Hincmar of Laon

Hincmar of Laon

Hincmar of Laon (Hincmar the younger) (died 879) was a French bishop of Laon. He was a nephew on the mother's side of Hincmar of Reims.


In the beginning of 858 the younger Hincmar was elevated by his uncle's favour to the See of Laon, a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Reims. He received in addition an abbey and an office at the court of Charles the Bald. His ambitious, overbearing, and violent disposition soon brought him into conflict not only with the king, but with his uncle and metropolitan.

To free himself from the authority of Hincmar of Reims, he invoked the decretals of the Pseudo-Isidore. Charles then took from the younger Hincmar his abbey and his court office, and sequestrated the revenues of the diocese, but the latter measure aroused the protest of the elder Hincmar himself.

A reconciliation took place at the Diet of Pistres in 869. A new quarrel broke out at the Synod of Verberie and resulted in the imprisonment of Hincmar. He placed his diocese under interdict, but this was set aside by his uncle. He appealed to Pope Adrian II and laid before that pope severe accusations against his metropolitan and his king, based on a false statement of facts. This appeal, however, was not pursued with vigour.

The complete estrangement between the two Hincmars was evident at the Diets of Gondreville and Attigny, in 870. Each of them now appealed to various canons, in order to justify his position. In spite of his renewed appeal to the pope, Hincmar of Laon was deposed at the Synod of Douci, in 871, in punishment of his conduct towards the king and the metropolitan. But Adrian II did not sanction this step, and refrained from appointing a successor. It was only in 875, when Charles the Bald was crowned emperor, that Pope John VIII confirmed the removal of Hincmar, and that Hadenulf was consecrated Bishop of Laon. In the meantime Charles succeeded in preventing Hincmar from going to Rome, and even confined him for a while in prison, where he was deprived of his sight by a brother-in-law of the king.

When, in 878, John VIII presided in person over the Synod of Troyes, the younger Hincmar presented to him in writing a complaint against his uncle of Reims. The pope then mitigated his condition by allowing him to celebrate again the Holy Sacrifice and by granting him a portion of the revenues yielded by the See of Laon.


The writings of Hincmar of Laon are in "Patrologia Latina" CXXIV, 101-26, 1027-70.


*Cellot, "Vita Hincmari junioris", see Mansi, Coll. conc., XVI, 688 sqq.;
*Hefele, "Konziliengeschichte", 2nd ed., IV (1879), 380 sqq., 489 sqq., 530, 535

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