Hincmar of Laon

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Bishop, d. 879. He was the focal point of a jurisdictional struggle among territorial bishop, metropolitan, king, and pope begun under Bp. Rothad of Soissons and his supporters. They based their opposition to the growing authority of the metropolitan bishop and to the alienation of church property to laymen on the false decretals and the firm support of Pope nicholas i. Hincmar, orphaned at an early age, became the ward of his mother's brother hincmar, Archbishop of Reims, who secured his nephew's early appointment as bishop of Laon (858). A worldly and ambitious prelate, Hincmar of Laon soon showed himself an apt student of power politics. In 868 he began his series of challenges against the king's right to interfere in matters of church property. Seized in 869 by Charles the Bald, he retaliated by forbidding his priests to administer the Sacraments. This interdict, soon removed by the Metropolitan, Hincmar of Reims, led to a falling out of uncle and nephew that reached its climax at the Synod of attigny (870). Hincmar based his case on the sovereignty of the suffragan bishops and on the right of appeal to the pope (see adrian ii). The metropolitan's answer came in his Opusculum 55 capitulorum, which challenged the authenticity of some of the False Decretals. At the Synod of Douzy (871), Hincmar of Laon was deposed and sent into exile; he was subsequently blinded. At the Council of Troyes, seven years later, he was released by Pope john viii. A broken man, he died soon afterward.

Bibliography: Patrologia Latina, ed. j. p. migne, 217 v., indexes 4 v. (Paris 187890) 124:9791072. Monumenta Germaniae Historica : Poetae (Berlin 1826) 3.2.1:416. j. d. mansi, Sacrorum Conciliorum nova et amplissima collectio, 31 v. (Florence-Venice 175798); reprinted and continued by l. petit and j. b. martin, 53v. in 60 (Paris 18891927; repr. Graz 1960) 16:572864. h. schrÖrs, Hinkmar, Erzbischof von Reims: Sein Leben und seine Schriften (Freiburg 1884). e. l. dÜmmler, Geschichte des ostfränkischen Reiches, 3 v. (2d ed. Leipzig 188788) v.2. h. netzer, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant et al., 15 v. (Paris 190350; Tables Générales 1951) 6.2:248687. a. fliche and v. martin eds., Histoire de l'église depuis les origines jusqu'à nos jours (Paris 1935) 6:403411. j. haller, Das Papsttum, 5 v. (2d, rev. ed. Stuttgart 195053) 2:130134. j. devisse, Hincmar et la loi (Dakar 1962).

[r. b. palmer]