Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Chapter 32

How he received Pope Innocent when he fled to him

At that time it happened that the Roman church was deeply wounded to the quick by schism. For when the venerable supreme pontiff and universal father Honorius went the way of all flesh[1], the more important and wiser members of the Roman church[2] to prevent tumult in the church, agreed that the famous election should be held at St. Mark’s and not elsewhere, and that it should be made in common, according to Roman custom. But those who had been the more regular and intimate companions of the dead pope did not dare to go there out of fear of the rioting Romans; so, before the death of the lord pope was announced, they elected the venerable cardinal of St. Angelo, the deacon Gregory[3], as pope. But the partisans of Pierleone met at St. Mark’s, inviting the others to come there as had been agreed, and when they had learned of Honorius’s death, elected in accordance with their vows the cardinal priest Pierleone, with the consent of many bishops, cardinals, clerics and Roman nobles.[4] So they started the pernicious schism, that tore the seamless robe of Christ in two dividing the church of God and ‘while each appealed for support to the great judge’[5], each party tried to win over the other, each excommunicating the other, neither waiting for any judgement other than their own. 

But when Pierleone’s party triumphed through the help of his family and the support of the Roman nobility, the lord pope Innocent decided to leave the city with his supporters to win the world over to his cause. So he sailed down to the shore of Gaul, and chose for the protection of his person and the church the safest and best refuge he could find after God, the noblest kingdom of the French. He sent messengers to King Louis, praying that he would aid him and the church.[6]

As the king was the most pious defender of the church, he was at once moved by this request. He called a council of his archbishops, bishops, abbots and religious to Étampes[7], and on their advice made further enquiries rather on the character of Innocent than on his election[8], for it often happens that disturbances caused by uprisings in Rome necessitate slight irregularities in elections and on the advice of those men he gave his assent to Innocent’s election, promising to support him from thenceforth.[9] Through me he sent the pope at Cluny the first fruits of his welcome and service, and he, delighted by such assistance, sent me back with his grace and benediction to convey his thanks to the lord king. 

When the pope came to St. Benedict-sur-Loire, the king and queen and their sons met him.[10] Louis bowed his noble and aft-crowned head as if before the tomb of St. Peter, fell at the pope’s feet, and promised for him and his church the goodwill of a catholic and devoted, effective service. Following Louis’s example, King Henry of England went to meet him at Chartres[11], most devotedly fell at his feet, vowed to receive him and his entourage in his lands as if it were his own, and promised him full filial obedience. 

While he was conducting a visitation of the French church, as circumstances demanded, he crossed over into Lotharingia[12]. There, at the city of Liege[13], the Emperor Lothar with a great concourse of archbishops, bishops, and magnates from the German realm came to meet him in great pomp. In the square before the cathedral, Lothar humbly offered himself as the pope’s groom. He hurried on foot towards him through the middle of the sacred procession, bearing in one hand a staff to protect him and in the other the bridle of a white horse, and led the pope along as if he were his temporal lord. And when the whole procession dismounted, he supported and carried him, making plain, both to those who knew and to the ignorant, the majesty of the pope’s paternity.

So peace was established between the empire and the church. Easter[14] was now approaching and the pope aimed to celebrate it with us in the church of St. Denis, as his special daughter church. Out of fear for God, for the mother church and for her daughter, we received him thankfully the day before[15] Maundy Thursday, and in a solemn procession offered to God and man, greeting his arrival with hymns of exultation, we embraced him. 

The Lord’s Supper was celebrated in our church in the Roman manner and with extravagant generosity, known as the presbyterium.[16] With veneration he attended the services for the holy crucifixion of the Lord, and with due honour spent the night of the holy resurrection in vigil. Very early the next morning he went out as if in secret to the church of St. Denis de l’Estrée[17], with a large number of companions. There they made preparations in the Roman way, they clothed him in splendid attire and set on his head a mitre[18] like a helmet, a truly imperial adornment, with a golden crown surrounding it; then they led him forth, mounted on a white horse with a saddle cloth, while they went before him two by two, wearing rich robes, riding horses of various colours but all with white saddle cloths, and singing festive hymns. The barons who held in fee of our church and the noble castellans accompanied him on foot, holding his horse’s reins like humble grooms. Men went before them throwing a shower of coins to scatter the crowd which blocked the way. The royal highway blazed with embroidered cloths attached to posts and branches. A crowd of knights in formation and masses of people received him with great honour. Everyone was there including even despite their blindness, representatives of the Jewish synagogue in Paris. When they offered him a roll containing the Law, they received from him this merciful and pious prayer: ‘May the omnipotent God tear the veil from your hearts.’[19]

When he arrived at the basilica of the saints, it was gleaming with golden crowns, and shining with the splendour of precious gems and pearls a hundred times brighter than silver or gold. There the pope divinely celebrated the divine mysteries, and with my assistance offered the most holy sacrifice of the true paschal lamb. After mass, tables had been set up in the cloister covered with fine cloths, and there they took their places as if on couches, and ate the fleshly lamb, along with the other dishes that noble tables usually offer. The following day they reformed the same procession and went from the church of St. Remigius[20] to the principal church. Then, after giving me his thanks and promising me his aid and counsel, three days after Easter the pope entered Paris[21]. He then visited the French churches to supply his need from their wealth, and after wandering about for a while, he chose to take up residence in Compiègne.[22]

Meanwhile a singular and hitherto unknown struck the French kingdom. King Louis’ son Philip[23], a healthy and agreeable boy, who brought hope to good men and fear to the bad, was riding one day in a suburb of Paris when his horse collided with a devil of a pig in the road, and fell down very heavily, throwing the noble boy his rider against a stone, which crushed him to pieces under its weight. The citizens and all those who heard of it were grief-stricken as that very day he had summoned the army for an expedition and they exclaimed, wept and lamented. They picked up the delicate boy almost at death’s door and took him to a nearby house where at nightfall, alas, he died. Even Homer himself would not have been able adequately to express the extent and depth of grief and sadness that swept over his father and mother and the magnates of the kingdom.[24]

He was buried as a king in the church of St. Denis, in the royal tomb on the left of the altar of the Holy Trinity, in the presence of a large assembly of bishops and magnates of the realm. After grief-stricken plaints and miserable lamentations that he should be the survivor, his wise father allowed himself to be consoled, in accordance with the advice of religious and wise men. As his close and intimate friend, I feared that the continued suffering of his weak body might lead to sudden death. So I recommended that he should crown his son Louis, a very fine child, have him anointed with the sacred oil, and make him king with him, in order to prevent any disturbance from his rivals. Louis agreed and went to Reims with his wife and son and the barons of the kingdom, where in a full and solemn council called by Pope Innocent, his son was raised to royalty by sacred unction and coronation, and thus he provided his realm with a fortunate successor.[25] Many saw it as an excellent omen that the young Louis’ power would increase, since he had received the lavish benediction of so many great and different archbishops and bishops of France, Germany, Aquitaine, England and Spain. 

So Louis’ joy in the living alleviated his sorrow over the dead. After the council was over he returned to Paris, while the pope chose to stay at Auxerre[26]. Then an opportunity arose for him to return home in the company of the Emperor Lothar[27], who promised to establish him by force in Rome and to depose Pierleone. They went there together. But after Innocent had proclaimed Lothar emperor, Roman resistance prevented them from making peace in the lifetime of Pierleone. But when Pierleone died[28], with the help of God peace finally returned to the church after a long upset and after lengthy and almost mortal weakness. The lord pope in blessed succession enhanced the glory of the most Holy See by the merits of his life and his devotion to duty.[29]


[1] Honorius II died on the evening of 13th February 1130.

[2] Suger’s attitude to the schism of 1130 is ambiguous. He suggests that the party that elected Anaclectus consisted of ‘the senior and wisest members among the members of the Roman church’, that they planned to elect him ‘according to the Roman custom’ and that his election was approved by ‘many bishops, cardinals, clerics and Roman nobles’. It may be that Suger sympathised with Analectus and the Gregorian tradition he represented rather than the continuance of the policies of Honorius and the reformed monasticism that Innocent stood for. However, Suger was not prepared to go against the decision of the Council of Etampes that recognised Innocent II as pope. See: Grabois, A., ‘Le Schism de 1130 et la France’, Revue d’histoire ecclesiastique, vol. lxxvi, (1981), pp. 593-612 and Stroll, Mary, The Jewish Pope, Leiden, 1978 on Anaclectus.

[3] Innocent II was elected on 14th February 1130 and died 24th September 1143. He was a native of Rome and belonged to the ancient family of the Guidoni. The youthful Gregory became canon of the Lateran and later abbot of Sts. Nicholas and Primitivus. He was made Cardinal-Deacon of the Title of S. Angelo by Paschal II, and as such shared the exile of Gelasius II in France, together with his later rival, the Cardinal-Deacon Pierleone. Under Calixtus II, Gregory was sent to Germany in 1119 with the legate Lambert, Cardinal-Bishop of Ostia. Both were engaged in drawing up the Concordat of Worms in 1122. In the following year he was sent to France. On 14th February 1130, the morning following the death of Honorius II, the cardinal-bishops held an election and Gregory was chosen as his successor, taking the name of Innocent II; three hours later Pietro Pierleone was elected by the other cardinals and took the name of Anacletus II. Both received episcopal consecration on 23rd February; Innocent at Santa Maria Nuova and Anacletus at St. Peter’s. Finding the influential family of the Frangipani had deserted his cause, Innocent at first retired into the stronghold belonging to his family in Trastevere, then went to France by way of Pisa and Genoa. There he secured the support of Louis VI and in a synod at Etampes the assembled bishops, influenced by the eloquence of Suger of St-Denis, acknowledged his authority. This was also done by other bishops gathered at Puy-en-Velay through St. Hugh of Grenoble. The pope went to the abbey of Cluny and then attended another meeting of bishops in November 1130, at Clermont; they also promised obedience and enacted a number of disciplinary canons.

Through the activity of St. Norbert of Magdeburg, Conrad of Salzburg, and the papal legates, the election of Innocent was ratified at a synod assembled at Würzburg at the request of the German king, and here the king and his princes promised allegiance. A personal meeting of pope and king took place 22nd March 1131, at Liège, where a week later Innocent solemnly crowned King Lothar and Queen Richenza in the church of St. Lambert. He celebrated Easter 1131 at St-Denis in Paris, and 18th October opened the great synod at Reims, and crowned the young prince of France, later Louis VII. At this synod England, Castile, and Aragon were represented; St. Bernard and St. Norbert attended and several salutary canons were enacted. At Pentecost 1132, the pope held a synod at Piacenza. The following year he again entered Rome, and on 4th June crowned Lothar emperor at the Lateran. In 1134 the pope, at the request of the emperor, ordered that Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and the island of Greenland should remain under the jurisdiction of Hamburg. On the departure of the emperor, Innocent also left and went to Pisa, since the antipope still held sway in Rome. At Pisa, a great synod was held in 1135 at which were present bishops of Spain, England, France, Germany, Hungary, etc. In the spring of 1137, Emperor Lothar, in answer to the repeated entreaties of the pope, began his march to Rome. The papal and imperial troops met at Bari on 30th May, 1137, and the pope was again conducted into Rome. Anacletus still held a part of the city, but died 25th January 1138. Another antipope was chosen, who called himself Victor IV, but he, urged especially by the prayers of St. Bernard, soon submitted, and Innocent found himself in undisturbed possession of the city and of the papacy.

To remove the remnants and evil consequences of the schism, Innocent II called the Tenth Ecumenical Council, the Second of the Lateran. It began its sessions on 4th April 1139. One thousand bishops and other prelates are said to have been present. The official acts of Anacletus II were declared null and void, the bishops and priests ordained by him were with few exceptions deposed and the heretical tenets of Pierre de Bruis were condemned. Thirty canons were made against simony, incontinence, extravagance in dress among the clergy, etc. Sentence of excommunication was pronounced upon Roger, who styled himself King of Sicily. Several minor synods were held during the last few years of the life of Innocent, one at Sens in 1140, at Vienne in 1141 and in the same year at Vienne and Reims; in 1142 at Lagny, in which Ralph, the Duke of Vermandois is said to have been excommunicated by the legate Yvo of Chartres for having repudiated his lawful wife and married another. A synod was held under the presidency of the papal legate 7th April 1141, at Winchester; and 7th December 1141, at Westminster.

After the death of Alberic, Archbishop of Bourges, in 1141, Louis VII of France wanted to secure the nomination of a man of his own choice whom the chapter did not consider the fit person, and they chose Pierre de La Châtre but Louis refused to ratify the election. The bishop-elect in person brought the matter to Rome, and Innocent, finding after due examination that the election had been made according to the requirements of ecclesiastical law, confirmed it and himself gave the episcopal consecration. When Pierre returned to France, Louis would not allow him to enter his diocese. After useless negotiations Innocent placed France under interdict. Only during the reign of the next pope was the interdict removed and peace restored.

[4] Cardinal Pietro Pierleone took the title Analectus II at the contested papal election of the year 1130. The date of his birth is uncertain but he died on 25th January 1138. Though the Pierleoni were one of the wealthiest and most powerful senatorial families of Rome, and though they had loyally supported the Popes throughout the fifty years’ war for reform and freedom, yet it was never forgotten that they were of Jewish extraction, and had risen to wealth and power by usury. The Cardinal’s grandfather, named Leo after Pope Leo IX, who baptised him, was a faithful adherent of Gregory VII; Leo's son, Peter, from whom the family acquired the appellation of Pierleoni, became leader of the faction of the Roman nobility which was at enmity with the Frangipani. His attempt to install his son as Prefect of Rome in 1116, though favoured by the Pope, had been resisted by the opposite party with riot and bloodshed. His second son, the future antipope, was destined for the Church. After finishing his education at Paris, he became a monk in the monastery of Cluny, but before long he was summoned to Rome by Pope Paschal II and created Cardinal-Deacon of SS. Cosmas and Damian. He accompanied Pope Gelasius on his flight to France, and was employed by successive pontiffs in important affairs, including legations to France and England.

When Honorius lay on his deathbed, Pierleone could count upon the votes of thirty cardinals, backed by the support of the mercenary populace and of every noble family in Rome, except the Corsi and the Frangipani. The pars senior of the Sacred College numbered only sixteen, headed by the energetic Chancellor, Haymaric, and the Cardinal-Bishop of Ostia. These resolved to rescue the papacy from unworthy hands by a coup d’état. Though in a hopeless minority, they had the advantage that four were cardinal bishops, to whom the legislation of Nicholas II had entrusted the leading part in the election. Moreover, of the commission of eight cardinals, to which, in apprehension of a schism, it was decided to leave the election, one of them being Pierleone, five were opposed to the ambitious aspirant. To secure liberty of action, they removed the sick Pontiff from the Lateran to St. Gregory’s, near the towers of the Frangipani. Honorius died on the night of 13th February and was buried him hurriedly the next morning. The reluctant Cardinal of San Giorgio, Gregory Papareschi, under threat of excommunication, was forced to accept the pontifical mantle. He took the name of Innocent II. Three hours later, the party of Pierleone assembled in the Church of St. Mark and proclaimed him Pope, with the name of Anacletus II. Both claimants were consecrated on 23rd February, Anacletus in St. Peter’s and Innocent in Sta. Maria Nuova.

How this schism would have been healed, had the decision been left to the canonists, is hard to say. Anacletus had a strong title in law and fact. The majority of the cardinals with the Bishop of Porto, the Dean of the Sacred College, at their head, stood at his side. Almost the whole populace of Rome rallied around him. His victory seemed complete, when, shortly after, the Frangipani, abandoning what appeared to be a lost cause, went over to him. Innocent sought safety in flight. No sooner had he arrived in France than his affairs took a favourable turn. ‘Expelled from the City, he was welcomed by the world’, said St. Bernard, whose influence secured for him the support of practically the entire Christian world. He stated his reasons for deciding in favour of Innocent in a letter to the bishops of Aquitaine. They may not be canonically cogent; but they satisfied his contemporaries. ‘The life and character of our Pope Innocent are above any attack, even of his rival; while the others are not safe even from his friends. In the second place, if you compare the elections, that of our candidate at once has the advantage over the other as being purer in motive, more regular in form, and earlier in time. The last point is out of all doubt; the other two are proved by the merit and the dignity of the electors. You will find, if I mistake not, that this election was made by the more discreet part of those to whom the election of the Supreme Pontiff belongs. There were cardinals, bishops, priests, and deacons, in sufficient number, according to the decrees of the Fathers, to make a valid election. The consecration was performed by the Bishop of Ostia, to whom that function specially belongs.’

Meanwhile Anacletus maintained his popularity in Rome by the lavish expenditure of his accumulated wealth and the plundered treasures of the churches. His letters and those of the Romans to Lothar of Germany remaining unanswered, he secured a valuable confederate in Duke Roger of Apulia, whose ambition he satisfied by the gift of royalty; on Christmas Day, 1130, a cardinal-legate of Anacletus anointed him the first King of the Two Sicilies at Palermo. In the spring of 1133, the German King conducted Innocent, whom two great councils, Etampes and Piacenza, had proclaimed the legitimate Pope, to Rome; but as he came accompanied by only 2,000 horses, the antipope, safe within the walls of Castel St. Angelo, looked on undismayed. Unable to open the way to St. Peter’s, Lothar and his queen Richenza, on 4th June received the imperial crown in the Lateran. On the Emperor’s departure Innocent was compelled to retire to Pisa, and for four years his rival remained in undisturbed possession of Rome. In 1137, Lothar, having finally vanquished the insurgent Hohenstaufens, returned to Italy at the head of a formidable army; but since the main purpose of the expedition was to punish Roger, the conquest of Rome was entrusted to the missionary labours of St. Bernard whose eloquence was more effective than the imperial weapons. When Anacletus died, the preference of the Romans for Innocent was so pronounced that the antipope, Victor IV, whom the party chose as his successor, soon came as a penitent to St. Bernard and by him was led to the feet of Innocent II.

[5] Lucan, De bello civili, I, 127

[6] Innocent II left Rome on 6th May 1130. He stayed for some time in Pisa and Genoa and did not leave for St-Giles until 11th September.

[7] Étampes, some thirty miles south of Paris, was in Louis’ patrimony.

[8] This took place in August and September 1130 before the arrival of Innocent II. Suger does not refer to the presence of Bernard of Clairvaux at the Council of Etampes but the suggestion by his biographer that Louis specifically wanted him there should be treated with some suspicion. A decision taken on the basis of ‘electio’ would not necessarily have favoured Innocent and Suger emphasises the criterion of ‘persona’ (character) as did other writers who supported Innocent including ibid, Mirot, Leon, (ed.), La Chronique de Morigny (1095-1152), p. 52 and Bernard’s letters.

[9] Innocent was at Cluny from 25th October to 3rd November 1130.

[10] In the early days of January 1131, Louis accompanied Innocent as far as Orleans.

[11] The meeting between Henry I and Innocent II took place at Chartres on 13th January 1131.

[12] Innocent travelled via Étampes and the abbey of Morigny, Provins, Chalons, St-Quentin and Cambrai.

[13] Innocent was in Liége on 22nd March 1131. Lotharingia consisted of the diocese of Liége, Cambrai, Cologne and Utrecht.

[14] In 1131, Easter fell on 19th April.

[15] This was Wednesday 15th April.

[16] The presbyterium was the distributing of presents made by popes on the day they were installed or on other solemn occasions.

[17] The church of St. Denis de l’Estrée was in the neighbourhood of the paved Roman road from Rouen to Paris: in Latin ‘via strata’ and in French ‘estrée’. The church was founded between this route and the River Seine around 475 and was destroyed during the French Revolution in 1793.

[18] This was the ‘frigium’, conical like a twelfth century helmet.

[19] This statement can be compared with St Paul’s Second Epistle to the Corinthians, III, 15-16: But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart. Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away.’

[20] The church of St. Remigius was sited six hundred metres to the east of the abbey’s church near to the cemetery.

[21] Innocent II remained in Paris from 22nd to 27th April 1131.

[22] He was installed at Compiègne on 26th May 1131 and remained there a month. He had previously visited Pontoise, Gisors, Rouen and Beauvais. He left Compiègne at the end of June and continued on his travels until October. He went from Auxerre to Orleans, to Blois, Étampes, Soissons and Reims.

[23] Philip was born on 29th August 1116, was associated with his father from 18th April 1120 and more formally from 14th April 1129: see Delise, L., ‘Sur la date de l’association de Philippe, fils de Louis le Gros, au gouvernement du royaume’, Journal des savants, (1898), pp. 736-740. The accident occurred on 13th October 1131.

[24] Ibid, Mirot, Leon, (ed.), La Chronique de Morigny (1095-1152), p. 54 says that Philip’s companions fled in terror after the accident and the dying youth was carried to the nearest house by the hands of poor people. The same chronicle supports Suger’s assertion that the pig was diabolical and it reports that the pig was never found.

[25] The council sat at Reims from 18th to 26 October 1131. Louis VI arrived at the council on 24th October and the young Louis was crowned the following day. Louis VI had been anointed and crowned at Orleans, much to the distress of the church at Reims: see chapter 14. However, his son underwent those formalities at Reims, perhaps to the distress of Suger even though he appears to have counselled it. He deals with the ceremony in a few lines quite unlike ibid, Mirot, Leon, (ed.), La Chronique de Morigny (1095-1152), pp. 57-60. Suger’s dislike of Reims may well be coming into play here.

[26] Innocent II left Reims on 5th November and remained at Auxerre from 28th November until the beginning of January 1132.

[27] From Auxerre, Innocent II moved slowly south to the Alps via Nevers, Autun, Cluny, Lyon, Vienne, Valence and Avignon. He reached Geneva in April 1132 but could not re-enter Rome until 30th April 1133 a year later and he finally crowned Lothar on 4th June 1133.

[28] Analectus II died on 25th January 1138 but was replaced by another antipope Victor IV but he resigned on 29th May 1138 bringing an end to the eight year schism.

[29] Innocent II died on 24th September 1143. Although Suger does not specifically mention his death, he does not talk of him as if he was still alive.

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