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Alcuin: Faith is an Act of Free Will

Today, from Forward Day by Day, we remember Alcuin, advisor to King Charlemagne, who, among other things, told King Charlemagne not to kill people who did not believe as he did.

 

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Today the church remembers Alcuin, Deacon, and Abbot of Tours, 804.

A breath of fresh air swept across Western Europe in what we call the Age of Charlemagne. There was relative peace, security, and prosperity. Learning and the arts revived. The leading spirit of this renaissance was Alcuin of York, the foremost teacher of his day. He revived “letters.” Indeed, he is credited with the invention of the running script we use today. He was a competent theologian, poet, and author. He was a pioneer in conceiving the idea of a university.

After serving for some years as Master of the Cathedral School in York, England, he traveled to Italy to study. There he met Charlemagne and they became fast friends. Alcuin served as royal tutor and as the great king’s chief advisor in religious and educational matters. In 796 he became abbot of the monastery at Tours, France, and there he founded a famous library and school. From there he exercised great influence in correcting misunderstandings of the Christian faith and in discouraging practices which seemed inconsistent with this faith, both in morals and in forms of worship.
We beseech you to shed upon your whole church the bright beams of your light and peace, and help us to follow the good example of your servant Alcuin. Amen.

Almighty God, in a rude and barbarous age you raised up your deacon Alcuin to rekindle the light of learning: Illumine our minds, we pray, that amid the uncertainties and confusions of our own time we may show forth your eternal truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Wikipedia tells us that as early as 797, Alcuin told King Charlemagne not to kill people who did not believe as he did:

In this role as adviser, he tackled the emperor over his policy of forcing pagans to be baptised on pain of death, arguing, “Faith is a free act of the will, not a forced act. We must appeal to the conscience, not compel it by violence. You can force people to be baptised, but you cannot force them to believe.” His arguments seem to have prevailed – Charlemagne abolished the death penalty for paganism in 797.[9]

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May 20, 2014 - Posted by | Civility, Cultural, ExPat Life, Faith, Political Issues, Social Issues, Spiritual, Values |

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