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February 21 Saints of the Day – Eustathius of Antioch and Pepin of Landen

Eustathius of AntiochOn this day in 1878, the first telephone book was issued, in New Haven, Connecticut. Steve Martin was not in it.

Easterly winds today blow us incense from the festival of Eustathius of Antioch (ca. 270 – 336 or 337 or 360 or 370). A well-beloved bishop to the Antiochians of Antioch, Eustathius shone at the First Ecumenical Council (also called the Council of Nicea, especially by people from Nicea), where he deftly cut the Arians to ribbons with his razor-sharp arguments. After the council, he refused to appoint any Arian priests in his diocese, which so enraged the bishops in surrounding areas that they called another council, just for him. At this council, suborned witnesses (I looked that up – it means “persuaded to do wrong”) testified that he was cruel, Sabellian (i.e. modalist), and adulterous (or “incontinent” as the Catholic Encyclopedia delicately puts it). Needless to say he wasn’t any of those things, at least according to his hagiographers.

He was deposed to Thrace (it could have been worse, but not much), and many of his loyal priests went with him. His followers were ready to rise up and do something rash, but he calmed them and they settled down again. Still, when he was replaced with Arian after Arian, many of the trinitarian believers in the diocese refused to recognize the new bishops, and something of a local schism (the “Meletian Schism” to be precise) developed. This lasted into the fifth century, at which point, presumably, either the supply of bishopifiable Arians dried up, or the schismatics ran out of give-a-darn. In exile Eustathius wrote treatises against various heretics, but only the one about Origen remains. He eventually died but nobody can agree when. His relics were ferried back to Antioch in 482, where there was much rejoicing.

Pepin of LandenWesterly winds today waft us heavenly incense celebrating the Blessed Pepin (or Pipin, or Peppin, or Pippin) of Landen (ca. 580 – 640), progenitor of the Pippinid dynasty. It must be noted that the status of Pepin’s saintwortiness is a matter of some confusion (on which more (but not much) anon). Of course regular Onion Dome readers know confusion doesn’t bother us in the least, so on we go.

When the magnates of Austrasia (Warnachar, Rado, Arnulf, and their buds) abandoned Brunhilda, regent of 12-year-old King Sigebert II, and turned to Chlothar (sweet guy — he murdered both Brunhilda and Sigebert when he caught them), Pepin was right there among them. (We’re going to assume he didn’t know about all the murdering stuff.) Sadly he didn’t get rewarded for his loyalty until Warnarchar’s son Dagobert was made king of Austrasia (“Eastern land,” so named because it was the northernmost chunk of the Frankish kingdom), whereupon Pepin was made Mayor of the Palace.

Pepin was loved by all, right up until he called Dagobert on his adulterous goings-on, at which point he was involuntarily retired to Aquitaine. When Dagobert died and Sigebert III ascended the throne, Pepin was brought out of retirement and made Mayor again. He strove for the rightful bishops of the area, oversaw the inheritance of Sigebert and his brother Clovis II, and in general was a positive force for truth, justice, and the Austrasian Way. His wife, Itta, was just as famous as he was (we are told), although unless you run in very different circles than I do, that didn’t last indefinitely. Their daughter Begga married Ansegisel the Arnulfing (i.e. son of Arnulf) (are these names great or what?), and their son Pepin of Heristal is reckoned the founder of the Carolingian dynasty. After Ansegisel died, Begga went to Rome for some reason, and when she came back founded seven churches and was made a saint. Pepin wasn’t made a saint official-like (by Rome), but was allowed into the local martyrology because he was universally loved and all that (except maybe by Sigebert II and Dagobert I, but they were dead). This is all recorded in the Chronicle of Fredegar, which I only mention for the Tolkien fans.

February 21 (Wikipedia)
St. Eustathius (Catholic Encyclopedia) – Main source
Eustathius of Antioch (Wikipedia)
Eustathius of Antioch (Orthodox Wiki)
Pepin of Landen (Wikipedia) – Main source
Bl. Pepin of Landen (Catholic Online)
Austrasia (Wikipedia)
Sigebert II (Wikipedia)

Copyright © 2013 Alex Riggle. All Rights Reserved.


About Your Intrepid Blogger

I live in the Tacoma area. When not writing things some people think are funny, I teach technology to 7th and 8th graders at a local middle school.

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