Above: England and France, 1152-1327 Common Era
SAINT WILLIAM PINCHON (1175-1234)
a.k.a. Saint William of Saint-Brieuc
Roman Catholic Bishop
His feast transferred from July 29
July 29, on my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, is the sole province of the Feast of Sts. Mary and Martha of Bethany, Friends of Jesus. So, on my calendar, St. William Pinchon’s feast day is July 30, not July 29, when Rome recognizes his commemoration.
St. William Pinchon (1175-1234) was a Breton, a native of Brittany, a part of France which is historically, culturally, and linguistically distinct from the rest of that nation. A priest at Saint-Brieuc, Brittany, the saint became bishop of that diocese in 1220. He cared for the poor and had a reputation for holiness. These were not the reasons for his exile (1228-1230) to Poitiers.
Peter I, Duke of Brittany (reigned 1213-1237) liked power. He sought to seize church lands for himself. (Land has, as a matter of history, been a basis of wealth and power.) The bishops stymied these efforts. What the Duke could not take he tried to tax. The bishops stymied him again. The Duke even lived under an excommunication decree from 1219 to 1221. And the Duke, in his struggles against the Church, exiled St. William Pinchon for two years. Yet the saint returned to his diocese in 1230, dying there four years later.
The Roman Catholic Church canonized him in 1247.
My reading taught me that the Breton bishops controlled vast tracts of land and ran some cities. So I understand that the political reality was that ecclesiastical authority diminished ducal power. One might evaluate these facts one way through a post-Enlightenment and/or mainly Protestant lens yet differently through a more traditional Roman Catholic and/or pre-Enlightenment one. I grasp that fact, and I am not entirely unsympathetic to Duke Peter I. But was exile necessary?
KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR
JUNE 23, 2012 COMMON ERA
THE FEAST OF SAINT NICETAS OF REMESIANA, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP
THE FEAST OF WIREMU TAMIHANA, MAORI PROPHET AND KINGMAKER
Almighty God, you have raised up faithful bishops of your church,
including Saint William Pinchon.
May the memory of his life be a source of joy for us
and a bulwark of our faith,
so that we may serve and confess your name before the world,
through Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever. Amen.
Ezekiel 34:11-16 or Acts 20:17-35
1 Peter 5:1-4 or Ephesians 3:14-21
John 21:15-17 or Matthew 24:42-47
—Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60