jeudi 11 février 2016

Saint PASCAL Ier, Pape

Saint Pascal Ier

Pape (98 ème) de 817 à 824 ( 824)

Abbé du monastère de Saint Etienne près de la basilique vaticane, il fut tout de suite distingué par sa piété et sa charité à l'égard des pèlerins. Devenu Pape, il eut le souci d'assurer les garanties territoriales assurées par l'empereur Charlemagne, tout en maintenant une autonomie réelle dans les affaires intérieures de l'Eglise. Mais l'aristocratie romaine réagit devant cette alliance du Pape et de l'empereur Lothaire. Pascal fit même arrêter deux hauts dignitaires du Latran, qui furent aveuglés puis exécutés. Le Pape assura qu'il était étranger à ces assassinats, mais il dut se rétracter publiquement devant une assemblée d'évêques. On ne connut jamais la vérité. L'histoire garde de ce pape autocratique l'image sainte d'un pape qui sut favoriser le culte des martyrs en retirant leurs corps des catacombes pour les placer dans les églises construites et ornées en leur honneur. Comme quoi la sainteté finale n'empêche pas quelques écarts en cours de route....


Saint Pascal I (817-824)

Né à Rome.

Pendant son pontificat, il se rapprocha davantage de la France et couronna Lothaire empereur en 823.

Il avait un culte très sincère envers les martyrs, ce qui l’amena à faire plusieurs translations de reliques de saints martyrs vers les églises, dont celles de sainte Cécile qu’il découvrit dans les catacombes de saint Calixte.


Paschal I, OSB, Pope (RM)

Died 824; feast day formerly May 14. Saint Pascal, son of the Roman Bonosus, studied at the Lateran and was named abbot of Saint Stephen's monastery, which housed pilgrims to Rome. He was elected as the 94th pope on the day Pope Stephen IV (V) died, January 25, 817.

Emperor Louis the Pious agreed to respect papal jurisdiction, but when Louis's son Lothair I came to Rome in 823 to be consecrated king, he broke the pact by presiding at a trial involving a group of nobles opposing the pope. When two papal officials who had testified for the nobles were found blinded and murdered, Paschal was accused of the crime.

Paschal denied any complicity but refused to surrender the murderers, who were members of his household, declaring that the two dead officials were traitors and the secular authorities had no jurisdiction in the case. The result was the Constitution of Lothair, severely restricting papal jurisdiction and police powers in Italy.

Paschal loved religious art even though he lived at a time when many people in the Eastern churches were breaking up sacred pictures in the belief that these were idolatrous images. Fanatics would even murder those who supported the use of fine art to decorate Christian churches and foster the spirit of worship.

Though he was unsuccessful in ending the iconoclast heresy of Emperor Leo V, Pascal did his best to help Eastern Christians who were fighting to stop this destruction of great religious art. He sent his aides to try to secure the release of Abbot Theodore the Studite, who had been imprisoned for defending sacred icons, and encouraged Saint Nicephorus. And Paschal gave shelter to many Greek monks who had fled from the east in fear of those who were destroying what they held to be precious aids to the Christian life.

While Pascal did not succeed in ending this strife, the influence of Eastern artists can be seen in the work done between 817 and 824 (while he was pope) to embellish Rome. Pascal, for instance, rebuilt the Roman church of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, and made it into a fitting shrine for the bones of Saint Cecilia. This church has been considerably rebuilt since then, but another church in Rome, Santa Maria in Domnica, remains substantially as it was after Pascal had restored it and shows his deeply held beliefs.

Paschal also supported missionary activities in Denmark. Although Paschal is listed in the Roman Martyrology, he has never been formally canonized (Benedictines, Bentley, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Schamoni). 

Pope Paschal I

The date of his birth is unknown; he died in April, May, or June, 824. He was the son of a Roman named Bonosus. While still young he joined the Roman clergy and was taken into the papal patriarchate (Lateran Palace) where he was instructed in the Divine Service and the Holy Scripture. Leo III having appointed him superior of the monastery of St. Stephen near the Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican, he took care of the pilgrims who came to Rome. On the death of Stephen IV (24 January, 817) Paschal was unanimously chosen as his successor. On the following day he was consecrated and enthroned. He entered into relations with Emperor Louis, sending him several ambassadors in rapid succession. In 817 he received from the emperor a document, "Pactum Ludovicianum", confirming the rights and possessions of the Holy See. This document with later amendments is still extant (cf. especially Sickel, "Das Privileg Ottos I für die römische Kirche", Innsbruck, 1883, 50 sqq., 174 sqq.). Paschal remained on friendly terms with the Frankish nobility and sent a special legation with rich gifts to the marriage of King Lothair I, son of Emperor Louis. In spring, 823, Lothair went to Rome and on 5 April he was solemnly crowned emperor by Paschal. Although the pope himself opposed the sovereignty of the Frankish emperors over Rome and Roman territory, high officials in the papal palace, especially Primicerius Theodore and his son-in-law Leo Nomenculator, were at the head of the party which supported the Franks, and advocated the supremacy of the emperor. Shortly after the departure of King Lothair in 823, both these officials were blinded and killed by the pope's servants. Paschal himself was accused of being the originator of this deed, but he cleared himself of suspicion by an oath. The ambassadors sent to Rome by Emperor Louis to investigate the affair could not punish the perpetrators, as the pope declared the murdered officials guilty of treason. Paschal supported new missionary expeditions which went out from the Frankish Empire. He sent a letter of introduction to Bishop Halitgar of Cambria, and appointed Archbishop Ebo of Rheims as papal legate to the pagan countries in Northern Europe.

In 814 under Leo the Armenian, the Iconoclastic controversy broke out with renewed violence in the Byzantine Empire. Theodore of Studium, the great champion of orthodoxy, wrote repeatedly to Pope Paschal, who encouraged him to persevere. At the same time Theodosius of Constantinople, unlawfully made patriarch by Emperor Leo, sent a legation to the pope. The latter, however, remained loyal to the cause of Theodore of Studium, and dispatched legates to Leo to win him from the Iconoclasts, but without success. Numerous monks who had been driven out of Greece by Leo came to Rome where the pope received them kindly, assigning them places in the newly-erected monasteries, such as St. Praxedis, St. Cecilia, Sts. Sergius and Bacchus, near the Lateran Palace. Paschal was very active in completing, restoring, and beautifying churches and monasteries. The basilicas of St. Praxedis, St. Cecilia, and S. Maria in Dominica were completely rebuilt by him. The mosaics, which at that time ornamented the apses of these three churches as well as the chapel of St. Zeno in St. Praxedis, demonstrate today the deterioration of this art. In St. Peter's he erected chapels and altars, in which the remains of martyrs from the Roman catacombs, especially those of Sts. Processus and Marinianus, were placed. He also placed the relics of many Roman martyrs in the church of St. Praxedis where their names are still legible. The discovery of the relics of St. Cecilia and companions, and their translation to the new church of St. Cecilia in Trastevere, are well described in "Liber Pontificalis" (cf. Kirsch, "Die hl. Cäcilia in der römischen Kirche des Altertums", Paderborn, 1910). He made great improvements in the choir of the church of S. Maria Maggiore. Paschal was interred in the church of St. Praxedis, and is honoured as a saint on 14 May.


Liber Pontificalis, ed. DUCHESNE, II, 52 sqq.; Einhardi Annals in Mon. Germ, hist.: Script., I, 124 sqq.; JAFFÉ, Regesta Rom. Pont., 2nd ed., I (Leipzig, 1885), 318 sqq.; SIMSON, Jahrbücher der deutschen Reiches unter Ludwig dem Frommen (Leipzig, 1874-76); DUCHESNE, Les premiers temps de l'Etat pontifical in Revue d'hist. et de littér. religeuses, I (Paris, 1896), 297 sqq.; HARTMANN, Geschichte Italiens im Mittelalter, III, pt. i (Gotha, 1008); MARUCCHI, Basiliques el églises de Rome (Rome, 1902).

Kirsch, Johann Peter. "Pope Paschal I." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 11. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 11 Feb. 2017 <>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Douglas J. Potter. Dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary.


Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. February 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.

The 98th Pope
Saint Paschal I

Pope St. Paschal I (817-824) – The emperor, Louis the Pius, and Pope Paschal enjoyed a positive relationship, but the pope's harsh governing style caused him to be detested by the people. The Pactum Ludovicianum was an important document that solidified the pope's governance of the Papal States and deterred the emperor from interfering in ecclesiastical affairs. When the son of Louis the Pius, Lothair became emperor, he was more individualistic in his relationship with the pope. After an incident involving the murder of two supporters of Lothair and enemies of Paschal, the emperor was intending to look closely into the pattern of rule exercised by the pope. The death of Pope Paschal ended the matter.

From the East, iconoclasm was rearing its ugly head again. Pope Paschal tried in vain to convince the Byzantine emperor, Leo V, to suppress the movement. In Rome, he did effect the refurbishing of a number of churches. As mentioned above, the pope was so despised by the people of Rome that, at death, he was not allowed to be buried in the Basilica of Saint Peter. Although designated as a saint, even his feast day was suppressed in the twentieth century. What can one say? Apparently, he was a very difficult man to like.

Habemus papam
San Pasquale I Papa

m. 824

(Papa dal 25/01/817 al 11/02/824)

Pasquale I, abate della basilica di Santo Stefano fu consacrato il 25 gennaio 817. Fu Papa dal 817 al 11 febbraio 824. Fu consacrato il 25 gennaio 817, vale a dire: nemmeno un giorno dalla morte del suo predecessore. Durante il suo pontificato promosse le prime missioni verso i Paesi scandinavi. Fece ricostruire la Chiesa di Santa Cecilia. A Pasquale I si debbono i primi interventi sociali, oltre che a due giustiziati. Fu dichiarato santo perché la leggenda vuole che durante una Messa sia caduto in "trance" ed abbia rivelato il punto esatto della sepoltura di santa Cecilia e di suo marito Valeirano, martirizzati durante l'Impero romano. I corpi furono estratti dal cimitero di San Callisto. Pasquale morì il giorno 11 febbraio del 824, il popolo romano, nonostante il suo interessamento sociale impedì la sepoltura a San Pietro e si ritiene che le sue spoglie riposino nella basilica romana di Santa Prassede.

Martirologio Romano: Sempre a Roma, deposizione di san Pasquale I, papa, il quale tolse dalle catacombe molti corpi di santi martiri, che volle trasferire nel desiderio di farli venerare, collocandoli con ogni onore in diverse chiese di Roma.

Pasquale I, abate della basilica di Santo Stefano fu consacrato il 25 gennaio 817, vale a dire : nemmeno un giorno dalla morte del suo predecessore. D'altro canto il timore di ingerenze esterne permaneva sempre forte.

Il "legato" (ambasciatore) pontificale Teodoro fu subito inviato presso la corte di Ludovico con la missiva del nuovo annuncio; ritornò recando in una mano una semplice lettera di felicitazioni, dall'altra una sorta di diploma imperiale definito "Pactum cum Paschali pontefice".

La storia volle che quest' ultimo documento dovesse assumere un valore immenso proprio perchè Ludovico, detto il "Pio", non impugnò le "false riproduzioni", artatamente spacciate dal clero romano , di volta in volta presso le piccole signorie feudali in maniera tale da riuscir a recuperare non solo le promesse di Pipino e Carlomagno ma anche importantissimi feudi quali le odierne Calabria, Sicilia, Sardegna, Corsica e Napoli.

Una ulteriore concessione fu fatta ai romani e di conseguenza al clero, da Ludovico: la libertà di scelta del proprio pontefice con la sola presenza di alcuni legati esentati dal dover imporre la conferma e con il solo obbligo di rinnovare il patto di alleanza tra l'imperatore attraverso il pactum fidelis ....

L'imperatore fu per altro occupato in questioni ben più gravi e fondamentali per doversi anche interessare del solo potere romano, ad ogni buon conto quello che doveva essere sembrato un'atto di magnanimità nei confronti del papato, si dimostrò subito esattamente il contrario, tantè che il "patto fidelis" fu ratificao dalla nobiltà imperiale nel luglio 817 ad Aquisgrana, ed assunse il nome di Ordinatio Imperii, che di fatto limitò quasi totalmente il potere temporale della Chiesa.

Il resoconto del disinteresse verso la penisola italica fu costituito da caos più totale con scorribande di predoni e banditi da ogni angolo della penisola stessa.

Le cose si metterono per il peggio perchè la nobiltà romana filo-franca si dovette confrontare con i nobili dissidenti che si erano visti espropriati di ogni autorità temporale.

Capi della rivolta antimperiale furono il primicerio Teodoro ed il nomenclatore Leone (genero del pontefice). La rivolta fu stroncata dalle stesse truppe papaline rinforzate dalle squadre provenienti dai quartieramenti dei nobili filo-franchi.

Sbaragliate le ultime resistrenze i due furono catturati, accecati e poi decapitati, correva l'anno 821.

Solamente nel 818 Ludovico si era deciso a nominare re d'Italia il proprio primogenito Lotario. il quale giunse però solamente nel 822, fermandosi a Pavia.

Le suppliche del pontefice Pasquale lo portarono comunque a Roma solamente la Pasqua dell'anno successivo (823), quando con il consenso di Ludovico il Pio fu consacrato imperatore Augusto del popolo romano.

A seguito dei continuati malumori, Lotario ordinò un'inchiesta sui fatti precedentemente accaduti. Il Pontefice si sottomise spontaneamente al giuranmento di purificazione attraverso il giuramento di fede a Dio, maledendo contemporaneamente i sobillatori giustiziati.
I legati tornarono ad Aquisgrana e riferirono a Ludovico quanto accaduto e quanto sentito. L'inchiesta fu archiviata dallo stesso imperatore.

A Pasquale I si debbono i primi interventi sociali, oltre che a due giustiziati.

Fu dichiarato santo perchè la leggenda vuole che durante una messa sia caduto in "trance" ed abbia rivelato il punto esatto della sepoltura di Santa Cecilia e di suo marito Valeriano, martirizzati durante l'impero romano. I corpi furono estratti dal cimitero di San Callisto con abiti interamente ricoperti d'oro.

Pasquale I morì il giorno 11 febbraio del 824, il popolo romano, nonostante il suo interessamento sociale impedì la sepoltura a San Pietro e si ritiene che le sue spoglie giacciano in San Prassede.
San Pasquale viene festeggiato l'11 febbraio.

Franco Prevato