Wulfhelm

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Wulfhelm
Archbishop of Canterbury
Appointed c. 926
Term ended12 February 941
Predecessor Athelm
Successor Oda
Other posts Bishop of Wells
Orders
Consecrationc. 924
Personal details
Died12 February 941
BuriedFirst church of St John the Baptist, Canterbury, later Canterbury Cathedral

Wulfhelm (died 12 February 941) was Bishop of Wells before being promoted to the Archbishopric of Canterbury about 926. Nothing is known about his time at Wells, but as archbishop he helped codify royal law codes and gave lands to monasteries. He went to Rome soon after his selection as archbishop. Two religious books that he gave to his cathedral are still extant.

Archbishop of Canterbury senior bishop of the Church of England

The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England, the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion and the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury. The current archbishop is Justin Welby, who was enthroned at Canterbury Cathedral on 21 March 2013. Welby is the 105th in a line which goes back more than 1400 years to Augustine of Canterbury, the "Apostle to the English", sent from Rome in the year 597. Welby succeeded Rowan Williams.

Cathedral Christian church that is the seat of a bishop

A cathedral is a church that contains the cathedra of a bishop, thus serving as the central church of a diocese, conference, or episcopate. Churches with the function of "cathedral" are usually specific to those Christian denominations with an episcopal hierarchy, such as the Catholic, Anglican, Orthodox, and some Lutheran and Methodist churches. Church buildings embodying the functions of a cathedral first appeared in Italy, Gaul, Spain and North Africa in the 4th century, but cathedrals did not become universal within the Western Catholic Church until the 12th century, by which time they had developed architectural forms, institutional structures and legal identities distinct from parish churches, monastic churches and episcopal residences.

Contents

Biography

Wulfhelm was elected and consecrated Bishop of Wells between 923 and September 925. [1] Nothing else is known about his time at Wells. [2]

Wulfhelm was translated from the Bishopric of Wells to be Archbishop of Canterbury in about 926. [3] While he was archbishop, he was a frequent attendee of the royal court, and King Æthelstan of England says in his law code that Wulfhelm was consulted on the drafting of the laws. [4] Wulfhelm also advised the king on the Ordinance on Charities issued by Æthelstan. [5] One of the surviving manuscripts of Æthelstan's laws has an epilogue that stated that the law was declared and decided at a synod held at Grately where Wulfhelm was present. [6] From other parts of the laws issued by the king, it appears that Wulfhelm also presided at a council held at Thunderfield, at which the reeves of London pledged to keep the king's peace. [7] The implication of the various accounts of the laws of Æthelstan is that Wulfhelm was highly involved in royal efforts to improve the law code. [8]

Æthelstan 10th-century King of the Anglo-Saxons, King of the English

Æthelstan or Athelstan was King of the Anglo-Saxons from 924 to 927 and King of the English from 927 to 939 when he died. He was the son of King Edward the Elder and his first wife, Ecgwynn. Modern historians regard him as the first King of England and one of the greatest Anglo-Saxon kings. He never married and had no children. He was succeeded by his half-brother, Edmund.

The legal term peace, sometimes King's peace or Queen's peace, is the common-law concept of the maintenance of public order.

Wulfhelm also went to Rome to receive his pallium in person from Pope John X. [4] Why he chose to go to Rome in person for his pallium rather than having it sent to him like most of his predecessors is unknown. One suggestion has been that because he had been translated from another see, Wulfhelm felt the need to have papal approval of his translation made explicit. Given the low status of the papacy at the time, [Notes 1] it is unlikely that the impetus for the change in tradition came from the pope. [9]

Pallium an ecclesiastical vestment in the Catholic Church: a narrow band, seen from front or back the ornament resembles the letter Y and decorated with six black crosses

The pallium is an ecclesiastical vestment in the Roman Catholic Church, originally peculiar to the Pope, but for many centuries bestowed by the Holy See upon metropolitans and primates as a symbol of their conferred jurisdictional authorities, and still remains papal emblems. Schoenig, Steven A., SJ. Bonds of Wool: The Pallium and Papal Power in the Middle Ages (Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 2017. ISBN 978-0-8132-2922-5. In its present form, the pallium is a long and "three fingers broad" white band adornment, woven from the wool of lambs raised by Trappist monks. It is donned by looping its middle around one's neck, resting upon the chasuble and two dependent lappets over one's shoulders with tail-ends on the left with the front end crossing over the rear. When observed from the front or rear the pallium sports a stylistic letter 'y'. It is decorated with six black crosses, one near each end and four spaced out around the neck loop. At times the pallium is embellished fore and aft with three gold gem-headed stickpins. The doubling and pinning on the left shoulder likely survive from the Roman pallium. The pallium and the omophor originate from the same vestment, the latter a much larger and wider version worn by Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic bishops of the Byzantine Rite. A theory relates origination to the paradigm of the Good Shepherd shouldering a lamb, a common early Christian art image — but this may be an explanation a posteriori, however the ritual preparation of the pallium and its subsequent bestowal upon a pope at coronation suggests the shepherd symbolism. The lambs whose fleeces are destined for pallia are solemnly presented at altar by the nuns of the convent of Saint Agnes and ultimately the Benedictine nuns of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere weave their wool into pallia.

Pope John X pope

Pope John X was Pope from March 914 to his death in 928. A candidate of the Counts of Tusculum, he attempted to unify Italy under the leadership of Berengar of Friuli, and was instrumental in the defeat of the Saracens at the Battle of Garigliano. He eventually fell out with Marozia, who had him deposed, imprisoned, and finally murdered. John’s pontificate occurred during the period known as the Saeculum obscurum.

Wulfhelm died while archbishop on 12 February 941. [3] During his time as archbishop, he received as gifts two gospels that are still extant, as Wulfhelm donated them to Christ Church. [9] One of the gospels was produced in Ireland, the other either in Lotharingia or Germany. The second gospel may originally have been a gift to Æthelstan during the negotiations over the marriage of Æthelstan's sister Edith to the future Emperor Otto I. [4] These diplomatic events probably explain the appearance of Wulfhelm's name in the confraternity books of some German monasteries. [2] He may also have given land to the church, although the record is a bit unclear as to exactly what was given. [9] Another grant of land was of land at Deverel, Wiltshire to Glastonbury Abbey while he was archbishop. [2]

Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor German king and first emperor of the Ottonian empire

Otto I, traditionally known as Otto the Great, was German king from 936 and Holy Roman Emperor from 962 until his death in 973. He was the oldest son of Henry I the Fowler and Matilda.

Glastonbury Abbey former Benedictine abbey at Glastonbury

Glastonbury Abbey was a monastery in Glastonbury, Somerset, England. Its ruins, a grade I listed building and scheduled ancient monument, are open as a visitor attraction.

Wulfhelm was buried at Canterbury. [10] He was buried at first the church of St John the Baptist near the Saxon-era Canterbury Cathedral. When a new cathedral was constructed under Archbishop Lanfranc after the Norman Conquest of England, the earlier archbishops of Canterbury were moved to the north transept of the new cathedral. Later, Wulfhelm and his predecessor as bishop and archbishop Athelm were moved to a chapel dedicated to St Benedict, which later was incorporated into the Lady Chapel constructed by Prior Thomas Goldstone (d. 1468). [11]

Canterbury Cathedral city in Kent, England

Canterbury is a historic English cathedral city and UNESCO World Heritage Site, situated in the heart of the City of Canterbury, a local government district of Kent, England. It lies on the River Stour.

Canterbury Cathedral Church in Kent, England

Canterbury Cathedral in Canterbury, Kent, is one of the oldest and most famous Christian structures in England. It forms part of a World Heritage Site. It is the cathedral of the Archbishop of Canterbury, currently Justin Welby, leader of the Church of England and symbolic leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion. Its formal title is the Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of Christ at Canterbury.

Lanfranc 11th-century Archbishop of Canterbury, jurist and theologian

Lanfranc was a celebrated Italian jurist who renounced his career to become a Benedictine monk at Bec in Normandy. He served successively as prior of Bec Abbey and abbot of St Stephen in Normandy and then as archbishop of Canterbury in England, following its Conquest by William the Conqueror. He is also variously known as Lanfranc of Pavia, Lanfranc of Bec, and Lanfranc of Canterbury.

Notes

  1. Some polemical tracts refer to the papacy at this time as the pornocracy.

Citations

  1. Fryde, et al. Handbook of British Chronology p. 222
  2. 1 2 3 Robinson Saxon Bishops of Wells pp. 40–41
  3. 1 2 Fryde, et al. Handbook of British Chronology p. 214
  4. 1 2 3 Leyser "Wulfhelm" Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  5. Lawson "Archbishop Wulfstan" English Historical Review p. 569
  6. Wormald Making of English Law p. 295
  7. Wormald Making of English Law p. 298
  8. Wormald Making of English Law p. 299–300
  9. 1 2 3 Brooks Early History of the Church of Canterbury pp. 216–222
  10. Robinson Saxon Bishops of Wells p. 42
  11. Robinson Saxon Bishops of Wells pp. 58–59

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References

Christian titles
Preceded by
Athelm
Bishop of Wells
c. 923–c. 926
Succeeded by
Alphege
Preceded by
Athelm
Archbishop of Canterbury
c. 926–941
Succeeded by
Oda