JONAS OF BOBBIO: Hagiographer of the seventh century; d. after 659. He was a native of Susa (the Roman Segusio), at the foot of Mt. Cenis (about 28 m. w. of Turin). In 618, still quite young, he entered the monastery at Bobbio, and was educated there. He accompanied Bertulf, the third abbot, to Rome in 627. Since he had a personal acquaintance with Eustasius, abbot of Luxeuil, who died in the spring of 629, he may have gone to Gaul (where he remained permanently) as early as 628. While temporarily visiting Bobbio at a later time he promised to write the life of Columban and his successors and disciples, and completed the work between 640 and 643. About this time he was engaged with St. Amandus in trying to convert the heathen Franks on the Scheldt and Scarpe. While staying in Arras he was induced to write the life of St. Vedastes. the first Frankish bishop of Arras, and in Nov., 659, having meanwhile obtained the dignity of abbot, he composed the life of St. John of Reomans. Of the last events of Jonas' life and of his death nothing is known. The Vita Columbani, Jonas' principal work, including also, in its second part, Eustasius, Attala, Bertulf, and Burgundofara (in MPL, lxxxvii. 1009-46; cf. Krusch in Mittheilungen des Instituts für österreichische Geschichtsforschung, xiv. 385 sqq., Innsbruck, 1893; Eng. transl. by D. C. Munro in Translations and Reprints published by the department of history of the University of Pennsylvania, ii. 7, Philadelphia, 1895) has established his literary fame. In spite of its silence on important matters--like the Easter controversy and the first application of the rule of St. Benedict in Gaul--notwithstanding the preference for marvelous stories in accordance with the spirit of the times, it rises by a certain historical sense above many like works. The language, too, is peculiar and novel (cf. Krusch, 435), and proves identity of authorship for the Vita Columbani and the Vitae of Vedastes and St. John of Reomans.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: Histoire littéraire de la France, iii. 604 sqq.; Hertel, in ZHT, xxxix. 397 sqq.; Stöber, in Sitzungsberichte der Wiener Akademie, 1885, pp. 319 sqq., Krusch, in Mittheilungen des Instituts für österreichische Geschichtsforschung, xiv. 385 sqq., and in MGM, Script. rer. Merov., iv (1902), 30 sqq.; Wattenbach, DGQ, i (1893), 116, 118-119, ii. 1503.

JONAS OF ORLEANS: Bishop of Orléans from 821 till his death in 844. He was a native of Aquitania and succeeded Theodulf (d. Sept. 18, 821) as bishop of Orléans. He attended a synod called at Paris by Louis the Pious in Nov., 825, to consider the question of image-worship, and was sent to Rome to lay the resolutions adopted before Pope Eugenius II. He was also prominent in the synod at Paris in 829, called by the emperor to find remedies for abuses of the time. In 825 Jonas had written on the subject in his De institutione laicali, which gives in three books valuable descriptions of the prevalent moral corruption and urges renovation of the churchly spirit. Another topic of the synod's discussion, the duties of secular rulers, had also been anticipated by Jonas in 828 in a little work De institutione regia, which now was embodied in the resolutions of the synod. Jonas' remarks on the relation between the spiritual and secular authorities are interesting. The latter are dependent upon the former. The power of the keys has been entrusted to the spiritual office by the Lord so that even kings have to submit to it. Man can not.judge God; and therefore he can not judge the representatives of God (ecclesiastics). Louis again addressed himself to Jonas when the energetic measures of Claudius of Turin (q.v.) against image-worship became known in the Frankish realm; and sent him an excerpt from the doctrinal works of Claudius with the request to refute them. The death of Claudius induced Jonas to withhold his refutation at the time. But about 842 he laid his work before Charles the Bald, the son of Louis. Jonas still labored under the superstition of his time. He distinguishes a double adoration--one that is due to God alone, and one that is addressed to the holy images; he advocates the worship of martyrs and relics, believes in an effective intercession of the saints and the mother of God, and demands worship of the cross.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: His works are in MPL, cvi.; also partly in L. d'Achery, Spicilegium, i. 258-323, 324-336, Paris, 1665.


Consult Histoire littéraire de la France, iv. 594-605, v. 20-31; A. Ebert, Allgemeine Geschichte der Literatur des Mittelalters, ii. 224-230, Leipsic, 1880; Potthast, Wegweiser, p. 682.


CCEL home page
This document is from the Christian Classics Ethereal Library at
Calvin College. Last modified on 10/03/03. Contact the CCEL.
Calvin seal: My heart I offer you O Lord, promptly and sincerely