St. Arnold (Arnulf), Bishop of Metz
St. Arnold was father of Pepin
and grandfather of Charlemagne. He held a duchy in Lorraine but put
this worldly prize, and riches, and married life, behind him to pursue
the life of a desert-dweller. He died to the world and was alive unto
It so happened the Bishop of
Metz reposed and St. Arnold, who was known for his holiness, was chosen
as the next Bishop. The holy Bishop maintained during his episcopate
the same eremitic asceticism he had learnt in solitude. He fasted 3
days in a row, then would eat a little barley bread and have a little
water. Under the robes of a prelate he wore the haircloth of an
The Saint distributed to the
poor so generously of his own possessions that poor folk came to Metz
from countries and cities afar, to receive alms and holy counsel. His
hospitality towards pious folk, pilgrims, and monastics was legendary.
He washed their feet himself, gave them new clothing, and a little
silver for the journey, and this he did not of a season, but
incessantly. All his time, he spent in vigils, fasting, and devout
prayers and talks.
One day, when he was in a
3-day fast, he was making a procession. Many beasts joined in the
procession and prayed to God devoutly with the Saint. And as the
procession went along, a woman vexed by the Devil began to cry out
loudly. The Saint but made the sign of the Cross of Christ over her,
and she was entirely set free from the evil one. Behold how easily the
great Saints cast out the evil one, since they had not the least trace
of his wickedness remaining in them.
During the reign of Dagobert,
a leper came to the king's palace and began to cry out for the holy
man, to receive food and clothes. The Saint asked him if he were
baptised, for the man was a heathen. The leper replied he had not found
one who would impart this gift to him, whereat the Saint baptized him.
Immediately he was baptised, the leper was cleansed of his sickness
entirely, having become whole both in soul and in body.
Once a fire was consuming the
king's palace and everything round about it. The fire threatening a
little hut the Saint had built for prayer, and wherein he was praying
at the time, one named Romancius bade the Saint leave his cell.
Instead, the Saint had himself led to the fire. There the Saint
commanded all to fall upon their faces in prayer with him. Then,
raising himself up, he lifted up his hands to heaven, and made the sign
of the Cross, and the fire was quenched. One of the brethren saw that
night a fiery cross in the sky, and a voice was heard: "By this hath
Bishop Arnold delivered the city from fire."
Thereafter St. Arnold left the
Frankish court behind, and made a little house in the wilderness, where
dwelt a few monks. He lived in contemplation and the praises of God,
and continued in that place to receive the poor and pilgrims. He would
cook for them himself, so he was both a Bishop and a cook. Food there
was scarce, but many a time did he suffer terrible hunger and thirst,
only so that the brethren might not.
When the time had come for the
Saint's repose, after he breathed his soul forth unto his Creator, his
successor, Bishop Goericus, assembled a great procession and came to
the place where lay the body of Arnold. There vigils were celebrated
very solemnly, and then the body was borne into the city. As they were
so processing, those carrying the back part of the bier fell into a
ditch. But Angels of God sustained the body in the air, and soon the
men who had fallen caught up and resumed their places. Next, during the
same procession to the city, they would have passed through land
belonging to a lecher, whom the Saint had reproved for his sin but who
would not repent. On the edge of this man's land, the body of Arnold
became immovable. No strength of men could force the body to cross over
the lecher's land. So a wealthy man named Noddo invited the whole
company to spend the night at his estate, and there goodly provisions
and good beer were imparted to all. The next morning with great joy the
body was borne into the city. All the people greeted their reposed
archpastor, whose body was buried in the church of the Apostles.
A woman long blind, named
Julia, came to the tomb of St. Arnold often to pray. She received her
sight. Another woman was punished by God because she had worked on
Sunday. Her hands became instantly crippled. Then came she to the tomb
and begged the Saint to help her, weeping and praying sincerely.
Quickly she recovered the use of her hands.
The memory of this glorious
Saint is kept on the 17th of the kalends of August (July 18) to the
honour of God, Who liveth and reigneth without end, unto ages of ages.
Amen. [adapted from the Golden Legend]
The Icon is from a workshop
in Pskov, Russia.