Berthold of Calabria

Saint Berthold
Born Limoges, France
Died ~1195 AD
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church
Feast March 29

Berthold of Calabria (French: Berthold de Malifaye; Latin: Bertoldus Calabriensis; died 1195) was a Norman French crusader who established a hermit colony on Mount Carmel in 1185.[1][2] He was introduced into Carmelite literature around the 15th century as Saint Berthold of Mount Carmel and is said to have been a general of the Order before Brocard.[3]

Berthold was a son of the Count of Limoges and was born in Malifaye in southwest France. The label "Calabrian" was a contemporary euphemism for "Westerner."[4] Berthold was a nephew of Aymeric of Malifaye, the Latin patriarch of Antioch.[5][6]

Berthold went to the Holy Land as part of the Crusades and was in Antioch when it was besieged by the Saracens. During this time he had a vision of Christ denouncing the soldiers' evil ways. At the time, hermits from the West were scattered throughout Palestine.[6] Some accounts hold that in 1185 he came to Mount Carmel, built a small chapel there and gathered a community of hermits who would live at his side in imitation of the prophet Elijah. This community may have given rise to the Order of Carmelites, but this is not supported by evidence and is discounted by historians of the Order. Berthold lived out his days on Mount Carmel, ruling the community he had founded for forty-five years until his death in 1195.[6]

Tradition holds that he was accepted as leader of the hermits by St. Brocard. His feast day is celebrated on March 29.

See also


  1. The medieval and Reformation church Hubert Jedin, John Patrick Dolan, David Larrimore Holland - 1993 - Page 104 "In 1247 Innocent IV included the Carmelites among the mendicant orders. Simon Stock became their first general (1247-65) but their origins go back to the twelfth century, to a hermit colony, which the crusader, Berthold of Calabria (d. 1195) had instituted on Mount Carmel in 1185. ."
  2. Philip Schaff History of the Christian Church, Volume V: The Middle Ages. 1966 "Our first trustworthy notice is derived from Phocas, a Greek monk, who visited Mt. Carmel in 1185. Berthold of Calabria, a Crusader, made a vow under the walls of Antioch that in case the Christians were victorious over Zenki, he would devote himself to the monastic life. The prayer was answered, and Berthold with ten companions ..."
  3. Staring, Adrian. "Brocard", carmelnet
  4. Peter-Thomas Rohrbach Journey to Carith: The Sources and Story of the Discalced ... 2007- Page 37 "He was a Calabrian, a literary euphemism for “Western,” and tradition claims that he was a Frenchman from Malifaye in ... He was a nephew of Aymeric of Malifaye, the Latin patriarch of Antioch, a man to whom the Carmelite writers of the ..
  5. Juniper B. Carol Mariology 1961 "About 1155, a Crusader from Calabria, Berthold of Malifaye, son of the Count of Limoges, with ten companions retired to Mt. Carmel and began living there as a hermit."
  6. 1 2 3 Stevens, Clifford. The One Year Book of Saints, Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Division, Our Sunday Visitor, Inc., Huntington, Indiana

External links

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