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, May 11, 2012

May 11 -- Feast of Saint Gangolf

Hey Gangolf. Flava Flav wants is bling back.
Gangolf was a wealthy and pious count during the reign of Pepin the Short.  As a nobleman, he of course went to war when the king demanded, but he also took some time to evangelize the Frisians.  It is nice that the Frisians were so resistant to Christianity because it provided an endless opportunity for evangelism. 

While he was away, Gangolf was given the opportunity to purchase a nice piece of property with a fine spring.  He was quick to close the deal and buy the land.  His friends kidded him about his spring being so far from his estate; when he finally got home, he shoved his sword into the ground and fresh, abundant spring water bubbled up. 

Alas, his good fortune as a land-owner was doomed.  He discovered that his wife had been sleeping with the parish priest.  He didn't want to call her out publicly on the matter, so he asked her about it privately.  She denied it.  He asked her to dip her hand in the spring as a trial.  The water scalded her hand.  Busted. 

The altar under which Gangolf's head is kept
Gangolf ordered the priest to hit the road and told his wife that they'd never share a bed again.  He then moved out to begin life as a hermit.  His wife capitalized quickly on the lenient terms of their separation by recalling the priest and persuading him to assassinate Gangolf.  Most priests aren't effective hit men -- this one certainly wasn't.  He was going for decapitation but wound up cutting Gangolf in the leg. 

The priest and the countess took it on the road, but didn't last long.  No one needed to hunt them down and mete out justice -- they reaped as they had sown.  Sadly, however, Gangolf's leg wound worsened and he died shortly after receiving last rites. 

Had he been a more worldly, less holy fellow,  he might have divorced the Countess, imprisoned (or killed) the priest, and lived a long, comfortable life.  Lenient to the point of vulnerable, he won a form of martyrdom and was canonized.  If (as the Nicene Creed declares) there is a communion of the saints, then Gangolf is a good saint to enlist for reinforcement of marital contentment and fidelity.  And clear drinking water. 

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