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Gobelinus

Westphalian historian and monastic reformer; b. in 1358; d. 1421

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Gobelinus, PERSON (PERSONA); b. in 1358; d. November 17, 1421. He was a Westphalian and was known as an historian and an ardent reformer of monastic life in his native land. He received his first schooling at Paderborn. It may be that he came originally from this city; it is certain that he was from the neighborhood. As a young man he went to Italy, where he studied theology and canon law, becoming a cleric of the papal court, and later an official of the papal exchequer. This was in 1384, under Urban VI, of whom he was ever a loyal adherent. This position ceased to be agreeable when the Great Schism came to disturb the Roman court. He resigned, was ordained priest at Ancona in 1386, and returned to his native land. Papal influence secured for him a benefice from the church of the Holy Trinity, and later the pastorate of St. Pancratius at Paderborn. He now attended the University of Erfurt, which he entered during the incumbency of its first rector (1392-1394). We glean from this that he was still pursuing his scientific studies. Wilhelm von Berg, who had been chosen Bishop of Paderborn (1400-1415), selected Gobelinus for his court chaplain and induced him to enter his service. The latter availed himself of his position to labor for the further uplifting of religious life and particularly for the restoration of discipline in the cloisters, which had drifted into an habitual disregard of their rules. The monastery of nuns at Boddeken, near Paderborn, where the abbess alone remained, was changed into a convent for men, and given over to the Augustinians. Not content with this, he undertook in spite of great difficulties, to reform the Benedictine Abbey of Abdinghof, at Paderborn. But the opponents of his policy resisted in every way the interference of the bishop, who transferred to Bielefeld that branch of the diocesan administration of which Gobelinus was a part. The latter had already in 1405 given up his parish church at Paderborn, owing to certain differences with the municipal authorities. The bishop appointed him dean of the collegiate church of Bielefeld. The Archbishop of Cologne, Dietrich von Mors, who in 1415 received the See of Paderborn, gave the dean authority to reform the religious life, not only in the monastery of Bielefeld, but also in other institutions, a mission which Gobelinus duly fulfilled.

But old age and illness undermined the strength of this zealous divine. He resigned in 1418 and once more betook himself to the monastery of Boddeken. He did not don the monk’s habit, but spent the remaining years of his life in the quiet of monastic solitude.

Gobelinus was also an historian. He wrote a history of the world entitled: “Cosmidromius, hoc est Chronicon universale complectens res ecclesiae et reipublicae”. This work he brought down to the year 1418; from the year 1347 it is valuable as being an original source of information. The author accomplished his task with scrupulous care. The “Cosmidromius” was selected by Scheffer-Boichorst as his basis and starting point when he set out to restore the “Annales Patherbrunnenses”, lost annals of the twelfth century which had been looked upon as an authority in its particular field. Another work of Gobelinus was his “Vita Meinulphi”, a biography of St. Meinolf, a canon of the cathedral chapter of Paderborn in the first half of the ninth century, and the founder of the Boddeken monastery. The Cosmidromius of Gobelinus was first published by Meibom (Frankfort, 1599) in the “Scriptores rerum Germanicarum”; Max Jansen prepared a new edition (Munster, 1900). The “Vita Meinulphi” maybe found in the “Acta SS.” of the Bollandists, October, III, 216 sqq.

J. P. KIRSCH


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