Saint of the Day – 2 April – Saint Urban of Langres (c 327-c 390) Bishop, the sixth Bishop of Autun and Langres, in Burgundy, France from 374 until his death, Confessor. Saint Leodegaria was his sister. Patronages – Langres, Dijon, vine-growers, vine-dressers, gardeners, vintners, invoked against blight, frost, storms, alcoholism and faintness. Additional Memorial – 23 January in Langres, France.
Urban was Bishop of the See of Autun and Langres during a time of political upheaval. At one point, he fell foul of the local Duke, an unpleasant man by the name of Junius Medellius. Urban found support from a patron of his, named Maceratius, who owned a vineyard and he was able to hide among the vines. The vine-dressers in the area concealed him and he took the opportunity to convert them to Christianity. Those same vine-dressers then helped him in his covert ministry, as he moved from one town to another via their vineyards.
There is a legend told that, on one sunny morning, some soldiers had been tracking the movements of Urban’s followers and they narrowed his position down to a specific row of vines. By the time they had decided to apprehend him, a wind picked up and would not subside. The soldiers took a few steps but heavy rain began falling and they could not get close to Urban for a massive hailstorm descended upon them, denting their armour and sending them iscurrying into retreat and back to their camp. So it was, that Urban survived his own storm, coming out of hiding and eventually becoming the Patron saint of wine amd against storms.
Due to St Urban’s work and to his devotion to the Holy Blood, he developed a great affection for all the people in the wine industry and they for him. Urban is thus the Patron saint of all those who work in the wine industry and is invoked against blight and alcoholism.
The cult of St Urban of Langres spread rapidly, especially among in wine growing areas. The German vineyard owners seemed to have adopted him as their own. His cult was closely associated with the weather too. Several old German sayings reflect this:
“The weather on St Urban’s Day, will indicate what the autumn weather will be.“
“If there is sunshine on St Urban’s Day,the wine thrives afterwards, they say.“
“O holy Urban, bring us comfort! Give us this year much noble must.“
“ What the weather is like on St Urban’s day, orders the same for 20 days.“