Saint of the Day – 16 December – Saint Ado of Vienne (Died 875) Archbishop of Vienne from 850 until his death, Writer, Reformer – Born in Sens, France and died in 875 in Vienne, France of natural causes. Also known as Adon, Adonis. Several of his letters are extant and reveal their writer as an energetic man of wide sympathies and considerable influence.
Ado was born into a noble family and was sent as a child for his education, first to Sigulfe, Abbot of Ferrières and then to Marcward, Abbot of Prüm near Trier. He had as one of his masters, the Benedictine Abbot Lupus Servatus, one of the most celebrated humanists of those times. By his brilliant talents and assiduous application, Ado gained the esteem of his masters and schoolmates, while his ready obedience, deep humility and sincere piety foreshadowed his future holiness.
Though urged on all sides to enter upon a career in the world, to which his nobility of birth and great intellectual abilities entitled him, he consecrated himself entirely to God by taking the Benedictine habit at Ferrières. When Markward, a Monk of Ferrières, became Abbot of Prüm near Trier, he applied for Ado to teach the sacred sciences there. His request was granted. Soon, however, certain envious Monks of Prüm conceived an implacable hatred against Ado, due to his great intellect, humility and holiness and, upon the death of Markward, turned him out of their Monastery. With the permission of his Abbot, Ado now made a pilgrimage to Rome, where he remained five years. He then went to Ravenna, where he discovered an old Roman Martyrology which served as the basis for his own renowned Martyrology published in 858, which is generally known as the Martyrology of Ado. At Lyons he was received with open arms by the Archbishop, St Remigius, who, with the consent of the Abbot of Ferrières, appointed him pastor of the Church of St Roman near Vienne.
In 860 he became Archbishop of Vienne and a year later received the pallium from Pope Nicholas I. By word and exampl,e he began reforming the laxity of his priests and he gave them strict orders to instruct the laity in the necessary doctrines of Christianity. His own life was a model of humility and austerity. Ado participated in the Council of Tousy, near Toul in Lorraine, on 22 October 860 and held a council at Vienne in 870.
When Lothaire II, King of Lorraine, had unjustly dismissed his wife Theutberga and the papal legates at the Synod of Metz had been bribed to sanction the King’s marriage to his concubine Waldrada, Ado hastened to Rome and reported the crime to the Pope, who, thereupon, annulled the acts of the synod.
Besides the Martyrology mentioned above, Ado wrote a chronicle from the beginning of the world to 874, Chronicon de VI ætatibus mundi and the lives of St Desiderius, St Bernard – a previous Bishop of Vienne and St Theuderius.
Ado’s name is in the Roman Martyrology and at Vienne, his feast is celebrated on 16 December, the day of his death. His body was buried in the Church of the Apostles in Vienne, now called St Peter’s Church, the usual place of burial of the archbishops of Vienne.