Collection of Letters: Detail
- Ivo of Chartres
Ivo, by the grace of God minister of the church of Chartres, to Adela, excellent countess, greetings and service.
The abbot of the monastery of Bonneval and the congregation committed to him beat at the ears of God and men with tears and miserable cries, complaining that they and the men of their jurisdiction have been unjustly abused because of the killing of Hugo the Black, that you make demands on them against the privileges and ordinances of your predecessors, to such an extent that you have no mercy or justice left for them. Hearing which I cannot fail to sigh for their sighs who ought to rejoice in their prosperity and grieve in their tribulations.
Wherefore admonishing I ask and asking I admonish that you temper your intended severity with prudent and thoughtful counsel, lest the Lord’s flock be dispersed by the storm of unaccustomed tribulation and the religion which has flourished again in these times be diminished or altogether destroyed. You should also take counsel for your salvation and your reputation, lest it seem vain that you sustain with your gifts and enrich in whatever ways you can monasteries which are not under your jurisdiction while you diminish and subjugate with virtually servile oppression those which are under your jurisdiction.
To prevent these things coming to the ears of many people and detracting from your reputation and your salvation, I admonish as I have done that you act more gently. Let your unaccustomed and intolerable severity not be an example to your posterity and an eternal sin to you. For you should fear that when the sighs of God’s servants come to his ears, those who did not find mercy with you will close the door of mercy to you. Those who are oppressed by you say they will continuously fill the ears of God with their sighs and the ears of God’s people daily with their complaints near and far until the Lord overrules the winds and the sea and quiets their floods. Because this is dangerous and ignominious for you, may God give you the spirit of counsel so that you choose what is better and flee what is dangerous to you. Fare well.
Ivo, Dei gratia Carnotensis Ecclesiae minister, Adelae, excellenti comitissae, salutem et servitium.
Abbas Bonevallensis monasterii, et congregatio sibi commissa lacrymosis et miserabilibus clamoribus aures Dei et hominum pulsant, conquerentes quod propter interfectionem Hugonis Nigri, injuste eos et homines sui juris vexatis, et angarias contra privilegia et instituta praedecessorum vestrorum super eos faciatis [al. facitis], in tantum ut nec misericordiae nec judicio apud vos eis locum relinquatis [relinquitis]. Quod ego audiens non possum non ingemiscere gemitibus eorum, qui et in prosperis debeo eis congaudere, et in tribulationibus condolere. Unde monendo rogo, et rogando moneo, ut severitatem intentatam prudenti et discreto consilio temperetis, ne grex Dominicus insolitae tribulationis tempestate dispergatur, et religio quae istis temporibus refloruerat, aut minuatur aut omnino ad nihilum redigatur. Praeterea debetis consulere saluti vestrae et famae vestrae, ne vanum videatur quod monasteria quae non sunt juris vestri, muneribus vestris sustentatis, et quibus modis potestis ampliatis, ea autem quae vestri juris sunt, minuitis et quasi servili oppressione subjugatis. Unde, ne ista ad aures multotum perveniant, et famae vestrae; sicut saluti, plurimum detrahant, sicut monui iterum moneo, ut mitius agatis, ne insolita et intolerabilis severitas posteris vestris sit in exemplum, et vobis in peccatum aeternum [al. sempiternum, ita ms. c.]. Timendum est enim vobis ne gemitus servorum Dei ad aures ejus perveniant,et qui apud vos misericordiam non inveniunt misericordiae vobis januam claudant. Sicut enim ipsi dicunt qui a vobis opprimuntur, continuo gemitu Dei aures implebunt, et quotidiana conquestione aures populi Dei tam in vicinis quam in remotis locis, donec Dominus imperet ventis et mari, et quiescant fluctus ejus. Quod quia periculosum est vobis et ignominiosum, det vobis Dominus spiritum consilii, ut meliora eligatis, et quae sunt periculosa fugiatis. Valete.
Ivo discusses a dispute between Adela and the monks of Bonneval, caused by the monks’ men killing one of Adela’s vassals. Adela did renounce the tallage she had imposed and explained her action in the preamble to a charter, see summary of that preamble in her letter to the monks of Bonneval.
PL162 ep.187 c190