lundi 21 novembre 2016

Saint ALBERT de LOUVAIN (du BRABANT), évêque et martyr

Saint Albert de Louvain

Évêque de Liège et Martyr ( 1192)

Il naquit à Louvain en Belgique et son frère était duc de Lorraine. Quand il fut nommé évêque de Liège, il rencontre l'opposition du comte du Hainaut qui avait un autre candidat soutenu aussi par l'empereur d'Allemagne Henri IV. Saint Albert en appelle à Rome où il est reçu par le Pape qui confirme son élection et le nomme cardinal. Par amour de la paix, saint Albert se fait consacrer à Reims où il réside en attendant des jours meilleurs. C'est là qu'il est assassiné par des mercenaires payés par l'empereur, martyrisé pour avoir défendu la liberté de l’Église.

Fête locale pour les diocèses de Liège, Namur et Malines-Bruxelles. 

(au 27 novembre au Propre du diocèse de Reims - fêtes célébrées en certains lieux du diocèse)
Voir aussi "St. Albert de Louvain: évêque de Liége et martyr (1192)"
À Reims, en 1192, la passion de saint Albert de Louvain, évêque de Liège et martyr. Envoyé en exil pour sa défense des libertés de l’Église, il fut, la même année, ordonné évêque et tué à Reims.

Martyrologe romain


Albert of Louvain BM (RM)

(also known as Albert of Brabant)

Born at Mont César, Louvain, in 1166; died November 24, 1192; cultus confirmed 1613. Albert, son of Duke Godfrey III of Brabant and his wife Margaret of Limburg, was raised for a life in the Church in a castle on what is now called Mont-César. At age 12 he was made a canon of Liège, but renounced his benefice when he came of age.

At age 21, Albert attached himself as a knight to the entourage of his enemy Count Baldwin V of Brabant. When the papal legate preached the crusade in Liège a few months later, Albert took up the cross, and at the same time took up his canonry again. He never participated in the crusade, instead the subdeacon was quickly promoted to archdeacon, then provost.

In 1191 (age 25), Albert was overwhelmingly chosen bishop of Liège by the chapter over another archdeacon, Albert of Rethel, who was cousin to Baldwin and the uncle of Empress Constance. His election was opposed by Emperor Henry VI who favored his wife's uncle. When the cause was heard at Worms, the emperor gave the see to Lothaire, provost of Bonn, whom he had just made imperial chancellor in return for 3,000 marks.

In order to appeal to Rome, Saint Albert had to travel circuitously and covertly under the guise of a servant so as to avoid interception by the emperor's men. Following Pope Celestine III's confirmation of the election, Albert returned to Liège, but found Lothaire already intruded in the see and that Archbishop Bruno of Cologne was unwilling to incur the wrath of the emperor by consecrating Albert. Meanwhile the pope had made arrangements for Archbishop William of Rheims to ordain and consecrate Albert. This was accomplished at Rheims on September 29, 1192.

When war appeared immanent between the emperor and Albert's uncle over his consecration, the saint opted to remain in exile rather than precipitate a war. Still the emperor was not satisfied. He forced the submission of Albert's clerical supporters before leaving Liège for Maestricht to hatch another plot against the lawful bishop. Just 10 weeks after his consecration, Saint Albert was murdered by three German knights as he was making a visit to the abbey of Saint-Remi outside the walls of Rheims. He was buried with honor in the cathedral (Benedictines, Walsh).

In art Saint Albert is depicted as a bishop with a knife in his head or with three swords on the ground before him. (He is easily confused with Thomas a Becket (of Canterbury), whose martyrdom was similar.) Sometimes he is shown as an enthroned cardinal holding a palm, three swords before him, or as a cardinal protecting the Archduke Albert (Roeder). 

Saint Albert of Louvain

Also known as
  • Albert of Leuven
  • Albert of Liege
  • Alberto di Lovanio
  • Albrecht of….

Son of Duke Godfrey III of Brabant. Made a canon of Liege, Belgium at age 12, a political appointment for guaranteed income rather than a religious vocation. He gave up the position at age 21 to become a knight under Count Baldwin V of Hainault, a bitter enemy of his native Brabant. He talked of going on Crusade, but never did, and eventually realized that religious life was calling him. He became a canon of Liege again, this time as a true vocation.

Archdeacon and provost of Brabant. Bishop of Liege in 1191. Albert of Rethel, cousin of Count Baldwin and uncle of the Empress Constance, wife of Holy Roman Emperor Henry VI, had sought the episcopacy. He appealed to the emperor for help; Henry removed Albert from the position and made a third candidate, Lothaire, who was the provost of Bonn, Germany, the new bishop of Liege. Albert then appealed to the Vatican, both for himself and to help clearly establish the Pope‘s supremacy in the matter. Celestine III declared Albert’s election valid, and returned him to Liege. Lothair refused to surrender the see; Henry backed him, and forced the priests in the diocese to submit to Lothair.

Bruno, archbishop of Cologne, Germany was supposed to ordain Albert, but refused, fearing the emperor. William, archbishop of Rheims, France, ordained Albert as priest, and then as bishop. In an attempt to end the matter in the emperor’s favour, a group of Henry’s knights ambushed and murdered Albert on the road outside Rheims. The plan backfired, however, as Lothair was excommunicated and exiled, and Henry was forced to submit to Rome and do penance; lay investiture (civil control over ordinations) took another serious blow.


St. Albert of Louvain

Feastday: November 21
Birth: 1166
Death: 1192

Cardinal and knight, the son of Duke Godfrey III of Brabant and brother of Henry I, duke of Lorraine and Brabant. At the age of twelve he was made a canon of Liege, France, but resigned from that priestly honor at the age of twenty-one to become a knight of Count Baldwin V, an enemy of Brabant. Albert proposed going on a crusade but did not do so, instead resuming his clerical life. He became a canon again and then was named the bishop of Liege. His appointment did not please Count Baldwin, who had one of his own relatives in mind. He appealed to Emperor Henry VI, who deposed Albert and appointed Lothair to the see. In turn, Albert appealed to Rome, and Pope Celestine III declared his appointment valid. While in Rome, Albert was recommended to Reims, where he was ordained and made a cardinal by archbishop William of Reims. The baffle for political control of Liege continued, and in time took a deadly toll. On November 21 or 24, a group of knights from Emperor Henry's court approached Albert, who greeted them with his customary gentleness. As he turned to ask them their purpose, he was stabbed to death. Lothair was excommunicated and exiled for his role in the denial of Albert as the true bishop of Liege. Emperor Henry VI was forced to make public penance for the actions of his knights. Albert's body was taken to the cathedral of Reims, where it reposed until 1612. Then Archduke Albert of Austria had the remains transferred to the chapel of the new Carmelite convent he had founded in Brussels. In 1822, part of Albert's remains were given to the cathedral of Liege.


The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church

Biographical Dictionary
Pope Celestine III (1191-1198)
Consistory of May 1192 (II)

Birth. Ca. 1166, Louvain (now Belgium). Second of the two sons of Duke Godefroy III of Basse-Lorraine and his first wife, Margareta van Limburg; brother of Henri I, duke of Brabant; nephew of Duke Henri III de Limbourg and Count Albert III von Dagsberg. Cousin of Cardinal Simon de Limbourg (1195). He is also listed as Albert de Brabant, Albert of Lowen, Adalbero of Louvaine, Albert de Liège and Albert von Lüttich.

Education. As a child, he was dedicated to the church and studied in the school of the cathedral of Saint-Lambert, Liège.

Early life. Canon prebendary of the cathedral chapter of Saint-Lambert of Liège ca. 1178. In 1187, when the news of the fall of Jerusalem reached Liège, he resigned his offices, took the cross and was knighted at Valenciennes. In 1188, he was restored to the ecclesiastical state by Cardinal Henri de Marsiac, O.Cist., papal preacher of the crusade; and became archdeacon of Liège in that same year; and later, provost of the collegiate churches of Saint-Pierre and Saint-Jean in Liège. Received the subdiaconate in 1191.

Episcopate. Elected bishop of Liège by the overwhelming majority of its cathedral chapter, September 8, 1191 although he had not reached the canonical age of thirty; all the other archdeacons, clergy, people of the city and princes of the land, consented to his election; Count Badouin de Hainaut, enemy of Duke Henri of Bavant, opposed the election of Albert de Louvain and, with a handful of canons, elected Albert de Rethel, provost of Liège. The dispute was brought up before Emperor Heinrich VI; at the Diet of Worms, on January 13, 1192, the emperor referred the matter to a committee of ten bishops and three abbots; the committee decided that since the see was clearly in dispute, it fell to the emperor to appoint a bishop; the emperor appointed Lothaire von Hochstaden, provost of Bonn; Albert of Louvain strongly protested and indicated that he would appeal to Rome; Albert de Rethel indignantly refused a financial settlement offered by the emperor; he went to Rome; the majority of the electors of Liège accepted the imperial decision because of the emperor's threat; Albert de Louvain arrived in Rome on April 5, 1192 and presented the matter to Pope Celestine III; the pope welcomed him, heard his case and presented it to the Roman Curia; some of the cardinals recommended caution but the majority supported Albert's claim; the pope accepted the decision and, in the Lateran palace, confirmed Albert's election after Pentecost 1192.

Cardinalate. Created cardinal deacon in a consistory in May 1192; no information has been found concerning his deaconry.

Sacred orders. Ordained deacon by Pope Celestine III in Rome on May 30, 1192; the pope wrote to Archbishop Bruno of Cologne (metropolitan of the bishop of Liège), asking him to consecrate Albert as bishop of Liège, and authorized the archbishop to delegate the consecration to the archbishop of Reims, if he feared to perform the ceremony himself; another letter went to the archbishop of Reims explaining the situation and authorizing him to consecrate a bishop from outside his jurisdiction; the pope also wrote to the chapter of Liège indicating his decision, asking them to support Albert and absolving them from the oaths to Lothair. Albert departed from Rome and by July 31, he was in the abbey of Lobbes in Brabant; from there he went to the monastery of Nivelles and then traveled to one of the fortresses of his uncle the duke of Limberg; in August or early September, the duke accompanied his nephew to Reims. Albert was ordained priest on Saturday September 19, 1192, in Reims, by Cardinal Guillaume aux Blanches Mains, archbishop of Reims. He received the episcopal consecration the following day from the same archbishop; he celebrated his first mas on September 21 in the cathedral of Reims. The new bishop remained in Reims the next two months; in October, three German knights arrived in Reims and became acquaintances of the bishop of Liège and won his trust on November 24, the knights persuaded Albert to take a horse ride with them outside the city walls; the three knights attacked the bishop with their swords, struck him on the head crashing his skull and making him fall to the ground, where they again attacked him to make sure that they had killed him and then escaped.

Death. November 24, 1192, assassinated by three German knights near Reims, in the route to Nogent-l'Ablesse. Buried in the metropolitan cathedral of Reims. The question of who was ultimately responsible for of the bishop's death remains unanswered. His biography, Vita Alberti episcopi Leodiensis, was written, in 1194 or 1195, by a contemporary, who was a monk and secretary of the abbot of Lobbes (1).

Beatification. In 1612, at the request of Archduke Albert of Brabant, who wanted to have his body in Brussels, the king of France and the archbishop of Reims allowed the translation of the relics of Albert to Brussels; they were exhumed on October 20 and transferred to that city (by error, it was the remains of Archbishop Odalric of Reims that were taken to Brussels; the error of the canons of the cathedral chapter of Reims may be explained by the several modifications that had taken place in the cathedral building) on November 22; they were solemnly received on December 11 and deposited in the church of the Carmelites. On August 9, 1613, Pope Paul V authorized his veneration in Reims and Brussels and inscribed him in the Roman Martyrology on November 21, which is believed was the anniversary of his death; he is listed as a martyr who died for the defense of the Church. On September 26, 1919, in the excavations of the cathedral of Reims, which had been devastated during the First World War, Architect Henri Deneux found the real tomb of St. Albert of Liège; the relics were recognized by a commission named by Cardinal Louis-Henri Luçon, archbishop of Reims; the commission met on December 10, 1920 and August 18, 1921; the body was exhumed and, after the remains of Archbishop Odalric were transferred from Belgium on November 17, 1921, the relics of St. Albert were taken to Brussels the following November 19; they were accompanied by Jan van Cauwenbergh, titular bishop of Sinao, auxiliary and vicar general of Malines, and by Sébastien Braun, Benedictine of Maredsous, and given directly to Cardinal Desiré Mercier, archbishop of Malines; the cardinal donated a relic (an arm) of the saint to King Albert I of Belgium; and another relic to Reims, to Cardinal Luçon, on November 9, 1925.

Bibliography. Cardella, Lorenzo. Memorie storiche de' cardinali della Santa Romana Chiesa. Rome : Stamperia Pagliarini, 1792, I, pt. 2, 187-189; Chacón, Alfonso. Vitæ, et res gestæ Pontificvm Romanorum et S. R. E. Cardinalivm ab initio nascentis Ecclesiæ vsque ad Vrbanvm VIII. Pont. Max. 2 volumes. Romae : Typis Vaticanis, 1677, I, col. 1163-1164; Del Marmol, B. St Albert de Louvain, evêque de Liège et martyr (1192). Paris : Lecoffre, 1922. (Les saints); Du Chesne, François. Histoire de tous les cardinaux françois : de naissance, ou qui ont esté promeus au cardinalat par l'expresse recommandation de nos roys, pour les grands services qu'ils ont rendus a leur estat, et a leur couronne. Comprenant commairement leurs legations, ambassades & voyages par eux faits en divers pays & royaumes, vers les papes, empereurs, roys, potentats, republiques, communautex & universitez, pour affaires importantes à l'église universelle, & à l'auguste majesté de nos souuerains. Enrichie de leurs armes et de leurs portraits. Divisée en deux tomes, et justifiée par tiltres et chartres du thresor de sa majesté, arrests des parlemens de France, registres des Chambres des comptes; donations, fondations, epitaphes, testamens, manuscripts, ancients monumens, chroniques & chartulaires d'abbayes, & autres histoires publiques & particlieres. 2 vols. A Paris : Aux despens de l'autheur, & se vendent chez luy ..., 1660, I, 189-191; "Essai de liste générale des cardinaux. Les cardinaux du XIIè siècle". Annuaire Pontifical Catholique 1928. Paris : Maison de la Bonne Presse, 1928, p. 158; Moreau, Edouard. Albert de Louvain, prince-évêque de Liège. Bruxelles : Éditions universitaires, 1946; Schmandt, Raymond H."The election and assassination of Albert of Louvain, Bishop of Liege, 1191-92." Speculum, Vol. 42, No. 4 (Oct., 1967), pp. 639-660; Segal A.."Paléopathologie autour des reliques de Saint-Albert de Louvain = Paleopathology around St Albert of Lowen's Relics." Histoire des sciences médicales, Vol. 32, No. 2 (1988), pp. 115-122.

Webgraphy. Biography, in English; biography, in French; his arms and biography, in French, p. 189-191; biographical entry, in French; biography, in German; biographical entry, in German; portrait and biography, in Norwegian; photograph of his craneum and his biography, in Flemish, p. 35-30; his genealogy, A1 B2 C1 D1 E2; Schisme de l'Église Liégeoise, in French.

(1) Vita Alberti episcopi Leodiensis, edited by I. Heller, Monumenta Germaniæ Historica, Scriptores (Berlin, 1880), XXV, 139-168.

©1998-2015 Salvador Miranda.

Sant' Alberto di Lovanio Vescovo e martire


Martirologio Romano: A Reims in Francia, passione di sant’Alberto di Louvain, vescovo di Liegi e martire, che fu costretto all’esilio per aver difeso la libertà della Chiesa e fu ucciso nello stesso anno in cui era stato ordinato.

Molte fonti, di tendenze opposte, ma che manifestano un accordo rimarchevole sugli avvenimenti principali, ci ragguagliano su sant'Alberto. La principale, la Vita Alberti, conservata solamente nel ms. 723-727 della Biblioteca reale del Belgio a Bruxelles, fu composta da un anonimo che venne abbondantemente documentato dall'abate di Lobbes, Wéres (m.1209), amico molto intimo di Alberto di Lovanio (l'opinione di G. Kurth, che attribuisce la Vita Alberti all'arcidiacono Hervard di Liegi, non ha incontrato punto credito). Scritta durante il 1194 o all'inizio del 1195, la Vita contiene qualche raro errore - a dire il vero delle inezie (ai capi 3 e 5) - e qualche omissione che sembra dovuta a una certa parzialità: poiché, nonostante le sue grandi qualità, la Vita Alberti è un panegirico. Una seconda fonte è il Chronicon Hannoniense di Gisleberto di Mons terminato nel 1196; una terza - alcune righe - è la cronaca analitica di Lamberto il Piccolo (m.1194), monaco di S. Giacomo di Liegi; una quarta, la continuazione di Anchin della Cronaca di Sigeberto di Gembloux (sul valore di questa documentazione vedere lo studio acuto di È. de Moreau).

Fratello minore di Enrico I, duca di Brabante, Alberto fu destinato da suo padre, Gedefredo III, allo stato ecclesiastico. Essendo morto nella terza Crociata Raoul (Rodolfo) di Zabringen, vescovo di Liegi, i canonici, sotto il patronato del duca, elessero Alberto per sostituire il vescovo deceduto; era l'8 settembre 1191 e Alberto aveva ca. venticinque anni. Il conte di Hainaut e di Fiandra aveva appoggiato la candidatura di Alberto di Rethel. Così si trovarono in conflitto i due principali sovrani dei Paesi Bassi. L'imperatore Enrico VI, che doveva confermare l'elezione e conferire l'investitura al novello vescovo, diede, contro ogni diritto, il vescovato a un terzo candidato, Lotario di Hochstade. Malgrado tutto, Alberto si fece consacrare a Reims, ma fu costretto a restare in questa città, non permettendo l'imperatore di stabilirsi nel principato di Liegi. Poco dopo il suo arrivo a Reims, alcuni malfattori alemanni lo raggiunsero, ne guadagnarono la fiducia e lo assassinarono il 24 novembre 1192. Una parte della responsabilità di questo crimine pesa sull'imperatore.

Fu necessario attendere il principio del sec. XVII per ottenere il riconoscimento del culto di sant'Alberto: alla domanda dell'arciduca Alberto, Paolo V il 9 agosto 1613 permise di celebrare la sua festa, a Bruxelles e a Reims, il 21 novembre (per errore essendo stato iscritto il santo a questa data nel Martirologio piuttosto che al 24 dello stesso mese); l'arciduca Alberto ottenne pure di far trasferire a Bruxelles quelle che si credeva fossero le sue ossa e le fece deporre presso i Carmelitani. Da questo prezioso deposito furono separate alcune reliquie, nel 1892, in favore delle chiese di Lovanio, Malines e Liegi e, nel 1905, in favore dell'abbazia di Mont-Césa a Lovanio. Nel 1919, in seguito ai restauri della cattedrale di Reims sinistrata, si apprese che nel sec. XVII ci si era ingannati: le ossa di sant'Alberto giacevano sempre a Reims e i particolari della Vita Alberti lo provavano pienamente. Si procedette a uno scambio, cosicché attualmente il corpo di sant'Alberto riposa nel Belgio, dove, soprattutto dal 1914, è venerato come patrono.

Autore: Albert d'Haenens

Dom Boniface dei Marmol, 0. S. Β. Saint Albert de Louvain [compte rendu]  De Moreau E.  Revue belge de philologie et d'histoire Année 1923 Volume 2 Numéro 1 pp. 123-129 :

Raymond H. Schmandt. « The Election and Assassination of Albert Louvain,
Bishop of Liège, 1191-1192 », Saint Joseph's University :