Bl. Pepin of Landen

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Bl. Pepin of Landen

[Mayor of the Palace to the Kings Clotaire II.Dagobert, and Sigebert.] HE was son of Carloman, the most powerful nobleman of Austrasia, who had been mayor to Clotaire I. son of Clovis I. He was grandfather to Pepin of Herstal, the most powerful mayor, whose son was Charles Martel, and grandson Pepin the Short, king of France, in whom begun the Carlovingian race. Pepin of Landen, upon the river Geete, in Brabant, was a lover of peace, the constant defender of truth and justice, a true friend to all servants of God, the terror of the wicked, the support of the weak, the father of his country, the zealous and humble defender of religion. He was lord of a great part of Brabant, and governor of Austrasia, when Theodebert II. king of that country was defeated by Theodoric II. king of Burgundy, and soon after assassinated in 612: and Theodoric dying the year following, Clotaire II. king of Soissons, reunited Burgundy, Neustria, and Austrasia to his former dominions, and became sole monarch of France. For the pacific possession of Austrasia he was much indebted to Pepin, whom he appointed mayor of the palace to his son Dagobert I. when, in 622, he declared him king of Austrasia and Neustria. The death of Clotaire II. in 628, put him in possession of all France, except a small part of Aquitain, with Thoulouse, which was settled upon his younger brother, Charibert. When king Dagobert, forgetful of the maxims instilled into him in his youth, had given himself up to a shameful lust, this faithful minister boldly reproached him with his ingratitude to God, and ceased not till he saw him a sincere and perfect penitent. This great king died in 638, and was buried at St. Deny’s. He had appointed Pepin tutor to his son Sigebert from his cradle, and mayor of his palace when he declared him king of Austrasia, in 633. After the death of Dagobert, Clovis II. reigning in Burgundy and Neustria, (by whom Erchinoald was made mayor for the latter, and Flaochat for the former,) Pepin quitted the administration of those dominions, and resided at Metz, with Sigebert, who always considered him as his father, and under his discipline became himself a saint, and one of the most happy amongst all the French kings. Pepin was married to blessed Itta, of one of the first families in Aquitain, by whom he had a son called Grimoald, and two daughters, St. Gertrude, and St. Begga. The latter, who was the elder, was married to Ansigisus, son of St. Arnoul, to whom she bore Pepin of Herstal. B. Pepin, of Landen, died on the 21st of February, in 640, and was buried at Landen; but his body was afterwards removed to Nivelle, where it is now enshrined, as are those of the B. Itta, and St. Gertrude in the same place. His name stands in the Belgic Martyrologies, though no other act of public veneration has been paid to his memory, than the enshrining of his relics, which are carried in processions. His name is found in a litany published by the authority of the archbishop of Mechlin. See Bollandus, t. 3. Febr. p. 250, and Dom Bouquet, Recueil des Hist. de France, t. 2. p. 603.

Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume II: February. The Lives of the Saints. 1866. February 21

The Chair of St. Peter at Antioch

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The Chair of St. Peter at Antioch

THAT Saint Peter, before he went to Rome, founded the see of Antioch is attested by Eusebius, 1 Origen, 2 St. Jerom, 3 St. Innocent, 4 Pope Gelasius, in his Roman Council, 5 St. Chrysostom and others. It was just that the prince of the apostles should take this city under his particular care and inspection, which was then the capital of the East, and in which the faith took so early and so deep root as to give birth in it to the name of Christians. St. Chrysostom says, that St. Peter made there a long stay: St. Gregory the Great, 6 that he was seven years bishop of Antioch; not that he resided there all that time, but only that he had a particular care over that church. If he sat twenty-five years at Rome, the date of his establishing his chair at Antioch must be within three years after our Saviour’s ascension; for in that supposition he must have gone to Rome in the second year of Claudius. 1
The festival of St. Peter’s chair in general, Natale Petri de Cathedrâ, is marked on this day in the most ancient calendar extant, made in the time of Pope Liberius, about the year 354. 7 It also occurs in Gregory’s sacramentary, and in all the martyrologies. It was kept in France in the sixth century, as appears from the council of Tours, 8 and from Le Conte. 9 2

In the first ages it was customary, especially in the East, for every Christian to keep the anniversary of his baptism, on which he renewed his baptismal vows, and gave thanks to God for his heavenly adoption: this they called their spiritual birth-day. The bishops in like manner kept the anniversary of their own consecration, as appears from four sermons of St. Leo on the anniversary of his accession or assumption to the pontifical dignity; and this was frequently continued by the people after their decease, out of respect to their memory. St. Leo says, we ought to celebrate the chair of St. Peter with no less joy than the day of his martyrdom; for as in this he was exalted to a throne of glory in heaven, so by the former he was installed head of the church on earth. 10 3
On this festival we are especially bound to adore and thank the divine goodness for the establishment and propagation of his church, and earnestly to pray that in his mercy he may preserve the same, and dilate its pale, that his name may be glorified by all nations, and by all hearts, to the boundaries of the earth, for his divine honour and the salvation of souls, framed to his divine image, and the price of his adorable blood. The church of Christ is his spiritual kingdom: he is not only the architect and founder; but continues to govern it, and by his spirit, to animate its members to the end of the world as its invisible head: though he has left in St. Peter and his successors a vicar, or lieutenant, as a visible head, with an established hierarchy for its exterior government. If we love him and desire his honour, if we love men on so many titles linked with us, can we cease weeping and praying, that by his sweet omnipotent grace he may subdue all the enemies of his church, converting to it all infidels and apostates? In its very bosom sinners fight against him. Though these continue his members by faith, they are dead members, because he lives not in them by his grace and charity, reigns not in their hearts, animates them not with his spirit. He will indeed always live by grace and sanctity in many members of his mystical body. Let us pray that by the destruction of the tyranny of sin all souls may subject themselves to the reign of his holy love. Good Jesus! for your mercy’s sake, hear me in this above all other petitions: never suffer me to be separated from you by forfeiting your holy love: may I remain always rooted and grounded in your charity, as is the will of your Father. Eph. iii. 4

Note 1. Chron. and Hist. l. 3. c. 30.
Note 2. Hom. 6. in Luc.
Note 3. In Catal. c. 1.
Note 4. Ep. 18. t. 2. Conc. p. 1269.
Note 5. Conc. t. 4. p. 1262.
Note 6. Ep. 40. l. 7. t. 2. p. 888. Ed. Ben.
Note 7. Some have imagined that the feast of the Chair of St. Peter was not known, at least in Africa, in the fifth century, because it occurs not in the ancient calendar of Carthage. But how should the eighth day before the calends of March now appear in it, since the part is lost from the fourteenth before the calends of March to the eleventh before the calends of May? Hence St. Pontius, deacon, and martyr, on the eighth before the ides of March; St. Donatus, and some other African martyrs, are not there found. At least it is certain that it was kept at Rome long before that time. Saint Leo preached a sermon on St. Peter’s chair. (Serm. 100. t. 1. p. 285. ed. Rom.) Quesnel denied it to be genuine in his first edition; but in the second at Lyons, in 1700, he corrected this mistake, and proved this sermon to be St. Leo’s; which is more fully demonstrated by Cacciari in his late Roman edition of St. Leo’s works, t. 1. p. 285.
Note 8. Can. 22.
Note 9. Ad an. 566.
Note 10. Ad an. 566.

Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume II: February. The Lives of the Saints. 1866. February 22.