St Paschasius Radbertus (c. 790-865)

St Paschasius Radbertus (c. 790-865)

Saint Paschasius Radbertus was born in the region of Soissons and was raised in a women's monastery there by Theodrada, sister of Adalard and Wala of Corbie and cousin of Charlemagne. He entered as a monk in the nearby Benedictine monastery of Corbie, assisted the founding of Corvey in Saxony in 822, and was ordained deacon. He was elected abbot of Corbie in 844. An active church leader, St Radbertus attended the councils of Paris (847) and Quierzy (849), where he signed the condemnation of Gottschalk.

 

Following a dispute in the abbey of Corbie, he resigned the abbacy and moved to Saint Riguier (Centula) in 851, but returned to Corbie before his death.

 

Among his works, those that provide explicitly Marian content are: Sanctae Mariae Libellus de Nativitate, De partu Virginis; and three homilies on the Assumption. He is most famous today for De corpore et sanguine Domini, the first Latin treatise on eucharistic theology. The work was written (831) for the Saxon novices of Corvey and revised (844) for Charles the Bald. The second edition is in direct response to his fellow monk, Ratramnus, as is the defense of Mary's perpetual virginity in De partu Virginis.

 

The most popular work of Paschasius Radbertus in medieval France was Cogitis me, a letter on the Assumption of the Virgin Mary written under the name of Jerome. In other sermons on the Assumption and in his life of the Virgin Mary, Radbertus shows the importance of the influence of apocryphal literature, such as the Protevangelium of James, on the development of medical Christian thought.

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Taken from Paschasius Radbertus, E. Ann Matter Editions, Turnhout, Brepols, 1969.