Saint of the Day – 21 July – Saint Arbogast of Strasbourg (Died 678) Bishop of Strasbour, Missionary, Monk, Hermit, Confessor, miracle-worker. Born as Arascach (Irish) in the 7th century in Ireland and died in 678 in Strasbourg of natural causes. Patronage – St Arbogast is the Principal Patron of the Diocese and City of Strasbourg. T he Roman Martyrology states: “At Strasbourg, St Arbogastus, a Bishop, renowned for miracles.”
We have very little historical information of his life, other than that he came to Francie, lived as a Hermit quickly gathering a reputation for wisdom and holiness. He was then appointed Bishop of Strasbourg and is venerated as the saint who brought Christianity to the Alsace. Because of this, the Christian name “Arbogast” became especially popular in the region. His origin is generally believed to be Ireland,
According to the vita, a 10th-century hagiographical account of his life, Arbogast found a warm friend in the King Dagobert II of Austrasia, who reigned between 673-679. On Dagobert’s accession, Arbogast was appointed Bishop of Strasbourg and was famed for sanctity and miracles.
Still according to the vita, Arbogast brought back to life Dagobert’s son, Siegebert, who had been killed by a fall from his horse. Siegebert had been boar hunting with his father’s huntsmen in forests and became separated from the others. He encountered a boar and his startled horse reared, throwing him and trampling him while his foot was caught in his stirrup. His companions found him and took him home, where he died the next day. King Dagobert summoned Arbogast,and the holy man prayed to Mary, Mother of God – as she had carried the life of the entire world, would she not intercede for the life of this one boy? Siegebert stood up in his burial shroud. When the King offered Bishop Arbogast money in reward, he declined, suggesting instead, that land be donated to build a Cathedral at Strasbourg..
His life as a Hermit in the forest of Haguenau is the domain of legend. But what is true is that the great Bishop Arbogast, installed throughout his territory, Monasteries intended to shine the light of the Gospel in the pagan countryside: – let us mention the Abbey of Surbourg, in the forest of ‘Haguenau and, near Strasbourg, an Abbey which will later bear the name of our saintly Bishop.
Knowing that “it is the Lord who builds up the city,” he put his hope in the prayers of his Monks. Arbogast himself had a great devotion to Saint Martin of Tours, to whom he dedicated, the Monastery of Surbourg.
For six years, he was thus the Good Shepherd of his Church, filled with divine Wisdom, holy virility and fatherly goodness. He spoke the Word of God in the power of the Holy Spirit. Thus his Church experienced a true Christian renewal, he himself deserved to enter into the joy of his Lord as a good and faithful servant and to receive from Christ, the Prince of Shepherds, the incorruptible crown of glory (En.).
According to the vita, he died in 678. His body was buried in the City cemetery and near his grave stood a Chapel, which he had dedicated to Saint Michael. Later, his relics were transferred in part to the Saint-Arbogast Monastery, near Strasbourg, where, his memory is celebrated every year as a Monk and Bishop of great holiness and miracles..
St Arbogast appears on the Coat of Arms of Batzendorf and today, on his Feast, a special Mass, granted by the Holy Father, is celebrated in his honour.
O God, you wanted Blessed Arbogast, Your confessor and Pontiff,
to become wholeheartedly,
he model of his flock;
grant us to realise,
under his protection in our deeds,
what he taught by the word of his mouth.