Clovis' Canonical Investiture Precedent

Following King Clovis' marriage, Clotilde gave birth to a son. Possessing Christian beliefs and values, Clotilde desired baptism for her son, but Clovis was not inclined to do so. He was an Arian and worshiped Roman idols. Clotilde's strategy for baptizing her son had a twofold purpose. She had a strong Catholic belief in baptizing children, and she desired her husband's conversion. Rationalizing with Clovis, she would repeatedly confess her faith and berate his idol worshiping. "The gods whom you worship are no good," she said. "They are carved out of stone or wood or some old piece of metal. Take...Jupiter, that obscene perpetrator...who couldn't keep his hands off other men, who had his fun with all his female relatives, and couldn't even refrain from intercourse with his own sister...You ought instead to worship Him who created at a word and out of nothing heaven, and earth and the sea and all that therein is...by whose hand the race of man was made."

Clovis' response was simply, "All these things have been created and produced at the command of our gods. It is obvious that your God can do nothing, and, what is more , there is no proof that He is a God at all."

Unshakable in her faith, Clotilde designed to have her son baptized anyhow. In hope of convincing her husband of the truthfulness of Christianity, in preparation of the baptism, she adorned the church with curtains and decorations. The baptismal day came and her son was christened, named Ingomer, and immediately died. Clovis was furious. He retorted, "If he had been dedicated in the name of my gods, he would have lived without question, but now that he has been baptized in the name of your God he has not been able to live a single day!"

Despite the sorrow, Clotilde calmly and patiently proclaimed his death a blessing, "I give thanks to Almighty God the creator of all things...He has deigned to welcome to His kingdom a child conceived in my womb...I know that my child, who was called away from this world in his white baptismal robes, will be nurtured in the sight of God."

Following the death of Ingomer, Clotilde gave birth to another son. Despite Clovis' warning, their son was christened and named Chlodomer. Soon after, Chlodomer became ill. Immediately, Clovis angrily asked, "What else do you expect? It will happen to him as it happened to his brother: no sooner is he baptized in the name of your Christ than he will die!"

With hope and faith in her heart and mind, Clotilde prayed for Chlodomer's recovery and Clovis' conversion. Immediately after praying, her son recovered, but Clovis remained unconvinced. God didn't give up on Clovis and gave him another opportunity. Clovis' attention was diverted by a plea for military assistance.

King Sigibert the Lame's kingdom was under invasion by the Alamanni. The Alamanni kingdom was adjacent to the southeastern border of Gaul and was comprised of a confederation of Germanic tribes. King Sigibert ruled the Gaul borderland and the Ripuarian Franks.

Alamanni Map

(Image courtesy of https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/6e/Central_Europe_5th_Century.jpg)

King Sigibert tried in vane to repel the Alamanni, and the result was catastrophic. His army was decimated. With little hope of defending his kingdom, King Sigibert called upon Clovis and the Salian army. With a strong-willed and outspoken wife in Rheims, Clovis willfully responded. Near present day Zulpich, Clovis confronted the Alamanni at the second Battle of Tolbiac. The Alamanni were fierce warriors, and the battle was going badly for Clovis' army.


With eyes toward heaven and tears streaming down his cheeks, Clovis cried out, "Jesus Christ, you who Clotilde maintains to be the Son of the living God, you who deign to give help to those in travail and victory to those who trust in you, in faith I beg the glory of your help. If you will give me victory over my enemies, and if I may have evidence of that miraculous power...then I will believe in you and I will be baptized in your name. I have called upon my own gods, but...they have no intention of helping me. I therefore cannot believe that they possess any power...I now call upon you..."


Following Clovis' heavenly plea, the Alamanni king was killed, and his army surrendered. Clovis plea had been answered. At the request of the Alamanni soldiers, Clovis made a speech and called for peace. By the grace of God, the Alamanni had been subdued.

With peace in place, Clovis returned to Clotilde and recalled the battle's turning point. In the name of Jesus Christ, Clovis had won the battle. Without hesitation, Clotilde secretly summoned Bishop Remigius of Rheims and asked him to share his words of salvation with the king. Remigius did, and Clovis believed, but Clovis was concerned. His warriors were idol worshipers and would not forsake them. Clovis arranged a meeting with them to share his experience. With them assembled, and without uttering a word, the group shouted in unison, "We will give up worshiping our mortal gods, pious King, and we are prepared to follow the immortal God about whom Remigius preaches."

Bishop Remigius of Rheims

(Image courtesy of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Remigius#/media/File:Simpelveld-Kerk-beeld_Remigius.JPG)

Soon after, the Rheims cathedral was adorned with decorations and the fragrant aroma of incense. Prior to his baptism, Clovis acknowledged the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost and was marked with the chrism. Following Clovis' baptism, three thousand of his soldiers and his two sisters, Albofled and Lanthechild, were baptized. Following this sacred occasion, Albofled died. Unlike his reaction after Ingomer's death, Clovis calmly listened to Bishop Remigius solemn words of peace and comfort.

Ivory Book Cover Depicting Clovis' Baptism

(Image courtesy of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clovis_I#/media/File:Saint_Remy_baptise_Clovis_d%C3%A9tail.jpg)

Clovis' baptism established a royal precedent for all future French kings. Bishop Remigius had created canonical investiture. Kings were more than just military leaders. Canonical investiture endowed kings religious leaders.

#Arian #baptism #Jupiter #Christianity #Ingomer #Chlodomer #SigiberttheLame #Alamanni #Ripuarian #Rheims #Zulpich #BattleofTolbiac #Jesus #Christ #Remigius #chrism #Albofled #Lanthechild #investiture

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