There have been great times and bad times for Christendom. But many feel that the greatest period of Christendom was under the reign of the Holy Roman Emperor, Charlemagne, (born 742, died 814). His name means Charles the Great. Because of this, I am going to dedicate a substantial amount of time on his reign.
But to see where the Charlemagne came from, we need to first go back to the first Catholic Frankish king, King Clovis I, (466-511).
‘His wife, St. Clotilda, who was a Catholic, and very pious, won the consent of Clovis to the baptism of their son, and then urged that he himself embrace the Catholic Faith. He deliberated for a long time. Finally, during a battle against the Alemanni–which without apparent reason has been called the battle of Tolbiac (Zulpich)–seeing his troops on the point of yielding, he invoked the aid of Clotilda’s God, promised to become a Christian if only victory should be granted him. He conquered and, true to his word was baptized at Reims by St. Remigius, bishop of that city, his sister Albofledis and three thousand of his warriors at the same time embracing Christianity.
Gregory of Tours, in his ecclesiastical history of the Franks has described this event, which took place amid great pomp at Christmas, 496. “Bow thy head, O Sicambrian”, said St. Remigius to the royal convert “Adore what thou hast burned and burn what thou hast adored.”
According to a ninth-century legend found in the life of St. Remigius, written by the celebrated Hinemar himself Archbishop of Reims, the chrism for the baptismal ceremony was missing and was brought from heaven in a vase (ampulla) borne by a dove. This is what is known as the Sainte Ampoule of Reims, preserved in the treasury of the cathedral of that city and used for the coronation of the kings of France from Philip Augustus down to Charles X.
An expedition, otherwise important and profitable was undertaken by Clovis in the year 506 against Alaric II, King of the Visigoths of Aquitaine. He was awaited as their deliverer by the Catholics of that kingdom, who were being cruelly persecuted by Arian fanatics, and was encouraged in his enterprise by the Emperor Anastasius, who wished to crush this ally of Theodoric, King of the Ostrogoths. Despite the diplomatic efforts made by the latter to prevent the war, Clovis crossed the Loire and proceeded to Vouille, near Poitiers, where he defeated and slew Alaric, whose demoralized troops fled in disorder. The Franks took possession of the Visigoth Kingdom as far as the Pyrenees and the Rhone.Overtime, The True Catholic Faith Triumphs Over Her Enemies.
Acknowledging the Church as the foremost civilizing force, King Clovis protected it in every way possible, especially by providing for it the National Council of Orleans (511), at which the bishops of Gaul settled many questions pertaining to the relations between Church and state.
Hagiographic legends attribute to Clovis the founding of a great many churches and monasteries throughout France, and although the accuracy of this claim cannot be positively established, it is nevertheless certain that the influence of the council in this matter must have been considerable. However, history has preserved the memory of foundation which was undoubtedly due to Clovis: the church of the Apostles, later of Sainte-Geneviève, on what was then Mons Lucotetius, to the south of Paris. The king destined it as a mausoleum for himself and his queen Clotilda, and before it was completed his mortal remains were there interred. Clovis died at the age of forty-five. His sarcophagus remained in the crypt of Sainte-Geneviève until the time of the French Revolution, when it was broken open by the revolutionists, and his ashes scattered to the winds, the sanctuary of the beautiful church being destroyed.
As a statesman he succeeded in accomplishing what neither the genius of Theodoric the Great nor that of any contemporary barbarian king could achieve: upon the ruins of the Roman Empire he built up a powerful system, the influence of which dominated European civilization during many centuries, and from which sprang France, Germany, Belgium, Holland, and Switzerland, without taking into account that northern Spain and northern Italy were also, for a time, under the civilizing regime of the Frankish Empire.’ 1914 Catholic Encyclopedia
We are so blessed to be traditional Catholics and to be able to be a tiny tiny part in restoring, reforming, renewing our Catholic Church and Christendom.
The original author of this blog passed away in July of 2016. RIP Father Carota.