February 21 – Terror of the Wicked, Supporter of the Weak

February 20, 2014

Blessed Pepin of Landen

Blessed Pepin of Landen

Mayor of the Palace to the Kings Clotaire II, Dagobert, and Sigebert. He was son of Carloman, the most powerful nobleman of Austrasia, who had been mayor to Clotaire I, son of Clovis I. He was grandfather to Pepin of Herstal, the most powerful mayor, whose son was Charles Martel, and grandson Pepin the Short, king of France, in whom begun the Carlovingian race.

Pepin of Landen

Pepin of Landen

Pepin of Landen, upon the river Geete, in Brabant, was a lover of peace, the constant defender of truth and justice, a true friend to all servants of God, the terror of the wicked, the support of the weak, the father of his country, the zealous and humble defender of religion. He was lord of a great part of Brabant, and governor of Austrasia, when Theodebert II, king of that country was defeated by Theodoric II, king of Burgundy, and soon after assassinated in 612: and Theodoric dying the year following, Clotaire II, king of Soissons, reunited Burgundy, Neustria, and Austrasia to his former dominions, and became sole monarch of France.

Subscription8For the pacific possession of Austrasia he was much indebted to Pepin, whom he appointed mayor of the palace to his son Dagobert I, when, in 622, he declared him king of Austrasia and Neustria. The death of Clotaire II in 628, put him in possession of all France, except a small part of Aquitaine, with Thoulouse, which was settled upon his younger brother, Charibert.

When king Dagobert, forgetful of the maxims instilled into him in his youth, had given himself up to a shameful lust, this faithful minister boldly reproached him with his ingratitude to God, and ceased not till he saw him a sincere and perfect penitent. This great king died in 638, and was buried at St. Denis. He had appointed Pepin tutor to his son Sigebert from his cradle, and mayor of his palace when he declared him king of Austrasia, in 633.

After the death of Dagobert, Clovis II, reigning in Burgundy and Neustria, (by whom Erchinoald was made mayor for the latter, and Flaochat for the former,) Pepin quit the administration of those dominions, and resided at Metz, with Sigebert, who always considered him as his father, and under his discipline became himself a saint, and one of the most happy amongst all the French kings.

Death of King Dagobert

Death of King Dagobert

Pepin was married to blessed Itta, of one of the first families in Aquitaine, by whom he had a son called Grimoald, and two daughters, St. Gertrude, and St. Begga. The latter, who was the elder, was married to Ansigisus, son of St. Arnoul, to whom she bore Pepin of Herstal.

St. Itta of Metz

St. Itta of Metz

B. Pepin, of Landen, died on the 21st of February, in 640, and was buried at Landen; but his body was afterwards removed to Nivelle, where it is now enshrined, as are those of the B. Itta, and St. Gertrude in the same place.

His name stands in the Belgic Martyrologies, though no other act of public veneration has been paid to his memory, than the enshrining of his relics, which are carried in processions. His name is found in a litany published by the authority of the archbishop of Mechlin. See Bollandus, t. 3. Febr. p. 250, and Dom Bouquet, Recueil des Hist. de France, t. 2. p. 603.

The Lives of the Saints, by Rev. Alban Butler, 1866; Volume II: February, p. 441-442.

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[Nobility.org comment: Clovis brought France to the faith but his descendants in the Merovingian dynasty were slowly losing his outstanding ability for government and war. Blessed Pepin was a Mayor of the Palace which in those days included the responsibility of leading the king’s armies in battle. His descendants retained this position and increased their valor. Once the softness of the Merovingian dynasty became abysmal, the mayors of the palace, who were effectively ruling the country and fighting its wars would depose the unworthy monarchs and claim the crown.
Consequently, Bl. Pepin’s great-grandson would be the immortal Charles the Hammer who crushed the invading Muslim armies in the historic battle of Poitiers. His great-great grandson Pepin the Short would claim the title of king, and his great-great-grandson would be known to History as Charlemagne.]
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