March 6 – Bishop Prime Minister

March 6, 2014

St. Chrodegang

Stained glass window of St. Chrodegang of Metz, in the Sainte-Glossinde de Metz chapel.

Stained glass window of St. Chrodegang of Metz, in the Sainte-Glossinde de Metz chapel.

Bishop of Metz, born at the beginning of the eighth century at Hasbania, in what is now Belgian Limburg, of a noble Frankish family; died at Metz, 6 March, 766.

He was educated at the court of Charles Martel, became his private secretary, then chancellor, and in 737 prime minister. On 1 March, 742, he was appointed Bishop of Metz, retaining his civil office at the request of Pepin.

In his influential position St. Chrodegang labored earnestly for the welfare of Church and State, and was ever solicitous to strengthen the bonds of union between the temporal and spiritual rulers.

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In his diocese he introduced the Roman Liturgy and chant, community life for the clergy of his cathedral, and wrote a special rule for them. He founded (748) the Abbey of Gorze (near Metz), and remained its friend and protector. He also established St. Peter’s Abbey, on the Moselle, and did much for Gengenbach and Lorsch. For the latter he is said to have obtained the relics of St. Nazarius, and for Gorze those of St. Gorgonius.

In 753 he was sent by Pepin to Pope Stephen III to assure him of the sympathy of the Frankish rulers against the inroads of Aistulf, King of the Lombards. He accompanied the pope to Ponthieu. After the death of St. Boniface, Pope Stephen conferred the pallium on St. Chrodegang (754-755), thus making him an archbishop, but not elevating the See of Metz.

St. Chrodegang was buried in the Abbey of Gorze.

Former Abbey Church of Gorze

Former Abbey Church of Gorze

He was a man of imposing appearance, of a mild, though firm, character, of great liberality to the poor, and of more than ordinary ability, well versed in Latin and German. The rule containing thirty-four chapters which he gave his clergy (c. 755) was modeled according to the rules of St. Benedict and of the Canons of the Lateran (Mansi, XIV, 313; Hardouin, IV 1181; Migne, P.L., LXXXIX, 1097). Through it he gave a mighty impulse to the spread of community life among the secular clergy. It was later increased to eighty-six chapters (D’Archey, Spicilegium, I, 656).

In 762, during a dangerous illness, he introduced among his priests a confraternity of prayer known as the League of Attigny.

FRANCIS MERSHMAN (Catholic Encyclopedia)

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