In order to enter into the Holy Roman Empire of Charlemagne, we need to travel through his Frankish roots. King Childeric I, (the first king in the Merovingian Dynasty), was the father of King Clovis.
When King Clovis was loosing the battle of Tolbiac, in desperation, he turned and prayed to the God of his wife, Queen St. Clotilda. He promised if her God were to get him out of his desperate situation, he would believe and be baptized a Catholic.
Here we see the beautiful relationship of a saintly wife converting her husband, and who then goes on to help Catholicism spread throughout his realm. King Clovis was convinced that Catholicism was a fundamental part of a healthy society.
Through time, the Frankish kings became lazy and allowed the Mayor of the Palace to rule. One of these Mayors was Pepin Herstal who ruled from 680 to his death in 714. He had two legitimate sons and one illegitimate son, (Charles Martel, the Hammer in french). Both of his legitimate sons died before him, so he left his power to his two grandsons. But upon death, Charles fought to overcome the many rebellious areas of his father’s kingdom and thus gained control of the Frankish kingdom. He was not officially the king, but he ruled as a Mayor of the Palace.
He was the one who stopped the advancement of the muslim take over of Europe. At the Battle of Poitiers, (732), with a small army, he overcame 200,000 fierce muslims. He also supported St. Boniface reforming the Frankish Church and converting the Germans and the Saxons. Charles is said to have set up the foundation of the Carolingian Empire.
Charles left his two sons, Carloman and Pepin the Short, (or the Younger), to rule the Frankish kingdom. His two sons had been educated by monks and were very well disposed towards the Catholic Church. Carloman was even so pious, that eventually he entered into the religious life.
This left Pepin II to be the sole ruler of France. He continued his father’s work and support of St. Boniface and the pope. He was coronated by the Bishop in 751 and again by Pope Stephen II, who traveled all the way from Rome 754 to do it. At that time, Pope Stephen II also anointed his two sons, Charlemagne and Carloman. Pepin being Coronated by Pope Stephen II with his two sons Charlemagne and Carloman.
Pepin won a war against the Lombards in Italy and gave to the pope what would later become the Papal States. This was called the ‘Donation of Pepin’ in 756. Pepin was given the title Patrician of Rome. And this led to his son Charlemagne to be eventually coronated the Holy Roman Emperor.
We are so blessed to be traditional Catholics and to know how God has worked through concrete history to rule real kingdoms in this real world. We pray that God will again, in our times, raise up holy Queens who will convert Kings to be holy rulers. We also pray for holy popes, cardinals, bishops, religious and priests who will obey Jesus and humbly rule for Him.
The original author of this blog passed away in July of 2016. RIP Father Carota.