Jonas of Orléans

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Frankish bishop, theological writer; b. Aquitaine, before 780; d. Orléans, 843. Jonas, whose name is connected with the questions of veneration of images and Church-State relations, succeeded theodulf as bishop of Orléans in 818 and governed that see for 25 years during the reigns of louis the pious and charles the bald. He was active in the reform synods of 825 to 837. He opposed his fellow bishops agobard of lyons and ebbo of reims. Jonas left three treatises [Patrologia Latina, ed. J. P. Migne, 217 v., indexes 4 v. (Paris 187890) 106:117387]: De institutione laicali, on the moral duties of married persons; an untitled work on the duties of monarchs, given the title De institutione regia by later editors; and De cultu imaginum, on the veneration of images. De institutione laicali and De institutione regia are companion pieces, similar in approach and style. Jonas wrote the first at the request of Matfrid, Count of Orléans. The second was written for the instruction of Pepin, young King of Aquitaine, son of Louis the Pious. Neither contains much original material. Jonas followed the typical pre-scholastic practice of employing a chain of passages from Scripture and the Fathers, with only transitional and connective comment. In the treatise for Matfrid, Jonas discusses, among other things, the dominant vices of the laity: delay of repentance, with the presumptuous hope of getting into Purgatory; receiving Holy Communion only at the great feasts; postponement of Extreme Unction for the dying; excessive preoccupation with gambling, hunting, and dogs; and cursing, lying, and worldliness. In the treatise for King Pepin, Jonas explains what it is to be a king, what the king must do and avoid, what is properly his office. The king must reward good citizens, punish criminals, suppress crime, and care for the poor. His justice will be a support to the throne, while injustice will overthrow it. De cultu imaginum was written on commission of Emperor Louis against the views of bishop claudius of turin. It is in three books: on images, on the veneration of the cross, and on pilgrimages and the invocation of saints. Jonas apparently tried to steer a middle course between iconoclasm and image worship. He held that images properly are for the adornment of churches, for commemoration, and for the instruction of the faithful. He rejected excessive and superstitious cults amounting to adoration.

Bibliography: jonas of orlÉans, Les Idées politico-religieuses , ed. j. reviron (Paris 1930). m. manitius, Geschichte der lateinischen Literatur des Mittelalters, 3 v. (Munich 191131) 1:374380. w. wattenbach Deutschlands Geschichtsquellen im Mittelalter. Vorzeit und Karolinger, Hefte 14, ed. w. levison and h. lÖwe (Weimar 195263) 3:311ff. Beih. 9. a. garcia martinez, "El primer tratado político-religioso del siglo IXe tratado de institutione regia del obispo aquitano Jonas de Orléans," Crisis 4 (Madrid 1957) 239264.

[c. e. sheedy]