The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church

Biographical Dictionary
Pope Leo IX (1049-1054)
Creation of 1051


(25) 1. HUMBERT, O.S.B. (ca. 1000/1015-1061)

Birth. Ca. 1000/1015, Bourgogne, France. He is also listed as Hubert, Humbert, Hubertus, Uberto, Umberto, Humbertus Burgundus, Humbert de Silva Candida and Humbert of Mourmoutiers.

Education. Entered the Order of Saint Benedict (Benedictines) in the monastery of Moyen Moutier, diocese of Toul, in the Vosges mountains, France, as an oblate, when he was fifteen years old.

Priesthood. Ordained (no further information found). Abbot of the monastery of Moyen Moutier. He was a friend of Bishop Bruno of Toul, future Pope Leo IX, who called him to Rome after his election to the papacy in 1049.

Episcopate. Elected archbishop of Sicily in the spring of 1050; he never went to his see. Consecrated (no information found). On May 2, 1050, he participated in the Lateran Synod. In 1050, he strongly opposed the doctrines of Bérenger de Tours.

Cardinalate. Created cardinal bishop of Silva Candida (Santa Rufina) in 1051 (1). He subscribed a papal bull issued on February 27, 1051, in S. Lorenzo di Coltibuono, Florence. Probably soon after, he traveled to Benevento as legate. On January 6, 1052, he celebrated mass at the monastery of Moyen Moutier. On October 7, 1052, he was present in Regensburg. On March 14, 1053, he was in Rimini with Pope Leo IX. Subscribed a papal bull issued on June 10, 1053, in Sale, Biferno. After the Battle of Civitate (or Civitella del Fortore) on June 18, 1053, in southern Italy, the pope was imprisoned in Benevento for nine months by the Normans, together with Cardinal Humbert. In 1053, Cardinal Humbert replied to the denunciation of the Latin rite by Patriarch Michael I Cerularius of Constantinople with a tract entitled Adversus Graecorum calumnias ("Against the slanders of the Greeks"). Named legate in Constantinople in 1054, together with Cardinal Frédéric de Lorraine, future Pope Stephen IX (X), and Archbishop Pietro of Amalfi; because of the desire of Emperor Constantine IX Monomachus for a Greek-Roman reunion; while in Constantinople, Cardinal Humbert was involved in a public disputation with the leading Byzantine theologians; disappointed by the stalemate in the discussions with the Greeks, and by their repudiation of his inflexible demands for submission to the Latin Church; the legate convoked a formal reunion in the cathedral of Hagia Sophia on July 16, 1054, and excommunicated the patriarch as a heretic; later, there was a general condemnation of the entire Greek Orthodox Church; Patriarch Cerularius, with the Synod of Constantinople, excommunicated the legates; Cardinal Humbert's doctrinal strictness caused the definitive schism between the Eastern and Western churches (2). Legate in Germany in the fall of 1054. On April 12, 1056, he was in Siena, and then accompanied Pope Victor II on his journey through Germany. On April 24, 1057, he was at the Lateran palace in Rome. On May 8, 1057, he received a papal privilege, which was connected to the income from the main altar of St. Peter's basilica. Subscribed papal bulls issued on May 13 (in favor of the abbot of the monastery of Saint Berlin), June 14 and July 7, 1057. On May 18, 1057, in Montecassino, he set the election of the Cardinal Frédéric de Lorraine as abbot of that monastery; after ten days, Cardinal Humbert traveled to Tuscany. On June 7, 1057, he was in Asti; and on the following July 23 in Arezzo.

When Pope Victor II died on July 28, 1057, he was one of the candidates recommended by Cardinal Frédéric de Lorraine to succeed the late pope; eventually, Cardinal Frédéric was elected new pope on the following August 2. Named chancellor and librarian of the Holy Roman Church by his friend Pope Stephen IX (X) in 1057. Subscribed papal bulls issued on October 18 (in Lucca), November 2 (in Rome) and 22, 1057, in Rome; December 4 and 9, 1057, in the castle of Cassino; February 7, 1058, in the castle of Cassino; March 6 and 24, 1058, in the Lateran palace, Rome. Then, he traveled to the Tuscany, where he received the news of the death of Pope Stephen IX (X), which occurred on March 29, 1058, and together with Cardinal Pietro, bishop of Tusculum, returned to Rome. Because of the election of Antipope Benedict X on April 5, 1058, he decided to leave Rome and spend Easter in Benevento; instead, he accepted an invitation from Abbot Desiderius and celebrated Easter in Montecassino. Soon after, he went back to Tuscany and, on July 9, 1058, he dedicated an oratory in Vallombrosa. In December 1058, he participated in the ordinations of S. Pietro in Monte Muro and S. Lorenzo di Coltibuono, Florence. He was in Rome from January 29 to February 17, 1059; the following March 2, in Spoleto; and on March 8, in Osimo. Attended the Lateran Council of April 13, 1059, in which the papal election decree In Nomine Domine was issued; he assisted in the redaction of the document; he stayed in Rome until May. In August 1059, he was in Benevento; and on the 25th of that month, in Melfi. Subscribed a papal bull issued on October 14, 1059, in Perugia. He was in Florence the following November 14; he stayed there until January 20, 1060, at least. Then he went to meet the pope in Cesena on February 10, 1060; and on February 19, he went to Fano; and from there, to Rome. He stayed in Rome from April 15 until May 16, 1060. In the fall of 1060, he visited Farfa. He appears in documents issued at the Lateran palace between April 18 and 30, 1061. He authored numerous works (3). His inflexible theological views were at times challenged by Cardinal Pietro Damiano, future saint, who was a leading figure of the 11th century Roman orthodoxy. Some sources say that he was the first French cardinal.

Death. May 5, 1061 (4), Rome. Buried in the Lateran basilica, Rome.

Bibliography. Bréhier, Louis. Le schisme oriental du XIe siècle. Paris : E. Leroux, 1899; Cardella, Lorenzo. Memorie storiche de' cardinali della Santa Romana Chiesa. Rome : Stamperia Pagliarini, 1792, I, pt. 1, 105-108; Chacón, Alfonso. Vitæ, et res gestæ Pontificvm Romanorum et S. R. E. Cardinalivm ab initio nascentis Ecclesiæ vsque ad Vrbanvm VIII. Pont. Max. 2 volumes. Romae : Typis Vaticanis, 1677, I, col. 795-798, no. III, no. ; Cristofori, Francesco. Cronotasi dei cardinali di Santa Romana Chiesa. Rome : Tipografia de Propaganda Fide, 1888, p. 11; Du Chesne, François. Histoire de tous les cardinaux françois : de naissance, ou qui ont esté promeus au cardinalat par l'expresse recommandation de nos roys, pour les grands services qu'ils ont rendus a leur estat, et a leur couronne. Comprenant commairement leurs legations, ambassades & voyages par eux faits en divers pays & royaumes, vers les papes, empereurs, roys, potentats, republiques, communautex & universitez, pour affaires importantes à l'église universelle, & à l'auguste majesté de nos souuerains. Enrichie de leurs armes et de leurs portraits. Divisée en deux tomes, et justifiée par tiltres et chartres du thresor de sa majesté, arrests des parlemens de France, registres des Chambres des comptes; donations, fondations, epitaphes, testamens, manuscripts, ancients monumens, chroniques & chartulaires d'abbayes, & autres histoires publiques & particlieres. 2 vols. A Paris : Aux despens de l'autheur, & se vendent chez luy ..., 1660, II, 22-24; "Essai de liste générale des cardinaux. Les cardinaux du XIè siècle". Annuaire Pontifical Catholique 1927. Paris : Maison de la Bonne Presse, 1928, p. 135-136, no. 9; Gams, Pius Bonifatius. Series episcoporum Ecclesiae catholicae. 3 v. in 1. Graz : Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt, 1957, p. IX; Hüls, Rudolf. Kardinäle, Klerus und Kirchen Roms: 1049-1130. 1 aufl. Tübingen: Max Niemeyer, 1977. (Bibliothek des Deutschen Historischen Instituts in Rom: Bd. 48), p. 131-134, no. 2; Klewitz, Hans-Walter. Reformpapsttum und Kardinalkolleg. Die Entstehung des Kardinalkollegiums. Studien über die Wiederherstellung der römischen Kirche in Süditalien durch das Reformpapsttum. Das Ende des Reformpapsttums. Darmstadt : Hermann Gentner Verlag, 1957, p. 118, no. 20; Mas Latrie, Louis. Trésor de chronologie d'histoire et de géographie pour l'étude et l'emploi des documents du moyen âge. Paris : Librairie Victor Palmé, 1889, col. 1177, no. 3; Regesta pontificum Romanorum ab conditio Ecclesia. Ad annum post Christum natum MCXCVIII. Graz : Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt, 1956. 2 v. Reprint. Originally published : Lipsiae : Veit et comp., 1885-1888. Original t.p. included : Regesta pontificum Romanorum ab condita ecclesia : ad annum post Christum natum MCXCVIII. Editionem secundam correctam et auctam edidit Philippus Jaffè ; auspiciis Gulielmi Wattenbach; curaverunt S. Loewenfeld, F. Kaltenbrunner, P. Ewald, I, 549, 552, 553, 554, 555 and 561; Ullmann, Walter. "Cardinal Umbert and the Ecclesia Romana", Studi Gregoriani, IV (1952), 111-127.

Links. Biography, in English, Encyclopaedia Britannica; biography, in English; biography, in English; biography, in French, p. 22-24; biography, in French, Wikipedia; biography, in German, Wikipedia; and La Bula del Cardenal Humberto de Silva Candida, in Spanish (text of the bull of excommunication against Patriarch Michael I Cerularius of Constantinople); Joint Catholic-Orthodox declaration of His Holiness Pope Paul VI and the Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras I, December 7, 1965, concerning the Catholic-Orthodox exchange of excommunications in 1054.

(1) Until the 11th century, the word "cardinal" was used as an adjective: "bishop cardinal" and "priest cardinal". When Humbert of Silva Candida was created cardinal, he was called "cardinal bishop", the word cardinal then becoming a noun (A. Giraud ; Peter Canisus van Lierde. What is a cardinal? Translated by A. Manson. Vol. LXXXIV of Twentieth Century Encyclopedia of Catholicism. Edited by Henri Daniel-Rops. 122 vols. New York: Hawthorne Books, 1964, p. 38-39). Gams, Series episcoporum Ecclesiae catholicae, p. IX, says that he was seated as bishop of Selva candida (Silva Candida) on May 8 or July 7, 1057.
(2) On December 7, 1965, Pope Paul VI and Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Athenagoras simultaneously lifted the mutual excommunications that had provoked the separation of the two churches in 1054.
(3) Among them Vita Leonis IX and Diversorum patrum sententie, a compilation of canon law. His works have been collected in Monumenta Germaniae Historica... Libelli de Lite..., vol. 1 (1891), pp. 95-253, and in J.-P. Migne (ed.), Patrologia Latina, vol. 143 (1882).
(4) This is according to "Essai de liste générale des cardinaux. Les cardinaux du XIè siècle". Annuaire Pontifical Catholique 1927, p. 135, which adds that perhaps on that date he resigned his see. His biographies in English and German, linked above; and Hüls, Kardinäle, Klerus und Kirchen Roms: 1049-1130, p. 134, also say that he died on May 5, 1061. Gams, Series episcoporum Ecclesiae catholicae, p. IX, says that he died in 1053. Chacón, Vitæ, et res gestæ Pontificvm Romanorum et S. R. E. Cardinalivm, I, col. 797, says that he was legate of Pope Alexander II in England in 1072 and that he died a few months after that pope in 1073. Cardella, Memorie storiche de' cardinali della Santa Romana Chiesa, I, pt. 1, 108, says that he was legate of Pope Alexander II and that he participated in a council celebrated in 1072 with the attendance of all the English bishops; the purpose of the council was to resolve the differences between the archbishop of Canterbury and York; the former was declared the primate of all England; Cardella adds that he died in 1074. His biography in French, p. 24, linked above, says that he was legate in England and died during the pontificate of Pope Alexander II. Depending on the date of his death, he may have participated in the papal election of 1061, in which Pope Alexander II was elected; and in the papal election of 1073, in which Pope Gregory VII was elected. Very probably, it was Cardinal Mainardo, O.S.B.Cas. (1049), his successor as bishop of Silva Candida, who participated in those conclaves.

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