Collection of Letters: Detail
- Celestine III, pope
I am compelled by maternal affection as time passes in the absence of my son the king of the French, to endure new and recent wounds and to feel the sword piercing my soul continuously. I seem to see a part of my innards offerred in sacrifice to the Lord and my only son placed on the altar as if bound with Isaac. But I am not yet able to imitate or follow the patience or obedience of Abraham, which neither my maternal spirit nor my female sex permits. Among the sorrows of repeated births and the renewed anguish of ancient childbearings, nothing can console me except the memory of the cross and passion of the Lord for whose exaltation and honor my son offered himself to suffer and if necessary to be crucified with the Lord on this pilgrimage in the lands of such glory. He sins against the son of God, he sins against the holy Spirit, who disturbs his kingdom in any way or permits or strives to enfold it in another state, in his so devout and religious absence, at least until having departed from it peacefully, he returns with some solace to the weeping people subject to him.
These things, therefore, I write to you, father, since the care of the kingdom, enjoined on me especially, moves and admonishes my maternal spirit that I must see with prudent sollicitude that there be no changes in the churches or the princes, major or minor, the cities, the towns/castles or the people, that would displease or disturb the devout pilgrimage of my son the king. Therefore I ask and beseech and faithfully advise as a devout daughter of the Roman church that the business of Tours and the church of Dol be put off to the return of the king which we desire and hope for in the Lord, that the church of Tours, which holds first place among the chief members of the royal family/crown, can enjoy royal patronage, not grief from the attack or invasion of those from Dol. Our pilgrim, who has been strong and powerful up to now by the grace of God could not sustain with patience, nor could the princes of the kingdom look with fair eyes on the laws of theirs churches changing from what they had been at the time of his father of good memory, king Louis, or his own so far, nor can they in any way permit the metropolitan of lesser Brittany to be arrogant with some monstrous aspect, whether two-headed with Janus or two-formed with the centaur.
Materno compellor affectu per succedentes singularum lapsus horarum, in absentia filii mei Regis Francorum, nova quaedam recentiaque perpeti vulnera, et meam ipsius animam pertranseuntem gladium continuis sentire momentis. Videre mihi videor partem viscerum meorum in sacrificio, Domini offerri, et unicum filium meum tamquam colligatum cum Isaac imponi super altare. Necdum tamen patientiam vel obedientiam Abrahae imitari possum vel assequi, quam et maternus excludit animus et sexes in me femineus non admittit. Inter hos iterati partus dolores et antiqui puerperii renovatas angustias, nihil est quod consolationi meae sufficiat, nisi tantum crucis et passionis Dominicae memoria, pro cuius exaltatione et honore tantae in terris gloriae filius in hac peregrinatione sese proposuit pati, et, si necesse fuerit, cum Domino crucifigi. Peccat in Dei Filium, peccat in Spiritum sanctum, qui in tam devota et religiosa eius absentia regnum ipsius in aliquo perturbat, et in alium statum contendit involvere vel permittit, quam in eo quo pacificus eius egressus sub quodam solatio populum sibi subditum reddidit minus flentem.
Haec ideo, Pater, vobis scribo, quoniam specialiter cura regni mihi iniuncta maternum movet et monet animum meum, ut providam sollicitudine videam, ne vel circa ecclesias, vel circa principes maiores seu minores, civitates, oppida vel populum, immutentur aliqua quibus devota peregrinatio filii mei Regis indignari debeat cut turbari. Proinde rogo et obsecro, et, tamquam devota filia Romanae ecclesiae, fideliter consulo, ut negotium Turonensis et Dolensis ecclesiae usque ad reditum Regis, quem desideramus et speramus in Domino, differatur, et Turonensis ecclesia, quae unum e praecipuis membris coronae regim maximum inter alias obtinet locum, de patronatu regio gaudeat, nec Dolensium doleat vel impetu vel incursu. Nec enim patienter sustinere poterit peregrines noster, per Dei gratiam fortis adhuc et potens, nec regni principes aequis oculis aspicient, sub alio discrimine iura ecclesiarum suarum currere, quae tempore bonae memorise patris sui Regis Ludovici vel suo hactenus processerunt, nec aliquo modo permittent metropolitanum minoris Britanniae sub quadam prodigiosa facie superbire, vel cum Iano bicipitem, vel [cum] Centauro biformem.
The queen, regent for her son Philip Augustus while he was on crusade in the holy land, writes to the pope asking him to defer a decision about the church of Tours until the king's return. This is an ongoing dispute between the episcopal churches of Dol in Brittany and Tours which had previously had ecclesiastical predominance, according to the king in a letter to pope Lucius III, HGF 19, Epistolae Stephani Tornacensis, ep.9.
HGF 19, Epistolae Stephani Tornacensis, 16, p291