Tuesday, November 6, 2012

St. Leonard of Limoges

Leonard of Noblac or of Limoges (also known as Lienard, Linhart, Leonhard) (died in 559), was a Frankish noble in the court of Clovis I. He was converted to Christianity along with the king by Saint Remigius ("Saint Rémy"), Bishop of Reims. Leonard secured the release of a number of prisoners, for whom he has become a patron saint, then, declining the offer of a bishopric, he entered a monastery at Micy near Orléans, under the direction of Saint Mesmin and Saint Lie. Then, according to his legend, Leonard became a recluse in the forest of Limousin, where he gathered a number of followers. Through his prayers the queen of the Franks was safely delivered of a male child, and in recompense Leonard was given royal lands at Noblac, 21 km from Limoges, where he founded the abbey of Noblac, around which a village grew, named in his honour Saint-Leonard de Noblat.

In the eleventh century his cult rapidly spread, at first through Frankish lands, following the release of Bohemond I of Antiochin 1103 from a Danishmend prison. Bohemond, a charismatic leader of the First Crusade, subsequently visited the Abbey of Noblac, where he made an offering in gratitude for his release. Bohemund's example inspired many similar gifts, enabling the Romanesque church and its visible landmark belltower to be constructed. About the same time Noblac was becoming a stage in the pilgrimage route that led towards Santiago de Compostela. Leonard's cult spread through all of Western Europe: in England with its cultural connections to the region, no fewer than 177 churches are dedicated to him. Leonard was venerated in the Low Countries, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, particularly in Bavaria, and also in Bohemia, Poland, and elsewhere. Pilgrims and patronage flowed to Saint-Leonard de Noblac. Leonard or Lienard became one of the most venerated saints of the late Middle Ages. His intercession was credited with miracles for the release of prisoners, women in labour and the diseases of cattle. His feast day is 6th November, when he is honoured with a festival at Bad Tölz, Bavaria.

Excerpted from thisismiddleton.co.uk

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