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Dear catholic.com visitors: This website from Catholic Answers, with all its many resources, is the world's largest source of explanations for Catholic beliefs and practices. A fully independent, lay-run, 501(c)(3) ministry that receives no funding from the institutional Church, we rely entirely on the generosity of everyday people like you to keep this website going with trustworthy , fresh, and relevant content. If everyone visiting this month gave just $1, catholic.com would be fully funded for an entire year. Do you find catholic.com helpful? Please make a gift today. Thank you. Wishing you a blessed Lenten season.

Atto of Vercelli

Learned theologian and canonist of the tenth century

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Atto of Vercelli, a learned theologian and canonist of the tenth century, son of the Viscount Aldegarius, and Bishop of Vercelli (924-961). In 933 he became Grand Chancellor of Lothaire II, King of France, and obtained from the royal gratitude donations and privileges for his see of Vercelli (Ughelli, Italia Sacra, IV, 769). Several of his writings were first published by the Benedictine D’Achery (1655-77) in his “Spicilegium” VIII, 1-137; 2d ed., 1723, I, 401-442, e.g.

Epistohe, Libellus de pressuris ecclesiasticis”, and “Canones rursus statutaque Vercellensis ecclesiae”. A complete edition was executed by Baronzo del Signore, in two folio volumes (Vercelli, 1768; P.L., CXXXIV, 27-834), inclusive of his lengthy commentary on the Epistles of St. Paul. In 1832 Cardinal Mai published eighteen sermons of Atto, and his curious “Polypticum”, or “Perpendiculum”, an abridgment of moral philosophy, “written in a mysterious and enigmatic way”. In his history of early medieval literature Ebert transfers to some Spaniard the authorship of this work, but Hauck defends the traditional view (Realencyk. f. prot. Theol., II, 214). His “Canones” are in great part a compilation of earlier ecclesiastical legislation, including the False Decretals. They contain, also, certain provisions of his own and are of value for the study of contemporary ecclesiastical life and manners in Northern Italy. He is sometimes known as Atto II; an earlier homonymous bishop of Vercelli flourished about the middle of the eighth century.

THOMAS J. SHEEHAN


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