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Blessed Peter Igneus

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(Peter Aldobrandini.)

An Italian monk of the Benedictine congregation of the Vallombrosians, and Cardinal-Bishop of Albano ; d. [8 Feb.,] 1089. The struggle waged against simony in the eleventh century led to violent scenes in several Italian cities. At Florence Bishop Peter Mezzobarbo, known also as Peter of Pavia, was publicly accused of simoniacal acquisition of the episcopal dignity. As he strenuously denied the charge and had numerous and prominent supporters, the controversy caused intense agitation at Florence. The Vallombrosian monks were his chief accusers, and upon the insistence of the people for proof, the judgment of God, or trial by fire, was resorted to. The Abbot St. John Gualbert designated for the test Peter Aldobrandini, who successfully underwent the ordeal (1068), hence called "Igneus", or Fire-tried. This triumph of the monks was followed by confession on the part of the bishop. Peter Igneus subsequently became abbot, and in 1074 Cardinal-Bishop of Albano. During the pontificate of Gregory VII he was entrusted with important missions. In 1079 he proceeded to Germany as papal legate with the Bishop of Padua to mediate between the rivals Henry IV and Rudolf of Suabia. Upon the renewal of the excommunication against Henry IV at Salerno in 1084, Gregory VII designated him as one of the two envoys sent to France for the promulgation of the sentence.

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