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Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume IX: September. The Lives of the Saints. 1866.

September 22

St. Emmeran, Bishop of Poitiers, Martyr

[Patron of Ratisbon.]  THIS HOLY pastor was a native of Poitiers, of an illustrious family, and in his youth made a generous sacrifice of the greatest temporal advantages this world could afford, to consecrate himself to God in the ministry of the altar. Being afterwards, for his great learning and sanctity, chosen bishop of Poitiers, in the seventh century, he preached the pure maxims of the gospel with indefatigable zeal, without respect of persons, in all the towns and villages of his diocess, instructed all persons publicly and privately, provided relief for the corporal necessities of the poor, and, seeking out the most hardened sinners in their houses, he, with wonderful sweetness and tender eloquence, drew them out of their disorders, and led them, by the rules of sincere and perfect penance, into the paths of everlasting salvation.  1
  After having laboured thus several years in the sanctification of souls in his own country, he was so touched with compassion for the unhappy state of so many thousands of blind infidels and idolaters in Germany, that he resigned his episcopal charge, 1 and went to preach the gospel in Bavaria. Theodon, who commanded in that country with the title of duke, under King Sigebert III., detained him a long time at Ratisbon, and, being desirous to fix him there, offered him large revenues and lands. The saint modestly refused to accept of them, saying it was his only desire to preach Christ crucified. His whole conduct manifestly made it appear that he sought nothing but the salvation of souls, and he converted a great multitude of idolaters. After having preached there three years, and gained to God an incredible number of infidels and sinners, he undertook a pilgrimage to Rome to venerate the relics of the apostles and martyrs, and to consult the chief pastor upon certain difficulties. A troop of assassins, stirred up by the clamours and slanders of a wicked woman, pursued the holy man, and, having overtaken him when he was advanced three days on his journey, they massacred him in the most inhuman manner, by cutting off his fingers, then his hands, ears, nose, legs, and arms. They left him a maimed trunk, weltering in his blood, and in that condition he died with incredible tranquillity of soul and patience in 653. St. Emmeran is honoured as patron of the city of Ratisbon, and of the great monastery which there bears his name. See his life written by Aribo, bishop of Frisingen, in the following century; also Raderus in Bavaria Sancta, t. 1, p. 42, Cointe, ad ann. 652, Suysken. p. 454.  2
Note 1. Though the authors of his life make him bishop of Poitiers, in which they are followed by Baillet, and the writers of the Gall. Christ. Vetus; yet his name is not found in the catalogue of the bishops of that see. From this circumstance Le Cointe. ad an. 649; Pagi, Crit. Annal. Baron. ad an. 653; Longueval, Hist. de l’Eglise Gal. infer that he never was bishop of Poitiers. Wandelbert thinks he was a bishop in Brittany. lf we suppose him to have been a co-bishop, which was usual at that time, we can easily account for the omission of his name in the catalogue. See Bingham, &c. [back]