Abbot of Stavelot, Malmedy, and Corvey, b. near Stavelot in Belgium in 1098; d. at Bitolia in Paphlagonia, July 19, 1158, while returning from an imperial embassy to Constantinople
Wibald, Abbot of Stavelot (Stablo), Malmedy, and Corvey, b. near Stavelot in Belgium in 1098; d. at Bitolia in Paphlagonia, July 19, 1158, while returning from an imperial embassy to Constantinople. He studied at the monastic schools at Stavelot and Liege, and entered the Benedictine monastery at Waulsort near Namur in 1117. After presiding for some time over the monastic school at Waulsort he went to the monastery at Stavelot and in 1130 was elected Abbot of Stavelot and Malmedy. On October 22, 1146, he was also elected Abbot of Corvey and four months later the convents at Fischbeck and Kemnade were annexed to Corvey by the emperor. During the abbacy of Wibald the monastery of Stavelot reached the period of its greatest fame, and at Corvey the monastic discipline which had been on the decline was again restored. Wibald was one of the most influential councillors of the emperors Lothaire and Conrad III. Combining true patriotism with a submissive devotion to the Holy See, he used his great influence to preserve harmony between the emperors and the popes. In 1137 he accompanied Lothaire on a military expedition to Italy and through the emperor's influence was elected Abbot of Monte Cassino. When, however, King Roger of Sicily threatened to destroy the monastery unless Wibald resigned the abbacy, he returned to Stavelot, having been Abbot of Monte Cassino only forty days. During the reign of Conrad III (1138-52) Wibald became still more influential. All the emperor's negotiations with the Apostolic See were carried on by Wibald, and he visited Rome on eight different occasions on imperial embassies. The emperor would enter upon no political undertaking without consulting the abbot. In 1147 he took part in the unsuccessful expedition against the Wends. During the absence of Conrad III in Palestine (1147-49) he was tutor of the emperor's young son Henry, but seems to have had little to do with the political affairs of Germany during that period. Conrad's successor, Frederick Barbarossa, also esteemed him highly and it was chiefly due to the abbot's influence that during his lifetime the harmony between the emperor and the pope was preserved. Wibald accompanied Barbarossa on his expedition to Italy in 1152 and was sent by him on a mission to Constantinople in 1154 and again in 1157. His sudden death on his second journey back from Constantinople gave rise to the suspicion that he was poisoned by the Greeks. More than 400 of Wibald's epistles are still extant. They begin with the year 1146 and have become the chief source for the history of Conrad III and the early reign of Barbarossa. The best edition was prepared by Jaffe, "Monumenta Corbeiensia" in "Bibliotheca rerum Germ.", I (Berlin, 1864), 76-602. They are also printed in P.L., CLXXXIX, 1121-1458.