Thursday, 27 June 2013

Sponsa Christi - The Bride of Christ

The formula of the Gregorian [Pope Gregory VII] Reform

Ecclesia [The Church] has female form. It is both Bride [Sponsa] and Mother [Mater]. These were ideas found in the scriptures which had been developed by the Church Fathers, who very much influenced Church philosophy during the 11th and 12th centuries.

The Church is the Bride of Christ [Sponsa Christi]. The Bishop is the bridegroom.

The Church, like brides, should be "catholic, chaste and free". Bishops [and priests] should be celibate, their one true love should be for the Church.

Sponsa means one's betrothed, a bride, one to whom one plight's one troth to, to whom one must remain faithful, one to whom one give one's pledge.

Bishops are married to the Church, for which they receive the symbol of this marriage in the form of a ring [annulus]. Because they are married to the Church priests are expected to be celibate.

Formally prohibiting priests to marry put an end to the possibility of Church positions being selected by and subject to marital alliances, and the possession of property and the hereditary transmission of ecclesiatical benefices which might have followed on from this, which might have created ecclesiastical dynasties combining both temporaal and spiritual powers. In a sense ecclesiastical posts now had to be appointed on spiritual merit, by ecclesiastical election. This was the thinking behind Pope Gregory VII's reform in this matter.


J. Bugge (2012). Virginitas: An Essay in the History of a Medieval Idea. Chapter III - Sponsa Christi: Springer Science & Business Media. pp. 59–. ISBN 978-94-015-6886-9.

M. Murray (1975). Virginitas: A Phenomenological Introduction. Springer Science & Business Media. pp. 59–. ISBN 978-90-247-1697-5.

Nicholas Paul; Suzanne Yeager (21 February 2012). Remembering the Crusades: Myth, Image, and Identity. Chapter Seven : The Servile Mother: JHU Press. pp. 174–. ISBN 978-1-4214-0425-7.

Chapter XIV Hildebrand pp. 264-
"The History Of Sacerdotal Celibacy In The Christian Church, Volume 1".  

De anulo et baculo by Rangerius

Rangerius (d. 1112) was bishop of Lucca from c. 1096 until his death. He was a talented literary writer in Latin and a vigorous champion of the Gregorian reform

Rangerius of Lucca, Liber de anulo et baculo 1-14, 859-84; ed. E. Sackur,  pp. 508-511  Hanover, 1892.

Anulus et baculus duo sunt sacra signa, nec ullo
de laici manibus suscipienda modo.
anulus est sponsi, sponsae datur anulus, ut se
noverit unius non alium cupere.
gemma notat sponsam, sponsus signatur ab auro,
haec duo conveniunt, sicut et ilia duo.
atque ideo clamat primi vox ilia parentis
propterea matrem cum patre linquit homo
et sic haerebit uxori, quatenus ultra
non sunt came duo, sed magis una caro.
at baculus prefert signum pastoris opusque,
ut relevet lapsos, cogat et ire pigros.
Christus utrunque sibi nomen tenet officiumque.
Christus habet sponsam, Christus ovile regit.

The ring and the staff are two sacred symbols;  nor in any way.are they to be received from the hands of  the laity..
The ring is given by the bridegroom to the bride, to let her know that no other must desire her.
The gemstone denotes the bride, the bridegroom is signified by gold: and these two fit together, just like these two [the ring and the staff/the bride and groom].
And therefore the voice of the first parent [Adam] proclaims:  for that reason shall a man leave his mother and father, and cleave to his wife, to such an extent that they 
are no longer two bodies, but rather they become of one flesh. [Genesis 2:23-25]
 [Mark 10:7-9 VULGATE]
But the staff is borne in front symbolising the shepherd and his work, in order that he may relieve those who have fallen, and compel those who have become lazy.
Christ has both a name and He himself holds office [as bishop].
Christ has a bride [i.e. the Church], and Christ rules the sheep pen [i.e. the laity].

Liber de anulo et baculo

Monumenta Germaniae Historica
Libelli de Lite
Imperatorum et Pontificum
Saeculis XI. et XII.
Tomus II

Keith Sidwell (1995). Reading Medieval Latin. 7. Rangerius of Lucca: Cambridge University Press. pp. 184–. ISBN 978-1-107-39334-9.

A history of mediaval political theory in the West p.108-

By  Carlyle, R. W. Carlyle, Alexander James, (1903)

Extracts from

Megan McLaughlin (22 April 2010). Sex, Gender, and Episcopal Authority in an Age of Reform, 1000-1122. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-87005-4.

The views of Norman Anonymous. He wrote in support of king Henry I of England on the question of the investiture of bishops and abbots.

p. 87

pp. 90-1

These ideas are almost pagan in concept and origin, and, dare I say, similar to Robert Grave's White Godess hypothesis and way of thinking. Well, England/Britain were the remote North-West of Europe, the pagan frontier.

References 2013. The Norman Anonymous - Wikipedia

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