Petrus Damiani

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Petrus Damiani , Latin Petrus de Honestis (* around 1006 in Ravenna , Italy ; † February 22 or 23, 1072 in Faenza , Italy) was a Benedictine monk , doctor of the church , bishop , cardinal and one of the most influential clergy of the 11th century . He is venerated as a saint in the Catholic Church .


Peter tended the pigs in his youth. His brother Damianus had come to some wealth and supported Peter in his studies in Faenza and Parma . In gratitude, Peter took his brother's name. He turned away from his worldly life and became prior of Fonte Avellana near Gubbio , where he introduced scourge exercises , but also wrote writings aimed at improving the church regiment and the customs of the clergy , including the Liber Gomorrhianus , who wrote about debauchery (especially pederasty ) of the clergy so unvarnished that Pope Alexander suppressed the "Gomorrhic Book". The title of the book refers to the biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah .

1057 by the German Pope Stephan IX. Raised cardinal and bishop of Ostia , Peter, in communion with Hildebrand (later Gregory VII ), has since been zealous against simony and for celibacy and enforced the conversion of the canons into dispossessed, regulated canons of the Order of St. Augustine .

In a letter to Pope Nicholas II , he complained: "If the fornication was carried out in secret among the priests, it would be bearable, but the public concubines, their pregnant bodies, the screaming children, that would be the annoyance of the church".

The disgust for the immorality of the Roman clergy led him to return to the monastery in 1061 . But already in 1062 he had to go to France as a papal legate to reform the Cluny monastery . Although Petrus Damiani did not share Hildebrand's lust for power and arrogance, he nevertheless submitted to him and championed the cause of the papacy with his own popular eloquence.

In 1069 he confronted Emperor Heinrich IV with such serious ideas that he gave up his divorce project almost without objection . Damiani's last shipment went to Ravenna, whose citizens were regained to the Roman Church after the death of their imperial archbishop. On the way back he died in Faenza in 1072.

Pope Leo XII. appointed Petrus Damiani in 1828 as Doctor of the Church . He is considered the patron of headaches .


Vita Beati Romualdi

His letters, speeches, biographies of saints and tracts were collected by the learned Benedictine Constantin Gaetani and published several times (first from 1606, best Venice 1743, 4 vols.). [The letters now ed. v. Kurt Reindel, 1983-93, s. As a philosopher, in his Epistola de Dei omnipotentia he has the far- reaching views of divine omnipotence, which also undo what has happened, omnipresence, by virtue of which god fill the space and not fill it, and omniscience, by virtue of which god everything with one and that could include a simple look.


Petrus Damiani resolutely opposed the attempt to methodically apply formal logic in theology. For him, pure philosophy was an invention of the devil, the laws of logic were invalid before God.

Petrus Damiani is assigned the phrase of philosophy as the "handmaid of theology " (Latin: Philosophia ancilla theologiae ). As a quote, the formulation cannot be exactly proven with him, although the idea is formulated similarly for the first time: [Philosophia] "non debet ius magisterii sibimet arroganter suscipere, sed velut ancilla dominae quodam famulatus obsequio subservire" This formulation is based on an interpretation of Dtn 21.10–13  EU returned by Origen .

Remembrance day

Work editions

Opera omnia, 1743


Web links

Commons : Petrus Damiani  - collection of images, videos and audio files


  1. ^ Oskar Panizza : German theses against the Pope and his dark men. With a foreword by MG Conrad. New edition (selection from the “666 theses and quotations”). Nordland-Verlag, Berlin 1940, p. 37.
  2. ^ Richard Heinzmann: Thomas Aquinas. An introduction to his thinking. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart et al., 1994, ISBN 3-17-011776-9 , p. 108 ( online ).
  3. Kurt Reindel (ed.): The letters of Petrus Damiani. Part 3: Letters 91-150. Hahnsche Buchhandlung, Hanover 1989 (MGH Die Briefe der Deutschen Kaiserzeit, Volume 4.3), No. 119 p. 354. Translation: (Philosophy) “must not presume the right to teach, but she has like a maid of her mistress (namely church teaching) to serve obediently ”. For the attribution of the quotation cf. z. B. Hans J. Detjen: Establishing the validity of tradition-dependent interpretations of the world in a dilemma: Theology Philosophy, Philosophy of Science and Constructivism , Berlin 2010, p. 203, or Gilson Etienne, Böhner Gilson: Christian Philosophy from its Beginnings to Nikolaus von Cues . 3., rework. Ed., Paderborn: Schoeningh, 1954, p. 288 ff.
  4. Cf. Henri de Lubac : Spirit from history. Einsiedeln 1968.
predecessor Office successor
Deodato Bishop of Ostia