Reading the West Frankish Coronation Liturgy, no. 6 and last: A Note on Philip I’s Coronation and the Romano-German Pontifical

Bet you thought I’d forgotten about this, huh? I think I could have been forgiven for having done so, because this is the only coronation-liturgy-related text between the Ratold Ordo and the thirteenth century, so from our point of view the buck stops here. Anyway, this is less a liturgical text and more a memo from Archbishop Gervais of Rheims proving how great his see is.

[A MS]
1. An example of the royal profession.
2. In the year of the Incarnation of the Lord 1058, in the 12th indiction, in the 32nd year of the reign of King Henry, on the 10th kalends of June, in the 4th year of the episcopate of Lord Gervaise, on the holy day of Pentecost, King Philip was consecrated with this ordo in the greater church, before the altar of Saint Mary, by Archbishop Gervaise. When the mass had begun, before the epistle was read, the lord archbishop turned towards him, and explained the catholic faith to him, asking him whether he believed it and wished to defend it. When he assented, his profession was brought to him, and taking it up he read it – while being yet seven years of age – and subscribed it. This was his profession.
3. “I, Philip, with God propitious soon the future king of the Franks, on the day of my ordination, promise before God and His saints, that I will conserve for each of the things committed to you canonical privilege and due law and justice, and provide defence, with the Lord’s help, as far as I am able, as a king ought rightly to provide in his realm to each bishop and the church committed to him. And that, to the people entrusted to Us, I will concede by Our authority the dispensation of laws which remains rightfully theirs.”
4. When this was done, he placed it in the hands of the bishop, in the presence of Hugh of Besançon, the legate of Pope Nicholas, and with him Ermenfred of Sion, and archbishops Mainard of Sens and Bartholomew of Tours, as well as bishops Heddo of Soissons, Roger of Châlons, Elinand of Laon, Baldwin of Noyon, Frotland of Senlis, Lietbert of Cambrai, Guy of Amiens, Hagano of Autun, Harduin of Langres, Achard of Chalon, Isembard of Orléans, Imbert of Paris, Walter of Meaux, Hugh of Nevers, Geoffrey of Auxerre, Hugh of Troyes, Iter of Limoges, William of Angoulême, Arnulf of Saintes, and Guerech of Nantes.
5. As well, the abbots Herimar of Saint-Remi, Rainer of Fleury, Hugh of Saint-Denis, Adrald of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Gerwin of Saint-Richer, Watho of Saint-Valery, … of Landevennec, Warin of Saint-Vanne, Fulk of Faremoutiers, Gerard of Saint-Médard, Henry of Homblières, Gonzo of Florennes, Fulk of Saint-Michel de Laon, Arthenveus of Laon, Guy of Marchiennes, Ralph of Mouzon, Albert of Saint-Thierry, Warin of Hautvillers, Wenric of Saint-Basle, Hugh of Orbais, Odilard of Châlons, Wandelgar of Clairvaux [? Clervensi], Walerand of Verdun, Adalbero of Dijon, Arnald of Pothières, William of Tournus, Hugh of Charlieu, Avesgaud of Le Mans, Hugh of Crespin.
6. Taking the staff of Saint Remigius, he [Gervaise] quietly and pacifically explained how the election of a king and the consecration of a king ought to pertain in the most part to himself, because Saint Remigius had baptised and consecrated King Clovis. He also explained how, through that staff, Pope Hormisdas had given to Saint Remigius this power of consecration and the primacy of all Gaul, and how Pope Victor had conceded it to him and his church.
7. Then, with the assent of his father Henry, he [Gervaise] elected him as king. After him, the legates of the Roman see (although it was clearly said to be licit to do this without papal permission, it was still done for the sake of his honour and love for him), his legates were present there. After them, archbishops and bishops, abbots and clerics. After that, Guy, duke of Aquitaine. Afterwards, Hugh, son and legate of the duke of Burgundy. Afterwards, the legates of Marquis Baldwin and the legates of Geoffrey, count of Anjou. Then counts Ralph of Valois, Heribert of Vermandois, Guy of Ponthieu, William of Soissons, Rainald, Roger, Manasses, Hilduin, William of Auvergne, Aldebert of La Marche, Fulk of Angoulême, the viscount of Limoges.
8. Then Philip issued a precept, as his ancestors had done, concerning the goods of Notre-Dame-de-Reims, and the county of Rheims, and the goods of Saint-Remi, and the other abbeys. He confirmed and subscribed it. The archbishop also subscribed it. Then he [Philip] established him [Gervaise] as archchancellor, as his ancestors had done for his ancestors, and thus he [Gervaise] consecrated him as king. When the archbishop had gone back to his seat and sat down, the privilege which Pope Victor had given to him was brought out, and read to the bishops present and listening. All of this was done with the greatest devotion and thoroughgoing alacrity, without any disturbance or any contradiction at all from anyone, or any loss to the commonwealth. Archbishop Gervaise freely received all these things, and gave fully to them from his property, but to none of them out of duty besides the king; rather, for the honour of his church and because of his liberality.


Filip ab.jpg
Philip, rather older. (source)

So whilst there’s lots going on here, not much of it necessarily pertains to liturgy. Now, it is interesting how Gervaise is bringing up two issues – that of the primacy of Gaul and that of the archchancellorship – which have been in one way or another dead letters for decades at this point. Perhaps his background – he was forced out of the bishopric of Le Mans and given Rheims as a bit of a consolation prize – made him touchy about any privilege he could reasonably claim…

In any case, liturgically what we have here is a coronation ceremony which does not appear to be based on any of the preceeding ordines we have translated. Instead, it looks like it’s based on some version of the liturgy for a coronation found in the collection generally known as the Romano-German Pontifical, although that’s actually a really complicated question and I don’t want to go into it. Because otherwise this is going to be a very short post, and because I kinda already did it, then, I’ll finish this series with a translation of that liturgy.

72. Here begins the ordo for blessing a king when he is newly elevated to the throne by the clergy and people.
First, when he leaves the bedchamber, one of the bishops should say this prayer:
“O God Almighty and Eternal, Who deigned to raise thy servant to the height of the realm, give unto him we pray that he might dispose of salvation to all in common in the course of this life, so that he might not fall away from the path of thy truth. Per.”
Then let two bishops take him by the hand, honourably prepared at his right and left, with holy relics hanging from their necks; let the other clerics be adorned with chasubles, preceded by the holy gospel and two crosses with sweet-smelling incense, and let them lead him to the church, singing the responsory, ‘Ecce, mitto angelum meum’, and in response ‘Israel si me audieris’, with all the people following him.
At the door of the church, the clergy should stop, and the archbishop should say the following prayer:
“O God, Who knows the human race cannot stand in virtue, propitiously concede that thy servant N., whom thou hast raised over thy people, might be so supported by thy help that he has the strength to profit those over whom he has been able to preside. Per.”
The preceding clerics, entering, should sing an antiphony: ‘Domine salvum fac regum’ up to the entrance of the choir.
Then the metropolitan bishop should say the following prayer:
‘O Eternal God Almighty, governor of Heaven and Earth, Who has deigned to promote thy servant N. to the height of the realm, concede we pray that he, freed from all adversity, might be defended by the gift of ecclesiastical peace, and merit to come, by thy gift, to the joys of eternal peace. Per.’
Then, before the choir, let the prince-designate take off his pallium and arms, and, having been led between the hands of the bishops into the choir, let him walk up to the altar, upon a floor entirely covered with carpets and rugs, let him humbly lie there prostrate in a cross-shape, along with the bishops and priests thence prostrated, and with the others singing a brief litany in the chorus, that is, the 12 apostles and all the martyrs, confessors, and virgins, and other figures suitable for this blessing until the end. When the litany is finished, let them get up.
After the prince has stood up, let him be questioned by the metropolitan bishop as to whether he wishes to justly and religiously rule and defend the holy churches of God and the rulers of churches and the whole people subjected to him with royal providence in accordance with the custom of his fathers. Let him profess that he will faithfully act in such a manner through everything insofar as he can, supported by divine help and the solace of all his followers.
Let the bishop address the people, if they wish to subject themselves to such a prince and ruler, and stabilise his realm in firm faith, and obey his commands, in accordance with the words of the Apostle: ‘Should every soul be subordinate to the higher powers as if to an excellent man?’
Then, therefore, let the clergy and people who are present unanimously exclaim: “Let it be done! Let it be done! Amen!”
Then, after he has devotedly bowed, let this prayer be said by one bishop:
“Bless, O Lord, this our king, O thou who governs every kingdom in this world, and glorify him with such a blessing that he might hold the sceptre of Davidic sublimity and, glorified, immediately be found worthy. Give to him by thy breath to rule thy people with mildness, as thou caused Solomon to obtain a peaceful kingdom. May he always be subdued to thee with fear, and soldier for thee in quiet. May he be protected by thy shield with his magnates, and may he by thy grace be ever a victor. Honour him before all the kings of the nations; may a happy people be ruled and the nations happily adorn him. May he live nobly between the crowds of the nation. May he be unequalled in the judgements of equity. May thy rich right hand enrich him. May he obtain a fruitful fatherland, and may thou grant blessings to his children. Give him a long temporal life, and may justice arise in his days. May he hold from thee a mighty throne of rule, and be glorified in the kingdom eternal with happiness and justice. Per.”
“O Eternal God Almighty, creator of all, emperor of the angels, king of those who rule and lord of those who lord, Who caused thy servant Abraham to triumph over his foes, gave many-fold victories unto Moses and Joshua, who were set above thy people; and elevated thy humble child David to the peak of the realm, and enriched Solomon with the ineffable gift of wisdom and peace, hear our humble prayers we beseech thee, and upon this man thy servant N., whom we elect as king with suppliant devotion, multiply the gifts of thy blessings upon him, and cover him always and everywhere with the hand of thy power, so that he, firm in the faithfulness of the aforesaid Abraham, trusting in the mildness of Moses, defended with the fortitude of Joshua, exalted with the humility of David, ornamented with the wisdom of Solomon, might please thee in everything, and walk ever on the path of justice with uninterrupted steps, and so nourish and teach, defend and instruct thy Church and the people joined to it, and powerfully and regally administer the government of thy virtue for it against all enemies visible and invisible, and restore their souls to the concord of true faith and peace by thy grant, that he, supported by the due subjection of the people, might be glorified with worthy love, and, by thy mercy, merit to decently ascend to the throne of his fathers; and, defended by the helmet of thy protection and constantly protected by an unconquerable shield and girded with celestial arms, faithful and happily gain the triumph of a desirable victory, and inflict the terror of his power upon the unfaithful, and joyfully carry back peace for those soldiering for thee, through our Lord, who destroyed Tartarus with the Cross’ virtue, and, having overcome the Devil’s realm, ascended to Heaven, in whom all power and the victory of kings dwells, who is the glory of the humble and the life and salvation of the people, who lives and reigns with thee.”
Then let this prayer be said by another bishop.
“O God, unspeakable author of the world, creator of the human race, governor of empire, confirmer of kingship, Who pre-elected future kings of the world from the bosom of thy faithful friend Abraham, our patriarch, enrich this present king and his army, through the intercession of all the saints, with fruitful blessings, and confirm him in the throne of the realm with firm stability. Visit him as Moses in the burning bush, Joshua of Nave in battle, Gideon in the field, Samuel in the Temple, and bathe him in that heavenly blessing and the dew of thy wisdom, which the blessed David in the Psalter, by thy reward, and his son Solomon received from heaven. Be to him armour against the battle-lines of his enemies, a helmet in adversity, patience in prosperity, an eternal shield in protection; and provide that the people should keep the faith, his magnates might have peace and love charity, abstain from cupidity, speak justice, guard truth. And may the people so flourish, having grown together by the blessing of eternity, that they remain always rejoicing victors in peace. May He deign to grant it.”
15. Then let his head, breast and shoulders and both joints of his arms be anointed with sacred oil by the bishop of the see,
17. And the following prayer be said:
“O God, Who is the glory of the just and the mercy of the sinners, Who sent thy son to redeem the human race with his most precious blood, Who crushes wars and is the hope of those believing in thee, and under Whose judgement the power of every kingdom is kept, we humbly pray thee that You might bless thy present servant N., confiding in thy mercy, in the present royal seat, and deign to be propitious to him, so that he who asks to be defended by thy protection may be stronger than all enemies. Make him, O Lord, blessed and victorious over his enemies. Crown him with a crown of justice and piety, that, believing in thee with his whole heart and whole mind, he might serve thee, defend and elevate thy holy Church, justly rule the people committed to him by thee, and that no-one should turn him to injustice with evil plots. Kindle, O Lord, his heart to love of thy grace through this oil of unction, whence thou hast anointed priests, kings and prophets, so that, loving justice and leading the people through the path of justice, after what course of years in the royal excellence thou disposeth is done, he might merit to reach eternal joys. Through the same.”
18. Again another.
“May God, the son of God, Jesus Christ our Lord, who was anointed by the Father with the oil of exaltation before his partakers, through the present infusion of the sacred oil of the paraclete Spirit upon thy head, pour out a blessing and cause it to penetrate thy innermost heart, so that thou might merit through this visible and tangible gift to take up invisible gifts, and by pursuing just government in this worldly kingdom to reign eternally with Him, Who alone is without sin, king of kings, and lives and is glorified with God the Father, God in the unity of the Holy Spirit, forever. Amen.”
19. Afterwards, let him accept the sword from the bishops, and with the sword let him know that the whole realm is faithfully commended to him to rule, in accordance with these words, which the metropolitan should say:
“Take the sword, royally imposed on thee through the hands, although unworthy, of bishops, yet consecrated on behalf and by the authority of the holy apostles, and divinely ordained in defence of the holy Church of God by the office of our blessing, and be mindful of what the Psalmist prophesied, saying ‘Gird the sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty’, so that in this, through the same, you might exercise the might of equity, powerfully destroy the mass of iniquity, and fight for and protect the holy Church of God and His faithful, and no less execrate and destroy those false in faith, who are enemies of the Christian name, clemently help and defend widows and orphans, restored what is desolate, conserve what is restored, avenge injustice, confirm what is rightly done, so that in enacting this triumph of virtue, glorious, an outstanding cultivator of justice, thou might merit to reign without end with the saviour of the World, whose type thou bearest in name, who lives and reigns with Father and Holy Spirit.”
20. Having been girdled with the sword, let him similarly take from them arm-rings and a pallium and a ring, and the metropolitan should say:
“Take the ring of royal dignity, and know a sign of catholic faith in thyself through it, because, as today thou art ordained the head and prince of realm and people, thus too should thou endure an ongoing supporter and stabiliser of Christianity and the Christian faith, that, happy in deeds, wealthy in faith, thou might be glorified with the king of kings forever, ‘to whom be honour and glory for ever and ever’”.
21. Then, let him take the sceptre and staff, with the one ordaining him saying to him:
“Take the rod of virtue and equity, by which thou might know to delight the pious and terrify the reprobate, to lay out a path for the erring, to reach out a hand to the lapsed; destroy the proud and raise the humble; and may Jesus Christ our Lord open to thee the door, who said of himself, ‘I am IT Service Desk <>the door, if any man enter in, he shall be saved’. And he, who is the key of David and the sceptre of the house of Israel, ‘he that openeth and no man shutteth, that shutteth and no man openeth’, may he be to thee a supporter, who ‘brings out the prisoners from the prison, and those sitting in darkness and the shadow of death’, that thou might merit to follow in everything him of whom the prophet David sang, ‘Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever; a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom’. And by imitating him, ‘You have loved righteousness and hated iniquity, wherefore God, your God, has anointed you’, after the example of him who was anointed before the world, ‘with the oil of gladness beyond your companions’, Jesus Christ our lord, who lives.”
22. Then let the metropolitan reverently place the crown on the king’s head, saying:
“Take the crown of the realm, which is placed upon thy head by the hands, though unworthy, of bishops. Know that it is a clear sign of the glorious and honour of sanctity and the work of fortitude and do not be unaware that through it thou art a participant in our ministry, such that, just as we know ourselves to be pastors and rulers of souls in inner matters, thou also might always appear as a true worshipper of God, and a vigorous defender of the Church of Christ against all adversity, and a useful executor of the realm given to thee by God and through the office of our blessing, committed to thy governance on behalf of the apostles and all the saints, and a beneficial ruler, so that, decorated with the jewels of virtue amongst the glorious athletes and crowned with the prize of eternal happiness, thou might glory with Jesus Christ the saviour and redeemer, whose name and position thou art entrusted to bear, without end. He lives and rules, God with God the Father in unity.”
23. And let this blessing be immediately said over him, which should be said over the king during a synod:
“May the Lord bless thee and keep thee, and, as thou wish to be king over His people, may He thus bestow happiness in the present age and a consortship in eternal happiness. Amen. May He cause thee to happily govern the clergy and people, whom He has wished by His generosity to place under thy rule, by His dispensation and thy administration through long-lasting time, Amen. For which reason, obeying divine commands, being free from all adversity, abounding in good works, serving thy command with faithful love, may they be fruitful in the tranquillity of peace in the present age, and merit to become with thee consorts of the heavenly citizens. Amen. May He deign to provide this, Whose kingdom and empire endure without limit for ever and ever, amen. May the blessing of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, descend upon thee. Amen.”
24. Then, having been crowned, let him be honourably led through the choir from the altar up to the throne, with the metropolitan saying to him:
25. “Stand firm and hold fast henceforth this place, which thou hast held thus far delegated to thee in hereditary right by paternal succession, through the authority of God Almighty and our present gift, to wit, of all the bishops, and the other servants of God; and as much as thou see the clergy to be closer to the sacred altars, by that much more take care to give them greater honour; so that the mediator between God and Man might confirm thee as a mediator between clergy and people” (at this point, the lord metropolitan should have him sit on the seat, saying:) “in the throne of the realm, and make thee to reign with him in the kingdom eternal, Jesus Christ our lord, king of kings and lord of lords, who lives and reigns with God the Father and the Holy Spirit forever and ever. Amen.”
26. Then let him give them the kiss of peace.
27. Let the whole company of clerics, rejoicing in such a ruler, singing hymns, sing together a Te Deum.
28. Then let the metropolitan bishop celebrate mass in full procession.

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