Saint Gangulphus of Burgundy
Image of Saint Gangulphus (Gangolf), by the Meister von Meßkirch, ca. 1535
|Died||May 11, 760 AD|
|Venerated in||Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church|
|Attributes||Pictured as a Burgundian knight with a fountain springing under his sword. He holds a shield with a cross. He may also hold the spear with which he was murdered|
|Patronage||Saint of husbands unhappily married; tanners, shoemakers, children, and horses; invoked against knee pains, sicknesses affecting the eyes and skin; invoked against marital difficulties and adultery|
Saint Gangulphus of Burgundy (died May 11, 760 AD) is venerated as a martyr by the Catholic Church. Gangulphus was a Burgundian courtier whose historical existence can only be attested by a single document: a deed from the court of Pepin the Short dated 762. It attests that he was a great landowner, whose family dominated the region and exercised a lot of power.
Gangulphus decided to renounce his wealth and become a hermit. Even so, he was subsequently killed by his wife's lover, who wished to remove Gangulphus as a possible interference to the adulterous relationship.
Born to one of the most illustrious families of Burgundy, his education was provided by his parents, who were virtuous Christians. As a youth, Gangulphus was known for his great honesty, chastity, and propriety, and visited churches and read religious texts, avoiding the company of libertines. When his parents died, he became a model landowner, taking care of the household economy with ease and industry and also providing for the churches and the poor on his land. When it came time to marry, he chose a woman who did not share his virtues.
On a journey back to Burgundy, he found a property at Bassigny upon which stood a fountain that issued fresh and good water. Gangulphus bought the property. However, his friends mocked him because this property's fountain would not serve back at home. However, when Gangulphus returned home, he pushed a stick into the soil. The next day, he instructed his servant to pull the stick out of the soil. Out of the soil emerged a new fountain, from which gushed fresh water.
During his absence, his wife had committed adultery with a priest. His wife protested her innocence, but Gangulphus wished her innocence to be judged by God. Thus, he had her dip her hand into the very same source of water he had created on his property. His wife’s hand was completely and miraculously scalded by the water. Gangulphus was fairly lenient: he forbade his wife from ever sharing his marriage bed and also ordered the priest to go abroad.
However, his wife soon had her lover return. Hurrying back, the priest, wishing to decapitate Gangulphus, attacked the saint as he slept. However, the priest missed and injured Gangulphus' thigh. The wound, however, proved to be fatal and Gangulphus received the Last Sacraments on May 11, 760.
Gangulphus' relics were translated to Varennes-sur-Amance in the diocese of Langres, where his cult developed, and later distributed to various places in France, Germany, the Low Countries and Switzerland.
Hrosvit of Gandersheim wrote a version of his life around 960.
Some of his relics, consisting of part of his head, can be found at the Gangolfskirche in Bamberg. The Gangolfskirche in Hollfeld developed as a daughter church of the Bamberger church. On the Milseburg, in the Rhön Mountains, rises a Gangolfkapelle, as well as at Wolpertswende in Upper Swabia and at Fladungen in northern Franconia. There is also a Sankt Gangloff in Thuringia.
Gangulphus became also associated with the spot now occupied by the area known as Saint-Gingolph, where he is said to have dedicated himself as a hermit to a life of prayer and penance. Local legends confused Gangulphus with a hypothetical soldier of the Theban Legion who escaped from nearby Agaunum and would have faced martyrdom there.
Image of Gangulphus from a church at Wolpertswende
- Gangolf - Ökumenisches Heiligenlexikon
- Variants include Gengoul, Gangulf, Gangolf, Gangolfo, Gengou, Gangloff, Gengoux, Gigou, Genf, Gandoul, Gingolph, Gangulfus, Golf.
- Alessandro Barbero
- San Gengolfo
- St. Gangolf, Bambergs aelteste bestehende Kirche und lebendige Gemeinde
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