Celtic and Old English Saints          21 July

* St. Arbogast of Strasbourg

St. Arbogast of Strasbourg, Bishop
Born in Aquitaine, France; died c. 678. Although the Irish and Scottish
both claim Arbogast as their own, the 13th-century Chronicle of Sens by
Richer and the Life of Saint Florentius, his successor, strongly support
the claim of Scotland. His acta, however, tell us that Arbogast was born
of a noble family in Aquitaine, France. His vita, attributed to Bishop
Utone of Strasbourg (died 965), tells us that Arbogast was living as a
recluse in the Sacred Forest (Heiligesforst or Haguenau) of Alsace when
King Dagobert took an interest in him. The holy hermit was often called
to court to share his wisdom with the king, who, about 630, forced on
Arbogast the see of Strasbourg. Shortly after his consecration, Arbogast
raised Dagobert's son Sigebert to life when he had been killed by a fall
from his horse. Many other miracles are ascribed to the saint, but he
was loved and famed for humility and wisdom.

Because of the king's affection for the bishop, the see was endowed with
several large estates, including Rufach and the old royal palace of
Isenburg. Arbogast founded or endowed several monasteries, including
Surbourg, Shutteran, and possibly Ebersheimmunster (although Saint
Odilia's father, Adalric, and Bishop Saint Deodatus of Nevers are the
principal founders of this last one).

Apparently Saint Arbogast retired before his death, because the year
before Dagobert offered the see of Strasbourg to Saint Wilfrid, who was
on his way to Rome to challenge the division of his see. When Wilfrid
declined, Saint Florentius was consecrated.

At Arbogast's request, he was interred on a mountain in the place set
apart for the burial of criminals. The church of Saint Michael was built
over his tomb and Saint Arbogast's Abbey rose nearby. His second
successor translated his body with honour into the abbey church. A
church was built in his honour in 1069, but it was destroyed by the
Protestants in 1530. His relics were scattered during the Thirty Years
War (Benedictines, Encyclopaedia, Farmer, Husenbeth).

In art, Saint Arbogast is a bishop walking dryshod over a river,
sometimes with Saint Sebastian (Roeder). He is the patron of Strasbourg,
but his feast is also kept in several Swiss cantons (Farmer).


Benedictine Monks of St. Augustine Abbey, Ramsgate.
(1947). The Book of Saints. NY: Macmillan.

Encyclopaedia of Catholic Saints. (1966).
Philadelphia: Chilton Books.

Farmer, D. H. (1997). The Oxford Dictionary of Saints.
Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Husenbeth, Rev. F. C., DD, VG (ed.). (1928). Butler's
Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Other Principal Saints.
London: Virtue & Co.

Roeder, H. (1956). Saints and Their Attributes, Chicago: Henry

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