Saint of the Day – 11 March – Saint Vindician of Cambrai (c 632-c 712) Bishop of Arras-Cambrai. He was a spiritual follower of Saint Eligius (588- 660) (Saint Eloi). Born in c 632 at Bullecourt, France and died in c 712 at Brussels, Belgium of natural causes. St Vindician was a dedicated prelate who visited his Parishes and promoted Monasticism. He also courageously opposed the actions of the Frankish king Thierry III ( 670-687) and his Mayor of the palace, Ebroin, in executing Bishop St Leodegarius of Autun and he secured reparations for the sin from the ruler,
Vindician’s birthplace is given as Bullecourt, near Bapaume. This is the birthplace indicated in the documents dating much later than the Saint’s death but which claim to reproduce an ancient local tradition. Nothing is known of his early years.
On the death of St Aubert, Bishop of Cambrai-Arras (about 668), Vindician was elected his successor. Legend has crept into the history of the holy bishop, but the following facts may be regarded as certain.
In 673 Vindician supervised the translation of the body of St Maxellende to Caudri. In the same year, he Consecrated the Monastery of Honnecourt sur l’Escaut, which was given in 685 to St Bertin. In 675 he signed a charter of donation in favour of the Abbey at Maroilles, rendered illustrious by St Humbert. In the same year, he Consecrated the Church at Hasnon.
In 681, he claimed for his Diocese, the honour of possessing the body of St Léger, the unfortunate victim of the political strife which was then filling Neustria with blood but he did not succeed, the remains of St Léger being confided to Ansoald, the Bishop of Poitiers. His predecessor, St Aubert, had founded the Monastery of St Vaast, the building of which he had been unable to complete, therefore, Vindician ensured that the construction was completed, apparently in 682 and placed it under the protection of King Thierry III, who conferred numerous gifts on the Monastery.
In 685 a certain Abbot Hatta was placed at its head by Vindicianus. In the following year the latter dedicated the Church at Hamaye and acted at the exhumation of the bodies of Sts Eusebia and Gertrude, who had been Abbesses of the Monastery of that name.
He spent his final years at St Vaast Monastery, Arras, which Vindician had completed and an institution that King Thierry supported. Vindician died while on a visit to Brussels, Belgium.
The events of his life after this date (686) are unknown. He was buried at Mont-St-Eloi. The region was ravaged by the Normans in the ninth century and on more than one occasion the relics of the Saint were in danger, until in 1030 Bishop Gerard I of Cambrai had his body removed to the episcopal City. After having been at Douai and Arras, the relics were returned to Mont-St-Eloi in 1453. After still further translations, especially in 1598 and 1601, the body was finally placed in the Cathedral at Arras, which is dedicated to Our Lady and to St Vaast. The Cathedral was badly damaged during World War II but it seems, St Vindician’s relics were safely re-instated after the restoration.
His successor on that See about 695 was St. Abelbert.