Monastic History

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Monastic History Class, Carolingian Monasticism, Charlemagne

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It's not because I'm accelerating the course or skipping anything, it's just that things happen so fast and in such sweeping ways that it will seem very precipitous somehow from here on in. The way I see it, we're going to finish before I leave at the end of May easily. May, but finish in April. We'll see how things go. Also, you've got to get used to this seesaw that we're going to start experiencing. That is this incredible wealth of reform movements and rich monastic living and congregations forming and doing wonderful things and then 30 years later it's all in dissolution and decaying and starting over again. Usually they last longer than that, but some of them only last 30, 40, 50 years. Can I give you another pen real quick? Sure. I don't have one. So today I'm going to start with Carolingian monasticism.


There are two maps coming around which just situate you in what we're talking about, the Carolingian Empire. Carolingian refers to Charlemagne. It is the empire that follows upon the Merovingian Empire. Going through bloodlines, we're talking about barbarians who have now become the powers in Europe, who are now the new people in Europe, and who become the educated, the learners and carry on the culture they almost squelched 100, 200 years earlier. We're also going to talk about today a very important monastic figure whose feast we celebrate on February ... it was while we were at ...


Oh yeah. 11th, February 11th. That's right, the day after Scholastica. And I've underlined here in green, if you remember anything from this lecture or you want to pay particular attention, it's what I've underlined. Benedict von Jung himself, the two councils, it's the same year, easy to remember, the Raven or Robanus Maurus, Raven, Strabo, and Smaragdus. They're not common names, they should at least make a little ... Smaragdus sounds like something you'd find between your toes if you didn't wash. There you go. Okay, so let me give you some preliminary remarks then, just to sort of situate where


we are now in the Church, where we are in monasticism, and how that will affect where we go. In Germany at this time, we're just going to call it Germany and France from now on, even though it's still going to have various names, sections of them. They're still not set up as countries as such. The monasteries are the center of culture and education. We still have that. And we find here a fully developed benedictinism going on, mainly due ... we're just following on the heels of what we talked about last time, remember? Boniface and Willibrord, and starting all those monasteries and reform in Germany, and setting up the German Church as such, because it was all, you know, Rothbard. Okay, so now we've got the fruits of that, and that is the monasteries in Germany are


the centers of culture, and they're training people, and they're educating people. And they're also really the hub of the Church for the most part. Roman usages are prevalent there. We still have the Celtic-Roman thing going on, okay? We haven't pulled out of that yet. And because Boniface and Willibrord were from England, where did they come from? Who are they, blood-wise? Anglo-Saxons who moved to the continents. They're coming from England. Even though Willibrord studied in Lindisfarne and had the Celtic experience for 12 years before he went there, he really liked the Roman usages better once he got to know them. They both promoted that, and so the whole German thing becomes a place where the monasticism is of a Roman bent rather than the Celtic bent. This particular synod of lifting, it's not all that famous, the synod, but I mention


it because it's going to set up certain parameters for the future. And a decree from the Emperor Pippin follows upon this synod. What does that do? Well, Pippin says, look, everybody, everybody, we want everybody to use this document in that area we're talking about. Excuse me. Pippin is still Merovingian? The end of Merovingian? He's the son of Charles Pippin. No, there's more than one Pippin. Pippin is Charles Pippin. There's more than one Pippin. There was a Pippin in the Merovingians too. I don't have a date here. You can settle it. Anyway, even in some of the Celtic strongholds that still existed in what is now Europe,


like what's the famous Celtic foundation in Switzerland? St. Gaul. St. Gaul. So even places like St. Gaul had to follow Pippin's and had to change to this. So it's like Germany and east of that, southeast, where this has an effect, and in parts of France also, but they're already using the art piece, so they aren't too much affected by that. And the word monk, from here on, somewhat, or generally let's say, for a while at least, becomes synonymous with Benedictine. Even though there is no Benedictine order, Benedictinism does not exist, it's just that since they start using the rule of Benedict, all these monasteries become known as Benedictine monasteries, because that's the rule of the house. You know, we're talking about a long development into what becomes the Benedictine order.


But really, when do we get the Benedictine order? When you really get down to it? 19th century. 19th century, exactly. All the way at the end of the 19th century, or mid to end of the 19th century, before it actually is set up officially by the pope, who says, you have to do this and that. But of course, before then, it was generally considered an order, the whole thing. So it was like already half an order much earlier, but here we're at the point where it's like one-eighth of an order. Okay, and we're at a period here, right during this time in ushering into this, where in Germany and Switzerland, what is going to be Germany and Switzerland, and some parts of France, the nobles, the hierarchy, the nobility, and the powers, secular powers, are all supporting the church. And so monasticism can hold on, can hold on.


This is shortly going to fragment and fall apart. Exemption. Exemption as we know it, is a monastery is free from a bishop, the power of the bishop in the diocese the monastery is in. Does not have to follow the bishop, and the bishop has no business in there at all, has no power over it. This is unusual. And we still, for the most part, don't have exemption until this time, except for a couple houses, if you remember, I mentioned it obliquely, in Italy, that in their beginning roots, when they were re-founded by Anglo-Saxons, were given exemption. Farfa, I think, Farfa and Bobio. And so we have a precedent there, but we don't have exemption. By the way, exemption has changed now, of course, since Vatican II also.


It's all conditional. We're exempt, yes, but only in certain things. And generally, the abbot or the prior of the sui iuris house is the general superior and has the most say over whether his men will preach or that type of thing. But since Vatican II, a bishop certainly has power over everything in his diocese, but there's only a certain amount of situations where he could really come in and say, hey, do this and do that, change this, and the monks could always revert to Rome to be general or whatever anyway. But it's not the same as it used to be. It used to have total exemption. According to the Council of Chalcedon, monasteries were to be under the bishops, were under episcopal control. And then we have some precedents, as I mentioned, in Farfa and Bobio, who got some exemption.


And also, within the Celtic Christian church, for the most part, they lived as if they had exemption. It wasn't even a question. The Celtics just had that freedom above them. And the ruling abbots and whatnot were potentates. When it came to obey, obey. It was just direct obedience. And they didn't have to go through the bishops or whatever. We're getting to the point now where many individual monasteries are on the books under the bishops, but for the most part, they're so powerful and on their own and in good standing right now that there's no reason for a bishop to even try to get involved in that. So the bishop really has very little power. Yeah. Fulda. Not Farfa. Fulda. Fulda and Bobio.


So Fulda was the big, the main foundation of whom? Fulda. His sister, Saint Laoba, was right near them. Yeah, Boniface. Boniface. And the other one is Bobio in Italy that I mentioned. They got total exemption, just happened to be a fluke, and gave some people some ideas for later on down the line. So, Carolingian monasticism. What are we talking about then? Under the Carolingians, you have the development of this to the Hilt. Huh? Feudalism. You've all studied feudalism at some point and you've been pressed into reading something or other in a world history course. Haven't you?


Feudalism, vassals, serfs, the knights, the whole thing. I'm not asking this so that I can put you on the spot and have you give a little lecture. Just if you know the general things. Are you referring those things also to the center of lifting? Well, it was dealing with these things. Yeah. We have the situation which, in the beginning, harms monasticism under feudalism. Because when you mix religion and politics, or when you equalize them, when it comes to the powers that be in the situation. For instance, abbots also being under their lord power, you know, the seigneur. When the abbot becomes a vassal, what does he do?


Why is he a vassal? Why would the emperor or counts or whatever even want abbots to be their vassals? Land. Lots of money, land. And, in some occasions, soldiers. Soldiers. It's going to be very important. And the more important it gets, the stronger the arm of the state gets in this society. Because they want as much revenue as they can get to sponsor not only the local feuds, but when we start talking about cross-country, cross-continental, you got to have ships, food, wine, armor, the whole thing. For years at a time. Well, that costs money. Eventually, it wasn't so bad under Charlemagne himself. He had things pretty well.


He was an amazing man. And things were pretty well centralized. But as soon as you get to the death of Charlemagne, and the empire gets split up among his sons, and from then on, you've got vassal states rising and fighting one another, and everybody's after one another. And there's conflicting interests on all levels. Yeah, I can't do without that. Certain rights during this time were given to the abbots since they were vassals of the lords, of the local lord. An abbot would be a vassal. He would share in some of the power of that lord. And so you have abbots having the power again and again. It depends on money. You'll see. They have the power to tax, to hold court in the marketplace,


to imprison, to punish, whatever. Once you get abbots involved in this sort of thing, you're going to see monasticism start going downhill. But the abbots are feeling the pinch when the lord wants the tax money, or whatever. Everybody feels the pinch. And so you have abbots getting into this secular business, and it's not good for the tenor of monasticism in general. In the 9th century, so in the 800s, you have what is called high justice being added to the abbots' powers, along with what is known as seniorio rights. That is the rights of the senior, gentleman, liege, or vassal of the king. Certain rights that go along with that.


There's special protection. Now we're talking about abbeys in general. And special protection, royal protection. There's certain privileges that come along with the beginnings of customs taxes. And taxation as such, setting up markets. So you can't sell goods unless you go through the abbot, get the permission, and pay your fee. Everything comes down to money at this point. Making certain proclamations. Political and economic proclamations. And, probably the worst thing, the ability, the permission, to hold one's own vassals. So you have underlings, absolutely under the power of the abbot.


In his area. So he has, I don't want to call it slaves, but for the most part, if you're a vassal, you're a vassal. Of course there's a much worse situation. There could be a serf under one of the vassals. And that is slavery. At the nadir of this feudal setup. The abbey got to the point where it needed a figure, called a provost, who would just, because it got so developed, that this provost would just come and take care of all that, all the money and lands and taxes and all that stuff, and let the monastery try to be monastic. Rather than being involved in all this other stuff. But that causes problems later on, because who's the most important one in the community? The provost. And he's going to become increasingly more important,


and there's going to be all kinds of troubles along the way. And then you're going to get people who want to be provost, for less than exemplary reasons, and once they are, do in the community. Sort of like a business manager. Yeah, but also sort of like a sheriff of the area, and also sort of like the tax commissioner. Not a monk. Usually not, not in the beginning. I want to make sure I'm not saying something. I don't have it here, whether he is or not, but my memory is that they tried to go outside, someone they trusted, but not have a monk involved in that. But maybe, maybe sometimes there were. They were monks, I don't know. Charlemagne, for all his wonderful characteristics,


when he came to the church, was absolutely on scooters. In his dealings with church, he needed money. He would cause the fall of a house, he would destroy a monastic community in order to get the money if he needed it. He was unscrupulous also in giving abbeys, left and right, away to his friends, as little gifts. You know, we have the, we're to the point now, where the one who has control of an abbey in name is not necessarily a monk at all, but can be just a personal friend of the king, or somebody who's done a good deed, gets paid off. And you can increase, you can have any number of abbeys under your belt. I give an example here.


Alcuin of York, this is St. Alcuin, by the way. He wrote The Life of, Trivia Time. I just remember mentioning the last time. He wrote The Life of, no, well he might have. I don't know, don't remember that. But he wrote The Life of either Boniface or Willigroy. And that's why, I think it's Willigroy, because that's why it became famous. Because through Alcuin, who was a generation later, it became one of the famous lines that went around the Empire. This Alcuin, when he was just a priest, later becomes a monk bishop, and then a monk archbishop. Archbishop of Canterbury in the end? Alcuin? I don't know. Certainly an archbishop of York. He had, just while he was a priest,


four abbeys under his belt, which means all the money, all the property belongs to him, but all the money, well he gave enough to the monks to live off. But I mean, you just gathered as much as you could get away with. It was up to you, you had absolute control. You have this going on, and under Charlemagne's son, Louis, the, not the bald, that's Charles, fat, not the fat, not the short, the pious, Louis the pious. He might have been short and fat, I don't know. His nickname was the pious. He spread this all over. He thought this was a great thing, and he started dishing them out like he's at Las Vegas. And this is great, awful for monasticism. Just awful. What happens when that is widespread


and it's going to happen again down the line is that monasticism, certainly the tenor monasticism goes downhill, but from the point of view of the state, more and more as the years go on, more and more, monasteries are only seen as revenue to be protected and kept productive and then to suck dry every year when it's time to get the revenue. Not a good thing. Monasteries belong to the state, and the abbot is the vassal of the king. That's the situation under high feudalism. And later on, when it comes to military duty, even that, you can have monks pressed into duty. Not supposed to be, but it happened. And you have abbots going off to the crusades sometimes with spear in hand or sword in hand.


Other times not. But at the bottom of it all, just remember that, it's money. Examples. You know, I put these names on here. Next time there's going to be more names of abbeys. I only put them on once, and then every time I have to mention them, if you've already seen it, I just do this so you have the spelling once. Hirsveld Abbey. At this time, there are thousands of abbeys already. Thousands. There are thousands of monasteries. Hirsveld Abbey has, in the year... I don't have the year, I'm sorry, but we're still talking ninth century. Has 2,000 farms in 195 villages, spread out in 195 villages. They get everything. For the most part. You don't let people starve to death, but the abbey gets everything. Of course, the abbey uses it's getting sucked away from them, too.


St. Gall in Switzerland has property in 51 villages at this time. Fulda. And you know, some of these are great monasteries. They're wonderful places. Apex of monasticism. But remember, I said Anglo-Saxon monasticism is very short-lived on the continent. It's great. Fulda has 26 villages it owns. St. Germain. St. Germain, and St. Wondry. Where's Wondry? Do you know, Jeff? This is famous. Today, it's still a famous abbey. It often... It got pre-Judisque a few years ago with its Gregorian chalice. That's right. It's a collection. Still, you know, this Anglican group, this Canterbury group that once in a while goes on a thing of Benedictine abbeys and whatnot. But they came over while we were over in Camaldoli last year and we took them around. Friends of Robert.


The American Canterbury Cathedral Trust. Anyway, they always go to St. Wondry. It seems to me it's near Beck. Because they always go to Beck, too. They have a covenant with Beck. Canterbury and Beck. Seems to me it's up there. Anyway, these two were even wealthier than the examples I've given. So they have more than 2,000 farms. And all the people on those farms, they're not... You know, they're not like employees. They're like owned. Owned. We're talking feudalism here. We're not talking democracy. We're talking owned. Now, for the most part, the monasteries were not ruthless. In fact, at this point, even though they had all that wealth, they leased these things out to these people. Even though technically they owned them. They leased them out.


And they only took a little bit away, actually. But, of course, the farmers didn't keep most of it either. Most of it went to the state. But, the abbey only took one-fourth of the revenue from all these things. All these farms and whatnot. And the people under the abbeys at this time were actually... It was best to be under an abbey. If you had to be owned by somebody, it was best... This is a good time to be owned by an abbey. Because they didn't need a job. In Carolingian times, however, even though monasteries were considered from this point of view, money, they were also supported as spiritual and cultural centers. So they weren't just money. But, most importantly, money seconded culture and education. Spirituality. And the line they follow


at this time in the Carolingian experience is the Anglo-Saxon on the continent experience. That is, we still have monasteries as places with scriptoria, scholarship going on, education of at least the wealthy people. Studies. Places of study. The principal Anglo-Saxon import at this time into the Carolingian experience monastically was Alcuin of York. Who is the scholar? And he wrote many number of manuals of instruction. Saints, Lines, Hagiography, works of exegesis on scriptural books, commentaries, various texts, theological texts and treatises. And especially on asceticism.


And his school that he set up produced a whole cadre of fine scholarly people who are going to during this time help hold on during an awfully bleak time that's ahead. Hold on to culture, hold on to scholarship, biblical, love for biblical studies, et cetera. Most of the abbeys were flourishing culturally and educationally. Most of them, no, all of them had a library. Most of them had a library. All of them were into education and scholarship. Most of them had good libraries besides. We still have copying of manuscripts going on, illumination. We've had that for centuries. Certainly also the Celtic monastic experience.


Many, many monks want to be monastic at this time. They find it very, very hard. But the yearning is still there even though things keep getting in the way economically and politically. And so they got very creative with how they lived the monasticism around these elements. And that helped to around the worries about money and taxation and wars and all this stuff. How they lived the fervor of monasticism within the cloister, that became the center focus right now for many of them. Benedict of Agnes, by far the most important personage at this time. He was a goth. So here we have another barbarian. Or he had his gothic blood. And he was educated at the court of Pippin.


And he became a court official there and then he remained so under Charlemagne. So we're talking about the first Pippin. And he remained there under Charlemagne. In the year 772, as a court official, he went on the campaign against the Lombards. The Lombards, remember when we were talking about Italy, how Lombards even destroyed Monte Cassino. And later became rather benevolent to many of the monastic, Anglo-Saxon monastic foundations in Italy. Well, this is, we're back to the period where the Lombards are running around, destroying. And he almost lost his life in this battle. And this is another theme we'll keep seeing throughout the lives of monastic reformers. He decides to become a monk because his life is spared. And he does that with great fervor. He entered the abbey


of Saint-Seine near Dijon, where he lived. Very, very strict asceticism. He was very influenced by, and this is another theme we're going to keep seeing over and over again with the reformers. Who does he look to as the heroes of monasticism? The Egyptian deserts. And he wants to live exactly like that. Well, the other monks in Saint-Seine are not living like that. They're in Carolingian times and in a cold place. And he saw, and this is important to remember also, in the beginning, he saw the rule of Benedict, even though it's in effect right now, he saw it as sort of only a beginning. Benedict himself says, this is only for beginners. He saw that it was only a beginning text and really not all that important. He's really looking back at the desert. And the other monks of Saint-Seine, and this is in documented, hated him.


And this is another theme we see with reformers. They hate, they just hate these guys when they're in their first, in their first house. They usually get kicked out or almost assassinated. It happens a lot. And so he's at Saint-Seine and they hate him. So he just decides to leave. He can't put up with life like that. And he goes back to his ancestral property, so his family property. And he founds his own monastery on his own property, or what was his family's property. And all along here, he's maintaining that extreme asceticism that's modeled on Egyptian monasticism. And mostly, he gets vocation. People draw on to his fervor and his purity and asceticism, and almost all of them can't live it and leave. He's still there, valiantly doing his thing. And he gets, at the end of a few years, he gets a couple who had persevered and are with him now.


Their poverty there was so extreme that some of them literally starved to death under the ascetic regime he had going. This is going to affect him later on. Basically, and this shouldn't surprise you, because he lives upon this. What is he going to model his monasticism on? Well, you may never know. He's in the West. Even though his heroes are in Egypt, it ain't the desert there. It's in the forests of France. So monastically, who is he going to look to? Well, no. Yes, the Celts. The Celts. Because remember the asceticism thing? That's what's going to attract him. And lots of punishments. Lots of punishment. So that gets to it. And then for some reasons, and this is the mystery about Benedicta Magna. We have a book, two books, one or two coming


from Italy right now. Unfortunately, I think they're in French and Italian. But I found them at Camaldoli last year. They're new books on Benedicta. I can't wait to get my hands on them. Because this isn't, we don't know a lot about Benedicta Magna. This is a field that's just opening up. We don't know why, but in the year 782, for whatever reason, he completely changes his approach. That is, he becomes the champion of this. He goes to the Roman usage. He's into a moderate monasticism. People come to him. They stay. It becomes a wonderful, solvent community with good vocations. He spent the time from 782 on for a while studying the RB, studying all the rules he could get his hands on, whatever those Western rules were still available.


And collected himself a very good monastic library. Well, it didn't have a name. You'd call it Inden. That's the family name there. He brought in scholars, monastic scholars, to teach his monks monastic history, monastic principles, spirituality, languages, et cetera. And literally became the champion of the rule of Benedict. He made new foundations, small ones in the beginning. Other houses that were already existing begged him to send monks to them so they could do what he's doing, this typical of a reform movement. So he got all these satellites under him suddenly


with this new approach new for this decade. I mean, we're talking about just not too long after another period where the rule of Benedict was championed. But it goes up and down during the centuries, up and down. King Louis of Aquitaine, who later becomes the emperor, asks him into his lands and makes him the visitator, the grand potentate, monastic potentate of all the monasteries in Aquitaine to reform him and to watch over him. And Louis becomes the emperor. And once he becomes emperor,


on the occasion of Charlemagne's death, he calls Benedict into Alsace-Lorraine and sets him up in what becomes a very famous monastery, Cornelius Munster. Cornelius Munster. And this monastery, in the eyes of the emperor, and from the mouth of the emperor, is the model on which all monasteries in the entire empire are to be modeled. And what is he using there but the RB? I've made a mistake. I've made a mistake. I don't have the name of his place at home. I mean, his family's home. I don't have this. Indon is his second monastery. Both of these are his. Indon is the one near Aquitaine


because the emperor wants him right there with him. And so he builds him another place called Indon. And so he's sort of like back and forth between these two houses. I don't remember the name of it. Maybe it's called Anya. It would make sense, huh? It would make sense that I wouldn't put it here because the name is Anya. So Benedict, in effect, becomes the imperial abbot of the empire. And he's the personal, most important counselor to the emperor himself. He was to be considered by the empire as the living embodiment of what monasticism is to be in the empire. He has all the power to visitate in any monastery and change anything he wants in any of his monasteries.


He can interfere anywhere he so wished, supported by the emperor. But his crowning, and he didn't abuse that. His crowning achievements come with these councils. The Council of Aachen and the Council of Aachen-Chapel. At the Council of Aachen, 817, they're both in the same year, 817, all the principles that he's set up are universally accepted for all the abbots of the empire. And they're obligatory for all monasteries. Anything he said goes. And that's got the power of law now. Church law and, because it's supported by the emperor, for all practical effects. Also the civil law, more or less.


His two great works are a concordance he did and the Concordia Regulorum, which I haven't done yet. Concordia Regulorum. He was for not just using the RV, he still, you know, he doesn't get rid of all of his strictness in his approach. You cannot use the RV just as a guide and you sort of, well, do this or modify that. No. He's a literalist. He says that everybody has to live the rule of Benedict literally. Quote from Benedict of Ania, you are Benedictines and for this reason you must keep the rule. In other words, the rule is not to be explained, the rule is not to be interpreted, simply to be observed. Period.


Unquote. So the rule of Benedict text that they had at Aachen was decreed to be the official text and all other texts that had added things, and of course every monastery was doing that, they were tailoring it. You all had to get a copy of this text so everybody has the same text that you're dealing with. Excuse me. And he preserved the law code that he had in the rule of Benedict, preserved that, and really in the end, because of this, it sounds rather harsh, but because of this, the rule of Benedict really becomes the monastic rule in Europe. And Benedictinism as such really for the first time becomes a consciousness. Benedictine. We are Benedictine. We had a little bit of it in Germany


prior to this, as I mentioned at the beginning of this lecture, but now we have it for the whole empire. And Benedictines get a consciousness of being sons of Benedict. Another council, a chapel, also took place in the same year, 817. And at that place they come out with a document, his document, called Capitulare Institutum, which is the first general code for all monasteries of a region. That is, the rule of Benedict according to these degrees can only be changed in very minor details. Already they were having a little trouble with people balking, no, balking, thank you, balking at the statements of this one,


the first. So you have a little balking going on. So they come out real strong, the tone is very firm, it's not harsh or punitive, it's just very firm and matter of fact. Through this clarification council you get the first real model of general, the first general of the order, Benedict of Angan. You get the general, you get a system of visitations. We don't have this going on before then, and it's still, pretty soon we're going to lose this and it'll come back, it'll surface later. But, you know, you have the beginnings of what you're really going to end up coming forcefully through this astersion phenomenon. You have it, you have the general and the regular visitations, general chapters, etc. All of that you have started with the sons of Benedict


under Benedict of Angan. So you really have sort of like a congregational consciousness in its roots. What are some, just some particulars of Carolingian monotheism that I feel are important to mention? First we're going to look at Fulda Abbey. So we're back in Germany, what is Germany now? This is Boniface's main abbey. This, during the Carolingian times, Fulda just blossoms and flourishes. It has its monks educated, sends its monks away to various schools, the best schools in the empire. They come back with different experiences from different schools, and Fulda just becomes all the more enriched. You know, you have, even in this country, a number of houses will educate its men in theology in different houses. Some of them have all...


They didn't want education, educational inbreeding. And so they sent their people all over and just had a wealth of experience, and they got their own school started, which just thrived in the empire. And the abbot under this time, the main teacher, was Rathen. Most large Benedictine abbots have a father, a brother Rathen. This is the one they're named after, Rathenus Manus. He was the abbot and a scholar, main teacher. I think he wrote poetry and some music, too, if I'm not mistaken. He also built up the buildings of the Abbey and School, which is a real developer. He wrote an awful lot, but he's mainly known for his scriptural commentaries and his Praeceptor Germanii, and I don't know what that is about. It's about something that's going on in Germany,


but I don't remember what it was about. Maybe it's of historical interest. Reichenau Abbey. It's not on there. I've mentioned it before. Reichenau. It's like the Third Reich and now. This also had a celebrated school at this time, and its main figure was Walther Straubel. Just remember Straubel. I'm never writing to a Walther. Straubel. Important figure. He's their shiny light at Reichenau, and they also have this great school going because of him. His main work is the Glossa Ordinaria. What is Glossa? Wood. What word do you think of? What is a gloss in manuscripts? You made a commentary. In the margin.


In the margin. Good. So it's like, and often through glosses, we get through the centuries, manuscripts change because they incorporate the glosses. A lot of these monks who did the copying went on, they didn't know the marginal comments. From there, they just incorporated right into the text and you get all these glosses. Well, that happens in scripture, too. We're always dealing with glosses, okay? He wrote a book called Glossa Ordinaria, which are basically his own exegetical marginal comments, and then they made it into a book. And it was really good. He wrote a number of things, but this is the thing that really made his fame. St. Gall in Switzerland, also at this time, very, very good school. These are the three biggest schools right now in the Charlemagne's time, outside of right near the court itself.


Many, many scholars at St. Gall. St. Gall is going to be a flourishing area off and on for centuries. Here, just like when the Anglo-Saxon monks coming over the continent who were not at all abashed to translate the Bible and Scripture into the vernacular, into German. Remember, Bede? Bede was just finishing his English translation. You have this also in the Carolingian experience. There's no problem with putting the Scripture into the vernacular. You're going to have this later on where it's, eh, you can get burned at the stake if you try to suggest that the common people hear the vernacular. That's why Meister Eckhart got into trouble. Not so much with the Scripture in the vernacular, but he gave his sermons in the vernacular. He gave it in Plattdeutsch, even though he was a great scholar. He was top Latin


at the best of them. He gave his sermons in Cologne. Now we're getting really off track. But he gave it in Plattdeutsch, with kind of a rough language at times, but the people loved it. It was the first sermons they could get into. He spoke of his own mystical experiences and the presence of God in their own language, the first sermons they could ever understand. All the other ones were highly polished little Latin niceties and whatnot. And of course, all the other ones are going to get angry at Meister Eckhart because he's doing this. Also, it's going to be a big issue in the Reformation, how the whole vernacular But the monks, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 hundreds, wherever they are, they're translating their scriptures into the vernacular just for didactic purposes, let alone their own personal enjoyment of the scriptures and the language. Also, German theological works are being done right now in German. We don't have,


I mean, this is, you know, until the 20th century, you have everything being written in Latin in the Roman experience. You have hymns in German. We're talking 800s German hymns. We have German translations of the Rule of Benedict being done at St. Gall right now. I mean, until now, we've had them in Latin. Well, they understand Latin. But you see, the thing is, if you put it in the vernacular, then everybody can read it. Everybody can know the vernacular. Especially flourishing at St. Gall, but in other houses as well, artisans, goldsmiths, silversmiths. Again, we're getting close to the point where you have the whole guild system and various bandings of artisans and whatnot into not just economic powers, but political, religious, and cultural powers as well.


You have a lot of this going on. They had a lot of glass work going on at St. Gall. Stained glass, also metal, metal work going on and mosaics and goldsmithing at Smiragdis. Smiragdis, once in a while, you'll run into Smiragdis. I guarantee you, you'll hear a commentary at vigils by Smiragdis or something like that. You won't forget the name, huh? Smiragdis. Very, very important monastic commentary. This is one that's real important for monasticism, not just culture or theology, but monasticism itself. The diadema, what does that mean in English? The crown or diadem. The diadem of monks, the crown of monks, is one of his two most important works. And that is, he draws from all the fathers of the church compendium


of where what they say forms a ground for encouraging the monastic virtues. So it underpins monastic spirituality, basically. His other work, the exposizio, on the exposizio. Exposizio. Exposizio is sort of his commentary on the RSV, on Regula Sancti Benedicti, the rule of St. Benedict. His comments, again, do-do-do-do-do-do-do-do-do. Yeah. And most interesting, if you're going to read this, because it gives you an idea of what the day-by-day monastic life in Carolingian monasticism really was like. And so, Benedictine scholars, monastic scholars,


love Smeradikas. I think Smeradikas. Smeradikas. Does it? Smeradikas. Yeah. It seems to me that we have some excerpts of Smeradikas. I know where I can get some. But commonly available in one of the commentaries on the Benedictine rule, I think perhaps the one that was put out by Holy Cross, Abbey in Colorado. I thought it was originally a translation from a big German scholar. Stadel. Stadel. Basel. Basel and Stadel. Yeah. Anyway, we'll talk about that in the rule of Benedict class. Okay. Interesting. Two more interesting things that were done when we finished this topic, in fact. Slaves and serfs. What are some problems here? Well, slaves and serfs are excluded from being monks


at this point. Is it a matter of snubbing the nose? No. It's just that it is not legally possible. Under the present system. Slaves and serfs, the very nature of the beast is that you belong. You are owned by someone. And in order to become part of the monastic life, you have to be free to do so. And so slaves and serfs cannot become monks. That I don't know. You know, I ran across that or I have run across that in, like, historical novels and that type of thing where once in a while or the lord rewards a serf by giving him freedom. It must have happened. I don't know. Maybe they could but it probably took a long time to collect them serf's wages, what they needed, you know. What was the other reason, just canonically, in order to be a monk


what do you have to take? Vows. You cannot take vows if you are owned and unfree to make that legal, remember, vows are a contract, to make a contract. So canon law says you can't do it at this time. This is under the feudal system, unfortunately, for serfs and slaves. So what happens because of this? Following upon Carolingian monasticism, who's in the monasteries? All. Everybody's, you know, at least free, if not come from wealthy families because those who aren't wealthy, there aren't many who are, you know, who are free, who can afford to be free. So the monasteries become noble institutions, institutions of nobility for the most part. This is going to be bad down the road from time to time. And lastly I want to talk about obedience.


Under Carolingian monasticism, we have a certain kind of obedience we've only seen in one place before, if you remember where. It's called conditional obedience. This is that one thing that came from the experience in Spain where you had these crazy families of, you know, and the obedience was called conditional obedience, that is you put in your vow formula and I promise obedience, as far as God lets me. Carolingians like it too. Now why am I not surprised? Here's the professional formula. As God gives me grace. That's the obedience. As God gives me grace. So, needless to say, this is going to cause problems down the line. And the reforms of Benedict of Anijan


and Cluny, just down the road, half a century down the road, and the reform of Benedict of Anijan as it carries through, are constantly digging at this, what is this conditional obedience? You know, you can tell why Benedict of Anijan would like conditional obedience. I mean, what does he like? He isn't one to have that. If he's looking to the Egyptian deserts and then comes across the rule of Benedict as a literalist, he's not going to say, but of course you only have to obey if you really want to. If God maybe gives you the grace. It's not Benedict of Anijan. And Cluny, it's not that Cluny is a terribly strict or harsh reformer, we'll talk about that next week, next Wednesday. But because by that time this conditional obedience has gone far enough, it's caused enough problems


and is ruining monasticism. Because it's a legality. They can legally do this. Legally say, hey, I don't have the grace. And they don't have to obey. Okay. Tomorrow we're going to talk about monastic decay. Okay, here we go down. We're going to talk about the monastic decay after this time. The first wave of continental reform. And then next Wednesday we'll talk about Cluniacs. And for next Wednesday, read William of Sainte-Hierry. He's going to be talking about the Black Monks. He's Cluniacs are the Black Monks. At the time it was the Cistercians. Black against white, particularly. Oh, it was Maoism. It was true. It was true.