Concerning the separation of the Churches of the diocese of Italy from the Church of Rome, and of the faith of the Patetines.


WHAT I have already related concerning the independence of the diocese of Italy on the Pope, was a thing very displeasing and troublesome to the Church of Rome. She could not, without regret, see a diocese so near to her preserve its liberty, whilst a great number of other dioceses, at a farther distance, had quitted their rights, and acknowledged her jurisdiction. Nicolas II. having undertaken this business, made choice of Petrus Damianus, and Anselm, Bishop of Lucca, to be his Legates, making the difference which was risen between the people and the Clergy, upon occasion of two pretended heresies, that of the Simoniacs, and that of the Nicolaitans, who did not believe themselves bound to observe celibacy by a mere human authority. They began also to question the ordinations that had been made by order of the Emperors and other princes, as if it were no better than pure simony to get into the Church by this means. Moreover, there was also a kind of tax imposed upon those who were newly ordained, for the use of the Bishops and Archbishops, and without paying which there was scarcely any ordination to be had.

Petrus Damianus himself tells us, that upon his arrival at Milan, the Clergy stirred up the people to express their discontent against the design of this legation: Non debere Ambrosianam Ecclesiam Romanis legibus subjacere, nullumque judicandi vet disponendi jus Romano Pontidfici in illa sede competere. Nimis indignum ut qux sub progenitoribus nostris SEMPER extitit libera, ad nostrae confusionis opprobrium, nunc alteri, quod absit, Ecclesiste sit subjecta:

“That the Ambrosian Church ought not to be subjected to the laws of Rome; and that the Pope of Rome had no right at all of judging or disposing any thing there. It was a shame, said they, that she who has been ALWAYS free in the time of our forefathers, should now, to our great reproach and confusion, be forced to truckle, which God forbid, under another Church.”

The people got together at the ringing of the bells, and went to the palace of the Archbishop, and put Cardinal Peter in danger of his life, as his friends told him. They express their indignation, because in the Synod of the Priests of that metro-polls he had had the boldness to sit above the Archbishop.

What does this wise Legate in this encounter? He gets up into the pulpit, and preacheth to them concerning the dignity of the Roman Church; that the prerogatives of other sees had been granted them by the Emperors, but that she only was beholden for her primacy to Jesus Christ; that those who refused to render obedience to her, did thereby make themselves heretics. In the sequel of his sermon he impudently asserts three palpable falsities: the one, that Nazarius and Celsus had been sent by St. Peter from Rome to Milan; the other, that St. Paul had sent thither St. Protasius and St. Gervasius; and the third, that St. Ambrose had recourse to the authority of Syricius, to purge his diocese from the heresy of the Nicolaitans, which began to spread itself there. These are the arguments he makes use of, and adds a passage out of a book, De Sacerdotali Dignitate, falsely attributed to St. Ambrose; wherein the author makes profession of his following the Church of Rome in all things, as his mistress.

It is pleasant to see this impostor congratulating himself, that he had asserted the prerogative of the Church of Rome to so good a purpose. This so very evangelical sermon smoothed all the rubs he met with at first. He examines the Clergy, and finds almost all of them guilty of simony. What is to be done in this case? There is no way left but a dispensation; and this way he takes: he makes the Archbishop and his Clergy to promise, never for the time to come to exact any thing, either directly or indirectly, of those whom he ordained; he chargeth him to anathematize the heresy of the Nicolaitans; he makes him promise, upon the Gospel, to exterminate them to the utmost of his power; he imposeth penance upon him and all his Clergy, and afterwards restores to them the ornaments of their orders, in the midst of mass, confirming them in the same, after he had made them swear to receive the seven General Councils, the last of which was the second of Nice, concerning the worshipping of images, which, it appears, that diocese had before rejected, as well as France, Germany, and Spain, at the Council of Francfort, in the year 794: nor can any body read, without being ashamed, the pleasant penances he imposed on them, and the means he put into their hands of buying them off; it being one of the ways the Church of Rome had found out to make sins cheap.

However, this business did not go off so successfully as Petrus Damianus did expect: for soon after his departure, the Archbishop Wido, and his Clergy, became sensible of the false step they had made: Wido, supported by the nobility, called a council, and therein confirmed the right that Priests had to marry. The story is told by Bonizo, Bishop of Sutrium, in his Chronicle of the Popes, which is in the Emperor’s library at Vienna, as Lambeeius tells us, lib. 2. Comment. Bibliothecce Vindobonensis, p. 790. Et de Stephano Godefredi, regis germano, et qualiter ejus temporibus Patarea apud Mediolanum exorta est, et de Nicolao Papa;

“And concerning Stephen Godfrey the king’s brother, and how in his time the Patarea began at Milan, and concerning Pope Nicolas.” Whence Mr. Ducange has very well concluded that Patarea, in the sense of this Bishop, signifies the pretended heresy of the Patarines. The account which Sigonius gives us of this matter is this: Cum multae aliae Ecclesiae nova de Simoniacorum atque Nicolaitarum haerisi decreta repudiarunt, tum maxime Mediolanensis, ut quae jampridem, Romanae Ecclesiae authoritate relicta, praeceptis ejus haudquaquam obtemperaret, et tamen siqua alia retro hujusmodi veneno infecta esset: hanc rem cum per se gravem, tum Mediolanensium Clericorum nomine turpem esse Arialdus, ex Alciata, ut fertur, familia, Clericus decumanus, ratus, Landulfo Cottae, populi Praefecto, auctor fuit ut eam palam oppugnandam aggrederetur. Id vero cum facere, secundis populi auribus animisque, coepisset, Wido, Archiepiscopus, contrariam parte suscepit, favore maxime nobilitatis innixus. Itaque res eo usque infamiae mutuis altercationibus jurgiisque deducta fuit, ut sacerdotes qui uxores haberent prae pudore separatim a caeteris rem divinam facere cogerentur in loco qui Patria dictur, unde vulgo a pueris Patarini ad contumeliam dicebantur.

“Whereas many other Churches rejected the new decrees made against the heresy of Simoniacs and Nicolaitans, yet none more than the Church of Milan, who now for some time having renounced the authority of the Church of Rome, was no longer obedient to its precepts and yet was rather more infected with the poison of these heresies than any other: therefore one Arialdus, as was said, of the family of the Alciati, and one of the chief Clerks, conceiving this a matter as well heinous in itself as reproachful to the repute of the Clergy of Milan, he persuades Landulfus Cotta, the Prefect of the people, openly and with force to oppose himself against the same: which when he had undertaken, upon the people’s appearing in favor of his design, Wido the Archbishop takes upon him the defense of the contrary party, relying chiefly upon the favor of the nobility so that this matter was carried to that infamous excess by their quarrels and wranglings, that the Priests who had wives were forced for shame to say mass separate from others, in a place called Patria, [or rather Pataria,] whence the boys, by way of reproach, afterwards gave them the name of Patarines.”

Which is a very distinct account of the original of the name of Patarines. I shall in the sequel observe, first, That they have given this nickname of Patarines to the Waldenses, because the Waldenses were those Subalpini in Peter Damian, who at the same time maintained the same doctrines in the archbishopric of Turin. Secondly, that the Waldenses have always constantly maintained, that the Church could not deprive Ministers of the liberty of marrying, forasmuch as God had never deprived them of it, neither in the Old nor New Testament. What we are to observe here is, that these Patarines, being separated from the Church of Rome, were for the most part of the same opinions that were afterwards asserted by the Waldenses; which has been the reason why the Patarines and Waldenses have been taken for one and the same sort of heretics.

This we may know several ways:

First, Because since the Romans drove these out of their communion, which happened in the year 1059, it is natural to conceive, that those Patarines had raked together with care all the articles that might any way justify their separation.

Secondly, Because the disputes of Leo IX. with Michael Cerularius, Bishop of Constantinople, gave way to the strengthening of that separation; that dispute having given occasion to examine several articles which the Church of Rome proposed as necessary, which the Greeks rejected with an high hand.

Thirdly, Because we find that the Church of Milan, and those of that diocese, had now for some time testified a great aversion for the idolatry of Rome, and by rejecting the submission to the Church of Rome, procured by Petrus Damianus, they rejected also the second Council of Nice, as favoring idolatry, according to the definition of their ancestors at Francfort.

Fourthly, Because it appears by the book of Lanfranc against Berengarius, that some schismatics maintained his opinion, for so he expresseth himself in the account he gives us of the condemnation of Berengarius, in the Council of Rome. This probably would pass for no more than a conjecture, if the thing were not formally avowed by Matthew of Westminster, who saith upon the year, 1087, that Berengarius of Tours, being fallen into heresy, had already almost corrupted all the French, Italians, and English. When he speaks of a corruption in these dioceses about this matter, it is evident, that he means that they treated the Popes as innovators and Pasehasians, and that they kept to the primitive faith of the Church, which the Popes had endeavored to condemn by their definitions.

Fifthly, Because it appears, that the Berengarians, who were of the same stamp with the Patarines, did discourse much at the same rate as the Waldenses did afterwards: this is evident from Lanfranc, where he tells us, that they accused the Church to have erred, by reason of ignorance, and that the Church remained in their party alone, and they with Berengarius called the Church of Rome, The congregation of the wicked, and the seat of Satan.

Sixthly, Because we find the Berengarians exposed to the same calumnies which were afterward imputed to the Patarines and Waldenses. This is evident from the discourse of Guimondus, Bishop of Aversa, lib. 1. contra Bereng. where he accuseth them of overthrowing, as much as in them lay, lawful marriages, and the baptism of infants.

Seventhly, Because it appears from what is left us of the writings of Bonizo, Bishop of Sutrium, who took pen in hand in defense of the Pope’s pretensions over this diocese, that his aim was to assert the self-same Roman doctrines, which in process of time we find constantly opposed by the Waldenses in that diocese. See here one of his notes, taken out of his Paradise of St. Austin, De Baptismi sacramento, et de corpotis et sanguinis Domini Eucharistia scrutare viriliter.

In his eighth Abridgment he treats about, Quid sit infernus, et utrum in inferno mall tanturn, an etiam boni mansuri sint, et an corpora possint esse in ustione ignis perpetua, et quibus sacridficium prorit post mortera, et qualiter mortui in sorenils viventibus appareant, et de oblatione vel eleemosyna pro defunctis, et quod Adam morte Dominica ab inferno sit liberatus.

“What hell is, and whether the wicked only, or the good also, are to remain there: whether bodies can continue in everlasting burnings; and to whom the sacrifice of the mass is available after death; and how the dead may appear to the living in their dreams; and about offerings; and alms for the dead; and that Adam was delivered out of hell by the death of our Lord.”

An understanding reader will easily judge, that these kind of questions are such as could not be discussed, without entering into those controversies that at this day we have with the Church of Rome.

This Bonizo was killed by those of Placenza, in the year 1089, as he was defending the cause of the Popes of Rome against the Emperors, whom he cruelly abused in his writings. He has given us an account in writing of the first rise of Patarea at Milan, under Pope Stephen II.

Two things more may be added to what I have already observed: the first is, that it is apparent, that though the Abbot Gezo had endeavored to confirm his Monks in the opinions of Paschasius, by copying almost his whole book, to make it more common in Italy, yet notwithstanding, that of John Scot continued still in being, and was the shield which Berengarius and his party made use of, to oppose the opinions of Paschasius. He was not condemned till the year 1059, in the Council of Verceil, under Leo IX. and the Italians almost immediately thereupon separated themselves from the communion of the Pope of Rome.

The second is, that there was such a great number of these Berengarians, who did not hold their doctrine from Berengarius, but from John Scot and others, that this became the subject of a great contest: this is evident from the life of the Abbot Wolfelmus. The same is likewise hinted to us by Sigebert, ad an. 1081, in the edition of Miraeus, in the year 1608. Istis diebus Francia turbabatur per Berengarium Turonensem, qui asserebat Eucha-ristiam, quam sumlinus in altari, non esse revera corpus et sanguinem Christi: uncle contra eum et pro eo multum a multiset verbis et scriptis disputatum est.

“In those days there were disturbances in France, by means of Berengarius of Tours, who maintained that the Eucharist which we receive on the altar is not the true body and blood of Christ: which occasioned great disputes both for and against him, as well by writing books as by public disputations.”

We may gather the same truth we here set down from the compendious account we find in the Councils, in the place of the acts of the Council of Rome in the year 1079, under Gregory VII. against Berengarius. This account, which we find likewise in the Chronicle of Verdun, written by Hugo, Abbot of Flavigny, contains these express words; Omnibus igitur in ecclesia Servatoris congregatis, habitus est sermo de corpore et sanguine Domini nostri Jesu Christi, multis haec, nonnullis illa [aprius] sentientibus. Maxima siquidem pars panera et vinum per sacrae orationis verba, et sacerdotis consecrationem, Spiritu Sancto invisibiliter operante, converti substantialiter in corpus Dominicurn de Virgine naturn, quod et in cruce pependit, et in sangui-nere, qui de ejus latere militis effusus est lancea, asserebat, [atque authoritatibus orthodoxorum Patrum, tam Grcecoritm, quam Latinorum def endebat.] Quidam vero caecitate nimia et longa perculsi figura tantum substantiale illud corpus in dextera Pa-tris sedens esse, seque et alios decipientes, quibusdam cavillationibus conabantur adstruere, rerum ubi coepit res agi, prius etiam quam tertia die ventura jherit in c synodo, defecit contra veritatem niti pars altera, nempe Spiritus Sancti ignis emolu menta apalearum consumens, et fulgore suo fal sam lucem diverberando obtenebrans, noctis cahlig nem vettit in lucem.

“All of them therefore being met together in St. Savior’s church, they discoursed the matter about the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, many of them being of one, some [at first] of another opinion. For the greatest part of them maintained that the bread, and wine, by means of the sacred words and the Priest’s consecration, through an invisible operation of the Spirit, were changed substantially into the body of our Lord, born of the Virgin, and which hung on the cross; and into the blood which gushed from his side when pierced with the soldier’s spear If and fully confirmed the same with the authorities of orthodox Greek and Latin Father’s. But some being smitten with an over great and long continued blindness, endeavored to prove, by sophistical cavillation, that it was figuratively only, a the substantial body sitting at the right hand of the Father, deceiving themselves and others. But when the matter began to be handled even before they had met the third day in council together, this party ceased any longer to oppose the truth; the fire of the Holy Ghost consuming these chaffy emoluments, and by his brightness dispersing the false light and darkening it, changed the darkness of the night into light.”

This is the account of what passed in the council, and is found in the MS. of the councils which I have consulted; though they who have published the councils have changed it at their pleasure. But whatever pains they may have taken herein, it appears,

1. That Berengarius was not the author of that opinion in Italy, the greatest part of whose Bishops were summoned to that council by Gregory VII.

2. That this council was at first much divided, and that this division continued two days, and was not ended till the third day.

3. That the words, of a long blindness, which the author uses, cannot be spoken with reference to the disciples of Berengarius, but must refer to those who maintained the same doctrine which he did, from the time wherein this question, having been first started by Paschasius Radbertus, had occasioned that division; whereof the book of John Scot, which was burnt at Vetceil, was an authentic testimony.

But I believe I have sufficiently made out in the foregoing chapters, that the diocese of Italy did always enjoy a light of doctrine of competent purity; as likewise, that the purity of divine worship ever continued amongst them, notwithstanding they had a little sprinkling of that ignorance and spirit of superstition, which had overflowed the Romish Church, and the greatest part of the western Churches. We had also a particular information, in what manner Italy separated itself from the Church of Rome, when she undertook to invade her rights, and to impose upon her her own errors and superstitions. We have seen that a party as well of the superior as inferior Clergy, and the sounder part of the people, formed a distinct body, to secure themselves from that corruption. This separation of the Clergy of Milan from the party of Landulphus Cotta, and of Arialdus, Deacon of Milan, who favored the interests and pretensions of the Pope, and the separation of those Subalpini in the bishopric of Turin, deserves, as we see, an extraordinary consideration. And forasmuch as this separation happened at the same time that the Council of Verceil condemned Berengarius and Johannes Scotus, we may easily conceive that the Clergy of Milan, and those Clergymen under the Alps, had no great esteem for that Papal condemnation: and the interest of Wido being embraced by many of the Bishops of his diocese, we cannot but conclude, that they had as little regard for that council, as they had for all the rest, that was derived from an authority, whose design was to invade these rights, as well as those of all the Bishops of the west.

To show to what excess this division was carried, it is not necessary to set down here the bloody death of the Deacon Arialdus, which Andrew the Monk has described in a very tragical manner, as we find it in Baronius, upon the year 1066, thereby to expose Wido, and make him odious. It is evident, that what that Monk wrote is composed in such a legendary manner, that it renders all his relation suspicious; though if it were true indeed, yet could it scarcely more defame Wido, than so many Popes, who have destroyed their opposers, by the way of arms, that being the custom of these barbarous ages.

But we are to make our observation upon the endeavors which the Popes have used ever since this separation, to reconcile to themselves this part of the Clergy of Milan and Italy, who had separated themselves from the communion of the Church of Rome. Alexander II. in the year 1067, sent two Legates to Milan, who confirming what Petrus Damianus, Cardinal of Ostia, had done, passed the same into orders and regulations that were to be strictly observed, as being pronounced in the name of God, St. Peter, and St. Ambrose, under pain of the same anathemas to the impenitent as were incurred by Corah, Dathan, and Abiram, and by Judas, Pilate, and Caiaphas, which are the very words of their order. But we find by the Epistles of Gregory VII. to the Lombards, that the Clergy of Milan only laughed at these regulations, having chosen Godfrey for their Bishop. And the said Gregory seems on this account to look upon them as the great enemies of the Christian religion, and that he did not think himself secure amongst them in the year 1077, above all; because they took part with Henry IV. against Gregory, whom they looked upon as justly deposed. We find the same Gregory endeavoring to strengthen his party against the Bishops of Lombardy, in opposing to them the authority of the Countess Beatrix, and her daughter Mathilda, who called those Bishops the forerunners of Antichrist. He endeavours to draw away the Bishop of Pavia from taking part with those of Milan. He immediately excommunicated Godfrey, Bishop of Milan, and successor of Wido, and orders the said excommunication to be published throughout the whole earth. He engages the Emperor Henry IV. to abandon the cause of those of Milan and Lombardy, who were called Simoniacs, only because they were willing to maintain the Emperor’s rights, in reference to investitures, against the enterprises of some Popes that were before him.

The following year he summons the Suffragans of the bishopric of Milan, and the Abbots of that diocese, to come up to Rome, and to be present at the council.

In short, we meet with nothing in the sequel but reiterated endeavours to destroy the party of Italy that opposed them.

Our business now should be to show, that this body or party has continued ever since until the Reformation, under the name of Patarines, and afterwards of Waldenses. But before we come to this, we are bound to prevent the slanders, which the malice of the Romish party has raised against these separators. They have accused them to be an assembly of Cathari, that is, a sect of Manichees. This is the notion the authors of the eleventh and following centuries give us of them. Gitaldus Cambrensis, who wrote in the year 1200, accuseth the Patareans and Cathari with rejecting the carnal presence. Dist. 1. cap. 2. Gemma Ecclesiastes MS. Lambethani. Vincentius Belluacensis Specul. History 30. cap. 7. attributes several heresies to these Milaneses.


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