The appointment of Papal legates (or Nuncios) in the early years of the 13thC makes fascinating reading.
I’m currently enjoying learning about Pandulf Verraccio, who was the legate who personally presented King John with his sentence of excommunication in 1211 – THAT must have been an interesting audience! He was also the man to whom King John surrendered his kingdom in 1213, and was also present at Runymede for the signing of the Magna Carta.
He appears to have had an on/off relationship with Pope Innocent, being recalled from office several times… In one of the down times, he was granted the Bishopric of Norwich, which brings him into contact with Dodnash Priory. How could a Roman bishop understand the subtleties of local practice? This quote from the 1188 Dodnash Priory charters is going to trip him up…
“Any dispute will be settled by the common council of the churches of the Aldergrove and Battle and the incumbent of East Bergholt, and if this should fail, by the arbitration of the Bishop of Norwich, without recourse to any superior judge.”
I feel a road trip to Battle coming up…
2 responses to “Papal Nuncios”
Risky business indeed, especially since diplomatic immunity wasn’t the norm back then. After all, once he’s been excommunicated, what does King John lose by taking out out on the papal nuncio?
Indeed 🙂 If John had actually been a believer, and so cared about excommunication, Pandulf’s career might have been foreshortened… I wonder if John actually just shrugged and carried on with whatever he was doing…
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