Pope Innocent III (1198-1216)
research by Keith H. Kendall, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Northern Michigan University
|Innocent III's Sermon Collection|
III (1198-1216) published a collection of 60+ sermons sometime in 1203
or 1204. This sermon collection was widely distributed in the
following centuries, and it exists - as a complete collection, partial
collection, or individual sermons in other sermon collections - in over
80 manuscripts throughout Europe. This website is dedicated to
publishing working copies of selected sermons from Innocent III's
collection both as editions and in English translations. I welcome
your suggestions or feedback for these works in progress at
|Sermon Collection Prologue|
dedicated the collection to Arnald, Abbot of Cīteaux, who became active
in the preaching program that was sponsored by Innocent in Languedoc
against the Cathars. Arnald later became the papal legate for the
Albigensian Crusade as well as the Archbishop of Narbonne. In the prologue
Innocent presented his high regard for the office of preaching as
well as his insistence that the holiness of a preacher's words and life match.
|Sermon: Puer natus est nobis (Unto us a child is born)|
sermon couples an exposition of the Incarnation with an exaltation of
Christ, one of Innocent's constant themes in the sermon collection.
It also includes a mention of Jews; Innocent III mentioned Jews in
nearly one-third of the sermons in the collection, and he exhibited the
widespread anti-Semitism of his time and place.
|Sermon: Qui habet sponsam (He who has the bride)|
of the metaphor of marriage to describe the relationship between a
bishop and a church was one of Innocent III's contributions to
ecclesiastical theory. This sermon not only offers a glimpse into
that metaphor but also presents aspects of Innocent's understanding of
papal primacy. In addition, this edition corrects errors in previous
print editions of the sermon, including a scribal error that seemed to
indicate a certain date for the original delivery of this sermon (on the
first anniversary of Innocent's consecration as pope), when in fact the
oldest manuscript versions of the sermon do not contain this
The first page of the Latin edition for this sermon lists manuscripts that contain Innocent III's sermon collection. The manuscript names crossed out indicate that Qui habet sponsam does not exist in that sermon collection. The manuscripts that are checked off show which manuscripts have been consulted in bringing together this working edition.