Alberic of Ostia

views updated


Cardinal bishop, papal legate; b. Beauvais, France, c. 1080; d. Verdun, 1148. Alberic became a monk in Cluny, where he rose to the rank of subprior; he held the same office at the Abbey of Saint-Martin-des-Champs. At the instance of peter the venerable, he was appointed abbot of Vézelay (1131) despite the opposition of the monks of that abbey. In the schism of Anacletus II (see pierleoni) he supported Pope innocent ii, who created him cardinal bishop of Ostia and papal legate (1138) to England. A strong representative of the Gregorian Reform, Alberic was the first papal legate in more than 70 years to enter England with unrestricted powers. In Scotland he won the clergy to recognition of Innocent (Synod of Carlisle, Sept. 26, 1138); but his primary business was to visit the chief monastic and episcopal centers of England and Scotland, to hold a council in which recent reform decrees might be applied, and to supervise the election of the archbishop of Canterbury. Assisted by two assessors, the Austin Canon Robert of Hereford and Abbot Richard of Fountains, he brought the mission to a successful conclusion with the synod of Westminster (Dec. 11, 1138) and the election of theobald of canterbury, the former abbot of Bec. After affording his good offices to the establishment of peace between England and Scotland, he returned to Rome (January 1139), where he participated in the Second Lateran Council.

Appointed legate to Antioch, he deposed Radulph, the second Latin patriarch (Nov. 30, 1139), and in 1140 presided at a synod in Jerusalem. His last years were spent as legate in southern France, where he opposed the Albigenses, Éon of Stella, and the followers of Henry of Lausanne.

Bibliography: john of hexham, Chronicle in The Priory of Hexham, ed. j. raine, 2 v. (Surtees Society 44, 46; London 186465) 1:107172. richard of hexham, ibid. 1:63106. c. j. von hefele, Histoire des conciles d'après les documents originaux (Paris 190738) 5:721, 745746, 817. h. tillmann, Die päpstlichen Legaten in England (Bonn 1926). d. knowles, The Monastic Orders in England, 9431216 (Cambridge, Eng. 1962) 237, 253.

[o. j. blum]