November 21 - Saint Albert of Louvain

Quick Facts
  • Son of Duke Godfrey III of Brabant.
  • Made a canon of Liege, Belgium at age 12, a political appointment for guaranteed income rather than a religious vocation.
  • He gave up the position at age 21 to become a knight under Count Baldwin V of Hainault, a bitter enemy of his native Brabant.
  • He talked of going on Crusade, but never did, and eventually realized that religious life was calling him.
  • He became a canon of Liege again, this time as a true vocation.
  • Archdeacon and provost of Brabant.
  • Bishop of Liege in 1191.
  • Albert of Rethel, cousin of Count Baldwin and uncle of the Empress Constance, wife of Holy Roman Emperor Henry VI, had sought the episcopacy.
  • He appealed to the emperor for help; Henry removed Albert from the position and made a third candidate, Lothaire, who was the provost of Bonn, bishop of Liege.
  • Albert then appealed to the Vatican, both for himself and to help clearly establish the Pope's supremacy in the matter.
  • Celestine III declared Albert's election valid, and returned him to Liege.
  • Lothair refused to surrender the see; Henry backed him, and forced the priests in the diocese to submit to Lothair.Bruno, archbishop of Cologne was supposed to ordain Albert, but refused, fearing the emperor.
  • William, archbishop of Rheims, ordained Albert as priest, and then as bishop.
  • In an attempt to end the matter in the emperor's favour, a group of Henry's knights ambushed and murdered Albert on the road outside Rheims.
  • The plan backfired, however, as Lothair was excommunicated and exiled, and Henry was forced to submit to Rome and do penance; lay investiture (civil control over ordinations) took another serious blow