Saint of the Day – 1 February – Saint Sigebert III of Austrasia (c 630-656) King, Married and father of St Dagobert II. Born in c 630 in Metz, Moselle, Lorraine, France and died on 1 February 656 at Metz, France of natural causes, aged 25-26. His body was incorrupt until it was attacked by the marauders during the French Revolution. Patronages – the City and Diocese of Nancy, France. Also known as – Sigebert the Younger, Sigisbert…
Sigebert was the eldest son of King Dagobert I and his concubine Ragnetrude and half-brother of King Clovis. The King recalled and made peace with Saint Amand, who was previously banished for criticising the King’s vices and unholy life and asked him to baptise his new-born son. The ceremony was performed at Orléns and Charibert II, Dagobert’s half-brother who was King of Aquitaine at the time, was the Godfather. Dagobert assigned the education of Sigebert to Pepin of Landen, who was the Mayor of the Palace in Austrasia. Pepin took the baby Sigebert and moved with him to his domains in Aquitane, where they remained for the next three years.
In 633, a revolt of the nobles forced Dagobert to make the three-year old Sigebert King of Austrasia. However, he refused to give the power to Pepin of Landen by making him Mayor of the Palace for the child-king. Instead, he had put Sigebert under the tutelage of Adalgisel as Mayor of the Palace and the Bishop of Cologne, Saint Cunibert, as Regent, while keeping Pepin in Neustria as hostage.
On the death of Dagobert in 639, the two Frankish kingdoms became independent once again under Sigebert III and his little brother, Clovis II. Both kingdoms were under child-kings – Sigebert was around eleven years old and Clovis was five – and were ruled by the respective Regents. It was under Seigbert’s reign that the Mayor of the Palace began to play the most important role in political life and he has been described as the first “roi fainéant”—“do-nothin king”—of the Merovingian dynasty. A most unfair derogatory and insulting title, considering he was a child however, as he grew in age and wisdom, he disregarded worldly affairs as of no value anyway and focused his heart on things above.
In 640 the Duchy of Thuringia rebelled against Austrasia in the only war of Sigebert’s reign.The young King attempted to quell the rebellion but was defeated. The rout left Sigebert weeping in his saddle.
Throughout his youth and adolescencd, Sigebert had grown in personal sanctity and love for God and His Church. He became an extremely holy and devout adult under the tutelage of Pepin and the spiritual direcrion of Saint Cunibert and lived a life of Christian virtue. He used his wealth to establish numerous Monasteries, homes and hospitals especially for the poor and Churches, including the renowned Monastery of Stavelot-Malmedy.
Sigebert III died of natural causes on 1 February 656 at age 25. He was buried in the Abbey of Saint Martin near Metz which he had founded. In 1063 his body, found incorrupt, was taken out of the tomb and moved to the Altar. During the French Revolution the Abbey and tomb were desecrated. What Relics remained were moved to the Nancy Cathedral. The Statue below is situate on the facade of said Cathedral.