At Arm’s Length? On Papal Legates in Normandy (11th and 12th centuries)

At Arm’s Length? On Papal Legates in Normandy (11th and 12th centuries)

By Kriston Rennie

Revue d’Histoire Ecclesiastique, Vol.105:2 (2010)

Abstract: For the church in France (Gallia, Francia) during the eleventh and twelfth centuries, there was no universal reception of reforming ideas, persons, and legislation. Dispute settlement in Normandy was routinely practiced within the ecclesiastical province of Rouen, where the frequency of provincial church councils surpassed any need for direct papal representation in this region, thereby narrowing the channels of ecclesiastical business and justice between Rome and Normandy. Until the early twelfth century, in fact, papal legates played a seemingly insignificant role in Norman ecclesiastical government and church councils. Whereas these hand-picked papal representatives were active elsewhere in Aquitaine, Burgundy, Gascony, and northern Francia, their services were of little apparent use in the ecclesiastical province of Rouen until the 1120s. This article asks why as it examines the limitations of legatine movement and usefulness in Normandy, in addition to the legates’ overall contribution and role in that region.

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