Sede Vacante 1130

Letter of Bernard of Clairvaux (Epistle 139)
to the Emperor Lothar



Johann M. Watterich, (editor), Pontificum Romanorum qui fuerunt inde ab exeunte saeculo IX usque ad finem saeculi XIII vitae ab aequalibus conscriptae Tomus II (Lipsiae 1862), pp. 214-215:

[Bernardus abbas Cl. Lothario]

Benedictus Deus, qui vos elegit et erexit cornu salutis nobis, ad laudem et gloriam nominis sui et reparandum imperii decus ad subveniendum ecclesiae suae in tempore malo, postremo ad operandum etiamnunc salutem in medio terrae. Ipsius est enim opus, quod corona gloriae vestrae ita indies ampliatur et sublimatur, mirabiliter crescens ac proficiens in omni decore et magnificentia apud Deum et homines. Ipsius profecto nuper opus et virtus fuit, quod iter satis laboriosum et meticulosum, pro pace regni et ecclesiae liberatione susceptum, in tanta prosperitate peregistis: Romae siquidem imperialis culminis plenitudinem gloriosissime assecutus idque, quod maius fuit, in manu non magna, ut animi fideique magnitudo clarius emineret. Quodsi ante tantillum exercitum terra tremuit et quievit: quantus, putamus, horror hostium corda invadere habeat, cum coeperit rex procedere in magnitudine parchii sui!

Animabit insuper honestas causae, immo duplex provocabit necessitas. Non est meum, hortari ad pugnam; est tamen, securus dico, advocati ecclesiae, arcere ab ecclesiae infestatione schismaticorum rabiem, est Caesaris, propriam vendicare coronam ab usurpatore Siculo. Ut enim constat, Iudaicam subolem sedem Petri in Christi occupasse iniuriam: sic proculdubio omnis, qui in Sicilia regem se facit, contradicit Caesari....


"To Lothar, by the grace of God emperor of the Romans, Augustus, Bernard, called abbot of Clairvaux, sends his blessing, if the prayer of a sinner is of any avail.

"Blessed be God, who has chosen you and exalted you for a horn of salvation unto us, to the glory of his name, the restoration of the empire, the preservation of his church in this evil time, adn the working of his salvation in the midst of the earth. For it is by his will that you are daily growing in strength, in honor and in glory. And when you recently undertook the hazardous expedition to Rome to secure the peace of the empire and the liberty of the church, it was by his aid that you were able to carry it through successfully, obtaining the crown of the empire without the aid of a large army. But if the earth trembled and was silent before that little band, think what great terror will strike the hearts of the enemy when the king shall proceed against him in the greatness of his power. Moreover, the justice of your cause, nay more, a double necessity, will inspire you. It is not my duty to incite princes to war; but it is the duty of the defender of the church to ward off all danger of schism; it is the duty of the emperor to recover his crown from the Sicilian usurper. Just as that Jew [that is, Anaclete II] rebelled against Christ when he seized the papal chair, so anyone who would make himself king in Sicily rebels against Caesar.

"But if we are commanded to render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's and unto God the things which are God's, why is it that you have permitted the church of God in toul to be robbed, especially as Caesar profits not thereby? ... For it is said that you have interfered with the pope in his efforts to bring the oppressors of that church to justice. I beseech you to act more circumspectly, and to recall your intercession and let justice take its course, before that church be destroyed to its foundations. I am a poor person, but a faithful subject, and if I seem importunate it is because of my fidelity. Greet my lady the empress for me in the love of Christ."

[translated by O.J. Thatcher and E.H. McNeal, A Source Book for Medieval History (New York 1905). pp. 171-172.]



November 12, 2013 3:02 PM

John Paul Adams, CSUN

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