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Amalarius of Metz

AMALARIUS, am-ɑ-lɑ̄´rî-us, OF METZ (AMALARIUS SYMPHOSIUS): Liturgical writer of the ninth century; b. about 780; d. 850 or 851. In his youth he enjoyed the instruction of Alcuin, and Metz has commonly been regarded as the place of his principal activity. He appears as a deacon at the Synod of Aachen in 817, and was mainly responsible for the patristic part of the Regula Aquisgranensis, which imposed the canonical life upon the clergy of the empire. In 825, now a chorepiscopus, he was in Paris for the synod called by Louis in connection with the iconoclastic controversy, and was selected by the emperor, with Halitgar of Cambrai, to accompany the papal envoys to Constantinople about this matter. The authorities do not relate whether he accomplished the mission, but it is certain that he once visited Constantinople. His principal work (written not earlier than 819) was De ecclesiasticis officiis, in which he discusses all liturgical usages, the festivals and offices of the Church, and the vestments of the clergy down to the smallest detail, from the standpoint of mystical symbolism. The diversities between the German antiphonaries next drew his attention; and in 831 he went to Rome to ask Gregory IV. to issue an authorized Roman antiphonary. The pope did not see his way to do this, but he called Amalarius’s attention to the Roman antiphonaries at the abbey of Corbie. He came home to revise his earlier book in the light of new sources, and compile an antiphonary based on the Frankish ones together with these Roman texts; the commentary on this forms his work De ordine antiphonarii. After the restoration of Louis to the throne, the rebellious archbishop of Lyons, Agobard, was deposed, and Amalarius was put in charge of his diocese. Here he used his power to bring about a sweeping change in the liturgy, but aroused strong opposition, led by the deacon Florus, a warm partizan of Agobard, who worked against Amalarius unceasingly, and finally accused him of heresy at the Synod of Quiercy in 838. The synod condemned some of his expressions, and Agobard, shortly afterward returning to Lyons, began to undo all that he had done in regard to the liturgy. Nothing is known of his later life, except that in the controversy over Gottschalk’s teaching he wrote in support of Hincmar. He is said to have been buried in the abbey of St. Arnulf at Metz. His writings give an insight into the liturgical forms of the early ninth century, and are especially illuminating on the relation of the Gallican liturgies to the Roman, which was gaining steadily in the Frankish empire. To its permanent conquest over the Gallican, Amalarius’s work undoubtedly contributed. He is also important from his influence on later medieval liturgiologists, many of whom follow his mystical method, and most of whom quote him extensively. He shows a wide knowledge of Scripture and the Fathers, with praiseworthy diligence and conscientiousness in the use of his authorities. His works are in MPL, cv.

(Rudolf Sahre).

Bibliography: R. Mönchmeyer, Amalar von Metz, sein leben und seine Schriften, Münster, 1893; Histoire littéraire de la France, vol. iv.; Ceillier, Auteurs sacré, vols. xviii., xix., Paris, 1752, 1754; Hefele, Consiliengeschichte, vol. iv.; R. Sahre, Der Liturgiker Amalarius, Dresden, 1893.

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