Feast of St. Desiderius/Didier of Vienne (May 23)   Leave a comment

Above:  Map of Gaul in 587 Common Era

SAINT DESIDERIUS/DIDIER OF VIENNE (DIED 607)

Roman Catholic Bishop

Born at Autun, Gaul, St. Desiderius/Didier became Bishop of Vienne.  In that office he enforced clerical discipline and condemned simony.  Yet Queen Brunhildis of Austrasia caused him him extreme trouble.  “Extreme” is a frequently overused and misused word.  One can, for example, purchase the Extreme Teen Bible, which promises to make a young person’s Bible study more “extreme” than ever.  That use of the word is very annoying.  But, when I use that word, I mean it seriously, not tritely.

Brunhildis, of Spanish Visigothic origin, was the mother of King Childebert II of Austrasia then Austrasia and Burgundy (reigned 575-595), grandmother of King Theodoric II of Burgundy then Burgundy and Austrasia (reigned 595-613), and great-grandmother of King Sigebert II  of Austrasia and Burgundy (reigned 613).  She was a chronic schemer and a royal with a notoriously immoral court.  St. Desiderius/Didier condemned her deeds.  In reaction she accused the saint of paganism, but Pope St. Gregory I “the Great” (reigned 590-604) (https://neatnik2009.wordpress.com/2009/09/25/feast-of-st-gregory-the-great-march-12/) cleared him.  Then the Queen banished St. Desiderius/Didier, who returned after four years.  Shortly thereafter agents of Theodoric II, a monarch whom the saint had criticized, murdered the bishop.

Now for the rest of the story….

Brunhildis engineered the death of one of her grandsons, Theudebert II of Austrasia (reigned 595-612) by his brother, Theodoric II of Burgundy.  Theodoric died in 613 and Brunhildis named her great-grandson, Sigebert II, to the throne of both Austrasia and Burgundy.  Then Lothair/Clotaire II of Neustria (reigned 584-629) united the Frankish kingdoms by seizing Austrasia and Burgundy and by executing Brunhildis, who was nearly 80 years old.  Merovingian dynastic infighting was notorious; the saint did not survive it.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 18, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ROGER WILLIAMS, FOUNDER OF RHODE ISLAND

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Holy and righteous God, you created us in your image.

Grant us grace to contend fearlessly against evil and to make no peace with oppression.

Help us, like your servant Saint Desiderious/Didier of Vienne,

to work for justice among people and nations, to the glory of your name,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-15

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60

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