Monday, March 26, 2012


Reign 768–814
Coronation Noyon, 9 October 768
Pavia, 10 July 774
 Rome, 25 December 801

Father Pepin the Short
Mother Bertrada of Laon
Born 2 April 742  Liège
Died 28 January 814 (aged around 71) Aachen.

Burial Aachen Cathedral
Beatified 814, Aachen by a court bishop, later confirmed by Pope Benedict XIV
Feast day: January 28.

Blessed Charlemagne, Emperor ..

 Born December 25, 742; died 814; cultus confirmed by Benedict XIV. Charlemagne was the son of Pepin the Short, king of the Franks, on Christmas Day. Popular devotion to Charlemagne took root chiefly at the time of the great quarrel among the pope, Frederick Barbarossa, and the antipope Paschal III. Charlemagne's name is a somewhat extraordinary one to find among the beati. In France devotion to Charlemagne was made compulsory by the state in 1475 (though his memorial is no longer celebrated there liturgically), and his feast is still observed in several German dioceses. Saint Joan of Arc associated him with Saint Louis in her prayers.

 He was anointed with his father and his brother Carloman by Pope Stephen II in 754. When Pepin died in 768, Charlemagne and Carloman divided the kingdom. With the death of Carloman in 771, he became the sole ruler.

 For the next 28 years, he expanded his empire. At the request of Hadrian I, he subdued Lombardy, forcing King Desiderius to retire to a monastery. He assumed the Lombardy crown and was rewarded by the pope with the title "patricius."

 From 772 to 785, he campaigned against the Saxons. He conquered Bavaria, the Avar kingdom, and Pannonia (Hungary). At home, Charlemagne organized and reformed the government, standardizing the laws, building a stable administration, and employing missi dominici, itinerant royal legates.

 He furthered ecclesiastical reforms and became a patron of letters, which resulted in his reign being labelled "the Carolingian Renaissance." He commissioned Alcuin to write against the Adoptionist heretics led by Felix of Urgel. He spurred learning by acting as a patron to the scholars who formed the Palace School.

 It was primarily due to Charlemagne's efforts--not the pope's--that the hierarchy, discipline, and unity of liturgy were restored; that doctrine was defined; and that education was encouraged. It is these achievements rather than his conquests that earned him fame. The high point of his reign was his coronation as the first Holy Roman Emperor by Pope Leo III on Christmas Day in 800.

 Charlemagne's cultus developed about 1166 under the influence of Frederick Barbarossa and the antipope Paschal III. Nevertheless, Benedict XIV, before ascending the Chair of Peter, decided that the former emperor was entitled to be called "blessed" because he provided the Church with such great protection (Attwater2, Benedictines, Coulson, White).

 In art, Charlemagne is generally portrayed as emperor, wearing the imperial crown with an orb, sword, eagle, and lilies on his shield. At times, he may be shown (1) with a dog at his feet; (2) with four philosophers around him; (3) SS. Peter and Paul appearing to him; or (4) near the Church of Aachen (Aix-la-Chapelle).

 Patron of learning (Gill), brokers, teachers, tin-founders, and the University of Paris (Roeder). He is venerated at Aachen, Germany

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