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Saint Hermenegild

Martyr. 

Prince Hermenegild, son of Leovigild, King of the Visigoths, was converted from the Arian heresy to the Catholic Faith by the preaching of the venerable Leander, Bishop of Seville, one of my [Saint Gregory the Pope's] oldest and dearest friends. Whereupon his Arian father strove, both by gifts and by threats, to persuade him to return to that heresy. And when Hermenegild steadily answered that, having once known the true Faith, he never could abandon it, his father, in a fit of displeasure, deprived him not only of his right to the throne, but of all his property. And when even this failed to break the courage of his spirit, he had him put into close confinement, chained by the neck, and his hands shackled. Whereupon the youthful King Hermenegild began to despise his earthly kingdom, and to long eagerly for an heavenly one.

Thus, lying fettered, and wearing a hair-shirt, he besought Almighty God to support him. But when Easter came, his unbelieving father sent an Arian bishop to him at dead of night, who said that if he would receive from his hands this communion of a sacrilegious consecration, by this means he would attain to be restored to his father's favour. But the prince rebuked the Arian bishop, as he deserved.

Whereupon the bishop returned to the Arian father, who was so filled with wrath that he straightway sent his officers to kill the unflinching Confessor of God in the place where he was lying. Which same was done, about the year 585. (Some have disputed the right of the title of Martyr to Hermenegild; inasmuch as he started an armed rebellion against his father, at the time when his father deprived him of his estates because he had become a Catholic, and pursuant to which rebellion his father made him prisoner. But as Saint Gregory of Tours saith, if this were sinful: it was blotted out by his brave sufferings and death for the Faith.)

From the Book of Dialogues of Saint Gregory the Pope

Collect

O GOD, who didst teach thy blessed Martyr Hermenegild to prefer thy heavenly to an earthly kingdom: grant, we pray thee; that, following his pattern, we may despise all things that are transitory, and follow stedfastly after things eternal. Through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

The Anglican Breviary, Frank Gavin Liturgical Foundation, Inc., New York, 1955, pages 1166-1167

Additional Information:

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