20 Feb Saint Eucherius of Orleans, Bishop
Today is the feast day of Saint Eucherius. Ora pro nobis.
Saint Eucherius was born at Orleans. At his birth his parents dedicated him to God, for his mother had been advised in a vision that he would some day be Bishop of the city of Orleans. They took great care to form both his mind and his heart. (1)
He entered the Benedictine abbey of Jumièges about the year 714. After he had spent six or seven years there, Soavaric, Bishop of Orleans, who was his uncle, died, and the senate and people with the clergy of the city sent a deputation to Charles Martel, mayor of the palace, to ask his permission to elect Eucherius to fill the vacant see. Charles consented, and charged one of his officers of state to conduct the young monk from his monastery to Orleans. The saint was filled with dismay and entreated the monks to save him from the dangers that threatened him in the world. In spite of their reluctance they urged him to depart, setting the public good above their own desires. He was consecrated in 721. Unwilling as he had been to take office, he proved himself an exemplary pastor and devoted himself entirely to the care of his people, who loved and venerated him. (2)
Charles Martel, to defray the expenses of his wars and other undertakings, often stripped the churches of their revenues. Saint Eucherius reproved these encroachments with so much zeal that in the year 737, Charles banished him to Cologne. The extraordinary esteem which his virtue procured him in that city caused Charles to have him taken to a fortress in the territory of Liege. The governor of that country was so charmed with his virtue that he made him the distributer of his large alms, and allowed him to retire to the monastery of Sarchinium, or Saint Tron's. Here prayer and contemplation were his whole employment until the year 743, in which he died, on the 20th of February. (1)
Image: Treasury of Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk, Sint-Truiden, Belgium. Painted panel of Saint Euchaire. (4)
Research by Ed Masters, REGINA Staff