Sigebert of Gembloux

Sigebert OF Gembloux

(Gemblac), a Belgian monk, was born about A.D. 1030, and educated in the convent of Gembloux, where he also became a monk. About A.D. 1048 he assumed charge of the school attached to the convent of St. Vincent at Metz, but returned to Gembloux, after a successful career, about 1070, ,and continued during forty additional years to labor in the work of teaching and authorship, being generally admired and revered. He was characterized by frankness and piety, gifted with a sound judgment, so that he. was fitted to administer in secular affairs, and was decidedly true to principle. It was because of his influence that the Church of Liege remained loyal to the emperor, despite the efforts. put forth by certain abbots to subject it to the pope alone. The celebrated letter written by Gregory VII to bishop Hermann of Metz, which asserted the right of the pope to place' sovereign under the ban and dissolve the allegiance of his subjects, was answered by Sigebert, and so also was the demand of Paschal II, made in 1102 or 1103, that count Robert of Flanders should head a crusade to punish the Church of Liege for its fidelity to the sovereign. With like good judgment he resisted the imposing of the yoke of asceticism on the entire Church, though he himself was predisposed in favor of a monastic life. His fearless attitude with reference to such questions produced a strong impression on the minds of his contemporaries. He died Oct. 5,,1112.

The works of Sigebert are enumerated by himself in the work De Viris Illustribus (best ed. in Mirmei Biblioth. Eccl. ed. ii, cur. J. A. Fabricio), a book whose only value now consists in the preservation of a few interesting facts which it contains. The Vita Deoderici, an early work commemorating the founder of the abbey of St. Vincent at Metz, gives evidence of the author's extensive reading. He also wrote a life of king Sigebert, the founder of the church and abbey of St. Martin, near Metz, and a number of saints' legends in either prose or verse, particularly a life of Wiebert, the founder of Gembloux, and a history of the convent to 1048; and he gave attention to music and chronology. His last and most celebrated work is the Chronicon, extending from A.D. 381 to 1111, but being a mere compilation from other works down to 1023, after which date it possesses, to some degree, the character of an independent source. The selections from other books are judicious, the treatment of facts cautious, moderate, and impartial, and the whole is characterized by something of the historic- spirit. The work became in time, the principal source of information with reference to the churches and abbeys of Belgium and Northern France. The charge that Sigebert had invented the legend of pope Joan is now disbelieved, and Bethmann, in the Monumenta Germ. SS., omits it from his collection of Sigebert's works. See the Monumenta Germ. SS. passim Hirsch,' De Vita et Scriptis Sigeberti (Berol. 1841); Wattenbhach, Deutschland's Geschichtsquellen (Berol. 1858), particularly p. 291-299; Pertz, Arc. 11:1-17; Herzog, Real-Encyklop. s.v.

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