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There is a story that Irish or Anglosaxon monks had to rebaptize the people in Gaul, because they had been baptized "in nomine patris et filiae" (instead of of filii). I have seen it mentioned several times, including Umberto's Eco's Name of the Rose. The trouble is that I can not find the original source, and suspect that it is a medievist's practical joke. Anyone any thoughts?
Are you sure it even predates Eco?
It most certainly predates Eco. The story is associated with the early Carolingian dynasty and refers to an unknown priest active in Bavaria. The validity of the Sacrament was an issue of contention between Vergilius of Salzburg and Boniface

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15353d.htm

The story is described in Bonifatii Epistula 32, at least as far as I can see ATM.

An English translation is found here:

http://www.saintboniface.info/home/

Quote:Zacharias, servant of the servants of God, to his very reverend and holy brother and fellow-bishop, Boniface.


We have heard from Virgilius[[1]] and Sedonius, men of religious life in Bavaria, that you have ordered them to confer Baptism for a second time on certain Christians. This report has caused us some anxiety and, if the facts are true, has greatly surprised us. They told us that there was a certain priest in that province who knew no Latin at all, and who at the ceremony of Baptism, through ignorance of Latin grammar, made the mistake of saying:"Baptizo te in nomine patria. et filia et spiritus Sancti", and for this reason you considered a second Baptism to be necessary. But, very reverend brother, if the minister intended no error or heresy, but simply through ignorance made a slip in Latin, we cannot agree to a repetition of the baptismal rite. For, as you are well aware, even a person who has been baptized by a heretic in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, does not need to be baptized over again, but is merely absolved by the laying on of hands. If, then, the case is really such as the report makes out, you must no longer [120] issue instructions to this effect. You must endeavour to conform to the teaching and preaching of the Fathers of the Church.
Thanks Volker!