Fulbert of Chartres

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Bishop; b. c. 960; d. April 10, 1028. He was born of a poor and non-noble family, probably in northern France. He studied under Gerbert (sylvester ii) at Reims and then went to chartres, where he taught in the cathedral school. He was ordained to the diaconate by 1004 and became bishop of Chartres in September or October 1006. As one of the principal churchmen in northern France and as bishop of a royal diocese, Fulbert was involved in the many ecclesiastical and secular controversies of his day. He was most anxious to remedy the abuses of simony and clerical marriage and to free the Church from the control of the feudal nobility. Especially important were his efforts to uphold canonical regulations concerning episcopal elections and his attempts to reinforce the spiritual and temporal authority of the diocesan bishop. Yet Fulbert accepted the customary medieval notions of divine-right kingship and the longstanding traditions of royal influence within the French Church. He supported King Robert II of France in his struggle against the nobles and on several occasions actively intervened in an effort to restore peace. Fulbert was well educated for his time. He knew the standard classical and Christian authors and was exceptionally learned in ecclesiastical and secular law. There is no evidence to indicate that he continued to teach after his episcopal consecration, but he did maintain close contact with the students who came to Chartres. His advice was often sought on both scholarly and practical matters, and he corresponded with some of the most famous leaders of his time, including Abbots abbo of fleury and odilo of cluny, and Duke William V of Aquitaine. Fulbert was an ardent promoter of devotion to the Blessed Virgin, and he began the rebuilding of Chartres Cathedral, which had been destroyed by fire in 1020. In 1022 he made a pilgrimage to Rome and sometime later was made treasurer of St. Hilary's at Poitiers by Duke William. Fulbert was buried in the monastery church of St. Père-de-Chartres. Although he has long been popularly venerated as a saint, it was only in the mid-19th century that his cult was officially sanctioned for the Dioceses of Chartres and Poitiers.

Feast: April 10.

Bibliography: Collected works in Patrologia Latina 141:185368. f. behrends, The Letters and Poems of Fulbert of Chartres (Oxford 1976). c. pfister, De Fulberti Carnotensis Episcopi, Vita et Operibus (Nancy 1885). l. c. mackinney, Bishop Fulbert and Education at the School of Chartres (Notre Dame, Ind.1957), with older bibliography. y. delaporte, "F. de C. et l'école chartraine de chant liturgique au XIe siècle," Études Grégoriennes 2 (1957) 5181. j. r. geiselmann, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner (Freiburg 195765) 4:443. j. m. canal, "Los sermones marianos de San Fulberto de C. (1028)," Recherches de théologie ancienne et médiévale 29 (1962) 3351; 30 (1963), 5587, 329333. h. barrÉ, Prières anciennes de l'occident à la mère du Sauveur (Paris 1963) 150162.

[f. behrends]