Humbert of Silva Candida

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Humbert of Moyenmoutier, O.S.B.,[1] (1000 to 1015 – 5 May 1061) was a French Benedictine abbot and later a cardinal. When he was 15 years old, he was given by his parents to the monastery of Moyenmoutier in Lorraine, as an oblate, intended for monastic life. He entered the Order when he came of age, and was later elected as abbot of the monastery. He was invited to Rome in 1049 by the reforming Pope Leo IX, who met him when he visited the monastery in 1049. The Pope named him Archbishop of Sicily in 1050. The Norman rulers of the island, however, prevented his landing there. In place of that post, he was named Cardinal-bishop of Silva Candida the following year. It has been suggested that he was the first Frenchman to be named cardinal.

Under Leo, he became the principal papal secretary and on a trip through Apulia in 1053, he received from John, Bishop of Trani, a letter written by Leo, Archbishop of Ochrid, criticising Western rites and practice. He translated the Greek letter into Latin and gave it to the pope, who ordered a response drawn up. This exchange led to Humbert being sent at the head of a legatine mission, along with Frederick of Lorraine (later Pope Stephen IX) and Peter, Archbishop of Amalfi, to Constantinople to confront Patriarch Michael Cerularius.

He was cordially welcomed by the Emperor Constantine IX, but spurned by the patriarch. Eventually, on 16 July 1054, despite the fact that Leo had died and the excommunication was invalid, during the celebration of the liturgy he laid a Papal Bull of excommunication of the Patriarch on the high altar of the Cathedral of Hagia Sophia. This event crystallized in an official way the gradual estrangement of Eastern and Western Christianity, and is traditionally used to date the beginning of the Great Schism.

In his later years, he was made librarian of the Roman Curia by Pope Stephen IX, his former legatine companion, and he penned the reform treatise Libri tres adversus Simoniacos ('Three Books Against the Simoniacs') (1057), which helped initiate the Gregorian Reform movement. He is also credited as the brains behind the electoral decree of 1059, which stated that popes would henceforth be elected by the College of Cardinals.

After a career marked by numerous theological disputes with figures such as Peter Damian, he gained a reputation of rigidity. He traveled frequently throughout Italy during the later years of his life, partly due to the election of the Antipope Benedict X in 1058. He attended the Lateran Council of 1059, however.

He died in Rome on 5 May 1061 and was buried in the Lateran Basilica.[2]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Also given as Mourmoutiers or Marmoutier.
  2. ^ The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church

Sources[edit]

  • Norwich, John Julius (1967). The Normans in the South 1016–1130. London: Longman.
  • Hüls, Rudolf. Kardinäle, Klerus und Kirchen Roms: 1049–1130. Tübingen: 1977. See pp. 133–34.