AKMA asked on the post below why I was equating Ardo’s use of “prelates” to “confessors” in the discussion of the place of St Martin. There’s a good answer for that but it takes more space than I can get in a com-box so I’m moving it here to a new post.
The short answer is that Ardo seems to be utilizing the traditional Carolingian framework for Commons and Martin fits into the “Confessor” slot, in the Carolingian West “Confessor” was regularly assumed to mean “clergy” and preeminently “bishop”, and St Martin (of Tours, naturally) is noted as a bishop and confessor in the Carolingian kalendars, was one of the great heroes of the monastic West, and thus the exemplar of his category.
Now I’ll trot out the evidence that supports all of this…
First, let’s note that Ardo is utilizing a common trope but is using “prettified” language that may obscure the trope a little for those not used to his sources.
Dipping into the Latin (I’m relying here on PL 103, col. 565A [this whole bit is in Migne’s section 26]), it reads: “Petrus et Paulus capita sunt apostolorum; Stephanus protomartyr principatum tenet in choro testium; Martinus vero gemma refulget praesulum; Benedictus cunctorum est Pater monachorum.”
In a standard sacramentary, lectionary, or homiliary, the entries for the Temporale and Sanctorale would be followed by a group of generic templates for use in celebrating local or, at least, non-universal saints. They were arranged in order of their liturgical importance and came with both singular and plural versions—Common of One Apostle, of Many Apostles, of One Martyr, of Many Martyrs, of One Confessor, of Many Confessors, of One Virgin, and of Many Virgins. The commune sanctorum was never a completely formalized set, however. Nevertheless, the order above is the exact order given in the Missal of Robert of Jumieges and is the standard order of the Hadrianum supplement which recent scholarship (cf. Vogel) has identified as the very work of Benedict of Aniane rather than Alcuin as earlier believed.
So, in the little snippet quoted above Ardo gives us Apostles, Martyrs but uses the flowery term “in choro testium”, then [Martin] using the term “praesulum”, then monks. The order seems to me to mirror the usual commons even if he’s not explicitly using the usual terms.
Moving to other points of evidence, we need to look at the hymns appointed for All Saints. Again, I know the English sources best and have them to hand, so here are the hymns of the Durham Hymnal which is from the Frankish New Hymnal promulgated in Carolingian times:
|Hymn 98: Ymnus in Festiviate Omnnium Sanctorum
|Festiva saeclis colitur dies sanctorum omnium,
qui regnant in cęlestibus, Iesu tecum feliciter.
|The feast day of All Saints is celebrated in all the world, the day of those who reign happily in the heavenly regions together with you, o Jesus.|
|Hos invocamus cernui teque, redemptor omnium.
Illis tibique supplices preces gementes fundimus.
|It is these we invoke with bowed heads and it is also you, redeemer of all. As suppliants we address prayers to them and to you, sighing the while.|
|Iesu, salvator saeculi, redemptis ope subveni
&, pia genitrix salutem posce miseris.
|Jesus, saviour of the world, assist and aid those whom you redeemed and you, loving mother of God, demand salvation for the wretched.|
|Caetus omnes angelici, patriarchum cunei
& prophetarum merita nobis pręcentur veniam.
|May all the hosts of angels and the troops of patriarchs and the prophets by virtue of their merits pray for forgiveness unto us.|
|Baptista Christi pręvius & claviger æthereus
cum ceteris apostolis nos salvant nexu criminis.
|May the Baptist who preceded Christ and the bearer of the keys to heaven release us from the bonds of sin in concert with the other apostles.|
|Chorus sacratus Martyrum confessio sacerdotum
& virginalis castitas nos a peccatis abluant.
|May the holy choir of the martyrs and the priests by virtue of their being confessors and the maidens by virtue of their chastity purify us of our transgressions.|
|Monachorum suffragia omnesque cives celici
annuant vota supplicum & vitę poscant premium.
|May the intercession of the monks and may all the citizens of heaven grant the requests of the suppliants and ask the reward of life for them.|
|Laus, honor, virtus, Gloria deo patri & filio
simul cum sancto spiritu in sempiterna sęcula.
|Praise, honour, might and glory be to God, the Father and the Son together with the Holy Spirit in eternity.|
This hymn is a perfect example of the Carolingian configuration of the Saints. Its point of departure is clearly the Te Deum; stanza 4 hits the main categories, then we expand from there (Note John the Baptist in 5). Stanza 6 has the brief “confessio sacerdotum” which Millful in her translation expands as “the priests by virtue of their being confessors”. That is reading a bit into it, but given the later evidence, I’ll present I don’t think it’s a stretch.
|Hymn 99: Ymnus ad Nocturnam|
|Christe, redemptor omnium, conserva tuo famulos
beatae semper virginis placates sanctis precibus.
|Christ, redeemer of all men, preserve your servants, placated by the holy prayers of the perpetual virgin, blessed Mary.|
|Beata quoque agmina caelestium spirituum,
preterita, pręsentia, futura mala pellite.
|You also, blessed troops of celestial spirits, dispel evils past, present and to come.|
|Vates aeterni iudicis apostolique domini,
suppliciter exposcimus salvari vestries precibus.
|You prophets of the eternal judge and you apostles of the Lord, humbly we beg to be saved by means of your prayers.|
|Martyres dei incliti confessors lucidi,
vestries orationibus nos ferte in cęlestibus.
|You renowned martyrs of God and resplendent confessors, convey us into the heavenly regions by your appeals.|
|Chorus sanctarum virginum monachorumque omnium,
simul cum sanctis omnibus consortes Christi facite.
|You choir of holy virgins and all monks, let us be partakers in Christ together with all the saints.|
|Gentem auferte perfidum credentium de finibus,
ut Christi laudes debitas persolvamus alacriter.
|Move the heathen infidels away from the borders of the faithful so that we may gladly offer up the praise we owe to Christ.|
|Gloria patri ingenito eiusque unigenito
una cum sancto spiritu in sempiterna secula.
|Glory be to the Father who was not begotten, and to his only-begotten Son together with the Holy Ghost in eternity.|
Here the confessors aren’t more explicitly identified, but we are once again given the standard framework which moves from apostles, to martyrs, to confessors to virgins/monks.
Moving to the two sermons I mentioned before, the Ps-Bede “Legimus in ecclesiasticis historiis” identifies the confessors quite explicitly as clergy: “Christi vero sacerdotibus atque doctoribus sive confessoribus huius festivitatem diei non ignotam esse credimus.” I don’t have the full text in front of me at the moment but Aelfric’s sermon uses “Legimus” as a starting place. Following his section on martyrs he moves to his section on confessors:
After the cessation of the cruel persecutions of kings and governors, holy priests of God prospered under peaceful conditions for God’s church. They, by true learning and holy example, pointed men of the nations to God’s joys. Their minds were pure and filled with chastity, and they worshiped God almighty with clean hands at his altar glorifying the holy sacrament of Christ’s body and his blood. They also offered themselves as living sacrifices to God without wicked or sexually perverse works. They established God’s teaching among their underlings as a permanent deposit and inclined their minds with compulsion and prayers and great diligence to life’s way and not for any worldly thing scorned the proper fear of God. Though they did not experience the persecution of the sword yet through the merit of their lives they were not deprived of martyrdom because martyrdom is accomplished not in blood alone but also in abstinence from sins and in the application of God’s commands.
After these follow hermits and solitaries. . . . (CH I.36, ll. 89-104)
When these four items are put in parallel, they look like this:
|Hymn 98||Hymn 99||“Legimus”||CH I.36|
|Blessed Virgin Mary||Blessed Virgin Mary|
|John the Baptist||John the Baptist||John the Baptist|
|Key-bearing Peter and other Apostles||Apostles||Apostles (with mention of the power of the keys)||Apostles (with mention of the power of the keys)|
|Blessed Virgin Mary||Blessed Virgin Mary|
So—that’s why I feel entirely justified in conflating “prelates” with “confessors”.
 Both the text and the translation are taken from Millful, 358-360.
 Legimus conflates virgins and monks by stating that “an innumerable multitude of both sexes followed in her footsteps (innumerabilis utriusque sexus multitudo eius sequebatur uestigia)” (ll. 171-2).