Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

by the Bollandists." The author could find no con-
venient place in his metrical Latin lines for the bar-
barous names of the pontifical bull,—the reason, likely,
why the Slavonians themselves are ignored.” Neither
are Iceland and Greenland mentioned in St. Ansgar's
biography published in the year 1642 by Philip
Cesar;' but this omission is amply compensated by
Caesar's publication of the life of the first archbishop of
Hamburg, as written towards the end of the eleventh
century by Vicelinus, in the twelfth chapter of which
the names of “Islondon” and “Gronlondon” are con-
spicuous.”
St. Rembert, the second metropolitan of Hamburg,
has also left us his predecessor's biography, in which
he states that Pope Gregory IV. constituted Ansgar,
present before him, his delegate among all the northern
and eastern nations,—the Swedes, the Danes, the Fune-
landers, the Greenlanders, the Icelanders, the Scriti-
finns, and the Slavonians.”
The life of St. Rembert himself was written by a
contemporary of his, before the close of the ninth cen-
tury, likely by the third archbishop of Hamburg-
Bremen, Adalgarius, or by a virtuous and learned
priest of the time. In the first chapter we read that
“Lewis, king of the Franks, established in the north-
ernmost part of the Saxon province an archiepiscopal
see, from which the preaching of the word of God
should extend to the neighboring nations of the Swedes,
Danes, Norwegians, Funelanders, Greenlanders, Ice-
landers, Scritifinns, and Slavonians, and to all the

'In the first volume for Febru- Amer. Cath. Quar. Rev., vol. xiv.

ary, p. 439. p. 601. *Amer. Cath. Quar. Rev., vol. * Diplomat. Island., p. 24. xiv. p. 602. * Pagi, " ix., ap. Baronium, Ann.

* Beauvois, Origines, p. 10, n. 1; #! ad an 832, " vii. t. xiv. p.

t

boreal and oriental nations, whatever their names may be." Langebek thinks that the contested names were afterwards added here also, but both of his reasons are manifestly erroneous. Adam of Bremen, when relating the erection of the Hamburgian see, mentions only the Danes, the Swedes, and the Slavonians, but notices farther on that the Icelanders, the Greenlanders, the Goths, and the Orkney islanders came to pay their respects to Adalbert, archbishop of Hamburg, and request him to send them priests and bishops, which he also did.” This fact clearly proves that Iceland and Greenland were aware of their jurisdictional dependency upon the Hamburgian metropolis; while there is but one pontifical document —namely, that of Gregory IV.--which institutes the same ecclesiastical dependency, all other papal bulls being but confirmatory of the former. It thus establishes in particular that the letter of Victor II. to Archbishop Adalbert, dated October 29, 1055, is not the first authentic diploma to mention the two American countries, as asserted in Wetzer and Welte's lexicon.” Two more statements of ancient witnesses may suffice to show that portions of our hemisphere had been confided to the active zeal of the apostle of the North, St. Ansgar. In the missal of Bremen, printed in the year 1511, a hymn in honor of St. Ansgar says that Iceland and Greenland were illumined with the light of faith under his care; and the chronicle of the Bremen archbishops assures us that St. Ansgar converted a number of nations, among which it mentions both the Greenlanders and the Icelanders.” All these positive proofs of the authenticity of Pope Gregory's bull and of the propagation of Christianity in Greenland in and, likely, before the ninth century find a becoming complement in another pontifical letter whose genuineness cannot be contested and whose information is of the highest authority,+namely, on the 14th day of September, 1448, Nicholas W. wrote to the Icelandic bishops of Skalholt and of Holar, enjoining upon them to inquire into the condition of the Greenland diocese. “Our ears,” he says, “have been shocked, and our hearts filled with bitterness, at the tearful complaints of the natives and of all the inhabitants of the island Greenland, which is said to be situated at the ocean's farthest limits, to the north of the kingdom of Norway and within the ecclesiastical province of Drontheim. The people and settlers of that island have received the faith, through the preaching of their evangelist, the blessed King Olaf, about six hundred years ago, and have preserved it firm and inviolate under the government of the Holy Roman Church and of the Apostolic See.” The Pontiff further relates how this distant Christianity had been ruined by the fierce assaults of the neighboring savages, yet was now slowly recovering, and begged him to have another bishop appointed after the episcopal see had been vacant for the last thirty years. From this extract it is easy to determine since what time Greenland had been Christian. No one could know this better than the Greenlanders themselves, who made their saddening report, and the Roman pontiff, who considered their ancient fidelity as a reason for favoring their request. Now, the six hundred years previous to the issuance of this document lead us back to the date of Gregory's bull,—to the second quarter of the ninth century." We easily understand that the incidental mention of St. Olaf is simply an act of veneration for that saint, since it is agreed by all that Greenland was converted before the time of the holy king, who was, however, most zealous in confirming the conversion of the Northmen. It might also be said that the pontiff calls St. Olaf the apostle of Greenland, because he seems to have sent, during the first quarter of the eleventh century, one of his namesakes, as the first bishop of that country, to complete the conversion of its recent Scandinavian immigrants.” It is astonishing to see how prejudice can warp the intelligence of even learned men, who declare that the letter of Nicholas V. forms a new argument against the authenticity of the bull of Gregory IV., although, to justify such a preposterous conclusion, they are compelled to mix up into one two facts that bear no relation whatsoever to each other, the insignificant discovery of the barren Gunnbjörn Rocks between Iceland and Greenland towards the end of the ninth century and the important event of Greenland's conversion from paganism in the year 1000, according to the Scandinavian sagas.” We have noticed that some writers continue still to reject as spurious, at least in regard to Iceland, Greenland, and some other countries, the documents of Gregory IV. and of Lewis the Pious. What are their reasons? They are, as far as we can learn, one gratuitous suspicion and one erroneous apprehension.

* Langebek, t. i. p. 451, n. z ; t. Pertz, t. vii. p. 292; Groenl. Hist. ii. pp. 123, 126. Mindesm., t. iii. p. 412.

* Gesta Hammaburgensis Eccle- * Art. Grönland. siae Pontificum, lib. i. cap. 13, ap.

* See Document XXVIII.

1 See Document XXIX. Munch, Det Norske Folks Historie, a Beauvois, Origines, p. 24; S. 211. * Congrès Scient., sec. v. p. 172.

The original parchments were destroyed, they say, after copies had been taken from them, into which, to legitimate the ambition of Adalbert, archbishop of Hamburg, had been inserted the names of various countries which were unknown at the time when the documents were issued.

It is difficult, however, to admit that one should have dared to destroy pontifical documents so zealously guarded during those ages of faith as venerable and holy treasures. Nor could the sacrilegious deed have been perpetrated with the consent of an irreproachable archbishop, who had occasion to establish his claims with the authority of authentic vouchers; while there would have been no difficulty at the time to discover the forgery of worthless transcripts, when the records of the originals were still in existence, as well as many true copies made during the previous two hundred years. Nor can the gratuitous assertion be sustained in the face of Emperor Frederic's diploma, where it is stated that, in the year 1158, Archbishop Hartwic gave him to read the “privilegium” or parchment of Lewis the Pious."

Archbishop Adalbert” is accused of destroying and of interpolating a score of authentic documents to legalize ambitious pretensions of jurisdiction over American bishops.” But what need had he of false papers when holding in his hand no less than three original bulls, addressed to himself by as many different popes, who, each one, confirmed over again the ancient rights of his metropolitan see and fully justified any such claims as are laid to his charge? The first is of Benedict IX., of the year 1044 or 1045; the second of

'Supra, p. 55. ap. Moosmüller, S. 43; Maltebrun;

* 1043–1072. Langebek, t. i. p. 451, n. z ; alii.

* By Arngrim, Thorlak, Torfaeus, * Supra, p. 52. See Document XXX., a.

« ElőzőTovább »