade had reached Valence he joined its army. By the end of August two strongholds of the heresy had fallen, Beziers and Carcassonne, and at Beziers the victors -- apparently as a measure of terrorism -- had massacred the garrison and thousands of the inhabitants. The forty days for which the crusaders were pledged to serve had now almost expired, and, content with this preliminary success, the mass of the great army prepared to return home. Before it dispersed, however, one of its chiefs, Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester in England, a baron from the north of France, was offered, and with some reluctance accepted, the heritage of the heretic Viscount of Beziers and Carcassonne. In the next ten years he was from this precarious base to maintain, single-handed, the fight against the Count of Toulouse, against his numerous dependants and, most formidable of all, against the King of Aragon, Peter II, who as the suzerain of these southern French fiefs could not but be interested in their political fate.

From now on, the question of the Albigenses is mixed up with the personal ambitions of its chiefs and political rivalries. So it comes about that there is found fighting with Raymond, whose faith is suspect since he will not give up the heretics, a Catholic of such undoubted orthodoxy as Peter II. Whence, too, a new difficulty for Innocent III, in controlling the movement he has created and in keeping it true to its purpose, the extirpation of heresy, to which the question of the deposition of the family of Raymond bears, so far, no necessary relation at all. For four years the pope was besieged by the envoys of both parties. The legates in Languedoc, and Simon, urged extreme measures against the Count of Toulouse in whose promises, they asserted, no faith whatever could be placed. Raymond, on the other hand, and his ally the King of Aragon, continued solemnly to give every pledge demanded of them. And for a long time they managed to stave off the papal sentence.

The legates could judge better than the pope -- for all that the atmosphere of war may have made them partisans. They demanded that Toulouse, Raymond's capital and the centre of the whole affair, should surrender its heretics, and they met the refusal by re-excommunicating the count and laying all his territories under an interdict. He appealed to Rome and the, pope lifted the interdict and, while not confirming the sentence on Raymond, ordered that a council should meet in three months to consider his guilt. Meanwhile the Albigenses were steadily making good the ground they had lost. Those who had returned to Catholicism relapsed as soon as the crusading armies marched away. When the council met, at St. Gilles, 1210, Raymond had ignored all the obligations to which he was sworn. He had not dismissed his mercenaries, he still continued to patronise and favour the heretics. He thus played into the hands of the legates, who declared him incapable of testifying and therefore of clearing himself by oath.

Innocent, however, intervened yet once again. He sent Raymond a severe warning of what must follow on his perversity, and once more ordered him to co-operate in the work of extirpating the heresy. Similar admonitions were sent to his allies the Counts of Foix and Comminges. Three councils at the turn of the year -- Narbonne in December, 1210, Montpellier in January, 1211, and Arles in the February following -- were to judge what they had done. This new move from Rome brought in once more the King of Aragon. For all his engagements with Raymond he could not afford to see these important fiefs, that commanded the passes of the eastern Pyrenees, fall into the hands of enemies such as vassals of the King of France would be. He therefore did his best to reconcile all parties. He recognised de Montfort as Viscount of Beziers and Carcassonne, he compelled his vassals to comply with the legate's conditions. But the Count of Toulouse, although he now married the king's sister, refused the conditions. He was thereupon re-excommunicated, and in April, 1211, the pope confirmed the sentence.

Through the rest of that year, and through 1212, de Montfort slowly conquered place after place. Peter II was away in the south of Spain playing a great part in the new crusade against the Moors, and soon Raymond was left with little else than his capital, Toulouse. The legate now urged the pope to depose him -- to set de Montfort in his place. This, however, Innocent would not do. Aragon's diplomacy, and his own natural fear of the Holy War becoming a means to make the fortune of a successful adventurer, kept the pope back. The legates were lectured for their partisan statements and bidden to wind up the crusade. Raymond was to be admitted to penance, and de Montfort reminded of his duties to Peter II, his suzerain (January, 1213). It was not until May, 1213, that the pope was convinced of the treachery of Raymond and of the trickery of the King of Aragon. Then he cancelled his letters of January, and ordered all concerned to submit to the legates. Peter, the Catholic champion against Islam, with the laurels of Las Navas de Tolosa fresh upon him, was warned that the heretics were more dangerous than any Moslem.

But Peter had already moved, and by the time the pope was writing these last paternal warnings, he was marching north with a huge army destined, he had every reason to think, to wipe out de Montfort for ever. There followed the campaign which ended on September 11, 1213, with the incredible battle of Muret. On that day de Montfort, with a force of some seven hundred cavalry, routed and destroyed Peter's army -- forty thousand strong in all, three thousand horsemen -- with the loss of only nine men killed. Peter himself was among the slain.

The whole of Raymond's dominions now fell into de Montfort's hands, always excepting Toulouse. But Innocent still refused to do more than recognise him as administrator of these lands until the coming General Council (summoned for November, 1215). The nobles all submitted unconditionally, and Raymond made over his lands to the pope. Nevertheless, despite Innocent's endeavours, the war now reopened. This was due to the action of the papal legate at the court of France. The French king Philip II. called Augustus (1180-1223), had held back from the crusade ever since its inception six years earlier. But now, having defeated his allied enemies, England and the emperor, at Bouvines (July, 1214), he was willing to fish for whatever prize the upheaval in the south had to offer. In July the French cardinal who acted as legate at his court confirmed, in council, de Montfort's title as Count of Toulouse and renewed the crusade. A second council at Montpellier in January, 1215, also voted Raymond's deposition and the installation of de Montfort in his place, despite the protests of Innocent's legates there.

The final scene was enacted in the General Council when it met in the Lateran. The weight of evidence was too much for Innocent's hope of compromise, and on December 15, 1215, he recognised Simon de Montfort as Count of Toulouse. It was not, however, an unconditional recognition. All those lands which had so far escaped the crusade were assigned to Raymond's heir; Raymond himself was to enjoy a considerable annuity as long as he lived; his wife's dower lands were restored to her; and, finally, de Montfort was not created a sovereign prince. He was to remain what Raymond had been -- the vassal of the King of France. After seven years of stress, of bloodshed and of massacre in which neither side had the monopoly. the first great obstacle to the extirpation of the neo-Manichees had been surmounted. They were no longer protected by the State. In the next stage the State would co-operate with the Church against them. The primary agents of the Church in that next stage were the associates of Dominic Guzman, who about this time, 1215, begin to emerge as a new kind of religious order.


The advent of the crusade in Languedoc did not put an end to the campaign of preaching and discussion. Diego retired to his diocese; the legates had now the conduct of the war to occupy them; it was Dominic who was now the principal figure in the purely religious movement. A pious layman gave over to the use of the preachers whom he led, a house in Toulouse, where the Cistercian bishop, Fulk, gave Dominic and his small band recognition as official preachers. Then the bishop made over to them the church of St. Romanus in that city. By the time the General Council met in 1215, the new society numbered sixteen members, and Dominic, who had shown his sense of where his calling lay by refusing successively the sees of Beziers, of Comminges and of Navarre, set out for the council with Fulk, to secure the approbation of Innocent III for what promised to be a new religious order.

The pope had, at the very beginning of Dominic's venture, called on the legates in Languedoc to seek out and foster men of this type. but now, since the general council had decided that new religious orders were not to be encouraged, he bade Dominic consult with his companions and choose some one of the already existing monastic rules under which to arrange their common life.

In August, 1216, Dominic was once more in Rome. At Toulouse it had been decided that the most suitable rule was the so-called Rule of St. Augustine -- the rule under which, since 1194, Dominic had himself lived, and under which he had organised the house at Prouille. The general exhortations and principles of this rule called for some practical supplement, and in the constitutions drawn up to provide this Dominic was greatly influenced by the constitutions of the Order of Premontre. Innocent III had died [ ] before Dominic returned to Rome; and
it was his successor, Honorius III, who in December, 1216, gave the new venture the papal approbation, as an order of canons dedicated to the work of preaching.

For all the traditional framework of the Augustinian rule and the status of an order of canons in which the preachers were now officially set, it was a new kind of thing which the pope had sanctioned, and the novelty of its nature -- an order of priests whose one purpose was intellectual work for the salvation of others -- showed itself in an amazingly novel adaptation of the monastic code.

To begin with, the only stability the new order had was stability to the order. The monk vowed himself to a particular house: the Preacher to go wherever preaching took him. The aim of the new institute was preaching, and to the study which is a first necessity of the preacher's office all else in the life must be strictly subordinated. The claim of study was, in every case of a conflict of monastic duties, to have precedence. Thus it was directed that the church services were not to be unduly protracted and the office to be chanted briskly, so that the time for study was not shortened. The idea was to train apostles to combat, by their intelligence no less than by their ascetic life, a heresy seductive philosophically no less than morally. From the new monasticism there disappeared the one-time universal element of manual labour. In austerity of life the Preachers yielded nothing to the Cistercians themselves, but for the necessary manual work of the house -- since the need of preachers was desperate -- lay brothers were instituted from the beginning. Even, at one moment, the founder would have handed over to the brothers the entire control of the temporal concerns of the order.

The unit of the society was the convent of at least twelve preachers, ruled by a prior and taught by a doctor, for every house of the Preachers was a house of study; and from study, as long as he lived, the Preacher was never exempt. To the lectures, which all must attend -- even the prior -- the secular clergy were to be admitted should they so desire. The doctor lectured on the text of Holy Scripture, treating theological questions as they arose. A second lecture commented the Liber Sententiarum of Peter Lombard. In the larger convents there was a second lecturer for the Sentences. Once a fortnight there was to be a public disputation.

The convents were grouped into provinces, and in each province it was the aim to provide a school of higher studies. At the summit of the intellectual organisation were the Studia Generalia, presided over by a regent, who lectured on Holy Scripture, and whom two bachelors assisted, one to lecture on the Glossa, the other on the Sentences. By 1248 there were five such studia, in the five great University cities of Paris, Oxford, Cologne, Montpellier and Bologna.

Lectureships were later created for the liberal arts, for logic, for natural science, for foreign languages (in view of the missions), and, in the Spanish houses, for oriental studies, for Hebrew, Greek and Arabic especially. The Friar Preacher was then a student for life. Whoever entered the order entered a university.

The Preacher was none the less a monk, in the austerity of his life and the public prayer to which he was bound. The abstinence from meat was perpetual. On all Fridays, on a score of vigils, and every day from September 14 to Easter, the Preacher had but one meal. He wore nothing but wool, he slept with his brethren in a common dormitory, he kept a silence almost as perpetual as his abstinence, and every day, publicly, at the chapter he confessed his offences against the rule.

Between this severe monastic observance and the new ideal of a learned apostolate in the world outside, there would seem to be an inevitable conflict, and the later history of the order shows, more than once, strong differences of opinion between the Preachers whom one ideal attracted as superior to the other. The difficulty arising from this dualism was present to the mind of the founder, who provided for it by a system of dispensations that is one of the features that makes his order, even to-day after seven hundred years, unique in the Church. This principle, that the superior not only may but must, when the good of the apostolate calls for it, dispense from any detail of the monastic observance, is set at the very head of the Constitutions, jointly with the definition of the order's purpose. The difficulty of course must persist, the equilibrium be sometimes hard to maintain, but there derives from the direction and from the spirit that inspires it a suppleness which perhaps no other order, as an order, possesses.

The convent buildings were to be as plain as possible, the territory worked from it carefully divided from that of its neighbours in the province. The Preachers were to go about in twos, to possess nothing, but to live on alms. Before Dominic died the poverty of the order received a new emphasis, for he adopted the Franciscan ideal that not only should the individual religious not be an owner, but that the very institute should be utterly dependent on what the providence of God sent to it.

At the head of the province was the provincial prior, and at the head of the whole order the Master-General, to whom every Preacher at his profession promised his obedience. Here was centralisation indeed, as developed as that of Cluny. It was, however, tempered by a bold innovation, the principle, namely, that all superiors are elected by those whom they will govern and that they are elected for a time only. The prior is the choice of the brethren of the convent, the provincial prior of a special provincial chapter, a body composed of all the priors and two delegates elected by each convent of the province. The Master-General is elected for life by a body consisting of all the provincials and one delegate from each province. The provincial chapter -- all the priors and one elected delegate from each convent -- meets annually and so, too, does the general chapter. Carefully planned regulations protect the freedom of election from any usurpation on the part of officials in days to come, surer of themselves than of their brethren, and preserve the institute against the premature fossilization that is the end of bureaucracy in all things human. In the order the superiors are nothing, the order is all. No external signs of respect are shown to the priors; they are not to be given the ritual honours that fall to the abbots in the different older orders. When the term of office expires the superior resumes in the order the place he last filled as a simple friar.

Supervision lies with the order; the community of each convent is bound to present a periodical report on the government of its prior, the provincial chapter on the provincial prior, the general chapter on the Master-General.

While the new institution has features in common with all the preceding attempts to found a centralised order -- notably with Cluny, Citeaux, and with Premontre above all -- its essence was Dominic's own creation and in this it is revolutionary, in the idea, that is to say, of religious scattered in convents throughout the world, not tied by vow to any one house but to the general service of the order throughout the world, and all owing obedience to the one general superior. Hitherto no more had been achieved than a federation of more or less autonomous monastic houses: in the Order of Preachers the Church welcomed the first religious order. Its curiously flexible rule has secured that, to a much greater degree than is usual, the ideal that gave rise to the order is still its very life. And the peculiar system of centralisation through "democratic" institutions continues to be, substantially, what St. Dominic planned and wrote into its first constitutions.

The original rule met its first revisers in the first general chapter held at Bologna in 1220. It was then that the decision was taken to adopt corporate poverty. The linen rochet which, as with the other canons-regular, formed part of the Preacher's habit, was given up, and in its place over their white tunic they adopted the monastic scapular. The title of abbot for the superior and of abbey for the convent were also abandoned. The Preachers were already, in reality, what they have since remained -- friars. Twenty years later it was the order's good fortune to have for its Master-General the greatest canon lawyer of the day, St. Raymond of Penaforte. He took the rule as St. Dominic had left it, and the decisions of the score of general chapters since his death, and arranging the whole scientifically, he produced what was henceforth the official text of the rule.

Once the order was papally confirmed, Dominic broke up the community of Toulouse and sent its members far and wide, three of them to the new university of Paris. Recruits began to come in, very many of them masters of arts, and in 1218 the Preachers were established at Lyons and Rome and Bologna. In 1219 the first Spanish houses were founded, at Madrid and Barcelona, houses also at Metz, at Rheims, Poitiers and Limoges, and six more in Italy. By the time of the general chapter of 1221 -- a matter of weeks only before St. Dominic's death -- there were sixty convents, organised in eight provinces: Provence, Spain, France, Lombardy, Rome, England, Germany and Hungary. Fifty years later, in those same eight provinces the number of houses had increased to three hundred and twenty, and there were the four new provinces of Poland, Scandinavia, Greece and the Holy Land. It is interesting to notice that, of the three hundred and ninety-four convents of 1277, no less than a hundred and forty were in the land where the neo-Manichees had once threatened to be supreme.

From the very beginning, the popes made continual and varied use of the new arm they had themselves done so much to create. The Preachers were the Roman Church's agents for the visitation of monasteries and sees, they preached the Crusade, they acted as its fiscal officials -- the order's protests against such distractions passing unheeded -- and of course to them first of all, once it was established, was committed the Inquisition. The Preachers were the natural reserve whence popes, bishops, other religious orders and universities, too, drew their professors of theology. From the new order came the first biblical concordances and correctories, the first complete commentaries, and many translations of the Bible into the new national tongues, French, Catalan, Valencian, Castilian and Italian. They compiled manuals for preachers and for confessors -- the Summa Penitentiarum of St. Raymond of Penaforte their model and type -- and books of reference innumerable: collections of matter for sermons, for example, collections of stories about the lives of the saints, manuals to guide the catechist, and handbooks for those engaged in casuistry, such, for example, the Summa contra Catharos of Moneta of Cremona.

Christendom began to be instructed as the Preachers spread rapidly through its cities and towns.


The problem of the penitential brotherhoods of laymen, and of the anti-clerical, even anti-sacerdotal tendency of this movement, occupied Innocent III from the first months of his reign. For the Lombard groups of the Humiliati, no less than for the followers of Peter Waldo, the decision of Lucius III in 1184 had been the occasion of division. Many, the majority perhaps, left the Church rather than obey the prohibitions as to preaching. Others remained, and fifteen years later they were still following their special mode of life within the Church. These in 1199, for their better security, both against Catholic critics and against their own changeableness, Innocent organised in a new religious order. It comprised three classes. Those already married continued to live with their families, though practising the poverty of the Gospel. Others, without changing their lay state, lived a life in common under a rule. A third class were monks or nuns solemnly consecrating their new life by vows under a rule in which elements of the Benedictine and Augustinian rule were combined.

The new order, once approved, began to spread rapidly, as, in fact, all medieval orders spread. But long before the century in which it arose was finished, it had ceased to be a factor of real importance in the life of the Church, even in Italy. The first class -- its married members and those living in their own homes -- had disappeared; the other two had fused to become yet another monastic order. The poverty-loving laity who once had filled the ranks of the Humiliati were now being absorbed by a very much greater force, that had appeared within a few years of Pope Innocent's approbation of that order. This was the movement deriving from the life of St. Francis of Assisi.

Francis of Assisi -- Giovanni Bernadone by birth and baptism -- was one of several children of a wealthy cloth merchant of that town, and his Provencal wife. Francis was born about 1182. He was never a student, and his literary education was apparently never completed. But his wealth, his generosity, his wit, his musical gifts and gay disposition, made him, as he grew to manhood, one of the leaders of the fashionable youth of the city. With the rest of them he took his share in the wars between Assisi and Perugia, spent some time in prison there, and fell ill in consequence. The slow convalescence led to much self-analysis, and to a determination, imperfect as yet, to do something better with his life.

The next year he was once more in the train of a knight, in pursuit of glory, but illness drove him back to Assisi. Much uncertainty of soul, prayer, and solitude filled the next few months. Then an heroic act of self-conquest sent him to embrace a leper whom, a moment before, he had passed by with shuddering horror. He made the pilgrimage to Rome and, another heroic victory over his tastes, he persuaded a beggar outside St. Peter's to exchange clothes and surrender his pitch for the day. Then he returned to Assisi, the same light-hearted Francis but a changed man. He was twenty-four or five years old.

What was he to do with his life? As he prayed in the half-ruined church of St. Damiano a voice bade him repair it. He loaded a horse with cloth from his father's warehouse, sold it at Foligno, and offered the price to the priest -- who refused it when he heard how the donor had come by it. More important still, the incident ended his home life. For his father renounced him, and Francis delightedly accepted the chance. Solemnly, before the bishop, he took God for his only Father, stripping himself even of the clothes he had so far worn. The bishop took him under his protection, and gave him the minor orders. For the next year he begged, and with what he gained he rebuilt St. Damiano and St. Pietro and St. Maria degli Angeli, the Church of the Portiuncula. Even yet, however, God had not shown him where lay his ultimate way.

One day, in 1208, as he assisted at Mass and heard the words of the Gospel, they seemed a command to him personally: "Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. . . . Do not possess gold nor silver nor money in your purses: nor scrip for your journey, nor two coats, nor shoes, nor a staff." [ ]

He knew now what God would have him do. He must live in absolute poverty and preach repentance for sin, brotherly love and peace. then followed the most literal following of the gospel that has ever been seen. Companions came to join him, one a local magnate, another a canon of the cathedral, and with them the famous Brother Giles. They lived in huts built of branches and covered with mud; they ate what they managed to beg; they watched; they prayed; and they preached -- simple exhortations lit by that joy, that gaiety even, which was inseparable from Francis' character.

Seven more companions came in. The band called themselves the Penitents of Assisi. Francis compiled a rule for them, and in 1209 he set out for Rome, to win for his enterprise the blessing of the pope.

Innocent had reorganised the Humiliati, and he had allowed more than one band of converted Waldenses to continue their life in common, but the common poverty that now asked his sanction was something so much sterner still that, for the moment, he hesitated. A vision or a dream, it is said, showed him the Lateran shaken and falling, and only held by the efforts of Francis. Finally he consented, gave a verbal approbation to what had been done, sanctioned the rule and allowed the Penitents to preach penance wherever they might go. But all were to be clerics at least. They now received minor orders and Francis the diaconate.

The next ten years saw the incredible expansion. Francis and his friends wandered through Italy, living as the day found them, sleeping in barns or, when barns were closed to them, under hedges, working with the labourers, utterly careless of hardships. and everywhere preaching peace, reconciliation, penance and the love of God for man His creature. Not every one of Francis' disciples had the gay disposition natural to his master, but something of that innocent joy, mirth even, lit the whole movement. To the perplexed Church there had been given a new leader, in whose life Waldensian austerity and the poetry of the Troubadours were combined, and all at the service of a faith wholly orthodox.

These new "poor men" had, in fact, a theologian's appreciation of religion as an objective thing; they were submissive to authority; recognising authority as the way of spirituality; and they reverenced, too, the visible means of spirituality, the sacraments, the Mass especially and the priesthood by which alone the Mass is possible. What St. Bernard had done for religious life, St. Francis now developed but with an even vaster effect. The Cistercian had himself chiefly preached in Latin, and the best of his work was directly addressed to the sanctification of the monk. The new preaching was in the vernacular tongues, and addressed to whoever would stand in the town square to listen. The new mission had a greater range than the old, and it developed the same powerfully effective treatment, the lesson of God's love through the human aspect of the mysteries of His incarnate life. When, for the Christmas of 1223, Francis at Greccio constructed the first crib, the development of religion's appeal to the ordinary man was set in a way where it was bound to advance with an altogether new rapidity. The Franciscans were the first order of revivalists within the Church, their whole aim and endeavour to rekindle love in hearts long since cold for all that the mind remained true.

Their immediate success outdistanced anything seen, before or since. Within ten years the number of those who had enrolled themselves as followers of Francis had reached five thousand. At the general assembly of the order in 1221 more than five hundred newcomers came to beg admission. It was inevitable, if the movement was not to suffer from its own success, that something of the happy informality of its cradle days must be sacrificed to a rule of more definite character. The rule as verbally approved by Innocent III, in 1209, the rule written down in 1221, which we still possess, left too much undecided and at the mercy of contrary interpretation. Hence, in 1223, a careful revision of the rule before it was solemnly approved by Honorius III.

About the share of others than St. Francis in this revision, about his own willingness or reluctance to accept their suggestions, the controversies still continue. Substantially it is the same rule as the rule of 1221 and this, it would seem from the language of the bull Solet of 1223, cannot really differ from that confirmed by Innocent III in 1209. As Honorius III confirmed it in 1223 it has been, ever since, the foundation of all Franciscan life; and for the century or more which followed the confirmation, it was the subject of fairly continuous controversy within the body of the order itself.

The rule of 1223, for all the legalist spirit which some would see in it, is by no means the carefully thought out code of St. Dominic's ordering, where a mass of detailed prescriptions logically derives from two or three enunciated fundamental principles. It is a statement of an ideal of life, and the bare precepts necessary to maintain the ideal. Nor is the new family's organisation worked out in great detail. The aim of these lesser brothers -- Friars Minor -- is stated to be the Gospel life in obedience, without property, and in chastity. This obedience Francis has promised to the pope -- the other brothers owe it to Francis. There are clerics in the order and there are lay brothers. There is a fast from All Saints to Christmas, on every Friday, during Lent, and, if the friar so wishes, for the forty days from January 6. The friar is never to touch money or coins, not even through an intermediary. Those who can work may do so, but not so as to hinder prayer or devotion. No one is to preach unless approved for the purpose by the head of the order, and always with the consent of the local bishop. The end of their preaching is declared to be "the utility and edification of the people, announcing to them vices and virtues, punishment and glory. . . ." The soul of the movement is in Chapter VI. "The brethren shall appropriate nothing to themselves, neither a house nor a place nor anything. And as pilgrims and strangers in this world let them go confidently in quest of alms." Finally, they are to ask of the pope a cardinal protector "so that being always subject and submissive at the feet of the same holy Church, grounded in the Catholic faith, we may observe poverty and humility and the holy gospels of Our Lord Jesus Christ, which we have firmly promised."


The crusade against the Albigenses, the beginnings of the Order of Preachers, and the approval of the Friars Minor were for Innocent III so many means of countering newly arisen dangers to the future of Catholic unity. But older than any of these, was the danger, chronic since the time of Justinian, of the Church's dependence upon the Catholic State. The pope, above all, must not be politically subject to the emperor, and he must be able to control his own subjects, the powerful barons of the Campagna especially and the turbulent bourgeois of the towns. A series of monastic popes had begun the good work of liberating religion from the control of the lay lord, and, in doing so, they had brought to birth the Canon Law. One of the greatest of the canonists of this pioneer generation had next become pope himself. In a long reign of twenty-two years, filled very largely with resistance to a new assault on his spiritual independence, he had added enormously to the bulk of that law, had developed the field of the Roman Church's habitual action, and had, indirectly, definitely created the role of the canonist-pope. Such was the effect of Alexander III. In Innocent III that role was played in all its fullness. The consequences were literally, for once, epoch-making that, within seventeen years of Alexander's death, another superb canonist, fifty to sixty years younger -- younger by the age of two generations of thought in a time when legal thought was developing rapidly came to rule the Church, and that he ruled it for eighteen years.

Innocent III came to his post possessed of the whole theory of law, not merely learned in a collection of laws only half understood as Law. The corpus of legal deductions from the old truth of the Roman See's supremacy in the Church, which were the result of the application of that supremacy to the hundred happenings of everyday life, Innocent proceeded to apply 011 a greater scale than ever, thereby giving to it an even richer development than Alexander III, and setting an ideal, not only of constructive jurisprudence but of practical policy, which his successors have never lost. The new universal initiative which, with St. Leo IX, the Roman See had assumed, it could never, after Innocent III, abdicate nor safely neglect, nor could any other see ever, henceforward, be more than a dependent local power.

The pope is God's vicar -- a phrase Innocent constantly uses, where his predecessors had said Vicar of Peter. His power in the Church is therefore absolute, his jurisdiction throughout the Church immediate, and explicitly declared to be such. Bishops are his representatives; and innumerable are the cases where, setting aside the elect of the chapter, Innocent appoints the man of his choice. Direct communication between bishops and the pope becomes much more frequent. All translations, resignations and, a fortiori, depositions are matter for the pope's exclusive decision, for a bishop is married to his church and jurisdiction in questions of the vinculum of marriage is the pope's exclusive prerogative. The pope has the right to examine and to exact an account of all episcopal administration; and it is a right which Innocent exercises continuously, setting aside here, very often, the right of the metropolitan. Especially after the Latin conquest of Constantinople (1203) does this tendency grow; and the pope, apparently, planned to Latinise the whole Church. Another consequence of the new juridical centralisation was the pope's enunciation, and in the most practical way, of his right to appoint any cleric to any office in any church throughout the world. They are not mere recommendations which begin to descend from Rome on the different patrons of benefices, but commands to appoint this person or the other. It says much for the way in which Innocent judged his age, and for the correspondence between its needs and his policies, that the bishops, although they resisted strenuously enough his efforts to coerce their political action, in these matters of spiritual government gave him absolute obedience, More than ever, from all over the world, on all manner of questions, bishops wrote to Rome for direction, for advice and for solutions. Innocent III's practice, the eighteen years' administration of a ruler, skilled in law and ruling with the deliberate design of developing his jurisdiction, completed the work of Alexander III, and crowned the Roman revival inaugurated in the lifetime of St. Gregory VII. What Damasus, Siricius, Leo the Great and Gelasius had begun, and the barbaric catastrophe had interrupted, these popes achieved; it only remained for Gregory IX to set it all down in the Decretals, and for their successors virtuously to use the splendid instrument.

But the theory of the papal power as that of God's vicar, did not end with the Canon Law and the government of the spirituality. As vicar on earth of the King of Kings, the pope, it began to be held by the canonists, must share in God's universal power over mankind. If the Priest and the King are, both of them, set by God to rule the world, they are by no means equal parties in that task. The King is the servant appointed to carry out the instructions of the Priest. The Priest has the duty of supervising the King, of correcting him, and, where necessary, even of punishing him.

The State was on the way to become an organ of religion. Its rights, its very existence as a natural reality, antecedent in time to the Church, were, for these new theorists of the Canon Law, entirely lost to sight. All this was a striking reversal of what had obtained three centuries earlier under Charlemagne, when the State, with the consent of the bishops, in practice governed the Church. Christendom, the City of God upon earth, is one thing. It can therefore have but a single head -- had it more than one, a later pope [ ] will declare, it would be a monstrosity. As to who that head shall be there cannot, in Christendom. be any doubt. It must be God's vicar, the Roman Pontiff. It, for convenience, the pope had entrusted to the State one of the two swords committed to him by God, the pope remained, none the less. master of both. It is not from God directly that the kings receive their authority, but from God through His vicar, the pope. So much has the theory developed since the days of Gregory VII, thanks to a century of the new scientific ecclesiastical jurisprudence stimulated by the attempts of Barbarossa and Henry VI to regain their old control. These emperors had claimed an absolutism in which they would dominate the papacy and the Church. The canonists retorted by this theory of another absolutism where the popes would dominate the princes and their temporal authority. The one effectual answer to these developments of the canonists no one as yet was able to state -- the theory of the State as an autonomous natural society. But in these very years when the canonists triumphed, another school of working jurists was preparing whose sole inspiration was the Roman Law, and the end of the thirteenth century would see the canonists' first defeat at its hands.

The field open to the pontifical intervention was now, therefore, limitless. Not only the private life of the kings -- questions of marriage, for instance -- came into it, but questions of taxation also, questions of coinage, questions of the succession. In all of these, somewhere, a point of morals was involved and the pope, thereby, was given a ground to intervene. Innocent III certainly believed himself authorised to exercise as pope -- apart altogether from what rights he might have as feudal suzerain [ ] -- a direct authority in these and in purely political questions too. It was the building of this theory into every act of Innocent's enormously busy reign, rather, even, than the most important of those acts, which gave to that reign its immense significance in the history of the next three hundred years. Canon Law had more than emancipated itself from the tutelage of Theology. How far could Theology now defend it, in the reaction already slowly preparing,. in the coming fight with the new civilian lawyers?

In marriage questions Innocent III intervened in Portugal to annul the marriage of the heir to the throne with a too-near relation; and he quashed the marriage of the King of Leon for a like reason, excommunicating the king until he separated from the cousin he had taken to wife. Still more resounding was the pope's strong action in regard to a much more important supporter of the papacy, Philip II of France. Five years before Innocent was elected, the King of France had repudiated his wife, Ingeborg of Denmark, and had taken in her place Agnes of Meran. Celestine III had admonished him, all to no purpose, but the new pope immediately warned him that unless he dismissed Agnes the kingdom would be placed under an interdict. Philip 11 persisted and in December, 1199, the papal sentence was carried out. Nine months later Philip submitted so far as to put away Agnes, and the interdict was lifted. For years the effort to persuade him to take back the queen continued, but not until 1213 was the pope finally successful.

With the English king, John, the pope had an even longer struggle, but in the end here, too, he was victorious. The question at issue was the succession to the primatial see of Canterbury or the death of Hubert Walter in 1205. The monks of the cathedral monastery elected their sub-prior. The king had desired the translation of the Bishop of Norwich. The suffragan bishops of the province of Canterbury were in arms against the monks' right to elect. Innocent confirmed the right of the monks, but set aside both their candidate and the choice of the king, and suggested to the representatives of the monks the English cardinal, Stephen Langton, a leading figure in the learned world of the time. This was in 1206. John resisted, refused to allow the new archbishop to enter the kingdom, and punished heavily all who had shared in the election. In 1208, therefore, Innocent laid the whole of England under an interdict.

John, the strongest personality among the reigning princes of Europe, held out, ordering his clergy to disregard the censure The next year he was excommunicated. Three years later (1212 Innocent declared him to have forfeited his right to rule; his subjects were freed from their oath of allegiance, and the King of France was charged with the duty of carrying out the de position. Then John surrendered. He made over his kingdom to the pope, receiving it back as the vassal of St. Peter, and promising an annual tribute of a thousand marks. He accepted the archbishop and the interdict was lifted (June 29, 1214). The papal-suzerainty over the new vassal state was not a mere name. In the struggle between John and his barons, which had accompanied the struggle with the pope and which went on after this was settled, Innocent, like a good overlord, came to his vassal's assistance. The barons forced on John a recognition of their privileges -- the Great Charter of 1215 -- and when John appealed against it, Innocent absolved him from his promises. They had been made without the knowledge or consent of the overlord, and so could not lawfully bind the vassal.

How soon the new amity between John and the great pope would have ended we can only guess. In the course of the next year (1216) both of them died, and one of the first tasks before Innocent's successor was to secure for John's heir -- the child Henry III -- the full succession to his inheritance. All through the minority of this king papal legates watched over his interests, [ ] protecting his rights against the turbulent nobility with all the armament of papal censure and the new prestige of the Apostolic See.

Where Innocent III's conception of the papacy's universal lordship found most its striking exposition was, of course, in his relations with the empire. Here, at the beginning, fortune favoured Innocent supremely. He was elected while the anti-German reaction that followed the death of Henry VI [ ] was still sweeping all before it in Italy. In Henry's own kingdom of Sicily the reaction was led by his widow Constance, ruling as regent for her baby son, Frederick II. In the centre of Italy, too, in the papal lands Henry had occupied and in the lands of the Countess Matilda, the anti-imperialist spirit was no less strong; and here, as in Rome itself, Innocent had little difficulty in re-establishing the temporal authority of the Roman See. It was not by any means a complete victory over the forces of disruption which had had their own way now for generations, but, thanks to the skill with which the new pope used his opportunity, the Holy See, in Rome and in Italy, was, by the end of 1199, in a stronger position politically than for forty years and more.

Henry VI died at the end of August, 1197. When Innocent was elected pope, in the following January, no successor to Henry, as King of Germany, had as yet been chosen by the German princes. Henry's son, the baby King of Sicily, was ruled out from that succession by his age. A much more likely candidate was Henry's brother, Philip of Swabia, who, however, as the chief agent of Henry's Italian policy, lay under the sentence of excommunication for his share in the violation of ecclesiastical rights.

In March, 1198, a gathering of German princes elected Philip, notwithstanding the excommunication. But not all the princes had taken part in the election. There was a strong minority which had no desire to see a fourth king and emperor from the Hohenstaufen; three months after the election of Philip, these other princes elected Otto of Brunswick, the younger son of Barbarossa's lifelong rival, Henry the Lion. So it came about that, where Innocent's predecessors had been faced with the menace of a strongly united empire under a master politician, Henry VI, who was also King of Sicily, Innocent III -- his rights as suzerain over Sicily once more recognised -- saw Germany torn by civil war, and the rivals, Philip and Otto, striving each to enlist his support. In a short nine months the wheel had indeed turned.

The pope was, at first, most carefully neutral. As the year 1198 ran out, and through the spring of 1199, Philip gained steadily. By May of that year he was almost everywhere victorious, and a gathering of his supporters notified the pope, from Spires, that Philip had been elected emperor, and that his nobles and bishops would support him in his endeavour to regain all the jurisdiction of his brother and predecessor, Henry VI (May 28, 1199). The peril that had hung over the papacy and Christendom in the reign of the aged Celestine III began to threaten once again.

Innocent protested immediately that, in proclaiming Philip emperor, the diet of Spires had gone beyond its powers. The princes had the right indeed to elect their king, but it was for the pope alone to make the German king emperor. Beyond this protest Innocent, for the moment, went no further, all his energies being directed to driving out of Sicily the partisans of Philip, who had successfully occupied the kingdom and were rebuilding the centralised despotism of Henry VI.

By the January of 1201 the pope had made up his mind, and in March he published his decision. The reasoning that lay behind it is contained in one of the most famous of all papal statepapers, the Deliberation on the question of the Empire. [ ] Frederick of Sicily the pope rules out because of his age; Philip, also, the pope rejects -- as one lying under excommunication for offences so far unamended and unrepented, and also because he came from a family traditionally hostile to the Church. The empire moreover is not, in law, a family heritage; and to confer it upon yet a fourth Hohenstaufen would be to make it hereditary in fact. It is then to Otto that the pope makes over the supreme dignity, who comes of a family for loyal centuries to the interests of religion; wherefore "By the divine authority transmitted to us by blessed Peter, we recognise you as king, and we command all men to swear to you loyalty and obedience."

On June 8, 1201, Otto solemnly pledged himself to restore to the pope all the territories occupied contrary to the will of the Holy See in the previous fifteen years: the Patrimony, Ravenna, Spoleto, Ancona; and to make over the lands inherited from the Countess Matilda. The war now took another turn and the pope intervened, setting all his diplomacy to rally supporters to Otto, outside Germany as well as among its princes. Philip replied through the proclamation of the diet of Bamberg (September 8, 1201). The pope, it was declared, was a foreigner, and the election of the emperor was the concern of Germany alone; it was rather the emperor who should name the pope, than the pope the emperor; ancient history showed how true this was. The bishops agreed with the lay princes.

For reply (May, 1202) the pope repeated his ruling, and the reasons for it, stating with legal formality the relations of the pope and princes to the empire. The German princes are declared to possess the right to elect the king and emperor-elect. But the source of their right is the Apostolic See. The right was granted to them when the pope transferred the empire from the Greeks to the Germans. The king elected by the princes the pope may reject -- for the pope is not bound to crown as emperor a candidate who is unworthy, who may be, for example, a person excommunicated, or even a heretic. The pope, then, is to judge the fitness of the candidate; and if the pope reject him the princes must elect another, in default of which the pope will himself choose the emperor. Should it so happen that two candidates are elected -- the present difficulty -- the princes must call in the pope to arbitrate. Should they not do so, the pope will decide without their invitation. In making his decision the pope is to be guided, not by the legality of the elections that have been made, but by the qualifications and character of the rivals elected.

The bishops who had signed the manifesto of Bamberg were now excommunicated, and their resistance brought upon Germany a renewal of the schism of forty years before. Soon, in many sees, there were two bishops -- the excommunicated supporter of Philip and the bishop recognised by the pope -- and contests everywhere.

Despite the pope's activity Otto's cause, however, continued to decline. He lost supporters steadily, and in Italy the native anti-papal forces, given new life through their association with the greater conflict, prevailed once more. The work of 1198 was undone, and Innocent driven from Rome like the weakest of his predecessors. In Germany Otto's army was destroyed and he himself fled for safety to England. All along the line Philip was victorious and, to all appearances, finally victorious. But he still needed the pope, and, in June, 1206, he made a bid for recognition. Between him and the pope's support there lay the old excommunication for his invasion and robbery of Church lands. Now he offered to submit. Innocent suggested to Otto that the question of the election be submitted to arbitration. Otto refused. Philip gave satisfaction for the crimes that had earned his personal excommunication in the time of Innocent's predecessor, and was absolved (August, 1207). He next offered to make all the restitution in Italy to which Otto had pledged himself. Everything was tending to a complete reconciliation between Innocent and Philip when, in June, 1208, he was murdered, by a personal enemy, for reasons of private revenge.

If Otto and the princes could now come to terms, the war would cease. An accommodation was found: Otto married his predecessor's daughter, and he consented to submit himself to a re-election. This time the princes accepted him unanimously. There remained the pope, Otto's patron so long as his cause had had a fighting chance, and thanks to whom, in very large part, he was now the elect of Germany. Otto, in the first critical stage of the struggle, had already made all the desirable promises. Now, as emperor-elect, petitioning the pope for the imperial crown, he renewed them, in the Charter of Spires (March 22, 1209). On October 4, 1209, Otto IV was crowned at Rome by the pope. After eleven years of diplomacy and war, years of a patient firmness equal to his high claims, Innocent had seemingly restored the papal overlordship to where it had been at Barbarossa's accession.

His victory was little more than an appearance. Otto was no sooner crowned than he began to show himself more Ghibelline than the Hohenstaufen, and heir to all the ambitions and the policies of Henry VI. The territories of the Holy See were once more occupied; imperial officials were installed in the different Italian cities; and the emperor invaded Sicily, the kingdom of the pope's ward and vassal, Frederick II.

Innocent fought the new tyranny by every diplomatic means in his power and then, just thirteen months after the coronation, he excommunicated Otto and freed his subjects from their allegiance to him. Saul had proved unreliable; another would take his place.

Innocent's David was the young King of Sicily. In September, 1211, the imperial crown was offered to him, and a year and three months later he was crowned King of Germany at Frankfort. All that was Hohenstaufen in Germany rallied to him, and Otto's fortunes declined as rapidly as they had declined before Frederick's uncle ten years earlier. The papal diplomacy succeeded now where then it had failed. Philip II of France was free at last to be the pope's ally, in Germany as in Languedoc; French interests and the papal interests coincided; and in the great battle of Bouvines (July 27, 1214) Otto's cause went down for ever. He died four years later, but from the day of Bouvines, Frederick was safely master in Germany.

Innocent, to whose policy Philip of Swabia had finally bent and who had next imposed his will on Otto, had finally succeeded in destroying Otto, for his disloyalty, and had set in his place his own ward and pupil. After seventeen years of endless vigilance, and of a use of all the means he could command, the genius of Innocent had checked the menace of Languedoc, and had secured the Church from the equally dangerous political domination of the empire. The existence of religion once again made secure he could resume the work of reform, give himself wholly to that restoration of Christian life throughout the Church the need for which had inspired every pope for a hundred and fifty years. It should begin with a general council.


But before the story of Innocent III's general council is told, some account must be given of the way in which he dealt with the problem of the Latin East.

From the very moment of his election Innocent planned to restore the crusade. It was to be, once more, a papally directed thing; and the ideals that inspired it were to be protected against the selfishness of the magnates. Appeals to the princes of Europe, and requests for information to the bishops in the East and to the heads of the military orders, began to issue steadily from Rome. Legates were commissioned to restore peace between the warring kings; the papal diplomacy set itself to conciliate and win over the schismatic church of Armenia; and to resolve the new, most pressing problem of all -- the relations of the West with the empire of the East: Constantinople's malevolent neutrality must be turned. Here was a complicated problem indeed. The reigning emperor, Alexis III, had been welcomed as an ally by Innocent's predecessor who, for all that the Greek was a schismatic, had dreamed of setting him up to counterbalance the danger to religion from the Catholic Henry VI. The strange allies had in common a hatred of the Hohenstaufen, for the Greek emperor's dethroned predecessor -- Isaac Angelus -- was father-inlaw to Philip of Swabia.

Innocent III proposed to himself, at first, to bring the hundred and forty years' schism to an end, and thus to make Alexis III the chief of the new crusade. There would thus be an end to the old quarrels between the Latins who had won the battles and the Greek emperor claiming the Latin conquests as his own long lost territory. While, then, the pope was pressing forward with the usual preparations for a crusade, he was also negotiating with Alexis the calling of a general council that would restore the East to the unity of the Catholic faith. What the pope did not, as yet, realise was that the empire of the East was breaking up. It lacked a fleet; its army was wretchedly provided, the soldiers' pay in arrears; in all the provinces still nominally subject to Constantinople there were movements making for political autonomy which the government was powerless to arrest; and the empire v as not only menaced by the Turks, but by the Bulgarians and the Venetians too. Even if the pope succeeded in his plan to end the schism, the Byzantine empire, as a crusading force, was an arm that would break the first time it was used.

By the March of 1201 the vast preparations were so far advanced that the leaders of the crusade opened negotiations with Venice for the transport of men and stores. The terms agreed upon were that the republic should receive eighty-five thousand marks, and a half of whatever conquests were made. The pope's scheme, for an alliance with Constantinople, was ignored. The crusade, this time, was to make directly for the centre of the Mohammedan world, Cairo; and the armies were to be ready to sail on June 24,

This agreement Innocent ratified, with a solemn prohibition against attacking Christian States. The pope knew -- none better -- how, since the failure of the crusade of 1189-1192 and the quarrel of Barbarossa with Constantinople, the new idea had gained force that the Greeks were as much the enemies of the crusade as the Turks. Henry VI had actually planned to destroy the Greek Empire as the first step towards Catholicising the East; and now the crusaders had chosen as their leader a near relative of the dead emperor, Boniface of Montferrat, who had scores of his own to pay off in Constantinople. The dethroned emperor, Isaac Angelus, was an old ally; and the new line, so Boniface held, had been responsible for the death of his brother Conrad, a famous leader of the crusading armies in 1192. There was every chance that this Hohenstaufen-inspired leadership would take the crusade into the Hohenstaufen channel.

At this moment, March, 1201, there arrived in Italy Alexis Angelus, the son of the dethroned emperor. He did his best to enlist the sympathy of the pope and, more effectively, he came to an arrangement with his brother-in-law, Philip of Swabia -- at the moment under the papal ban, but the brains of the crusade. It is highly probable that it was at this interview (December 25, 1201) that the decision was taken to use the crusade to restore the dethroned Isaac Angelus. Within a few months Boniface actually proposed this for Innocent's sanction, but the pope held by his pledge.

The crusaders at last began to gather at Venice. Here again, the diplomacy of Philip and Alexis was busy; and, although no attempt was made to force a decision, the idea of capturing Constantinople as a first step towards the lasting triumph became familiar to all. The army was smaller than had been hoped. Even pledging all their resources, the Crusaders had not been able to raise more than four-sevenths of the sum promised to Venice. It was now suggested that they assist the Venetians to reconquer Zara now, and so wipe out their debt. There was a lively opposition to the proposal. The papal prohibition to attack Christian States, disobedience to which entailed excommunication, stood in the way; but in the end the plan was accepted and in November, 1202, Zara was captured from the Hungarians and restored to Venice.

At Zara, too, the Hohenstaufen scheme was adopted. The leaders of the crusade, fresh from suing out an absolution for the crime of Zara, now came to a definite understanding with Alexis as representative of the deposed Isaac Angelus. They would assist him to recover his throne, and in return he promised to restore the church of Constantinople, with its dependencies, to the Roman obedience, to pay a huge money indemnity to the crusading army, to join in the crusade himself and to maintain an army in the Holy Land. Once more there were violent dissensions in the crusading army, but, as at Venice, the majority accepted the pact. Chief among those who refused and who, at this stage, abandoned the crusade was Simon de Montfort.

On May 24, 1203, the armada set sail from Corfu. A month later it was in sight of Constantinople, and on June 24 it anchored off Chalcedon. Innocent, still true to his policy had, long before this, expressly forbidden the expedition.

From Chalcedon the leaders summoned Alexis III to yield. He refused, and on July 7 the siege began. Ten days later there was a general assault. Alexis III fled, the partisans of Isaac brought him out of prison and acclaimed him as emperor, and the gates were opened to the Latins. On August I Isaac's son Alexis, brother-in-law to the excommunicated Philip of Swabia, at the moment waging war on the pope and his protege Otto in Germany, was crowned as joint emperor with his father. It only remained for him to carry out the promises made at Zara.

To this, whatever his good faith, there were difficulties that were insurmountable. To begin with Alexis Angelus was not, as yet, master of more than the capital. Then the sum promised as an indemnity was far beyond what his treasury held. The Crusaders decided to winter at Constantinople. As the imperial subsidies delayed, they took to looting; and presently something like a state of war developed between the Crusaders and the populace of the capital. In February, 1204, the discontent in the city brought about a revolution. The recently restored Isaac, and his son, were murdered and the successful leader of the movement was proclaimed as Alexis V. He reigned for a matter of weeks only. The Crusaders decided to make themselves masters of the capital and to set up an empire of their own. They arranged how the immense booty of the city's wealth was to be shared; they arranged the procedure for the election of their emperor; they arranged, finally, how the territories should be divided: to the new emperor a quarter; to Venice three-eighths; and the remaining three-eighths, in fief, to the different leaders.

All this carefully arranged, they attacked on April 9. They were, however, repulsed. Three days later they attacked again. After a furious day of fighting they were masters of part of the town and, since Alexis V fled in the night, the morning of the thirteenth found them undisputed masters of the city. Three churches were appointed as depots for the loot, and then followed one of the great sacks of history. Never since Constantine placed there his capital, nine hundred years before, had Byzantium yielded to an invader. Now, all the accumulated treasures of a thousand years were to be had for the taking. Nothing was spared, the churches and convents were plundered as systematically as the palaces of the emperor and his nobility. Finally the emperor was elected -- Baldwin of Flanders -- and, on May 16, 1204, he was crowned in St. Sophia with Latin rites.

It remained to be seen what the pope would do. The new emperor sent an elaborate letter full of explanation of the many advantages that would accrue to religion from the conquest, and, when this failed to reach the pope, he despatched an embassy to make it all clear. Innocent, however, faced with the fait accompli, and with all the different Greek claimants to the empire dead, Angeli and Comneni alike, had no difficulty in accommodating his practical mind to the new situation. That situation was indeed the result of disobedience to his orders. The Ghibellines had triumphed. It remained for him to bring back to his authority as many as he could of the Crusaders and to safeguard the interests of religion in the new world united so forcibly to the West.

It was not long before the pope had measured the strength and reality of the reunion. The Latin empire in the East suffered in its very foundations from all the deadly insufficiency which had ruined the enterprise in Syria. Like the King of Jerusalem the emperor was little more than a primus inter pares. Then, too, between the new state and Syria lay Asia Minor and the two new states, of Nicaea and Trebizond, in which the Byzantines proceeded, with no hindrance from the Latins, to organise themselves. The Latins had, of course, inherited all the anxieties of the Byzantine emperors of the last three centuries, and their emperor was scarcely crowned before a Bulgarian invasion called him into the field. The Latin empire, far from providing a new basis for the crusade and new armies, was an additional liability lo the already overtaxed religious enthusiasm of the West, and it threatened to eat up resources that might otherwise have helped to change the situation in Syria.

Innocent III soon understood: the Holy Land remained as a major problem; and so long as he lived the pope planned and strove for its recovery. But in those plans the new Latin empire had no great place. It was, once more, the direct assault of the West on Islam that Innocent had in mind. To the execution of his policy there were even more than the usual distractions. There was the long war in Germany, the struggle with John in England, the crusades against the Moors of Spain and the heretics of Languedoc. But by 1215 the way was clear. One of the tasks of the General Council would be to organise, under the new Western emperor, a crusade whose successes should rival the glory of the first.


Whatever the degree of their individual sanctity, learning, or political capacity, one idea, beyond all others, never ceased to inspire the activities of the popes from the time of the Council of Sutri onwards -- the idea so to purify the life of the members of the Church, that through them God's perfection should shine forth and the city of God be realised upon earth. That all Catholics should live the life of the Gospel, the life of the counsels and the life of the precepts, was the whole aim of the Church's institution; and all the struggles waged by popes with the powers of this world were, in the last analysis, designed for this end -- to remove the obstacles which hindered the Church's mission of regenerating souls to God. Not that princes, and their usurpations of spiritual jurisdiction and the like, were the only obstacles. The hindrances presented by human weakness, human wickedness and human folly in a myriad individual lives still remained. Here was the very field of the Church's mission.

Finally the Church itself, considered as a means of regeneration, called for continual examination: more especially since, in these last two centuries, the Roman See had done so much to centralise administration. When the eleventh-century popes assumed the new role that made them the accredited initiators of every good work, they assumed a new responsibility for the vast world they directed, and for the good order of the machine through which they ruled. Their consciousness of their new responsibility is seen in the series of general councils which they begin to summon, one in every generation, and which are concerned primarily with the exposition of a standard of Catholic life, and with regulations designed to maintain that standard. The early [ ] general councils were called, all of them, to define special points of faith which had begun to be called in question. They met in the lands where the disputes had arisen, and they were called at the request of the contending parties. The period which saw this institution develop was that time when the West -- and Rome along with the West-passed through the frightful chaos of what it is convenient to call the Barbarian Invasions. These over, and Rome at last able to begin to organise her supremacy, a new type of general council appears, whose chief concern is the practice of religion, and it is summoned at Rome's initiative. There are six [ ] such councils in a hundred and fifty years and the greatest of them all is the one summoned by Innocent III in 1215 -- the Fourth Council of the Lateran. This was the greatest gathering of the whole Middle Ages, and through it, better perhaps than through any other event or institution, we can realise that extraordinary unity of medieval civilisation, the quality that made the medieval, for all the very real differences, really at home anywhere in Christendom and which, without destroying social and economic distinctions (and even their disadvantages), did so much ultimately to neutralise them.

The council was called, by letters of April 4, 1213, to meet on November I, 1215. All the bishops were invited, the heads of the new centralised religious orders too (an innovation in procedure produced by this new feature of religious life), Cistercians, Premonstratensians, Hospitallers and Templars, temporal princes also (another innovation), representatives of republics, even of the innumerable tiny city-states. All the bishops were ordered to come, three or four alone from each province excepted. Chapters, whether of cathedrals or of collegiate churches, were to send delegates, and the exempted bishops were to do the same. Two main problems were to occupy the council's attention, the question of the Holy Land and the question of the reform of Catholic life. Meanwhile a general enquiry was organised to provide particular matter for the discussions on reform.

The council actually opened on November 11, 1215, with four hundred and twelve bishops present, eight hundred abbots and priors, and representatives of all the States. The number of bishops from Germany was very small. The war now raging between Otto IV and Frederick II, and the remains of the schism which had in some sees placed both a papal bishop and an imperial bishop, made it impossible for many bishops to leave their churches.

There were three public sessions, the opening session on November 11, the second on November 20, and the final session on November 30. Before the first session, and between the other two, private meetings of one kind and another were held, at which the preparatory discussions took place which issued in the decrees ultimately promulgated at the final session. At the second public session there was a discussion on the claims of Frederick II to the empire as against the excommunicated Otto, and the council supported Innocent's action. There was also, apparently, a discussion on English affairs. The excommunication of the barons in rebellion against John was confirmed, and the council also assented to the pope's suspension of Cardinal Stephen Langton, Archbishop of Canterbury, for his support of the rebels. At the final session there was a stormy discussion on the subject of the partition of the lands of Raymond VI of Toulouse, as to whether Simon de Montfort should be confirmed in his possession. The pope, here, was opposed to the council which would have recognised Simon. In the end, as has been related, Innocent was able to arrange a compromise. Finally, in this same session the seventy canons of the council [ ] were solemnly promulgated.

The first canon is the famous profession of faith Firmiter, a statement of Catholic belief directed primarily against the Albigenses and the innumerable anti-sacerdotal sects of the day. It emphasises the creation of all things, spiritual and corporal alike, by the one sole God. The devils, too, are God's creation. That they are now evil is the effect of their own perversity. The reality of the Incarnation of the Only-begotten Son of God is affirmed once more, with a greater precision as to its mode. The sanctions of the future life for present conduct are explicitly set out. There is but a single Church for all believers. Outside of it no one can besaved; within it Jesus Christ Himself is priest and sacrifice, whose body and blood are truly contained in the sacrament of the altar under the appearance of bread and wine, the bread being transsubstantiated [ ] into the body and the wine into the blood by the power of God; so that, to make perfect the mystery of unity, we may receive of His where He has taken of ours. No one can bring this sacrament into existence but the priests duly ordained by that power of the Church which Jesus Christ gave to the Apostles and their successors. Baptism, by whomsoever administered, if it is rightly administered in the Church's form, is profitable to salvation as much to little children as lo adults. Sins committed after baptism can be made good by sincere penance. Not only virgins and those who lead a life of continency, but the married also can attain eternal happiness, by true faith and a good life.

Then follows a still more lengthy canon condemning the book of Joachim of Flora against Peter Lombard. The pope, in this canon, takes the unusual course of setting out Joachim's argument before proceeding to declare -- in a form that is even more unusual -- " We, however, with the approval of the Sacred Council, believe and confess with Peter Lombard" -- what the true teaching is. Joachim's theory is condemned; but the canon expressly declares that the condemnation is in no way to be taken as a condemnation of his foundation at Flora, which is a model of religious observance. Joachim, it is further noted, submitted all his writings to the apostolic see to be amended as the pope thought necessary, since, as he himself wrote, the Roman Church is the mother and teacher of all the faithful. This second canon concludes with a brief judgement on the pantheistic theories of Amaury de Bene, theories it describes as not so much heretical as insane.

The council then turns to review the life of the Church, to denounce the weakness and the wickedness of its members, and to provide punishment for the obstinate. It begins with the clergy.

Clerics living in sin are to be suspended, and, if they ignore the suspension, they are to be deposed. Bishops who allow such scandals to continue -- and especially if they allow it for the sake of money or some other advantage -- are also to lose their office for ever. Even more severely are clerics to be punished for sins of this kind in places where the discipline is such that they could, had they chosen, have married. [ ] Drunkenness is another bad habit There are clerics, and bishops among them, who sit up all night carousing; drinking competitions are not unknown; the next day's Matins finds them absent from choir. Other bishops hardly ever say Mass, and laugh at the idea of assisting at it. When they do assist they do little more than gossip with the laity and transact business. [ ] There is another type of ecclesiastic who delights in hunting and fowling. This is forbidden, no matter what his rank, and it is forbidden even to keep hunting dogs and birds.

Canon 16 has a long list of things which the clerics must not do: civil employments, trade (especially if it is dishonest), miming, acting, frequenting taverns (absolutely forbidden save for the necessities of travelling), dicing and even looking on at games of chance. Clerics are to be soberly dressed. Their garments are to be of a moderate cut, neither too long nor too short, and fastened up to the neck. Red and green are colours definitely forbidden. Clerics are not to wear embroidered gloves nor shoes. They are not allowed to gild their spurs, bridles, saddles nor any part of the harness of their mounts. Nor are their bridles or belts to be ornamented with gold or silver. Bishops are to wear linen unless they are monks, in which case they are to keep the habit of the order to which they belong. Clerics are not to have any part in trials that involve the punishment of death, nor are they to look on at executions. They are forbidden all military employment. They are not to act as surgeons. They are not to bless ordeals. This last prohibition, since it removed the one thing that gave the ordeal its value, was the beginning of the end of that superstitious usage.

That such abuses as those, for whose correction these laws are made, may not arise in the future, the council proceeds to legislate in the matter of clerical appointments.

Sees are not to be left vacant. If the chapter concerned does not elect within three months, the right (and duty) of providing the new bishop passes to the metropolitan. [ ] If the chapter follow the method of election, a simple majority suffices. [ ] The unlawful interference of the secular power is provided against by a canon which decrees that whoever accepts election in such circumstances not only is not elected, but loses all right to be elected, to any post at all in the future. Those who elect him are also to lose both office and income for three years, and to lose all electoral rights [ ] The bishop, or abbot it may be, once elected, it falls to the metropolitan, or diocesan bishop, to confirm the election. He is to examine if the election has been made in due form and to examine if the elect be suitable. Should he confirm the choice of an unsuitable person -- especially one lacking in the requisite learning, or of evil life, or who is under the canonical age -- the confirmation is invalid, and he loses all rights in the matter of the next election, and is himself suspended until the pope absolves him. [ ]

It is, once more, strictly forbidden to confer on the same person more than one benefice with cure of souls. The pope notes that the legislation of the previous council (the Third Lateran of 1179) about this scandal has had scarcely any effect, such is the impudence and greed of mankind. For the future, acceptance of the second office entails loss of the first. Whoever attempts to retain the first loses also the second. The patron of the first benefice is to make a new appointment, immediately its holder has accepted a second. The bishop's diligence in the observance of these salutary laws is not to be left to his own unaided conscience. At the annual provincial council there is to be an enquiry into all nominations to benefices since the bishops last met. Bishops who have made unsuitable appointments are to be admonished. If, after a second admonition, they have done nothing, they are to lose all rights of patronage, and the council is to appoint an official to exercise the right in their place. If the negligent bishop is the metropolitan himself, he is to be denounced to the Holy See. The disability laid on such bishops no one but the pope can remove. A last rule about appointments is that no cleric shall be given a canonry in a church where his father is already a canon -- whether the cleric be born in wedlock or no. All such appointments are null, and those who make such appointments are suspended.

The new papal centralisation would protect the Church against unworthy clergy. It aims at protecting the clergy against rapacious prelates. Bishops are warned that they must not rob the clergy serving those churches which are in the gift of the bishops. The pope has heard of unfortunate priests who receive only one-sixteenth of the revenue due to them, the episcopal patron retaining the rest. Nor are bishops to make visitations an excuse for bleeding their clergy. The canon of 1179 is re-enacted, and bishops who have offended are now required, not only to make restitution to the full, but to give in charity a sum equal to that they have had to restore. Metropolitans who neglect complaints of this kind made against their suffragans are to be severely punished.

Bishops, in canon 10, are reminded of their duty to preach, and when the bishop is not equal to the task, when for example the diocese is too extensive. he is to choose suitable priests to assist him. In all cathedral and collegiate churches he is to establish priests to act as his coadjutors in the work of preaching and hearing confessions. It is the bishop who is responsible for the education of the future clergy. The decree of the council of 1179. that in each cathedral, and in all the greater churches, there should be established a master to teach grammar, and in the metropolitan church a lecturer in theology, had in many churches the present council states, been entirely ignored. Whence it is now re-enacted, with this difference that a lectureship in theology is ordered to be founded in every cathedral. The bishop, furthermore. is specially warned to see that the clergy are trained in the administration of the sacraments. Better few good priests, so canon 27, than many bad ones. Churches are not to be used as depots in which the clergy may store their property. I hey are to be kept scrupulously clean, and the Holy Eucharist -- the chrism also -- is to be kept under lock and key.

One of the most constantly recurring complaints of the sectaries is that the clergy are too fond of money. The council, in a series of canons, labours to protect from this all too human vice the sacred things of God committed to the clergy's stewardship. Bishops are forbidden to receive offerings of money from those they absolve from excommunication. They are not allowed to receive fees on the occasion of consecrations, blessings of abbots and ordinations. Convents of women are ordered for the future to abstain from demanding a premium, under the plea of the convent's poverty, from girls who wish to become nuns. Nuns received under such an arrangement are to be transferred to other convents, as are also the nuns responsible for the arrangement. The same is to apply to communities of men. Bishops are not to take advantage of a parish priest's death to tax the church beyond what the law allows, nor to enforce the payment of such taxes by laying an interdict on the church. For moneys thus obtained double restitution is to be made. With regard to the fees customary at funerals and marriages, while the clergy often ask too much, the laity as often offer nothing. The Sacraments are to be given absolutely without charge. On the other hand, the custom of the laity making a free offering is to be encouraged.

The 62nd canon regulates the use of relics, and hopes to check the trade in spurious relics by ordering that no new relics are to be exposed for veneration without the Holy See's authentication of them. Collectors of alms, again, are not always genuine nor truthful. The canon gives a specimen of the letters of credence that should, and for the future must, guarantee them not to be frauds. The dress of such collectors is regulated, and they are to live religious lives. Bishops are warned not to grant extravagant indulgences.

A last class of abuses are those where the laity are the sinners. Lay patrons are warned against farming out benefices at a starvation rate, and reminded that lay alienation of church property is null and void. Lay patrons, and the official lay defenders of the Church, are warned against abusing their office to their own personal profit. Offences of this kind entail serious legal disqualifications that continue for four generations. Clergy are not to be taxed without a license from the pope. Those who levy such taxes without his permission are excommunicated, and all their acts are legally null. Should their successors not repeal such taxes within a month of assuming office, and give satisfaction for the wrong done, they fall under the same penalties. Another canon deals with evasions of tithe and canon 54 recalls that tithes have precedence of all other taxes and must be paid first.

Seven canons are taken up with the religious orders. To avoid grave confusion in the Church it is now forbidden to establish any new orders. Those who wish to be monks or nuns are to choose an existing approved rule. Founders of new houses are to do likewise. No abbot is to rule more than one monastery. Abbots are forbidden to exercise certain episcopal rights, to judge marriage cases, for example, to grant indulgences or to allot public penances. Monks must respect the rights of parishes in the matter of funerals, and the privileged monasteries' power of giving burial within the monastery to such laymen as are oblates of the house is given very strict definition: an oblate is one who lives in the monastic habit, or who, during his life, has made over his property to the monastery; a mere annual subscription is no qualification enough. No monk is to stand security for a debt without the abbot's permission. Monks to whom land that is tithe-bearing has been given are not exempt from payment of tithes.

The most important canon of all, so far as monks are concerned, is the twelfth, which, incidentally, marks the high water mark of Citeaux's influence in the Church of the Middle Ages. In every ecclesiastical province, it is now enacted, there shall be held every three years a common chapter of abbots, and of priors in those orders which do not have abbots, where so far this has not been the custom. All are to attend. The chapter, to begin with, will invite two Cistercian abbots of the neighbourhood to lend the assistance of their experience of the procedure at general chapters. The Cistercian abbots will choose two of the chapter and these four will preside. The object of the chapter is a thorough review Of the state of monastic life throughout the province. It has power to decide where reforms are needed. The chapter must appoint visitors for all the religious houses of the province, of women as well as of men, empowered to correct, as representatives of the Holy See, whatever calls for correction, and to denounce evil-doers to the local bishop. The bishops are to watch over the ordinary life of the monasteries so that the visitation will always find everything in good order. They are to be the monasteries' protectors, defending the monks especially from lay tyranny and usurpation.

The council also legislated for two of the sacraments. Canon 21 is the once famous law Omnis utriusque sexus that every Catholic, under pain of being debarred from church while alive and being denied Christian burial when dead, should, at least once a year, confess his sins to his parish priest, and, if only at Easter, receive the Holy Eucharist. The canon concludes with a warning to confessors about the spirit in which they should receive confessions, and of the obligation not to reveal what is confessed to them. Offenders against this last prescription are to be thrust into a severe monastery, there to do penance for the rest of their life. Related to this canon is the one which follows, reminding physicians that it is their duty to see that their patients remedy the ills of the soul no less than those of the body, and forbidding them to recommend, as a remedy for sickness, practices in themselves sinful. Three canons concern the sacrament of matrimony. Clandestine marriages are severely condemned and the clergy forbidden to assist at them. Clergy who are negligent in this matter are to be suspended for three years. The impediments of consanguinity and affinity are notably restricted: henceforward they invalidate marriage only as far as the fourth degree.

The relations between Jews and Christians are also before the council's mind. Christians are to be protected by the State against the rapacity of Jewish moneylenders. Jews -- and Saracens too-are to wear a special dress so that no Christian shall come to marry them in ignorance of what they are. During Passiontide Jews are to keep indoors; there have been only too many riots caused by their mockery of the Christians' lamentations on Good Friday. No Jews or pagans are to be elected or appointed to a public office; it is contrary to the sense of things that those who blaspheme Christ shall hold authority over Christ's followers.

It is perhaps the canonist that, in Innocent III, is the source of all his policy. In the General Council summoned by him Canon Law and procedure receive very notable attention. Seven canons deal with procedure in trials of one kind or another. Other canons regulate excommunications, rights of appeal, and the rules for the trial of clerics, the rights of chapters to correct their own members, and the rules for resignation of benefices. The clergy are forbidden to extend their jurisdiction by encroaching on that of the civil courts. But the most elaborate of this series is the third canon which details the policy to be followed in the pursuit of heretics. [ ]

The laws were made. How could the council secure that the would be observed, that the bishops, once retired into the distant sees, would put into practice what they had accepted? The sixth canon is an attempt to provide the means. It lays down that the bishops of each ecclesiastical province are to meet annually, for the correction of abuses -- clerical abuses particularly -- and for the express purpose of maintaining the discipline which this council establishes. Official investigators are to be appointed for each diocese, who shall report to the provincial council whatever they have found needing correction and uncorrected. Negligent bishops are to be suspended from office and from income, and the decisions of the provincial council are to be published in every see through the annual diocesan synod.

The new canon lawyers had soon begun to collect and classify the decisions now pouring out from the popes, on all kinds o f questions, in reply to appeals from bishops everywhere. There were 4,000 such from Alexander III, more than 5,000 from Innocent III -- all set out in professional legal form, relating the case to principles, law that was living. Innocent III and Honorius III each sponsored a collection of his own decretals. By the time of Gregory IX there were too many collections. They overlapped. The law could not, always, be known with certainty. This pope then commissioned a Catalan Dominican -- St. Raymund of Penaforte -- to reduce the vast mass to a coherent code. In 1234 the code was ready -- the Five Books of the Decretals, 1963 capita in all, destined to be the basis of the Canon Law down to 1918. This code of 1234 was henceforward the only law, and it was universal, to be taught in all universities, to be administered in every bishop's court. Boniface VIII was to supplement it in 1295, and John XXII in 1317. But the main work was done in 1234, and with every year that passed it deepened the effect of the papacy as ruler of the whole church. (cf. CIMETIER, Les Sources du droit ecclesiastique, Paris, 1930; VILLIEN, art. Decretales in D.T.C.)



HONORIUS III, elected pope two days after the death of Innocent III, was by no means another Innocent, for all that his life had been spent in his predecessor's service. He had indeed been a personage of importance in the Roman Church for now thirty years. As the head of the Treasury he had done much to reorganise the whole financial administration, and the Liber Censuum, a kind of ecclesiastical Domesday Book, is his work. He was also the compiler of the twelfth Ordo Romanus and the author of a life of St. Gregory VII. It was this trained, careful, mild-mannered official whom Innocent had chosen to tutor the early years of the new Emperor Frederick II, and possibly this close association played a part in his election. But Honorius was now an old man, and the event was to show very speedily how mistaken were any hopes of future co-operation between pope and emperor based upon their years of intimate association. It is questionable whether even Innocent himself could have controlled his ward now arrived at man's estate.

Frederick II, twenty-two years old when Innocent's death deprived him of his guardian, and set his tutor on the papal throne, was the wonder man of his generation. A dozen strains and influences mingled in his blood: the force of his grandfather Barbarossa, the political craft of his father Henry VI, the military gift of his mother's Norman blood, a passion for learning, and all the rich amalgam of the old long-civilised state where so far he had passed his life, that Sicily which, even after one hundred and fifty years of Norman rule, was still more Oriental than European, as much Moslem as Christian. Competent, determined, crafty, and altogether without scruple, Frederick awaited only the opportune moment In this ward of the popes the independence of religion was to meet, yet once again, an enemy who could not triumph and the Church survive.

For the eleven years during which Honorius ruled, his indulgence to the young man he had fathered masked the danger. Frederick's vow to lead a crusade went unfulfilled, and the old pope contented himself with admonitions and reproaches. Seven times in ten years the farce was re-enacted, the emperor first fixing a date, and then offering his excuses which the pope, with inexhaustible faith in his goodwill, was paternally content to accept. Frederick had pledged his word -- as the condition of his election to the empire -- that he would never unite to it the crown of Sicily. Sicily he had made over to his son Henry. In 1220, however, Henry was elected King of the Romans, emperor-to-be. The pope protested, and Frederick explained that it had been done without his knowledge. He renewed all the lavish promises of restitution of the long-lost Matildine lands, took the cross once again, annulled all laws that encroached on clerical privileges, and Honorius was satisfied. Meanwhile, during these eleven years, Frederick built up a new scientific despotism in Sicily, and planned to renew his grandfather's attempt to make himself master of Lombardy (1226, Diet of Cremona). This was too much, even for Honorius, and a breach seemed imminent when, in 1227, the old pope died. In his place was elected the Cardinal Ugolino. He took the name of Gregory IX -- significantly.

Gregory IX, as the Cardinal Bishop of Ostia, had been, since the election of Innocent III, one of the most prominent figures in the Curia. He was a near relative of that pope who had created him cardinal in the year of his accession (1198). He had also chosen Ugolino as one of the legates to whom was committed the delicate task of reconciling Philip of Swabia in 1207. Two years later Ugolino was once more in Germany as legate, in connection with the re-election and coronation of Otto IV. He had played a great part in the conclave of 1216, and under Honorius III he had been legate in Lombardy and Tuscany, and then charged with the preaching of the crusade of 1217-1221. He was himself no mean scholar, trained in the schools of Paris and Bologna and especially versed in the new Canon Law. His own life was mortified and exemplary. He had been a personal friend of St. Francis, whom he had advised in the composition of the definitive rule, and he had had much to do with the first approbation of the Order of Preachers also. His career reveals him as a man of exceptional strength of will, impulsive, passionate, and yet able to forbear. For the eleven years of his predecessor's pontificate he had had to look on while the enemy grew in strength and prepared the positions from which he would attack. Now, after all these years of Frederick's successful dalliance, the Church had once more for pope a man with character and strength of will.

It was in the March of 1227 that Gregory IX was elected. Frederick was now, by right of his wife, King of Jerusalem; a crusade was once more in preparation and the troops converging on Brindisi. On September 8 Frederick set sail. A few days later he had returned. The long delay that had kept the army in camp through the southern Italian summer had bred a pestilence; thousands of the troops had perished; Frederick, so it was announced, had contracted some kind of fever- hence his return. The crusade, the greater part of it, returned with him; the armies broke up, the men made their way home. Was Frederick's illness real? It is not possible to say. Certainly the pope thought it feigned, the latest, merely, of a series of ingenious devices to escape his duty as emperor and the obligations to which he had repeatedly pledged himself by oath. The crusade was at an end, and much of its army destroyed by Frederick's negligence. On September 29 the pope solemnly excommunicated him for his breach of the crusader's vow, and two weeks later in a letter to the Christian world he pointed out the repeated pledges and perjuries of Frederick since his election to the empire in 1215. The pope wrote a private letter, at the same time, to the emperor explaining that public opinion, already outraged by Frederick's plunder of sees, abbeys, and hospitals in his kingdom of Sicily, had a right to some satisfaction and that Frederick's last exploit had left him no choice but to act; nevertheless the pope was being merciful; he had not, for example, deprived Frederick of Sicily: let Frederick respond in the same spirit.

The emperor replied by a denunciation of the pope for the lack of charity with which he had stirred up hatred against him throughout the world. On March 23, 1228, Gregory issued a second excommunication because the emperor had ignored the first, and with it an interdict that was to operate in every place where Frederick halted. Furthermore, if Frederick continued in his evil course, he should be deprived of Sicily. This was on Maundy Thursday, and by the Wednesday of Easter Week the emperor's partisans in Rome had driven the pope forth.

Frederick ignored this sentence too, and renewed his preparation to accomplish that lay conquest of the East which had been the ambition of the last two Hohenstaufen Princes also. He set sail from Brindisi on June 18, 1228, with a curiously mixed force which included, besides Germans and Italians, some of his own Mohammedan subjects. In July he took possession of Cyprus as regent for the young king, who did him homage, and in September he landed at St. Jean d'Acre.

The Mohammedan world was passing through one of its periods of disunion. The Prince of Damascus and the Sultan of Egypt had been lately in conflict, and for a long time now the sultan's need had driven him to diplomatic relations with the emperor. By the time Frederick arrived the sultan's enemy was no more, and the sultan's promises of Jerusalem to Frederick worth correspondingly less. But Frederick knew the Mohammedan world as few Western princes, and it was possibly an advantage to him in the negotiations now beginning that he was known to be under the pope's ban, officially not a Christian at all, with the Patriarch of Jerusalem renewing the interdict, the military orders holding aloof from him and every Dominican and Franciscan in Palestine preaching openly against him.

The emperor's diplomacy was successful. On February 4, 1229, the treaty of Jaffa made over to him Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Nazareth with the roads thence to Acre and the villages through which they passed. On the other hand, the Mohammedans living in the ceded territory were to remain the sultan's subjects, to enjoy the full exercise of their religion, and to retain possession of the great mosque of Omar that stood upon the traditional site of the Temple. Also, Frederick pledged himself to prevent any attack from the West for ten years. It was for Frederick a diplomatic victory of the first order. On the other hand, the old crusade principle of restoring the one-time Christian lands to Christian rule was abandoned entirely. Catholicism, under this new arrangement, no longer aspired to drive out the infidel.

Frederick's triumph was consummated when, on March 11,] 229, accompanied by his nobles and knights and his Saracens without any kind of religious ceremonial, he took the crown of Jerusalem from the high altar of the basilica of the Holy Sepulchre and crowned himself king. The clergy held aloof, the patriarch refusing even to enter the city. The faithful were no less hostile and when, six weeks later, the emperor made his way to the ships that were to take him back to Europe, the butchers of Acre pelted him and his escort with offal.

On June 10, 1229, Frederick landed at Brindisi. During the year of his absence in the East, the war had developed in Sicily between his forces and those of the pope. The Sicilians had begun by invading the Papal State. Later Gregory had gained the upper hand. But the emperor's return was the beginning of a general rout; the papal troops retired, and Frederick took a terrible revenge on those of his subjects who had recognised the excommunication and fought against him. There were wholesale executions, some hanged and others skinned alive. The pope launched a new excommunication against the emperor (August 29, 1229) and made a new appeal to Christendom for assistance.

The response was, perhaps, poor; but Frederick desired peace at least as eagerly as the pope, and after months of negotiation it was concluded at San Germano (July 23, 1230). On all points Frederick yielded. He promised to evacuate all papal territories, to restore the confiscated Church property, and to recall the bishops he had exiled; the partisans of the pope were to be granted an amnesty; the Church's rights in Sicily were confirmed anew; an indemnity was promised to the Templars and Hospitallers

For Frederick the peace of 1230 was simply the first move in his elaborate plan to achieve world dominion. It would give him time to reorganise his forces, and to make himself master of Italy before finally reducing the papacy. To the success of his scheme the open enmity of the pope would be fatal -- as would be any distraction from troubles in Germany. The next few years saw Frederick pursuing apparently contradictory policies in Germany and Italy. North of the Alps he lavished exemptions and privileges upon the Princes, frittering away all that imperial hegemony which his father and grandfather had done so much to construct. In Italy, with as much skill as strength, he was, at the same time building up a strong, highly centralised despotism -- first of all in his kingdom of Sicily. Then, to the anxiety of the pope, he openly declared his policy of extending the system to northern Italy; the Lombard cities were finally to lose their rights. The diet of Ravenna (November 1, 1231) which saw this proclamation made, saw the emperor also in the role of the persecutor of heretics and the protector of the Dominicans because they were inquisitors. The plea that his enemies -- in Lombardy and in Germany -- were heretics would ultimately be one of Frederick's justifications. The time would come when he would denounce the pope himself as the protector of heretics.

If Frederick had need of some measure of papal support -- of papal neutrality certainly -- during these crucial years, the pope stood equally in need of Frederick's aid. Time and again the hostility of the Romans drove the pope from his city. Each time the pope appealed to Frederick to fulfil his role of protector and reinstate him. Each time Frederick was lavish in his promises but left the pope to his own devices.

So the years of this uneasy truce went by. In 1235 Frederick was occupied with a revolt in Germany led by his son, the youthful Henry VII. This put down, in July-, 1236, he appeared once more in Italy, with a huge army, to end the independence of the Lombard cities once and for all.

The pope did his best to stave off the war. He explained to Frederick that the Lombards were the victims of calumny, that truth and peace were his own one, sole aim. He complained of the way in which Frederick had neglected to carry out the treaty of 1230. Frederick, however, pressed on resolutely, sending the pope evasive and, as the pope complained, highly disrespectful messages in reply. On November 1, 1236, he took Vicenza, sacking the town and massacring the inhabitants. A year later the great victory of Cortenuova (November 27, 1237) reversed his grandfather's defeat at Legnano. Save for Milan, Alessandria and Brescia he was now master of northern Italy. As he prepared to lay siege to Alessandria, Gregory approached him once more with proposals for peace. The emperor's only reply was to imprison the legates who had brought them (May, 1238). He next attempted to break the understanding between the pope and the Lombard League, but at the very time his envoys were opening the negotiations at Anagni with Gregory, he dispatched an army to capture Sardinia -- a papal fief.

Gregory IX, for all his natural fire, had shown himself as patient as his predecessor. Certainly Innocent III had taken a shorter way with the shiftiness of Raymond of Toulouse. By 1239 Gregory had come to the end of his long-suffering, and on March 20 of that year he renewed the excommunication against Frederick in a document which listed his crimes for the information of Christendom. The emperor had imprisoned papal legates; he had been the cause of the seditions in Rome; he had kept sees vacant in Sicily and imprisoned and murdered the clergy there, he had for years plundered sees and churches, and had usurped Church territories; he had robbed the Templars and the Hospitallers; he had laid unjust taxes on sees, monasteries and the clergy generally; he had broken the pledge of 1230 to grant an amnesty, and he had thwarted the efforts of the pope to renew the crusade. As to the common opinion that Frederick was a heretic, the pope for the moment reserved himself. Meanwhile, the emperor was put out of the Church, and all places where he halted were laid under interdict. The clergy who ignored this sentence and officiated in despite of it, incurred suspension for life.

This was far more serious for the emperor than anything which had happened so far. He retorted to the pope that he would speedily be revenged, and he prepared, in his turn, an encyclical to the princes of Europe denouncing the "wickedness enthroned in the Lord's seat." All mendicant friars -- Dominicans and Franciscans -- of Lombard birth were expelled from his kingdom of Sicily and, a short time later, all friars indiscriminately -- so closely were the new orders as such seen, already, as attached to the service of the Roman Church. All who brought papal documents into the kingdom were to be hanged.

The pope replied in a still more eloquent condemnation, filled with phrases from the Apocalypse. "A great beast has come out of the sea. . . this scorpion spewing passion from the sting in his tail. . . full of the names of blasphemy. . . raging with the claws of the bear and the mouth of the lion and the limbs and the likeness of the leopard, opens its mouth to blaspheme the Holy Name. . . behold the head and tail and body of the beast, of this Frederick, this so-called emperor. . . ." It recapitulated the emperor's crimes; it exposed his calumnies; it condemned him as a heretic for his denial of the pope's authority and for his assertion that the world in its time had been led astray by three impostors, Moses, Mohammed and Jesus Christ, for his mockery of the mystery of the virgin birth and his declaring that nothing is to be believed that cannot be proved by the natural reason.

To this terrible indictment Frederick replied in the language of a Father of the Church, pained at the pope's lack of charity-"the pharisee who sits on the plague-stricken seat, anointed with the oil of wickedness. . . ." He makes a most pious profession of faith and retorts that the pope is a liar. It is he who is the sole cause of the trouble and, quoting in his turn from prophecy, the pope is "the great dragon, the rider on the red horse, the universal destroyer of peace, Antichrist himself."

The war was now on indeed. Truce between such adversaries was impossible. Writers on both sides flooded Europe with their pamphlets, and while Frederick gained steadily in the field through 1239 and 1240, the pope strove to form an anti-imperial party in Germany, and called a general council to meet in Rome for the Easter of 1241. He persuaded the Genoese to provide an escorting fleet for the prelates, and the Venetians to invade Apulia. Frederick issued a general order that all bishops and prelates en route for the council were to be arrested, and licensed his subjects to rob them. He made desperate efforts to detach Genoa from the pope and even to win over the Order of Preachers. Then, on May 5, 1241, his fleet met, and defeated, the Genoese fleet as it neared the end of its voyage convoying the fathers of the council. Three ships were sunk and twenty-two captured with something like a hundred bishops, two of the cardinals, the Lombard deputies and four thousand Genoese. The emperor prepared to march on Rome.

Three months later, with the crisis at its full, Gregory IX died (August 21, 1241). Frederick had reached Grottaferrata just nine miles away.

There were at the moment twelve cardinals in all, two of them Frederick's prisoners. The ten at liberty were closely guarded by the real ruler of Rome, the Senator Matteo Orsini, and, in a seclusion that was little better than an imprisonment, for two months they hesitated and debated whom to elect. To hasten the decision the senator inflicted on them all manner of hardships. In the end three of the cardinals died of disease contracted in the filthy and insanitary hole where, for two whole months of the Roman summer, they had been huddled. Finally they agreed on the Milanese cardinal, Godfrey. He accepted, and took the name of Celestine IV. He was advanced in years, sick as a result of the conclave, and seventeen days later, before he was consecrated, he died.

The confusion was now greater than ever. Three of the cardinals, rather than face a renewal of the horrors they had recently under gone, fled to Anagni; three remained behind in Rome; Frederick still held to his prisoners. Three of the cardinals were partisans of Frederick; the others refused to leave Anagni unless Frederick consented to release his prisoners and to withdraw his army from the neighbourhood of Rome; Frederick refused utterly, and the deadlock was complete. From October 1241 to June 1243 it continued. Finally, St. Louis IX of France intervening, the emperor released his prisoners, and on June 25, 1243, the Cardinal Sinibaldo Fieschi was elected and took the name of Innocent IV.

The new pope, by birth a nobleman of Genoa, was already known as an expert canonist. He had taught Canon Law at Bologna and for the last twenty years he had been employed in the most important posts of the Roman Church. Gregory IX had made him a cardinal in 1227; he had been Vice-Chancellor; and from 1235 he had filled, for the most critical years of all, the difficult post of Papal Legate in Lombardy. He was, then, as well acquainted with the personalities engaged in the controversy as with the principles around which it raged. It was now evident that the pope was not merely fighting another Henry IV, or Barbarossa, but an anti-ecclesiastical theory of world organisation, aggressive and fully armed. No wiser choice of a champion against it could have been made than that of this calm unmoved Genoese, trained lawyer and practised administrator. Nor had Innocent IV the disadvantage of being known as an intransigent. Whatever the origin of the idea, he passed popularly for being favourable to an understanding with Frederick. His nearest relatives had fought at Frederick's side, and his election was hailed as a triumph for the emperor. Frederick, if the story is true, knew better. "I have lost a friend," he said. "No pope can be a Ghibelline."

The history of the interregnum and of the two years that went before, made it evident beyond all doubt that Frederick would never rest until the pope was his chaplain, and himself as great a power in the Church as in his own kingdom of Sicily. It was not the least of the new pope's merits that he realised this from the beginning and acted accordingly. His first messages to Frederick were peaceful, and to his request for a conference the emperor replied by sending to him his two chief advisers, the legists Piero della Vigna and Thaddeus of Suessa.

The negotiations ended with Frederick renewing all his old pledges to restore the papal territory he occupied, and granting an amnesty to all who had recently fought against him, even the Lombards being included. This was on Holy Thursday, 1244, but before April was out the pope had to protest that Frederick was once again breaking his sworn word. Frederick, in reply, suggested a personal conference between himself and Innocent. The pope, with the memory of the last two years fresh in his mind, was, however, too wary to be caught. This time he would retain his freedom and use it to attack. Disguised as a knight he fled to Genoa, and thence crossed the Alps to Lyons, a city where the sovereign was the archbishop and his chapter -- nominally within the emperor's jurisdiction, but close to the protective strength of the King of France, St. Louis IX.

The council which Gregory IX had planned, Innocent realised. It met at Lyons in the July of 1245, two hundred bishops and abbots attending. This first General Council of Lyons is unique in that its main purpose was a trial. The emperor was making it his life's aim to restore the ancient subordination of religion to the State. The pope was determined to destroy him, to end for all time this power which had once, for so long, enslaved the Church and which, for a good century now, had never ceased its attack on the Church's restored independence. There was to be no return to the bad days which had preceded St. Leo IX and St. Gregory VII. Since none but a fool would place any reliance on Frederick's oaths, Frederick should be deposed.

On July 7, 1245, the council, in solemn public session, listened to the recital of the emperor's crimes and shifty, insincere repentances. Then, despite the pleading of Thaddeus of Suessa, it accepted the decree of deposition.

Frederick, in reply, circularised the reigning princes of Europe. If the decree of deposition is perhaps the clearest expression yet of the theory of the papal power over temporal rulers as such, Frederick's riposte may be read as the first manifesto of the "liberal" state. For it sets out, against the papal practice, a complete, anti-ecclesiastical theory. All the anti-sacerdotal spirit of the heresies of the previous century finds here new, and more powerful, expression. The supremacy of the sacerdotium is denounced as a usurpation, and anti-clericalism, allied now for the first time to the pagan conception of the omnipotent state-a doctrine popularised through the rebirth of Roman Law-offers itself as a world force with the destruction of the sacerdotium as its aim. Thanks to the imperial legists, and especially to the genius of the two already mentioned, the new point of view is set forth imperishably in this manifesto, and the princes of Christendom are invited to join with the emperor in his attempt to destroy the common enemy. The Church, they are told, is part of the State, and, for all that Frederick guards against any overt denial of the pope's authority, the Catholic prince is, for him, inevitably a kind of Khalif. It is this prince's mission to keep religion true to itself, to reform it whenever necessary, and to bring it back to the primitive simplicity of the gospel. Frederick had indeed revealed himself. The theory is the most subversive of heresies, and it is the emperor, the pledged defender of orthodoxy, the prince the very raison d'etre of whose office is orthodoxy's defence, who is its inventor and patron. His reply to the excommunication more than justified the attitude of Gregory IX, and Innocent's initiative.

Frederick, then, proposed to free the Church from sacerdotalism, from clerical ambition and greed. He planned to take Lyons and to imprison pope and cardinals as he had done the prelates taken at La Meloria in 1241. Through 1246 the scheme went forward until the emperor's army was ready.

Two things saved the pope. The King of France -- St. Louis IX -- to whom he appealed, for all that he had not offered to share in the war against the emperor and had not broken off relations with him since his deposition, made it known to Frederick that should he march on Lyons, French armies would bar his way. Secondly, at Parma, on June 6, 1247, Frederick's forces suffered a severe defeat.

Innocent had been as busy as Frederick since the council. His diplomacy had brought about the election of a successor to Frederick in Germany -- Henry Raspe first of all and then, on his death, William of Holland. Round the new emperor the pope sought to organise an anti-Hohenstaufen crusade as, fifty years earlier, Innocent III had organised a crusade against Raymond of Toulouse. To all who went to Germany to fight the enemy of religion all the usual crusade indulgences and privileges were granted, and the pope found a host of preachers in the new orders of St. Dominic and St. Francis. It was not, however, in Germany that the issue was to be decided. Italy, the real centre of Frederick's policy, was the battlefield where the main fight went forward. In February, 1248, the papal troops gained a second victory at Parma, and although in Sicily their success was less, in the Duchy of Spoleto and the March of Ancona they carried all before them, capturing in 1249 Enzio, the most gifted of all Frederick's sons.

Frederick, his head still unbowed, set himself to find new friends, and he was in the midst of preparations to renew the attack when death struck him down (December 13, 1250). The wildest stories circulated as to the manner of his passing. One and not the least unlikely, is that he asked for the habit of the Cistercian order, to which he had always shown an attachment For Innocent and the Church it was deliverance from the greatest of perils, and the bull (Laetentur Coeli -- January 25, 1251) in which the pope announced the news, testifies to the degree of the strain. Nevertheless, although Frederick was dead the Hohenstaufen survived, in the two sons of the emperor who continued the fight -- Conrad in Germany and Manfred in Sicily. The way was, however, open for the pope to return to Italy. He left Lyons in April, 1251, reached Perugia in November and stayed there another year and a half. In October, 1253, after an absence of nine years, Innocent re-entered his see.

While the war continued, the pope looked for a new vassal on whom to confer the forfeited throne of Sicily. His first thought was the Earl of Cornwall, brother to the English king, Henry III. On his refusal he turned to the brother of St. Louis -- Charles of Anjou. By June, 1253, the first negotiations were ended and the pope presente