Above: Gaul in 587
SAINT SYRAGIUS OF AUTUN (DIED CIRCA 600)
Roman Catholic Bishop
His feast transferred from August 27
SAINT ANACHARIUS (A.K.A. AUNARIUS) OF AUXERRE (DIED CIRCA 603)
Roman Catholic Bishop
His feast transferred from September 25
SAINT VALERY (A.K.A. WALERICUS) OF LEUCONE (DIED CIRCA 622)
Roman Catholic Abbot
Alternative feast day = December 12
sent on a mission by
SAINT EUSTACE OF LEXEUIL (CIRCA 560-CIRCA 629)
Roman Catholic Abbot
His feast transferred from March 29
Holiness can be contagious; pass it on! These saints did.
St. Syragius of Autun (died circa 600), Bishop of Autun from circa 561 until his death in 600, traveled with Guntram, the Merovingian King of Burgundy from 561 to 592, to Nanterre, site of the baptism (in 591) of Guntram’s nephew, Clotaire/Lothair II, King of Neustria starting in 584 and of all Franks from 613 to 629. The saint also provided shelter to St. Augustine of Canterbury and his traveling companions, en route to a papal mission to evangelize England. And St. Syragius ordained St. Anacharius to the priesthood.
Guntram, by the way, is a saint in the Roman Catholic Church; his feast day is March 28. I do not feel qualified to write about him yet, for I need to read more deeply in Merovingian history first. I can repeat facts, but I need more background to make sense of them. I do know the following, however: Merovingian Francia was an unstable place most of the time, as there was seldom one king. A monarch divided the realm among his sons upon his death, and much civil strife resulted. Of the four sons of Clotaire I (died 561), Guntram seems to have been the best egg. More about Guntram: link and link.
St. Valery (or Walericus) (died circa 622), born at Auvergne, grew up a peasant and a shepherd. Tending sheep gave him much time to pray, but he preferred the religious life. So he became a Benedictine monk. The austerity at Autumo Monastery proved insufficient for his tastes, so the saint transferred to St. Germanus Abbey, near Auxerre, where St. Anacharius received him.
Of St. Anacharius I wish I could know more. Some sources say that he became Bishop of Auxerre in 561; others have him born in 573. And he died in 603 or 604, depending on the source one consults. He does seem to have been of noble birth and to have grown up in the court of King Guntram. The bishop is noted for insisting on certain liturgical prayers and litanies at certain times. As a ritualist, I like that fact.
Later St. Valery transferred to the monastery at Luxeuil, where St. Columban was abbot. There is a stereotype, not without historical basis, of fat and drunk monks during the Middle Ages. St. Valery was not one of those. And his austerity seems to have increased with time. King Theodoric II of Burgundy (reigned 595-613) plus Austrasia (612-613) banished St. Columban in 610, for the abbot’s denunciation of royal vices made a powerful enemy.
The new abbot at Luxeuil was St. Eustace (circa 560-circa 629), as of 611. (St. Valery was in charge temporarily during the interregnum at the abbey.) St. Eustace sent St. Valery and another monk, Waldolanus, to evangelize in Neustria. There, in 611, Clotaire/Lothair II gave them land at Leucone. There they founded a monastery, of which St. Valery became the first abbot. He, by words and deeds, make many converts.
And what of Clotaire/Lothair II? The 1968 Encyclopedia Britannica, citing a chronicle, describes him as being
well-informed, devout, upright, and a benefactor of the church, but immoderately fond of hunting and unduly susceptible to feminine wiles. (Volume 5, page 941)
But at least he gave land on which St. Valery built a monastery.
KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR
JANUARY 14, 2012 COMMON ERA
THE FEAST OF SAINTS MACRINA THE ELDER, BASIL THE ELDER, EMILIA, NAUCRATIUS, AND PETER OF SEBASTE, FAITHFUL CHRISTIANS OVER THREE GENERATIONS
THE FEAST OF CIVIL RIGHTS MARTYRS AND ACTIVISTS
THE FEAST OF RICARDO MONTALBAN, ACTOR
THE FEAST OF SAINT SAVA, FOUNDER OF THE SERBIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH
you have built up your Church
through the love and devotion of your saints;
we give you thanks for your servants
Saint Syragius of Autun,
Saint Anacharius of Auxerre,
Saint Valery of Leucone, and
Saint Eustace of Luxeuit,
whom we commemorate today.
Inspire us to follow their examples
that like them we may in our day rejoice
in the vision of your glory;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Psalm 34 or 119:1-8
2 Corinthians 4:11-18
—A New Zealand Prayer Book (1989), pages 686-687