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Saint Eligius
Tuesday, 01 December 2020

Born 11 June 588 in France, Saint Eligius, the patron saint of goldsmiths and horses, was the chief counsellor to the Merovingian king of France Dagobert I. Appointed the bishop of Noyon-Tournai three years after the king’s death in 642, Eligius worked for twenty years to convert the pagan population of Flanders to Christianity. The inhabitants of his new diocese were pagans for the most part. He undertook the conversion of the Flemings, Frisians, Suevi, and the other Germanic tribes along the North Sea coast. He made frequent missionary excursions and also founded a great many monasteries and churches.

In his own episcopal city of Noyon he  built and endowed a nunnery for virgins. After the finding of the body of St. Quentin, Bishop Eligius erected in his honor a church to which was joined a monastery under the Irish rule. He also discovered the bodies of St. Piatus and his martyred companions, and in 654 removed the remains of Saint Fursey, the celebrated Irish missionary. Several writings of Eligius have survived: a sermon in which he combats the pagan practices of his time, a homily on the Last Judgment, and a letter written in 645, in which he begs for the prayers of Bishop Desiderius of Cahors. Eligius died on 1 December 660 and was buried at Noyon.

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