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Altmann, Blessed

Bishop of Passau and Papal Legate

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Altmann, BLESSED, the friend of Gregory VII and Anselm, conspicuous in the contest of the Guelphs and Ghibellines, as Bishop of Passau and Papal Legate. He was born at Paderborn about the beginning of the eleventh century, presided over the school there, was chaplain at the court of Henry III, and then became Bishop of Passau. The Bollandists find that, because of these successive occupations, it is impossible to make him out a Benedictine monk. As a bishop he was famous for his care of the poor, his vigor in the reformation of relaxed monasteries, the building of new ones, and the splendor with which he invested divine worship—Henry IV himself contributing lavishly to enrich the church of Passau, chiefly through the intervention of the Empresses Agnes and Bertha, his wife and mother—and finally for the opposition which he aroused in enforcing Gregory’s decree of celibacy of the clergy. With the help of Henry the recalcitrants succeeded in driving him from his see. He was recalled, however, shortly after the death of Hermann the intruder, at whose deathbed he is said to have appeared. Hermann begged for absolution, and asked not to be buried as a bishop. Altmann’s second possession of his see lasted only a short time. He was again expelled, and died in exile ten years after. He was one of the four South German bishops who sided with Gregory, and defied Henry, in refusing to take part in the Diet of Worms to depose the Pope.

T. J. CAMPBELL


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