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Hincmar of Reims

c.806-882. Archbishop of Reims. He was educated at the abbey of St.-Denis, Paris, under Abbot Hilduin, who in 822 introduced him to the court of Louis the Pious. Officially entering the king's service in 834, he attached himself on Louis's death to Charles the Bald, thus incurring the hostility of Lothair I. Hincmar administered the abbeys at Compiègne and St.-Germer-de-Flay. Elected archbishop of Reims in 845, he faced imperial opposition but avoided his own deposition at the Synod of Soissons (853).

In opposing the king of Lorraine (Lothair I's second son) who wanted to divorce his wife, Hincmar produced his De divortio Lotharii, which displayed a great knowledge of canon law. He was unsuccessful in his attempt to depose Rothad II, bishop of Soissons, who had long attacked his rights, but did manage to quiet his own nephew, Hincmar of Laon, who refused to recognize his authority. This occasioned his Opusculum LV Capitulorum, wherein he defended the rights of a metropolitan over his bishops. Hincmar protested episcopal appointments at Cambrai, Noyon, and Beauvais, and was able to place his own appointments in these places. When the Council of Mainz (848) condemned Gottschalk's errors on predestination, he published a refutation of the monk, Ad Reclusos et Simplices, which brought attack on himself, and later on his colleague John Scotus Erigena for the latter's De Divina Praedestinatione. The controversy continued at the synods of Quiercy (853) and Valence (855), whereupon Hincmar wrote his defense, De Praedestinatione Dei et Libero Arbitrio, arguing that if God predestines the wicked to hell then He is the author of sin. Reconciliation was finally achieved at the Council of Thuzey (860). With Lothair's death in 869, Hincmar no longer feared to support Charles the Bald, and he proceeded to crown him despite papal objection.