Post-classical history

Albert of Vercelli (1149/1152-1214)

Latin patriarch of Jerusalem (1205-1214). On the death of King Aimery of Jerusalem (1205), Pope Innocent III translated Albert, bishop of Vercelli, to Jerusalem to provide leadership for the Latin Church in Outremer at a time when the rulers of Jerusalem and Cyprus were minors, and the succession to Antioch was disputed.

Albert was already an experienced papal diplomat. As papal legate to the East, he excommunicated Prince Bohe- mund IV of Antioch in 1208 for his murder of Peter, the Latin patriarch there. In the same year, Albert initiated the search for a husband for Queen Maria of Jerusalem, and in 1210 he crowned John of Brienne as king. Before this, he had steered the barons of the kingdom in negotiations over a new treaty with Egypt. When Maria died in 1212, Albert’s support for John against dissident barons proved decisive. Albert also mediated in the quarrel between Hugh I of Cyprus and his bailli (regent), and he used his legatine authority to oversee the election of a new archbishop for Nicosia.

Albert’s interest in the regulation of devotional life, already demonstrated in the rule he had devised for the Humiliati, led a group of hermits living on Mount Carmel to ask him to write a rule for them. The resultant rule, a model of conciseness marked by a strong penitential piety, formed the basis for the Carmelite Order. In 1214 Albert was assassinated during the Holy Cross Day procession in Acre by the former master of the Hospital of Santo Spirito in Ivrea, whom he had previously removed from office. He is celebrated as a saint in the Carmelite calendar.

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