Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Vie et Miracles De Bérard Ivéque De Manes (1080-1130)

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Vie et Miracles De Bérard Ivéque De Manes (1080-1130)

Article excerpt

Vie et miracles de Bérard, évêque de Marses (1080-1130). Introduction, critical edition of the Latin text, and French translation by Jacques Dalarun. [Subsidia hagiographica 93] (Brussels: Société des Bollandistes. 2013. euro65,00. ISBN 978-2-87365-028-5.)

Bishop Bérard was of the ruling family of Marche, a region in central Italy north of Abruzzo and east of Rome. Nominally within the Papal States, Marche was controlled by strong local rulers who accrued landed wealth and power by alliances created by kinship, clientage, and patronage. Bérard's career was part of the reform movement initiated by Pope Gregory VII (r. 1073-85). Gregory VII endeavored to expand the authority and autonomy of the Church by imposing clerical celibacy, abolishing lay investiture and simony, and prohibiting "incestuous" marriage. Over a century of struggle was required to achieve its objectives, and the papacy frequently compromised with annulments, dispensations, and settlements. The Church's weapon of excommunication dissolved oaths of fealty and precipitated leadership struggles. King Henry IV of Germany (r. 1070-1108) retaliated for his humiliation at Canossa by exiling Gregory VII in 1085. Later reformers like Bernard, abbot of Tirón (c. 1050-1116), and Peter II, bishop of Poitiers (r. 1087-1115), fell victim to violence and imprisonment. The hagiography of Bérard sheds further light on the difficult process of imposing the reform on religious and secular leaders.

Writing in the 1130s, John, bishop of Segni, shares his reminisces at Bérard's tomb with his colleague John Furatus, prior of the chapter of the cathedral of Santa Sabina in modern San Benedetto dei Marsi. Bérard was a member of the comital family of Marche, educated at the cathedral of Saint-Sabina and at MonteCassino, and was made subdeacon and count of the province of Campania or southern Latium by Paschal II (r. …

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