St. Fulbert of Chartres
Born to a poor family in the north of France ca. 960, St. Fulbert
became a student of Gerbert d'Aurillac
and afterwards continued his teacher's scientific researches; he
may also have practised medicine. He was
consecrated bishop of Chartres in 1006, and was noted for his pastoral
emphasis on oikonomia, his opposition to the bellicose conduct
of Frankish hierarchs who saw themselves mainly as feudal lords,
and his championship of the autonomy of the French church in the face of
papal efforts at control. His scholarly activities attracted a circle
of disciples, sometimes termed a college although it was probably
completely informal; St. Fulbert himself was hailed as the "Gallic
Socrates". Many of the early mediæval West's most noted scientists
and mathematicians studied at Chartres under Fulbert; so, too, did the
heretic Berengar of Tours, although Fulbert's own theology was
conservative. The last decade of St. Fulbert's life was devoted mainly to
an endless round of fund-raising; the ancient cathedral of Chartres
was completely destroyed by fire on 1020 September 7, and the bishop was
determined to see it rebuilt. (Among those who contributed generously was
the Anglo-Danish king Canute.) A realistic-looking portrait of St.
Fulbert survives, made only a year after his repose.
Norman Hugh Redington
- The Letters and Poems of Fulbert of Chartres.
Behrends translation. Oxford University Press, 1976.
Letter to Duke William of Aquitaine.
Concerning the mutual duties of lords and vassals.
Ye Choirs of New Jerusalem.
Campbell translation, 1850, with two musical settings,
one of which is the standard Protestant hymn tune "St. Fulbert".
Return to St Pachomius Library.