Priest Liprando

Priest Liprando or Liutprando was born in Milan area at a un unknown date.

He is a close companion of St. Erlembard, leader of a religious movement called “Pataria”; the reform movement begun in 1057 with the preaching by St. Arialdo. There are many riots led by the two priests, armed with swords and crosses. From 1072 Erlembard’s despotic attitudes, and a fire that the people’s voice attributed to a divine punishment against the reformers, leads to the exile of priests linked to the movement. Erlembard is killed, while in Liprando are cut ears and nose.

Nonetheless, Liprando does not abandon the reform initiative and continues Arialdo’s work to promote community life by setting up in Pons Guinizeli, the church of the Holy Trinity.

When Archbishop Grossolano is elected in 1102, Liprando asks Pope Urban II for a formal confirmation; There is a direct confrontation with Grossolano, which among others prohibits Liprando from singing and calling mass. During this synod Liprando accuses Grossolan of simony:

per munus a manu, per munus a lingua, per munus ab obsequio

and announces he is ready to go through a fire judgement to prove his accusations.

The ordeal takes place on March 25, 1103 in front of St.Ambrogio church; Liprando faces it and overtakes it, while Grossolano leaves the city and is hosted in Rome by Pope Pasquale II. Two years later the Pope summons a new synod asking Liprando to retract; The priest refuses but admits that he is the one to blame for having launched the ordeal, thus securing Grossolano’s reintegration into the Ambrosian church.

Liprando returns to officiate, in the church St.Paul in Compito but falls ill and takes refuge in Civate. He is back in Milan in 1107.

In 1112 Grossolano is deposed and replaced by Giordano da Clivio, appointed by the city authorities.

Feeling close to death, he moves to the Monastery of St. James in Pontida where he dies between 6 and 7 January 1113.

Of the works and life of Liprando wrote Landolfo Iuniore, also known as Landolfo di San Paolo, nephew of Liprando, who starts his Mediolanensis History ab anno MXCV usque ad annum MCXXXVI with the arrival of Anselmo da Bovisio, the newly-named bishop of Milan (3 November 1097).

Almost a millennium later, in 1965, Enzo Jannacci and Nobel prize winner Dario Fo write a ballad entirely dedicated to priest Liprando who challenges the archbishop’s power in the fire judgement.