dimanche 2 décembre 2012

Saint ÉLOI (ELIGIUS) de NOYON (1er décembre), évêque et confesseur

Saint Éloi

Évêque de Noyon

(590-659)

Saint Éloi naquit à Chaptelat, à deux lieux de Limoges. Dès son enfance, il se montra si habile aux travaux manuels, que son père le plaça comme apprenti chez le maître de la Monnaie de Limoges. Ses premières oeuvres révélèrent son talent précoce, et, au bout de quelques années, Éloi n'avait pas de rival dans l'art de travailler les métaux. Ses sentiments religieux et ses vertus le rendirent plus recommandable encore que ses talents; on ne se lassait pas d'admirer sa franchise, sa prudence, sa douceur, sa charité.

Le roi Clotaire II, ayant entendu parler de lui, le fit venir à la cour, lui commanda un trône d'or orné de pierreries, et à cet effet lui donna une quantité d'or. Le travail fini, Éloi se présenta devant le roi et lui montra le trône. Clotaire s'extasiait devant ce chef-d'oeuvre; mais quelle ne fut pas sa stupéfaction, quand Éloi fit apporter un autre trône aussi beau que le premier, fait aussi avec l'or qu'il avait reçu! Sur-le-champ, Éloi fut nommé grand argentier du royaume, et le roi le garda près de lui.

Jusque là, notre Saint avait aimé le luxe; touché d'une grâce de choix, il se détacha des vanités du monde et vécut au milieu des richesses comme un pauvre de Jésus-Christ. Son plaisir était de faire de belles châsses pour les reliques des Saints. Mais surtout il aimait les pauvres. On ne saurait se figurer tous les trésors qui passèrent par ses mains dans le sein des indigents. Aussi, quand des étrangers demandaient à le voir, on leur répondait: "Allez en telle rue, et arrêtez-vous à la maison où vous verrez une foule de mendiants: c'est là sa demeure!" Éloi lavait les pieds des pauvres, les servait de ses propres mains, ne prenait que la dernière place et ne mangeait que leurs restes. Quelle leçon pour les hommes de notre temps, qui parlent tant de l'émancipation des classes ouvrières et vivent dans les jouissances égoïstes! Quand Éloi n'avait plus d'argent, il donnait ses meubles et jusqu'à sa ceinture, son manteau, ses souliers.

L'amitié d'Éloi avec le roi Dagobert, successeur de Clotaire II, est devenue légendaire. Un jour Éloi vint lui dire: "Mon prince, je viens vous demander une grâce; donnez-moi la terre de Solignac, afin que je fasse une échelle par laquelle, vous et moi, nous méritions de monter au Ciel." Le roi y consentit volontiers; le Saint y bâtit un monastère. Jamais in ne se fit moine; mais il aimait à visiter les moines et à vivre, de temps en temps, quelques jours avec eux, pour s'édifier de leur régularité.

Éloi se vit obligé d'accepter l'évêché de Noyon. Sa vie épiscopale fut la continuation de ses bonnes oeuvres.

Abbé L. Jaud, Vie des Saints pour tous les jours de l'année, Tours, Mame, 1950


Saint Eloi

Evêque de Noyon (+ 660)

Gallo-romain originaire de Chaptelat dans le Limousin, "le bon saint Eloi" appartenait à une famille de paysans aisés qui travaillaient eux-mêmes leur domaine, à la différence de tant de grands propriétaires qui les faisaient cultiver par de nombreux esclaves. Il laissa à l'un de ses frères le soin du domaine et entra comme apprenti orfèvre dans un atelier où l'on frappait la monnaie royale selon les méthodes romaines anciennes. Il gardait une partie des revenus venant de sa famille et il les employa au service de la charité des pauvres et des esclaves. Il était aussi habile dans les émaux que dans les ciselures d'or fin. Ces qualités professionnelles allaient de pair avec une scrupuleuse honnêteté. Lorsqu'on lui demanda d'exécuter un trône d'or pour le roi Clotaire II (613-629), il en fit un deuxième avec l'or en surplus qu'il ne voulait pas garder pour lui-même. Cet acte, étonnant pour l'époque, lui valut la confiance du roi qui lui demande de résider à Paris, comme orfèvre royal, fonctionnaire de la Trésorerie royale et conseiller à la cour. Nommé monétaire à Marseille, il rachètera de nombreux esclaves que l'on vendait sur le port. Lorsque Dagobert devint roi en 629, il est rappelé à Paris où il dirige les ateliers monétaires du royaume franc, qui se trouvait à Paris sur le quai des Orfèvres et près de l'actuelle rue de la Monnaie. Il reçoit, entre autres, la commande d'orner les tombes de sainte Geneviève et de saint Denis. Il réalise des châsses pour saint Germain, saint Séverin, saint Martin et sainte Colombe et de nombreux objets liturgiques pour la nouvelle abbaye de Saint-Denis. Pour son honnêteté, sa franchise sans flagornerie et la qualité de son jugement pacifique, il avait la confiance du roi qui le faisait souvent appeler près de lui et lui confia même une mission de paix après du roi breton Judicaël. Grande était la piété et la vie de prière de ce laïc qui allait souvent aux offices monastiques. En 632, il fonde le monastère de Solignac au sud de Limoges et, un an après, dans sa propre maison de l'île de la Cité, le premier monastère féminin de Paris dont il confiera la charge à sainte Aure. Un an après la mort de Dagobert qu'il avait assisté dans ses derniers moments, il quitte la cour en même temps que saint Ouen qui y était conseiller référendaire et chancelier. Comme lui, il entre dans la cléricature et est ordonné prêtre. Le même jour, le 13 mai 641, ils reçoivent l'épiscopat, saint Ouen comme évêque de Rouen et, lui, comme évêque de Noyon et Tournai, un diocèse qui s'étend jusqu'à Courtrai, Gand et la Frise néerlandaise. Il tente, sans grand succès, d'évangéliser la région d'Anvers. Au travers de ses sermons, nous connaissons la situation religieuse de cette époque et les superstitions païennes qu'il rencontre. Il fait sienne la spiritualité de saint Colomban, le moine irlandais, fonde des monastères et aime à se retirer dans l'oratoire d'Ourscamps-sur-Oise. Il voyage aussi. Nous le trouvons au concile de Châlon-sur-Saône et en Aquitaine, à Uzès et à Marseille. Il meurt en 660, à la veille de partir pour Cahors. La reine sainte Bathilde s'était déplacée pour le voir, mais arrivera trop tard. A Paris, une église lui est dédiée dans le quartier parisien des ferronniers d'art et des ébénistes, l'église Saint-Eloi reconstruite en 1967. Une église, détruite en 1793, lui était dédiée dans la rue des Orfèvres, près de l'hôtel de la Monnaie (rue de la Monnaie à Paris 4ème). A la cathédrale Notre-Dame, dans la chapelle Sainte-Anne, autrefois siège de leur confrérie, les orfèvres et joailliers de Paris ont placé sa statue et restauré son autel.

- Alors que meurt Saint Yrieix, naît Saint Eloi qui appartient à une famille chrétienne depuis longtemps. A Paris, il est remarqué par le roi Clotaire II qui le prend comme conseiller et comme trésorier. Puis le roi Dagobert le prend comme confident. Mais saint Eloi est attiré par la vie religieuse et veut fonder un monastère ce qu’il réalise à Solignac. De son vivant, le monastère compte déjà plus de 150 moines qui respectent les 2 règles de Saint Benoît et de Saint Colomban. Il est placé sous la protection du roi et non sous l’autorité de l’évêque. La ferveur religieuse, l’ardeur au travail qui y règnent en font un des monastères les plus prospères de l’époque. Saint Eloi crée ensuite un monastère identique pour les femmes à Paris. A la mort de Dagobert, il veut se retirer mais il devient évêque et continue à répandre la vie monastique. (Les origines monastiques - diocèse de Limoges)

- En 641, Éloi était ordonné prêtre et devenait évêque de Noyon-Tournai. Il travailla à la conversion des Frisons, ses diocésains du Nord. Il continua à fonder des abbayes et à se faire aimer. Lorsqu’elle apprit qu’il était mal, sainte Bathilde, la reine détrônée qu’il avait soutenue dans ses épreuves, accourut à son chevet; mais il était mort quand elle arriva. Saint Éloi est le patron des orfèvres, et par extension, des forgerons, métallurgistes, quincailliers, serruriers, protecteur des chevaux et, à ce titre, des cultivateurs, charretiers, mécaniciens et garagistes. Patron des cultivateurs et de ceux qui travaillent les métaux (métallurgie, orfèvrerie). (Saints du Pas-de-Calais, diocèse d'Arras)

- Né en Limousin vers 588, l’orfèvre Eloi devint monétaire de Clotaire II, puis trésorier de Dagobert 1er avant d’être élu évêque de Noyon (641). Fondateur de monastères à Solignac et à Paris, il accueillit sainte Godeberthe comme moniale à Noyon. (Diocèse de Beauvais)

- L’église Saint Eloi de Paris, réalisée en métal en 1967, comprend une statue du saint orfèvre réalisée en 1937 par Jean Puiforcat pour l’exposition universelle. (Saints parisiens - diocèse de Paris)

... et sur le site du diocèse aux Armées: Son habilité comme orfèvre le fit très tôt choisir comme saint patron par les orfèvres eux-mêmes, les métiers du fer, et les maréchaux-ferrants. C'est ainsi qu'Eloi devint également le saint protecteur des mécaniciens des Armées qu'il invite à la plus grande habilité et aussi à un dévouement intègre et sans faille.

À Noyon, en 660, saint Éloi, évêque. Orfèvre et conseiller du roi Dagobert, il fit construire un grand nombre de monastères et fabriqua aussi beaucoup de pièces d’orfèvrerie en l’honneur des saints avec un art et une beauté remarquables. Élevé au siège épiscopal de Noyon et Tournai, il mit tout son zèle à sa mission apostolique.

Martyrologe romain

Bien qu’une immense distance nous sépare l’un de l’autre et que nous ne puissions espérer nous revoir sur cette terre, soyons unis dans le Christ. Efforçons-nous de vivre de telle sorte qu’après si peu de temps, nous nous trouvions réunis, en corps et âme tout à la fois, pour l’éternité.

(Lettre à l’un de ses amis)

Une prière toujours d’une brûlante actualité...

Voici 26 ans, le Père Bommelaer, curé de St Eloi, composait cette prière... sur la feuille de semaine de Saint-Éloi du 15 décembre 1985

St Éloi, patron des horlogers, Priez pour nous!

Saint Éloi, tu as fort à faire! As-tu vu depuis ta place au ciel, que 80% des fidèles de ta paroisse parisienne, arrivent en retard à la messe chaque dimanche ?...

- s’ils n’ont pas de montre, fais-leur un beau cadeau pour Noël

- si leur horloge est cassée, guide-les chez un bon horloger...

- s’ils n’ont pas envie de se lever: allège leur sommeil

- s’ils ne veulent pas du salut du célébrant, donne leur un sourire bienveillant

- s’ils n’aiment pas les lectures de l’Ancien Testament ou de saint Paul, élargis un peu leur cœur..

- s’ils craignent la Parole de l’Evangile, aide-les à aimer Sa parole

- s’ils ont peur d’être là pour la quête, rends-les généreux

Toi, bon saint Éloi, patron des horlogers, donne-nous le goût de l’exactitude et rends-nous polis envers le Seigneur et envers nos frères.. notre prière n’en sera que plus belle.

(source: paroisse Saint-Eloi, Paris)



Saint-Eloi

Né vers 588 à Chaptelat près de Limoges, mort en 660, saint Eloi est issu d’une famille romaine relativement pauvre qui peut néanmoins vivre du revenu des ses terres. Très tôt, il est destiné à exercer le métier d’orfèvre. Il faut savoir qu’à cette époque le travail des métaux, des objets d’art et la frappe de la monnaie sont des activités prestigieuses.

Saint Eloi est placé en apprentissage chez Abbon, comte de Limoges et monétaire du roi. Ce dernier s’aperçoit très rapidement du talent exceptionnel de son élève. Saint Eloi est donc envoyé à Paris pour parfaire son apprentissage auprès de Bobon, monétaire de la Cour et trésorier de Clotaire II.

Depuis longtemps, Clotaire II a envie d’un trône bien précis, mais on ne trouve pas d’orfèvre compétent pour mener à bien cette réalisation. Bobon confie alors ce travail à saint Eloi. Le résultat est une merveille, Clotaire II est époustouflé. Ce n’est pas un trône que saint Eloi à fabriqué avec l’or qu’on lui a confié, mais deux strictement identiques. A partir de ce moment, Clotaire II accordera à saint Eloi une confiance sans faille.

Nommé Maître de la monnaie, saint Eloi devient un personnage important de la Cour. C’est à lui que s’adressent en premier lieu les évêques en mission à Paris et les ambassadeurs. Saint Ouen dit de lui : "C’est un homme capable d’en imposer aux plus grands tout en restant humble devant Dieu.

A la mort de Clotaire II, c’est Dagobert 1er qui devient roi. Ce dernier fait de saint Eloi un de ses principaux conseillers. Il le nomme Trésorier du roi et lui confie de nombreuses missions diplomatiques.

En 632, saint Eloi devient prêtre et fonde le monastère de Solignac. C’est en 641 qu’il est fait évêque de Noyon. A la mort de Dagobert 1er, saint Eloi quitte la Cour pour se consacrer exclusivement à sa charge ecclésiastique. Il fonde successivement les monastères de Noyon, Tournai, saint Quentin, les sanctuaires de saint Bon et de sainte Colombe (près de Sens). Il fait aussi construire un hôpital dans son évêché qui sera destiné aux pauvres. Il consacrera aussi une bonne partie de sa vie au rachat des esclaves.

Saint Eloi est le patron des orfèvres, des forgerons et des ferblantiers. Il est fêté le 1er décembre. Il meurt à Noyon le 1er décembre 660. il est enseveli dans l’abbaye, qui porte son nom et que la Révolution détruira entièrement. Ses reliques auraient été transférées en 1157 dans la cathédrale de Noyon qui était en cours d’achêvement.




Petrus Christus. Saint Éloi et les fiancés ou Saint Éloi à l’atelier
1449. New York, collection Lehman. Giraudon

SAINT ÉLOI, ÉVÊQUE DE TOURNAI ET NOYON (588-660)

Saint Éloi est né à Chaptelat près de Limoges en 588. Ses parents Eucher et Terrigie étaient de petits propriétaires gallo-romains. Lorsqu’elle attendait l’enfant, Terrigie eut la vision d’un aigle qui l’appela à trois reprises, puis un prêtre prophétisa que l’enfant qu’elle portait serait l’élu de sa nation dans l’Église du Christ. Très tôt, Éloi se fit remarquer pour ses qualités manuelles et fréquenta les forges installées sur le domaine paternel. Tandis qu’il travaillait habilement sous les ordres de l’orfèvre Abbon, Éloi écoutait aussi assidument les Divines Écritures. Un jour, Abbon le présenta au trésorier du roi Clotaire II, appelé Bobbon. Pour le mettre à l’épreuve, celui-ci lui commanda un trône d’or pour le roi. Avec la quantité d’or qu’on lui remit Éloi fit non pas un trône mais deux. Édifié, le roi le prit à son service en tant qu’orfèvre royal. C’est à la cour du roi qu’il rencontra un fils de famille noble, Daddon, le futur saint Ouen qui devint son ami et son biographe.

En 629, Dagobert, fils de Clotaire, choisit Éloi comme conseiller et le fit monétaire attaché au palais. Il en tira une grande fortune personnelle qu’il utilisa pour aider les pauvres, racheter des esclaves qu’on vendait dans les ports, construire des églises et des monastères. Une de ses principales demandes fut, en 632, d’obtenir une terre à Solignac pour y établir un monastère sous la direction de Remacle. Pour convaincre le roi, il utilisa cette formule : « Que votre sérénité, dit-il au prince, daigne me céder ce domaine afin que j’y construise une échelle au moyen de laquelle nous puissions l’un et l’autre monter au ciel. » Puis il fonda Saint-Martial à Paris, sous la direction de sainte Aure. En 636, Dagobert l’envoya en mission en Bretagne qui n’avait jamais accepté la tutelle des francs, pour tenter de réparer les torts qu’ils avaient commis. La mission fut un succès et Judicael, roi de Domnonée accepta une rencontre avec Dagobert.

En 640, après la mort de Dagobert, Éloi quitte la cour pour être ordonné prêtre, puis évêque de Noyon et Tournai l’année suivante. Il prêcha en Flandres, en Frise et évangélisa toute la région de Boulogne à Anvers. Dans tous ses voyages, il cherchait les reliques des saints qui l’avaient précédé et édifiait des églises en leur honneur. Il obtint du roi le droit d’ensevelir les corps des condamnés exécutés. Sur son chemin fleurissaient les prodiges : guérisons de malades ou délivrances de possédés. Un jour, voulant donner une leçon à un maréchal-ferrant trop prétentieux, il lui aurait montré comment ferrer un cheval. Éloi trancha la patte de l’animal, la ferra puis la remit en place sans gêner aucunement le cheval.

Éloi meurt le 1er décembre 660 à Noyon. Son culte se répandit rapidement au Moyen-Âge. Ses reliques furent transférées le 25 juin à la cathédrale de Noyon. Il est le patron des orfèvres, des batteurs d’or, des forgerons… Il est invoqué contre les maladies des chevaux.

Saint Éloi est fêté le 1er décembre



St. Eligius

(French Eloi).

Bishop of Noyon-Tournai, born at Chaptelat near Limoges, France, c. 590, of Roman parents, Eucherius and Terrigia; died at Noyon, 1 December, 660. His father, recognizing unusual talent in his son, sent him to the noted goldsmith Abbo, master of the mint at Limoges. Later Eligius went to Neustria, where he worked under Babo, the royal treasurer, on whose recommendation Clotaire II commissioned him to make a throne of gold adorned with precious stones. His honesty in this so pleased the king that he appointed him master of the mint at Marseilles, besides taking him into his household. After the death of Clotaire (629), Dagobert appointed his father's friend his chief councillor. The fame of Eligius spread rapidly, and ambassadors first paid their respects to him before going to the king. His success in inducing the Breton King, Judicail, to submit to Frankish authority (636-37) increased his influence. Eligius took advantage of this to obtain alms for the poor and to ransom Roman, Gallic,Breton, Saxon, and Moorish captives, who were arriving daily at Marseilles. He founded several monasteries, and with the king's consent sent his servants through towns and villages to take down the bodies of malefactors who had been executed, and give them decent burial. Eligius was a source of edification at court, where he and his friend Dado (Audoenus) lived according to the Irish monastic rule, introduced into Gaul by St. Columbanus. Eligius introduced this rule, either entirely or in part, into the monastery of Solignac which he founded in 632, and into the convent at Paris where three hundred virgins were under the guidance of the Abbess Aurea. He also built the basilica of St. Paul, and restored that of St. Martial in Paris. He erected several fine churches in honourof the relics of St Martin of Tours, the national saint of the Franks, and St. Denis, who was chosen patron saint by the king. On the death of Dagobert (639), Queen Nanthilde took the reins of government, and Eligius and Dadoleft the court and entered the priesthood. On the death of Acarius, Bishop of Noyon-Tournai, 13 May, 640, Eligius was made his successor with the unanimous approbation of clergy and people. The inhabitants of his diocesewere pagans for the most part. He undertook the conversion of the Flemings, Antwerpians, Frisians, Suevi, and the barbarian tribes along the coast. In 654 he approved the famous privilege granted to the Abbey of Saint-Denis, Paris, exempting it from the jurisdiction of the ordinary. In his own episcopal city of Noyon he built andendowed a monastery for virgins. After the finding of the body of St. Quentin, Bishop Eligius erected in hishonour a church to which was joined a monastery under the Irish rule. He also discovered the bodies of St. Piatusand companions, and in 654 removed the remains of St Fursey, the celebrated Irish missionary (d. 650). Eligius was buried at Noyon. There is in existence a sermon written by Eligius, in which he combats the pagan practices of his time, a homily on the last judgment, also a letter written in 645, in which he begs for the prayers of BishopDesiderius of Cahors. The fourteen other homilies attributed to him are of doubtful authenticity. His homilieshave been edited by Krusch in "Mon. Germ. Hist." (loc. cit. infra).

St. Eligius is particularly honoured in Flanders, in the province of Antwerp, and at Tournai, Courtrai of Ghent,Bruges, and Douai. During the Middle Ages his relics were the object of special veneration, and were often transferred to other resting-places, thus in 881, 1066, 1137, 1255, and 1306. He is the patron of goldsmiths, blacksmiths, and all workers in metal. Cabmen have also put themselves under his protection. He is generally represented in Christian art in the garb of a bishop, a crosier in his right hand, on the open palm of his left a miniature church of chased gold.

Sources

Vita Eligii, ed. KRUSCH in Mon. Germ. Hist.; Script. Rerum Merovingicarum, IV, 2, 635 sqq.; Vita metrica Eligii in Catalogus codicum hagiographicorum Bibliothecae regiae Bruxellensis, ed. BOLLANDISTS, I, 470-83; Inventio sancti Quintini in Analecta Bollandiana, VIII, 429 sqq.; DE LINAS, Orfèvrerie mérovingienne, les oeuvres de S. Eloi et la verroterie cloisonnée (Arras, 1864); DE LAPORTE, Un artiste du 7cme siecle, Eligius aurifaber, S. Eloi, patron des ouvriers en métaux (s.l, 1865); BAPST, Tombeau et chasse de S. Germain, tombeau de Sainte Colombe, tombeau de S. Severin in Revue archéologique, Bk. III (1887); VAREMBERGH, Saint Eloi in Biographie nationale de Belgique, V, 555-58; HAUCK, Kirchengeschichte Deutschlands, I, 296 sqq.; DE VOS, Leven van den heiligen Eligius, met aanteckeningen en bijzonderheden zopens eijnen alouden eeredienst in Vlaanderen (BRUGES, 1900); VAN DER ESSEN, Les relations entre les sermons de Saint Cesaire d'Arles et la prédication de Saint Eloi in Bulletin bibliographique du musée Belge (1903), VII; Annuaire de l'Universite de Louvain (1904), 379-90; VAN DER ESSEN, Étude critique et littéraire sur les Vitae de saints mérovingiens de l'ancienne Belgique (Louvain, 1907), 324-36; PARSY, Saint Eloi in Les Saints séries (Paris, 1907); DE SMET, Analecia Eligiana in Acta SS. Belgii (Brussels, 1785), III, 311-31; KRUSCH, préface, in Mon. Germ. Hist., loc. cit., 635 sqq.

Van der Essen, Léon. "St. Eligius." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 5. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1909. 1 Dec. 2015 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05386a.htm>.

SOURCE : http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05386a.htm

Eligius of Noyon B (RM)
(also known as Eloi, Loy)


Born at Chaptelet (Chaptel or Chatelac), near Limoges, France, c. 588; died at Noyon, December 1, 660.



Saint Eligius's parents (Eucherius and Terrigia) were both of Gallo-Romans. Eucherius was a goldsmith and metalworker who lived near Limoges, and when his son showed similar talent, he apprenticed Eligius to Abbo, the master of the mint at Limoges. Eligius acquired great skill at working in precious metals, his handiwork can still be seen in the catalogue of Merovingian coins at the National Library in Paris).

When Eligius finished his apprenticeship, he decided to seek his fortune in Paris. There he came to the notice of Bobbo, treasurer to King Chlotar (Clotaire) II. The king needed a treasurer at Marseilles, and the post was given to Eligius. Chlotar gave Eligius an order to make him a chair of state, decorated with gold and precious stones. With the materials given to him, Eligius made two chairs, which impressed the king with the saint's honesty and skill. Chlotar took him into his household and made him master of the mint.

Soon Eligius's great talent for engraving and smithing made him a person of rank and wealth. He wore clothes embroidered with gold and adorned with precious stones; he sometimes wore nothing but silk, which was very rare in France then. But he was not corrupted by his good fortune. His wealth was devoted to the poor. Once a stranger asked the way to his home in Paris and was told to go to a certain street where he would recognize the house by the great concourse of poor persons outside. Eligius developed into a deeply religious man.

Eligius postponed swearing an oath of allegiance to Chlotar, which angered the king. Finally, Chlotar came to understand that conscience was the motive, and he assured Eligius that this was a more secure pledge of allegiance than the vows of others.

He held on to this post after Chlotar's death in 629, and gained considerable influence with Chlotar's son and successor, Dagobert I, who also valued Eligius and appointed him chief counsellor in 629. You can imagine the extent of his power when you realize that no ambassador visited the King of the Merovingians without arranging for an interview with Eligius.

The saint was pious, influential, and sought after as a counsellor. Desiderius (who later became bishop of Cahors) and young Dado (a.k.a. Ouen or Audenus, future bishop of Rouen) were his best friends. They formed a small, very religious society related to Saint Columbanus's monastery in Luxeuil, protecting the new monasteries and, with a munificence that became legendary, honoring the relics of the saints.

Eligius had accumulated sufficient wealth that when King Dagobert gave him land at Solignac in Limousin, he founded a monastery there, as well as setting up the first ever workshop for producing Limoges enamels. In 632 the monastery was filled with monks who followed a combination of the rules of Saint Columba and Saint Benedict.

Dagobert also gave Eligius a house in Paris, and the saint used his considerable resources to convert it into a convent for women under the supervision of Saint Aurea. Eligius asked for and received an additional piece of land to complete the construction; when he found he had gone over its border, he went to the king to apologize. Dagobert, taken aback at his honesty, said, "Some of my officers do not scruple to robe me of whole estates; whereas Eligius is afraid of having one inch of ground which is not his."

Dagobert selected Eligius to go on a diplomatic mission to the Bretons in 636, during which the saint convinced the Breton King Judicael to accept the authority of the Frankish king. (Dagobert I died in January 639.)

Saint Eligius was ordained in 640. In 641 Dagobert's successor, Clovis II, chose him to be bishop of Noyon and Tournai, at the same time his friend Saint Audoenus was named bishop of Rouen. During this period, bishoprics were often given as benefices to retiring ministers of state. But, Christians to the end, both Eligius and Audoenus decided to be real bishops rather than pensioners. And, so, Eligius discharged that office with vigor for 19 fruitful years.

With concentrated enthusiasm he spread the Gospel through his vast diocese and into Flanders among the heathen Frisians. He preached in Antwerp, Ghent, and Courtrai. The crude inhabitants shunned him as a foreigner, they couldn't understand him, but he persisted. After taking care of the sick, protecting them from oppression, and undertaking other charitable causes, he won them over, and some were converted. Where speech and acts of charity failed, miracles worked.

His sermons sprang from deep faith. They were direct, simple and straight forward. Of the surviving homilies attributed to Eligius, one is notable for his warnings against pagan superstitions such as fortune-telling, watching for omens, and keeping Thursdays holy in honor of Jupiter. His homilies revealed a modest man with sure learning.

At Noyon, he established a convent and brought his protege Saint Godebertha from Paris to govern it. He also wrote the rule for the sisters.

As bishop he also actively promoted the cultus of local saints; the beautiful reliquaries of Saint Martin of Tours, Saint Dionysius at Saint- Denis, Saint Germanus of Paris, Saint Geneviève, and others are attributed to his workmanship, in addition to the Great Cross of Saint Denis, and at least some of which still exist.

After Clovis II came to the throne, he became a friend and counsellor to the queen Saint Bathildis, in part, because they shared a concern for slaves (she had originally been brought to the court as a slave). Eligius ransomed many slaves, some of whom remained in his service for the rest of his life. One of them, a Saxon named Tillo, also became a saint. These men and women became Eligius's most loyal assistants. During the Council of Chalon, c. 677, the sale of slaves was forbidden in the kingdom, and it was decreed that slaves must be free to rest on Sundays and holidays.

He was generous to the poor and to the Church--founding many convents and churches.

Eligius had the gift of clairvoyance, which later became a gift of prophecy. He sometimes gave direct proof--about Mayor Flaochad, Mayor Erchinoald, some public disorders, and his own death. He prophesied it often enough with a patience and longing the people appreciated. As mentioned, Eligius foresaw his own death and told his clergy of it. Falling ill with a fever, on the sixth day he called together his household. As death approached in 659, Eligius said to his flock, 'Do not weep. Congratulate me instead. I have waited a long time for this release.' He commended his people to God and died a few hours later.

Hearing of his illness, Queen Bathildis set out from Paris, but she arrived the morning after his death. She prepared to carry the body to her monastery at Chelles, and others wished to take it to Paris, but the people of Noyons strongly opposed the removal, and so his body lies in Noyon cathedral. Eligius was widely respected during his own time and became one of the most beloved saints of the Middle Ages--one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Delaney, Encyclopedia, White).

Saint Eligius is a bishop with a hammer, anvil, and horseshoe. At times he is depicted (1) shoeing a horse; (2) holding a horse's leg, which he detached to shoe it more easily; (3) with a horse by him; (4) with hammer and crown, smithy in the background; (5) with hammer, anvil, and Saint Anthony; (6) holding a chalice and goldsmith's hammer; (7) working as a goldsmith; or (8) with Saint Godeberta, to whom he gives a ring. Sometimes he is shown as a bishop, at other times as a courtier (Roeder).
He is the patron of all smiths, farriers, jewelers, craftsmen, and metal workers (Attwater, Roeder). He is also patron of coin and metal collectors, horses and veterinarians, of blacksmiths, and garage or gas-station workers (White). To this list is added the patronage of harness makers, cartwrights, boilermakers, cutler, watchmakers, locksmiths, farmers, jockeys, gilders, and minters (Encyclopedia).

His association with horses originates from an episode occurring after his death. A horse that Eligius had been riding was inherited by a priest, but the new bishop liked the horse and took it for himself. The horse became ill as soon as he was stabled under the bishop's roof and nothing could cure him. Meanwhile the priest prayed for the horse's return. The bishop gave back the useless horse, and the animal promptly recovered, a cure attributed to Saint Eligius. Since that time Eligius is invoked on behalf of sick horses and, in some places, are blessed on his feast day. By extension Eligius gains patronage of gas stations and garages, which can be considered modern versions of stables (White). 

SOURCE : http://www.saintpatrickdc.org/ss/1201.shtml


St. Eligius, or Eloy, Bishop of Noyon, Confessor

From his life compiled in two books by his intimate friend St. Owen, bishop of Rouen, thirteen years after his death, extant in Surius, D’Acheri, Spicileg. t. 5, p. 147, translated into French with his homilies, by M. Levesque, at Paris, in octavo, in 1693. See Fleury, pp. 37, 38, 39. Rivet, Hist. Littér. t. 3, p. 595. Ceillier, t. 17, p. 682. Gallia Christiana Nov. t. 9, p. 984.

A.D. 659

THE NAME of Eligius, and those of his father Eucherius, and his mother Terrigia, show this saint to have been born not of French, but of Roman Gaulish extraction. He was born at Catelat, two leagues north of Limoges, about the year 588. His parents, who were very virtuous, and in good circumstances, brought him up from his infancy in the fear of God, and seeing him industrious, placed him with a goldsmith named Abbo, who was a considerable person, master of the mint at Limoges, and a devout servant of God. Eligius was a youth of uncommon genius and address, and, by his extraordinary application, arrived at an eminent skill in his profession. The qualities of his mind, and his steady virtue and religion exceedingly enhanced his reputation, and endeared him to all who had the happiness of his acquaintance. His heart was full of sincerity, his whole conduct was under the regulation of an exact prudence, and his temper was sweet and obliging: his discourse was agreeable, modest, and easy, and his attendance on religious duties most assiduous and edifying. He never failed assisting at the whole divine office in the church, and never lost an opportunity of attending to sermons, or spiritual instructions. The oracles of the holy scriptures he carefully laid up in his memory, and made them the subject of his profound meditation, that they might sink deeply into his soul, and that he might apply them to his own use.

Eligius having some business which called him into France, that is, on this side the Loire, became known to Bobo, treasurer to Clotaire II. at Paris. This king, to whom Bobo had recommended him, gave the saint an order to make him a magnificent chair of state, adorned with gold and precious stones. Out of the materials the king furnished him, he made two such chairs or thrones, instead of one. The king admired the skill and honesty of the workman, and finding by his discourse that he was a man of great parts, and endowed with excellent understanding, gave him a great share in his confidence, took him into his household, and made him master of the mint. His name is still to be seen on several gold coins, struck at Paris in the reigns of Dagobert I. and his son Clovis II. as appears from Le Blanc’s History of Coins. 1 His great credit at court hindered him not from attending his profession, and he was much delighted in making rich shrines for the relics of saints. The tombs of St. Martin at Tours, and St. Dionysius near Paris were sumptuously and curiously adorned by him. 2 The shrines also of St. Quintin, SS. Crispin and Crispinian at Soissons, St. Lucian, St. Piat, St. Germanus of Paris, St. Severinus, St. Genevieve, &c., were made by our saint. These employments were no impediments to his exercises of piety. Even whilst he was at work he had some good book open before him, on which he often cast an eye to instruct himself at the same time in the law of God, and to kindle a fresh flame of devotion in his affections. On the walls round his chambers were also placed pious books, particularly those of the holy scriptures, which he read for a considerable time after his hour of prayer and singing psalms. The corruption of a court never infected his soul, or impaired his virtue; such was his diligence in fencing his heart against it by the most powerful antidotes. He had not been long there when he formed a resolution of entering upon a more devout and austere way of living, took a strict view of his whole life, made a general confession of all the actions of youth to a priest, 3 and imposed upon himself a severe penance. At first when he went to court he conformed to the fashion, and was magnificently habited, sometimes wearing nothing but silk, though at that time it was not very common: and he had waistcoats embroidered with gold, and sashes and purses adorned with gold and precious stones. Yet even then he privately wore a hair shirt: and after he had entered upon a stricter course of virtue, he gave all his ornaments to the poor, and became so negligent in his dress, that he often girded himself with a cord. The king, when he saw him in this habit, would often give him his own clothes and sash; but the saint gave to the poor all that he received from the king’s bounty. The liberality of his sovereign allowed him to bestow great sums in alms. If any stranger asked for his house, he was answered: “Go into such a street, and to that part of it where you see a crowd of poor people.” Wherever he went he was followed by a great number of them, and he himself, or one of his servants, distributed victuals and money to them. He daily fed a great number at his own house, whom he served himself, and he ate what they left. He gave them wine and flesh, though he touched neither himself; and he frequently fasted two or three days together. Sometimes, when the usual hour was come, and the table laid, he had nothing to give his poor people, having distributed all before; but he always relied upon Providence, which never failed to supply him, either by means of the king, or of some pious persons. He took care to bury the body of malefactors, and was particularly zealous to ransom captives. When he knew that a slave was to be sold in any place, he made haste thither, and sometimes ransomed fifty or a hundred at a time, especially Saxons, who were sold in great companies. After he had set them at liberty he gave them their choice, either to return to their own country, or to continue with him, or to enter into monasteries: of these last he took particular care. One of the Saxon slaves whom he brought up with him in the practice of piety, became so eminent for sanctity, that he is commemorated among the saints, on the 7th of January, under the name of St. Theau. Several of his domestics sung the canonical office with him day and night. Among these are named Bauderic, his freedman; Tituan, who waited on him in his chamber, was of the nation of the Suevi, and arrived at the crown of martyrdom: Buchin, who had been a pagan, and was afterwards abbot of Ferrieres: Andrew, Martin, and John, who, by his means, became clerks. Several relics of saints were fastened to the ceiling of his room, under which he prostrated himself upon a hair cloth to pray; then he began to read, which he often broke off, to lift his eyes to heaven, sighing and weeping bitterly; for he was remarkable for an extraordinary tenderness of heart, and easily melted into tears. If the king pressed him to come to him, sending one messenger after another, he would not go till he had finished his devotions. He never went out of doors without praying first, and making the sign of the cross; and the first thing he did, after he returned, was to pray. Discretion, mixed with simplicity, appeared in his countenance: he was tall, had a handsome head, and a ruddy complexion: his hair was naturally curled. By the innocence and regularity of his life he made his court to his prince without design, more successfully than others do by flattery and other low arts.

Clotaire dying in 628, his son and successor Dagobert, entertained so just an idea of the saint’s virtue and wisdom that he frequently consulted him preferably to all his council about public affairs, and listened to his directions for his own private conduct. Eligius took every favourable opportunity to inspire him with sentiments of justice, clemency, and religion. The king was so far from being offended at the liberty which the saint took in his councils and admonitions, that he treated him with the greater regard; which drew on him the envy and jealousy of the whole court, particularly of the vicious part of the nobility, who did all in their power to blast his character. But their calumnies were too weak to do him any prejudice, and served only to give his virtue a fresh lustre, and enhance Dagobert’s veneration for him, who loaded him with favours; though it never was in his power to make him rich, because all that the saint received was immediately employed in relieving the necessitous, or in raising charitable and religious foundations. The first of these was the abbey of Solignac, which he built two leagues from Limoges, on a piece of ground granted him by the king for that purpose. The saint richly endowed it, peopled it with monks from Luxeu, and made it subject to the inspection of the abbot of that monastery. This new community increased considerably in a little time, and consisted of a hundred and fifty persons, who worked at several trades, and lived in admirable regularity. Dagobert also gave our saint a handsome house at Paris, which he converted into a nunnery, and placed in it three hundred religious women under the direction of St. Aurea, whose name occurs in the Roman Martyrology on the 4th of October. This monastery has since been given to the Barnabites, and the estates which belonged to it are now annexed to the bishopric of Paris. When the saint had begun this building, he found that it exceeded the measure of the land which he had specified to his Majesty by one foot; upon which, being struck with great grief and remorse, he immediately went to the king, and throwing himself at his feet, begged his pardon with many tears. Dagobert, surprised at his caution, to recompense his piety, doubled his former donation. When the saint was gone out, he said to his courtiers: “See how careful and faithful those who serve Christ are. My officers and governors stick not to rob me of whole estates; whereas Eligius trembles at the apprehension of having one inch of ground which is mine.” It not being then allowed to bury within cities, the saint made a burial-place for these nuns without the walls, and built there a church in honour of St. Paul, which is now a large parish church. The inhabitants of Brittany having provoked the king by making frequent inroads and plunders, he sent Eligius upon an embassy to them, who prevailed upon Judicaël, their prince, to go in person to Paris, and by his submission appease the king’s anger. 4 Dagobert being desirous to employ the saint in his most important commissions, pressed him to take an oath of fidelity, as was usual on such occasions. Eligius having a scruple lest this would be to swear without sufficient necessity, excused himself with an obstinacy which for some time displeased the king. Still the saint persisted in his resolution for fear of incurring the danger of offending God, and repeated his excuses with many tears, as often as the king pressed him on that score. Dagobert at length perceiving that the only motive of his reluctance was an extreme tenderness of conscience, graciously assured him that his conscientious delicacy was a more secure pledge of his fidelity than the strongest oaths of others could have been.

The extraordinary piety, and prudent fear of offending God, which St. Eligius showed in all his actions, made so strong an impression on the mind of St. Owen when he was but twelve years old, and lived in the court, that the fervent young nobleman resolved to walk in his steps; and, as he grew up, contracted so close a friendship with him that they seemed to have but one heart and one soul. Whilst they were laymen, and lived at court, they zealously laboured to maintain the purity of the faith, and the unity of the church. St. Eligius procured a council to be held at Orleans against certain heretics, drove a company of impious persons out of Paris, and, with St. Owen, employed his endeavours effectually to root out simony, a vice which had grievously infected France ever since the unhappy reign of Brunehalt. St. Desiderius, who lived then in the court of Dagobert, and was afterwards made bishop of Cahors, was joined in holy friendship with these two saints; also St. Sulpicius, afterwards archbishop of Bourges, and these holy men, by their mutual example, were a spur to each other in the heroic practice of every virtue. The whole kingdom was exceedingly edified by the sanctity of these zealous courtiers, and the bishops took a resolution to procure them to be called into the episcopal Order. The sees of Noyon and Tournay, which had been united ever since St. Medard, in 512, and then comprised Upper Picardy, and all the provinces that lie between that country and the mouth of the Rhine, became vacant by the death of St. Acarius, in 639, and St. Eligius was required to take upon him that arduous charge, and soon after St. Owen was chosen bishop of Rouen. King Clovis II. who had succeeded his father Dagobert, stood in need of such ministers; but the spiritual good of so many souls took place. St. Eligius trembled at the sight of the burden, and obtained a delay of two years to prepare himself, during which time he was ordained priest, and practised the clerical duties. St. Owen did the like, having retired for that purpose beyond the Loire. They agreed to meet and receive the episcopal consecration together at Rouen, which they did on Sunday before Rogation-week, in 640, or, according to some, in 646. The inhabitants of the district of Ghent and Courtray, which then depended on the diocess of Noyon, were still pagans, and so fierce and savage that they would not so much as hear the gospel preached to them. This was the chief reason of choosing so zealous a pastor for them as St. Eligius. From Rouen he only went back to court to take his last leave of it, and thence he repaired straight to Noyon. 5

Our saint in this new dignity increased his fasts and watchings with his labours, and showed the same humility, the same spirit of poverty, penance, and prayer as before: also the same charity towards the poor and the sick, whom he continued frequently to serve with his own hands, regularly entertaining twelve poor persons at his own table on certain days in the week. He always took particular delight to be in the company of the poor, and often left his clergy and others to shut himself up with them, and he often clothed them, washed their faces and hands, and shaved their heads with his own hands. His pastoral solicitude, zeal, and watchfulness were most admirable. The first year he employed entirely in reforming his clergy, and regulating the manners of his Christian flock. After this, he turned his thoughts to the conversion of the infidels among the Flemings about Antwerp, and the Frisons and Suevi, as far as the sea-shore, especially about Ghent and Courtray. St. Amandus, born of a Roman family near Nantes, being the son of Serenus and Amantia, and a monk, had been ordained by the Gallican prelates a bishop of nations, in 626, and had begun to plant the faith in the neighbourhood of Ghent, 6 under the direction of St. Acarius bishop of Noyon; and in 636 St. Omer was ordained bishop of the Morini. But a great part of Flanders was chiefly indebted to St. Eligius for the happiness of receiving the light of the gospel. He preached in the territories of Antwerp, Ghent, and Courtray. The inhabitants, who at first were as fierce as wild beasts, were ready every day to tear him to pieces; yet he persevered exhorting them, desiring nothing more than martyrdom. He instructed, with more than paternal tenderness, those who long refused to hear him, took care of their sick, comforted them in their afflictions, assisted them in their wants, and employed every means that the most tender and ingenious charity could suggest to overcome their obstinacy. The barbarians were at length softened, and considering his disinterestedness, his goodness, meekness, and mortified abstemious manner of living, they began to admire, and even to desire to imitate him. Many were converted, and these induced others to hear the holy prelate’s sermons, from which they went in bodies to destroy their temples and idols of their own accord: then returned to the holy prelate, and desired baptism. Eligius usually tried and instructed them for a whole year before he admitted them to the sacred laver of regeneration. By his discourses he raised the minds of the supine and slothful barbarians to an affection for heavenly things, and inspired them with a meek and peaceable temper: he taught them the means of rooting out of their hearts the love of pleasures and riches, and of perfectly subduing the evil habits of lying, enmity, hatred, and revenge, and ceased not to inculcate the precept of fraternal charity. In his exhortations he joined prayers and tears with reprehensions and threats; for his sweetness and mildness had no mixture of weakness, and his apostolic vigour and severity had nothing in it of bitterness or harshness. Every year at Easter he baptized great numbers both of old and young, whom he had brought to the knowledge of the true God, in the space of the twelve preceding months; to whom he had long before given the habit of catechumens, and who had long exercised themselves in suitable practices of fervent devotion and penance. The prudence and zeal of our holy paster were not less remarkable in bringing sinners after baptism to sincere penance. Many, like patients who in a fit of raving fall on the physicians who come to cure them, rose up against their holy bishop, because he refused to suffer them to live according to their passions and fancy. But Eligius considered that a charitable physician or tender father abandons not a sick patient who, in the violence of his fever, forgets the respect and obedience that is due to him, feared no dangers in the discharge of his pastoral duty, and in maintaining the indispensable laws of penance, and the rules of ecclesiastical discipline. Many sinners ran to receive penance by confessing their sins, and the holy bishop was very earnest in the care of their conversion. He exhorted all to frequent the churches, give alms, set their slaves at liberty, and practise all sorts of good works; and he engaged several of both sexes to embrace a monastic life. Once, not far from Noyon, he preached, on the feast of St. Peter against dancing, which the people made a frequent occasion of many sins. Many murmured hereat, and even threatened the holy prelate: but he preached the next festival on the same subject with greater vehemence than ever. Hereupon, the incorrigible sinners openly threatened his life. The servants of the lord of the place went about stirring up the whole country against him: for such men, where they are not restrained by their master’s authority, easily become lawless, and are the bane of a whole parish. The bishop at length found himself obliged to cut off these sons of Belial from the communion of the faithful, and to deliver them over to Satan, for the remedy of their souls. Fifty of them were afflicted by God, and made visible spectacles of his judgments: but, upon their repentance, were cured by the saint. St. Owen mentions many blind, lame, and sick persons, who received the benefit of their health, and use of their limbs, by the prayers of St. Eligius.

Among other prophecies, his prediction of the division of the French monarchy amongst the three sons of Clovis II. and its reunion under Theodoric, the youngest of them, was recorded by St. Owen, before its entire accomplishment. 7 This author informs us, 8 that our saint assembled the people every day, and instructed them with indefatigable zeal; and he gives us an abstract of several of his discourses united in one; by which it appears that his style was plain, simple, and without many ornaments, but tender and pathetic; and that he often borrowed whole passages from the sermons of St. Cæsarius, as was customary in France at that time. He often explained the obligation of the solemn vows or promises which Christians make at their baptism, exhorting the faithful to have them always before their eyes, and to be no less careful to practise, than to believe what they profess under the most sacred engagements. He insisted much on the obligation of almsdeeds, recommended the invocation of saints, and instructed the faithful to beware of the superstitious practices then in vogue; among which he reckons the observation of unlucky days, the solemnizing of New-year’s day with drinking and diversions, and the like. He strongly recommended prayer, the partaking of the body and blood of Christ, extreme-unction in time of sickness, and the sign of the cross to be always worn on our forehead, the efficacy of which sign he set forth. The seventeen homilies, which bear his name in the library of the fathers, cannot be his work; for the author had been a monk before he was bishop. 9 The charter of St. Eligius for the foundation of the abbey of Solignac is still extant. 10 The saint having governed his flock nineteen years and a half, was favoured with a foresight of his death, and a little before he was seized with his last sickness, foretold it to his disciples. Seeing them weep, he said: “Grieve not, my children; but rather congratulate with me. I have longed for this time, and, sighing under the miseries of this world, have wished for a releasement.” Falling ill of a fever, he prayed almost without interruption; and, on the sixth day, convened his disciples, and made them a pathetic exhortation to a virtuous life. They bursting all together into tears, he was not able to refrain from weeping with them; and on his knees, he commended them all to God, praying him not to abandon them, and to give them a holy pastor. After this, he continued his private prayers for several hours; then, reciting the canticle Nunc dimittis, &c. and fervently commending his soul into the hands of his Redeemer, he happily expired at one o’clock the next morning, on the 1st of December in 659, or in 665, if he was consecrated bishop in 646, being seventy years and some months old. Upon the news of his sickness, Queen Bathildes set out from Paris with her children, the lords of her court, and a numerous train: but arrived only the morning after his death. She bathed the corpse with a flood of tears, and caused all preparations to be made for carrying it to her monastery at Chelles. Others were very desirous that it should be conveyed to Paris: but the people of Noyon so strenuously opposed it, that the precious remains of their holy pastor were left with them, and the greatest part is kept at Noyon to this day. His body was deposited in the church of St. Lupus of Troyes, out of the walls, soon after called St. Eligius’s, as St. Owen testifies. This monastery of St. Eligius is now of the Benedictin Order of the reformed congregation of St. Maur. The relics of the saint were afterwards translated into the cathedral. Several other churches lay claim to small portions. St. Owen relates many miracles which followed his death, and informs us, that the holy abbess, St. Aurea, who was swept off by a pestilence, with a hundred and sixty of her nuns, in 666, was advertised of her last hour sometime before it, by a comfortable vision of St. Eligius. Queen Bathildes soon after, laying aside all ornaments of state, gave them all to the poor, except her gold bracelets, of which she caused a cross to be made, which she placed at the head of St. Eligius’s monument. She also ordered a sort of canopy called Repa, to be made of gold and silver, and set it over his tomb. The noblemen of her court, imitating her example, offered abundance of gold and precious stones to adorn the same: and, as it shone very bright, it was covered in Lent with a linen cloth bordered with silk. A certain liquor which dropped from this linen cloth, cured various distempers. 11 Fleury takes notice from this circumstance, that it was the custom at that time to cover, on penitential days, whatever looked bright or shining in churches.

St. Eligius learned to be a saint, living in the world and in a court. But for this he studied neither to be of the world, nor to be withdrawn by the world from a constant application to religious duties. To attend to them, he sometimes excused himself even from waiting upon his prince, when called upon by him: nor would he remain in his service upon other conditions. In the world, conversation is a devoir of civility, charity, and friendship: but first it must be sincere; not formality and mere compliment, which is frequently the case. Men who are idolaters of themselves, are incapable of true charity towards others; jealousy, envy and resentment, being on every occasion easily kindled in their hearts. Hence, their protestations of friendship are often a base hypocrisy, and a traffic of mutual deceit; a disposition diametrically opposite to that of charity and simplicity. Secondly, conversation with men, must not take up a considerable part of our time, nor be a source of vain amusement, or unprofitable fooleries. Toward those who would overwhelm us with idle visits, we are allowed, and when necessary, ought to shew some coolness, in order to break off a frivolous and fruitless commerce. Worldly discourse usually tends to promote vanity, pride, sensuality, and other passions. Men in general are not capable of being spoken to in the language of solid truth. Therefore, we ought to speak it often to ourselves by holy meditation and reading; and the oftener our circumstances oblige us to listen to the language of the world, so much the more diligent are we bound to be in attending to the voice of truth. It is only the blindness of the spirit of vanity that reigns in the world, which has brought any other dialect but that of truth into fashion. St. Eligius and many other saints found leisure even in courts to converse mostly with heaven and themselves. Who then can plead any excuse?

Note 1. Le Blanc, Hist. de Mon. p. 50, 54. Fleury, l. 37, n. 38. [back]

Note 2. Vita S. Eligij, c. 32. Du Chesne, Franc. Script. t. 1, p. 578. n. 20. [back]

Note 3. Vita S. Elig. c. 7. [back]

Note 4. Lebeuf (Hist. du Diocèse de Paris, t. 11,) observes from this life of St. Eligius, that the king’s palace was then at Gentilly, at that time the most agreeable spot near Paris, though it is now a watery and disagreeable village. [back]

Note 5. Thirteen bishops sat at Augusta Veromanduorum, or Virmandis, long since a village. St. Medard was consecrated the fourteenth bishop in 530, and, that city having been destroyed by barbarians, translated his see to Noyon in 531, and was also made bishop of Tournay in 532. St. Acarius, a monk of Luxeu, was made bishop of Noyon and Tournay about the year 621, is styled saint by Molanus and Miræus: on his death St. Eligius was promoted to that see. Gall. Chr. Nov. t. 9, p. 981.

  By a decree of Eugenius III. in 1146, the see of Tournay was again separated, and has had from that time its own bishops, who soon after were created counts and ranked among the twelve peers of France who officiate at the king’s coronation. Tournay and Lille had received the faith in part by the preaching of St. Piat, mentioned by St. Gregory of Tours; but few traces of it remained when St. Eligius, by his zealous labours, entirely banished idolatry out of that flourishing country, and founded at Tournay the famous abbey of St. Martin, which, in the twelfth century, adopted the rule of St. Bennet. 
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Note 6. The Chronicle of the abbey of Blandinium or St. Peter’s at Ghent, says that St. Amand enlarged the buildings and augmented the revenues of that monastery, built St. Martin’s church at Courtray, and the churches of Bruges, Aldenburg, Rodenburg, and Oostburg. See Sanders, l. 4, Gandavensium rerum, p. 289. [back]

Note 7. Vita S. Elig. l. 2, c. 31. Fleury, l. 40, n. 9. [back]

Note 8. Ib. l. 2, c. 14. [back]

Note 9. Bibl. Patr. t. 12, p. 300. Ceillier, p. 586. Rivet, p. 598. [back]

Note 10. Mabill. Act. Ben. t. 2, pp. 1091, 1092. [back]

Note 11. S. Audeon. vit. S. Eligii, c. 40. See Du Cange, in Glossar. v. Repa. [back]

Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73).  Volume XII: December. The Lives of the Saints.  1866.

SOURCE : http://www.bartleby.com/210/12/011.html

Sant' Eligio Vescovo


Chaptelat (presso Limoges, Francia), 588-590 - Olanda, 1° dicembre (?) 660

Nacque a Chaptelat (presso Limoges in Francia) intorno al 590. Una leggenda racconta che gli si presentò il diavolo vestito da donna: e lui, Eligio, rapido lo agguantò per il naso con le tenaglie. Questa colorita leggenda è raffigurata in due cattedrali francesi (Angers e Le Mans) e nel duomo di Milano, con la vetrata di Niccolò da Varallo, dono degli orefici milanesi nel Quattrocento. L'Eligio storico, figlio di gente modesta, deve aver ricevuto tuttavia un'istruzione, perché venne assunto come apprendista dall'orefice lionese Abbone, che dirige pure la zecca reale. Sotto Clotario, Eligio va a dirigere la zecca di Marsiglia e intanto continua a fare l'orefice. Col nuovo re Dagoberto I (623-639) viene chiamato a corte e cambia mestiere: il sovrano ne fa un suo ambasciatore, per missioni di fiducia. Altri incarichi se li prende da solo: per esempio, riscattare a sue spese i prigionieri di guerra, fondare monasteri maschili e femminili. Morto il re, sceglie la vita religiosa, e il 13 maggio 641 viene consacrato vescovo di Noyon-Tournai dove s'impegna nella campagna di evangelizzazione (e ri-evangelizzazione) nel Nord della Gallia, nelle regioni della Mosa e della Scelda, nelle terre dei Frisoni. Muore nel 660. (Avvenire)

Patronato: Fabbri, Gioiellieri, Garagisti

Etimologia: Eligio = eletto, dal latino, nobile guida, dall'ebraico

Emblema: Bastone pastorale

Martirologio Romano: A Noyon in Neustria, ora in Francia, sant’Eligio, vescovo, che, orefice e consigliere del re Dagoberto, dopo aver contribuito alla fondazione di molti monasteri e costruito edifici sepolcrali di insigne arte e bellezza in onore dei santi, fu elevato alla sede di Noyon e Tournai, dove attese con zelo al lavoro apostolico.

Gli si presenta il diavolo vestito da donna: e lui, Eligio, rapido lo agguanta per il naso con le tenaglie. Questa colorita leggenda è raffigurata in due cattedrali francesi (Angers e Le Mans); e nel Duomo di Milano, con la vetrata di Niccolò da Varallo, dono degli orefici milanesi nel Quattrocento.

L’Eligio storico, figlio di gente modesta, deve aver ricevuto tuttavia un’istruzione, perché viene assunto come apprendista dall’orefice lionese Abbone, che dirige pure la zecca reale: un grande maestro nella sua arte. E l’allievo Eligio non è da meno. Della sua fama di artefice e di galantuomo parla un singolare racconto, non documentato: il re Clotario II gli commissiona un trono d’oro, dandogli il metallo occorrente. E lui, con quello, di troni gliene fa due. Dimezzato il preventivo: cose mai viste, né prima né dopo.

Sotto Clotario, Eligio va a dirigere la zecca di Marsiglia, e intanto continua a fare l’orefice. Col nuovo re Dagoberto I (623-639) viene chiamato a corte e cambia mestiere: il sovrano ne fa un suo ambasciatore, per missioni di fiducia. Altri incarichi se li prende da solo: per esempio, riscattare a sue spese i prigionieri di guerra, fondare monasteri maschili e femminili. Morto il re, sceglie la vita religiosa, e il 13 maggio 641 viene consacrato vescovo di Noyon-Tournai. 

Comincia un’esistenza nuova. Eligio s’impegna nella campagna di evangelizzazione (e ri-evangelizzazione) nel Nord della Gallia, nelle regioni della Mosa e della Scelda, nelle terre dei Frisoni. Ne diventa uno dei protagonisti, con altri vescovi come Audoeno (Ouen) di Rouen (che sarà anche il suo biografo), Amand di Tongres, Sulpizio il Pio di Bourges. E la sua vita si conclude appunto sul campo, in terra olandese (di qui i suoi resti verranno riportati a Noyon solo nel 1952). E subito parte l’altra storia di sant’Eligio: il suo culto si diffonde in Francia, in Germania, in Italia. Lo vogliono come patrono non solo gli orafi, ma in pratica tutti gli artigiani dei metalli, e poi i carrettieri, i netturbini, i mercanti di cavalli, i maniscalchi, e ai tempi nostri anche i garagisti. In alcune località francesi si dà la benedizione ai cavalli nel giorno della sua festa.

Autore:
Domenico Agasso


Voir aussi : Saint Ouen of Rouen. The Life of Saint Eligius : http://www.catholic-forum.com/saints/sto09001.htm

Dado of Rouen. The Life of St. Eligius, tr. Jo Ann McNamara : http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/basis/eligius.asp

Iconographie : http://www.aug.edu/augusta/iconography/eligius.html