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Gondulphus

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(GUNDULFUS).

The name of three saints, of whom one was Bishop of Tongres (Maestricht), the second Bishop of Metz, while the third is known as Gondulphus of Berry. We possess little information concerning any of the three, and the slight idea of each afforded us by the documents of the Middle Ages is reduced to the following.

Gondulphus of Metz

Gondulphus of Metz is the one concerning whom our information is most reliable. His feast is celebrated on 6 September. As bishop, Gondulphus succeeded Angilram, him who caused Paul the Deacon to write the "Liber de episcopis Mettensibus", and who died probably in 791. At the death of Angilram there was a vacancy in the episcopal See of Metz, which was terminated by the accession of Gondulphus. The "Annales S. Vincentii Mettenses" give the date as 819. But, as it is known, on the other hand, that since the time of Bishop Chrodegang episcopal ordination took place on Sunday, the date of the consecration of Bishop Gondulphus must be set down as 28 (?) December, 816. The old episcopal catalogue of the church of Metz informs us that Gondulphus occupied the see of this church for six years, eight months, and seven days, and that he died on the 7th of the Ides of September, which would be the sixth of that month, in the year 823. He was buried in the monastery of Gorze, where his relics are still honoured on 6 September. It is impossible to quote in this respect any special patronage, and with regard to his episcopal career, apart from the details furnished here, there exists no information.

Gondulphus of Tongres

Or, as he is commonly called "Gondulphus of Maastricht" because his predecessor, Bishop Monulphus, transferred the seat of the bishopric from Tongres to Maastricht, which thenceforth was the actual residence of the bishops of Tongres. However, the official title of the Bishop of Tongres, episcopus Tungrorum, was retained until the eleventh century, even when the episcopal see had been transferred from Maastricht to Liège.

Bishop Gondulphus is a somewhat enigmatic figure indeed, one is inclined to question whether he be not identical with Monulphus. But the two saints must nevertheless be distinguished. Monulphus must have occupied the See of Tongres until the end of the sixth or the beginning of the seventh century, while at the Council of Paris in 614 the presence is discovered of a Bishop of Maastricht named Betulphus. Gondulphus, then, probably comes between Monulphus and Betulphus, at least if this Betulphus must not be identified with Gondulphus on the grounds that the case is analogous to that of the episcopal list of Mainz, where Bertulfus and Crotoldus must be reckoned identical. Furthermore, the episcopal lists of the eleventh and twelfth centuries, whose value is, however, not very great, ignore Betulphus, and make Gondulphus the immediate successor of Monulphus. The biographies of Gondulphus, which are handed down to us from the Middle Ages, are merely an extract from the "Vita Servatii" of the priest Jocundus. They are quite without value and are full of legends. If they are to be believed, Gondulphus endeavoured to rebuild the town of Tongres, which had been destroyed by the barbarian invasions. But heaven opposed his scheme, and miraculously manifested its desire to the saint. Furious wolves fell upon the pagan colonists of this region, and devoured them before the eyes of the horrified bishop. Thus has legend quite obscured the authentic history of St. Gondulphus, the fact of his episcopacy at Maastricht being the only one that is authentic. According to local tradition he occupied the episcopal see for seven years and died about 607. This last statement does not tally with his presence at Paris in 614, if he is to be considered identical with the Betulphus who assisted at that council. In any case he was buried in the nave of the church of Saint-Servais at Maastricht, which had been magnificently restored by his predecessor, St. Monulphus.

The bodies of Monulphus and Gondulphus were solemnly exhumed in 1039 by the Bishops Nithard of Liège and Gérard of Cambrai. An epitaph commemorating this event was afterwards misinterpreted, and gave rise to a legend according to which the two saints arose from their tomb in 1039 in order to assist at the dedication of the church of Aachen (Aix-la-Chapelle), and at the conclusion of the ceremony returned to their tomb to resume their eternal sleep. Together with St. Monulphus, St. Gondulphus is secondary patron of the city and church of Maastricht. His feast is kept on 16 July. The commemoration of the exhumation of 1039 is celebrated on to August.

St. Gondulphus (or Gondon) of Berry

St. Gondulphus of Berry, who is honoured with the title of bishop, is a person of whom history gives a still more legendary account than of his namesake of Maastricht. According to the biography in which he is comparatively lately treated by a monk of Berry, he was Archbishop of Milan in the seventh century. Not succeeding in appeasing the troubles which had arisen in his church, he resolved to submit to the inevitable, and retired to Berry with a number of his disciples. It is not known, however, that any Archbishop of Milan had to deal with these conditions. It is true that it has been thought that Gondulphus lived at the time of the Milanese schism regarding the affair of the Three Chapters, that he was consecrated in 555, but that he was never received as bishop in his diocese. These are merely hypotheses and in fact it must be said that the history of the St. Gondulphus who is honoured in Berry is unknown.

The attestation of his cult in Berry appears late among the additions to the martyrology of Usuard; it is cited in the Breviary of Bourges in 1625. He is the patron of St-Gondon, near Gien. His feast is kept on 17 June.


About this page

APA citation. Van der Essen, L. (1909). Gondulphus. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06633a.htm

MLA citation. Van der Essen, Léon. "Gondulphus." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 6. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1909. <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06633a.htm>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Joseph P. Thomas.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. September 1, 1909. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York.

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