Feast of St. Ivo of Chartres (May 23)   Leave a comment

Above:  St. Ivo of Chartres

Image in the Public Domain



Bishop of Chartres

Alternative feast day = December 23

St. Ivo, Bishop of Chartres, lived his faith during treacherous political times.  Our saint, born into French nobility in Beauvais circa 1040, studied in Paris then at the Abbey of Bec, Normandy.  In 1080 his Bishop appointed him to be the Prior of St. Quentin, Beauvais.  In that capacity St. Ivo became one of the best teachers in France.  He transferred to Chartres in 1090.  There our saint succeeded one Geoffrey, the previous Bishop of Chartres, deposed for committing simony.  St. Ivo, an opponent of simony, was also a consultant in the fields of theology and canon law.

Two great controversies confronted St. Ivo.  King Philip I (reigned 1059-1108) created one of these in 1092, when he married Bertrada de Montfort, wife of Fulk, the Count of Anjou.  Not only was Bertrada married, so so was Philip I.  His wife (until her death in 1094) was Queen Bertha.  Pope Urban II (in office 1088-1099) excommunicated the French monarch, lifted the order Bertha died, then reimposed it several times.  Pope Paschal II (in office 1099-1118) lifted the excommunication on the condition that Philip I have no more relations with Bertrada.  St. Ivo, like the Popes, opposed Philip I.  Our saint, unlike the Supreme Pontiffs, went to prison.

The other great controversy related to the lay investiture of bishops and abbots.  Popes and monarchs argued about this matter for a long time.  St. Ivo proposed a moderate position that presaged the Concordat of Worms (1122), concluded after his death.  In that agreement monarchs retained the right to attend consecrations and to invest bishops and abbots with symbols of temporal authority, but relinquished the right to invest bishops and abbots with symbols of spiritual authority.  Monarchs also agreed to guarantee free and canonical elections.

Pope Pius V beatified St. Ivo in 1570.

The status of St. Ivo’s canonization seems to be in doubt.  CatholicSaints.Info lists our saint as “Blessed Ivo of Chartres” and lists Pope Benedict XIV (in office 1740-1758) as having added him to the martyrology.  Omer Englebert, in The Lives of the Saints (1951), lists our saint as “St. Ivo of Chartres.”





O God, our heavenly Father, who raised up your servant Saint Ivo of Chartres,

to be a bishop and pastor in your Church and to feed your flock:

Give abundantly to all pastors the gifts of your Holy Spirit,

that they may minister in your household as true servants of your divine mysteries;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Acts 20:17-35

Psalm 84 or 84:7-11

Ephesians 3:14-21

Matthew 24:42-47

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 719


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