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§ 178. Ratherius of Verona.

I. Ratherius, Veronensis episcopus: Opera omnia, in Migne, Tom. CXXXVI. col. 9–768 (reprint of ed. by Peter and, Jerome Balterini, Verona, 1765).

II. See Vita by Ballerini in Migne, l.c. col. 27–142. Albrecht Vogel: Ratherius von Verona und das 10. Jahrhundert. Jena, 1854, 2 vols. Cf. his art. in Herzog2, XII. 503–506. Du Pin, VIII. 20–26.Ceillier, XII. 846–860. Hist. de la France, VI. 339–383. Bähr, 546–553.

Ratherius (Rathier) was born of noble ancestry at or near Liège in 890 (or 891) and educated at the convent of Lobbes. He became a monk, acquired much learning and in 931 was consecrated bishop of Verona. By his vigorous denunciation of the faults and failings of his clergy, particularly of their marriages or, as he called them, adulteries, he raised a storm of opposition. When Arnold of Bavaria took Verona (934), king Hugo of Italy deposed him for alleged connivance with Arnold and held him a close prisoner at Pavia from February, 935, until August, 937, when he was transferred to the oversight of the bishop of Como.

In the early part of 941 Ratherius escaped to Southern France, was tutor in a rich family of Provence, and in 944 re-entered the monastery of Lobbes. Two years later he was restored to his see of Verona; whence he was driven again in 948. From 953 to 955 he was bishop of Liège. On his deposition he became abbot of Alna, a dependency of the monastery of Lobbes, where he stirred up a controversy upon the eucharist by his revival of Paschasian views. In 961 he was for the third time bishop of Verona, but having learned no moderation from his misfortunes he was forced by, his indignant clergy to leave in 968. He returned to Liège and the abbotship of Alna. By money he secured other charges, and even for a year (971) forcibly held the abbotship of Lobbes. On April 25, 974, he died at the court of the count of Namur.

Ratherius “deserves in many respects to be styled the Tertullian of his time.”14871487    Neander, Hist. Chr. Ch. III. 469. Some see in his castigation of vice the zeal of a Protestant reformer, but his standpoint was different. He was learned and ambitious, but also headstrong and envious. His works are obscure in style, but full of information. The chief are

1. The Combat, also called Preliminary discourses, in six books.14881488    Agnosticon or Libri Proeloquiorum. Migne, CXXXVI. col. 145-344. It treats in prolix style of the different occupations and relations in life, and dwells particularly upon the duties of bishops. It was the fruit of his prison-leisure (935–937), when he was without books and friends.

2. On contempt for canonical law.14891489    De contemptu canonum. Ibid. col. 485-522. It dates from 961, and is upon the disorders in his diocese, particularly his clergy’s opposition to his dispensation of its revenues. In all this Ratherius sees contempt of the canons which he cites.

3. A conjecture of a certain quality.14901490    Qualitatis conjectura cujusdam. Ibid. col. 521-550. This is a vigorous defense of his conduct, written in 966. Fourteen of his Letters and eleven of his Sermons have been printed.14911491    Epistolae. Ibid. col. 643-688. Sermones. Ibid. col. 689-758. In the first letter he avows his belief in transubstantiation.

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