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Ebbo or Ebo c 775 – 20 March 851 was archbishop of Rheims from 816 until 835 and again from 840 to 841 He was born a German serf on the royal demesne of Charlemagne He was educated at his court and became the librarian and councillor of Louis the Pious, king of Aquitaine, son of Charlemagne When Louis became emperor, he appointed Ebbo to the see of Rheims, then vacant after the death of Wulfaire

Saint Mark from the Ebbo Gospels Line figurine in colour drawn for Ebbo in Hautvillers by artists assembled and patronised by Ebbo

He was an important figure in the spread of Christianity in the north of Europe At the insistence of Louis, in 822, he went to Rome and asked Pope Pascal I to become the papal legate to the North He was licensed to preach to the Danes and he and Halitgar, bishop of Cambrai, and Willerich, bishop of Bremen, went there in 823 He made short subsequent trips, but all with little success Ansgar was more successful a few years later

When Louis's sons by his first marriage to Ermengarde of Hesbaye Lothair, Louis, and Pepin rebelled in 830, Ebbo remained loyal But in 833 he joined the insurrection and on 13 November presided over the synod in the church of Saint Mary in Soissons which deposed Louis and forced him to publicly confess many crimes, none of which he had, in fact, committed As a reward, Lothair gave Ebbo the Abbey of Saint Vaast

He then became a loyal follower of Lothair He remained with him even after Louis's reinstatement in March 834 When Lothair had to flee to Italy, however, Ebbo was too ill with gout to follow and took shelter with a Parisian hermit He was found by Louis' men and imprisoned in the Abbey of Fulda Events of the previous year were soon reversed He was brought to the Synod of Thionville 2 February 835 and made to admit, in front of 43 bishops, that Louis had never committed the crimes of which he had accused him Ebbo publicly recanted from the pulpit in Mainz on 28 February The Synod then promptly deposed him He was again imprisoned in Fulda and later given to Fréculf, bishop of Lisieux, and later to Boso, abbot of Fleury

Ebbo was restored when Louis died and Lothair succeeded him in December 840 A year later, however, Charles the Bald was in control of France and Ebbo was deposed a second time Hincmar was appointed to succeed him in 845 and refused to recognise his acts during his reinstatement They were declared invalid by the Council of Soissons in 853

Ebbo went to the court of Lothair, but Pope Sergius II ignored his pleas to be reinstated again When Lothair had no use for Ebbo, however, he was forced to leave that court and go to that of Louis the German Louis made him Bishop of Hildesheim between April 845 and October 847 and it was in this position that he died on 20 March 851, in the seat of his diocese

He wrote the Apologeticum Ebbonis in defence of his reinstatement It was probably one of his ordinations from the period of his reinstatement who penned the Pseudo-Isidorean Decretals He also assembled artists at Hautvillers who transformed Carolingian art into a new thing and founded the so-called Reims School The beautiful Gospel Book of Ebbo is their most well known product His influence in the Carolingian Renaissance is enormous in the realm of art and illumination

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Archbishop of Reims
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Bishop of Hildesheim
Succeeded by


  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herbermann, Charles, ed 1913 "article name needed" Catholic Encyclopedia New York: Robert Appleton 

External linksedit

  • Opera Omnia of Ebo Rheminensis Episcopus, with analytical indexes, edited by Jacques-Paul Migne, Patrologia Latina
  • Ebonis Vita Ottonts episcopi Bambergensis

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