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processionally the hill of S. Michael, which rises on the north-west of the cathedral, and is crowned by an abbey founded by Henry II., to obtain the intercession of the archangel and the heavenly host in behalf of the see, that it might be given a suitable prelate.
On Christmas Day, the deputies, consisting of the chief nobles and clergy of Bamberg, appeared before the emperor at Mainz. Henry received them courteously, and said, "How great is our solicitude in behalf of your church ye may conclude from the fact that we have not hastily and inconsiderately imposed on you a pastor; but after much counsel and deliberation, delay, and careful inquisition. Nor is this marvellous, for your church was founded and endowed with farms and feudal lordships, and enriched and exalted by our kinsmen and ancestors, a thing we cannot assert of other churches, and all these things remain to it untouched and undiverted. Therefore, to such a church, a wise and provident, and not a haughty ruler is befitting. And such a bishop have we sought out for you."
After further introduction, still without coming to the point, one of the delegates impatiently asked, "Where, and who is our bishop?"
"He is here!" said Henry, catching the hand of Otto.
Then all the delegates were aghast, and looked at each other, and cast down their eyes; and the nobles around who had coveted the see for themselves, or for their kinsmen, muttered and nodded, and excited the delegates to speak.
"We had hoped," said they, "that your majesty would have given us one of the nobles or princes, known to us, and related to us, as a ruler. But as for this man, we do not know who he is, or whence he comes."
Henry answered haughtily, "Do you want to know who
he is? In faith, we are his father, and the church of Bamberg must be his mother. My word is passed, nor think to make me change it. We have known this man for long, and have proved his probity, sagacity, patience, and diligence."
Otto flung himself at the emperor's feet, and burst into tears. In vain did he protest his poverty, his unworthiness to receive so high a dignity. "Have you not, sire!
chaplains who are wise, noble and illustrious by birth, powerful and rich, whom such honours would become?"
"See," said the emperor, "how full of ambition this man is. This is the third see that he refuses. been already offered him, and he has passed them on to his comrades? What think you of him? We designed him for the bishopric of Augsburg,1 but he thinking it fair that those who had preceded him in the care and anxieties of our court should first have their rest, refused to accept it. It was the same with the bishopric of Halberstadt.2 Surely now, the church of Bamberg is divinely reserved to him." Then he thrust the staff into the hand of Otto, and placed the ring on his finger, and the court with a shout saluted him bishop. The delegates of the church of Bamberg accepted him as their father and lord, and embraced him. Then Henry said, "Receive him with all reverence and honour; for I testify before Almighty God, who knows all things, that I know no mortal man whom I could trust to execute his duties more honestly and conscientiously. As long as I live, he who touches that man, touches the apple of my eye."
It is deserving of note that Henry should have thus
1 This must have been on the death of Sigfrid II., in 1996.
⚫ This must have been in 1102, the same year, but earlier, in October, in which the anti-bishop Herrard died. Frederick I. had been appointed in 1090, and was deposed in 1105.
advanced a man of such integrity, nor is it a solitary instance; and it is calculated to make us mistrust the indiscriminate charge of veniality and recklessness laid against Henry IV. in his appointments to the German bishoprics. It is also curious to remark how Otto, by receiving the ring and staff from the emperor, again involved himself in the sentence of excommunication proclaimed by several popes against all who should by so doing acknowledge the imperial jurisdiction.
But Otto was determined not to be wilfully and defiantly opposed to the pope; and he resolved on the first opportunity to hasten into Italy and make his submission to the pope. After forty days spent with the emperor, by order of Henry, the bishops of Augsburg and Wurzburg conducted Otto to Bamberg on the vigil of the Purification. On coming within sight of the towers and spires of the city, Otto leaped from his horse, took off his shoes, and walked barefoot through the snow to the church of S. George, where he was met by the clergy and people, and conducted with great pomp of banner, blare of trumpet, and chant of choir to the cathedral. The ceremony was necessarily long, the pace of the procession slow, and long the function in the minster, with cold stones under foot. Consequently the bishop's feet were frost-bitten. Some servants, more willing than discreet, hasted to immerse them in hot water, but Otto, whose experiences of frost-bites in Poland served him in good stead, ordered cold water to be brought, and plunged his frozen feet into it.
A few days after, he sent messengers to Rome, with a letter soliciting the sanction of the pope to his appointment. "Bowing my neck devoutly to you, most holy father, and to the holy Roman Church, our mother, I desire help and counsel in my affairs. In the service to
my lord, the emperor, I have passed certain years, and have found favour in his eyes, but holding suspect the investiture from the hand of the emperor, once and again, when offered a bishopric, have I declined it. Now, for the third time, he has appointed me to a bishopric, that of Bamberg, but I will by no means retain it, unless it please your holiness to invest and consecrate me."
When Pope Paschal received this letter, he was highly gratified, because at that time we are told by Sifried, "few of the German bishops deferred, as was proper, to their mother;" he therefore gladly overlooked the past, and invited Otto to Rome. Three years after, the bishop travelled into Italy, and on the feast of the Ascension (1106), met Pope Paschal at Anagni, and surrendered into his hands the staff and ring, to be re-invested by papal authority with what he had already received by imperial authority; and this was done on the ensuing feast of Pentecost. The pope in reward for his obedience conferred on him the right of bearing the archiepiscopal pall and crosier four times in the year in addition to the four times in which every bishop of Bamberg claimed that right1
Otto set to work in his diocese, building monasteries and in restoring his cathedral which had been burnt down in the days of his predecessor, so that only the walls were standing. He relaid the floor, adorned the pillars with carved work, set up paintings, roofed the church throughout with copper tiles, and gilded the caps of the towers, and the crosses. The church of S. Michael, on the Michaelisberg, had been thrown down by an earthquake. He rebuilt it from the foundations.
What was the origin of this curious custom is not known. The bishops of Bamberg are thus represented with pall and crosier on their tombs in Bamberg Cathedral.
A curious story is told by his contemporary biographer. The bishop went to the little church of Buchelbach to remove from the altar numerous relics which were inclosed in it, intending to translate them to a better place. He took with him his clergy, and after fasting and prayer, ordered some of them to break the leaded seal which fastened the locker in which were the relics. They hesitated, therefore Otto himself took the crow-bar and struck at the seal, whereupon the red wax under it oozed out on the altar like gouts of blood, and so frightened the bishop that he fainted away. On his recovery of his senses, scared at the thought of having possibly, but unintentionally, committed sacrilege, he fled to the Michaelsberg abbey, and implored his friend Wolfram, the abbot, to receive him as a monk, that he might escape the responsibilities and dangers of his episcopal office.
The abbot, seeing him frightened, made him at once take the vow of obedience to him, and then said calmly, "On your obedience I enjoin on you to return to the discharge of your episcopal duties !" and he sent him back to the government of his see.
cottages, hospitals, One hot day, when
In 1125, Germany was visited with a pestilence and famine, the result of the wars which had so long devastated it, and destroyed the labours of the husbandman. Otto did all that lay in his power to relieve the starving, and comfort the sick, in his diocese. He was indefatigable in visiting all the streets, villages, everywhere where there was suffering. his chaplain and servants were taking their afternoon slumber, Otto went out with his serving boy to one of the hospitals. On the way he stood still, and said, "I smell something very offensive; go, boy, and look what is there ?" And he pointed in the direction whence the odour arose. The lad returned with white face, to say that a corpse half