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Episcopal Authority At Religious Communities

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Chapter Summary

Beginning at Chalcedon in 451 and continuing through the Carolingian period, church councils established the subjection of monasteries to their diocesan bishops. Episcopal involvement at religious communities has also been discussed in the context of the so-called proprietary church or Eigenkirche. Traditionally, scholarship on this subject asserted a separation between the authority of clergy over churches based on office on the one hand, and that of private individuals, which often undermined clerical authority, on the other. Bishops also exercised power over religious houses as judges. This chapter, among other things, suggests that Ebles was not an ordinary abbot, with the concomitant well-defined role at Saint-Maixent, but rather that his abbacy was a fluid position that was part of his multifaceted relationship with Saint-Maixent. A particularly well-documented example of the evolution of relations between a see and a house is that of the monastery of Saint-Cyprien and the bishops of Poitiers.

Keywords: abbatial title; Aquitaine; Bishop Ebles; Carolingian period; church of Poitiers; episcopal authority; religious communities; Saint-Cyprien; Saint-Maixent



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