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Wulfad (died 876) was the archbishop of Bourges from 866 until his death. Prior to that, he was the abbot of Montier-en-Der (from 856) and Soissons (from 858).[1] He also served as a tutor to Carloman, a younger son of King Charles the Bald. Carloman succeeded Wulfad as abbot of Soissons in 860.[1]

Wulfad was ordained a priest by Archbishop Ebbo of Reims, who had been deposed in 835 and re-instated in 840. Wulfad was ordained during Ebbo's second incumbency, which ended in 841.[2] He may have served the anti-king Pippin II of Aquitaine, an opponent of Charles the Bald, as a notary during 847–48, a period in which support for Pippin reached a high.[3] In 857, Charles tried to promote him to the vacant see of Langres, but was successfully blocked by Ebbo's successor, Hincmar.[4] In 859, Wulfad was removed from his priestly office, along with all the other priests, deacons and subdeacons ordained by Ebbo, at the synod of Savonnières, held under Hincmar's presidency.[5]

Neither Wulfad's support for Pippin nor his defrocking by Hincmar deterred Charles the Bald from appointing him archbishop of Bourges in 866.[5] He had probably supported the king during the Neustrian rebellions of 858–60, for in a charter of 859 Charles calls him "our dearest abbot and minister".[6] Although Hincmar disputed Wulfad's eligibility for the episcopate,[5][7] the synod held at Soissons in August 866 refused to adjudicate the case.[8] In 868 Charles convinced Pope Nicholas I that Wulfad's "prudence and vigour" were needed to counter the Vikings that threatened the region around Bourges. The pope confirmed him in the see.[9]

In Wulfad's day, all books were copied by hand, thus friends lent books to friends to allow them to copy them out for their own libraries. A list of books in Wulfad's library, probably intended to circulate among his friends, has survived on the back of a manuscript copy of the philosopher John Scotus Eriugena's Ambigua.[10] Wulfad was a close associate of Eriugena, who dedicated to him his Periphyseon and called him a "collaborator in philosophical disputes".[11] Wulfad's list of books includes titles by Eriugena, including the latter's translations of Pseudo-Dionysius and Maximus the Confessor's Ad Thalassium.[11] There is a poem preserved in the manuscript F. 67 in the Leiden Universiteitsbibliothek that preserves a poem addressed to Wulfad by a monk suffering from the cold while his fellow monk, Wulfad's former student, Carloman, was by a warm fire.[12]


  1. ^ a b Kenney 1966, p. 562.
  2. ^ Nelson 1986, p. 183.
  3. ^ Nelson 1992, pp. 150 n. 85, 191 n. 12. Some charters of Pippin are signed by a notary named Gulfardus.
  4. ^ Lacger 1937, p. 33.
  5. ^ a b c McKitterick 1983, p. 189.
  6. ^ Nelson 1992, p. 191: karissimus nobis abbas et ministerialis
  7. ^ Nelson 1992, p. 218.
  8. ^ Tavard 1973, p. 595.
  9. ^ Nelson 1992, p. 212.
  10. ^ McKitterick 1983, p. 211. This is the collection known as the Bibli Wulfadi.
  11. ^ a b McKitterick 1983, p. 289.
  12. ^ Kenney 1966, p. 562. This poem is found among a group of five in ff. 1v–3, edited by Ludwig Traube, "Carmina scottorum latina et graecanica" VII, Poetae latini aevi Carolini III, MGH Antiquitates, p. 690..


  • Kenney, James Francis (1966). The Sources for the Early History of Ireland: Ecclesiastical. New York: Octagon Books.
  • Lacger, Louis de (1937). "La primatie d'Aquitaine du VIIIe au XIVe siècle". Revue d'histoire de l'Église de France. 23 (98): 29–50. doi:10.3406/rhef.1937.2791. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
  • McKitterick, Rosamond (1983). The Frankish Kingdoms under the Carolingians, 751–987. London: Longman.
  • Nelson, J. L. (1986). "The Annals of St. Bertin". Politics and Ritual in Early Medieval Europe. [First published in Charles the Bald: Court and Kingdom, edited by M. Gibson and J. L. Nelson, BAR International Series, 101 (Oxford, 1981), pp. 15–36]. London: Hambledon Press. pp. 173–94.
  • Nelson, J. L. (1992). Charles the Bald. London: Longman.
  • Tavard, George H. (1973). "Episcopacy and Apostolic Succession According to Hincmar of Reims" (PDF). Theological Studies. 34 (4): 594–623. doi:10.1177/004056397303400403. S2CID 159964598.

Further reading[edit]

  • Cappuyns, M. (1966). "Les Bibli Wulfadi et Jean Scot Erigène". Recherches de Théologie Ancienne et Mediévale. 33: 137–39.
  • Devisse, Jean (1975–76). Hincmar, archévêque de Reims, 845–882. 3 vols. Geneva: Droz.
  • Lot, Ferdinand (1902). "Une année du règne de Charles le Chauve, année 866". Le Moyen Âge. 15: 393–438.
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by Archbishop of Bourges
Succeeded by