Historical setting: 602 C.E. Chalôns
The bishops are meeting in this place. Greg and Gabe are caught up in the pomp of the nobility and are no doubt peeking through any crack or hole they can find in these walls. The baro paces outside the door, while I enter with the bag containing the scroll Father Columbanus sends to politely inform them that he only listens to a higher authority. The various contingencies of bishops’ guards muddle around outside and inside the large doors to this hall. They are keeping watch to manage all entrances and exits. Maybe bishops born noble need armed guards to save them from their fears relentlessly tangling every mitered word and deed of power-strife among themselves. I pass by the guards, as they announce, “Messenger from the Foreign Abbot of Luxeuil”.
I see the bishops have tried to arrange themselves as equals, with no one at the head on a throne as a king of bishops; rather they are seated together, as they would be around a table — with no bread or wine, no feast, no sacrament, no table, just an arrangement. In this way the first bishop I approach is the one with his back to the entrance way. I have to reach over his shoulder to hand him the scroll; then I turn to leave without speaking. Now the guards have drawn their swords and I am directed to turn back toward the bishops and humbly beg to be dismissed. But the bishops demand I stay while the message is read.
Even in his refusal to appear here in person, Father Columbanus is eloquent. It is that higher authority that seems to empower him to frustrate these men so pointedly. The very nature of the Father that I see as his deep and personal commitment to God alone, as he best perceives the Source of Love, shows up here before the bishops as arrogance suggesting that they hold their councils more often.
Then the father’s plea lands dull and heavy, in the middle of the circle, as a kind of ill-fitting humility.
“I am not the author of this divergence. I came as a poor stranger into these parts for the cause of Christ, our Savior. One thing alone I ask of you, holy Fathers, permit me to live in silence in these forests, near the bones of seventeen of my brethren now dead.”[Footnote]
[Footnote]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Columbanus#Conflict_with_Frankish_bishops retrieved 8-31-22 Smith, Sir William; Wace, Henry (2012). A Dictionary of Christian Biography, Literature, Sects and Doctrines. Charleston: Nabu Press. P. 201
(Continues Tuesday, May 9)
One thought on “#44.3, Thurs., May 4, 2023”
Very interesting read, cant wait for the next part!