It is also, my middle son Charles' Name-day.
Born the son of Pepin the Short in AD 742, he became King of the Franks in AD 768 and King of the Lombards in AD 774. When he became King of the Lombards, it is likely that he was crowned with the Iron Crown of Lombardy, which in addition to being a regal crown is also a reliquary containing one of the Nails used to fix Our Crucified Lord to the Holy Cross.
He was raised to the Imperial Throne on the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord, AD 800, in succession to Constantine VI of the 'Eastern' Empire. Constantine had been deposed and the Throne usurped by a woman who pretended to be Empress in her own right. A woman may not be Emperor of the Romans any more than a man may give birth!
James, Viscount Bryce says in his monumental The Holy Roman Empire,
When Odoacer compelled the abdication of Romulus Augustulus, he did not abolish the Western Empire as a separate power, but caused it to be reunited with or sink into the Eastern, so that from that time there was, as there had been before before Diocletian, a single undivided Roman Empire. In A.D. 800 the very memory of the separate Western Empire, as it had stood from the death of Theodosius till Odoacer, had, so far as appears, been long since lost, and neither Leo nor Charles nor any one among their advisers dreamt of reviving it. They too, like their predecessors, held the Roman Empire to be one and indivisible, and proposed by the coronation of the Frankish king not to proclaim a severance of the East and West, but to reverse the act of Constantine, and make Old Rome again the civil as well as the ecclesiastical capital of the Empire that bore her name. Their deed was in its essence illegal, but they sought to give it every semblance of legality: they professed and partly believed that they were not revolting against a reigning sovereign, but legitimately filling up the place of the deposed Constantine the Sixth, the people of the imperial city exercising their ancient right of choice, their bishop his right of consecration.
Bryce, Viscount James. The Holy Roman Empire (Kindle Locations 741-750). Vook, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
His 'signature'. See the little 'point' forming a tiny square in the larger square at the centre of K(A)R(O)L(U)S? A scribe would write out the sentence, and the Emperor would 'sign' his name by making the two short lines to make the tiny square.
Here is a prayer in his honour written by Dom Prosper Gueranger O.S.B., and it is not a prayer to gladden the hearts of liberal 'Catholics' and their left-wing henchmen!
Prayer to Charlemagne"Hail, O Charles, beloved of God, Apostle of Christ, defender of His Church, protector of justice, guardian of good customs, terror of the enemies of the Christian name!"The tainted diadem of the Caesars - purified by the hands of Leo - sits on your august forehead; the globe of the Empire rests in your vigorous hand; the ever-victorious sword in your combats for Our Lord is sheathed at your waist, and on your forehead the imperial anointing was added to the royal unction by the hand of the Pontiff who consecrated you and confirmed your authority. As the representative of the figure of Christ in His temporal Royalty, you desired that He would reign in you and through you.
"Now God rewards you for the love you had for Him, for the zeal you displayed for His glory, for the respect and confidence you showed toward His Spouse. In exchange for an earthly kingship, transitory and uncertain, you enjoy now an immortal kingdom where so many million of souls, who by your hands escaped idolatry, today honor you as the instrument of their salvation.
"During the days of celebration of the birth of Our Lord by Our Lady, you offered to them the gracious temple you built in their honor (the Basilica of Aix-la-Chapelle), and which is still today the object of our admiration. It was in this place that your pious hands placed the newborn garment worn by her Divine Son. As retribution, the Son of God desired that your bones should gloriously rest in the same place to receive the testimony of the veneration of the peoples.
"O glorious heir to the three Magi Kings of the East, present our souls before the One who wore such a humble garment. Ask Him to give us a part of the profound humility you had as you knelt before the Manger, a part of that great joy that filled your heart at Christmas, a part of that fiery zeal that made you realize so many works for the glory of the Infant Christ, and a part of that great strength that never abandoned you in your conquests for His Kingdom.
"O mighty Emperor, you who of old was the arbiter of the whole European family assembled under your scepter, have mercy on this society that today is being destroyed in all its parts. After more than a thousand years, the Empire that the Church placed in your hands has collapsed as a chastisement for its infidelity to the Church that founded it. The nations still remain, troubled and afflicted. Only the Church can return life to them through the Faith; only she continues to be the depositary of public law; only she can govern the powerful and bless the obedient.
"O Charles the Great, we beseech you to make that day arrive soon when society, re-established at its foundations, will cease asking liberty and order from the revolutions. Protect with a special love France, the most splendid flower of your magnificent crown. Show that you are always her king and father. Put an end to the false progress of the faithless empires of the North that have fallen into schism and heresy, and do not permit the peoples of the Holy Empire to fall prisoner to them."
And here is a link to an article my friend, the Mad Monarchist, did a few years ago:
The Mad Monarchist: The Feast of Charlemagne
And, from even longer ago, a post from Roman Christendom.
28 January - the Feast of Emperor St Charlemagne, the founder of the Holy Roman Empire
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