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Saint Amand

Saint Amand

Overview
Saint Amand or Amandus (birth-name Jacob) (c. 584 – 675) was a French
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 saint
Saint
A saint is a holy person. In various religions, saints are people who are believed to have exceptional holiness.In Christian usage, "saint" refers to any believer who is "in Christ", and in whom Christ dwells, whether in heaven or in earth...

, one of the great Christian Saints of Flanders
Flanders
Flanders is the community of the Flemings but also one of the institutions in Belgium, and a geographical region located in parts of present-day Belgium, France and the Netherlands. "Flanders" can also refer to the northern part of Belgium that contains Brussels, Bruges, Ghent and Antwerp...

.

The Vita Sancti Amandi is an eighth-century text, attributed to a Beaudemond; it was expanded by Philippe, abbot of Aumône. According to it, Amand was born in Lower Poitou
Poitou
Poitou was a province of west-central France whose capital city was Poitiers.The region of Poitou was called Thifalia in the sixth century....

, of noble birth. He became a monk at the Island of Yeu (Île d'Yeu
Île d'Yeu
Île d'Yeu is an island and commune just off the Vendée coast of western France.The island's two harbours, Port-Joinville in the north and Port de la Meule, located in a rocky inlet of the southern granite coast, are famous for the fishing of tuna and lobster....

), near Tours
Tours
Tours is a city in central France, the capital of the Indre-et-Loire department.It is located on the lower reaches of the river Loire, between Orléans and the Atlantic coast. Touraine, the region around Tours, is known for its wines, the alleged perfection of its local spoken French, and for the...

, at about the age twenty, against the wishes and efforts of his family.
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Encyclopedia
Saint Amand or Amandus (birth-name Jacob) (c. 584 – 675) was a French
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 saint
Saint
A saint is a holy person. In various religions, saints are people who are believed to have exceptional holiness.In Christian usage, "saint" refers to any believer who is "in Christ", and in whom Christ dwells, whether in heaven or in earth...

, one of the great Christian Saints of Flanders
Flanders
Flanders is the community of the Flemings but also one of the institutions in Belgium, and a geographical region located in parts of present-day Belgium, France and the Netherlands. "Flanders" can also refer to the northern part of Belgium that contains Brussels, Bruges, Ghent and Antwerp...

.

Biography


The Vita Sancti Amandi is an eighth-century text, attributed to a Beaudemond; it was expanded by Philippe, abbot of Aumône. According to it, Amand was born in Lower Poitou
Poitou
Poitou was a province of west-central France whose capital city was Poitiers.The region of Poitou was called Thifalia in the sixth century....

, of noble birth. He became a monk at the Island of Yeu (Île d'Yeu
Île d'Yeu
Île d'Yeu is an island and commune just off the Vendée coast of western France.The island's two harbours, Port-Joinville in the north and Port de la Meule, located in a rocky inlet of the southern granite coast, are famous for the fishing of tuna and lobster....

), near Tours
Tours
Tours is a city in central France, the capital of the Indre-et-Loire department.It is located on the lower reaches of the river Loire, between Orléans and the Atlantic coast. Touraine, the region around Tours, is known for its wines, the alleged perfection of its local spoken French, and for the...

, at about the age twenty, against the wishes and efforts of his family. From there he went to Bourges
Bourges
Bourges is a city in central France on the Yèvre river. It is the capital of the department of Cher and also was the capital of the former province of Berry.-History:...

, where under the direction of the bishop, Saint Austregisilus
Austregisilus
Saint Austregisilus was bishop of Bourges from 612 to 624. His feast day is May 20. A native of Bourges, he was educated as a courtier. However, Austregisilus was desirous to become a monk and entered the abbey of Saint-Nizier at Lyon, where he became abbot...

, he lived in solitude on bread and water in a cell for fifteen years.

After a pilgrimage to Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

, he was consecrated in France as a missionary bishop without a settle diocese in 628. At the request of Clotaire II
Clotaire II
Chlothar II , called the Great or the Young , King of Neustria, and, from 613 to 629, King of all the Franks, was not yet born when his father, King Chilperic I died in 584...

, he began first to evangelize the pagan inhabitants of Ghent
Ghent
Ghent is a city and a municipality located in the Flemish region of Belgium. It is the capital and biggest city of the East Flanders province. The city started as a settlement at the confluence of the Rivers Scheldt and Lys and in the Middle Ages became one of the largest and richest cities of...

, later extending his field of operations across Flanders. Initially he had little success, suffering persecution and undergoing great hardships; however, the miracle of bringing back to life a hanged criminal changed the feelings of the people, after which he had many converts.

Under his supervision monasteries were established at Ghent and Mont Blandin, the first in Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

. The monastery at Ghent was funded, and then joined, by the future Saint Bavo, who was inspired by Amand's preaching. Returning to France, in 630, he angered Dagobert I
Dagobert I
Dagobert I was the king of Austrasia , king of all the Franks , and king of Neustria and Burgundy . He was the last Merovingian dynast to wield any real royal power...

 by his efforts to turn the king from his sinful life, and he was expelled from the kingdom despite the intervention of Saint Acarius
Saint Acarius
Saint Acarius was bishop of Doornik and Noyon, which today are located on either side of the Franco-Belgian border.Acarius was a pupil of Saint Columbanus around 594. While the date of his election is not known, it is assured that he was bishop in 627...

. Dagobert however later asked his pardon and requested him to be the tutor to the heir to the throne; Amand, however, declined the honour. He requested from Acharius, then bishop of Noyon, to obtain letters from King Dagobert stating that anyone who did not freely choose to be reborn by the waters of baptism should be forced by the king to receive this sacrament. This story was related by Baudemundus, the biographer of Amandus and shows his readiness to resort to forcible conversion and Dagobert's willingness to provide the necessary coercion. His next apostolate was among the Slavs of the Danube
Danube
The Danube is a river in the Central Europe and the Europe's second longest river after the Volga. It is classified as an international waterway....

 (the modern Slovakia
Slovakia
The Slovak Republic is a landlocked state in Central Europe. It has a population of over five million and an area of about . Slovakia is bordered by the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east and Hungary to the south...

), but it was unsuccessful, and he is next found in Rome, reporting the results to the Papal office
Pope
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

. While returning to France he is said to have calmed a storm at sea.

In about 649 Amand, according to some authorities, served briefly as Bishop of Maastricht (others say the see was Tongeren or Liège), the disordered conditions in which were such that he had to appeal to the Pope, Martin I
Pope Martin I
Pope Martin I, born near Todi, Umbria in the place now named after him , was pope from 649 to 653, succeeding Pope Theodore I in July 5, 649. The only pope during the Byzantine Papacy whose election was not approved by a iussio from Constantinople, Martin I was abducted by Constans II and died in...

, for instructions. The pope's reply set out a plan of action with regard to disobedient clerics, and also contained information about the Monothelite heresy, then extremely prevalent in the East. Amand was also commissioned to call councils in Neustria
Neustria
The territory of Neustria or Neustrasia, meaning "new [western] land", originated in 511, made up of the regions from Aquitaine to the English Channel, approximating most of the north of present-day France, with Paris and Soissons as its main cities...

 and Austrasia
Austrasia
Austrasia formed the northeastern portion of the Kingdom of the Merovingian Franks, comprising parts of the territory of present-day eastern France, western Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Metz served as its capital, although some Austrasian kings ruled from Rheims, Trier, and...

 in order to pass on to the bishops of Gaul
Gaul
Gaul was a region of Western Europe during the Iron Age and Roman era, encompassing present day France, Luxembourg and Belgium, most of Switzerland, the western part of Northern Italy, as well as the parts of the Netherlands and Germany on the left bank of the Rhine. The Gauls were the speakers of...

 decrees enacted at Rome; the bishops in turn required Amand to pass back to Rome the acts of the councils. He took the opportunity to relinquish his bishopric, and to resume his work as a missionary.

At about this time he established contact with the family of Pepin of Landen, and helped Saint Gertrude
Gertrude of Nivelles
Saint Gertrude of Nivelles was abbess of the Benedictine monastery of Nivelles, in present-day Belgium.She was a daughter of Pepin I of Landen and Saint Itta, and a younger sister of Saint Begga, Abbess of Andenne, Saint Bavo and Grimoald I.One day, when she was about ten years of age, her father...

 and her mother Itta
Itta
Saint Itta was the wife of Pepin of Landen, mayor of the palace of Austrasia. Her brother was Saint Modoald, bishop of Trier. Her sister was abbess Saint Severa...

 to establish the famous monastery at Nivelles
Nivelles
Nivelles is a Walloon city and municipality located in the Belgian province of Walloon Brabant. The Nivelles municipality includes the old communes of Baulers, Bornival, Thines, and Monstreux....

. Thirty years before he had gone into the Basque country
Basque Country (historical territory)
The Basque Country is the name given to the home of the Basque people in the western Pyrenees that spans the border between France and Spain on the Atlantic coast....

 to preach, with little success; the inhabitants now asked him to return, and although he was by this time seventy years old, he undertook the work of evangelizing them, in which he seems to have been successful. Returning home, he founded several more monasteries, particularly in Belgium. Dagobert made great concessions to him for his various establishments.

He died in his own monastic foundation, Elnone Abbey (later Saint-Amand Abbey, in Saint-Amand-les-Eaux
Saint-Amand-les-Eaux
Saint-Amand-les-Eaux is a commune in the Nord department in northern France. The town people are named Amandinois , Amandinoise ....

, near Tournai
Tournai
Tournai is a Walloon city and municipality of Belgium located 85 kilometres southwest of Brussels, on the river Scheldt, in the province of Hainaut....

) at the age of ninety. Two voyages with his relics kept at the monastery were reported in texts, one organised to collect money after the monastery was very badly damaged by fire in 1066, the other to regain usurped abbey lands, in 1107.

His feast is kept on 6 February. Although mostly revered in Flanders and Picardy
Picardy
This article is about the historical French province. For other uses, see Picardy .Picardy is a historical province of France, in the north of France...

, he was also honoured in England, where at least one private chapel (at East Hendred
East Hendred
East Hendred is a village and civil parish in the English county of Oxfordshire, about east of Wantage in the Vale of White Horse and a similar distance west of Didcot. In 1974 it was transferred from Berkshire....

 in Oxfordshire
Oxfordshire
Oxfordshire is a county in the South East region of England, bordering on Warwickshire and Northamptonshire , Buckinghamshire , Berkshire , Wiltshire and Gloucestershire ....

) is dedicated to him.
Saint Amand is the patron saint
Patron saint
A patron saint is a saint who is regarded as the intercessor and advocate in heaven of a nation, place, craft, activity, class, clan, family, or person...

 of all who produce beer: brewers, innkeepers and bartenders (and presumably also hopgrowers). He is also the patron of vine growers, vintner
Vintner
A vintner is a wine merchant. You pronounce it like this In some modern use, in particular in American English, the term is alsoused as a synonym for winemaker....

s and merchants, and of Boy Scouts
Scouting
Scouting, also known as the Scout Movement, is a worldwide youth movement with the stated aim of supporting young people in their physical, mental and spiritual development, that they may play constructive roles in society....

.

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