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decorative picture.The Frankish Kingdom in 780 .People and Countries .The Carolingians and the Church .Texts From the Carolingian Times decorative picture 2, the same than above, as smaller .The Popes of the Carolingian Times (590-996) .The Benedictines, the Carolingian Monks .The Question Of the Eastern Church .The Ecumenical Councils .The Carolingians and the Idea of the Apocalypse decorative picture 2, the same than above, as smaller .More On the Christian Practice in Carolingian Times .The Tunic of Argenteuil .The Apparition of the Virgin Mary in Utelle in 850 .Was Charles Canonized a Saint? .The Public Morality In the Carolingian Times .The Statements of James Cameron About the Tomb of Christ

The Carolingians and the Church

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Even if Church had endured factors of dissention, it had nevertheless remained a factor of unity since the Great Invasions. Charlemagne, before the coronation of the year 800, had not the Roman empire for its aim. At the oppposite, a whole field of reference was that of the Jewish theocracy, with Charlemagne considering himself like a new King Solomon, king and priest at the same time, builder and defensor of the Kingdom of God against the supremacy of the heathen empire. For this later part, such ideas came from St. Augustine. The reference to the Jewish tradition was made clear in the way Charlemagne, with his closest intimates, were dubbing themselves with names taken in the Bible, as their meetings were a kind of "Round Table" of the Old Testament's times. Alcuin himself was praising Charlemagne like the new David. Such views were, by essence, opposed to the Roman Caesarism and it's possible that this was a way to legitimate, in the ideological field, the sense that the Franks from Austrasia had of their closer appartenance to the German world than to the Roman one, hence to this idea that the German chiefs of tribes were, at the same time, the religious leaders of their people. This is certainly the reason why some texts are describing how Charlemagne objected at the coronation of the year 800, or sought the recognition by the Eastern emperor. As bishops were used like politicians or administrator, as Church laws turned State laws, both the Church and the State being hard to tear apart, the Carolingian era was well, not without difficulties, the starting point to the medieval Christendom with king's subjects Christians and reciprocally as the spiritual and temporal powers coordinated. The early Carolingiens strengthened or created the Papal states like a way to warrant the independency of papacy, legates are constantly close to the Emperor but that was not without a conflictual feel as a Cesaropapist party opposed to a development of the papal authority. Despite being subject itself to the struggles of the time, papacy tended to stand like the referee, especially in terms of transfering the imperial crown. The coronation of 800 was likely a gesture to bolster both the power of the pope and the Frankish king, to link Charles' rule with that of ancient Roman emperors and to assert a parity between Western Roman Empire and Byzantium. Charles' empire was Roman, Christian, and Germanic! Generally the Carolingian empire mostly was a alliance between the Frankish ruler, his military retinue and the Roman Catholic Church granting sanction to the imperial mission. The Carolingian empire never relied upon the Roman concept of a legalistic government as upon a personal leadership instead

The Carolingian empire, thus, was an orderly, and a Christian empire. The Palatine Chapel in Aachen was a good icon of this Carolingian conception of the world. It was a two-level church: ground level featured Mary's altar (as church was dedicated to the Holy Virgin), with the celebrants and the common people. First floor, with its galleries, featured the king's throne, facing a Savior's altar -whom the king was the vicar- and places from where aristocracy attended the office. At last, above this first image of Carolingian orderly world -Savior above his Mother, king at Savior's level- the cupola, gold-mosaic covered and illustrating the Christ of Apocalypse, Ch. IV, was figuring the heavenly preeminence. The theme of the Apocalypse Elders, which are figured at the cupola's basis, was prized by Charles. The cosmic order thus was eventually enforced with Charlemagne, on the cupola, figured on a level below the Celestial Court. From the ground floor with its simple stone columns, through the first floor with its ornaments, all the way up to the cupola, it was the plain Carolingian and cosmic order which was symbolized. The passage to the Empire in the year 800 A.D., on a other hand, with the coronation and crowning, turned the Frankish king into the vicar of God on Earth. Charlemagne was then compared to king David -and mostly to Emperor Constantine the Great- as the Frankish people became the new elected, and predestined people. Like the new Constantine, Charlemagne restored the greatness of Rome, which meant now the new Europe, or 'Christendom.' The silver altar which served like the foot to the cross which Eginhard had offered by 828 A.D. to St-Servais of Maastricht wished to imitate a Roman triumphal arc and celebrated thus Cross' victory and the the Christian empire's restoration, a idea which is also found in the well-known Charlemagne's equestrian statuette. According to some, that idea of a Christian empire came from Carolingians themselves. Due to the wants of that era however, such wishes were to few translate into reality as they mostly consisted into a 'dilatation' of the Frankish kingdom. Another nod of a religious nature concerning the Frankish king under the Carolingians, mostly by the end of the rule of Charles and under Louis the Pious was a swift development of the worship of the Savior. Christ is worshiped under his aspect of king of Glory who descended into the Underworld, vainquished those and was enthroned into the Glory of the Father, whence He since rules the world. Since the time of Constantine the Great, that development of Christ's role did not cease as, at that time the Father only was termed 'Imperator' as the Son was dux, comes, or magister only. The imperial function then turned directly linked with that salvating funtion of Christ. Such reference to Christ are seen at the time supplanting those made to the kings of the Old Testament. That time also is that of the 'royal laudations,' which had been the liturgical cheering of pagan Roman emperors and then christianized by the Byzantine ones. To the laudations were added too the 'Litanies of Saints' which had been brought unto the Continent by Irish and Anglo-saxon monks. The royal laudations consisted into wishes to the pope and, above all, to the emperor, his family, armies and administration as they began with a invocation three times repeated, 'Christ is victor, Christ is king, Christ is emperor!' The royal laudations were sung during the coronation of the year 800 A.D. Such a reference to the Christ like the Savior, and to King David also took place into the classical view according to which the Old Testament was heralding the New, the Old Testament at the time being reduced to the cycle of David (who figured the emperor) as the New was focused upon the Savior. One will know that a picture of David about 850 A.D. was not to figure a Late Roman Empire's emperor in apotheosis, but mainly like a spiritual figure. Under Charles the Bald (840-877), the illustration of a prince's coronation was having him surrounded by two bishops as his crown coming from God as the ruler, at the same period was always linked back to David and Solomon too (with God's hand blessing him) or even to Josias, the king who reformed the kingdom of Juda or Theodosius, the legislator Emperor. Theology by that same time could display cosmic aspects

It is certain that the day when Charlemagne was crowned emperor in Rome, was a clear sign that the German ideas were now bowing to the Roman conceptions. This might have been under the control of Alcuin and Charlemagne anyway, as, even after 800, the emperor kept regarding himself like the real leader of the Church, continuing to interfere in dogmatic questions. This definitely was heralding however the change into the relations between the Empire and the Church. As soon as during the struggles between the sons of Louis the Pious, the pope Gregory IV obliged the emperor to an humiliating penance, clearly manifesting that the Church was the higher authority in the West, spiritually and politically. The further struggles and correlated decline of the Carolingian empire raised the Church accordingly. This was clearly shown at the time of the divorce of Lothair II, who had divorced from his lawful wife so he be able to marry his concubine. The Church just judged the king. The Kingdom of God was now personified by the Church, as pope Nicholas I eventually asserted that the head of the Church could not be subordinate to any secular power, that princes had to obey the pope in spiritual things, and that the Carolingians had received their right to rule from the papacy

King Charles had a pecular devotion to the Virgin Mary as he honored her sanctuaries along the Frankish empire -at Chartres, Rocamadour, Le Puy- and he built churches and abbeys in her honor, and endowing the main of those with important relics. The image of the Virgin was too printed on the standards of the Frankish army. Such a devotion might match the renewel of Marial devotion which is seen by those same times in Rome where, the Virgin Mary is figured at the place usually reserved to Christ. In 778, as he besieged a Sarracene castle in France's southwest, Charlemagne desesperating to take the castle, was eventually ready to abandon. The bishop of Le Puy then prayed Mary of the Puy-en-Velay and a miracle occurred with a large eagle deposing a large fish before the door of the castle. The Sarracene prince, named Mirat, amazed, accepted then to surrender and to convert to the Christian faith, albeit not to Charlemagne but to the Virgin Mary, directly, instead. He was baptized under the name of Lorda, which name was at the origin of Lourdes, that famed Marial sanctuary which appeared in the 19th century in that vicinity. Charlemagne too was always bearing to his neck a picture of the Virgin Mary and it is that obvious devotion which eventually led Charles to building the Palatine Chapel in Aachen. 300 bishops and archbishops, and Grands of the Frankish empire were present at the consecration of the church by Pope Leon VII. That devotion to Mary was to keep under the successors of Charlemagne and, in 911, in Chartres that even made that the Nordmen invasions ceased: Rollon, with his troops, was besieging the city and it's the intervention of the Virgin which brought to that the siege was broken and that Rollon eventually asked in Rouen for baptism and accepted to settle in Normandy with his people. The battle of Poitiers, at last, in 732, had taken place on a Saturday, which is the traditional day of Virgin Mary. Calendars in the Evangelarii produced for the Palace are eclectic under Charlemagne however with such saints like Nazarius, Protais, Gervasius, Vitalus, Eusebius, Martin, Rémi, Macra, Geneviève, Denis, Médardus, Maximus, Symphorianus, Augustine, Jérôme, Gregory the Great

It's Charlemagne who, invited by St. James himself, established the 'chemin de Compostelle' ('the Compostelle Way') this route of pilgrimage leading to the tumb of Apostle James in Galicia, Spain. That way is amazingly oriented according to the Milky Way in the night sky. St. James, along with his brother St. John, as with their mother, they had asked to Crist to be seated, the one at its right, the other at its left, thus became the patrons, the first for the West, the second for the East. Peter, the third of those three brothers, as far as he is concerned, became the head of Rome, and of the Church for cause of the primacy given to him by Christ. Albeit Charlemagne was relatively reluctant to relics, he filled with the churches which had been built in the conquered lands so to show how the divine favor was granted to Franks

The Franks' Prayer, at last, is finely showing how, as soon as the 7th century, the Franks were aware of their pecular relationship to the deity. The Franks' Prayer is found in a Carolingian missal as it's still one of the official prayers of the French scouts today:

Ô everlasting and almighty God,
Thou who established the Frankish empire to be, in this world,
The tool for Your divine will
And the sword and the shield of Your holy Church,
We pray You that You, ever and in every place, through Your heavenly light,
You shall warn those beseeching sons of the Franks
So they to be able to distinguish what is to be done to enforce Your reign in this world
And that, having seen what is to be done, they might be filled with mercy, might, and perseverance.
In the name of Jesus-Christ our Lord,
Amen

During times characterized since long by violence and unsafety, the concept that a sovereign has to be a peacemaker is however holding since the Great Invasions. Such ideas are perpetuated through the ancient, Roman litterature, the Patristics or contemporary scholars. Commentaries in theology, for example, are well showing how peace and wars were current in the Old Testament and how such situations sound familiar to people of the time. Centrality of Solomon also is obvious, a peacemaker and wise rule, and a theme which will remain recurrent since the Vandals in Africa by the 5th and 6th centuries down to the reign of Louis the Pious. Even Barbaric kings like the Vandals, Burgundians, Ostrogoths and Wisigoths, wanted, among troubles, to give a image of themselves like peacemaker sovereigns. Theme of peace, at last, is central to the Carolingians. As the beginnings of the dynasty they refered to the concept of peace and ideal ruler. Such themes thus became -through scholars like Alcuin, or the coronation of Christmas 800- part of the Charlemagne myth and passed to his successors! Here is really to be found a tradition which owes to the West only and not to Byzantium, where such references also were part of the emperor's titulature and coronation acclamations. Louis the Pious -and not Charlemagne- was assimilated to Solomon as scholars then deepen further still the concept of the peacemaker ruler. That tradition kept too under Charles the Bald. The reference to Solomon, from that, looks like it fades, especially under the English rulers of the time of Alfred the Great (albeit reappearing under Edward the Confessor) as the themes of the wise and peacemaking king still hold, as they will also do, later, in Francia orientalis or the Ottonian empire

Website Manager: G. Guichard, site Learning and Knowledge In the Carolingian Times / Erudition et savoir à l'époque carolingienne, http://schoolsempire.6te.net. Page Editor: G. Guichard. last edited: 3/7/2016. contact us at geguicha@outlook.com