Home  »  Volume X: October  »  St. Lullus, or Lullon, Archbishop of Mentz, Confessor

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

October 16

St. Lullus, or Lullon, Archbishop of Mentz, Confessor

HE was an Englishman, probably a native of the kingdom of the West-Saxons. The foundation of his education was laid in the monastery of Maldubi, probably the same which was afterwards called Malmesbury, in Wiltshire, founded a little before that time, in 675. From thence he went to Jarrow, and there finished his studies under venerable Bede. In 732 he passed into Germany, and was received with great joy by his cousin St. Boniface, who gave him the monastic habit, and soon after ordained him deacon, and employed him in preaching the gospel to idolaters. From this time Lullus shared with that great saint the labours of his apostleship, and the persecutions which were raised against him by idolaters, heretics, and schismatics. 1 St. Boniface promoted him to priest’s orders in 751, and sent him to Rome to consult Pope Zachary on certain difficulties which he did not care to commit to writing. Upon his return St. Boniface pitched upon him for his successor, and wrote to Fulrade, abbot of St. Denys, entreating him to procure the consent of King Pepin. This being obtained, with the approbation of the bishops, abbots, clergy, and nobility of the country, Lullus was consecrated archbishop of Mentz. 2 About two years after, St. Boniface having suffered martyrdom, Lullus took care to have his body conveyed to the abbey of Fulde, and there interred with honour. During the space of thirty-four years that he governed the diocess of Mentz, he assisted at divers councils in France and at Rome. 3  1
  It appears by the letters which were addressed to him from Rome, France, and England, to consult him upon the most difficult points of doctrine and of discipline, that he was in the greatest reputation for learning. His answers to these are lost, and only nine of his letters are published among those of St. Boniface. 4 The style shows that he neglected the ornaments of language, according to the custom of that age; but the matter is interesting. In the fourth, we admire his zeal to procure good books from foreign countries, by which means they were dispersed in all parts of Germany and France. In his other letters, we meet with great examples of his humility, his firm attachment to his friends, his pastoral vigilance, and his zeal for the observance of the canons. The sixty-second letter is an episcopal mandate to order prayers, fasts, and masses, “those which are prescribed (in the missal) to be said against tempests, to obtain of God that the rains might cease which prejudiced the fruits of the earth.” St. Lullus announces in the same the death of the pope (Paul I. or Stephen III.), for whom he orders the accustomed prayers to be said. Cuthbert, abbot of Wiremouth, in a letter to St. Lullus, mentions that he had ordered ninety masses to be said for their deceased brethren in Germany; for they sent to each other the names of those that died among them; which also appears from several letters of St. Boniface, as from one to the abbot of Mount Cassino, 5 and several to his brethren in England. St. Lullus being imposed upon by false informations, took part against St. Sturmius, abbot of Fulde, when he was accused of treason against the King Pepin. 6 If holy and great men are sometimes surprised and betrayed into frailties, with what prudence and circumspection ought every one to proceed, lest he take some false step; and how ready ought he to be to confess his faults, and to efface them by salutary penance! St. Lullus made afterwards amends for his mistake, as appears by his charter of donation to the abbey of Fulde, which he signed in 785, 7 in presence of the Emperor Charlemagne. 8 St. Lullus resigned his dignity before his death, and shut himself up in the monastery of Harsfeld, which he had built. In that retreat he died happily on the 1st of November, not in 786, as some have pretended, but in 787. See Mabill. Act. Bened. t. 4; Serarius, Rerum Mogunt. t. 1; Miræus, &c.  2
Note 1. S. Bonif. ep. 70. [back]
Note 2. Mabill. Act. Ben. t. 4, p. 83 et 394. Annul. l. 22, n. 64. S. Bonif. ep. 92 et 104. [back]
Note 3. Conc. t. 6, pp. 1702, 1722. [back]
Note 4. Inter S. Bonif. ep. 4, 5, 45, 46, 47, 62, 100, 101, 111. [back]
Note 5. Ib. ep. 106. [back]
Note 6. St. Sturmius, a Bavarian by birth, and a disciple of St. Boniface, was sent by him into Italy, to gather a code of the most perfect monastic observances, which he committed to writing, a little after he had been appointed by St. Boniface, the first abbot of Fulde, in 744. St. Sturmius afterwards fell into disgrace with King Pepin, by whom he was banished, upon an accusation that he had favoured that prince’s enemies; but he was soon recalled. He was in high esteem with Charlemagne, and died in 776, on the 17th of December. See his life written by a disciple, who was afterwards fourth abbot of Fulde, extant in Mabill. Sæc. 3, Ben. par. 2, with remarks; see also Bulteau, l. 4, c. 14. [back]
Note 7. Mabill. Act. Ben. t. 4, p. 400, et Annal. l. 25, n. 55. [back]
Note 8. This piece is published by Mabillon, among other monuments of that nature, in a work entitled Vetus Disciplina Monastica, Paris, 1726. By this work, and St. Boniface’s letter to Pope Zachary, it appears, that those monks never touched wine or flesh, and laboured with their hands. [back]