Aurea Gemma <Gallica> 3a.25-28
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[3a.25] The pope, in this manner:

[3a.26] A.,1 bishop, servant of the servants of God, to the beloved sons in Christ, the canons of Saint-Aignan of Orleans,2 greetings and apostolic benediction.

[3a.27] The holy Roman church3 has shared its lot with other churches, in such a way that they are called into the part of solicitude not in the plenitude of power.

[3a.28] Thus, by apostolic authority we exempt4 you from subjection to the bishop of Orleans and subject you to our rule, so that we might embrace our dearest sons with a special love and so that henceforth you would not be sons of a maidservant.5 But we freely ordain immutably and grant you this prerogative, that you may receive sacred orders and holy chrism and holy oil and orders in your church from the hand of any bishop save that of Orleans. If a bishop is called away or is perchance absent, you may cause <a candidate for priesthood> to be consecrated or you may receive the consecrated from the hand of any nearby bishop. You may harmoniously elect a deacon according to the merits of his life. The deacon-elect shall come to our presence and shall accept a care over spiritualities and temporalities from us and shall only obey the apostolic see.

1 Alexander III, pope (1159-1181) or Adrian IV, pope (1154-1159).

2 Saint-Aignan in Orleans. See JOHANNES RAMACKERS Papsturkunden in Frankfreich (Göttingen 1958) 6.164 no. 93, also p. 9-10, citing other documents of Alexander III for this foundation: JL 10741 (PL 200.159), 10889 (PL 200.239), 11213 (PL 200.381), 12641 (PL 200.1044), 13467. See also Lucius III, 27 May 1183 (JL 14891, PL 201.1213) and HUBERT Antiquitez historiques de l'eglise royale Saint Aignan d'Orleans 4 vols (Orleans 1661) Preuves p. 116.

3 For a similar incipit to a papal letter, see JL. 6307 (Sancta Romana ecclesia PL 163.293), a letter pope Paschal II sent in 1112 to archbishop Radulfus of Tours, and bishops Hildebert of LeMans and Marbod of Rennes , constituting them as judge delegates.

4 On monastic exemption: GEORG SCHREIBER Kurie und Klöster im 12. Jahrhundert (Stuttgart 1910) 1.27-63 and MICHAEL MACCARRONE "Primato Romano e monasteri dal principio del secolo XII ad Innocenzo III" in Istituzioni monastiche e istituzioni canonicali in occidente (1123-1215) (Milan 1980) 49-132.

5 The canon law principle to which this makes metaphorical reference, that a serf could not become a priest, is specifically addressed below, Aurea Gemma <Gallica> 3b.63.

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