Catholic Christendom Charlemagne # 16

While Charlemagne was in Rome, on Christmas day 800, at the pontifical Mass, Pope Leo III surprised him by anointing him and placing upon his head the imperial crown.  He proclaimed him Emperor and Augustus, while the Romans shouted out three times; ‘Carolo, piisimo Augusto a Deo coronato, magno et pacificio Imperatori, vita et vicotria’; (To Carolus Augustus crowned by God, mighty and pacific emperor, be life and victory).Charlemagne-coronation-1024x683Spot in St. Peter’s Basilica where Charlemagne was coronated by Pope Leo III.

Charlemagne humbly recongnized that he had received this great power from the hands of God through the Pope who exercised the moral supremacy of Western Christendom.  And Charles constantly attributed his imperial dignity to this act of God through his agent, the Vicar of Christ.  His son Charles was anointed on the same day too.

On this great day, Charles was also lifted to the dignity of supreme temporal protector of Western Christendom.
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 He passed this on to his son Charles, and the two others, with the obligation to defend and protect the Roman Church.  Not only was he the protector of the welfare of the papacy and the Patrimony of Peter, but he also understood that it meant a religious responsibility too and showed it by:

  • protecting and encouraging missionary work,
  • advancing Catholic culture,
  • working to reform the clergy, both secular and monastic,
  • enforcing Catholic discipline on the life of the average person,
  • introducing Catholic canon laws into government, (Collectio Dionysian-Hadriana),
  • shared governmental power with popes and local bishops, (civil and ecclesiastical),
  • took advice from the pope and bishops on how to rule,
  • and worked for the earthly glory of God.

From that day on, and through the middle ages, no Western Emperor was considered legitimate unless he had been anointed and crowned by the successor of St. Peter in Rome.

450px-Charlemagne_Agostino_Cornacchini_VaticanHis statue at St. Peter’s Basilica In Rome.

Charles had a personal devotion to the Apostolic See and a special love for the Basilica of St. Peter’s.  He enriched it above all other churches and wanted to see Rome regain its ancient splendor and authority.  Again he called himself the ‘devoted defender and humble helper of Holy Church’.

He was also very concerned with liturgical rites and ceremonies of the Church.  Taxes were levied to support the dignity of public worship.  He introduced the ‘Gregorian Sacramentally’ of Rome into the Frankish church.  Gregorian Chant was also instituted and he even chanted with the choir, but in a ‘subdued voice’.
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  He started schools to improve church music and to educate seminarians.

The Patriarch of Jerusalem gave him the keys to the Holy Sepulchre and asked for his protection of the holiest place in Christendom.  He built a monastery and hospital in Jerusalem.

But in the rest of the new Byzantine Eastern Rome, things were very different.  They were jealous of him and did not support him because they felt that the authority of the Roman Empire rested with them.  Throughout his reign there were many attempts by them to sabotage his plans.

In a manner of purely practical things he also accomplished the;

  • developed Agriculture,
  • the growth of trade,
  • organized and codified Frankish laws,
  • protected the liberty and life of free men.

Throne-of-Charlemagne-in-Aachen-GermanyOne of the thrones of Charlemagne

In spite of his irregular marriages, he was a loving father to his children.  He joined them in their sports, swimming and relaxations.
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 Like his father, in his will of 806, he divided his kingdom amongst his three sons.

  • France went to go to his son Louis the Pious,
  • Frisia, Saxony, Hesse, and Franconia were to go to Charles the Young,
  • and Pepin was to to have Italy, Bavaria and Southern Alemannia, (but he died before his dad did).

After 47 years of reigning and in his 72nd year, he died.  He was buried at Aachen in an octagonal Byzantine-Romanesque church.  In 1000, Otto III opened his tomb and found his body seated on a marble throne, robed, crowned and with the book of the Gospels opened on his knees.

We are so blessed to be traditional Catholics and to know about what God has done in the past for his glory in heaven, but also on earth.  May we continue to do what we can to extend His Kingdom and Christendom today.

Catholic Christendom, Charlemagne # 14

All of us who admire Christendom, (where God’s divine rules of love are enforced by the Catholic Church’s authorities in conjunction with Government leaders), hold up Charlemagne as one of the most exceptional examples of this.

Charlemagne is French for the Latin name; Carlus Magnus or in English; Charles the Great.  He was given this name by later generations who admired his great accomplishments that still remain up to today.  His real title is Emperor of the Holy Roman

Charles was the son of Pepin the Short, Mayor of the Palace for the ‘theoretically King’, Childeric III, the last of the Merovingian Kings of the Franks.  He was bon 742 and died January 28, 814.  His mother was Bertrada, daughter of the Count of Laon, Charibert.

Charlemagne was acknowledged by the Holy See as its chief protector and coadjutor in temporal affairs as well.  He consolidated Catholic Europe and worked to reform the Church as well.

Charlemagne’s career began at ten years old, (752), when Pope Stephen III traveled over the Alps from Rome to anoint his father Pepin with the oil of kingship.  But, at this time,  Pope Stephen III also anointed Charles and his younger brother Carloman.  The pope declared that the Frankish Catholics were to never ‘to choose their kings from any other family’.   At St. Denis, on July 28th 754, in the Kingdom of Neustria, by a solemn act of the supreme pontiff, the Frankish throne was established in the Arnulf house.  This is the new beginnings of the Carolingian dynasty named after Charles, (Carol, Karl).Frankish kings and queens of the Carolingian dynasty

As a child, his father King Pepin would take Charles to war with him.  He learned the important rudiments of war and the discipline it took to be a warrior.  As he grew into a man of extraordinary physical strength, he became a popular hero to the Franks long before he became king.   Before Pepin’s death, (768), he divided his dominion between his two anointed sons.
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The division was made in respect to different clans and laws that made up the complex Frankish dominion.  There was some strife between these brothers because Carloman did not like or support his older brother.  But this ended when his brother died in 771 and gave Charlemagne the unity he would need to make his kingdom great.

From his father, Charles had also inherited the role of ‘Patricius Romans’, which entailed the obligation to protect the temporal rights of the Holy See, (St.
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Peter’s Patrimony).  At this time, the greatest threat to the See was Desiderius, King of the Lombards.coa_of_the_carolingian_empire_by_tiltschmaster-d7obgf6

Charles had married Himiltrude, but then went on to marry the daughter of Desiderius, Desiderata.  The pope objected to this.  He then left her for Hildegarde which caused Desiderius to fight against Rome and the Holy See.  Pope Stephen died in 772.  Adrian I, an opponent of Desiderius, and was elected.  Immediately, Desiderius, advanced against Rome, seized some of the Pope’s cities.   Meanwhile, Charlemagne was dealing north with the Saxons were still pagan barbarians killing many of the Catholic missionaries and invading his territory.

In 773, Charles tried to negotiate with Desiderius, but when that failed, he sided with Pope Adrian I and traveled over the alps to fight the Lombards.  Easily he overcame Desiderius and headed to visit Rome.

IND113006 Charlemagne crossing the Alps in 773, detail of the Emperor and his retinue (oil on canvas) by Roger, Eugene (1807-40) oil on canvas Chateau de Versailles, France Index French, out of copyright
IND113006 Charlemagne crossing the Alps in 773, detail of the Emperor and his retinue (oil on canvas) by Roger, Eugene (1807-40)
oil on canvas
Chateau de Versailles, France
French, out of copyright

Charlemagne, whether he really realized it or not, received his temporal power from God, through the pope, when he was anointed by Pope Stephen III.  This is Christendom.  We can also see that he was not a saint, (Three women), but, nevertheless, God used him.
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 Will continue with Charlemagne…….

We are so blessed to be traditional Catholics and to see God work throughout time.  We know that we are in a very bad period right now, but we know who is behind the chess player and who wins in the end.