Abbot Suger wasn’t the only important clergyman that inhabited St Denis Basilica
Abbot Fulrad played a huge part in the rise of the Pipinids.......
His political activities include a mission as co ambassador with the bishop of Wurzburg to pope Zachary in 749, this trip prepared the way both for the depositon of the merovingians and for the elevation of the Pipinids, Carolingians. Pepin was anointed in 751 and a second consecration took place at St Denis in 754 during the visit of Pope Stephen II.
In recognition of Fulrads services, pepin gave him the title capellanus of the royal chapel, having already made him abbot of Saint Denis in 750. As Fulrad was the chief mediator between the king and the Clergy this made him a very important man.
Pope Stephen arrived in Paris in 754 and Pepin installed the Pope and his retinue at St Denis where they stayed for some time (7 months?). As a temporary residence of the pope the abbey must have been held in high esteem. Pope Stephen declared that he had undergone a miraculous recovery from a serious illness while at St Denis and pepin held Fulrad in high esteem for his exemplary work as abbot, ambassador and capellanus (chaplain). The hospitality he extended to the pope and his willingness to accompany him on his return journey to Italy no doubt won him favour. It is certain that St Denis under abbot Fulrad was in political and ecclesiastical favour at the time and this suggests St Denis stood at the centre of political and liturgical reform of great consequence.
Fulrad became a Benedictine and founded monasteries in Lievre, Saint Hippolyte and Salone. He was elected abbot of St Denis in 750 and from then on he was identified with the Carolingian court. He served in office under Pepin, Carloman and Charlemagne. In the year he was elected to Abbot he went to Rome with St Burchard to secure from Pope Zachary the approval of making Pepin king of the Franks, he also acted for Pepin in 756 in turning over the exarchate of Ravenna to the Holy see. This was the early seeds of the papal states and helped in setting up the Frankish kings as supporters of the Pope rather than the byzantine emperor which would transform the future of Europe.In 750, Pippin III - now the sole Mayor - sent two emissaries to Rome to ask Pope Zacharias: how should a ruler enjoying no power rightly continue to bear the title king? Such a call to Rome illuminates a strategic side to Pippin’s thinking; his choice of emissaries reveals much regarding his influences and motivations. One emissary was an Englishman called Burghard. Englishmen, such as St. Boniface, had been conducting missionary work with the support of Charles Martel, and there is no indication that Pippin ever withdrew this support. English practice and sympathy would have regarded a rex sine potestate, “a king without power”, as an anathema, and the spread of such views might have been sponsored by people such as Boniface. It would certainly have been expedient for Boniface to support any Carolingian move in that direction; he needed their assistance for his missionary work. The other emissary was a Frank named Fulrad, Abbot of the Merovingian monastery of St. Denis. Both Pippin III and Carloman I had been educated at St Denis, and Fulrad was one of Pippin’s closest advisers. The choice of Fulrad reflects Pippin’s need to gain the support of the Merovingian church for his intended action. The Merovingians themselves had earned the gratitude of the Catholic church in the time of Clovis I, and both church and crown enjoyed a special relationship. The church had on the whole benefited from Merovingian patronage, and, being a conservative institution, would not easily have abandoned their old benefactors. Without the approval of the church, no amount of secular support would have won Pippin the throne. The visible support of the St. Denis community, represented by Fulrad, would have been decisive in swaying the loyalties of the church from the Merovingians to the Carolingians.
Pippin’s request would have also been in keeping with Papal and scriptural tradition: kings should be seen to rule, as Old Testament kings had ruled. In addition, Pippin’s envoy had caught the Pope at a critical time. The Lombards were threatening Rome from the north, and the Papacy had need of a protector. The Franks, under the Carolingians, were the most secure and powerful Christian state at the time; it was in the interests of Pope Zacharias, and his successor Stephen II, that the Carolingians be strengthened in their power by being given the kingship. The Merovingians could no longer provide what was needed for the church. Thus, according to the Continuator of the Chronicle of Fredegar, Papal sanction was given and Pippin, with the consent of all the Franks, was “consecrated by the bishops and received the homage of the great men”. Childeric III and his son were tonsured and sent off to a monastery. Wallace-Hadrill argues that the coronation ritual possibly compensated not so much for the lack of royal blood, but for the loss of face for breaking an oath of fidelity. It eased the consciences of both the Carolingians and the Frankish people. With this new rite, they could uphold the institution of kingship without the “blood of Meroveus”. Therefore, the Merovingian dynasty could now be replaced.