Cameracensium et Noviomensium clericorum epistolae
[Letters of the clergy of Cambrai and Noyon], ed. H. Böhmer, MGH Libelli de lite, vol. 3 (Hannover, 1897), pp. 573-78.

Translation and introductory notes are copyright by John S. Ott.
  Not for circulation or duplication without permission; classroom use is freely permitted.  Last revised 20 January 2017.

A.  Introduction to the text [1]

I.  The legislative context of the letters

The letters below were probably composed by the canons of the cathedrals of Cambrai and Noyon late in 1077 or early in 1078, and most probably after the January 1078 ecclesiastical council held at Poitiers in Aquitaine.  That of Cambrai was most definitely written before June/July 1078.  At Poitiers, the ban on clerical marriage and the promotion of sons born from those marriages into the clergy—both of which the secular clergy had traditionally practiced—was reiterated by the papal legate, Hugh of Die (who is mentioned in the letter).  The Poitiers legislation of 1078 did not break new ground in condemning clerical marriage.  Already two decades earlier, in 1059, a papal synod and two ecclesiastical councils held during 1060 in Vienne (Burgundy) and Tours (Anjou) by the papal legate Stephen promulgated articles forbidding any bishop, priest, deacon, or subdeacon (that is, the four superior clerical orders, among which the subdiaconate was not consistently located) from having commerce with women, whether spouse or lover, on penalty of being stripped of office. [2]  Subsequent councils and papal synods reiterated the injunction, and at his autumnal synod in November 1078 Gregory VII threatened with suspension from office any bishop who tolerated the fornication of priests, deacons, or subdeacons in his diocese. [3]

By the mid-1070s, a series of largely anonymous treatises and letters appeared and began circulating in defense of clerical marriage.  The first of these was the so-called Rescript of Ulric (Epistola Pseudo-Udalrici), perhaps composed in the German diocese of Constance in 1075. [4]  This tract presented various scriptural, canonical, and historical passages in defense of clerical marriage.  Several of these, including 1 Timothy 3:2 (“The bishop must be beyond reproach, spouse of a single woman.”), 1 Corinthians 7:2 (“Owing to fornication, let each man have one wife.”), and the passage concerning Paphnutius from Cassiodorus’s Historia tripartita (Three-part History) appear below in the canons’ letters, suggesting that they may have had a copy of the anonymously-authored Rescript or were generally familiar with its arguments.  More directly, the canons of Cambrai appear to have been responding with their letter to a Treatise in Defense of Clerical Marriage (Tractatus pro clericorum conubio), composed at the same time (that is, late 1077/early 1078), perhaps in the neighboring diocese of Thérouanne.[5]  In their supportive response to the canons of Cambrai, the canons of Noyon marshalled a still more extensive array of canonical and authoritative texts in defense of clerical marriage.  The defense of clerical marriage lost some of its vigor over the ensuing decades, but treatises, letters, and poems in support of it continued to be written well into the twelfth century.  In particular, Normandy and its environs remained a bastion of pro-marriage support.

The letters exist in a single, twelfth-century manuscript, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Reg. lat. 863, fols. 62-63.

II.  The diocese and bishop of Cambrai

The diocese of Cambrai and its bishops occupied a delicate geo-political and ecclesiastical position.  In secular matters, the bishops were obedient to, and the vassals of, the German kings and emperors.  For more than a century, German rulers had been hand-picking and appointing the prelates of Cambrai, for the pragmatic reason that the diocese and its large, walled city anchored the northwestern border of the empire.  However, the bishops of Cambrai were obedient in spiritual matters to the archbishops of Reims, who tended since the mid-eleventh century to be allies and favorites of the French king.  The French king at the time the letter was written, Philip I (1060-1108), can hardly be called a sympathizer with church reform, but his relationship with popes Gregory VII and Urban II was not nearly as strained as that of Henry IV with the same pontiffs.

The bishop of Cambrai in 1078 was Gerard II of Lessines (ruled 1076/10 September 1077 – 11/12 August 1092).  Born ca. 1020, he was the nephew of his predecessor, an archdeacon of the chapter since about 1046, provost since 1051, and an intendant of the episcopal court (1070).  Like his predecessors, he received investiture directly from the German monarch upon his election.  Yet, Gerard was compelled to journey to Rome to absolve himself before Gregory VII on account of this investiture and other conduct in which he was implicated.  In his defense, he claimed ignorance of any papal ban on lay investiture, including that which Gregory proclaimed late in 1075, and sought reconciliation.  While historians—especially those inclined to see in Gerard II a sympathizer with Gregory's reformist agenda—have tended to believe the bishop's excuse, Gerard's professed ignorance of Gregory's condemnation of investiture may have been a strategic choice, and he delayed traveling to Rome for six months.  It is unlikely that he was unaware of the Synod of Worms (held in January 1076), which brought together dozens of bishops from the German, Burgundian, and Italian realms in response to Gregory’s ban, and which finished by pronouncing Gregory VII's deposition.  Nor is he likely to have been uninformed about Gregory VII's excommunication of Henry IV at the papal Lenten synod of 1076. 

As a longtime member of the cathedral chapter, one would expect Gerard's general sympathies on the matter of clerical marriage to have aligned with his fellow canons'.  Indeed, some of Gerard’s entourage had caught a man named Ramihrdus who had been preaching against clerical incontinence in the region around Cambrai (see Endnote B.9, below), then burned him alive in 1077.  Ramihrdus's execution incensed the pope, and Gregory called Gerard to account for it.  He went to Rome, where a compromise was brokered: Gerard would be consecrated bishop at Autun on 10 September 1077 following his sworn profession before Hugh of Die that he was not directly involved in the death of Ramihrdus or knowingly complicit in his own investiture by Henry IV.  In return, Gregory received from Gerard recognition of his pontifical authority to consecrate him bishop (thus nullifying his investiture by Henry IV).  Whether Gerard remained in Henry IV's good graces after his capitulation to Gregory is difficult to determine.

III.  The diocese and bishop of Noyon

The diocese of Noyon, north and slightly east of Paris, was closely attached to the French crown and a suffragan diocese of Reims, just like Cambrai. It was administratively bound to the diocese of Tournai, which lay within the orbit of the counts of Flanders.  Noyon and Tournai each had its own cathedral and own community of canons.  The bishop of Noyon-Tournai in 1078 was Radbod II (ruled 1068-1098), who, like Archbishop Manasses I of Reims (see below, Endnotes B.8), was arraigned for simony at the 1077 Council of Autun by papal legate Hugh of Die and pronounced deposed from office.  He fought off the charges successfully and was eventually restored to his episcopacy, but the accusation that he had unlawfully obtained his office dogged him until the end of his life.  Radbod's exact status in February/March 1078--that is, whether officially deposed or restored to office--is uncertain, but may well have been the former.  Like Gerard II of Cambrai, Radbod was also a former member of his cathedral chapter, having served as archdeacon of Noyon.

Thus, a rather paradoxical political situation prevailed in both dioceses from which the letters survive.  Each was headed by a politically troubled bishop, caught between papal pressures and political exigency, and who had himself once belonged to a community of cathedral canons over whom he was now expected to enforce celibacy legislation issued from Rome.  Were Gerard and Radbod successful?  Given the state of the existing evidence, this is extemely difficult to assess.  Gerard and Radbod may have been aware of the riotous response of the cathedral clergy of Rouen in 1072 when their archbishop, John, had tried to extend the prohibitions against clerical marriage issued at a council held at Lisieux in 1064.  John was stoned and fled his own cathedral.  No such attack greeted Gerard or Radbod, which, despite the vituperative tone of the letters below, may suggest that the bishops proceeded cautiously or did not follow through on their threats.  Still, the papal legislation against clerical marriage was reiterated by Archbishop Manasses in April 1079 at a provincial council.  Gerard and Radbod were, in any case, saved from further papal pressure, at least for the time being, as Gregory VII's political troubles prevented him from pursuing his celibacy legislation with any consistency in the last five years of his pontificacy.

Endnotes to Part A:

[1]  A partial French translation of the letters was done by Albert Cauchie, La querelle des investitures dans les diocèses de Liège et de Cambrai, 2 vols. (Louvain: Charles Peeters, 1890-1891), 1:9-12.
[2]  The barring of marriage to subdeacons seems to have been revived, though inconsistently enforced, during the pontificate of Leo IX (r. 1049-1054).  See for background Roger E. Reynolds, "The Subdiaconate as a Sacred and Superior Order," chap. IV in idem, Clerics in the Early Middle Ages: Hierarchy and Image, Variorum Collected Studies 669 (Aldershot, England: Ashgate, 1999), 1-31, and Anne Llewellyn Barstow, Married Priests and the Reforming Papacy: The Eleventh-Century Debates, Texts and Studies in Religion 12 (New York: The Edwin Mellen Press, 1982), 53-57 and chap. 3. esp. pp. 123-25.  Many of Barstow's attributions of authorship and dating of documents have since been revised.  See now Helen Parish, Clerical Celibacy in the West: c.1100-1700 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2009), chap. 3.
[3]  The Register of Pope Gregory VII, 1073-1085, trans. H. E. J. Cowdrey (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), 6.5b (19 November 1078), pp. 281-85.
[4]  This is the argument of Erwin Frauenknecht, Die Verteidigung der Priesterehe in der Reformzeit, MGH Studien und Texte 16 (Hannover: Hahn, 1997), 70 and ff., reprised and extended in Brigitte Meijns, "Opposition to Clerical Continence and the Gregorian Celibacy Legislation in the Diocese of Thérouanne: Tractatus Pro Clericorum Conubio (c. 1077-1078)," Sacris erudiri 47 (2008): 223-290.  Frauenknecht has also furnished an edition of the letters, at pp. 241-51.
[5]  Barstow, Married Priests, 124, has also suggested that they knew of another work written in support of married clergy, the anonymous Treatise on Grace, composed ca. 1075 in Normandy. Jennifer D. Thibodeaux has recently conducted a sustained inquiry into the treatises in defense of clerical marriage, including the letters of Cambrai and Noyon; she is less certain that the Tractatus' provenance was Thérouanne. See her The Manly Priest. Clerical Celibacy, Masculinity, and Reform in England and Normandy, 1066-1300 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015), chap. 4.

B.  Letter of the clergy of Cambrai to their brethren at Reims

To the church of our holy mother of Reims and to all attached to its diocese, the clergy of Cambrai [send greetings]; may we be efficacious in openly defending the liberty of the clergy.

The tempest, sustained by a decree long abandoned, has troubled us no less than others.  Invited to resistance by the wise letter of our neighbors [1], we, the clergy of Cambrai, whose experience ought to be taken seriously, have not hesitated to write to you and to consign in this letter the details which appear to us worthy of being remembered concerning our oppression in these matters.  To this day, dearest brothers, the order of clergy to which we belong enjoyed the highest honor and reverence, and the title of cleric, by God’s own design, was considered more honorable than others and also enjoyed the highest consideration.  Now “we have fallen into the contempt our neighbors, and we have become a source of derision and mockery to those around us” (Psalm 79:4) unless your industry and ours shall carefully put us on guard against those matters which confront us.  The importunity of the Romans, as you heard, hangs over us so greatly and with such vehemence, that it leaves nothing untouched and nothing undisturbed.  Especially when they dare to act against royal immunity, or to excommunicate metropolitans, or to depose any bishop they like.  And they presume to claim all this under the specie of religion, when rather it is from ambition—calling endless councils and bringing to us aimless pronouncements.  And all this through certain imposters, by whom all these things are done with gifts and whose “right hand is always filled with bribes” (Psalm 26:10), namely Hugh of Langres, whose life and mores are well enough known to everyone, and Hugh bishop—they say—of Die, whose name, however, is unknown to us. [2]

We also hear that they have moreover decided with grave threats that no one in the church shall enjoy more than a single dignity [high office] and that each must content himself with a single prebend, although barely two or three are sufficient for the requirements of our support. [3]   Among these matters, no shame was spared us, wherein it was entirely forbidden that the sons of clergy should be promoted or ordained, despite the fact that blessed Augustine says, “Wherever men are born, providing they do not follow the sins of the parents and rightly worship God, they are virtuous and will be saved.” [4]  And blessed Isidore [of Seville says]: “Whoever promotes faith in the Lord shall be hindered by no physical stain of his birth.” [5]

Even now that same law [of celibacy], which had initially been aired concerning married priests, is perceived by them to apply to every order of clergy, even though our rule holds that a cleric who does not consecrate himself to the status of continence shall be bound by the chains of a single marriage (1 Tim. 3:2), and when even Paphnutius so held concerning this very thing in the Nicene council [of 325 C.E.]:

‘This synod, wishing to correct the lives of men living in churches, imposed laws which we call canons, in whose tractates there appears a law introduced by some, that bishops and priests, deacons and subdeacons, should not sleep with their wives whom they had married before their consecration.  Coming before the council, the confessor Paphnutius, on whose insight everyone’s decision depended, spoke against this, saying that it was honorable for a confessed man to be married and living chastely with his own wife; and so he persuaded the council that it should impose no such law, asserting it to be a grave matter if the opportunity for fornication should present itself to either these men or their wives.  Thus professed Paphnutius, himself unmarried, and the synod praised his argument and legislated nothing in the matter, and dismissed [renunciation of clerical marriage] as a matter of will, not of necessity.’

This [account] is found in the Three-part History in the fourteenth chapter of the second book. [6]  Moreover, whatever is done in such matters is said by certain men—men who conspire to destroy the sacrament of the entire Catholic religion, that is to say the Eucharist and baptism, confession and penance, things they count for nothing—to be inventions and whims.  And because they dare not carry out their attacks in a frank and open manner, they undertake a disastrous campaign under the pretext of religion and under the deceptive image of saintliness, persuaded that their perversity will find some profit from it.  We know that it has come about in some regions of Italy, where following a similar decision the holy mysteries are no longer celebrated. [7]  It is also said that these men detest marriage because they practice with impiety and without respect a vice both abominable and without name.

Meanwhile our shepherds, desirous of appearing obedient to Roman authority, willingly lend their ear to these and similar things. They strive to impose heavy burdens upon us, and while everyone fears for himself, they gladly agree with the outrage done to our name, and – as if they live honestly and irreproachably! – they do not cease to contradict our customs. If one’s life and conduct should be judged by their fruits, one finds either few good works or none at all. Consenting to their stipulations, our bishop [Gerard II of Cambrai, 1076-1092], having intolerably attacked us in order to impose it, recently hung burdens both numerous and violent upon our necks: namely, he forbade married clerks from entering the choir and from altar service, and he forbade their sons from being promoted sacred orders. Profoundly oppressed by the imposition of this artifice upon us, we humbly beseeched him not to do it and to decide nothing without the consent of the metropolitan. [8]  In response he gave no serious reason, save that he did not dare to transgress the orders of Hugh of Die, because he had received his episcopal consecration from him.

In all of the above, let us consider the injury done to our name and with laypeople, for whom (it is especially appropriate to be horrified) we will become objects of jeering infamy: a thing as unheard of before our betters, as it seems to us indecent and dishonest.  If you are men, if you want to act manfully (viriliter); set little store by these counsels of this sort, which inflict so many and such great humiliations upon us, whereas the most holy man Jerome said: ‘It is not pleasing to God to slander the clergy.’ [10]   This judgment is for us immutable: we want to keep our current customs unchanged, customs wisely permitted by the moderation of the holy fathers, and we in no way consent to these unprecedent and dangerous prescriptions.  Now that you’ve heard our resolution and arguments, the dangers and ignominy which menaces us if we do not fight back, some business remains for us: we would like to hear from you by letter what the disposition of your soul may be toward such things, and we fervently implore that your vigilance be mutually on guard around the same providence, that we might have your reassurance in these matters.

Endnotes to Part B:

[1]  This "wise letter" may be a reference to the aforementioned Treatise in Defense of Clerical Marriage, which Brigitte Meijns has recently argued was penned in the adjacent diocese of Thérouanne.  See note A.4., above.
[2]  This is Hugh-Rainard of Tonnerre, bishop of Langres from 1065-1084, and Hugh, bishop of Die from 1074-1082/3, and later archbishop of Lyon (from 1082/3-1109).  Hugh of Die was Gregory VII's principal legate in France at this time.  Hugh-Rainard of Langres had only recently become an avid supporter of Gregory VII's efforts at reform (Reg. 4.22). 
[3]  Secular clergy were generally forbidden to hold more than one office at a time (e.g., archdeacon and provost of one cathedral chapter, or archdeacon in one chapter and treasurer in another), but the practice was quite common.  A prebend was the cleric's daily allotment of food and drink.
[4]  Augustine, De bono coniugali, 16.18.
[5]  Isidore of Seville, Quaestiones in vetus testamentum, in Genesim, 31.66.
[6]  Cassiodorus, Historia tripartita, 2.14.  This passage also appears in the Tractatus and, as mentioned above, Rescript of Ulric.
[7]  There are two veiled references here. The first, concerning men who would destroy the sacramental status of the church, undoubtedly refers to the aforementioned Ramihrdus, who denied the validity of sacraments performed by married clergy.  The second is a reference to the Pataria in Milan which, along with the quotations from Augustine and Isidore above, is also found in the Treatise in Defense of Clerical Marriage.  While the canons of the cathedral chapter may simply be reiterating the Treatise's arguments, it is nevertheless likely that they independently knew of papal initiatives in Italy.
[8]  The metropolitan in this case was Manasses I, archbishop of Reims.  Manasses had had troubles of his own with Hugh of Die and Gregory VII.  He was suspended by Hugh of Die at Autun in September 1077 and only restored to office after making a trip to Rome in early 1078.  Gregory suspended and then finally deposed him for good in December 1080.
[9]  Again, this is quite probably an oblique reference to the recent work at Cambrai of the itinerant preacher Ramihrdus, whose speeches supposedly protested against receiving sacraments from the hands of simoniac or fornicating clergy.  Ramihrdus was brought before the bishop and clergy of Cambrai and denounced.  He was then burned alive by the bishop's vassals in the early months of 1077.
[10]  The quote appears in Jerome's Letter 14 to Heliodorus.

C.  Letter of the clergy of Noyon to the clergy of Cambrai

To the brothers, beloved in Christ, of the holy church of Cambrai, the canons of Noyon [send greetings]; to hope for the best in adversity and in keeping faith to resist [our] emerging adversaries manfully.

Restraining, most beloved brothers, the prolixity of our response, we did not consider it necessary to lay out more things than was suitable to your question, especially when the high status of your church persists in antiquity as today, supported by the column of wisdom; and, prevailing in itself and not needing outside support, can be injured by no trials.  For the foundation which that Apostle laid down from his solidity cannot be altered, as attests that apostle who says, "There can be no other foundation than that which was laid, and that is Jesus Christ." (1 Cor. 3:10-11).  However much the winds may blow and the rivers run, the house built upon it shall stand unmoving, namely the holy church, established among the tempests of this world. [1]  Behold, already a powerful storm lays on.  Arms--namely, the holy scriptures--are made ready on the ramparts for liberty's defense, by which the seriousness of our complaint is easily struck upon: part of this you already mentioned [in your letter], and part of this we wish to suggest to you.  Indeed, against that [assertion] in which they contrive that sons of clerics ought to be barred from holy orders, is found a writing on the exposition of Christ's birth: "Our Lord Jesus Christ wished to be born not only of foreigners, but even from an adulterous union, and so displayed great confidence in us, that by whatever means we are born, we may follow in his footsteps, and that we should not be separated from the body of him whose limbs we are made through faith." [2]  And just as He is the true priest (pontifex), born from an adulterous union, so anyone born from any order, insofar as he shall have a perfect faith and shall fulfill in works what he holds in faith, and shall be a learned man keeping a single wife [3], should by no means whatever be barred from the priesthood.  For the patriarch Judah lay with Tamar, and from that union Perez and Zarah were born. [4]  And thence afterward Salma, who was a ruler in the desert, and thence Obed and Ruth, and then Boaz from Rahab, and then afterward Jesse, who was the father of David.  This was the origin of the genealogy of the Lord, He who is the true priest (sacerdos); and likewise, we are his sons.  And whatever he did, we ought to imitate in all things.  The Lord himself also said in the Gospel, "Whoever comes to me I shall never cast outside the gates." (John 6:37)  And likewise about the same thing, "He who does the will of my father who is in heaven is my brother, my sister, my mother." (Matthew 12:50)  In confirming the evangelical doctrine, Pope Victor, in his letter to Afris, says: "Let no one be permitted to forsake evangelic doctrine or revel in priestly honor." [5]  Truly, it benefits men nothing to defend the law, which was given through servants, if they do not wish to receive the Gospel's grace, which was established through the son.  And also Pope Calixtus said in his decrees: "Refrain, brothers, not only from holding but even from listening to any law that forbids mercy, because mercy is preferable to all offerings and sacrifices." [6]  And Pope Vigilius: "Certainly, even if the mind is cognizant of what is right, punishment befits he who remains the source of danger to others." [7]  And in the council of Ancyra, in canon 10 concerning married deacons, this is found: "When the deacon is ordained, if protest is raised during the ordination stating that [the candidate] wishes to have a wife or isn't able to remain chaste, and if afterwards he marries, let him remain in the office," etc. [8]

And because the son should not be reproved for the iniquity of his father, the Lord protested, saying through the prophet, "The son will not carry the father's iniquity, and the father will not bear the iniquity of the son." (Ezekiel 18:20)  Gregory said in the Pastoral Rule concerning the eminence of priests: "Many times the rector, forgetting himself, throws himself at various foreign voices and believes what he hears from outside and not what he ought to discern from within.  He despises those subject to him and does not recognize in them his equals according to the order of nature, and [he believes that he] exceeds them in his official power, even surpassing them in the merits of his life." [9]

Again, no reason appears to us why one should not acquire a double dignity in a church or be content to live off a single prebend. [10]  A custom of this kind was always in use in the clerical order under the holy fathers, which was conferred in good faith by the entering bishop in individual churches.  Gregory acknowledges the custom to be licit in a letter to Leander, the bishop of Seville: "'Diverse custom exists in the divine office of the holy church,' which is uninjured 'in a single faith.'" [11]  And blessed Augustine said, among other things concerning customs, to Januarius: "Those things which are instituted in many ways in diverse places and regions, and not proven to be against faith and good mores, ought to be held without prejudice (indifferenter)," and ought to be observed congruently and simply according to the custom of each and every church. [12]  Nor should anything else be required of them.

So that we may turn our pen back to the matter at hand, we are greatly amazed when we turn our eyes back to past and present matters.  For long we have heard and we recognize that certain men among the sons of concubines were religious priests and deacons, and also venerable bishops and abbots.  Moreover, they were even the most Christian kings and others were the high priests of the Roman see.  For these reasons we deservedly are aggravated toward those who bend their destructive tongue toward [clerical marriage] like a bow, when we are fully aware that they are no better men than their predecessors.  To this point, we consider to have relayed to you many critical things among those which came to our attention, but certain matters have delayed us, one of which is the anticipation of our archbishop Manasses, whose excommunication, carried out through envy rather than through justice, has been greatly accelerated. [13]

Endnotes to Part C:

[1]  Compare with Matt. 7:25: "He is like a man who had the sense to build his house on rock.  The rain came down, the floods rose, the wind blew, and beat upon that house; but it did not fall, because its foundations were on rock."
[2]  The source of this quote is uncertain.  The "adulterous union" presumably refers to Mary's unwed status at the time of her pregnancy.
[3]  A paraphrase from 1 Tim. 3:2.
[4]  In Genesis 38:12-30; the following genealogy is taken from Matt. 1:3-6 (and Ruth 4:18-22).
[5]  A reference to Pope Victor I (ruled ca. 189-198/9 C.E.).  This canon is found in the ninth-century Pseudo-Isidorean decretals, an influential collection of canon law comprised of the sayings of popes and conciliar proceedings, compiled nearby in Reims.
[6]  A reference to Pope Calixtus I (died ca. 223 C.E.); the canon is also in the decretals of Pseudo-Isidore.
[7]  Pope Vigilius ruled from 537-555 C.E.; the canon is in the decretals of Pseudo-Isidore.
[8]  The Council of Ancyra was held in 314 in Asia Minor.  This was a significant early church council, from which were produced 25 canons.  The Treatise in Defense of Clerical Marriage also cites Ancyra as precedent.
[9]  Pope Gregory I the Great (ruled 590-604), Regula pastoralis (The Rule of Pastoral Care), 2.6.  The Rule of Pastoral Care was an enormously influential handbook composed to advise bishops in their official and personal conduct, qualities, and powers.
[10]  This line addresses the other complaints of the canons of Cambrai.
[11]  Letter 1.41 of Gregory I the Great, addressed to his friend and colleague Leander of Seville in April 591.
[12]  Letter 54 of Augustine, bishop of Hippo (d. 430) to Januarius.
[13]  That is, Manasses's deposition following the Council of Autun in September 1077.  Manasses then traveled to Rome between 9 March and 22 August 1078 to exculpate himself personally before Pope Gregory.  It is probably his return from Rome that the canons of Noyon were attending.