Halberstadt Ars dictandi 2.3
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[2.3] ABOUT 'EPISTOLAE FORMATAE'

[2.3.1] We call a letter documenting an ordination 'formatas',1 which one is required to have, who believes he might ever be wrongly accused concerning a holy order received or not received. This should be its tenor:

[2.3.2] G., by the grace of God bishop of Halberstadt (or the equivalent), to all the faithful, to whom this letter has come, eternal greetings in the Lord.

[2.3.3] We wish it be known to you, that by the cooperating grace of the Holy Spirit we have promoted the bearer of this letter, C., to the rank of priesthood.2

[2.3.4] Therefore, lest doubt be held concerning this in the future, we have strengthened him by this charter marked by the impression of our seal.

[2.3.5] We can also begin by garnering goodwill from the matter itself, in this manner:

[2.3.6] Whoever has received the grace of a benediction by the imposition of our hands, we judge worthy that we should strengthen by the testimony of our charter what we have done against all calumny of future suspicion.

[2.3.7] Thus let it be known to you etc.

[2.3.8] The year of the Lord can also be competently written down at the end and then it is not be put in the middle.


1 Cf. Gratian's Decretum D.73 cc. 1-2 and CLARA FABRICIUS "Die litterae formatae im Frühmittelalter" Archiv für Urkundenforschung 9 (1926) 39ff..

2 Only a part of the dating clause which should follow (cf. below, 3.8) remains in P: 'MoCCoXXX'--inconsistant with the pontificate of bishop Gardolf (1193-1201) and thus clearly a garbled transmission of the date.

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© Steven M. Wight, Los Angeles 1998
Scrineum © Università di Pavia 1999