Norbert ST., a noted German prelate of the Middle Ages, was born at Xanten in 1080. He was of good descent, but his early life was rather wild; however, finally settled down and determining on a Christian life, he joined the secular canons of the collegiate church at Xanten. He was then for some years chaplain of the emperor Henry V. Suddenly he left the court, and began doing strict penance for his former excesses. Ordained deacon and priest on the same day by the archbishop of Cologne, he set out travelling, to preach mortification and repentance. For this he was accused of fanaticism before the Council of Fritzlar in 1118. As he was gaining but few proselytes, he went to join pope Gelasius in Languedoc, by whom he was well received; and authorized to continue his preaching. He afterwards traveled through Hainault and Brabant, declining the bishopric of Cambray, which was offered to him. In 1120 Bartholomew, bishop of Laon, called him to that city to reform the canon regulars, whose discipline had become much relaxed. Failing in this task, Norbert became disgusted with the world, and retired into a wilderness. Here he was joined by some disciples, and thus was laid the foundation of the Order of the Premonstrants (q.v.). Immediately upon the organization of the order it made converts; and after an existence of only four years Norbert had under his orders nine convents, following strictly his rule. He thus acquired great reputation both in the Church and in the State, and was sent on a mission to the emperor at Spires, by the count of Champagne, in 1126. The archbishopric of Magdeburg being at the time vacant, the emperor proposed Norbert, and he was appointed. He is said to have long resisted; but at last he accepted the appointment, still retaining, however, the title of abbot of Premontree and the government of the abbey until 1128. He took part in the Council of Rheims in 1131, and had several conferences with St. Bernard, in which he asserted his opinion that the coming of the Antichrist was near at hand. The latter years of his life were employed in the service of the party which during the schism maintained the claims of Innocent II; and he accompanied the emperor to Rome when he went to establish that pope in the Vatican. Norbert died on his return from that journey, June 6, 1134. He was canonized by pope Gregory XIII in 1582. We find a sermon of Norbert, besides some less important fragments, in the Bibl. Patr. (ed. Lyon) 21:118. Le Paige, in his Bibl. Praemonstr., considers him as the author of some other works not extant at present. See Hugo, Vie de St. Norbert (Luxemb. 1704); Gallia Christiana, vol. 9, col. 642, 643; Bibl. Praemonstr. p. 304; Bollandists (June), 1:809; St. Bernard, Epist. 253; Hist. litter. de la France, 11:243; Migne, Nouv. Encycl. Theologique, 3:111; Hase, Ch. Hist. p. 229 sq.; Neander, Ch. Hist. 4:208, 244: Milman, Hist. Lat. Christianity, 4:208; v. 148; Hardwick, Ch. Hist. M. A. p. 237.

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