Paschasius Ratbert

, a celebrated Benedictine of the ninth century, was born at Soissons, and carefully educated by the monks of Notre Dame in his native city, in the exterior part of their abbey. He afterwards took the religious habit under St. Adelard in the abbey of Corbey, and daring the exile of his abbot Wala, who succeeded Adelard, wrote, about the year 831, a treatise “On the Body and Blood of Christ” for the instruction of the young monks at New Corbey in Saxony, where he teaches, that the same body of Christ which was born of the Virgin, which was crucified, rose again, and ascended into heaven, is really present in the Eucharist. This treatise made a great noise in the reign of Charles the Bald. Bertram (otherwise Ratram), John Scotus Erigena, and some others, wrote against Paschasius, who was then abbot of Corbey; and Frudegard, abbot of New Corbey, wrote to him on the subject about the year 864, informing him that many persons understood in a figurative sense the words “this is my Body; this is my Blood,” in the institution of the Eucharist, and supported themselves on the authority of St. Augustine. Paschasius on the other side maintained that he taught nothing in his treatise different from the faith of the church, nor from what had been universally believed from the time of the apostles; but these disputes, together with some disturbances raised against him, induced him to resign his abbey, and he died soon after, April 26, in the year 865. He was only a deacon, having declined taking priest’s orders from a principle of humility. Claude, and several other protestant writers, have asserted that Paschasius was the first who taught the doctrine of the real presence; but the popish writers maintain that this doctrine has been always believed and taught in the Romish church. His remaining works are, “Commentaries” on St. Matthew, on Psalm xliv. and on the Lamentations of Jeremiah; “The Life of St. Adelard,” and other works in the Library of the Fathers, which Father Sirmond printed separately at Paris, 1618, folio. Father d’Acheri, in torn. XII. of his “Spicilegium, has published Paschasius Ratbert’s treatise” De Partu Virginis;“another question much agitated in the ninth century. His treatise” De Corpora Christ!" has been inserted by Martenne in his collection, where it is more accurate than in P. Sirmond’s edition. 1

1

Cave, vol. II. Dupin, —Dict. Hist. de L’Avocat.

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