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Home > Catholic Encyclopedia > L > Lorraine

Lorraine

Origin

By the Treaty of Verdun in 843, the empire of Charlemagne was divided in three parts: Ludwig the German received Eastern Franconia; Charles the Bald, Western Franconia; and Lothair I, the strip of land lying between the two and reaching from the North Sea to the Rhone, with Italy in addition. After the death of Lothair I, in 855, Italy passed to his son Lothair II, who gave his name to the district henceforth known as Lotharii RegnumLotharingen, Lothringen, or Lorraine. Lorraine did not form a geographical unit, like two great neighbouring kingdoms, complete in themselves and by their natural formation. Its boundaries were uncertain for though the Meuse was on the west, the Rhine on the east, and the sea on the north, yet to the south it was completely exposed. The population, which in the eastern kingdom was Germanic, and in the western Roman, here combined both elements. Lorraine, moreover, included within its boundaries the original home of the Austrasian dynasty, with Aachen, Charlemagne's capital, and the most important centres of ancient culture: two archbishoprics (Cologne and Trier), many bishoprics (Metz, Toul, Verdun, etc.), abbeys and royal castles. From the beginning it was coveted by the neighbouring princes, who succeeded, one after another, in seizing parts or the whole of its territory. The composite character of its origin also led to endless internal wars.

The territory afterwards known as Lorraine was converted to Christianity while still under Roman domination. Missionaries came thither from Trier whose first bishop was St. Eucharius (about 250). One of his successors, Maternus (313-14), founded the See of Cologne. About 811 Trier became an archbishopric, the episcopal Sees of Metz, Toul, and Verdun being suffragan to it. From 511 Metz was capital of Austrasia, and became a bishopric in the sixth century, one of its first bishops being St. Chrodegang(742-66). Toul and Verdun have been bishoprics since the fourth century. Under Bishop Hildebold, in 799, Cologne received from St. Boniface metropolitan jurisdiction over Liège and Utrecht. The two great archbishoprics early became temporal lordships. Trier obtained its temporal power in 898, under Radbod, through Duke Zuentebulch of Lorraine; Bruno, Archbishop of Cologne (953-65), himself obtained the dignity of Duke of Lorraine. Both archbishoprics became imperial principalities. Metz and Verdun were later raised to the same dignity. With the close of the sixth century began the foundation of the numerous monasteries which spread from the Vosges, and to which Lorraine owed its advanced culture. Its people were remarkable through the Middle Ages for their religious zeal. The most ancient of these monasteries is Luxeuil founded by St. Columba, whose example was followed by Amatus, Romarich, Deodatus, Godelbert, Hidulf, and Chrodegang, who founded the abbeys of Remiremont, St. Die, Senones, Moyen-Moutier, St. Michiel, and Gooze. There were other famous monasteries in the different bishoprics, such as those of St. Maximinus at Trier, St. Epure of Toul, Symphorian, Glossinda, and St. Peters at Metz. Under the Carlovingians the number increased. Richilde, wife of Charles the Bald, founded Juvigny near Stenay about 874; Bishop Adventius of Metz, Neumünster; while St. Germain, St. Martin on the Meuse, and Gellamont near Dieulouard also date back to this period. In these ecclesiastical abodes and in the bishops' residences celebrated schools flourished, among which St. Mathias near Trier, the Abbey of Prüm, famous for the historian Regino, and Verdun with its Bertarius attained great prominence. The councils of Meaux, in 845, of Valence, in 855, and of Savonnières, near Toul, in 859 improved these schools and founded new ones.

For political reasons, Lothair II ceded small portions of his domains to his neighbours: to his brother Charles, the Diocese of Belley and Moutiers; to Louis of Italy, provinces in the Upper Jura and the Vaud; to Louis the German, Alsace. After his death, in 869, war immediately broke out, as almost always occurred upon the death of a ruler of Lorraine. The Kings of France and Germany, as well as Louis of Italy, wished to seize the country; Louis the German was victorious, and, by the Treaty of Meersen, in 870, far the greater part was awarded to him--all the territory east and north of the Meuse and the territory and cities on the Moselle, on both sides of the Rhine, and in Jura, that is to say Friesland, the country of the Ripuarian Franks the original lands of the House of Lorraine, Alsace, and a part of Burgundy. Charles the Bald received the countries on the left bank of the Meuse and the Moselle. After the death of Louis the German (876) Charles tried, but failed, to reconquer Lorraine. Louis the Younger, in 879, after the death of Louis the Stammerer, repossessed himself of the French, western, half of Lorraine, and thus once more united the entire Regnum Lotharii under German rule. Under Charles the Fat, a natural son of Lothair II named Hugo disturbed the peace by calling in to his aid the Norman Godfrey, who acquired Friesland as a fief. Both, however, were severely defeated in 888. King Arnulf (887-99) expelled the Normans, gaining a victory at Louvain (891), and improved the religious situation by summoning the great Council of Tibour (895). At the same time, in order to secure Lorraine as a part of Westmark, he gave it to his natural son, Zuentebulch, who surrendered the management of state affairs to Archbishop Radbod of Trier, as his chancellor. Zuentebulch was overthrown in an insurrection raised by the mightiest nobles of the country, Gerard, Matfried, and Reginar, on 13 August, 900. Gradually the supremacy passed over to Reginar of Hainault and Haspengau, who, after the death of Louis the Child (912), brought Lorraine under the allegiance of Charles the Simple of France and in return received from him the dignity of margrave (Lord of the Marches) and duke. To these titles his son Giselbert succeeded in 913. Under Giselbert, the disputes about the succession to the throne of France gave rise to internal divisions among the people of Lorraine. Henry I (919-36) was called by one party to its assistance and, after repeated invasions, recovered all of Lorraine for Germany (925). He confirmed Giselbert in the Duchy, and, in 928, gave him his own daughter Gerberga in marriage. In spite of this, Giselbert once more allied himself with the King of France, Louis IV, against the German Emperor Otto I (936-73). But when Giselbert was drowned near Andernach in 933, during his flight from the loyal Counts Udo and Conrad, Otto once more obtained the upper hand and gave Lorraine to his brother Henry. The latter was driven out by the people of Lorraine, and Otto made Count Otto of Verdun, son of Richwin, duke. In 943 he constrained Louis IV of France to make a final renunciation of the rights of the Carlovingians over Lorraine. After Count Otto's death (944), the lordship passed to Count Conrad the Red of Franconia, who had married the emperor's daughter Liutgarde. But Conrad, too, was faithless, and, while Otto I was absent on an expedition to Italy (953), he called in the Hungarians. He was deposed, however, and replaced by St. Bruno, Archbishop of Cologne (953-65).

Bruno was the first to succeed in placing German supremacy on the firm basis which lasted until the twelfth century. This he accomplished by training an austere and learned clergy, whom he deeply imbued with the national sentiment to such an extent that the bishops whom he appointed (such as Heino of Verdun, Adalbero of Metz, Hegelo and Bruno of Toul, Wazo of Liège) became the principal supports of the imperial power. In order to control its continual unrest, he divided the country. The northern part (Lower Lorraine), from the Ardennes to the sea, comprised the Archbishopric of Cologne with the Bishoprics of Utrecht and Liège. The southern part, Upper Lorraine, or the Land of the Moselle, extended to the south-east of the Vosges and to the Sichelberg, with the Archbishopric of Trier and the Bishoprics of Metz, Toul, and Verdun. Subject to the supreme direction of Bruno, Lower Lorraine was assigned to Count Gottfried, Upper Lorraine to Count Friedrich, brother of Bishop Adalbero of Metz. The German Emperor exercised suzerainty over both. Aachen became the capital in 965.

Lower Lorraine

The history of Lower Lorraine is connected with that of Upper Lorraine for only a few more centuries. In 977 Emperor Otto II granted it to Charles, brother of Lothair of France, as a German fief. Lothair's subsequent invasion was repelled by Otto's famous march to Paris (978). After Charles's son Otto had died childless, the dukedom passed to Godfrey of Verdun, whose son Gozelo I reunited the upper and lower duchies under his rule in 1033. Of his sons, the elder, Godfrey the Bearded, succeeded him in Upper Lorraine and Gozelo II (d. 1046) in Lower Lorraine. After the latter's death, Lower Lorraine was conferred upon Count Frederick of Luxemburg and, immediately after, upon Godfrey the Bearded (1065-69). His son Godfrey the Hunchback was the last ruler of this district who was loyal to the empire. As the bishops, after the triumph of the Cluniac Reform and the struggle over investitures, ceased to support the German emperors, the province soon resolved itself into small feudal estates. These gradually withdrew from the German allegiance. Part of the country became known as the Netherlands, or Low Countries, and in 1214 reverted finally to France, whilst the remainder took the name of Brabant. Godfrey adopted his nephew Godfrey de Bouillon, who was enfeoffed in 1088 by Henry IV. Upon his death at Jerusalem Henry V gave the duchy to Godfrey the Bearded, Count of Brabant. In 1155 the Lords of Limburg severed themselves from Lower Lorraine and became independent dukes. After Henry V (1186-1235) the dukes of Lower Lorraine were known as dukes of Brabant. In 1404 the duchy was united to Burgundy.

Upper Lorraine

After Lower Lorraine received the name of Brabant, Upper Lorraine became known simply as Lorraine. The latter was split up among numerous small countships and the dioceses of Metz, Toul, and Verdun, which from early times had been immediate fiefs of the empire. The history of these bishoprics is the history of the Church in Lorraine, Metz being the centre and head of the whole ecclesiastical organization. The larger, southern, half was under the jurisdiction of the See of Toul. The secular power was conferred by Emperor Henry III, in 1048, upon the wealthy Count Gerhard of Alsace, whose descendants reigned there for seven hundred years. Under Emperor Otto I the monasteries were reformed by Bishop Albero I (928-63). Stephen, of the powerful house of Bar, Bishop and Cardinal of Metz 1120-63, brought the newly-founded Premonstratensian and Cistercian Orders into the country. Complete political rest never really existed. When not repelling the attacks of France, Lorraine was occupied with intestine wars, either among the spiritual principalities mentioned above or among the Counts of Bar, Bitsch, Vaudemont, and other temporal lords. Besides, the dukes were, as a rule, involved in the quarrels of the German suzerain and also took part in the Crusades; for piety and devotion to the Church distinguished most of them, in spite of their warlike character.

Duke Theobald II (1304-12) at a meeting of the Diet settled the rights of inheritance upon his female as well as male descendants. Isabella, daughter of Charles I, accordingly mounted the throne in 1431, and, with her, her consort René of Anjou and Bar, who brought the last-named duchy to Lorraine. When this female line became extinct in 1473 the male line of Vaudemont succeeded under René II (1473-1508). He successfully defended his country against Charles the Bold of Burgundy (1477), and to his maternal inheritance of Lorraine, Bar, Pont-à-Mousson, and Guise he united the dignities received from his father--Vaudemont, Joinville, Aumale, Mayenne, and Elbæuf--and kept up Anjou's pretensions to Naples and Sicily. René II, by forcing the election of his uncle Henry II as bishop in 1484, brought the administration of the See of Metz to the House of Lorraine, and Bishop John IV of Vaudemont (1518-43 and 1548-50), as Cardinal of Lorraine and papal legate for that country, united in his own hands Bar and the principalities of Metz, Toul, and Verdun, the episcopal power over Toul, Terouanne, Narbonne, Die-Valence, Verdun, Luçon, Reims, Alby, Lyons, Agen, and Nantes; and was Abbot of Goze, Fécamp, Cluny, Marmoutier, Saint-Ouen, and Saint-Mansuy.

The Reformation, after being forcibly averted by Duke Anton (1508-44), obtained a transitory foothold only in a few of the eastern districts, and in the seventeenth century it was constrained to give way entirely to Catholicism. In 1552 the great French encroachments recommenced, when Henry II, as the ally of the German Protestant princes, annexed Metz, Toul, and Verdun, and Lorraine itself was occupied until 1559. At that time the spiritual life received a new stimulus under Bishop Henry III of Metz (1612- 52) through the erection of monasteries of Benedictines at Saint-Barbe; Carmelites at Metz; Minims at Dieuze, Nomeny, and Bassing; Capuchins at Vic, Diedenhofen, Saarburg, and Bitsch; and Jesuit houses at Metz and Buckenheim. St. Vincent de Paul interested himself in the districts which suffered so severely in the Thirty Years' War. By the Peace of Westphalia, in 1648, Metz, Toul, and Verdun were formally ceded to France, which had re-occupied the Duchy of Lorraine in 1632, and by the Treaty of 1661 territory was ceded to Louis XIV, which thus secured to him a passage across Lorraine to Alsace. In 1697, by the Peace of Ryswick, he gave the duchy to Duke Leopold Joseph (1697-1729). In 1738, by the Peace of Vienna, it was granted to the former King of Poland, Stanislaus Leczinski, after whose death in 1766 it reverted to France. In the ecclesiastical jurisdiction a series of changes took place. In 1598 Duke Charles had tried to erect a bishopric at Nancy for his duchy; but in 1602 only a collegiate chapter was established there. In 1778 the episcopal See of Nancy was really founded, and the bishop received the title of Primate of Lorraine. At the same period the See of Saint-Die was founded, while that of Toul was abolished in 1790. By the division of France into departments, in 1790, the "Province of the Three Bishoprics", as it had been known since 1552, with the Provinces of Lorraine and Bar, were divided into the departments of Moselle, Meurthe, Vosges, and Meuse. The jurisdictions of Saarwerden, Herbitzheim, and Diemeringen, for the most part Protestant, became incorporated with the departments of the Lower Rhine in 1793.

After 1871

By the Peace of Frankfort, 10 May, 1871, France was obliged to cede to Germany from this Province the Department of Meurthe and the arrondissements of Saarburg and Chateau Salins. The German Lorraine of today comprises, of the old province of that name: Metz, with the Pays Messin, the temporal possessions of the old Bishopric of Metz; parts of the Duchy of Luxemburg; parts of the upper Rhine district; the former imperial Margravates of Pont-à-Mousson and Nomency; the imperial Principalities of Pfalzburg and Lixheim; half of the Countship of Salm; the jurisdiction of the Abbey of Gorze; the Lordship of Bitsch; further, the royal fiefs acquired from the See of Metz; Blamont, Saarburg, Saareck, Saaralben, Homburg, etc. In order to bring the ecclesiastical into harmony with the political boundaries, Nancy, in 1874, surrendered eighty-three parishes of the district of Château-Salins and one hundred and four of the Saarburg district (aggregating 106,027 souls) to the Diocese of Metz. In 1871 the new limits of Lorraine included 451,633 Catholics, 13,407 Protestants, 176 other Christians, and 529 who profess other religions.

Sources

CHEVRIER, Histoire de Lorraine (Brussels, s. d.); CALMET,Histoire ecclésiastique de Lorraine (4 vols., Cowes, 1728, 7 vols., Ryde, 1745-47); DURIVAL. Description de la Lorraine et du Barrois (4 vols., Nancy, 1779-83); WILLICH, Die Entstehung des Herzogtums Lothringen (Göttingen, 1862); BENOÎT, Let Protestants du duché de Lorraine in Rev. d'Alsace (1885), 35-59, 186-209,400-24, 513-39; (1886), 56-80; BEGIN, Histoire de Lorraine et des trois évêchés (Nancy, 1883); HAUSSONVILLE, Histoine de la réunion de la Lorraine à la France (6 vols., Paris, 1854);, FITTE, Das staatsrechtliche Verhältnis des Herzogtums Lothringen zum deutschen Reiche seit 1542 (Strasburg, 1891); SAUERLAND, Vatikanische Regesten zur Geschichte Deutsch-Lothringens in Jahrbuch d. Gesellschaft f. lothring. Geschichte, X (1898), 195-235; IDEM, Vatikanische Urkunden u. Regestesn Quellen zur lothring. Gesch., I (Metz, 1900-); DERICHSWEILER, Geschichte Lothringens (2 vols., Wiesbaden, 1901).--Periodicals: Annales de l'Est (Nancy and Paris, 1887-); L'Austrasie (Metz, 1837-); J'ahrbuch der Ges. f. lothr. Geschichte (Metz, 1888-);.Journal de la Société d'Anchéol. Lorraine (Nancy, 1853-); Mémoires et Documents de la Soc. d'Arch. Lorr. (Nancy, 1849-73);Revue ecclésiastique de Metz (Metz, 1890-).

See also bibliographies under ALSACE - LORRAINE; METZ; TOUL, etc.

About this page

APA citation. Hartig, O. (1910). Lorraine. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09362a.htm

MLA citation. Hartig, Otto. "Lorraine." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 9. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09362a.htm>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Mario Anello.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. October 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York.

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