Saint of the Day – 26 March – St Barontius of Pistoia (Died c725) Monk, Hermit. Barontius was a French nobleman who had been a Courtier at the Court of King Thierry II. Also known as – Barontus, Baronce, Baronto, Baronzio. Barontius
With his son, he had became a Monk at Saint-Pierre de Longoret in the Diocese of Bourges, now the Monastery of Saint-Cyran-du-Jambot.
Barontius received a vision of Heaven and hell around 678 in which as demons clawed and kicked at him. Accompanied by the Archangel St Raphael, Barontius journeyed through the four levels of Heaven, although he continues to be tormented by the demons, who want to pull him down to hell.
He meets people he has known, including fellow Monks from Longoreto. St Raphael asks another Angel to bring Saint Peter to them, so that Peter may evaluate Barontius.
The demons bring their evidence against Barontius, going “over all the sins that [Barontius] had committed from infancy onwards, including those which [he] had totally forgetten.” However, the demons get so annoying that St Peter smacks them with his keys, sending them away. St Peter then decides to send Barontius back to earth via hell, where Barontius sees all of the souls in torment. before returning to earth. When he recovers, he is asked to tell of his vision and writes an account thereof, a large manuscript known as Visio Baronti Monachi Longoretensis.
This vision led to Barontius’ decision to become a Hermit in Italy and he established himself near Pistoia with Desiderius, also a former Monk. They lived an austere, prayerful life and were joined by many disciples.
Barontius died around 725. Both he and Desiderius ‘ names appear in the Martyrologium Romanum as Saints, for celebration today.