The Life of St Albert of Jerusalem. A Documentary Biography. Part. 2
The large number of extant documents concerning the early thirteenth-century Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Albert degli Avogadri (c. 1150-1214), demonstrate both his impact on his times and the ways in which his life was shaped by his historical circumstances. Among the documents that were written or co-written by him were those that established, or sanctioned, the normative way of life of three particular groups within the Church of his time: the canons of Biella, in the county of Vercelli, the first (clerical), second (Religious), and third (lay) orders of the Humiliati, and the Latin hermits who became known later as the Carmelites. It is primarily because of his foundational influence on the Carmelites that Albert is remembered today but, together, the surviving documents reveal Albert’s different fields of expertise, his adroit handling of his ecclesiastical responsibilities and the historical circumstances that shaped both his early development and later life. Introducing the reader to the relevant features of the feudal period in which he lived, and to the complex social forces that shaped that age, this documentary biography traces his engagement with the society and Church of his time as a canon regular and Prior of the Holy Cross of Mortara, as Bishop of Vercelli, and as Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem. Divided into two volumes, each of twelve chapters, the first section deals with the period before Albert’s appointment as Bishop of Vercelli in 1185 in two chapters. The three chapters of section two describe the first period of Albert’s ministry as Bishop of Vercelli, 1185-91. In five chapters, the third section presents the second period of Albert’s time in Vercelli, 1191-97, under Pope Celestine III. Section four outlines, in eight chapters, the final period of Albert’s episcopal ministry in Vercelli, 1197-1205, under Pope Innocent III. Albert’s ministry as Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem under Pope Innocent III is the subject of the six chapters of section five. Focusing on his roles as mediator and judge in the resolution of conflict and his commitment to reform, the conclusion tries to identify the principal influences and values that shaped Albert’s life.