Monday, September 17, 2012

Nicetius of Lyons

Vita Nicetii Episcopi Lugdunensis, ed. B. Krusch, Monumenta Germaniae Historica Scriptores Rerum Merovingicarum III pp. 518-524. 

Translation from Merovingian Episcopal Saints: Text and Portrayal (Unpublished PhD Thesis, Reading, 2001) vol. 2 pp 238-243


1. How many times are the manifest deeds of holy men recalled to memory by the reading of the written word and, through those who have come together and sought the celebration, the worthy honour of the people is fulfilled and, by the devotion of those listening, is provoked to eagerness for a blessing.

2. Thus, the holy Nicetius, bishop of the town of Lyons, the feast of whose death, the faithful populace celebrate together with devotion every year on account of their love for him. From infancy he served the practice of religion no less in sense than when he had received the habit. According to this practice, he grew in the love of virtues as he grew in age with the increase of time. Thus God, the Creator, poured into him the blessing of great sanctity.

3. The most blessed man, Agricola, bishop of the town of Chalon-sur-Saone, advanced Nicetius to the office of priest. Indeed, being furnished with good works, his fame grew and he flourished in that dignity of the priesthood with the splendour of merits. He came to be known by the holy and venerable bishop of Lyons, who was Sacerdos by name and by works, and he was selected to the pastoral position so that, when the bishop completed his full life and passed away, Nicetius might be his successor. Indeed, by divine direction, with time passing, all the people agreed and willingly sought him as successor. Thus with the goodwill of the prince, and according to divine command, he consented with congratulation. He committed himself in all things to the authority of the divine king, neither did he dare to flee that dignity by retreat nor did he wish to match the profit. Being established in that position of importance, he held the cunning of vipers and fulfilled it with the simplicity of a dove.

4. Indeed, as often as men came to his city in all honesty for frequent habitation, he ordered those houses in the vicinity of his apartment to be prepared with assiduous care and, coming away from all the offices, in the most secret hours of night, he came to them and was keen to wash their feet diligently, like the faithful servant so that he might fulfil the apostolic precept and lest, by neglecting minor matters, he should distinguish himself to be able to complete greater divine grace, which he showed continually by his works.

 5. He constituted, with strict law, those things in the institution of the divine offices from the ancient and sacred religion, with fixed terms in the passage of time either night or day, so that he perpetually doubled the study of psalm singing so that the meditation of divine law was never absent from either his mouth or his heart. If, by chance, while he fulfilled his duties some occupation arose on account of those coming together with assiduity, he came forth. so that as if from heaven, the response returned from where it was called back and he continued the office which he acted but within himself. Sometimes he, who had been enflamed with fervour and lived a spiritual life, was thought to be cold-hearted by all those who were ignorant. Indeed he also took care to get up every morning without doubt and with zeal so that he always began the beginning of the office himself. Thus, having given alms richly with a most prompt wish, he was gladdened so that, whatever he had judged himself to have acquired, he conferred to the poor.

6. How many times in the summertime, was there a despair of the fruit through the coming drought? With great compunction and being favoured unanimously by the people, he took care to celebrate litanies so that a richness of rain might hasten to the assistance of that very place.

7. Indeed, when it was winter, the memorable holy bishop distinguished himself likewise as he set out to visit the manors of the holy church in the parts of Province. He came into the villa of a certain illustrious man by the name of Flavius at that time at the mansion at Alacarnus, with the sun declining into evening so that it happened that it conferred the opportunity to come there to rest in the silence of the night. Then, after divine prayer, he had asked for evening refreshment of the sacrament. Into the cathedral before his feet, with great furore, there was carried by his parents, a boy who possessed a demon. We gained the information concerning his story through the most holy men the priests Catafronius and Eustasius, as they said that they had seen the aforesaid demoniac boy there, restrained with a great bridle. This had been done so that, having been punished through the neck with that neck bent back, he was miserably fixed to the spine of his back and his face inclined to sadness.

8. So that he might appease2 the parents who were stretched out before his knees with great wailing, having fulfilled the accustomed seven holy prayers in the oratory, the holy man anointed the boy with a blessing through a sign of the cross of the liquor of holy oil and with the invocation of the name of Christ. In that very place he sent the demon out from the possessed body and with the disabled limbs reformed, he returned him to health so that he might return home with his parents. Also, after an interval of time, with health having been conferred to him, celebrating with his parents, the cured man then returned from Mustarnacus into the field of the holy church of Lyons, devoted to the blessed Nicetius his doctor and at the same time they returned thanks to Christ and the holy pontiff.

9. After the man of merits received the proper passage, with the enemy of humankind lying in wait, it happened that, with flames rising up together, a great part of the town of Lyons was most seriously laid bare by flames of fire. While columns of people were flowing headlong together to that place from every direction, suddenly, a most clear and resounding voice struck the ears of the masses who were running along, saying that holy Nicetius had come bodily into the house of the church and, with the light having been restored to two blind women, it carried that former greeting. Then, in that very place, the sound of the people which announced the coming of the bishop to the tomb, recalled the men. Nor is it amazing that the blessed champion was eager to defend with the virtue of the spirit the place where he was seen to have lived bodily nor did the sanctified one separate his favours from that place where he was also living after death.

10. Therefore, a certain man who was set on fire, by the ardour of faith, reverently carried dust which had been collected from Nicetius' tomb for whatever remedies might come to his aid. Indeed often, when the faithful people were thrown down by the approaching assault of a tempest, he showed that the firmness of a hailstorm was melted into water and that the hard stone turned into the lightness of liquid.

11. Indeed another man owed ten solidi to a certain creditor. With the assurance of love intervening, without delay, he undertook that, since he wickedly wished to deny the case at the tomb of the most blessed bishop and say that he had not received them, he was doomed to die. At once all of his limbs were deprived of power so that his heart became dark and thus blindness struck his eyes. Then, at evening, having once been brought in to disorder and then to repentance, the unhappy man, who had thus changed, began to offer prayers with profuse tears, that he might receive sight. Yet the most holy shepherd, who was living by merit and piety, returned the sight of the beseecher with the stiff relic of his body and thus he terrified the dishonest one for the sake of justice and thus he helped the afflicted on account of mercy.

12. In the same way, a certain man, who was filled with an infestation of a mad spirit, came at length to his tomb under heavy custody. While he was driven in Bacchic frenzies with the vexation of so much furore, he was seen to send the spirit away. While a place of burial was prepared for him, he lay that night and day, with all the heat of life departed from him. Having been pressed with the death-bringing sleep of the dying, by divine power he recalled to memory a certain man, from those observing, that he should make the sign of the cross over his face, his mouth and ears with the oil of the candle which was at the tomb of the blessed bishop, being faithful and sensing that the relics were accustomed to work miracles and perhaps might rouse a dead man. In a short while, having been filled with breath by the secret mystery, he revived and at once, with Christ favouring him, he got up.

13. Furthermore, at a certain time, seven men who were imprisoned by blindness by established matter and were no less constricted by the iron bonds which held them and by which they had been held in custody for a long time at the town of Vienne. One of these men merited to see the holy Nicetius in a vision and it was as if he touched the bonds by which they were bound together with his staff and at once the force of the iron was broken and the fastened doors were laid open. They went to the church to seek refuge to be free in that place, as they were freed by holy intercessions.

 14. However, in the basilica where his most sacred body was revered by the devotion of the faithful, a certain guilty man, who was a threat to the public, was bound with iron bonds together with another man by an order of injunction. Yet when they had come to Nicetius' tomb with hindered step, they were freed of their public bonds by secret virtue, which was worked by a mystery at other times in the way.

15. It is said that, before he departed from this world to the celestial kingdom, and this is agreed by us and others as has already been said, he worked many miracles. He also secretly sent out demons from bodies possessed by them. However, after the holy man migrated from the light of this world, then he showed that he was more powerful with increased miracles. Continually and incessantly, with people witnessing, he conferred a remedy of health to all those suffering who were led to his tomb with complete certainty of faith. He conferred going to the lame, vision to the blind, remedy to the possessed and complete vigour to those who were bound.

16. On account of this, all kinds of people are able to narrate many things in praise of him, except it was hardly necessary that the speech of sermons should be scattered everywhere through a manifold number of places where he always showed the operation of spiritual mysteries. Furthermore, as much as the course of time passed, his virtue was strengthened so much by many more works.

17. The most holy speech concerning him was able to take hold so that, just as he fortified this town with the protection of his body so, he conferred salvation of soul and body to everyone. Indeed he, who had laboured with holy eagerness, just as in his life even after death, blossomed with assiduous works and interceded with his prayers for the most blessed Bishop Etherius and unfolded the office of reading. Yet, not without merit but carefully solemnly and with eager love, he tended the memory of him who, following him in that place, he ordered to be his successor since he rejoiced in conversation with him. They say that, after Nicetius' death, in that place, the devotion of the people of Lyons unanimously sought him for the rank of bishop but then, with foresight, the direction of the prince was refused and, with his successor dead, he did not wish to indulge that speech of the sacred bishop, which he set forth while he remained in the body. The Creator God infused the heart of the most clement king, obtaining this, so that it was done so that he who was father of the fatherland would now be father of the church. On account of this matter, God is to be prayed to, so that, venerating him with unanimous devotion, we might eagerly cultivate solemnity and protection and we might always be helped by his prayers or we might be fortified by his suitable help and even if we do not deserve it we might be instructed by examples, with the Lord Jesus Christ reigning with the Father Son and Holy Spirit for ever and ever. Amen

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Arnulf of Metz

Translation is the copyrighted property of Sarah Brush (nee Hamilton)
Vita Arnulfi Episcopi Mettensis, ed., B. Krusch, MGH SRM II pp. 426-446.


In the name of the omnipotent God and Jesus Christ our Lord, his son, I have come to write the life or acts of the most holy bishop Arnulf, with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, who rested in him, and through the direction from the Lord of good things: Open your mouth and I will fill it. Therefore his deeds must not be kept secret and as an example of good works they shall be made public. Without doubt they made him a citizen with God’s attendants, the saints.

1. Therefore, the blessed Bishop Arnulf was of the Frankish race. He was of reasonable rank, being born to noble parents, and was extremely rich in worldly goods. However he became more noble and more lofty because he continually persisted in the faith of Christ. Thus, from the narration of those that knew him, I have come to know about many laudable works which he performed many of which will be written down here by me. I rate the content of these works so highly that we shall begin describing him from the very beginning that is from the day of his birth.

2. Therefore, there was living in that place, a certain stranger who had come from neighbouring Italy. He was a servant of God by the name of Stephen. After a brief silence following the exalted beginning of his birth, at length, a message from heaven was given to this man. The prophetic voice commenced in him and he said, “Seek to know, everyone and listen! A certain boy is born here. This boy, who is lofty and great and should be carried with honour, will be great in the house of God and of men.” Which matter the truth of events then proved.

3. After this, being of laudable character and full of the grace of God, the time came when he was handed over to the instruction in the study of letters. Soon, having been handed over to a teacher, being naturally acute of mind with an extensive memory, he shone amiably among his other companions. With Christ dwelling in him, he was subject to all, yet he was loftier than all in faith and charity. When he came to the age of maturity, having been well taught, he was handed over to Gundulf, the underking, mayor of the palace or royal advisor, to be trained in good works. From there, when he had received this training, he then made himself ready and through many proofs he proved himself worthy to the minister of King Theudebert.

4. Who is able to describe his virtue of making war or his power in arms? More particularly who can describe how he had often driven away the troops of an enemy people with his own sword? On account of this, through Christ, he who a little while ago was seen to be almost the last of all was made first of all, so that six provinces – which many household members then served and even now serve – might be ruled with judgement under his ministration alone. For he was earnest in prayer and in fasting and he inclined himself to mercy for the poor. So just as it is written, he returned to God what was God’s and gave to Caesar what belonged to Caesar.

5. Meanwhile, with much ado, in the company of his assembled friends and parents he married a girl from a most noble and illustrious family, according to admirable custom and because God thus wished it. For the same Lord granted to him especially a gift like the splendour of two gems which were worthy in the world so that he received the joy of two sons from that distinguished woman. While these things were done, just as we said above, he blossomed first with many divers honours in the palace and in service. However he was perpetually vigilant in meditation around the monasteries or holy places.

6. During this time there was in royal service, a distinguished man called Romaricus, who was joined to the household by love and affection of the holy man. After deliberation and following the instructions of the Lord, who said, Go, sell all that you have and give it to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven and come follow me. Leaving all behind on account of Christ, this man arranged to go on a pilgrimage to Lérins to the monastery, there. However by pursuing this cause with all these desires, he hindered the wishes of the Most High. For, God Almighty did not judge that these two men who shone together in the world like two lamps should be hidden in this way, as the Lord says: No-one burns a lamp and places it under a bushel but in the open so that it may shine for all who are in the house.
[Addition in one MS:
I come to narrate one miracle at least of the many which he performed but I consider this should be weighed first because he is said to have performed this one before he had come to the seat of the episcopate. Equally when he repented on account of his sins, it happened that when he crossed the bridge of the river Moselle and he discerned an immense impenetrable vision of the abyss he took out a ring which he had with him by chance and with these words he threw it into the river, “As I throw this ring,” he said, “I will think of the forgiveness of sins which I will receive from it.” After some years, when he had then ascended to the rank of a priest, a fish was carried to him by a certain fisherman. When the holy man had received this fish by the action of grace, he ordered it to be prepared for his evening meal because he abstained from meat by custom. When the minister received it and gutted it according to the custom, he found that same ring inside the entrails of that fish. He was ignorant of what had happened and marvelling at the matter he carried it to the holy pontiff. Recognising what had happened the faithful man gave thanks to God for the forgiveness of sins. He led a life afterwards without relapse into sin. Also after these things he afflicted himself with fasts, vigils and prayers. Indeed that ring is held in the palace even now. God should be praised for his magnificence and all should be amazed that, in the presence of God, the holy man merited to be established in faith with the effect that, having been subjected by errors, he was freed by the remission of his sins. Without a doubt this could not have been done unless it were done most properly by God.]

7. Since the Eternal Director was both perpetually watchful as well as most powerful in these various good things, it happened, by chance that the town of Metz needed a patron. Then, in one voice, the people exclaimed that Arnulf, member of the royal household and royal counsellor, should be bishop. He was compelled to it because it was pleasing to God yet he wept when he received the town and governance. Thereafter he bore the episcopal garb and he wished that he might hold the dignity of office and the pre-eminence of the palace mindfully. Soon such great, perfect munificence in alms to the poor grew so that, as the news spread, uncountable troops of paupers rushed to the holy Bishop Arnulf to be helped, even from far off regions and cities.

8. For, indeed, he was continually mindful and attentive in all good deeds, especially in the support of monks or pilgrims. He kept watch most devotedly, so that, whomever he received into his hospitality, he himself washed their feet with his own hands and took care of their clothes and refreshment, and soon, he received others in need of refreshment. Furthermore, who can describe the pattern of his abstinences, or most particularly how sometimes he would only eat barley bread or drink a beaker of water after a fast of three days or longer? Indeed he was continually dressed in a lowly manner with a hidden hair tunic and he bore a double cross for his limbs because of his vigils and fasts.

9. Now I shall set out to describe at least some of the many miracles which he did. Indeed, the holy man was in the neighbouring parts of Vosges, at the estate of the holy Stephen. A certain woman named Betilla was miserably seized by a demon and was often so strongly shaken that it endangered her life. When she had begun to rave in the presence of the holy patron, as always, he was moved to great pity and said, “Alas, a most miserable kind of human! How greatly does the enemy prevail, that he may possess this abode where Christ ought to live?” With night coming on, he ordered the woman to devote herself to a vigil. When the holy man had given himself to prayer, soon he separated the demon, shouting and wailing, from the woman. Everyone rejoiced. In that very place he commanded the woman, who for a long while had been oppressed and infirm because of the enemy, to go away uninjured and happy.

10. Indeed, about this same time, the whole church was accustomed to celebrate a three day fast. According to the custom, the holy man set out from the city and the civitas with a cross and with a mixed group of people, praying for grace and suddenly a woman from the middle of the crowd, who was seized by a demon, began to shout. When he saw her, he made the sign of the cross. At once she was snatched away from the enemy and cured. Also, at a later time, he came to the town basilica of the Holy Cross for the sake of giving prayers and giving of treasure. There he met with a girl who was raving miserably in a Bacchic frenzy. When he saw her he was moved by mercy and said to his archdeacon, “Tonight, brother, we shall celebrate prayers and vigils for the sake of this miserable creature and, when daybreak overtakes night, likewise what possesses her will be overtaken through us.” The next day, when they had done what was agreed, they found the girl freed from the old enemy. It was done in this way so that the sanctity of this man cured even those who had been lost for a long time.

11. Then at the time of King Dagobert, when Arnulf was serving in the palace, a certain leper began to shout asking for food or clothing. At once Arnulf ordered the man to be led to the hospital. Therefore, following his usual custom, he valued piety and, since the man was a foreigner, he wished to inquire if he had been cleansed by the sacrament of baptism. Unexpectedly, he answered, “Not at all, my Lord, for, unhappy man as I am, I was cast out from the company of people and who would bestow the grace of baptism on me?” Then the bishop said, “Do not be afraid, brother, it is possible. You only have to believe in Christ and it will be the wish of the Lord, that you shall receive a double medal both for your soul and for your body.” Therefore, having received baptism from the holy man, suddenly the leprosy was separated from his body and afterwards he who had previously been a sinner and a leper was made of healthy substance in both mind and body.

12. Yet after this, when he visited the estates of Tours with the aforementioned king, by chance, there was a certain noble boy by the name of Noddilus and his parent, who loved him so much that he buried him with great weeping. Indeed he was joined to him with indissoluble affection being close by both blood and by friendship. Then the king hastened from that town as quickly as possible and was not there to denounce the people who were counselling that the boy’s drooping head should be cut off and his body be delivered into a fire for burning, according to the pagan custom. However, as we believe, events were then ruled by the will of the almighty God, as the holy Bishop Arnulf had not yet gone out to the countryside. Having learned of this counsel, he went swiftly to Noddilus and he explained the cause of his unhappiness more by sobbing than by words. Immediately, therefore, the eminent man went to the bed of the dead man with haste. When he had prostrated on the ground, he prayed for a very long time. Then, at length, he spoke to the half living man, as was his custom, saying, “Get up my son!” he said, “If perhaps you have done anything evil, so that you may receive double medicine.” He rejoiced exceedingly that the man had come to God. Scarcely had he uttered the words which he considered with his heart, but the man was shaken with final the struggle. What more need I say? Warm water was brought forth and, with his own hands, the holy man washed the face, hands and feet of the sick man with great diligence and anointed the body with holy oil. It was done in this way, so that on that day suffering from no infirmity, he took to the road happy and rejoicing and went into the town with other uninjured people.

13. Indeed, there is a miracle which he performed at another time which should not be kept secret. One day, a certain wicked man, by the name of Noddo, was drunk with wine and a stuffed belly. Along with his companions he dared to dishonour the holy man, saying that it was clear that he was not a worshipper of God but more properly a man devoted to pleasure, with whom, it is well known, not only the king but also the queen hastens to one bed at the hour of night. Indeed, then Noddo drew away a companion and went to bed with him under the same cover. By the order of the Lord, it happened that all his clothes were surrounded with flames. In that very place, with urgent voices, they prayed for water to throw against the flames which were springing up. Yet the water did not extinguish the flames which were sent down by divine power. They burned, miserably, around their buttocks and genitals and their linen shirts burned also and they were not able to strip their burning clothes from their bodies. What more need I say? Since they were not able to do it any other way, they went outside and rolled like pigs in the dirt proclaiming their concupiscence. Yet their genitals burned more and more with the fire sent down from heaven. Then, indeed, as I think, because of that which is written down, Are you drawing away to your secret place? There I shall follow, was fulfilled against them. Thus divine censure ordered it and it was done so that those who had dishonoured the holy bishop sensed punishment in this way. For never again after that time was the aforesaid Noddo found in such transgressions as it was ordered that the royal sword should justly cut off his wickedness together with his life and so that he should not die alone, soon, his son was condemned by the same sentence and was killed.

14. Around that time, when he had expended nearly all the treasure on the poor there was a silver dish weighing seventy-two pounds left. Chuc, a certain nobleman of high rank, procured this dish, after some of the alms – those which were necessary – had been given to the poor. Yet the almighty God did not endure that he, a layman who had previously been consecrated in honour of the blessed Stephen the protomartyr, should benefit. Indeed the aforesaid Chuc was prostrated on his knees by death and the dish was carried to the aforesaid King Chlothar. Then the king learned from those who told it to him that this dish had been given for alms to the poor by the holy Bishop Arnulf. Soon, by wonderful inspiration and heavenly action, he quickly ordered the same dish with a hundred gold coins placed on top of it to be carried to Metz to the holy pontiff. It was done in this way so that both those on the list of the poor and others were turned away from poverty through the sustenance of the alms of God. The possession of the saints which had been given by them once was returned without any other expense.

15. Then these and more miracles like them began to grow through him to the benefit of the people. Soon he sought places away from the clamours of the common people. There, often concealed like a prisoner, he was free to attend most eagerly to holy prayers alone with God heeding to the advice of the Most High who said Seek and see since I am the Lord. For, having withdrawn into a little cell, he frequently beat the sky, night and day, with his prayers at the villa of Dodigny which was neighbouring with Vosges and particularly at Chaussy which was not very far from the town.

16. While in these prayers, Christ’s most holy fighter fought vigorously against the devil. His conscience was pricked that, while he was away, the people given to him by God might receive less nourishment of eternal life. Quickly Arnulf began to entreat the king most earnestly that he might give his son as bishop. Sending letters through messengers, Arnulf declared himself a sinner and unworthy of his work. He said that they should elect a bishop who might properly preach the word of God to the people like sowing seeds. With the people abandoned in this way, King Chlothar was soon filled with an extraordinary vexation. He sought from all his remaining counsellors if the holy Bishop Arnulf had ceased to visit the palace. Among many other things he sent letters to him saying, “Lord and father, although you have written through your letter that we ought to elect another as successor in your place. No-one may presume to do so with my assurance.” To this again, in return, Arnulf said, “We receive your warnings on account of your devotion with great joy. Through divine guidance we believe that you have been warned by the Lord yet despite this we have written again sadly that we have not chosen to be absent from your sight. More precisely, lord and father, may it please you, we have been compelled by devotion and resolved to seek after the doing of good works. We do not seek by any means that you should leave us without your peace or communion on account of divine love.” Indeed the aforesaid King Chlothar cared for Arnulf with such faith and love that, when he had elevated his son Dagobert to the highest position, the same king had handed his son into Arnulf’s hand for governing and instruction. Arnulf educated him with most high and profound wisdom, so that the king was said by the nation of the Secambrori to be not at all like him.

17. However when he arranged to hasten to the desert with indissoluble love, being prudent, King Dagobert suspected it. The king wished to terrify him a little so that he should not depart from his comfort or counsel and said to him, “Your most dear sons thus have a loss for unless you stay with us, I will chop off their heads.” To this, he responded, saying, “The lives of my sons are in the hand of God. You do not now possess your own life, since you set out to carry away the life from innocents.” Then, the king was angered and turned against him. He seized the sword which was hanging at the side of one of his officers and held it with his hand. Then the blessed Arnulf was uncertain whether he was about to die as a result of the anger of the petty king. He said firmly, “What are you doing, oh worthless man? Do you wish to repay my goodness with wickedness? Now, look at me! I am ready! Exercise your arm in my blood so that it may be pleasing to your soul. I do not doubt that I will die at the command of Him who gave me life and who died for me.” Then one nobleman said, “Oh good king do not act impiously to yourself and to Him! Do you not see that the holy man wishes for martyrdom and is destined to it? Why are you not afraid to attack a servant of our Lord Christ?” When he had said this, being ordered by God, the man took hold of his enraged anger for a short time.

18. During all this the queen was also there. Recalling her guilts, the queen ran to the feet of the holy man and begged him with tears that he might be compassionate, saying, “Go to the desert, lord, as you wish. In that way we shall keep peace with you, whom we have attacked and treated with wickedness.” Then, having been given this chance, the holy man went out from the palace and behold! He found an almost innumerable multitude of the lame, of the blind and of many poor people, of widows and orphans, standing by the gateways. When they had seen him, they all began to cry aloud, saying, “Oh holy shepherd, why do you leave us behind, miserable as we are? Who will have pity on us or who will bestow us with food and clothing? For if you are stolen away we will all die because we will be naked and consumed by hunger. We implore you for the sake of Christ, do not abandon us.” Then he wept and addressed them with soothing voice, saying, “The Lord will give you a shepherd who will attend to your feeding in pity and mercy. For, henceforth, you will not see my face for a long time but just as Christ says, you should do, ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.’ Be prepared in fruitfulness to one another. May you have mercy so that, although you are now restrained with poverty and misery, in the future life you shall happily deserve to reign with Christ, just as Lazarus the beggar was transported by the angels to the bosom of Abraham. Thus, you should seek the Lord and your soul may live both here and in eternity.” When he had said this, at once, according to his prayers he went to his prayers.

19. A little while after these deeds, as he was perpetually intent on meditation the holy Goericus Abbo was elected as successor to the just man. Indeed this was fitly ordered by God so that a holy man should succeed another holy man. When he heard this, Romaricus, who was a distinguished man from the parts of Vosges, set out to see the blessed Arnulf. He prepared a proper place for them to meet each other in the vast desert.

20. As soon as night approached on that day he came to a town where a miracle had been worked through that same nourish-making bishop, of which I ought not to be silent. It happened by chance that a devouring fire attacked the storeroom of the king and the great high flames leapt up all around the house and menacingly rose up to the top of it. Suddenly all the citizens rose up and saw its destruction. They were turned to lamentation and clamour. Hearing this we quickly came to the house of the holy man to find him. He was sweetly singing psalms, as was always his custom. At once, Romaricus seized his hand and said, “Go out, Lord, behold! Our horses are out through the gates, so that the fire does not burn you in this town which would not be fitting.” To this, Arnulf said, “By no means will I go most dear man. Lead me there and we shall see this impious fire, which has grown fat, and place me next to it. If God wishes that I should burn, behold, I am in his hand.” Then, holding his holy hand, we came to the fire and soon, being ordered by him, we prostrated in prayer. When the chapter had been said, we all rose up. Then, raising up his hand against the huge flames, he made the sign of the cross. Soon, in an amazing way as if struck from heaven, yet without injury to anyone, having been totally twisted back below the walls, the fire turned inwards. Thereafter we, who were secure from the danger which had now been put down, gave thanks to God, said matins and returned to our beds. In that very place, the following vision appeared to one of the brothers. Looking towards the sky, he saw such fiery flames depicting the sign of the cross and, at once, a voice spoke down from the sky from the side of the cross, saying, “Do you perceive this sign?” It said, “This night, Bishop Arnulf has freed this whole town from fire.” The brother narrated this vision to all of us as we were wondering at the miracle, which we had seen, of the fire being put out.

21. A few days after this, the blessed man left behind all worldly things and, having given a great deal of money to the poor, he was then safe and secure of his treasure stored up in heaven. Not many days later that man, who, to be like Christ, was then poor in the world, but rich in the virtue of the Lord, set out for the desert among the beasts and wild woods just like a new Elijah. At the customary little house he resounded praise to God daily with meditation. Indeed, having set up a little monastery, there he established some lepers to whom he expended most faithful service with his own hand. Continually he drew away the shoes from their feet and cleaned them. He often washed their heads and feet and also prepared well-arranged beds for them, most zealously, every day. For, not abhorring the service of cooking, the same holy bishop and cook attended to the feeding of his companions, often hungering himself. Although his bed-cover, was vile in the eyes of men, it was most beautiful in the sight of angels. Since he had been separated from smooth and precious clothes as far as this matter is concerned, he furnished his bed with haircloth. In these things, therefore and in other innumerable good things, he lived the angelic life.


22. Then Almighty God wished to call his warrior to his destined reward and he was driven to his final day. Knowing the time was approaching the most religious man Romaricus was present and he stood ready for the glorious departure with the other monks. Then, the most righteous bishop who was the elect of God spoke, saying, “Good men and friends of the Lord, pray to Christ for me. Now the day is here in which I appear to be presented to my Judge. What shall I do? Nothing good is done in this world; being surrounded with all wickedness and sins, I am bound by sin. On account of this I beg you, pray to the Lord that I might merit indulgence.” The holy man said this since it is written The first to present his case seems right till another comes forward to question him. Meanwhile the hour came when the holy soul was to be carried to Christ by the hands of the holy angels. Without doubt there was great praise in that place of high virtue in heaven and there was great sorrow for the poor of Christ and of the monks on earth. Soon following the custom of holy and sacred Gospel and, as one reads in the psalms, mourning and singing resounded their voices. Indeed the illustrious man, Romaricus led away his most holy body. He carried Arnulf to be buried with dignity and honour to a place where he had influence that is in the castle of Remiremont.

23. After several years had passed, Bishop Goericus, Arnulf’s most elect successor, sought counsel with a meeting of clerics and also with a huge band of people. With two other bishops agreeing, they sought the desert together. Keeping watch in that place with reverent celebrations, they carried the holy body out from the stone vessel. They placed the body onto a pallet and soon, eagerly taking up their journey, they returned to the town with joy. For a sweet smell came out from the holy limbs and filled all those who saw it. Thereafter on the journey, as I believe, miracles were performed through the body as I will describe.

24. When the bearers came to a certain stream, they were cut off from their going by the slippery earth banks which spread out on either side of their path. Then those at the back, who carried the pallet, began slipping and tumbled down. Yet as I believe, at once, angels lifted them up. For the first of those present went back without steps, and having lifted the pallet up in the air, they took steps freely. Having got up, those who had fallen crossed the river and rejoined their colleagues.

25. Soon afterwards on this journey another miracle appeared to follow. There was a certain lewd man in the district of Chaumontois by the name of Cionta. Although he had often managed to turn him back, Arnulf had not been able to lead this man to penance with amends so that, he left him unrepentant in this earthly life. By chance, it happened that, in the house of the same lewd speaker, there was an oratory into which travellers could come. As they set out for the house so that they might honour the holy body in the basilica with vigils they came to the boundaries of the most lewd man suddenly the transportation was held so that they were not able to convey the holy body any further. Behold, on account of this perplexity which faced the priests and all the people they were ignorant as to what house they might turn since the day had then declined to the sign of evening. Then Noddo, the duke who was one of the travellers said, “Do you see? The body declines to go to the land of this the lewd man. Indeed, my villa is far yet we may be able reach it before night closes up. It is clean and prepared and there I will be able to refresh the whole company in such a way, as I disclosed to the judge Immus, in proper measure with a barrel of beer.” Hearing this, all the people turned back that way and they proceeded with great speed because they were more able to carry themselves as they sensed that they should carry themselves whilst the day still had light. They came through to the destined place. Then Noddo said, “Now, therefore, the blessed Lord Arnulf might feed you this night as, being away from you, he is more able to be there to intercede for you.” At once he grew in such exuberance in the middle of his drink, so that to the help of all those with him, he remained that way even until the next day.

26. Yet after this, they came to the town with great prosperity and happiness. Behold! Soon the whole city ran to meet him with crosses and candles and with great rejoicing and admiration for their shepherd whom a little while ago they sent away to the judgement of one departed. Now they perceived that the heavens were reigning and taking the holy body into the basilica of the holy apostles with reverence and great exultation, they put him back in the tomb. Soon, he, who was buried in the house of Christ in a tomb which had been bought in the desert, would demonstrate miracles to his citizens.

27. Indeed, a certain woman by the name of Julia, who had been blinded from light for a long time, went to the tomb. There, having prostrated herself, she prayed with faith. She, who had been without the custom of light for many years time, received her desire. She who was accustomed to walk with the help of an outside hand was then able to see for herself and left that place and turned back to her lodging with happiness.

28. Again I shall not be silent but disclose another miracle, which the power of God showed to a religious man, Abbot Arnegausius. A certain woman by the name of Ciorcilla who was living in the suburb of Metz dared to work on the day of the Lord. Yet soon, by the striking down of divine power, both her hands were contracted. Then being weighed down with such a great anchor she went to the aforesaid abbot. He ordered her to hurry, with faith, to the tomb of the holy bishop. There, with the doors bolted, she found the tomb of the saint before the torches of the basilica. She prostrated herself before the torches and gave herself totally into prayer with tears, crying out and imploring the holy Bishop Arnulf to cure her. At once, her fingers, which had then been turned into her palms for a long time, sprang back from the rigour which had held them. She received her former health and soon, she turned back to her own home, uninjured and happy, whence she had come sad and crippled.

29. Around the same time, there was a weakly man by the name of Cero, whose feet were miserably contracted. He went everywhere with the help of staffs and was scarcely able to touch the floor with his feet and only then with great injury. With his sticks, he prostrated himself in prayer at the shrine of the holy man in order that he might be cured. At once, the contracted nerves were relaxed and he rose up fit and happy. He, who was only able to come to the holy sepulchre in order to be cured with the aid of staffs, returned to his home by the power of his own feet.

30. We value to set in writing these few examples of the many miracles and good works of the holy man. If we had studied to insert all of the other good things which he did, by placing pen to parchment, it would be an enormous volume^ and there would not be enough days to read it. Therefore I shall undertake to proffer a few of many, so that I should not set up loathing in those hearing. May the intercession of the holy Arnulf give help to us in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ to whom is honour, power and continual glory with the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever. Amen.

^ Varying endings in different MSS
… Of many of the holy man’s miracles, these few, I have chosen to be written down lest we create loathing in the ears of those who hear read eagerly. With the help of Almighty God Jesus Christ our Saviour to whom is all power and glory with the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever. Amen. HERE ENDS THE PASSING OF THE HOLY BISHOP ARNULF.
… it was a great volume for readers. Now indeed a few of the many will suffice to be told. HERE ENDS THE LIFE OF THE HOLY CONFESSOR ARNULF BISHOP OF METZ.
…it was a great volume for readers. We have chosen to narrate at least some from the many lest we create loathing in the ears of those hearing them with the help of God almighty and Jesus Christ our Redeemer to whom is unending power and glory for ever and ever, Amen. Behold most reverend Lord Pontiff Chlodulf I have written that life and deeds of your predecessor which you asked me to write. You have judged it just and perfect as you hold his see, his many rules and acts.


Lantbert of Lyons

Translation is the copyrighted property of Sarah Brush (nee Hamilton)

Vita Lantberti Fontanellensis, ed.W. Levison, Monumenta Germaniae Historica Scriptores Rerum Merovingicarum V pp. 606-612.


1. Lantbert, who was a truly illustrious and noble man, was born to a most noble family, to a father by the name of Erlebertus who came from the territory of Le Ternois. Lantbert succeeded first after the great Wandrille in the rule of the monastery of that admirable father, the priest of the Lord. Here in the court of the young King Chlothar, the son of Clovis, Lantbert first performed service in the garb of the secular world. However his mind gasped more for another form of service just as is evidenced by the turn of events. Then, in the eighth year of the reign of the aforesaid young king, he left the service of the doomed king. He was stripped of the iron of sword and other weapons and he hastened most devotedly to the shining camp of Christ. He was dressed in the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of faith and the sword of the Holy Spirit and battled happily against the invisible enemy. His head was tonsured in that monastery under the aforesaid venerable father Wandrille of holy memory, four years before that servant of Christ passed on and took up his journey of the fathers. Lantbert’ maternal uncles were men who were most illustrious and noble in the world. They were called Hrotbertus and Haltbertus. Of these two the first, Hrotbertus was the senior referendary of the palace at that time. The second, Haltbertus, later received the clerical habit from that holy man Lantbert. These same men led the illustrious man to that monastery of Fontanella with great honour. Yet they wished to turn him from his intention so that he might rather continue in the life of ordinary people. As well as other small gifts of divers kinds, on the day that his hair was cut off, he gave the aforesaid great Father Wandrille seventy gold shillings which were elegantly worked onto his ornamental garments and possessions, that is to say on his girdle and belt and on some vessels. These were from the possessions of his most rich and honourable parents. They shone with great honour and were greatly admired in the royal house. Indeed, just as he had showed himself to be noble in the business of the world, thus he made himself even more noble by the life of innocence. Yet the aforesaid admirable father of that monastery loved his innocent chastity and his conversation. Indeed by his order he assumed the rule of the order after him, as is now to be described in this present work.

2. Therefore, when the aforesaid blessed man of Christ Wandrille had held that monastery in his rule from when it was first built for the space of nineteen years and five months, it then happened that he was in a decrepit and old state. Having lived ninety-six years before the day of his death, he was seized with a languor. Then, as he was placed at the end of his life and the whole flock of brothers was in intense contest because he was dying, they asked him whom they should institute as leader after his death. To which the following response is said to have been given: “To you my illustrious sons, I believe God will give the best of leaders after my death. However as a supplicant servant I implore clemency that he might give a worthy steward to his family who may give double tribute of alms to him. You indeed my most dear ones take heed of his wishes and place all those things which are to be done to his judgement. Do not weary yourself further over my passing. More precisely, defend me with your prayers and always remember my warnings. Today I commend the care of you, all my flock, to the great Christ. May he allow that you retain my little warnings and guard his most sweet commands continually so that in this way you might happily merit to come to him in eternal brightness. However there are two of my most agreeable sons here to whom the place of rule may come after my imminent death.” Indeed Lantbert was one of these two and the other was the most illustrious Ansbert. These two were companions in the work of God and were greatly and most excellently distinguished with the virtues of religion. When this same servant of God had completed his holy speech, he returned his soul to heaven to be joined with the angelic choruses and to possess the joy of paradise. This was on the 22nd July, the seventh day in the seventh year of the indiction. After his glorious transition the whole convent of monks beseeched Christ for clemency. They all celebrated for three days with the devotion of fasting. When this had been most devotedly celebrated the convent of monks elected the aforesaid Lantbert to have charge of the place of rule. This was in the year of the incarnation of our Lord 663 in the year of the indiction written above which was the eleventh year of the reign of the aforesaid young King Chlothar and the seventh year of Pope Vitalianus. He remained in that monastery for thirteen years and eight months during the reigns of the three royal brothers who held the sceptre of the kingdom of the Franks in turn that is Chlothar, Childeric and Theuderic.

3. Indeed that same venerable Father Lantbert was chaste in work and profuse in charity. He was most firm in faith as well as prudent in counsel and conspicuous in goodness. Not only was he affable in conversation and visibly best in all things but he was also great in stature and beautiful in appearance. Indeed he was most elegant from the base of his feet up to the height of his head. During that time all these aforesaid kings reached out to him and no other both in mutual conversation and from the descriptions in laws or letters. Also they wished to call him, ‘Lord’ and ‘our venerable Father in Christ Abbot Lantbert.’ Indeed when the life of the aforesaid young King Chlothar was finished he left his brothers Childeric and Theuderic surviving and there arose between them a truly heated battle for the highest position of the kingdom with some favouring the part of Childeric and with others inclining to Theuderic. However that venerable man retained caution within himself so that he inclined to neither part. At that time, one faction of the people rose above the other part. For when Childeric was raised onto the seat of the kingdom, Lantbert was accommodated with great honour in his house so that, whatever he asked from the king, he gained without the obstacle of any difficulties. Also, from the largesse of certain possessions which king gave to the same venerable father and the same monastery, it remained rich in wealth. Then at the petition of his queen, Bilichild, and of his venerable bishops – that is Bishop Leudegar of good memory who afterwards was made a most glorious martyr, and also Bishop Nivo and Bishop Ermonius – and of some other illustrious men who were called, Fulcoaldus, Almaricus, Vulfoaldus, the mayor of the palace, Bavo, Waningus, Adalbertus, Gerinus the brother of the aforesaid Bishop Leudegar, the king gave two properties to the aforesaid venerable father which are called Osmoy and Varenne. These were situated in the region of Le Talou next to the rivers called Arques and Varenne. They were given along with all those things adjacent to them that is Cressy, Cideville, Magnerot, Neon, Toscaria and likewise the same land on the shore of the sea and the areas of salt-works and fisheries which had been established there as well as the vineyards in Warnacus next to the river Seine which were situated in the region of Le Vexin with all the things that went with them. Acting with authority from his two privileges, he lawfully handed all these things into the possession of the same venerable father of that monastery of Fontanella. Indeed this royal gift was given along with the delightful palace of Arlaunus, in the eleventh year of the aforesaid king’s reign in Austrasia which was his first year of his rule in Neustria. At that most shining monastery it was in the fifth year of the rector who received the place of rule after the death of the great and most happy father, Wandrille the most noble priest of Christ. Indeed many of the divers gifts and possessions of that same king which were given to the most reverend father remain extant, even now, but it would be most laborious to enumerate them. Indeed, among other divers gifts he also gave part of the forest of Jumièges to that same venerable father. Some of this forest remains in our privilege and is held in that remote monastery founded from that sacred treasure. For, if anyone had read certain texts, he would find the designated places where the boundary of this gift ends.

4. At that time, there arose a quarrel, which was far from petty, between that venerable father Lantbert and the most reverend Filibertus, who was the rector of the monastery of Jumièges, concerning the boundary of that forest. On account of his authority and that of the aforesaid king granted in a letter directed to him concerning this matter, the great Pontiff Audoin of Rouen of glorious memory restored concord to true peace. He divided that forest with equal share between those same nourishing fathers. Since the major portion seemed to be conferred to father Lantbert, with Lantbert’s consent, the aforesaid bishop conferred another small portion from that division to the basilica of the noble Denis, martyr of Christ. This is situated on the edge of the hollow Seine in a place which is called Duclair and Lidoaldus held the place of rule there. As Lantbert was manifest in sanctity, there were always such signs of perfection in him that he opened the way of holy salvation to his citizens through his preaching and he instructed the ignorant of the people with the sense of a shining example. Having been inflamed with the vigour of the supernal spirit he also restored discords back to the splendour of concord with great industry.

5. However the aforesaid King Childeric was robbed of his life and his kingdom by the ambushes of his attendants that is to say by Amalbertus and Ingobertus and also by Bodilo and Lupus and others together with his wife Bilichild and his son Dagobert. The body of the aforementioned great … [man was buried by the priest Audoin.]

Ansbert of Rouen

Translation is the copyrighted property of Sarah Brush (nee Hamilton)

Vita Ansberti Episcopi, ed. W. Levison, Monumenta Germaniae Historica Scriptores Rerum Merovingicarum V pp. 613-643.


By the benevolence of divine mercy, we come to narrate the acts of the excellent sanctity of Ansbert, pontiff of the church of Rouen, thus humbly fulfilling the command of your holy devotion. However I am pressed truly on account of two things in the preliminaries of such a work; on the one hand, I feel I should turn aside from this work because of the lack of sense in it and the worthlessness of my discourse, and, on the other hand, I am encouraged by the order of your loving fatherly care and, if I were to be disobedient of this order I would be performing wickedness. However, through this faith by which his clear speech and acts became known to us and with the help of his intercessions, although my text may be awkward I may produce an eloquent text for the faithful. Indeed, as the angel said to Tobias “It is good to keep close the secret of a king but it is honourable to reveal the works of God.” For, to conceal the works of the elect of the Lord through silence and not to make them manifest through the illumination of writing to the use and edification of the listeners, is believed to be an act of the greatest laziness and torpor. Indeed praise of Him is cultivated through the acts of the saints and the edification of innocent desire is kindled in the minds of the faithful people. Lest a long prologue produces loathing ¬– and because brief narration excites greater fervour for listening – with God commanding, we attend to your orders and we will tread upon the journey of narration. For even if serene eloquence of mind should attend me and language should be prepared with proper service, it is not possible for my eloquence to offer praise worthy of his speech and sanctity, which remain in your pious memory.


1. Therefore at that time when Chlothar, son of Clovis and his queen Balthild, steered the kingdoms of the Franks together with his brothers, that is to say Childeric and Theuderic, Bishop Ansbert of good memory of the holy church of Rouen was born to a noble family at a paternal estate called Chaussy, in the district of the Vexin. He was shining with virtue and worthy for the office of priest. His father was called Siwinus. However disdaining from the nobility of his forefathers, as soon as he was of age he chose to be rated only by the fatherly love of the Creator. At that time, his father performed military service under the aforesaid king and he fulfilled the debt of his present life to all mortals communally. However it is not necessary to calculate and to number the origin of his earthly dignity or of the blessed man’s glorious father. Indeed he possessed all the glory of the love of truth and contempt for the world. For, as if loathing the nobility of his descent even then in boyhood, he strove only for the love of Christ and loathed all superfluous honours. Indeed his parents handed him over to vigorous teachers in order that he should be taught letters. He was taught without the example of anyone else. For indeed, he was in this a charming infant, a modest child and a noble young man. When he became an adult, his worldly father loved only him and was keen for him to be employed in hunting and to be armed for the charms of the world. However, the young son loathed everything which delighted the aged father.

2. In these days there was a certain illustrious man by the name of Hrotbertus, who was from a good line of birth and was also a ring-bearer to King Chlothar. The aforesaid distinguished Siwinus sought this man’s daughter, the most religious and noble Agadrisma, because he wished her to be married to his son. There was no delay. He proffered his approval to the request of the aforesaid noble Hrotbertus and when the day had been fixed, the pure girl was pledged to the pure young man. Then, because they both desired to retain whole minds and pure bodies, they prayed earnestly to almighty God that he might deign to repel the poisons of delight from their hearts. The blessed virgin Agadrisma prayed that her beauty might be turned to deformity and straightaway the Lord granted her prayers. Her face soon appeared ulcerated and was completely covered with a most foul leprosy so that anyone who saw her would instantly judge that she should be segregated away from the community of men. Then her father quickly sent orders to his doctors. He said that if they were able to bring aid to his dear offspring through remedies they might be rewarded with just recompense. Yet, however much they pressed upon this work, instantly, by Christ’s work, she appeared so much more deformed and ulcerated. Then her father sensed that his daughter had been struck by this affliction through the work of divine power. He asked her whether she had chosen through her prayers to end her life in virginity. “My father,” she said, “I chose it that way and I beg with all exertion and through the piety of the most high that I should deserve to be a maidservant to abstinence and chastity and not to unbridled luxury. For Christ is the betrothed whom I desire and he himself brings this molestation to my body so that he should bestow splendour to my soul. For he is a perpetual guard over me and he concedes to preserve one intended to be placed in perpetual virginity. This present life entices me, pious father, but it deceives because all that is in the world is vanity and longing of the eyes and the world and its desire will pass away but whoever will have committed to the wish of God remains in eternity just as the Lord remains in eternity.” Hearing this, her father summoned the noble Siwinus and unfolded the circumstances surrounding his daughter in clear terms. To this Siwinus replied, “It is proper to follow the wish of God in all things and not to will anything contrary to his command. His judgements may be secret but they are always just.” Having been called there, the blessed Ansbert was present when the agreement was changed, so that the holy virgin Agadrisma was called to be the bride of Christ and not his own. When this was done, she was sent to the town of Rouen to the holy Bishop Audoin so that, having been promised in virginity, she might merit to be consecrated by the precepts of his benediction and dressed in sacred garments. This was concluded and she was returned to pristine beauty and elegance of appearance straightaway so that all might call her a teacher since Christ himself had chosen her for his betrothed and perennial maidservant.

3. After this, the holy governess was sent to the nunnery at Oroër, which is situated in the district of Beauvais next to the wall of the town of Beauvais. Furthermore, the noble Hrotbertus, father of the holy virgin and his brother Haltbertus, were uncles to the holy Father Lantbert, the successor of the holy Wandrille in the governing of the order who led his life in the territory of Thérouanne. Following a time in Fontanella, one of these, the aforesaid Haltbertus was made a monk in the monastery under the aforesaid abbot Lantbert.

4. After this, Ansbert, the man of the Lord, was led by his father into the king’s court, against his wishes. As he was renowned for the sharpness of his intelligence, he became a skilled court scribe, the compiler of the royal privileges and a royal ring-bearer by which the same privileges were indicated. Having been placed there, he turned himself to the Lord with the examples and humility of pious doctrines. He longed to leave the world behind and to enter a monastery. Up till then he had been dressed in the habit of the laity. He had invited many others to the prize of eternal happiness by exhorting them through the aforesaid holy and wise doctrines. Thus, as he advanced everyday and grew in the Lord, he sought to increase the grace granted to him from Christ. Indeed, in the presence of the king and princes the divers music of combining instruments was heard, by accustomed practice, resounding in strings and pipes. He said to himself, “Oh good author you will hear the unfailing canticles of angels in the heavens which are performed charmingly and delightfully with such diligence. In this way praise to you may be created unceasingly by the resounding of these choruses. For if you prove such great ability to mortals they might provoke the souls of those listening by the knowledge of arts and sweet songs. In this way, they may praise you, Lord, Creator of all things, with such devotion!” Furthermore he added, “Praise the lord, all you faithful on the drums and on strings, praise him in strings and pipes,’ and so forth until the end of the psalm.

5. Although he remained at the royal court he did not forget the gospel-writer who says, Unless you leave everything behind you will not be able to be my disciple, Being inspired by divine providence, he chose to leave the earthly military service and to serve as a soldier for the heavenly King. Then he burned with the fire of divine love and he was bathed with the light of the Holy Spirit. Having gone out from the palace without any of his fellows or his servants, he wished to confess his desire. He took up the road which leads to the province of Rouen and he came to the convent at Fontanella in the territory of Rouen. There, on the great river Seine, the noble priest of the Lord Wandrille had built a monastery. There he led a laudable life with a great cohort of monks under the yoke of a holy rule. Indeed, when Ansbert had received hospitality in that same monastery, by the order of the holy man and according to the monastic law, he began to implore them humbly as if he were a servant until he was deemed worthy to see the holy father of the monastery. When the ministers of the father had announced the request to that pious man, at length he ordered the aforesaid elegant young man to be led into his presence. Having prostrated himself on the ground, he humbly adored the waiting Christ in such a great father and asked that he would make him a monk. He said that he would renounce the worldly body and mind and he said that he wished the hair to be cut off from his head, in the love of Christ, as it was ordered. Thus he violently entreated that he might be adopted as a monk. However the venerable father heard his holy and worthy postulation to God and said that he wished to have an end to consideration, so that, just as the apostolic and monastic rules teach, he should know to what he came. When this had been fulfilled, the renowned father received a spiritual brother in the spirit. They fulfilled his pious wishes, just as he had asked, and they handed him over to be dressed in the habit of clerical office.

6. Therefore from that time, the man of God started to burn with a love of reading the holy scriptures and he began to harvest those most sweet fruits with great zeal for the sake of understanding them. When the blessed father Wandrille perceived that the aforesaid young man possessed a sharpness of intelligence, he quickly ordered him to be given an abundance of volumes of different kinds. When Ansbert had hastened through them by diligently reading, he found the opinion of a certain holy father written in this way; “A monk lives in the monastery under one discipline of the father and the fellowship of many, so that he may learn humility from one and patience from another.” He read these and other things, hastening through them with his eyes which overflowed with tears like rain. He began to conduct himself most attentively so that he should be strong enough to fulfil what he read. Firstly, he took care to lay down a certain fundamental custom of all virtue and humility in his heart, imitating he who says: Learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart. Thus he submitted his devoted neck to the yoke of sweet Jesus and to his light burden. He was confirmed in the meeting of all the monks, being most humble and obedient to all. He was frequent in vigils, perpetual in prayers and fervent in spirit. He gloried in hope and served the Lord without intermission. He was also given an excess of tears due to the compunction of his heart which was infused with the Holy Spirit. When he had risen before the hour of vigils and prostrated himself with devoted prayers, he grew weary and he was touched with a sign which told him that he should rouse his brothers in order that they should sing repeatedly to the Lord. In the convent of prayers, he presented himself before all the others. In this also, just as in other acts, he demonstrated an imitable life to the monks. Thus the man of God who ruled over the government of the place, chided many by reproving them, and proved them guilty of their faint-heartedness. On account of this, though only recently converted into the work of God, the aforesaid young man outstripped them by his observation of the law. According to the monastic pattern, Wandrille began to love Ansbert more dearly because was worthy of high esteem, in every way, on account of his religious devotion. One day in the meeting of all the monks he humbly entreated Wandrille the noble priest of the Lord that he should grant him paternal licence to apply himself to work with his hands everyday outside the customary work of the brothers so that he might mortify his limbs which were his earthly hindrances. When he had made this request, the brothers were astonished at his worthy devotion to God and gave thanks to God. Indeed the spiritual father from whom he sought indulgence for himself praised him and began to fulfil his request with great devotion.

7. At that time, through the encouragement of the man of God, the blessed Wandrille began to plant and cultivate some vines approximately five hundred paces south of the aforesaid monastery. Once, while Ansbert, the aforementioned man of God, was working there with his brothers, Theuderic the young, future king, came upon them whilst he was hunting, as was the custom of the young men of the time. He came up to that man of God who converted him again to be prudent through doctrine, humble in custom and most holy by imitation. For the prince had already been consecrated a priest by Audoin, the holy pontiff of the church of Rouen. The same man of Christ fortified him with holy pious benediction and instructed him with encouragement through the priestly authority of many holy doctrines. Moreover, he predicted that he would be the future king. When Theuderic made some attempt to deny that this would come about, the man of God responded, “You know that you will be elevated to the honour of kingship; but you will know many in the kingdom who are turned against you and you will bear it. In this way you will obtain a victory from your enemies yet only after much labour.” The events that followed later proved what he said To this the young Theuderic said, “If the pious command of omnipotent God does establish me at the height of power in the kingdom I shall make you a worthy bishop of God so that the church of the faithful may grow through your holy doctrine.” Since the priest of the Lord said that he was unworthy of carrying such a great burden, the holy man announced that he would ascend fully to the height from the hereditary succession of the kingdom. Doubting him somewhat thus far he persisted, saying, “In this you will have sown the seeds of faith through my words. Although today at this wintry time, the place where your tent was pitched now seems beaten-down on account of the signs of trampling feet, it will produce green vegetation. Thus, near to the remains of those same tent skins, it will remain more green than other parts of the district for a long time.” In this way it happened exactly according to what the man of God decreed in the presence of those there. Indeed, that place where the tent was once fixed appears greener than any other part of the district, both in winter and in summer up till this day. Oh how great was the renowned glory of that holy man! The Almighty wished to demonstrate his praiseworthy merit by such signs, so that his virtue was made manifest to the people by such a presage and he blossomed just like a palm in the house of Christ. When the aforesaid man of the Lord had completed his manual work he was revived by very little sleep yet he exerted himself again with meditation of all that is holy. He shone with the light of such great humility, obedience and devotion and his heart burned with the fervour of true love of all those around him that he was venerated by everyone with wonder. Indeed he was always burning with desire for future glory, and was unfailing in the work of God.

8. Therefore the material of this work is now seen to tell how the holy man was chosen and constituted in the ruling of the place. When Wandrille, the renowned priest of the Lord had held the rule of that convent for a space of nearly twenty years, ever since the first day of its foundation, he was placed in a state of decrepitude. Before crossing over from this life, one day he was seized with languor and he came near to the end. Before the meeting of all the monks, with a voice full of tears, someone asked him whom they should elect from one another as leader. The following answer is said to have been returned, “There are two in our presence, my most shining sons, and these rectors have been chosen in my place. Protect my fragile retreat with your prayers and always remember our admonitions. By the great Christ I commit the care to our pastor who will conserve you with vigilance perpetually until the end.” When he had been received into the heavenly kingdom by the community of angels, the band of all the monks prayed to the Lord Christ for piety and celebrated three days of fasting. When they had done this, by the order of God they elected Lantbert, the servant of the Lord who was splendid in piety and noble in origins. He was born in the territory of Le Ternois to a father by the name of Erlebertus who had happily donated much treasure on the aforesaid Fontanella in that same region of le Ternois. That same venerable father Lantbert was full of charity, prominent in chastity and firm in faith. He was a provider of counsels who was laudable in goodness. Moreover he was affable in conversation as well as becoming in face and stature. Furthermore he was worthy of veneration by all because he was fervent in the Christian religion. Having been inspired by the grace of divine charity, the same father Lantbert laudably venerated Ansbert the servant of Christ like a father and he loved him as his son. In the sight of the Lord they were to each other one heart and one soul. Furthermore he who received the care of government sought the consultation of the holy Father Ansbert in managing the flock of the Lord. According to the rule of the holy fathers he acted strenuously and without blame in all things. Having incited many people by his examples of pious actions and by the sedulous exhortations of his words they seized the path of holy living.

9. King Theuderic, son of King Clovis, and Queen Balthild bestowed a certain paternal estate called Donzère on this venerable father Lantbert. The estate was beyond the river Rhône in the region which is properly called Provence. That is to say he gave this gift to the monks living in the convent of Fontanella so that, they could provide the church with oil for lamps and other things which were necessary. In this aforementioned place, the father built a noble convent of monks directed by monks from the convent of Fontanella who executed their work laudably and diligently. From this small gift a great monastery arose there and was distinguished in that region above all the others. This place was subject to the said monastery of Fontanella for many years until the time of the division of the kingdom, the discord of princes and the invasion of the wicked people of the Arabs. Then, along with other venerable places it was depopulated for some time and this brought an end to the subjection.

10. Also under his rule, the blessed Ermenlandus from the aforesaid monastery of Fontanella, as directed by the same father Lantbert, sought a certain island in the middle of the river Loire in the same region of Nantes which is called Indre from the venerable Pontiff Pascarius of Nantes. There he built a venerable convent of monks of the same name. In bestowing this gift, the aforesaid bishop Pascarius had ordered that after the death of the same venerable father Ermenlandus of the monastery of Fontanella they should establish for him rectors who were inhabitants from the aforesaid place through all successive generations. Likewise they should declare most openly the funds of the same place which till then were preserved in the aforesaid monastery of Fontanella.

11. Also the blessed pontiff of Christ, Erembertus of Toulouse, and the holy priest Condedus and the anchorite from the island of Britain assumed the habit, name and dignity of a monk of God from the aforementioned father Lantbert, in the aforesaid monastery of Fontanella, when he held the rule of the place. Indeed there were many more things about this great father which happened through him or under his rule which we could recount, if we did not have to hurry on to other things for the sake of God and for the use of this place. We described these more fully, some time ago, in the Book of Deeds as an example to those to come and for their memory.

12. We shall describe briefly how, indeed, he was elected to the rule of Lyons, the most celebrated town of Gaul. Therefore when Genesius, the holy bishop of the town, had died, Lantbert’s laudable acts commended his worthy life to God in that very place. The pious King Theuderic and the famous Pippin, son of Ansegislus, that is to say the cousin of the blessed father Wandrille, took counsel with the leading men of the palace. Thus with divine providence and with the unanimous vote of the people of that town and of that region they elected him as bishop. Although he resisted it for a long time on account of his humility and did not wish to receive it he was compelled by royal command and by priestly election. Thus he was ordained the metropolitan pontiff of that town. Having been directed to that province with the worthy honour of his priests, he ruled the flock of Christ irreprehensibly and humbly by means of his accustomed holy piety and exemplary acts and speech. Having been called by God, he was stripped of the earthly chains of corruption and passed happily and with joy to the supernal city.

13. In the aforesaid monastery of Fontanella, after the departure of the same holy pontiff, Lantbert, by divine will, the monks of that same congregation unanimously elected the blessed Ansbert to be placed over them as rector. When he received the care of government he meditated assiduously, as if he had received a great burden, that is to say to rule the souls of the flock committed to him by the Lord and to take care for the morals of many. Since, he was skilled more than all in the knowledge of the Holy Scriptures, incessantly he gave out the food of eternal vigour to the flock which was committed to him and he showed them the way of holy life through his words and actions. For, just as other leaders, so he was more humble than all. He was meagre in dress, moderate in food and devoted to perpetual abstinence. He was also richly adorned with chastity, cheerful of heart and healthy in body. He yielded to the virtues of patience and charity and having heaped up an abundance of riches he also indulged in the largesse of almsgiving. Being thus adorned by the works of holy virtue, he shone with fire like a lamp among the brothers. Indeed, one day, as he was reciting the proclamations of divine law to the whole monastery, as was his usual custom in the same way that the flaming hearts of those listening were turned to the ardour of charity by the abundance of his eloquence, so many of them were compelled to tears. They gave great thanks to the omnipotent God, saying, “Blessed omnipotent God, though we do not deserve such a thing, you have given to us such a master by the inspiration of your piety.” He was highly esteemed by all as a true father and they acted towards him as devoted sons. But he always took care to be loved more than feared and to pledge his soul to the ever-watchful care for the saving of souls. Therefore, when the prerogatives of the merits of the same blessed father became known further away, many people flocked to him from every direction and sought salvation through his beneficial counsels. Since he shone with the dignity of the priesthood, he received the confessions of those flocking to him. He gave advice for their spiritual health and told them how they could be saved. He told them that they should keep immovably to the ways of justice without failure due to any weariness. Through his doctrine and prayers many who were strengthened and fortified, rushed to the grace of conversion. Many brought gifts wrought from different kinds of precious metals and other possessions as well as much land in divers places and territories. The curious reader may easily find out about all of these by inspection of the wills and donations of the faithful. Also it is common knowledge that the gifts amount to thousands. For he passed through everything with the sanctity of religion according to God. He was prudent with the power of argument and news of his laudable, or more precisely imitable, goodness and religious devotion spread everywhere.

14. In the aforesaid venerable monastery of Fontanella among the happy deeds of his goodness he founded a hospital for the weak and infirm poor. Furthermore, in resemblance of the number of the apostles he established twelve men as deputies for that same matter, and these men gave out alms generously. Also he founded two other houses for the poor and infirm of Christ in the same monastery. According to the sacred number, he made these in eight days, and eight people lived in each one. In these places he resolved to lavish food for the needs of those without, everyday for ever. There was no other freedom of hours for them. During the hours which were set aside day and night they resided in the house of the Lord and followed the divine oration and freedom devotedly. At that time they offered the Saviour and Victim of the holy sacrifices for the salvation of the people of Christ and the universal church everywhere. Oh what great and glorious works of this holy father which cannot be described so well, with such words, as they stand together with virtues!

15. Meanwhile, laying these aside, with the help of supernal grace of piety, I set out to narrate how this same venerable man ascended to the grade of pontiff. In those days it fell about that the blessed Audoin, the pontiff of the town of Rouen who was full of virtues and holy acts, was called by the Lord and happily departed this world. The blessed father Ansbert attended this man’s funeral, together with some of the other monks and with many cohorts of the clerics and priests of Christ. They solemnly celebrated the vigils of his sacred departure and honoured him with the proper dignities of the funeral service. After his holy burial, so that the church should not endure the loss of the pastor who had died, all the citizens of the town of Rouen sent a petition to the glorious King Theuderic. Then with his permission and authority, they elected the blessed Ansbert to be consecrated bishop over them. The king rejoiced at his election because he knew that wisdom overflowed abundantly in that holy father and because he also knew that he was strong in religious devotion. There was no delay. Some legates came to the blessed father Ansbert and disclosed the order of the king. The king was holding his royal court in the villa of Clichy-la-Garenne, which is in the Parisian territory. There he considered the profit and defence of the kingdom with a great convention of people around him. These legates compelled Ansbert to go there in order that the king might consult him as to how he should conduct the business of the kingdom, as he was accustomed to do – for Ansbert was the king’s confessor. However, when the aforesaid man of God heard this, he knew well that he would not be summoned to that place unless it was for the king to proffer his assent to his election to the town of Rouen. Furthermore it is said that, on account of humility, he responded to the legates of the king that he was exempt because he was not worthy of the office of pastoral care. They hurriedly carried back to the king and announced the response which they had received. Following this the king sent them to him again. Cunningly the king said that he would do nothing against his wishes after they had talked together over what he wished to do about the office of pontiff. As he was full of the wisdom of holy simplicity, he resolved to go to visit the king. Then he was elected by the unanimous vote of the holy priests, the king and his princes and by the citizens of the aforesaid metropolitan town. He was taken into the palace by the holy archbishop Lantbert of the see of Lyons and by other holy bishops who had convened together in that place and he was consecrated in the pontificate of the church of Rouen. This was done by order of divine providence so that he who had been faithful in a few things was set over many by the Lord so that he might give an abundant measure of food to his household at the proper time.

16. Then, having been elevated to the pontifical honour and burden, he began to shine more fully with works of holiness. He began to radiate with the light of preaching and, just like the burning light no longer under a bushel but placed on a stand, he dispelled the shadows of errors and showed the true way to all. He began to act in piety and mercy to all, to care for the poor incessantly, to defend the cause of widows and orphans, to take particular care of pilgrims and guests, to administer the distribution of alms to all, generously and joyfully. At all times, he hastened to demonstrate these things and similar examples to those people subjected to him. For he blossomed under that church of Christ just as he had flourished before at the monastery. He grew with graces, and decreased in wealth. Sometimes he came into the place where the treasures of the church were stored away and ordered some to be presented to him and he ordered others to be noted down. He reserved a great deal so that the pious giving of alms from the purse of the holy mother of the church might proceed with the benign fruit of piety. For he sent out those things which had been collected together and for a long time had been without occupation, in order to curb the penury of true hunger, which then gravely pressed the people everywhere and he sent out the treasure which had been useless for a long time for the proper use of the needy. At another time, he made his dispensation with prayers. For it then fell about that a crowd of poor people clamoured together outside, seeking alms. Hearing this and recollecting the divine sentence which says, “A man who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor will also cry and not be heard” he gave them alms, generously and made all of them return home rejoicing. Therefore at that time when he solemnly celebrated the solemnities of the mass in his see, the people of the diocese came together from all over in a great multitude of both men and women. Having read the reading of the holy gospel, he turned to the people and began to predict many things to come, both things which were good, bad or to be feared. In order that he might not bruise one or extol the other, he impressed on them that the avid longing for profits of eternal happiness should be sought. Since he predicted many things to them about the present and the future through the illustration of the Holy Spirit on account of that great and excellent grace of prediction which had been given to him, they were all compelled and, having been kindled by the fire of divine fear, they were set on fire to do penance and other exercises of good works. They gave thanks to the great dispenser of all good things who gave them such a cure. Not because of their own merit but because of his personal piety he conceded that they might temper their memory of the pastor whom they had recently sent away, by vision of his body. Since the whole church rejoiced over the pious pastor, the town celebrated in the illustrious prophet and all of the country exulted magnificently in such wisdom and prudence from the counsellor. Yet having completed the solemnities of the mass, he ordered all the citizens, that is to say the noble and common people, to be led in for the feast which had been prepared. There, when he had made them all lie down in their places in a proper manner, he himself sat at the table of the poor, imitating the one who, although he was rich, was made poor on our account and who also promised in retribution of just words, saying whatever you did for one of the least of these you did for me. Oh what a shining pontiff who gave double nourishment to his household everyday! He filled their bodies with earthly food and refreshed their souls with the food of the divine word.

17. Indeed, since he kept vigils most attentively for the health of souls, also he would call the archdeacons together and remind them that they should diligently take great care of the people and the restoration of churches with great honour. Also, they were accustomed to exempt that part of the town owned by the pontiff from the census of the public districts, according to canon laws and they most benignly granted free benevolence in the restorations of churches by the priest of the same temple of God. He was also eager to rule more with love than to hold dominion with terror. Then as he had obtained the first pontifical grade it was agreed that inviolate fraternal love should be held as his first care and special labour. Now indeed no-one was ever able to deny with his tongue that Ansbert’s charity flowed fully in all things.

18. Meanwhile, while I remember his grace in all things, he also exercised great solicitude and ever-vigilant care over the holy congregation of monks at the convent of Fontanella, in many ways. Among other remaining deeds of his prerogative, the authority of his privilege is published by the inhabitants of the aforesaid convent with great devotion, out of love for God and reverence for the saints. Since he was consecrated in the pontificate by the election of the holy priests and of all the citizens of Rouen and with the consent of the glorious King Theuderic, due to his great fervour of love, he always held the aforesaid convent venerably and published the authority of his privilege. For, through the succession of time, according to the rule of the holy father Benedict and as was their privilege under the authority of the preceding kings, that is to say of Clovis, Chlothar, Childeric and Theuderic, which described the authority of their privilege that they might elect for themselves an abbot from among themselves, this law ordered, by the word of binding justice, that both those under his rule and those before and after, who were to serve the Lord as soldiers, should zealously and faithfully serve Christ, according to the rule of the holy Father Benedict, just as it was under his rule. If anyone in the future tried to deviate, or were driven to deviate, from the proper way and observation of the rule of the holy Benedict either through culpable sin or through the negligence of the shepherd, then the convocation of remaining holy priests and soldiers of Christ should come together, and those failing should be led back through the council to a pristine state. If indeed, with him placed in pontifical authority, they had scorned his authority and chosen to lead the wicked life and way of living, they should know that they were eternally damned under the chains of anathema. However the authority of this privilege was declared in the general synod in the town of Rouen in the 682nd year after the incarnation of the Lord in the tenth year of the indiction, which was the sixteenth year of the reign of the aforesaid glorious Theuderic and the fifth year of the episcopate of the aforesaid venerable bishop. There, many things being acceptable to God were discussed for the future usefulness of the church. Also present were other holy pontiffs and venerable men who had been called out especially by the bishop from each of their parishes and sees. Their names are written below:
I, Ansbert, archbishop of the town of Rouen, and the following people presided over this council. Bishop Ratbertus, Bishop Regulus, Bishop Ageradus of the town of Chartres, Ansoaldus, Bishop of the town of Poitiers, Aquilinus, bishop of the town of Evreux, Bishop Chadoenus, Bishop Armonius, Bishop Salvius, Bishop Desiderius, Bishop Fulcramnus, Bishop John, Bishop Willibertus, Gerebaldus, bishop of the town of Bayeux, Bishop Taurinus, Aunobertus, bishop of the town of Sées, Abbot Celsus, Abbot Audomarus, Abbot Scladio, Abbot Bosochindus, Genardus, the glorious deputy of the aforesaid great bishop, the venerable Archdeacons Ermentramnus, Ferrocinctus and Forcianus. Also there was present a great number of priests and deacons residing there and from the surrounding area. By order of the holy pontiff, Ragnomirus the reader certified and recorded the acts of this holy council and the authority of this privilege.

19. When these powerful men had gathered together to him, the same venerable bishop exhorted the great men always to serve fervently with souls devoted to the commands of Christ. He also urged them that they should always give thanks to Christ who, by his own death and resurrection, breathed life into our death with the hope of resurrection, offering eternal life and shaking the horror of eternal death. Thus he persuaded them that they should hold onto life and should not fear the end of life.

20. However among those remaining acts of his goodness, which he performed during his episcopate, we come to narrate how, for Christ’s sake, he also translated the body of the venerable and holy Bishop Audoin to a more eminent place in the church of the holy Peter which is in the suburb of the town of Rouen. Thus, since he had gathered together many craftsmen from different provinces, he put together a tomb of amazing magnitude. This can be seen with the human eye, even now, decorated with precious metals of gold and silver and adorned with precious gems. Therefore, a day was chosen and during the solemnities of the Ascension of the Lord Christ, with a multitude of priests and monks and other clerics united together, he ordered that holy body to be raised with great reverence. It was re-entombed with a great amount of honour in the apse of the aforesaid church of the holy Peter with the praise of hymns and with the clerics singing happily and with joy. Among the other venerable men in this holy convent there was also Genardus, the most excellent deputy of Ansbert. It was he who had made the preparations for a great feast since such an innumerable group of people had come together from many places for the holy translation of so venerable a bishop. However when the solemnities of the mass had been completed, by order of the holy pontiff, the aforesaid Genardus sat to eat with the noble men while, according to his usual custom, the excellent pontiff Ansbert lay down with the pilgrims and poor people with whom he rejoiced to take his feast. For, in performing the office of ministry on that day, he humbly showed his allegiance to the poor and needy by restoring them. He was most agreeable with a merry face and appearance. He deserved to be the minister of the poor man or more precisely he deserved to be the minister of the Lord Christ who promised that anyone who gives to the needy would be given more treasure in heaven. Great care was given to those visiting there or who were there as guests. Meanwhile his character was equal to the munificence of his soul and his ministry was equal to his faith. Not only did he give sufficient food to those in need, but he also gave covering to their bodies and generously gave them money. Therefore, a host of divers people frequently came to him from various regions. He enriched them both personally and, through excellent men, with both the wealth of encouragement and the worthy pontifical blessing from God. He joyfully distributed the necessary subsistence for the body without want. Indeed many wondered how the pious giver afforded to support such a flow of giving. For even though the substance of the giver had been exhausted, however, through faith, there was always money for alms. Indeed, at the aforesaid translation of the venerable and blessed pontiff Audoin, all the citizens of the town of Rouen and the inhabitants of the surrounding monasteries, that is to say the clerics and nuns, merited to be made anew from the abundant gift of the venerable bishop. Thereafter, the anniversary of the translation was always celebrated by all the citizens of the town with solemn celebrations in commemoration of the blessed pontiff Audoin. Yet that same pontiff of distinguished life always remembered the people committed to him by the Lord. According to the order of his ministry, he frequently went around his own parishes, for the sake of delivering the dew of holy preaching and the sweetness of holy living into their minds. Also, he always surrounded himself with men of excellent life for this work of holy ministry. With their help secured, he could lead the believing people to the kingdom through the eternal vision. Thus he held together many servants of God by the grace of preaching.

21. However that enemy who is the adversary of humankind and the rival of good deeds pledged death to men because of his envy. He worked with most cunning arts so that a man who was splendid in the world and more splendid in Christ should be deprived of his proper pontifical see and that there should be pain for the people through the loss of such a great pastor. For when savage discord arose among the princes of the Franks from various divisions in the kingdom, the cunning enemy of mankind caused the envy of wicked men to be waged against the servant of God. Through the devil, they fraudulently suggested to Prince Pippin that the holy man had plotted wicked deeds against him. For with the illustrious Warratto withdrawn from the first place of order he was supplanted by his wicked son Giselmarus and, by the Lord’s command, Pippin achieved the position of the prefect of administration. At that time, having been accused by that same prince, the aforesaid holy pontiff was found at fault. He was sent into exile at the monastery of Hautmont, which is in the territory of Famars, and Hinaut on the river Sambre. At this time, the venerable abbot Aldulfus presided there. Therefore, with no crime extant, he humbly entered upon the hardship of exile.
[One MS adds in verse:
Clement, a little while ago sent from Rome by Trajan the Caesar and Ansbert here from Rouen by the prince of the Franks. He saved many people by his holy dogma and here he leads many by virtue to the heavenly path. In coming to him all of them were saved at the insula and also thereafter many were saved at the river Sambre. For the enemy strove to strike against them with hurts. On account of this Christ gave him great profits like those of a soldier]

22. Indeed, when Ansbert arrived at the aforesaid monastery, he began to show the example of light to all the local inhabitants by his accustomed holy life and by his works of pious religion. He found them fervent in the divine religion but after a little space of time by his example and doctrine he rendered them even more fervent. Indeed, he frequently prostrated himself by passing the night in long, enduring fasts and vigils and he was stiffened with an assiduous rain of prayers and of tears. The Almighty blessed him so that all the local inhabitants immediately sensed his imitable devotion to Christ and loved him with a singular affection and wished that he would be with them for a long time. Indeed he declared the works of usefulness to many of the inhabitants among those around him at the convent and his lessons remain useful today. However by the cunning instigation of the ancient enemy the envy of some wicked men burned against that same man of God. They endeavoured to suggest to the aforesaid prince that he should inflict a greater pain of exile on him. Wherefore the same shining pastor sent for the aforesaid venerable father Aldulfus and directed him to the aforesaid most excellent prince together with other venerable men, humbly satisfying the wishes of his heart. Ansbert cast aside the grade of bishop which he had not received through his own will as he had received that ministry by the order of the prince and by election by the people. On account of this, the aforesaid father of the monastery proceeded to that same celebrated prince. Secure in God’s help, he succeeded in accomplishing what he had sought by urging. The same prince recalled that he was closely related to Wandrille, the holy father, under whose holy discipline the aforesaid holy Pontiff Ansbert had risen some time ago to the rule of the order. As the deeds were done wrongly, he yielded over the matter with clemency and gave him licence to return to his own see. Yet this was not to be because it was prevented by divine order, as we shall continue to describe.

23. On his return, the aforesaid venerable Abbot Aldulfus published the command of the prince. In response, the same holy pontiff said, “I thank you good Jesus who broke the chains of your servant and gave pleasing words to the prince. You freed me from the hand of those rising against me and you also threw me into this hardship of exile through your love.” Indeed, he remembered what he had read somewhere, that great men endure many things and that, being living examples themselves, they should instruct others to endure. Therefore he did not cease to afflict himself incessantly with humble spirit and contrite heart, offering worthy oblation to the Most High everyday with praise. For if he had lived during the time of the persecutions of Nero or of Decius there is no doubt that he would have held no great fear of the power of fire nor the savaging of beasts nor the suspension from a young colt, nor the tip of a sword of the persecutors on account of confession of the Lord Christ.

24. Indeed, knowing from divine revelation that the day of his calling was imminent – for he merited an angelic visitation – again he sent his humble petition to the aforesaid religious prince asking that he should grant licence for the remains of his body to be carried to the monastery of Fontanella where some time ago he had commanded the rule of the order for the Lord. That prince agreed to the petition and so that it might be done freely, he conceded immediately. Although a few of those with him differed from him, however many were comforted by the Lord even though, the same father stood in little need for human consolation because he delighted in angelic obsequies. Indeed on the 9th February, when the hour of his calling was imminent, he called his cohort of brothers together and celebrated the solemnities of the mass for himself. Then, having taken the body and blood of the Lord, he prepared himself. Signing himself and all those around him with the sign of the cross he received his last rest and sleeping in the quietness of death he crossed happily from the world. His holy soul, which was generous and sincere and uncontaminated by all contact with the world, was received by the angelic chorus into the consort of the holy so that it might be established there for ever in perpetual happiness.

25. When they had washed the body and came to dress him in the shroud, they found the skin in the bends of his knees and elbows hardened as a result of his constant prayers. Thus what he had done living, his limbs sought to do in death and the discharged flesh stretched itself out. Thus that holy body was dressed in the great ambition of faith and covered all over from above with only a wax linen as he himself had foretold. This was accomplished for him by the Lord so that his bones would be taken to be buried in the aforesaid monastery of Fontanella. For the brothers took care that he should be dressed just as he was accustomed to be when he assisted at the holy altars of Christ. However when they wished to place the waxed cloth from his head, they saw that his eyes were open so that he looked like one who was living. Some even said that he was alive again. Indeed his face was flushed with a rosy coloured glow. Furthermore certain men said that it was as if he was indignant at the prospect of the imposition of the wax cloth. For they saw that he was not without his glory which is the glory of God in his holy triumph. His funeral rites were performed with the religious dedication of faith. That place was so blessed to have possessed such a patron and so unfortunate to have lost so much. Afterwards they buried him with great and worthy honour.

26. Indeed, when the lamps of oil before his tomb were full of liquid and had been lit by faithful men, they not only burned unceasingly day and night but also overflowed. The brothers wondered at this fact and thought that it was sent by divine glory. They placed another vessel which was filled by the trickles of that divine gift of oil. Oh great and renowned pastor! Most celebrated Ansbert, you glorious personification of happiness! For your merit did not need to be proven by signs since the operation of your glorious and admirable way of life which was full of virtues afforded a perpetual sign of your holy virtue. But what more need I say? The Lord allowed many miracles and signs to be worked through him in that place.

27. Indeed when seventeen days had passed, the legates who had been sent to the aforesaid prince returned with the licence which they had received from him so that his body might justly be transferred by them to Fontanella according to his wish without any impediment of law. When they opened his tomb, they thought that his venerable body would now stink after it had been buried for such a long time. However the whole church was filled with such a most sweet fragrant smell like the aroma of various flowers. Moreover little drops of balsam flowed from the tomb. The brothers who had come from their own provinces to see him and those he had kept with him in exile wished to change his clothes and to dress him with new garments. Having taken off his clothes before he was put back in the tomb just as previously they found the sign of the Lord’s cross on his arms and a similar rosy colour so that all the faithful understood clearly that because he had carried the armour of Christ in his heart while he was living, marks of the cross were shown on his body in death.

28. Then he was dressed in pontifical garments and placed on a litter. The prelates went before him with spices and incense. The citizens of Rouen and monks of the convent of Fontanella who had come to him lifted up that venerable body and bearing that precious burden and praising with tears, they took up their way. Also, the aforesaid venerable abbot Aldulfus along with a large cohort of his monks and innumerable people of both sexes attended him. They carried banners of the holy cross, as well as candles and lamps of different kinds. As they went they all sang the melody of hymns, canticles and religious poems in his sweet praise. The choruses of love resounded together with the discordant sounds of divers languages. Since that place was truly happy to have had such a pastor and had received such a patron so sweetly as they carried his holy and venerable bones over the earth, they were confident that he was in the heavens and giving them his protection. The venerable body of the precious confessor was carried to the monastery of Fontanella by these troops of faithful people, surrounded and honoured with music. However, the venerable abbot Aldulfus, together with his counts who were his companions on the journey, acted as servants to the body with great honour as far as the royal town of Venette which is situated in the region of Beauvais by the river Oise.

29. When they came to a town called Solèsmes on the river Selle in the territory of Hinaut, they turned aside in search of hospitality because they were fatigued from the long journey there and in need of refreshment. There a certain man ran up to them carrying his daughter who was destroyed by a paralysing malady of her limbs. She did not even have the strength to move her feet and walk so that she seemed as if she was dead. Calling with great prayers and with weeping this man implored the holy bishop Ansbert to bring health back to his only daughter. Since the ministers and custodians of the most holy body permitted that the bier might stay the night, they spent the whole night in vigils and singing divine hymns. In the morning the man found his daughter healthy. Thus he rejoiced and gave thanks to God and to Ansbert, the holy bishop, in many different ways. He returned home with his daughter, rejoicing. Oh God how awesome are you in your holiness who worked a miracle through your servant Ansbert in this way with glorious merit.

30. Therefore, when they reached the place at which they were supposed to stop, for the sake of resting, instead, coming to another town, they chose to pass the coming night resting there. However when they wished to divert to that place, the body of the most holy bishop remained immovable in the hands of those carrying it like a great heavy burden. Then most of the other men came and tried to help but nevertheless the body remained as immovable as before. When they had understood that the body was divinely acted upon, they changed their journey to another place. Having moved there with speed, attended by divine virtue, they came through to the appropriate place. It was believed that they were made to wait by holy God for the sake of the dignity of the bishop. Thereafter, throughout the whole of the pious journey, the almighty Lord showed his attendants places which were suitable for the limbs of his servant.

31. Indeed, when they came to the aforementioned town of Venette, a great crowd of people from the same province of the town of Rouen was at hand to greet the body of the holy bishop. Among them were the bishops and fathers of the holy monasteries along with the neighbouring clergy of their venerable lord, that same holy pontiff as well as innumerable common people both men and women. They came to him with great devotion and with the singing of psalms. From that place, the venerable abbot Aldulfus and those accompanying him on his journey turned back to their own monastery.

32. The miracle which was performed through the servant of Christ in the town of Fresnoy, which is situated in the region of Beauvais, is one which my pen rejoices to describe among these things which have been written together. When his holy body had been carried to that same town, a certain local woman who was bound in chains and was vexed by an unworldly spirit was led to the body. “Why,” she said, “Have you brought Ansbert the servant of Jesus Christ our Lord into this province who expelled me from my proper see?” When the same woman had approached and had touched the covering which covered the body, she shouted with a great voice and at once by the merits of the holy pontiff, she spewed out the enemy of humankind with blood and gore. Thus a great miracle was done. Indeed she gave thanks to Almighty God and to the holy Ansbert through whom she had been cured from a pernicious spirit and had received health and been returned to herself. Oh blessed Lord Christ, King of all the world and creator and guardian of all that is holy you deigned to perform miracles through the great merit of his servant. Then in the same town, in honour of the holy bishop Ansbert, a church was built by the faithful people. His bed remained in the same church from a long time and signs of virtue were performed there on account of the divine merit of that same holy man.

33. When approximately twenty days and more had passed they came into the territory of Rouen in a place which is called Paldriac. There the Almighty Lord deigned to show a miracle in the same way through the merits of his same holy bishop, this time to more senior men. A certain woman who had been seized by a demon was led by her parents, bound in chains, to seek the protection of the holy man. When she came to the bed where the body of the holy man was preserved she touched the cloth with which it was covered. Raising her voice to the stars, straightaway she was freed from the demon and made most healthy by the grace of God and by the merits of the holy Ansbert. Now healthy, she turned back to her own home by her own powers. Glory honour and power be to our God, who thus triumphs in the merits of the holy bishop with signs of miracles.

34. Indeed, in this place in which the Almighty performed this miracle there was a paternal estate of certain illustrious men, namely Bertold and Radamastus, some four miles distant from the monastery of Fontanella. Indeed, it is said that when they tried to lift the most sacred body, it was held immovable, as if they strove with a great stone with iron nails and bands. Since it was not able to be moved, Radamastus, the possessor of the place is reported to have said, “Alas, Ansbert, faithful servant of Christ who is stationed among the train of his worshippers, remember us whom you loved in life and defend us from the joys of the world. Now, Christ returns you to us here. For that reason, I offer this treasure to Almighty God and to you, most holy bishop. I give it to you for all time.” Indeed, Radamastus, that honourable man himself, and his brother Bertold immediately gave up everything which they possessed in treasure and material things. They delivered it all to the blessed Bishop Ansbert and also to the monastery of Fontanella. Thus they shook off the yoke of liberty and they received the yoke of service to the Lord with subjected necks. In that very place they assumed together the name and habit of monks. Indeed on the aforesaid property of the men, that is to say on the public road and the paved area which lies next to Rouen and leads to the town, a wooden cross was erected by the faithful where the body of the holy and venerable pontiff Ansbert paused, in honour and in memory of him. There, many infirm people, who were vexed by diverse illnesses, frequently received the gift of health through the generosity of the Lord and because of the merits of the holy Ansbert. There, around the anniversary of day of that he paused there or came to that place which is the 10th March, innumerable people come together to honour him and pray to him. They solemnly render prayers to the pious Lord with great devotion of vigils, divine hymns and diverse gifts. In that same place through his many merits signs of miracles were constantly performed which surpass the knowledge of this narrator by their great number. For there those deprived of light received their sight and the lame received the power of walking. Those whose tongues were bound also received the power of words. People without the office of their ears received hearing. Demons were frequently expelled from the human bodies which they possessed.

35. Indeed on the 8th April, a certain woman who had been paralysed for many years came to that same place where the symbol of the holy cross had been erected. Coming there with true faith, she was restored to pristine health and her limbs which had not pressed the earth for a long time because they were feeble were suddenly changed as soon as she was touched with the relics. We thank God without measure because he deigned to show such miracles on account of his aforesaid servant. Also, following this time in that place, a church was built in honour of the holy Bishop Ansbert by the august and excellent work of the venerable Abbot Hiltbertus the successor of the same holy father in the ruling of the order at Fontanella.

36. Yet passing over these things, we set our pen to the order of the translation of the aforesaid servant of Christ. Those who came with his body and who transferred him to the monastery of Fontanella, carried him into that church of the holy apostle Paul. The old and young, the boys and infants and the whole chorus of monks wept. Indeed, the venerable abbot Hiltbertus who was strong in holiness and had assumed the upright life along with the brothers, approached the venerable body, thinking that it would smell from so long a time in the tomb – for it was nearly thirty days since it had been buried. Yet when they had removed the garment covering his holy head such a sweet smell flowed out from it that the church was filled with the odour of divers spices and incense. Indeed his face was turned red as if he was in a deep sleep, giving the impression of one living. Many holy bishops and venerable fathers surveyed the face. It seemed to all the people who were there that it was a stupendous sign of a miracle. Then they wrapped the body in clean muslin and an intricate covering. They placed his venerable body in the tomb which they had prepared for him in the same church of the holy Apostle Paul next to the tomb of the most holy Father Wandrille with all diligence, fear and praise. This was on the 11th March in the 695th year from the incarnation of Jesus Christ our lord God to whom is honour and power, right and order through all eternity for ever and ever. Amen
[One MS adds:
In the fourth year of the reign of Childebert, king of the Franks which was eighth of the leadership of duke Pippin the elder, the fifth year of the presidency of Sergius as apostolic pope, year ten of the rule of Emperor Justinian II, which is the year of our Lord 695, the nourish-giving man, Ansbert of glorious memory and pontiff of the town of Rouen sought the kingdom of heaven, in the octave of the 9th of February in the territory of Hagnau and monastery of Hautmont under the abbot Hadulfus and where he was worthily consigned to the tomb. Then seventeen days after, he was lifted up and was carried away to the monastery of Fontanella accompanied with signs of virtue. On the thirtieth day the teacher of the people was buried in the church next to his fellow angelic man and famous Father Wandrille. Here ends the Life of the holy Archbishop Ansbert.]