This calendar of saints is drawn from several denominations, sects, and traditions. Although it will no longer be updated daily, the index on the right will guide visitors to a saint celebrated on any day they choose. Additional saints will be added as they present themselves to Major.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

February 20 -- Feast of St. Eucherius of Orleans

Eucherius resisted his appointment as the bishop of Orleans following the death of his uncle, Bishop Suaveric. His instincts were correct, and it is a pity that others did not listen to him.

The King of the Franks, recognizing that Arab invaders who had conquered North Africa and Spain were invading France, commenced preparations for a massive war. He imposed levies on churches and cathedrals as well as the aristocracy. Eucherius, being a loyal son of the Church, resisted the seizure of Church property.

I often come down on the side of the Church in tax disputes. I'm all for tax exemptions for religious institutions, at least as long as we use taxes to engineer social policy rather than merely to raise revenue. But the national and religious identity of the Franks hung in the balance. Eucherius would have stood on a principle until the day a Saracen threw him out of his cathedral, smashed the religious icons, and rededicated it as a mosque. I'm not faith-baiting here -- read the history of the time. Nor am I suggesting that the Christians were all love, luck, and lollipops while the Muslims butchered them. The war for hegemony was quite symmetrical.

Eucherius was exiled by Charles "the Hammer" Martel. He went to Cologne (Germany) and retired to a monastery. Monastic life probably suited him; he did not seem to be able to straddle the line between the secular and the spiritual worlds as well as a bishop must.

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