« Acts of the Apostles Adalbert (Adelbert, Aldebert) Adalbert of Hamburg-Bremen »

Adalbert (Adelbert, Aldebert)

ADALBERT (ADELBERT, ALDEBERT): Frankish bishop; contemporary of Boniface. He is known only from the letters of Boniface, who was his bitter opponent, and from the accounts of the proceedings instituted against him for heresy, which represent him as a dangerous misleader of the people, a skilful impostor, and arrogant blockhead, who thought himself equal to the apostles, declared himself canonized before birth, and claimed the power of working miracles and of remitting sins. It is said that he pretended to have a letter from Jesus, which the archangel Michael had found in Jerusalem, and other relics brought to him by angels. He disregarded confession, not thinking it necessary for the remission of sins, and planted crosses and founded chapels on the hills and by the streams, inducing the people to come thither for service instead of going to the churches of the apostles and martyrs. In his prayers unknown and suspicious names of angels were found. At the instigation of Boniface two Frankish synods (744 and 745) deposed Adalbert and condemned him to penance as a “servant and forerunner of Antichrist.” A Roman synod confirmed his sentence and added excommunication. In 747 a general Frankish synod received a command from the pope to apprehend Adalbert and send him to Rome. The major domus, Pepin, burned his crosses and chapels; but the people seem to have sympathized with their bishop, who did not acknowledge the authority of his judges and who was not allowed to defend himself. His fate is unknown. Mainz tradition relates that he was defeated in a discussion with Boniface, that he was imprisoned at Fulda, and was killed by a swineherd while trying to escape. Opinions concerning him differ. Some look upon him as mentally unsound, as an impostor, or as a fanatic. Others see in him, as in his countryman Clement among the East Franks, freedom from Rome, an opponent of the romanizing tendencies of his time, and a victim of the ecclesiastical policy of Boniface.

A. Werner.

Bibliography: Rettberg, i. (1846) 314-317, 368-370; H. Hahn, Jahrbücher des fränkischen Reichs, pp. 67-82, Berlin, 1863; Boniface, Epistolæ, in Jaffé, Monumenta Moguntina, 1866; J. H. A. Ebrard, Die iroschottische Missionskirche der sechsten, siebenten, und achten Jahrhunderten, pp. 341, 432-434, Gütersloh, 1873; A. Werner, Bonifatius, pp. 279-297, Leipsic, 1875; DCB, i. 77-78; Hauck, KD, i. (1904) 507-513.

« Acts of the Apostles Adalbert (Adelbert, Aldebert) Adalbert of Hamburg-Bremen »
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