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.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

July 18 -- Feast of Saint Arnulf of Metz

Arnulf (Arnold) of Metz (July 18) and Arnulf (Arnold) of Soissons (August 14) are both patrons of brewers.  Regarding beer, the same stories are repeated about both.  Arnulf of Soissons got the credit last year, but Arnulf of Metz will get the quotes and all this year. 

"Bibete cervesium, non aquam," Arnulf urged the faithful of Metz.  "Drink beer, not water.  From man's sweat and God's love, beer came into the world."  And just to persuade the skeptics, he dunked a crucifix into the local brew kettle, certifying the beer as blessed.  Throughout much of history, of course, beer has been the healthful alternative to water that is contaminated by amoebiasis, cholera, typhoid, and shigella dysenteriae.  Drinking water in the first world may be safe now, but Arnulf's advice is still probably good for much of the world.

In 642, some folks were on a journey to recover Arnulf's relics.  He had retired to a monastery in Remiremont, and died there after a couple of years.  The parishioners, however, were emphatic that he be returned to the cathedral and volunteered to bring him back themselves.  It was a long trip and they were running dry.  As they stared at the dregs of their pony keg, Duc Notto declared that Arnulf would provide.  The barrel filled back up with beer and remained full for the duration of their journey.

Later, porters were working hard to open the tomb in which the good saint was to be interred.  Hot and tired, they took a break.  Sure enough, the casket began spraying cold beer, drenching them all and slaking their thirst.

Moving from beer to fish, the classic ring-comes-home miracle is also attributed to him.  As the son of a noble family and adviser to the Merovingian court, Arnulf grew concerned about his portion of guilt for all the wars and misery around him.  Praying on a bridge, he threw his bishop's ring into the river, asking God to return it as a sign of absolution.  Years later, when the bishop's cook gutted a freshly delivered fish, the ring finally came home.  Arnulf recognized that with absolution, he could finally retire to the monastery in Remiremont.

Arnulf lived in a time and place where bishops could marry and have families.  He and his wife, Doda, had at least two children.  The second son, Ansegisel, who married into the Merovingian dynasty.  Arnulf's descendants would eventually include Charles Martel and Charlemagne

There are many ways one could mark a saint's feast, but for July 18, I think Saint Arnulf's advice is probably best: Bibe cervesium. 

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