July 14 – Advocate of the ideals of Gregory VII

July 11, 2022

Bonizo of Sutri


Bishop of Sutri in Central Italy, in the eleventh century, an adherent of Gregory VII and advocate of the ideals of that pope; b. about 1045, probably in Cremona, Northern Italy; put to death 14 July, 1090. Early in his life he joined the party known as the Pataria, and when a subdeacon in Piacenza he came into conflict with Dionysius, bishop of that city. In 1074 he went to Rome, and won the favour of Pope Gregory, by whom he was soon appointed to the episcopal See of Sutri. Bonizo took part in several councils held in Rome; in 1078 he went to Cremona as papal legate and consecrated there the church of St. Thomas. In the struggle between Gregory VII and Henry IV he was ever on the side of the pope. He was seized by Henry in 1082 and entrusted to the custody of the antipope Clement III. About a year afterwards Bonizo made his escape, and lived for several years under the protection of Countess Mathilda of Tuscany. In 1086 he was present at the funeral of his friend, Anselm, Bishop of Lucca. He was, soon after, elected to the See of Piacenza by the Pataria, but owing to strong opposition was unable to take possession of it until the year 1088, when he was strongly supported by Pope Urban II. His enemies, however, contrived to bring about his death.

Photograph of Sutri, Italy

Bonizo wrote: (1) the “Paradisus”, or extracts from the writings of St. Augustine (still unpublished); (2) a short treatise on the sacraments (Muratori, “Antiquitates Italicae Med. Aevi” III, in Migne, P.L., CL; (3) the “Decretum” or “De Vitâ Christianâ”, a work in ten books on ecclesiastical law and moral theology written at the request of a certain priest Gregory (fragments of this work are in Mai’s Nova Bibliotheca, VII, iii, 1-76 (Rome, 1854); (4) “In Hugonem schismaticum”, now lost, probably against the schismatic Cardinal Hugo Candidus; (5) a description of the various classes of judges in the Roman Empire and in the Roman Church )ed. Blühme, in Mon. Ger. Hist. Leges, IV); (6) his most important work the “Liber ad amicum”, a history of the Church, in which the author relates events of his own times.

SAUR, Studien über Bonizo in Forsch. Zur deutsch. Gesch. (Göttingen, 1868), VIII, 397-464; MIRBT, Die Publizistik im Zeitalter Gregors VII (Leipzig, 1894); DUMMLER in preface to his edition of Liber ad amicum in Mon. Germ. Hist., Libelli de lite Imp. Et Pont., I, 568 sqq.; MARTENS in Tübing. Theol. Quartalschrift (1883), 457 sqq.; GISERBRECHT, Gesch. der deutsch. Kaiserzeit (Leipzig, 1885, 1890), II, III; WATTENBACH, Deutschlands Geschichtsquellen (6th ed., 1893), II, 223, 224; DALLER in Kirchelex., II, 1087 sqq; HERZOG, Realencyk. (Leipzig, 1897), III; DELARC, St. Gregoire VII et la reforme de l’eglise (Paris, 1889-90).

FRANCIS J. SCHAEFER (Catholic Encyclopedia)


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