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Ratherius of Verona
He was born about 887; died at Namur 25 April, 974. He belonged to a noble family which lived in the territory of Liège. While still a boy he was sent as an oblate to the Benedictine Abbey of Lobbes in the Hennegau, where he was a diligent student, acquired much learning, and became a monk of the abbey. At an early age he displayed a restless nature, a disposition difficult to get along with, great ambition, and a zeal that was harsh. Consequently, notwithstanding his strict orthodoxy, his wide learning, and sobriety of conduct, he met with great difficulties in every position he assumed, and nowhere attained permanent success. His entire life was a wandering one and not in reality fruitful. When Abbot Hilduin of Lobbes went in 926 to Italy, where his cousin, Hugo of Provence, was king, he took Ratherius with him as companion. After many difficulties Ratherius received from the king the Diocese of Verona in 931. Yet he only ruled his see for two years. He soon fell into a quarrel with both the members of his diocese and with the king, so that the latter sent him to prison and had him brought to Como. In 939 he escaped from Como into Provence, where he was tutor in a noble family until he returned to the Abbey of Lobbes in 944. In 946 he went again to Italy and, after he had been held for some time as a prisoner by Berengar, the opponent of King Hugo, he obtained once more the Diocese of Verona. The difficulties that arose were again so great that after two years he fled to Germany and for some time wandered restlessly about the country. He took part in the Italian expedition of Ludolph of Swabia, the son of Otto I, but was not able to regain his diocese, and in 952 returned to Lobbes. From Lobbes he was called to the cathedral school of Cologne by Archbishop Bruno of Cologne; who soon afterwards, in 953, gave Ratherius the Diocese of Liège. However, as early as 955, a revolt of the nobility against him obliged Ratherius to leave this see, and he now retired to the Abbey of Aulne. In 962 the Emperor Otto restored to him the Diocese of Verona, but after seven years of constant quarrels and difficulties he was obliged once more to withdraw. In 968 he went to Lobbes, where he incited such opposition against the Abbot Folcwin that Bishop Notker of Liège restored order by force, and in 972 sent Ratherius to the Abbey of Aulne, where he remained until his death.
His writings are as unsystematic as his life was changeable and tumultuous. While his style is confused and lacks clearness, his writings generally had reference to particular occasions and were pamphlets and invectives against his contemporaries. He also wrote complaints against himself in his own affairs. Among his writings should be mentioned: "Præloquia", in six books, a criticism of all the social ranks of the period; "Conclusio deliberativa", and "Phrenesis", both in defence of his right to the Diocese of Liège; "Dialogus confessionum" and "Qualitatis conjunctura", reckless self-accusation; "De contemptu canonum", "Synodica", "Discordia inter ipsum et clericos", and "Liber apologeticus", against the ecclesiastics of his era and in defence of himself. Some of his sermons and 1etters have also been preserved. The writings throw much light upon his era. His works were edited by the brothers Ballerini (Verona, 1765); also in "P. L.", CXXXVI. Unedited letters are to be found in "Studie documenti di storia e diritto" (1903) 51-72.
HURTER, Nomenclator (3rd. ed., Innsbruck, 1903), I 901-06; VOGEL, Ratherius von Verona und das X. Jahrhundert (2 vols. Jena, 1854); HAUCK, Kirchengesch, Deutschlands. III (Leipzig, 1896), 285 sqq.
J. P. KIRSCH.