Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Saint Aelred Of Rievaulx Abbey. Part Two.


Text from Wikipedia - the free encyclopedia,
unless otherwise accredited.




Rievaulx Abbey,
Yorkshire, England.
Very atmospheric on a foggy Autumn day.
Photo: 15 October 2009.
Source: From geograph.org.uk.
Author: Simon Palmer.
(Wikimedia Commons)



Rievaulx Abbey,
Yorkshire, England.
Photo: 8 September 2012.
Source: Own work.
Author: mattbuck.
(Wikimedia Commons)



Rievaulx Abbey,
Yorkshire, England.
Mediaeval Floor Tile
depicting the Latin word for Mary,
"Mariae".
Photo: April 2000.
Source: Own work.
Author: Zephyrinus.



Rievaulx Abbey,
Yorkshire, England.



Rievaulx Abbey,
Yorkshire, England.


File:Rievaulx Abbey Chapter House.jpg

Ruins of the Chapter House,
Rievaulx Abbey,
Yorkshire, England.
Photo: 28 November 2008.
Source: Own work.
Author: Mandala Heaven.
(Wikimedia Commons)


Aelred (1110 - 12 January 1167), also Ailred, Ælred, Æthelred, etc., was an English writer, Abbot of Rievaulx Abbey (from 1147 until his death), and Saint.

He was born in Hexham, Northumbria, in 1110, one of three sons of Eilaf, Priest of Saint Andrew's at Hexham, and himself a son of Eilaf, Treasurer of Durham.

Aelred spent several years at the Court of King David I of Scotland in Roxburgh, possibly from the age of fourteen, rising to the rank of Echonomus (often termed 'Steward' or 'Master of the Household') before leaving the Court, aged twenty-four in 1134, to enter the Cistercian Abbey of Rievaulx, in Yorkshire, England. He may have been partially educated by Lawrence of Durham, who sent him a hagiography of Saint Brigid.


File:Rievaulx Abbey MMB 17.jpg

Rievaulx Abbey,
Yorkshire, England.
Photo: 8 September 2012.
Source: Own work.
Author: mattbuck.
(Wikimedia Commons)



Rievaulx Abbey
in Winter.
Author: Unknown.


From 1142 - 1143, Aelred was Novice Master at Rievaulx Abbey. In 1143, he became the first Abbot of a new Daughter House of Rievaulx Abbey, at Revesby, Lincolnshire. In 1147, he was elected Abbot of Rievaulx Abbey, a position he was to hold until his death. Under his administration, the Abbey is said to have grown to some 140 Monks and 500 "Conversi" (Lay Brothers).

His role as Abbot also involved an amount of travel. Cistercian Abbots were expected to make Annual Visitations to Daughter-Houses, and Rievaulx Abbey had five Daughter-Houses in England and Scotland (including Melrose Abbey) by the time Aelred was Abbot. Moreover, presumably for the first ten years of his term as Abbot, at least until he was granted various Indulgences in these matters, Aelred had to make the long sea journey to the Annual General Chapter of the Order at Cîteaux Abbey, France.


File:Abbaye de Cîteaux La Bibliothèque.JPG

English: The Library,
Cîteaux Abbey, France.
Français: L'abbaye de Cîteaux la bibliothèque du XVIe siècle.
Classée monument historique. Restaurée.
Photo: 14 July 2008.
Source: Own work.
Author: G CHP.
(Wikimedia Commons)


File:Rievaulx Abbey - geograph.org.uk - 1337941.jpg

Rievaulx Abbey,
Yorkshire, England.
Ruins of the former Cistercian Monastery,
which was founded in 1132.
Photo: 15 November 2007.
Source: From geograph.org.uk.
Author: Dennis Turner.
(Wikimedia Commons)


Alongside his role as Abbot, Aelred was involved throughout his life in political affairs. In 1138, when Rievaulx's Patron, Walter Espec, was to surrender his Castle at Wark to King David of Scotland, Aelred accompanied Abbot William of Rievaulx Abbey to the Scottish border to negotiate the transfer. In 1142, Aelred travelled to Rome, alongside Walter of London, Archdeacon of York, to represent, before Pope Innocent II, a group of Northern Prelates who opposed the election of King Stephen's nephew, William, as Archbishop of York.

The result of the journey was that Aelred brought back a Letter from Pope Innocent II summoning the superiors, that Aelred represented, to appear in Rome, the following March, in order to make their deposition in the required Canonical form; the resulting negotiations would drag on for many years.



Rievaulx Abbey,
Yorkshire, England.
Source: Own work.
Author: Tilman2007/Dr. Volkmar Rudolf.
(Wikimedia Commons)


The 14th-Century version of the Peterborough Chronicle states that Aelred's efforts, during the 12th-Century Papal Schism, brought about King Henry II's decisive support for the Cistercian candidate, resulting, in 1161, in the formal recognition of Pope Alexander III. [The Papal Election of September 1159 followed the death of Pope Adrian IV. It resulted in a double election. A majority of the Cardinals elected Cardinal Rolando of Siena as Pope Alexander III, but a minority refused to recognise him and elected their own candidate, Ottaviano de Monticelli, who took the name Victor IV, creating a Schism which lasted until 1178.]

Aelred wrote several influential books on Spirituality, among them Speculum caritatis ("The Mirror of Charity," reportedly written at the request of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux) and De spiritali amicitia ("On Spiritual Friendship"). He also wrote seven works of history, addressing three of them to King Henry II of England, advising him how to be a good King and declaring him to be the true descendant of Anglo-Saxon Kings.



English: Saint Aelred of Rievaulx wrote
"Speculum Caritatis"  ("The Mirror of Charity"), circa 1142.
España: Fragmento del manuscrito medieval «De Speculo Caritatis»,
en el que aparece un retrato de Elredo de Rieval.
Français: Enluminure médiévale, extraite du «De Speculo Caritatis»
(le miroir de la charité) d'Ælred de Rievaulx.
(Wikimedia Commons)


In his later years, he is thought to have suffered from kidney stones (hence his patronage of these sufferers) and arthritis. Walter of London, Archbishop of York, reports that, in 1157, the Cistercian General Council allowed Aelred to sleep and eat in Rievaulx Abbey's Infirmary; later, he lived in a nearby hut.

Aelred died in the Winter of 1166 - 1167, probably on 12 January 1167, at Rievaulx Abbey.



Rievaulx Abbey,
Yorkshire, England.
Photo: 8 September 2012.
Source: Own work.
Author: mattbuck.
(Wikimedia Commons)


For his efforts in writing and administration, Aelred has been called, by David Knowles, the "Saint Bernard of the North." Knowles, a historian of Monasticism in England, also described him as "a singularly attractive figure . . . No other English Monk of the 12th-Century so lingers in the memory."

All of Aelred's Works have appeared in translation, most in English, and all in French.



Rievaulx Abbey,
Yorkshire, England,
showing (from Right to Left): The Presbytery (Right);
South Transept and Chapter House foundations (Middle):
and the wall of the Infirmary (Left).
Mist at Dawn.
Photo: 2011.
Author: Antony McCallum.
(Wikimedia Commons)

Extant works by Aelred include:

Histories and Biographies.

Vita Davidis Scotorum regis ("Life of David, King of the Scots"), written circa 1153.
Genealogia regum Anglorum ("Genealogy of the Kings of the English"), written 1153 - 1154.
Relatio de standardo ("On the Account of the Standard"), also De bello standardii ("On the Battle of the Standard"), 1153 - 1154.
Vita S. Eduardi, regis et confessoris ("The Life of Saint Edward, King and Confessor"), 1161 - 1163.
Vita S. Niniani ("The Life of Saint Ninian"), 1154 - 1160.
De miraculis Hagustaldensis ecclesiae ("On the Miracles of the Church of Hexham"), circa 1155.
De quodam miraculo miraculi ("A Certain Wonderful Miracle") (also wrongly known, since the 17th-Century, as De sanctimoniali de Wattun ("The Nun of Watton")), circa 1160.



Rievaulx Abbey,
Yorkshire, England.
Photo: 31 August 2007.
Source: Own work.
Author: Rob Bendall (Highfields).
(Wikimedia Commons)

Spiritual Treatises.

Speculum caritatis ("The Mirror of Charity"), circa 1142.
De Iesu puero duodenni ("Jesus as a Boy of Twelve"), 1160 - 1162.
De spiritali amicitia ("Spiritual Friendship"), 1164 - 1167.
De institutione inclusarum ("The Formation of Anchoresses"), 1160 - 1162.
Oratio pastoralis ("Pastoral Prayer"), circa 1163 - 1167.
De anima ("On the Soul"), circa 1164 - 1167.



Majestic ruin of Rievaulx Abbey,
Yorkshire, England.
Started in 1132
by twelve Monks from
Clairvaux Abbey, France.
Photo: 26 May 2009.
Source: From geograph.org.uk.
Author: martin dawes.
(Wikimedia Commons)

Sermons.

These Sermons mainly relate to the Fifteen Liturgical Days on which Cistercian Abbots were required to Preach to their Communities.

Several Non-Liturgical Sermons survive, as well, including one Sermon he apparently Preached to the Clerical Synod at Troyes, presumably in connection with a journey to the General Chapter at Citeaux Abbey, France, and one Sermon devoted to Saint Catherine of Alexandria.

In 1163 - 1164, he also wrote a Thirty-One-Sermon Commentary on Isaiah 13-16, Homeliae de oneribus propheticis Isaiae ('Homilies on the Prophetic Burdens of Isaiah"), dedicating the work to Gilbert Foliot, who became Bishop of London in 1163.

Aelred was never formally Canonised, but became the centre of a cult in the North of England, which was officially recognised by the Cistercians in 1476. As such, he was Venerated as a Saint, with his body kept at Rievaulx Abbey.



Rievaulx Abbey,
Yorkshire, England.
Photo: 7 July 2012.
Source: Own work.
Author: Wehha.
(Wikimedia Commons)


In the 16th-Century, before the Dissolution of the Monasteries, John Leland saw Aelred's Shrine at Rievaulx Abbey, containing Aelred's body, glittering with gold and silver. His Feast Day is 12 January, the traditional date of his death, in the Roman Martyrology and the Calendars of various Churches.

Much of Aelred's biography is known because of the "Life" written about him by Walter Daniel, shortly after his death.

Until the 20th-Century, Aelred was generally known as an historian, rather than as a spiritual writer; for many centuries his most famous work was his Life of Saint Edward, King and Confessor.

Aelred's work, private letters, and his "Life", by Walter Daniel, another 12th-Century Monk of Rievaulx Abbey, have led historians, such as John Boswell of Yale University and Brian Patrick McGuire of Roskilde University, in Denmark, to suggest that he was homosexual. All of his works, nevertheless, encourage Virginity, among the unmarried, and Chastity, in marriage and widowhood, and warn against any sexual activity outside of marriage.

In all his works in later life, he treats of extra-marital sexual relationships as forbidden and condemns "unnatural relations" as a rejection of Charity and the Law of God. He criticised the absence of Pastoral Care for a young Nun, who experienced rape, pregnancy, beating, and a miraculous delivery, in the Gilbertine Community of Watton.


THIS COMPLETES THE ARTICLE ON SAINT AELRED OF RIEVAULX ABBEY.


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