Leodegar from Autun

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Martyrdom of Leodegar; Bible illustration, France around 1200

Leodegar (also Leodgar , Lutgar , Léger , Leodigar ) (* around 616; † October 2nd or 3rd around 677) was of noble Frankish origin, from 659 to 674 Bishop of Autun and initiated the Council of Autun during his tenure . He was canonized and is considered a martyr .


According to the custom of the time, Leodegar was first brought up in the palatium of the Merovingian Chlothachars II . He was of noble origin and was trained as a clergyman by his uncle Dido, the bishop of Poitiers. He was ordained a deacon in 636 and soon afterwards was appointed archdeacon . Especially in legal and state matters he gained outstanding knowledge. Chlothar III. (r. 657–673) and his mother and regent Balthildis (r. 656–664) drew him to the court, where he exerted great influence.

In 653 he became abbot in the monastery of Saint-Maixent in the Marais Poitevin and six years later (659) through Queen Bathilde to the bishop of Autun . In 670 he held a synod to reform monastic life. After the king's death there is a rivalry between Count Ebroin and Leodegar in the choice of the new king . In the dispute, Ebrion is defeated and retires to the Luxeuil monastery . Lodegar is appointed advisor by the new King Childerich II , the brother of the deceased. Ebroin, however, had opted for his brother Theuderich III. used. But Leodegar renounced this honor and also resigned from his office as bishop, since he himself had been blackened by the king's ills. Instead, he went to the monastery where Ebroin was staying and made a pretense of reconciliation with it. When the new king dies soon after in 676, their enmity breaks out again. Leodegar is again installed as bishop in Antun, where he was besieged by the Ebroin and captured together with his brother Gerinus . Ebroin suspected Leodegar to have been involved in the murder of the king. In order to render him harmless, he had Leodegar blinded with a drill and tore his tongue out. Leodegar is said to have continued to sermon and foretell his own and Ebroin's death. Therefore he was exiled to Fécamp in Normandy. In 677 he was finally deposed at the Synod in Malay and was later beheaded. With the assassination of Ebroins in 680, Leodegar began to be worshiped. His bones were transferred to the St-Maixent monastery in 682 and later came to Poitiers, Plélan-le-Grand and Ebreuil.

The Leo song

The story of Leodegar's life ( La vie de Saint Léger ) was written down in 681, soon after his death, by a monk from the Saint-Maixent monastery. However, this first version of his Latin vita was lost. However, there were copies, including one made by Prior Ursinus of Ligugé Abbey. The poem of the Leodegarliedes written around 980 is based on this copy . The 10th century poem appeared together with the Passion of Christ in a manuscript. The Leodegarlied comprises a total of 40 stanzas of 6 verses, each verse consists of 8 syllables, three pairs of verses form a stanza. It is an old French legend of the martyrdom of Leodegar and the victory of faith, probably influenced by a Provencal copyist, who was destined to sing.

In the poetry it says accordingly:

“Blinded, robbed of his lips and tongue, he can no longer praise God; but God hears his thoughts, the eyes of the spirit replace those of the body, the soul gives the body comfort for its sufferings. Taken into prison after Fecamp, he got his lips back by a miracle of God and preached to the people. [...] All the people flock to Leodegar's sermon, including three of the four murderers that Ebroin sends against him, but the fourth chops off his head. Even in death the saint stands upright, even when his feet are cut off. "

Legends and worship

According to legend, the maimed man showed all sorts of miracles while he was alive, others at his grave. He was canonized , although his suffering and death were merely the result of his worldly intrigues and had no connection with the church or faith. On the contrary, he had even wrongly attacked another church dignitary, Bishop Praejectus of Clermont-Ferrand.

His Catholic feast day is October 2nd , the Guardian Angel Festival (also Leodegarstag, on the same day his brother, St. Gerinus, is venerated). His attributes are sword and drill .

Leodegar is considered one of the miller's patron saints . Invocations for eye ailments and obsession are common. A farmer's rule for his memorial day is: "If the leaves fall on Leodegar / there will be a fruitful year!"

He is revered as the patron saint of the canton and the city of Lucerne (see St. Leodegar in the courtyard ), of the Burgundian Autun and the Alsatian cities of Guebwiller (Gebweiler) and Murbach .

His relics are venerated in the Saint-Léger church in Saint-Maixent-l'École and in the former Saint-Léger abbey in Ébreuil . For further church patronage see Leodegar-von-Autun-Kirche ,

Places named after Leodegar have the names Saint-Léger (several times), Saint-Liguaire (in France and Belgium), Saint-Légier or Saignelégier (in Switzerland).


  • History's most famous saints of God on every day of the year: in addition to explaining the higher feasts of the Church, with moral comments, to the glory of religion, and the edification of the pious believers . tape 2 . Benziger, Einsiedeln 1793, p. 962-964 ( books.google.de ).
  • Jérémie Babinet: Vie de saint Léger, évêque d'Autun, épisode de l'histoire de France, de 660 à 681 . FA Saurin, Portiers 1834 (French, gallica.bnf.fr ).
  • Gaston Paris : La vie de Saint Léger . In: Romania . tape 1 , no. 3 , 1872, ISSN  0035-8029 , p. 303-317 , JSTOR : 45041202 .
  • Carl Voretzsch: 3. The Leodegarlied . In: Introduction to the Study of Old French Literature; following the introduction to the study of the old French language . M. Niemeyer, Halle 1905, p. 82–86 ( Textarchiv - Internet Archive ).
  • Joseph Linskill: La Vie de Saint Léger . In: Saint Léger étude de la langue du manuscrit de Clermont-Ferrand suivie d'une édition critique du texte (La Vie de Saint Léger) avec commentaire et glossaire . Droz, Paris 1937, p. 149-177 (French).
  • Felix DahnLeodigar . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 51, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1906, pp. 653-655.
  • Adriaan Breukelaar:  Leodegar (Leger, Ledger), St., Monk, Bishop. In: Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL). Volume 4, Bautz, Herzberg 1992, ISBN 3-88309-038-7 , Sp. 1466-1468.

Web links

Commons : Leodegar by Autun  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b Joachim Schäfer: Leodegar von Autun. In: Ecumenical Lexicon of Saints. ( heiligenlexikon.de ).
  2. ^ Friedrich Diez: Two old Romanesque poems - The Passion of Christ - Sanct Leodegar . Eduard Weber, Bonn 1876, p. 35–51 ( Textarchiv - Internet Archive ).
  3. La vie de Saint Léger. In: Bibliotheca Augustana. 1937.
  4. Carl Voretzsch: 3. The Leodegarlied . In: Introduction to the Study of Old French Literature; following the introduction to the study of the old French language . M. Niemeyer, Halle 1905, p. 86 ( Textarchiv - Internet Archive ).