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.

Friday, December 23, 2011

December 23 -- Feast of Saint Dagobert

Dagobert was a Merovingian king, though he acceded to the throne when her was six years old.  As a regent, Gimoald was as cliche as a Disney villain.  He tonsured the young king (shaved part of his head and cut the rest of his hair short), making him ineligible to be the king. 

I'm interrupting this post for a shameless pop culture reference.  In The Matrix: Reloaded, a character called the Merovingian is a wealthy, powerful, self-serving, amoral bastard.  Critics complained that he was a pointless time-filler in the film, spouting pseudo-philosophical drivel without advancing the storyline at all.  That's not my complaint about him, though.  My complaint is that all Frankish kings had long hair -- a way of distinguishing themselves from Romans and their Latinized Gallic allies.  For shame. 

When the hair had grown back: Dagobert II
Once poor Dagobert had been shorn and dethroned, he was booted out of his own court. Gimoald's son Childebert became king.  He didn't last long, though.  The nobles started complaining to King Clovis, who had the regent and his son the King hunted down and executed.  Clovis' sons wound up on the thrones -- first Chlothar, who died young, and then Childeric, who married Dagobert's sister, Bilichild.

I have the feeling there are way too many people mentioned here. 

Bilichild and Childeric even named their first son Dagobert, which is odd since their good fortune was built indirectly on the theft of his birthright.  But he probably didn't mind, as he was taken in by Bishop Desiderius of Poitiers, then sent to a monastery in Ireland, and then to the court of an English king.  He married an Anglo-Saxon princess named Mechthilde and had at least two children. 

The Saint's skull as it appears today. 
In AD 675, Childeric and Bilichild both died in a hunting accident.  Somehow, their son Dagobert was also killed, though it is hard to imagine the scope of such an accident.  After much politicking, the Austrasian rainmakers were persuaded to accept Dagobert back as their king.  He took his old throne back in 676.  Apparently, his hair had grown back down to his shoulders by then.

Three years later, those same nobles still had not taken a hunter safety course.  King Dagobert II was hailed as Saint Dagobert, patron of kings, orphans, and kidnap victims. 

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