September 25 – Princely Umpire in a deadly sport

September 24, 2018

St. Albert of Jerusalem

St AlbertPatriarch of Jerusalem, one of the conspicuous ecclesiastics in the troubles between the Holy See and Federick Barbarossa; date of birth uncertain; died 14 September, 1215.

He was in fact asked by both Pope and Emperor to act as umpire in their dispute and, as a reward, was made Prince of the Empire. He was born in the diocese of Parma, became a canon regular in the Monastery of Mortara in the Milanese, and after being Bishop of Bobbio, for a short time, was translated to the see of Vercelli. Subscription8 This was about 1184.  At that time the Latins occupied Jerusalem and, the Patriarchate falling vacant, Albert was implored by the Christians of Palestine to accept the see. As it implied persecution and a prospect of martyrdom, he accepted, and was appointed by Innocent III, who at the same time made him Papal Legate. His sanctity procured him the veneration of even the Muslims. It was while here that he undertook a work with which his name is particularly and peculiarly associated. In Palestine, at that time, the hermits of Mount Carmel lived in separate cells. One of their number gathered them into a community, and in 1209 their superior, Brocard, requested the Patriarch, though not a Carmelite, to draw up a rule for them. He assented, and legislated in the most rigorous fashion, prescribing perpetual abstinence from flesh, protracted fasts, long silence, and extreme seclusion. It was so severe that mitigations had to be introduced by Innocent IV in 1246.

St. Albert Presents the Rule to the Carmelites, Painting by Pietro Lorenzetti

St. Albert Presents the Rule to the Carmelites, Painting by Pietro Lorenzetti

The end of this great prelate was most tragic. Summoned by Innocent III to take part in the General Council of the Lateran, in 1215, he was assassinated before he left Palestine, while taking part in a procession, on the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.

(cfr. Catholic Encyclopedia)

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