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Vrat Ltrs

Letter 1. (Anti-)Pope Clement III to King Vratislav1 Bishop C., servant of the servants of God, to V., the glorious prince of the Bohemians and dearest son: greetings and apostolic blessing. We believe your prudence to know, dearest son, with how many tricks, how many deceits our adversary the devil stirs up humankind, and with how much cunning he labors daily to sow among Christians the discord which he sowed among the angels and between God and the first man.2 For, so we may confess the truth to you, many things have already quite often been reported to us about you which might rouse our mind against your love—may God avert that. But he who sees into hearts,3 God himself, is a witness that we do not wish to believe or to hear about you anything other than is fitting, and that we both did desire and do desire for you to be successful in all things. Your mind, however—whence we grieve, whence we groan—does not seem to dispose itself towards us with that charity, that devotion which would be fitting, since—we do not know by what sin of ours, by what offense of ours against your love—you have held back for some time, contrary to the most religious practice and display of all your predecessors, the [offering] owed to Saint Peter and, having then very often been admonished by us with paternal affection, you have directly ignored both us and our mandates, accounting them as little. But such things have perhaps been reported to you. For today the earth is filled with corrupt rumor-mongers, who have, so it seems, put into your mind a sinister suspicion about us; and credulous of falsehood you have illegally seized upon an opportunity for retaining illegal things. But God knows that, however you dispose yourself toward us, we always loved you with a pure heart and greatly wished for your prosperity in every way. So take away all the rust4 of contrarity from your mind, dearest son, if it is there, and dispose also toward us the sincere love we dispose toward you. Because concerning injuries to the holy Roman church we cannot keep silent with health for our soul, we further paternally admonish you, we ask also and beg you, and likewise advise you charitably, that you no longer hold onto the offering owed to Saint Peter, without whose opening no one is able to enter the kingdom of heaven, lest indeed by holding onto it you sharpen his anger against you. But as is fitting, send it with due reverence, so that you might be able to find him at peace with you. Moreover, we do not believe it to have escaped your memory that, concerning a certain most dear son of ours, most faithful to you indeed and well known, we have repeatedly asked your love through both letters and your messenger and have strenuously requested, interceding with your highness, that you would offer assent to our will in that matter which we had been asking. But about this very matter you subsequently sent back no word at all, about which we are quite astonished. Indeed he would himself now be installed magnificently, as is worthy, if he had not been detained by this waiting; God knows, you would not be able to find anyone more faithful to you than him. But let this be known to your dignity: that with the lord emperor, our dearest son, we have not done anything yet concerning this matter, since up until now we have waited upon the resolution of your will. Concerning this you may be most certain that, if you were to act on this one [matter] at our request and for our sake, you will then obtain from us whatever worthy of me and you that you might ask for. Whatever therefore is sitting in your mind concerning this matter—namely, whether you might assent to our worthy (this we do not doubt) petitions—make us certain as soon as possible. We do not want such a man, so useful to ecclesiastical governance, to be detained by such an untoward delay. Also, we therefore ordered these letters to be sealed with a new seal, so as to make it clearer, and so that your dignity might deign too to send something new that is wondrous as the clearest sign of your concession in electing and constituting the new bishop whom we ask for. Letter 2. Archbishop Wezilo of Mainz to (Anti-)Pope Clement III To the venerable lord C. and truly the most holy bishop of the first see, [from] W., that which he is by God’s grace: the subjection owed as to the highest priest and solicitous devotion as to so great a father. He, the Most High Lord of gods, who arranged the ranks of his celestial army so that one might come before another and a lesser dignity wait upon a greater in obedience to their maker, in his church he so distinguished the heavens, the work of his fingers, so that, just as star differs from star in brightness, so one precedes another by virtue of the dignity of its excellence. Unity of love however reduces this diversity of ranks and offices as if to one harmony, so that, just as among the holy angels so also here, there might not be envy of unequal brightness. Since therefore, my reverend father, the One Most High established you at the very top of the prelacy so that in the place of the great Peter you might be the head of all ecclesiastical power, by right every lower order submits itself to you and by merit the joint union of the members obeys you as a head. Whence your excellence should know how, with what intimate affection, we look upon your most holy apostolate and special reverence. And that the authority of your holiness might remain steady with safe tranquility among the storms of the world, we offer constant supplication and daily prayer to God. The king of the Poles indicated to us that we should speak thus, saving your reverence. Nay rather he humbly implores with familiar devotion, because he might have offended the clemency of your serenity more by the simplicity alone of [his] title than by a sense of any impoliteness. And because he would hope that the earnestness of our humility will benefit him with special regard with respect to you and be useful, with desire he desires5 us to put forth a worthy excuse of satisfaction on his behalf. And so concerning this same man, your humble petitioner, our little son, we suggest to your paternity that whatever was done in this matter was determined by the command of your son the lord emperor and with the consent and affirmation of the whole kingdom. Not without merit. For who [else] in this present tribulation has set himself in opposition so often and in such perils for the sake of imperial security, for the elevation of the kingdom, and for the singular reverence and stability of your apostolic see? Every order, every dignity, every religion finally would have been worn down by the feet of enemies had not his faithful and confident steadfastness in all things and before all others manfully stood firm. Holy father, think about this, give it your attention, and in this all judgments are in harmony, because if more were needed he would be most worthy of greater honor and grace. Therefore let not our lord speak against his servant more harshly or roughly6 because he is useful to God and the church as well as to the lord emperor and your excellence. We therefore appeal to your benevolence, that you commit the business of this matter to our diligence, because—behold!—you will hold him to be useful before God and obedient to you and your church in every good intention of yours. He who preceded you in the blessing of sweetness, may he put a crown of eternal beatitude upon you.7 Letter 3. (Anti-)Archibishop Hartwig of Magdeburg to King Vratislav To the most glorious lord king V., the most eminent before our emperor in arms and loyalty and—what is more excellent than these—before God in piety, [from] H., by grace of God archbishop of Madgeburg, to be aided by the hand of God and sustained by his arm.8 Ever since we were first inspired by acquaintance with your virtues as if by the sweetest odor, we have ever been seeking an opportunity by which we might prove our zeal with respect to your service. Meanwhile it pleased God, on the merit of those same virtues, to heap help on one that is mighty and exalt one chosen from his people;9 and we, those things revealed to our ears by divine agency, with Samuel filled our horn with the oil of gladness for anointing the one chosen by the Lord above his companions.10 Indeed we were ready, but when not allowed, we thought to handle [it] as unnecessary. But let your dignity know this for certain, that we are not last among those who honor the top of your staff11 and who importune God with constant prayers for the state of your realm. We make known to your excellence that Benno, formerly bishop of Meissen but condemned at the Mainz synod, came to us, asserting himself to be reconciled by the lord pope. We considered it unworthy to pay heed to his words, partly because he brought no sign from the lord pope of certain reconciliation, partly because of your—rather our—Felix, who already succeeded to his see canonically. And now we have heard that this same Benno is attempting through his supporters and by every means to creep into his old see surrepticiously. Wherefore, your providence should try to anticipate him and not yield the horn to the sinner12—lest, with that one who was enthroned on account of your grace being rejected, he who for just reasons was condemned at the Mainz synod be accepted. We sent you the baker, about whom you asked us, together with his instruments and little presents of ours, which are indeed not suited to your dignity but nevertheless are to be weighed against our poverty. For the rest, for your health and for the stability of your realm, raising a prayer up to God, we say constantly: “Lord, save the king; and hear us on the day that we shall call upon you.”13 Letter 4. Benedict, Abbot of the Irish Monastery in Regensburg, to King Vratislav To the most illustrious King V., adorned with a royal diadem, [from] Benedict, servant of the pilgrims of Christ, and [from] all the rest of the pilgrims who are at Regensburg: every good fortune in the present life and rewards that will endure without end in the future. The words of your embassy, most sweet one, we received joyously and we decided to carry out happily what you requested. Always, indeed, as is fitting, there should be faithful and avowed prayer by everyone for the salvation of you and yours. But now, when we heard that you are going out on campaign with the army [and] also that the ferocity of peoples (gentes) rages against you, beyond the usual application of our devotion, we decided to do this: for everyone to complete the entire psalter daily [and] also to celebrate communally the mass pertaining to this [for armies, or battles?], but as well to carry the cross with a litany [and] also for everyone (except the infirm) to complete a fast for three days in the week. And we have decided that these things should be done diligently until, with Christ helping, with joy our lord should return in peace a victor.14 Dearest, fear God, who gave you honor, and keep his commands as you are able. Judas Maccabeus, when he was fearing God perfectly, then he was overcoming peoples (gentes) with a few men.15 Gideon also, giving honor to God, overthrew the Midianites almost to the point of their extermination with only three hundred men.16 Letter 5. The Brotherhood of St. James in Regensburg to King Vratislav To the most illustrious V., lover of Christian peace, [from] the most humble fraternity fighting under the light yoke of Christ17 in the church of St. James: special and devoted prayer together with participation in the eternal kingdom. Desiring to march in the footsteps of Christ,18 in whose his chains19 we are bound by our vocation and whose precepts we are following, we try to pray even for enemies. Indeed, with God bearing witness, paying these out day and night especially on your behalf, we strive to supplicate omnipotent God for the health of your body, the stability of your kingdom, and especially the safety of [your] soul. Your beloved son, who in God’s just judgment recently exchanged a pilgrim’s life for an eternal one, how can we sever him from your paternal love, which will be preserved between you before God in eternity? Whence we desire you to know for certain, whatever in the way of prayers, vigils, solemnities of the mass, generosity of alms and care of the poor, and all those things through which human fragility is able to appease its creator, [we promise] to invoke all the time whatever might lead to eternal salvation for him partly and also for you. Concerning these things, toward the increase of his eternal happiness, with affection from the depth of our hearts, we established that in our convent 100 solemnities of the mass be celebrated for him individually (privatim) and the same number of singings of the psalter—so that too, with God preserving our little group safe and undivided, we might fulfill these vows before the day of the Lord’s Nativity. Because therefore omnipotent God many times had regard for our poverty through you, in whom after God our every hope and salvation is placed: from this hope now strengthened, we venture to tickle ears of such sublimity with earnest prayers that you might open the treasury of your generosity, making light our need and holding fast the memory of our pious redeemer, who says: “whatever you did for one of the least of these, you did for me.”20 Farewell. And mercifully have regard for Christ’s paupers, to whom this year all the necessities of this life are altogether lacking. What more? We hope [for there to be] in you for every mercy and grace. Through it we beseech you, that by your royal precept you deign—through the lord Albinus,21 your loyal man—to lead our messenger off to Poland and back again in peace. Letter 6. The Monastery of Hersfeld to King Vratislav To the glorious king, [from] the poor and wretched congregation of Hersfeld: would that you might accept its unremitting prayers to God! Having considered your virtues, that with respect to our emperor and the whole res publica you have been faithful, and for that reason God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions,22 we are led in hope to lay bare to you our torments not without some benefit of comfort. For behold this, which you knew and to which you were oftentimes present: worn down little by little from the madness of wartime, we are now altogether reduced to nothing; meanwhile, even as, positioned on the border of both agitated peoples, on both sides we are [exposed] to depopulation. Compelled by this necessity, whatever we found in the treasures of the lord’s house,23 we have now completely used up in bringing comfort to life, while the ark of God, which the kicking oxen had caused to lean24 (that is, the church, which by God’s doing, we serve zealously), we desired to retain, as long as we do not willingly let go of divine guard duty, as long as we do not unwillingly renounce our military service. Therefore, we approach the throne of your grace with confidence, so that we might obtain mercy and by a benefaction of your generosity might find the grace of some supportive help as a monument to your benevolence in the way of opportune aid.25 He is ready to reward this change with a worthy reward, He who also conferred upon you, for your aforesaid virtues, the scepter of a kingdom and a seat of glory, placing help upon one who is mighty and exalting one chosen from his people.26 Letter 7. Bishop Lambert of Cracow to King Vratislav To the king of Bohemia of the glorious title and a life not less inglorious, [from] L., bishop of Cracow: the grace of the highest king and from him life, health and victory. For the earth and its fullness is the Lord’s;27 for the kingdom is the Lord’s and he will have dominion over the nations.28 Over individual lands and individual kingdoms he sets king and lord in judgment; some of them, of sound mind, reign in judgment and justice,29 but some in pride of mind and in rapine. But because you, Lord King, in your vigilance practice nothing other than what the providence of your subjects calls for, because you judge the poor of God in judgment, humbling any oppressor,30 there is no prince, there is no powerful man whose favors and grace you should not obtain, whose promises and supplications should not advance to securing for you steadfastness in this same matter. Inspired by you, king, with confidence in these supplications, I have wished to obtain myself, as yours, something not great, indeed in no way for me but for you, in no way trusting in my merits but, most benign king, in your generosity. This year by your grace you successfully directed our legation to the archbishop of Cologne, and then no less successfully by your grace you sent his legation back with ours at his request. But now on account of both, or rather by the prayer of both, benign king, you are asked to give these legates safe conduct. And, so that I might be silent about myself, may you direct [them] on a propitious path to that archbishop of such high office, of such illustrious life, on account of the man, since you can and it is fit for a king. Letter 8. A Student to King Vratislav God the eternal king, you who establish the end and beginning Of all things ordered well through you, May you grant to King Vratislav, reknowned above everything, That he may live happily, and vanquish every transgression against himself. Lord, no one, no one at all, more faithfully than me can avert divine judgment through prayer so as to prolong your condition of health and honor by God’s disposition [and] at his pleasure. What I say, saving your grace, lord, I still hardly send forth, I who have now composed for you these [lines], although unworthy of your renown. For often I offered you my letters, both in your praise and on account of my need—I do not say however never to have born fruit, but not to have from them a very worthy reponse. But nevertheless I know as true that your magnificence is not so much to be blamed as much as—as I will say openly—the envy of readers to be censured, who constantly contend that, by submitting my boyishness to you, I disparage myself in addressing your mercy. I might be a boy, as I hear them whisper falsely, but I give thanks all the more to God, who makes the tongues of infants fluent, for the fact that I, learned by his gift, a boy in the presence of those old men, do not blush to serve God and you. But lest I detain you, lord, with many words, if you are anxious about my service,31 I serve no one more willingly. To this the love of my kinsman especially impels me; from him I will not willingly separate myself unless compelled by greatest necessity. What more? May you attain the joys of eternal life. Letter 9. Anchorite G. to King Vratislav That veteran anchorite G., little friend of the most glorious King V.: new fruits for you always of love (amor) and affection (dilectio). The love (caritas), which God had joined between us on first knowing you by sight, I see is now extinguished in you. For, since the death of your dear son, at God’s instigation, you took real care to announce it through your messenger everywhere in our regions, especially in that very place where I tarry, on behalf of the memory of his soul and you did not deign to commission from me any expression of love (amor). But nonetheless the soul of the son clings to me, like the life and soul of the father: as God is a witness—lest I seem to deceive by flattering—this very thing [love (caritas)] is kindled in me, burning for the sake of your eternal salvation, such that in the sight of God your memory is recited daily by me first after the lord our emperor. Therefore I ask and implore you, that you not accept unworthily the small correction which the just judge brings to you, worthily proffered—for God chastises the one he loves—but always look in fear to appropriate for yourself better things from the little ones. Farewell and, now in the last time of the age, secure the peace and be vigilant, so that you may open at the Lord’s knocking. Letter 10. Archbishop Wezilo of Mainz to King Vratislav To the most glorious king of the Poles, O., to be venerated as much as [he is] lovable, [from] W., [being] by the grace of God what he is: the love, which a father has for a son of like mind, and the continual sacrifice of prayer with sincere devotion and service. If the hinge of your affairs turns under the delight of peace and tranquility and the depravity of the wicked does not cloud the serenity of your mind with any injury, we rejoice with all your friends—and if we are able to project anything of truth about ourselves, [we will] even [do so] especially, ahead of everyone. It has been indicated to us through the kindness of your embassy almost as if our lord emperor may have completely changed the disposition and state of his mind towards you, and that his mercy may not smile upon you with the same serenity, so that you might be able to hope from him things closer to the usual grace and good health. This indeed—behold before God!—we neither know nor are able in any way to imagine. But this we confirm under the clear testimony of Christ: that he has few or none in the empire whom he might look upon with a greater privilege of grace and love. Whence we warn your love that, before God and men, you also return a comparable exchange of loyalty and truth to him, and preserve due stability of steadfastness towards him. That you should have invited us to a solemn celebration of your love, this brought us exultation and joy with the greatest offering of thanks. But these are not tranquil times, such as the affairs of our kingdom might either wish or be able to want. But if dawn from on high should break upon us32 in the gentleness of peace, we will come to you with complete devotion for the sake of your honor and God’s service. It was also reported to us that you will have had a meeting with those seducers, not bishops of the Saxons but truly apostates, who try with a feigned a conditional peace, to inflict the dart of harsh deception. And so we warn your diligence not to have any confidence of surety in their promises, since it is the greatest madness to have hope in the words of those, by whose perfidy you might so often be deceived. We also heard that there might be some taint of disagreement between you and your brother, the bishop; and as much delight as the previous embassy [brought], the ill-fame of this bitterness brought us that much sadness. We request and implore in Lord Jesus, that every inducement to disagreement between you be put to sleep through divine dread and our warning, until, in a mediated peace, we may bring some counsel of devotion and effort. May God do and bring about in you the things he has begun, increasing and heaping up his gifts in you. For to bring about this is no great thing for the omnipotent right hand, which is capable of doing33 more than we ask or understand.