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Adalbert (ca. 740 C.E.)

Adalbert (ca. 740 C.E.)

A French pseudo-mystic of the eighth century. He boasted that an angel brought him relics of extraordinary sanctity from all parts of the earth and he claimed to be able to foretell the future, and to read thoughts. "I know what you have done," he would say; "there is no need for confession. Go in peace, your sins are forgiven." Adalbert's so-called "miracles" gained him great popularity, and he gave away many cuttings of his nails and locks of his hair as powerful amulets. He is even said to have set up an altar in his own name.

The small amount of biographical information that exists tells of miraculous powers bestowed by an angel at his birth. Adalbert was accused of showing to his disciples a letter that he declared was brought to him from Jesus Christ and delivered by St. Michael. Adalbert was also accused of composing a mystical prayer invoking uncanonical angels believed to be demons.

In 744 C.E. a Church synod denounced him. A year later, after appealing to Pope Zacharius, Adalbert was deprived of priestly office. Later he was condemned to perpetual imprisonment in the monastery of Fulda.

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Adalbert

Adalbert, 1043–72, German churchman, archbishop of Hamburg-Bremen, a diocese that included Scandinavia. He was a favorite of Holy Roman Emperor Henry III, who appointed Adalbert to the archbishopric in order to break the power of the dukes of N Europe. He was a guardian of Henry's son and successor, Henry IV, but his relentless ambition to strengthen the church and the monarchy at the expense of the nobles (chiefly by annexing their lands) defeated itself. The nobles allied themselves with the abbots, who hated him for his efforts to subordinate the abbeys, and with the bishops, who feared his increasing ecclesiastical power. They accomplished his dismissal in 1066, but Henry IV recalled him in 1069. One of the ablest statesmen of his time, Adalbert helped consolidate both his ecclesiastical domain and the imperial authority.

See Adam of Bremen, History of the Archbishops of Hamburg-Bremen (tr. 1959).

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