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St. Ivo of Chartres
Yves de Chartres.jpg
Bishop of Chartres, France and Confessor
Born 1040
Beauvais, France
Died 23 December 1115
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
Beatified 1570 (?) by Pope Pius V (?)
Feast 23 May
Patronage Canonists (?)

Saint Ivo of Chartres (also Ives, Yves, or Yvo; Latin: Ivonis Carnutensis) (c. 1040 – 23 December 1115) was the Bishop of Chartres, France from 1090 until his death and an important canonist during the Investiture Crisis.

Ivo is claimed to have studied at the Abbey of Bec in Normandy under Lanfranc of Canterbury, where he would have met St. Anselm of Canterbury, the great scholastic theologian. In 1067 or not much later, he became, at the desire of his bishop, prior of the canons of Saint-Quentin at Beauvais. As Bishop of Chartres and a canonist he contended strongly against simony and opposed King Philip I of France's repudiation of his wife Bertha of Holland in order to marry Bertrade of Anjou in 1092. Ivo was briefly imprisoned for this opposition.

Three extensive canonical works, namely Tripartita, Decretum, and Panormia, are attributed to him. He corresponded extensively. His liturgical feast has been kept since 1570 on 20 or 23 May, and it is presently observed on 23 May. It is not known whether or when he was officially canonized.


Ivo of Chartres was born in Beauvais, France to a non-noble family in or near Chartres circa 1040. He is claimed to have studied first in Paris, then in Abbey of Bec in Normandy where, according to the often unreliable Robert of Torigni, he studied under Lanfranc along with St. Anselm of Canterbury.

Not much is known of him until some time after he was admitted to the Roman Catholic clergy: in 1067 his bishop asked him to become the prior of the canons at the Augustinian house of St. Quentin at Beauvais. From there he quickly established himself as one of the best teachers in France. His knowledge of canon law, both as a lawyer and cleric, most probably earned him in 1090 the office of Bishop of Chartres, France. His predecessor had either been removed from office or resigned it after a scandal of simony. There are some discrepancies as to who Ivo's predecessor and successor were because different sources suggest that both were the same Geoffrey of Chartres, and it is only known that Pope Urban II recommended Ivo for this episcopacy because of Ivo's knowledge of canon law. In light of the events preceding his appointment to the office, his strong opposition to the practice of simony may have been the impetus to his episcopal elevation.

His strong faith, piety, and principles led to some troubles for him during his twenty-five year episcopacy at Chartres. Circa 1092, King Philip I of France was married to Bertha of Holland, but wished to be rid of her so he could marry Bertrade of Anjou. Upholding the sanctity of marriage, Ivo advocated against this to such a degree that he was incarcerated for a short time.

The Gregorian reforms were not well realized until Ivo's episcopacy. He was an acquaintance of Countess Adele of Blois, who helped him reform the Abbey of St. Jean-en-Vallée. In addition, on several occasions he defended her decisions, most notably during the events regarding Rotrou III of Perche, when he refused to assert ecclesiastical sanctions against him.

During his episcopacy he wrote the majority of his extant works, for which he later became famous and considered among the greatest scholars of the mediaeval era. Salutati recognized him as an eloquent writer despite his affirmation that all the literature outside of Italy lacked eloquence.


St. Ivo was a prolific writer but is most known for his canonical works: the Decretum of seventeen books; the Tripartita, of very substantial material, divided in three parts, and attributed to him; and the Panormia of eight books. All three are primarily works of canon law and center on the principle of caritas, that is, the Catholic theological virtue of charity, as taught by St. Paul. His works are replete with treatments of charity and dispensation in a pastoral manner regarding the Holy See. He thought that caritas was the solution for sin, and not harsh punishment without contrition. This theme is most evident in his Prologus, which is most often compared to the teachings of the Church Fathers than those of the scholars of his day. St. Paul's message of loving one's fellow man as one would himself is particularly prevalent in Ivo's works: "He was called to teach. His lesson was love. It was all that mattered."[1].

However, Ivo is also famous for his 288 letters of correspondence. These letters often dealt with liturgical, canonical, and dogmatic questions and, much like his major works, are from the perspective of caritas. Several of his extant sermons, totaling 25, treat of the same topics as his other writings and letters.

It has also been suggested that his doctrines influenced the final agreement of the Concordat of Worms in 1122.

Subsequent Influence and Veneration[edit]

St. Ivo's influence on the religious scholars following him was great. Most notably among them were Hugh of St. Victor, Landolfo Colonna, and Alger of Liège, who often quoted or cited the Prologus of his works. Many continued his emphasis of caritas and canonical thought. His influence on Peter Abelard’s Sic et Non and Gratian’s Concordia Discordantium Canonum (commonly denominated Decretum Gratiani) is obvious.[2]

Although it is not known when he was canonized, 23 May is his present liturgical memorial.[3] Previously and since 1570 it was observed on 20 May.[4]


  • Barker, Lynn K. "MS Bodl. Canon. Pat. Lat. 131 and a Lost Lactantius of John of Salisbury: Evidence in Search of a French Critic of Thomas Becket." Albion: A Quarterly Journal Concerned with British Studies, Vol. 22, No. 1 (Spring, 1990), pp. 26
  • Brasington, Bruce C. "Lessons of Love: Bishop Ivo of Chartres as Teacher". In Teaching and Learning in Northern Europe, 1000–1200, edited by Sally N. Vaughn and Jay Rubenstein. (Belgium: Brepolis Publishers n.v., 2006.) pp. 129–147.
  • Donovan, Richard B. "Salutati's Opinion of Non-Italian Latin Writers of the Middle Ages." Studies in the Renaissance, Vol. 14 (1967), pp. 191–192.
  • Izbicki, Thomas M. "Review of Prefaces to Canon Law Books in Latin Christianity: Selected Translations, 500–1247. by Robert Somerville ; Bruce Brasington." The Sixteenth Century Journal, Vol. 30, No. 1 (Spring, 1999), pp. 314.
  • Little, Lester K. "Pride Goes before Avarice: Social Change and the Vices in Latin Christendom." The American Historical Review, Vol. 76, No. 1 (Feb., 1971), pp. 46–47.
  • Livingstone, Amy. "Kith and Kin: Kinship and Family Structure of the Nobility of Eleventh- and Twelfth Century Blois-Chartres." French Historical Studies, Vol. 20, No. 3 (Summer, 1997), pp. 435, 452.
  • LoPrete, Kimberly A. "The Anglo-Norman Card of Adela of Blois" Albion: A Quarterly Journal Concerned with British Studies, Vol. 22, No. 4 (Winter, 1990), pp. 582, 585, 586.
  • MacDonald Walker, Barbara. "King Henry I's "Old Men"" The Journal of British Studies, Vol. 8, No. 1 (Nov., 1968), pp. 15.
  • Rolker, Christof. "The earliest work of Ivo of Chartres: The case of Ivo's Eucharist florilegium and the canon law collections attributed to him." Zeitschrift der Savigny-Stiftung für Rechtsgeschichte, kanonistische Abteilung 124 (2007), pp. 109–127.
  • Rolker, Christof. Canon law and the letters of Ivo of Chartres (Cambridge Studies in Medieval Life and Thought, Fourth Series 76), Cambridge 2010.
  • Sprandel, Rolf. Ivo von Chartres und seine Stellung in der Kirchengeshicte (Pariser historische Studien 1), Paris 1962.
  • Wormald, Patrick. The Making of the English Law: King Alfred to the Twelfth Century. [city unknown]: Blackwell Publishing, 1999. pp. 471.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Vaughan and Rubinstein, Teaching & Learning in Northern Europe 100–1200, page 147.
  2. ^ Joseph de Ghellinck, "St. Ivo of Chartres", The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 8 (New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910), [1].
  3. ^ "Blessed Ivo of Chartres", CatholicSaints.info, 23 January 2009, [2]
  4. ^ Joseph de Ghellinck, "St. Ivo of Chartres", The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 8 (New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910), [3].

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4 news items

Sun, 24 Nov 2013 20:14:55 -0800

Saint Ivo of Chartres, St. Bernard, and several other doctors of the eleventh and twelfth centuries, have left us set sermons de Adventu Domini, quite distinct from their Sunday homilies on the Gospels of that season. In the capitularia of Charles the ...
Virtue Online
Mon, 30 Jul 2012 14:00:00 -0700

The Gospel began to be read from the north side of the altar and the epistle from the south side at the time of Ivo of Chartres (d. 1117). The division of the altar into Gospel and Epistle sides may account for the extension of the altar lengthwise ...
Catholic News Agency
Tue, 02 Dec 2008 19:45:00 -0800

Saint Ivo of Chartres, St. Bernard, and several other doctors of the eleventh and twelfth centuries, have left us set sermons de Adventu Domini, quite distinct from their Sunday homilies on the Gospels of that season. In the capitularia of Charles the ...
Tue, 19 Oct 2010 06:38:31 -0700

W 1095 roku na synodzie w Clermont papież Urban II nie tylko wezwał do wyprawy krzyżowej, ale też obłożył klątwą francuskiego króla Filipa I. Przyczyną była bardzo atrakcyjna dwudziestopięcioletnia kobieta – Bertrada de Montfort.

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