Above: St. Odilo of Cluny
Image in the Public Domain
SAINT ODILO OF CLUNY (CIRCA 962-JANUARY 1, 1049)
Roman Catholic Abbot
Alternative feast days = January 1, January 3, January 19, February 6, April 29, and May 11
St. Odilo of Cluny, a native of Auvergne, came from French nobility. His father was Berald de Mercoeur. His mother was Gerberga, who entered a convent after Berald died. At the age of 29 years St. Odilo became a monk at the great monastery of Cluny. Three years later, in 994, he became the abbot. Our saint held that post for 54 years.
St. Odilo was an influential figure. In 998 he pioneered the observance of All Souls’ Day (November 2), set aside to remember and pray for the dead. He also sold church treasures and property to raise funds to feed the poor during famine. Furthermore, our saint promoted the Truce of God, or the suspension of military hostilities at certain Church-defined times, for the purpose of permitting essential commerce to resume. Another aspect of the Truce of God was respecting churches as places of refuge. The penalty for violating the Truce of God was excommunication. St. Odilo also increased the number of Cluniac priories from 37 to 65 and declined the opportunity to become the Archbishop of Lyon.
Part of our saint’s job entailed traveling from Cluniac priory to Cluniac priory. He was inspecting the priory at Souvigny when he died on January 1, 1049.
If you, O reader, have attended an All Saints’ Day (or, as we call it in The Episcopal Church, Commemoration of All Faithful Departed) service, you have experienced the influence of St. Odilo of Cluny.
As for the Truce of God, it sounds like a fine idea to me.
KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR
NOVEMBER 11, 2016 COMMON ERA
THE FEAST OF SAINT MARTIN OF TOURS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP
THE FEAST OF ANNE STEELE, FIRST IMPORTANT ENGLISH HYMN WRITER
O God, by whose grace your servant St. Odilo of Cluny, kindled with the flame of your love,
became a burning and a shining light in your Church:
Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline,
and walk before you as children of light;
through Jesus Christ our Lord who lives and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Psalm 113 or 34:1-8 or 119:161-168
2 Corinthians 6:1-10
–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 723