Letters of (and concerning) Manasses I, Archbishop of Reims, and Hugh, bishop of Die and papal legate, to Pope Gregory VII (1077-1080)

Translated from the Latin by John S. Ott, Department of History, Portland State University. Translations, introduction and notes are (C) John S. Ott and may not be reproduced without permission, but the notes and translations may be employed without the author's permission for classroom use. Last updated 2 January 2021.


Manasses I of Gournay, archbishop of Reims from c. 1069-1080, was one of the most powerful prelates in France during a time of acute transformation and periodic crisis within the medieval church. Although initially installed in his office with the full support of then-pope Alexander II (1061-1073) and his archdeacon Hildebrand, the future Pope Gregory VII, Manasses's falling out with, and eventual deposition by, Gregory in 1080 stands as one of the more spectacular ecclesiastical downfalls of the late eleventh century.  If the reasons for Manasses' hasty promotion from near total obscurity to high church office are relatively clear and boil down to his friendship with Alexander and Hildebrand, his decline and fall are rather more complex and go straight to the heart of a host of issues connected to Pope Gregory VII's vision of the medieval church and his program for its reform. Gregory's correspondence with (and about) Manasses of Reims is well known and widely available through the editions and translations of his papal Registers. [1]  Manasses's correspondence with Gregory and his legate for France, Hugh of Die [2], while available in editions of varying quality, is little studied by comparison.  This is a shame, not only because Manasses was a flamboyant and outspoken prelate--and one not afraid of voicing his displeasure at his treatment by Gregory's legate, Hugh--but because the archbishop's letters present his understanding of the privileges and powers of the episcopal office at a time when Gregory was insisting that bishops demonstrate, above all else, obedience to St. Peter and to papal authority.  The letters below thus display Manasses's perspective on the compromises demanded of bishops in general, and himself in particular, during Gregory's papacy.  In them he expresses dismay, hurt, and finally anger and defiance, at his treatment by his former friend and presumptive ally, Gregory.  He also marshals a variety of legal and textual defenses on his own behalf, appealing to history, his metropolitan privilege, church law, and his personal bond with the pope.  In the end, they availed him not: Gregory pronounced his official deposition on 27 December 1080.  While Manasses clung to power for another nine months [3], he seems to have departed Reims for good by April 1081 and to have never returned.  What became of him afterward is a mystery.  He simply disappears from the historical record. [4]

Endnotes to Introduction

[1]  The edition of Gregory's letters was realized by Erich Caspar, ed., Das Register Gregors VII., 2 vols, MGH, Epistolae selectae, 2 [hereafter abbreviated Reg., followed by the letter and its date] (Berlin: Weidmann, 1955).  There have been two English translations of Gregory's letters, the first (and partial) by Ephraim Emerton, The Correspondence of Pope Gregory VII. Selected Letters from the Registrum (New York: Columbia University Press, 1932), the most recent (and complete) achieved by H. E. J. Cowdrey, The Register of Pope Gregory VII, 1073-1085 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002).

[2]  Hugh was bishop of Die from 1074-1082, later archbishop of Lyon from 1082-1109.  He served as Pope Gregory's chief legate to France from 1075 on.
Modern Die is a sub-prefecture in the French département of Drôme, in the Alpine foothills of southeastern France. In the Middle Ages it was a small county.  Hugh was a fairly severe and uncompromising man, as his letters with Manasses, and Gregory VII's letter to Hugh himself, make clear.  On Hugh's legation to France and relationship with Gregory, see: Theodor Schieffer, Die päpstlichen Legaten in Frankreich, vom Vertrage von Meersen (870) bis zum Schisma von 1130 (Berlin: Dr Emil Ebering, 1935), pp. 92-101; and Kriston R. Rennie, "Extending Gregory VII's 'Friendship Network': Social Contacts in Late Eleventh-Century France", History. The Journal of the Historical Association, 93 (2008), 475-96; along with Rennie's Law and Practice in the Age of Reform: The Legatine Work of Hugh of Die (1073-1106), Medieval Church Studies, 17 (Turnhout: Brepols, 2010).

[3]  Manasses's last known act as archbishop of Reims was to consecrate a church at Braux-sur-Meuse (near the modern French border with Belgium, in Champagne-Ardenne) on 26 September 1081. For the charter, see
H. Lacaille, ed., Trésor des chartes du comté de Rethel, vol. 1 (Monaco, 1902), p. 2.  Others have dated this charter to 1080 in order to have it accord with Manasses's deposition in December 1080, but I have seen no compelling reason to follow suit, especially since Manasses was still acting in his capacity as archbishop (despite his deposition) as late as May 1081.

[4]  The archbishop's disappearance has led scholars to propose various outcomes for him: that he left France to reside at the imperial court of Henry IV (we know that he was with Henry, outside the walls of Rome, in April 1081); that he eventually left on pilgrimage for Jerusalem. There is no conclusive evidence for either position. The likeliest explanation, and also the simplest, is that he died. A manuscript narrating a long-lasting property dispute between the abbeys of Saint-Remi and Saint-Nicaise of Reims, known as the
Libelli de discordia inter monachos S. Remigii et S. Nicasii Remenses agitata tempore Pachalis II papae (ed. Hermann Meinart; Weimar: Hermann Böhlaus, 1931), composed in the 1110s, notes somewhat laconically that he died and was succeeded in his office by Archbishop Renaud [Renaud I, 1083-1096] (cc. 7-8, pp. 272-73).

The Letters (with other documents) of Archbishop Manasses I of Reims, Hugh of Die, and Pope Gregory VII (1077-1080)

The letters below have been arranged chronologically. Translations of previously untranslated letters by Manasses and Hugh appear here; Gregory's letters, which are available in English translation elsewhere, have simply been noted and briefly summarized. The editions of the letters from which the translations have been made are noted at the closing of each translation, together with the footnoted material. I should quickly add that the letters appearing here by no means exhaust the correspondence between the pope and archbishop, which began immediately upon Gregory's ascension to the papal see in 1073. They do represent the complete extant correspondence from the last years of Manasses's episcopacy, however, when his relationship with Gregory began to deteriorate.

A.  Hugh of Die to Pope Gregory VII (1077, after 10 September)

Hugh wrote this letter after the synod he called at Autun, in Burgundy, in September 10.  In it, he gives Gregory an account of the synodal business transacted.  The archbishop of Reims had been summoned to the council at the pope's request (Reg. 4.22, 12 May 1077), not to be tried for simony but to assist Hugh of Die in deciding a case concerning the bishop of Cambrai, Gerard II (r. 1076/77-1092), who had, in the previous year, been promoted into his office by King Henry IV of Germany.  Manasses did not go, but sent representatives, including one of his archdeacons, in his place. His deposition by Hugh of Die, clearly encouraged by two high-ranking clergy from Reims, namely the provost and schoolmaster of the cathedral, seems to have caught Manasses by complete surprise.

TO THE MOST reverend father and lord Pope Gregory, from his sanctity's least useful servant, Hugh, priest of Die, [sends] greetings.

We have learned that your [faithful man] R.[1], to whom we enjoined that he should relate to you faithfully, like your son, what transpired at the council of Autun [2], at which he was present, has [in fact] returned to Paris.  Since he neither returned to us, nor wrote to us anything about your condition, we request your paternity that you deign to convey to us his sentence concerning the arrangement of the churches of Reims, Bourges, and Chartres.  Your paternity should also know that the so-called bishop of Noyon [3], who was closely investigated by us under the pressure of public examination, confessed his simony to us in the presence of the bishops of Laon and Langres, along with certain others.  He then confirmed by oath upon the holy gospels that, having seen your letters and by your legation, he had rightly resigned the church which he had wrongly occupied, and swore that to the best of his knowledge and ability he was legitimately ordained.  However, the bishop of Senlis [4], having received investiture by the king's hand, was ordained by that heresiarch of Reims [5], whom you forbade by your letters from accepting into the episcopate [a man] of this sort.  The recently ordained bishop of Auxerre [6] did not receive investiture by the king, although he sought his blessing through the king's advisors.  Moreover, concerning the archbishop of Sens [7], I hope you have adequately heard through the aforementioned R. what injury and insult he inflicted on your authority during our legation.  Nor in saying this, God as my witness, am I seeking my own glory.  And also [the archbishop of] Bordeaux [8], although summoned the past year to the council of Auvergne [9], neither came nor excused himself canonically, and was suspended from his episcopal office at the same council.  Whereupon he, dismissing the interdict, usurped the office for himself.  He was called a second time to the council of Autun, but because he sent no explanation to us, we suspended him from the priesthood.

Concerning all these things, we beseech you, write back to our smallness what your greatness judges and what you would then like to do.  Furthermore, we earnestly request that you send to us by the lord bishop of Valence the pallium [10] in order to confirm the ordination of that most religious archbishop of Lyon [11] against the barking of heretics, who are basely exulting about the king's indignation against God's ordination. … Moreover, we commend to the grace of your sanctity our friend in Christ Manasses, who at the Council of Clermont surrendered into our hands the wickedly acquired provostship of the church of Reims.[12] [We also commend] that sincere defender of the Catholic faith and most honest schoolmaster of the church of Reims, lord Bruno.[13]  Both men are worthy to be confirmed by you and your authority in those things which are God's, since they were considered worthy to suffer abuse in the name of Jesus.  For that reason you should consider them useful advisors in God's cause and allies in the lands of France.  The deposition of the heretic of Reims [14] [...] or order him to be sent to us [...] and be sealed by the signature of your authority.[...] since [they carried out?] an episcopal election [in spite of?] your excommunication, without consulting us.  Your son Tiezo [15] has now returned to you, unless he was detained in order to call, or, God willing, celebrate the council at Poitiers on the 13th of January.  In this council, we humbly beseech that the protection of your merits be with us.  Pray for us, most holy father.

Notes to Letter A.

[1] This is probably the bishop of Langres, Hugh-Rainard, concerning whom see below and Reg. 4.22.
[2] The council of Autun was held in September 1077 and presided over by Hugh of Die, with the bishop of Langres, Hugh-Rainard, assisting.
[3] Radbod II, bishop of Noyon-Tournai from 1068-1098.
[4] Likely Ivo II, bishop of Senlis from 1077-1079/81.  Senlis and Noyon were both in the archdiocese of Reims.
[5] Meaning Manasses I of Gournay, archbishop of Reims (069-1080).
[6] Robert of Nevers was bishop of Auxerre from 1076-1092.  He was the son of Count William I of Nevers, Auxerre, and Tonnerre.
[7] Richer, archbishop of Sens from 1062-1096.
[8] Gozelin, archbishop of Bordeaux from 1060-1086.
[9] Held under Hugh of Die at Clermont in Auvergne on 7 August 1076.
[10] A strip of linen or lamb's wool signifying the archiepiscopal office, conferred directly by the pope.
[11] Archbishop Gebuin of Lyon, who ruled from 1077-1081.
[12] Manasses, the provost of the chapter of Sainte-Marie of Reims, and future archbishop of that diocese (1096-1106), will emerge as the archbishop's most strident opponent.  At the Council of Autun, he ingratiated himself with Hugh of Die in the clear hopes of gaining papal support in his campaign against the archbishop. It is worth noting here that the provost had acquired his office by simony, probably through the influence of his relative, Count Ebalus (or Ebles) of Roucy, in 1076, only to surrender it into Hugh of Die's hands in August of that year.  Restored to office, the provost became an implacable enemy of Archbishop Manasses.
[13] Bruno of Cologne was one of the leading schoolmasters of the eleventh century, and was master of the school at Reims, where he may have been installed as early as 1055.  He became chancellor in 1075 or 1076, but was forced from the position, presumably by the archbishop, in 1077 or 1078, when another schoolmaster, Godfrey of Reims, assumed that important position. Bruno and the provost Manasses worked assiduously for the archbishop's removal from 1077-1080.  In return, the archbishop seized the possessions of both men and effectively barred them from the city.
[14] Again, referring to Archbishop Manasses. His heresy is not named, but appears to consist of his having ordained the bishop of Senlis, who had been promoted to his bishopric by the King of France--and, thus, was considered a simoniac. At this point, a series of lacunae in the edition obscure the concluding passages of the letter.
[15] Tiezo or Teuzo was a papal functionary often called upon to carry out Rome's business.

Sacrorum conciliorum nova et amplissima collectio, ed. Joannes Dominicus Mansi, 35 vols. (Florence and Venice: Zatta, 1759-98), 20:488-490.

B.  Archbishop Manasses to Pope Gregory VII (
1077, after 10 September, and before January 1078)

In this letter, Manasses protests to Gregory his treatment at Autun, and gives the pope his explanation of events.  In particular, he denounces his high-handed treatment by Hugh of Die and, most especially, the conduct of Hugh-Rainard, the bishop of Langres, who had assisted Hugh at Autun and who had pretended to possess full legatine powers. In fact, Hugh-Rainard seems to have been widely detested, as the clergy of Cambrai, who wrote to their colleagues at Reims at this same time, also disparaged him. No doubt complicating matters, Hugh-Rainard happened to be a cousin of Manasses.

TO HIS REVEREND lord Gregory, pontiff of the holy and apostolic Roman see, Manasses, by the Lord's grace archbishop of Reims, [offers] all due subjection and the compliance of infinite servitude.

I am endeavoring to write to your majesty how, reverend father, Lord Hugh of Die and his advisor and master, the bishop of Langres', the slickest of all men found on earth, have dealt with me, the servant of your holiness.[1]

This year the aforementioned [bishop of] Langres arranged to visit the cities and bishops of our province.  There he conducted himself so shamefully and, they say, so self-indulgently, that songs about the lovers which he left behind in the places he had departed are sung in our region by those like him.  One of them begins as follows; may I beg your indulgence, I am embarrassed to mention things of this sort to your majesty:

          Come, beautiful and delicate (one)
with smooth skin, like a girl. [1bis]

On learning of this I began to grow sad with dismay, not only because he steadfastly asserted himself not to be some sort of legate, but rather the advisor and master of your sanctity's legate [Hugh of Die], and also because he was our relative.  When he perceived this, namely that such infamy of his name was everywhere being spread in our parts, he began to impute to me what others, God as my witness, were saying [about him], and such a hatred boiled up in him for me that he said he would prefer to die rather than that I should remain in my diocese.  What more?  He associated with himself every ally whom he recognized to have or have had an issue or conflict with me.  He associated with, I say, He-Who-Ought-to-be-Eliminated, the bishop of Laon [2], whose hatred remains foremost in his mind [3] concerning the episcopacy which he lost in your dignity's presence and I obtained through your paternity's intercession. [4]  He took up no less with Ebalus of Roucy, who daily does not cease to depopulate our church with rapine, homicide, arson and various persecutions. [5]  He even associated with, together with certain leading men attached to our church, the provost of the same church, Manasses: uneducated, the most vile sort of buffoon, a man lacking all authority, whom even secular judgments, to say nothing of ecclesiastical, would not admit -- and who even, I have no doubt, slept with his sister, a nun and abbess. [6]  All these men together with their supporters set out for the council at Autun, conspiring against me. Now, let your serenity hear by what means and how unjustly and absurdly they dealt with me -- the servant of your sublimity! -- there.

It was asked by the bishop of Langres why the bishop of Reims, who had been called to the council, was not present.  On hearing this our legates, namely W., the lord archdeacon of Reims, along with certain other leading clerics of our church [7], responded:

Our lord [Manasses], fearing the ambushes of his enemies, from whom he has suffered the utmost persecution, as you well know, was unable to be here. He was anticipating, if the lord pope should boldly make the alpine crossing as he had confided to him in his letter, that either our lord should go out to meet him in German lands, or else the lord pope should come to him or send his legates to him, as he had indicated.  It was also decided that you ought not to take his absence badly if two or three men of the same diocese should be present at the council in the bishop's place, since he had not been summoned for any fault or crime which had been imputed to him. [Pope] Leo wrote to the bishop of Thessalonika [8] concerning sending representatives in this way in clause 10: In summoning your fellow bishops we wish you to be most moderate, and not seem to revel in grave injuries to maintain the appearance of due diligence. Whence if any major conflict should arise, for which it is rational and necessary to call a fraternal assembly, two bishops from each province, which the metropolitans believe should be sent, should be sufficient to come to your fraternity. And although, terrified by the fear of death or being captured but fully assured of the expectation of his legates and also of the decree of his predecessor Pope Leo, he did not come at your summons although he was called, he commits his magistracy into your hand, to whom he is subordinate after God; and even if he had been commanded, as we said, on account of some wrongdoing or any crime, but simply because he should be present here, we pray, and he prays, that because he is not present here, you should not take it badly. Indeed if a plea or a display of either justice or the law cannot be extended to us or to him, and, guided by some sort of prejudice he wishes to harm him by cupidity or dislike, we call upon his behalf the lord pope, who established him in the see of Reims; indeed we call that very man who, shunning prejudice, saw fit to weigh truth and falsehood on the scales of justice.

Then the lord Hugh of Die, having been induced to think that [Manasses] was more vile than he, and moved by anger and shockingly agitated beyond all measure by the bishop of Langres and his accomplices, did not do what he ought, but what he pleased, and in a single moment carried out what your majesty had put off for six years with the bishop of Châlons: he suspended, excommunicated, and carried out whatever the bishop [of Langres] and his supporters wanted. [9]  He utterly forgot the decrees of Pope Leo, which he directed on behalf of the metropolitan Atticus of Epyrus to the archbishop of Thessalonika in the following words:

I am greatly amazed, dearest brother, but I am even more distressed, that you could be so violently and cruelly angered against a man concerning whom you passed no greater a judgment than that when summoned he deferred coming and offered the excuse of sickness.  Especially since, if he had deserved [censure] of this sort, you ought to have waited for whatever I would reply in writing to your decision. And shortly after: 'But even if he had done something serious and intolerable, our censure ought to have been waited for, so that you would not first decide something until you were aware of our judgment.  Indeed, we entrusted our office to your charity, so that you might act out of pastoral concern, not in the fullness of power. Whence, while the many things which were done by you piously make us very happy, so those deeds which were wrongly done deeply sadden us.' [10]

Indeed, Leo the Great did not praise what his legate, namely the archbishop of Thessalonika, did concerning Atticus the metropolitan of Epyrus; [Pope] Nicholas did not praise what Rotoald and Zacharias did concerning the patriarch Ignatius; and Pope Hilary condemned and counted for nothing whatever he considered illicit or he found had been allowed by his predecessors. [11]  Moreover, I raise a complaint with your paternity concerning the injury done to me by the bishops of Die and of Langres on your sanctity's behalf.  The King of the Germans gave the bishopric of Cambrai to a certain cleric when the [previous] bishop died. [12] When [this cleric] sought my blessing I utterly refused, knowing that the king was bound by your anathema.  The same man after our return went to the bishop of Langres [13] and stayed with him for six months, and, as was reported to me, promised him gifts.  And then at the aforementioned council the bishop of Die, at the bishop of Langres' urging, excommunicated me -- the servant of your sanctity -- and without my knowledge consecrated that same cleric whom I had rejected on your behalf. [14]

Whence, most reverend father, I request that the clemency of your serenity uproot such fickleness and such pride, while we, who are no Lombards! bend our necks to your power like a faithful man and servant, and that you make us come into your presence [15]; and in the meantime, until I should come to you, I request that you permit me to be free from the most unheard-of excommunication in our time.

May your sanctity be well, most reverend father.

Notes to Letter B.

[1] This letter's editors have suggested it may have been ghost-written by Manasses's new chancellor, Godfrey of Reims (Erdmann and Fickermann, eds., Briefsammlungen der Zeit Heinrichs IV., no. 107, p. 178 n. 1).
[1bis] Compare Plautus, Casina 108: 'bella et tenella Casina'.
[2] A clever pun substituting the Latin eliminandum for the bishop of Laon's name, Helinand.
[3] Virgil, Aeneid, 1.26.
[4] Manasses is referring here to Helinand of Laon's (1052-1096) attempt to secure for himself the archiepiscopacy following the death of Gervais of Chateau-du-Loir in July 1067. Manasses, the papal candidate, ultimately prevailed of course, and Helinand seems to have borne considerable hostility toward his rival as a result.
[5] Ebalus was count of Roucy (he died before 1103), a territory quite close to Reims.  The Roucy clan was a dominant force in local ecclesiastical politics.
[6] Manasses was provost of the cathedral from c. 1075/76-1096, and later became archbishop of Reims (1096-1106).  He was related to the Roucy clan and the son of the vicedominus of Reims, a powerful local aristocrat. His sister, Adela, was the abbess of Notre-Dame of Laon.
[7] This was Wido, or Guido, archdeacon of Reims from c. 1070-1081. He was a consistent partisan of the archbishop and a member of his inner circle.
[8] Pope Leo I (440-461), Letter 14 (c. 10), to the bishop of Thessalonika, reproduced in PL 54:674, trans. by Edmund Hunt, St. Leo the Great. Letters (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of American Press, 1957), 58-67.
[9] Gregory VII had been seeking to bring the bishop of Châlons, Roger III (1066-1092) to account for various misdoings since 1074 (and perhaps longer); indeed, the pope had appealed to Manasses, who was Roger's clerical superior, to assist him.  Manasses had not acted with the alacrity Gregory expected.
[10] Cf. Letter 14.
[11] See letters 91 and 94 of Pope Nicholas I (MGH Epp. 6:516-518 and 544-547); letter 12 of Pope Hilary.
[12] This was Gerard II, eventually bishop of Cambrai from 1077-1092, about whom the canons of Cambrai wrote a letter of complaint.
[13] The same Hugh-Rainard, Manasses's bitter enemy.
[14] Manasses was unaware, or feigning ignorance, of the fact that Gregory VII had absolved Gerard II of Cambrai and sent him to Autun precisely to be consecrated by Hugh of Die.
[15] This somewhat gratuitous reference to "Lombards" indicates Manasses was aware of the pope's troubles with the rebellious bishops of Lombardy, especially the archbishops of Milan. A similar awareness of the vexing issues surrounding the Pataria is evidenced in the letter of the clergy of Cambrai to the clergy of Reims on the subject of clerical fornication.

Carl Erdmann and Norbert Fickermann, eds, Die Briefe der deutschen Kaiserzeit, vol. 5, Briefsammlungen der Zeit Heinrichs IV (Weimar: Böhlaus, 1950), no. 107, pp. 178-182

C. Memorandum of Pope Gregory VII, overturning Hugh of Die's sentence against Manasses done at Autun in September 1077 (Reg. 5.17, 9 March 1078)

Sometime before 15 January 1078, Hugh of Die issued another summons to Manasses, that he should come to a second legatine council to be held in Poitiers. Manasses ignored it, having already appealed to Gregory directly by letter, a missive he followed up by traveling to Rome in person to face the accusations being brought against him by Ebalus of Roucy.  In this memorandum of the decisions arrived at during the papal Lenten synod (25 February-3 March 1078), Gregory overturned Hugh of Die's pronouncements and restored Manasses to his office, on the condition that the archbishop swear on the relics of St. Peter to attend all future summonses, reply to any future charges before the papal legate, and faithfully manage the lands and possessions of the church of Reims. This he seems to have done, returning to northern France sometime in late May.

D.  Archbishop Manasses to Pope Gregory (after 22 May 1078 [Pentecost] and before 22 August)

During his absence in Rome, Manasses's enemies seized the opportunity to move against him--or so he suggests in this letter, in which he presents himself as Gregory's faithful servant. Gregory, it seems, had used Manasses's submission to seek his military support on behalf of Matilda of Tuscany, a papal ally.  Manasses also seems to have promised to return to Rome the following year (Easter 1079), though he did not.  In any case, he uses this letter to take the initiative against Ebalus of Roucy, the provost Manasses, and the bishops of Laon and Soissons, arguing (in a clearly frustrated tone) that his attempts to govern the church according to his metropolitan rights had been severely undermined by their activities and by the doings of Guermond, the archbishop of Vienne. He also restates his willingness to attend any summons by a Roman legate--that is, by a legate from the city of Rome--but not an 'ultramontane' legate: a clear reference to Hugh, the bishop of Die.

TO THE SUPREME pontiff lord Gregory, his father and lord, Manasses, by the grace of God archbishop of Reims, [offers] faithful servitude, obedient subjection, and prayerful devotion.

At your request and by your intervention, my lord, I relayed to the lady marquess M[atilda of Tuscany] everything which her predecessor had believed about me; and to defend her I promise and faithfully promised my counsel and aid, which she accepted. [1]  On the matter of opposing G[odfrey of Bouillon] and receiving Count A[rnulf of Chiny], I am prepared to carry out whatever she asks. To confirm all these things, during the holy days of Pentecost I was with our brother and your faithful bishop Thierry at his city of Verdun, having put off all my pressing business for her sake during that sacrosanct time. [3] But I, ever your faithful man and among all churches prepared to obey your law, urgently seek your counsel and ask you to carry out judgment concerning the archbishop of Vienne, Guermond, who degraded priests in my archdiocese, and then again restored them to office.[4] Although he did not insinuate that he was a Roman legate, when he had filled his purses, not in the name of truth, but in imitation of those who, as the Apostle said, "place value on pious words" [5], he left my diocese and returned home. For that reason, and for the honor of God and the Roman church, correct as is fitting this sort of presumption and pretense, so that no one henceforward shall be so presumptuous in another's place. I also bring to your attention that while I was in Rome, two of my suffragan bishops, of Laon and Soissons, consecrated a third, of Amiens, in my archdiocese and without my knowledge.[6] [This happened] against your foremost decree, by which you had stated that no archbishop should consecrate a bishop who had received the gift of an episcopate from a layperson.  And especially since those very same men had been present at the council of Autun [7], where Hugh the lord bishop of Die promulgated and stated before everyone that this was your ecclesiastical decree. This was thus done, apart from what we already said, against authority and the canons, and was considered, if you please, invalid and unprecedented, and indeed to all sane people incredible or, it might be better said, unbelievable.  But because as you know the consecration of bishops cannot be lawfully carried out by any fellow bishops without the metropolitan, I wish you to be prevailed upon and entreated so that you may with the zeal of justice correct for our honor, your honor, and the honor of God such heedless confusion of the ecclesiastical hierarchy; so that each and every person shall know to remain in his rank and station, and not heedlessly arrogate to themselves things that are foreign to them. I beseech the benevolence of your honor that you deign to reserve for me the dignity which your predecessors reserved for my archiepiscopal predecessors, along with the privileges and other writings they left for the memory of later generations.  May the privilege which you granted to me not be rendered void or broken, namely that when called I shall respond to you and to your Roman legates, but not when called by those ultramontanes, who, attaching themselves to the Romans, look after themselves, not the things of Jesus Christ, and who use their good names to act on behalf of their own cupidity, not for the church of God.  Whence, on account of shameful censures and summons of this sort, it is appropriate for you to deal with me, who should be the one to convoke the bishops of all Gaul, without calling on the legates, until I should come to you at Easter, God willing. Moreover, I wish to beseech you and forewarn you strongly that since, during my recent absence while I resided with you [at Rome], many depraved and uncalled for things were done in the regions of my diocese, I cannot disregard but indeed shall appeal to your oversight for ecclesiastical correction of these matters. 

Concerning Count Ebalus [of Roucy], who was accusing me in your presence and was commending himself and his faith to you with honeyed words, you have to judge whether the sincerity of his faith toward you is real: whether my [faith] -- I, who am prepared to obey you and God in all things -- or his [faith] -- he, who attacks the church of blessed Peter, and in our region persecuted blessed Mary by receiving Manasses and his followers in his castle.[8] Manasses--concerning whom we spoke, and whom we consented, by your command, would be welcomed among us if he should return to his mother church--burdened by an awareness of his wickedness, neither wished to return to us nor to live in harmony with the peace of the church, but instead, along with his henchmen, does not cease to wound me and the church with words and curses, because he cannot do it outright with deeds. Whence, I shall remain silent about the same Ebalus, in whom I believe you have executed a just and apostolic sentence, so that I earnestly beseech your majesty concerning Manasses, that you either command him to return to his lands and no longer assault the church, or that you direct the punishment of apostolic force against him, his patrons, and his accomplices. We have even deigned to write a pointed letter to their protectors, [stating] that they should either cease sheltering [Manasses and his men] against church law, or find themselves stricken with a similar judgment.[9]  If any sort of accusation on this account should find its way to you, you should neither quickly jump to conclusions, nor be aggravated toward me; but deal with it in our presence before you, because in no way do I want to exceed the bounds of authority. Indeed, those men make themselves out to be your legates; but it is more just that I (through you) ought to deal with those things which belong to our providence, rather than any foreigners.

Finally, I must report this to you, because lord bishop Hugh of Die suspended our bishop Drogo from the see of Thérouanne.[10]  He is so elderly, that although he was for a long time a priest before becoming bishop, he has now held the rank of bishop for a period of more than 60 [sic] years, and nears death with every passing day.  For that reason we wish earnestly to implore you that we deigned to restore him by your command to his office so that he would not die in a state of excommunication, which we were greatly afraid of.  Concerning that which you asked of me, namely that for the protection of the bishop of Paris, I should send some knights to you, I want you to know that I had every intention of sending them; but Fulco the count of Arlon, then returning from Rome, intimated this to me on your behalf, since you had repeatedly importuned me about sending the knights.[11]  Likewise that in our region I should zealously and decisively help the lady marquess M[atilda].  In this matter therefore, your messenger having arrived, the passage of the aforesaid expedition has continued on from our region [to Matilda].

May your saintliness be well, most reverend father.

Notes to Letter D.

[1] Matilda, marquess/countess of Tuscany (1076-1115) was one of Gregory's most important allies in northern Italy. Her "predecessor" here likely refers to her mother, Beatrice, who had recently died (in 1076).
[2] This is of course the same Godfrey of Bouillon made famous during the First Crusade (d. 1100). Arnulf was count of Chiny (before 1066-1106), in the southeastern corner of modern Belgium.
[3] Thierry was bishop of Verdun, a neighboring diocese to Reims, from 1047-1089. Pentecost in 1078 fell on May 22.
Guermond had been promoted to the archbishopric of Vienne just the year before, in 1077. Guermond's activities in the diocese of Reims, where he enjoyed no formal jurisdiction, greatly aggravated Manasses.
1 Tim. 6:5.
Manasses had in his previous letter to Gregory identified bishops Helinand of Laon (1052-1098) and Thibaud of Soissons (1072-1080) as personal enemies. The bishop of Amiens was Raoul, who had been acting in that capacity as bishop-elect since at least February 1076, but had not been, it seems, consecrated by Manasses.
In September 1077.
Manasses is speaking of the Roman church and Sainte-Marie, the cathedral church of Reims.
[9] This letter is lost.
[10] Drogo was bishop of Thérouanne from 1030 until 21 August 1078. In fact he was bishop for close to fifty years, not sixty.
[11] Arlon is located in the southeastern corner of modern Belgium, along its border with Luxembourg.

Source: Sacrorum conciliorum nova et amplissima collectio, ed. Joannes Dominicus Mansi, 35 vols. (Florence and Venice: Zatta, 1759-98), 20:486-88.

E. Letters of Gregory VII to Archbishop Manasses (Reg. 6.2) and to Hugh of Die and Hugh, Abbot of Cluny (Reg. 6.3) (22 August 1078)

In his letter of 22 August to Manasses, Gregory acknowledges Manasses's charges against Ebalus, et al., and promises that his complaints shall have a fair hearing before his legate Hugh of Die and Hugh, the abbot of Cluny (1049-1109).  (The pope's letter to the two Hughs follows up on this and urges them to hold a hearing.) Gregory pointedly rebuffs Manasses's assertion that he may only be judged by a Roman legate, however, and cites legal precedents defending the jurisdictional powers of his ultramontate legates.

F. Letter of Gregory VII to Hugh of Die (Epistolae vagantes, no. 30, pp. 77-81, ed. and trans. H. E. J. Cowdrey) (1079, April-May)

In order to resolve once and for all the controversy between the archbishop of Reims and the provost Manasses--to whose grievances Bruno of Cologne had added his own pleas concerning the seizure of his possessions at Reims--Hugh of Die called a council at Troyes, east of Paris, where he was to be joined by Abbot Hugh of Cluny (see also Letter H, below). This time, the archbishop and several of his senior clergy heeded the summons, and traveled to Troyes, perhaps in March or April of 1079. The council never convened, however, in large part because the archbishop's accusers feared to go. Manasses, as he says in Letter H., carried out the part of the council's business that pertained to him, and returned to Reims.  In the meantime, word of Manasses's rough treatment of his clergy -- chiefly the provost and his allies--had filtered back to Italy (turpis de eo fama, or "a scandalous report concerning him," in the Latin), and reached Gregory's ears. At this point, Gregory wanted absolute assurances that Manasses's conduct was on the up and up, and he told Hugh of Die to again summon the archbishop along with six other bishops who would vouch for him. Hugh repeats this condition in the next letter.

G. Letter of Hugh of Die to Archbishop Manasses (1079, late, perhaps October or early November)

In this letter, the first of two summons he issued, Hugh of Die executes Gregory's wishes, and pointedly identifies that one of the accusations against the archbishop is simony--not, it seems, concerning his own office, but in his handling of other clerical offices. Hugh may be here referring back to Manasses's ordination of the bishop of Senlis in 1077 (an accusation raised at Autun), or he may mean, as I think likely, claims by Bruno of Cologne and the provost Manasses that he had promoted his favorites into clerical positions within the episcopal court and chapter. Either way, the archbishop's opponents had refused to let the matter drop.

HUGH, BISHOP OF DIE and legate of the Apostolic See, to Manasses archbishop of Reims, that he might not crave lofty things but consent to what is humble.[1]

Granted that we know ourselves to be sometimes located in the ranks, and sometimes in the spotlight, so that, following the saying of the apostle, our presence should daily be the concern of all churches [2]; nevertheless, the care of things chiefly falls to us with greater vigilance, and a legation for their benefit was enjoined specifically upon our smallness by apostolic authority. Hence, we desire the holy and venerable church of Reims, which we accept as being of greater reverence and greater religion than the others of our legation, and which we love with a more ready disposition, to be well advised in all things, receiving what is owed to it by our office. We, having heard of its grave desolation and wretched persecution, grievously lamented, and have desired along with other tireless men to rescue it from its foundering to the fullest extent possible.

For, as was made known to us by certain truthful men, and broadcast not only throughout Gallia but also through nearly all of Italy, you undertake hardly any pastoral care of the flock entrusted to you, but shamelessly glory in playing the soldier rather than living canonically, contending the greater gift is to enjoy the presence of any kind of military man rather than keeping company with those who live religiously. Even if nothing should happen to the flock under you from your indecent habits, but it happens that you alone rush headlong into danger, mother church will nevertheless deservedly groan, for although she is deprived of not a small part of her body, the remainder of her sons nevertheless may restore her desolation by a more fitting comfort, when she sees that she is unharmed and, as we said, to have endured no loss from you.  But now rumor has surfaced that your tyranny is such that in the church of Reims it is permitted to no one to fight for the Lord; to no one to strive after what is good; and to no one to live canonically.  Instead if anyone, preferring the Lord to man, removes himself from your society, if anyone wishes to embrace what is honest, virtuous, or truly religious, having ventured this he is declared a perjuror and sower of discord, and is judged a detractor, hypocrite, and traitor by you and your accomplices.

Whence it happened that certain brothers of the church of Reims having a saner and more considered disposition, sent themselves into a sort of exile rather than be tainted by living with you or oppressed by your dominion. And they, having frequently and repeatedly addressed the lord pope, complained about your fanaticism numerous times, accusing you of many things and especially of the simoniac heresy.  Indeed because our office as legate enjoins that the integrity of the lord's ship should not be undone, and that we set the oars of justice against tumultuous waves if we have the means to do so, and to lay anchor in the port of tranquility, we have determined that a location should be set for resolving the case between you and your accusers, so that, with both sides having had their say in this matter of such enormous discord, a settlement might be imposed and the city of Reims, restored to its pristine liberty, might endure and rejoice.

Thus we mandate to you and we command by apostolic authority that, putting aside all objections concerning the unsuitability of the timing, and representing yourself at the council at Lyon [3], you respond to Manasses [the provost] and his companions, and because it is fair that you will carry out what the synod decrees without prejudice.  Moreover you know that we have selected Lyon because of the suitability of the place, and because the aforesaid clergy who did not dare to come to Troyes do not fear to go there as we have arranged.  You shall come. You shall come, I say, with six bishops who are not tainted by infamy, so that by the presentation of their evidence the accusation of your adversaries shall either be confirmed, or it baselessness proved.  Farewell.

Notes to Letter G.

Rom. 12:16.
[2] 2 Cor. 11:28.
[3] From Hugh's point of view a necessary condition given that Manasses had sent others to represent him in the past.

Source: Wolfenbuettel, Herzog August Bibliothek Ms. 27.9 Aug. 2, fol. 251r-v. The relevant folios have been edited by: Martina Hartmann, Humanismus und Kirchenkritik: Matthias Flacius Illyricus als Erforscher des Mittelalters, Beiträge zur Geschichte und Quellenkunde des Mittelalters, vol. 19 (Stuttgart: Thorbecke, 2001), pp. 273-74

H.  Letter of Archbishop Manasses to Hugh of Die (1079, November or December, and in any case before 3 January 1080)

This is the final letter by Archbishop Manasses to either Hugh of Die or Gregory VII that has been preserved. In it, Manasses mounts a defense of his position and gives his reasons for refusing Hugh's summons to the council called for Lyon in early 1080. The letter is long and, in Manasses's desire to spell out his position as thoroughly as possible, somewhat repetitive.  He seems to be unaware that the requirement that he produce six bishops to vouch for his conduct was not a contrivance of Hugh of Die, but a condition established by Gregory himself. [NB: The translation below is not yet fully completed.]

TO LORD HUGH, bishop of Die, Manasses, archbishop of Reims [sends] greetings.

You urged me to hasten to you at the council of Lyon. I consider it fitting to let you and the entire council know via letter why I shall not come, lest anyone, either privately or publicly, should be able legitimately to fault us in this matter.  For indeed, it is known not only throughout nearly all the Gauls, but even in Italy and Rome, how two years before in the same province matters were violently and unjustly conducted against us by you and certain others.[1] Suffering violence and premature judgment, I went to Rome and appealed to Roman and apostolic judgment concerning it. Indeed, because you were not present, I remained in the same region by the order of the lord Apostolic [the pope], and waited for your arrival for nearly eleven weeks.[2]  And when you did not come, nevertheless in the presence of the lord Apostolic and general council, the dispute between us and those who were present in your place as you had directed was aired. From their accusation and our defense, what we had endured was judged to have been carried out heedlessly and violently and should not have been tolerated; and it was corrected. Then I declared to the lord Apostolic as everyone listened that, if I should wish, I should no longer put myself in your hands in ecclesiastical judgments; and since I ought not to be subject to you beyond the law, I laid out my just reasons in the hearing of the same Roman assembly. The lord Apostolic subsequently inquired whose judgment I should wish to be subject to in councils held in Gaul, and I immediately chose instead the abbot of Cluny. It was decreed that in Gallic councils, as we just said, your judgment should suffice in the cases of others, but only the abbot of Cluny should pass judgment on us. Then the same lord Apostolic ordained that I should make a solemn vow to him of the following sort, namely that if I should be called to a council in the regions of Gaul either by a messenger or by letters from the apostolic see, I should not fail to come unless I had been hindered by a lawful excuse; and he added this, that if he should issue a counter-mandate, I need not go at all. For that reason when a council was recently called by you at Troyes, in which summons the name of the abbot of Cluny was likewise inserted, I hastened there with all of my abbots and clergy and beneficed men of my church [3]; because, as I said above, I discerned no mention from the lord Apostolic of an order contradictory to the aforementioned vow; because I understood that the abbot of Cluny, who ought to judge me, would be there; and because in your [subsequent] cancellation [of the council] I found that you had faced no obstacle which made it impossible; nor had I received letters such as there had been in the councils [previously] countermanded by you or by the abbot of Cluny.  Hence, hastening there, as I said, although you did not come, I carried out the part of this same council which pertained to me and thus freed myself of the aforesaid vow according to the consequence of the agreement.[4]  For that reason we will not come to this council at Lyon, because we have not one, but many canonical excuses why we should not.

First, because in the summons I have heard no mention of the lord abbot of Cluny, who, by the command of the Apostolic lord, ought to adjudicate.  Second, because it is not being held in these regions of Gaul, where we were ordered to submit to its judgments, as we will explain in what follows.  Third, because the region lying between us and Lyon is in complete tumult from the tempests of war owing to the capture of the count of Nevers, the bishop of Auxerre, and their soldiers, with the result that safe passage across it is granted to no one from the kingdom of the Franks.[5]  For when those same two men may be seized and held captive in a dungeon on account of our lord king of France, we expect that we will be captured and imprisoned by the men of this province on account of the king, because we are the king's bishops.  And for that reason, according to the law of Justinian in the second book of the Code, we have a legitimate excuse when we fear in going danger to our health and bodily pain.  Moreover, when we became aware that this council would be celebrated in this same province and by these very men, where and by whom in this other council we were dealt with violently and inhumanely, and so unfairly, that we saw all of it overturned at Rome, and on account of which matter we were released from their hands in the general Roman council, with the consequence that in the end we had neither to submit to their judgment nor to their laying hands on us.  In all these matters we are fully supported by the sacred authorities, since if we are afraid of the force of multiple hazards, we ought to select a place [for the council] that is closer to us, in which it would not be as difficult to bring forth witnesses and to conclude the case.  We are referring to those things as the "force of multiple hazards" similar to what was done against us violently and heedlessly by those men in the same province but in the other council, which was not upheld by Rome, but rather overturned.  The chosen place [for the upcoming council] is neither near to us, nor would it be easy to produce witnesses, because by road it lies nearly fifteen days from us.

Indeed, because we have received from you two completely different summons to a single council within three weeks, we will first deal with the first [summons], then with the second.  In the first you said that we should come to the council to respond to our accusers, namely Manasses and his companion.  And I am telling you that I, and Manasses on behalf of all of his companions save two, have made peace. One of them, namely Bruno, is neither our cleric nor was born nor baptized here, but is a canon of St. Cunibert of Cologne in the German Empire.[6] We have not really sought out his friendship, since we are completely ignorant about his life and legal status, and because, when he was with us, having gathered to himself multiple benefits from us, we were treated poorly and worse.[7]  As for the other, namely Pontius, he was disproved at the Roman council in our presence.[8] For that reason we neither wish to respond to one or the other in ecclesiastical judgment, nor ought we to. Moreover, you said that you had chosen Lyon because of the suitableness of the place, for the reason that the aforesaid clerics, who did not dare to come to Troyes, were not afraid to go [to Lyon]. And we argued against this, because we are far more afraid to go to Lyon than those men were to go to Troyes, and because given how much greater and wealthier we are than those men, how much more likely and quickly we would be seized and still worse utterly fleeced in return for our freedom by some random tyrant. For we seem to be, from an abundance of iniquity, caught up in a new custom, such that day by day we lament bishops who have been seized and thrust in prison, just like we saw happen to the bishop of Auxerre, of whom we spoke above; just like the bishop of Liège, whom we know was seized during Christmas Eve vigils; and just as, as you yourself know, the lord Apostolic was dragged from the altar on Christmas night, and right in the middle of the Mass, by the greatest of wickedness.[9]  Hence it is commonly said, we chastise more lightly the danger done to others than that done to ourselves. It appears to one and all that Lyon is in no way a suitable place for us; it appears that no journey there is without danger; and for that reason, according to the sentence of the aforementioned Roman legation, and on account of the offense recently inflicted on us in that province, we have a legitimate excuse [to ignore the summons] in this matter.

Concerning the second summons consequently we say this: because you said that, even if the accusers should not be present, I should come to the council prepared to expurgate myself, together with six bishops whose life was not tainted by infamy. And let us by contrast respond that, if my accusers are not present, we should not respond to anyone concerning this. Even if they were there, we pronounce that we ought to respond only if they confirm in person that they saw or heard these things.  And this was established by the sacred authorities, and was commended to us by the lord Apostolic in the previously mentioned Roman council, under this same condition.  Moreover we have honorable witnesses in this matter who were present, and we shall undertake to prove this through them.  Moreover, we are expecting no accusation from the aforesaid Manasses and his friends, because they themselves -- unless perhaps they returned [like dogs] to their vomit [10] for the occasion of this council -- made a peace-pact with us, excepting for the two of them, as I said, Bruno and Pons, to whom, by the preceding rationale, I neither wish nor I ought to respond. And if any one of them among those whom we said was in agreement with Manasses' legation, broke the peace and subsequently travelled there, and wish to say whatever they want against us, they should not be received; because neither my supporters nor my canons will have enough time to get there so that they can provide testimony concerning my lifestyle.

Moreover, because you commanded us to appear there with six bishops, you put us in an incredibly tight spot given the time, as a mere twenty days may be counted from the day when your letters were sent to me until the day when, if we were to go there, we should depart [in order to make it on time].  Indeed, in the sacred authorities it is established that if any cleric of an inferior order, much less a bishop, should be accused of any sort of crime, he ought to have either an entire year, or half a year, or a year-and-a-half grace period in which he may prepare and look out for himself in the time provided. You, however, having set aside both a longer or shorter grace period, require this of us in the span of a mere twenty days -- and when our dioceses are not, as they are around Rome and in other regions, located within seven or ten miles. Indeed, several of ours are separated from one another by forty, or fifty, even sixty miles or more!  Forget a year-and-a-half, which is the legitimate grace period given by sacred authority to those who are accused of any sort of crime: how shall we manage to round up, in twenty days, six bishops of our realm, and especially six who are not tainted by infamy, when in the span of all those days one can scarcely manage to walk from one bishopric to the other?[11]

Now, about those bishops whose life has not been tainted by infamy, what shall we say, when we know that our lord Jesus Christ was called a glutton and a drinker of wine, and a friend of tax collectors and sinners, and of the possessed? Who, I say, was so holy, and so perfect, that he should not be seized from time to time by rumor of some sort of notoriety?  We are unable to conceive by what standard of sanctity of this kind we might be able to round up six bishops, unless it should happen that the holy fathers Remigius, Martin, Julian, Germanus, Hilarius, and Dionysius should rise up from their tombs.[12]  If the admonition had been just and if it had required us to join with six bishops of this sort who reside in these parts, it still would have been utterly impossible to assemble them in so brief a time.  And what shall we say of the impossibility by which we are ordered to seek out only those untouched by any blemish of infamy?  Assuredly we said and we confirm that this summons of yours, which requires so much of us, lends itself to a canonical excuse on account of its impossibility.  For the aforesaid summons heaps upon us not only what is impossible, but also what is unbelievable.  In the first place, in the total absence of accusors, it requires that we bring forth six bishops, who are not tainted by infamy.  But even if, in the total absence of accusors, we sought merely to bring along six clerics, that would be unheard of.  But six bishops? That is truly incredible.  And six bishops such as have not been tainted by infamy, and that you should have put us up to this without there being accusors, as you've done--this has never been heard of in the history of the world.[13]

Indeed, you said that our infamy had reached Gaul and Italy, and on account of this, I ought to appear in order to purge myself along with six bishops not stained by infamy.  To this we wholly replied that our accusors, and those who have dealt with us blindly--that these very men have wished to fill up Gaul and Italy with an infamy unjustly attributed to us.  But we, going to Rome and utterly destroying what had been so heedlessly done, emptied Gaul and Italy of infamy, and utterly cancelling out whatever lies had been spread by them, we, God willing, made certain that this infamy had neither been true nor could be truthfully said.[14]  Because, I say, you said that even if my accusors were wanting, I ought to expurgate myself with so many witnesses, and of such quality, tracked down in such a short span of time--why should I, even if the rumors were true (which they most certainly are not), do this when the accusors are absent?  Do we not teach in the canons and decrees that no criminal case among bishops and clergy ought to be decided without legitimate accusors? What shall we do about that decree of the holy pope and martyr Evaristus [15], "Let wicked reports stir no one up, nor anyone believe anything without absolute proof"?  What? The Lord knew Judas was a thief, and yet because he was not accused he was not thrown out, but remained among the apostles.  For the blessed pope Eutychianus [16] said on the subject of not commuting the authority of the holy fathers,"We forbid that any causes shall be heard by ecclesiastical judges, which are not covered by the law, or which are known to be forbidden."

And there is another reason for being excused, namely that, even if it had been just for the testimony of six bishops to be brought forth in so short a span of time, and you were to have asked this of other archbishops or bishops, you neverthless ought not to have asked it of me, namely for the reason that many from among our suffragan bishops at that time, both willing and unwilling, were participants in that violence which was done against us while, as we said, we were weakened by illness in Rome. . . .

But now that we have said enough about these things for the time being, it is fitting that we should return to the promise which we said above that we had made to the lord Apostolic. The substance of it was that I should go to a council in the regions of Gaul called either by a nuncio or by the letters of the Apostolic See, unless I were hindered from going by a canonical excuse, and that in these regions I should not hinder an apostolic council from being held. When "in the regions of Gaul" was said, no one ought to consider that this meant "anywhere beyond the Alps."  You can figure this out easily enough, because when "not hindering councils in the regions of Gaul" was inquired into, "except in those regions in which we are able to be of help or hindrance" was not said. Where, moreover, do you think that we can offer aid or hindrance, unless in the kingdom of the Franks? How can we possibly create a disturbance, either at Lyon or anywhere outside the kingdom of the Franks, where no recognition or reverence for our king or ourselves flourishes? For that reason, if you wanted to, you would see easily enough that "in those regions of the Gauls" without a doubt meant "where the kingdom of France is located."

And indeed, we promised to come to the council unless prevented by a canonical excuse; we said this just above because we have not one, but many canonical excuses. Let us review. [Manasses restates all the canonical objections he has just raised.]

For the rest, we want you to know that if anyone, speaking fallaciously, wishes to refute any of these indictments, you will know for certain that we admit and hold to those that are of established authority and cannot be questioned. However much we will canonically excuse ourselves before you, as if we were debtors in your servitude, we are able to show by clear reason; but even if no other canonical excuses were open to us, we should still by no means set out to your hearing.

We beseech you before this council with charity and humility, and if you wish to listen we will give useful counsel, namely that you should not hold the scales of judgment against us, and striving to surpass both measure and reason you have strived to impose upon us a weight which neither we, nor our fathers, were accustomed to bear. It would be better if, acting mildly and not flaunting justice, you win throughout France the advantage and honor of the Roman church, rather than, by antagonizing France, you hinder its justice and subjection to the Roman church. Because if you are disposed to continue in your stubbornness--as we conveyed to the lord pope in these very words--and wish to suspend or excommunicate us by your will alone, the path we should follow was shown to us and the model to which we should be molded is placed before us.  I should follow the words of the blessed Gregory, who says, "Often, in binding and loosing his subordinates, the pastor follows the motions of his will and not the merits of the case."[17] . . . Likewise the blessed Augustine said in his book on the words of the Lord: "See whether you bind your brother justly or unjustly, since unjust chains are burst by justice."[18]  Moreover I assert that if you excommunicate me, the privilege of Peter and of the lord pope, that is, the power of binding and loosing, will fail. Whence Leo the Great in the sermon [19] on his anniversary said the following: "The privilege of Peter resides wherever justice is borne from his equity." From these words we may freely infer that the privilege of Peter does not reside anywhere a judgment is not borne by his equity.

Notes to Letter H.

[1] Manasses is referring to the September 1077 council of Autun.
[2] Gregory's Lenten council held in Rome in March 1078.
[3] Called by Hugh of Die, but not formally convened, in spring 1079.
[4] Here Manasses is being disingenuous.  Though Hugh had called off the council of Troyes and did not go, because the form of his cancellation did not resemble the form of earlier such cancelled councils, Manasses went to Troyes anyway, on what was a rather pointless display of obedience to the letter of the law.
[5] The bishop of Auxerre was Robert of Nevers (1076-1092), brother of the count of Nevers.
[6] This is of course Bruno, the schoolmaster at Reims.
[7] The "multiple benefits" in this case probably refers to the chancellorship which Manasses conferred upon him in 1075 or 1076, in addition to his standing as schoolmaster.
[8] This Pontius (Pons) and his grievance are obscure; he may have been a supporter of Bruno or Manasses the provost.
[9] The bishop of Liège was Henri (1075-1091), with whom Manasses has spent Pentecost in 1078. Pope Gregory VII had been seized while celebrating the Mass and imprisoned by one of his Roman enemies, Cencius the Prefect (Cencius Stephani) on Christmas Eve 1075.
[10] Prov. 26:11.
[11] This is a legitimate gripe, compounded by the fact that there were scarcely six dioceses to be found in the province that were not vacant, their occupants suspended, or were occupied by bishops openly hostile to Manasses.
[12] These saints were all widely venerated in France.
[13] The Latin reads: hoc a saeculis auditum non est.
[14] Manasses is here referring to his trip to Rome to attend the Lenten synod of 1078.
[15] Pseudo-Evaristus, Ep. 2.11, from the Pseudo Isidorean Decretals 3.2 (decreta pontificum). (Tradition holds that Evaristus was pope between ca. 99-107 C.E.)
[16] Pseudo-Eutychian, from Pseudo-Isidorean Decretals 25.9 (decreta pontificum). (Eutychianus was pope from 275-283 C.E.).
[17] Gregory the Great, Homiliae in evangelia, hom. 26 (homily on John 20:19-29).
[18] Augustine of Hippo, De verbis evangelii (Mt. 18:15-18), Sermo 82, IV.7.
[19] Pope Leo I (440-461 C.E.)

Sources: Museum Italicum, seu Collectio veterum sciptorum ex bibliothecis Italicis, vol. 1, Pars altera,
ed. Jean Mabillon and Michel Germain (Paris: Montalant, 1724), pp. 119-127; Recueil des historiens des Gaules et de la France, ed. Michel-Jean-Joseph Brial, vol. 14, new edn (Paris: Victor Palmé, 1877), pp. 781-786.

I.  Letter of Archbishop Manasses to Pope Gregory VII (lost; written before 3 January 1080 and at the same time as, or slightly before, Letter H)

In Letter H above, Manasses refers to a letter he wrote to Gregory complaining of Hugh's "pertinacity."  It was presumably dispatched at the same time as his long complaint to Hugh.  Gregory responded on 3 January 1080, but Manasses's letter is lost.

J.  Letter of Pope Gregory VII to Archbishop Manasses (Reg. 7.12, 3 January 1080)

In his reply to Manasses's earlier letter, Gregory chastises him for making excuses to not attend the Lyon council; assures him that he will be guided through the dioceses of Langres and Lyon to the council site by Hugh of Die and Hugh-Rainard, and guarantees that his case will be given a fair hearing in the presence of Abbot Hugh of Cluny and Peter, the cardinal-bishop of Albano (1072-1089). Moreover, he adds that Manasses should not come to Rome but resolve his issues before the council.  Should Manasses fail to attend--which he did--Gregory warns him that he will uphold and confirm by his apostolic authority any sentence that Hugh passes against him.

The council was convened in February, and Manasses was duly pronounced deposed by Hugh of Die. Gregory then confirmed the sentence at his Lenten synod held 7 March 1080.

K.  Letter of Pope Gregory VII to Archbishop Manasses (Reg. 7.20, 17 April 1080)

Gregory notifies Manasses that he has confirmed Hugh's sentence in his Lenten synod, but offers the archbishop one more chance to redeem himself and be restored to his position. Acting from an abundance of mercy, Gregory says, Manasses may have until 29 September 1080 to purge himself before six bishops from his province, on the condition that he restore the goods and possessions belonging to Bruno the Schoolmaster and the provost Manasses, and retreat either to the abbey of Cluny or the abbey of La Chaise-Dieu (in the diocese of Clermont).  He may also, Gregory adds, clear himself of the charges against him by oath before Hugh of Die, Abbot Hugh of Cluny, or should the abbot be absent, before Amatus of Oloron, another papal legate.  Should he refuse the offer, Gregory declares that the sentence will remain in place.

L.  Letters (4) of Pope Gregory VII: to the people and clergy of Reims; to Ebalus count of Roucy; to the bishops of the province of Belgica Secunda; and to King Philip I (Reg. 8.17-20, 27 December 1080)

In these letters, dispatched from Rome on the same day, Gregory calls upon the recipients to resist Manasses, who, Gregory indicates, was devastating the church of Reims and its possessions. He further pronounces Manasses irrevocably deposed, and urges the clergy and people to proceed to a new election.  The bishops are absolved of their oaths of obedience to their former archbishop and are told to resist him as an invader. King Philip, to whom Manasses had gone for support, is told to break all contact with him.