Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/85

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65
TANCHELM.

nor was there duke or bishop who dared withstand him. The stories that he pretended to be God and the equal of Jesus Christ, and that he celebrated his marriage with the Virgin Mary, may safely be rejected as the embroideries of frightened clerks; nor could Tanchelm have really considered himself as a heretic, for we find him visiting Rome with a few followers for the purpose of obtaining a division of the extensive see of Utrecht and the allotment of a portion of it to the episcopate of Terouane. On his return from Rome, in 1112, while passing through Cologne, he and his retinue were thrown in prison by the archbishop, who the next year summoned a synod to sit in judgment on them. Several of them purged themselves by the water-ordeal, while others succeeded in escaping by flight. Of these, three were burned at Bonn, preferring a frightful death to abandoning their faith, while Tanchelm himself reached Bruges in safety. The anathema which had been pronounced against him, however, had impaired his credit, and the clergy of Bruges had little difficulty in procuring his ejectment. Yet Antwerp remained faithful, and he continued his missionary career until 1115, when, being in a boat with but few followers, a zealous priest piously knocked him on the head, and his soul went to rejoin its master, Satan. Even this did not suppress the effect of his teaching and his heresy continued to flourish. In vain the bishop gave twelve assistants to the lonely priest of St. Michael's in Antwerp; it was not until 1126, when St. Norbert, the ardent ascetic who founded the Premonstratensian order, was placed in charge of the city with his followers, and undertook to evangelize it with his burning eloquence, that the people could be brought back to the faith. St. Norbert built other churches and filled them with disciples zealous as himself, and the stubborn heretics were docile enough to pastors who taught by example as well as by words their sympathy for those who had so long been neglected. Consecrated hosts which had lain hidden for fifteen years in chinks and corners were brought forth by pious souls, and the heresy vanished without leaving a trace.[1]


  1. Hartzheim Concil. German. III. 763-766. — Meyeri Annal. Flandriæ Lib. iv. ann. 1113-1115. — Sigeberti Gemblacens. Contin. Valcellens. ann. 1115.— P. Abælardi Introd. ad Theolog. Lib. ii. cap. 4. — Trithem. Chron. Hirsaug. ann. 1127. — Vit. S. Norbert. Archiep. Magdeburg, cap. iii. No. 79, 80.