Gerard of Rouen

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Gérard von Rouen († May 21, 1108 in London ) was an English clergyman and Lord Chancellor and keeper of the seals of England and Archbishop of York .


Gérard von Rouen was a nephew of Walkelin , Bishop of Winchester , and of Simeon , Abbot of Ely and related to the Norman royal house of England. He was originally a spiritual teacher in Rouen and was appointed Lord High Chancellor (1085-1092) by King William I. With his son and successor, Wilhelm II. Rufus , he was sent on a diplomatic mission to Rome . The reason was the long investiture dispute between the King and Archbishop Anselm of Canterbury . Gérard von Rouen's success was rewarded with the diocese of Hereford .

King Henry I appointed Gérard of Rouen Archbishop of York in 1100 . Heinrich and Gérard's main opponent was Anselm, the Archbishop of Canterbury and thus the highest cleric in England. Violent arguments followed, at the height of which Anselm threatened the king with excommunication and Anselm was again banished for refusing to take the oath of allegiance. Anselm was adamant about the question of lay investiture , which aroused great excitement in the whole of the West, and found the support of the clergy . Henry preferred a modus vivendi to combat , which was achieved in the Treaty of Westminster in 1107. The king renounced the investiture with ring and staff as well as the regalia and spoil law and allowed the canonical election of the bishops by the cathedral chapter . However, the election had to take place at the royal court and in the presence of the king or his agent.

After the election, the new bishop or abbot had to pay homage to the king as a vassal for his feudal property. Only then could the ordination be carried out. This separation of temporalia and spiritualia meant a victory for the king, insofar as the enfeoffment with the temporalia by the king was the prerequisite for the consecration with ring and staff and the choice remained open to the royal influence. However, the king supported church reform in other areas. So he provided the new monastic reform orders, especially the Augustinian canons and, towards the end of his rule, the Cistercians , with rich donations. He resolutely campaigned against the still widespread marriage of priests and for the enforcement of celibacy .

The Pope reprimanded Gérard of Rouen for opposing the Primate , and eventually the two prelates were reconciled. His sudden death without the final sacraments ( Latin : sacramentum morientium ) was viewed as a divine judgment. The cannon refused to bury him inside the cathedral.


  1. ^ Kurt Kluxen : History of England. From the beginning to the present (= Kröner's pocket edition . Volume 374). 3. Edition. Kröner, Stuttgart 1985, ISBN 3-520-37403-X .
predecessor Office successor
Maurice Lord Chancellor of England
Robert Blouet
Robert de Losinga Bishop of Hereford
Thomas I. Archbishop of York
Thomas II