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The ordination of Saint Vedast
|Venerated in||Eastern Orthodox Church|
Roman Catholic Church
|Attributes||a child at his feet; a bear; bishop with a wolf carrying a goose in its mouth|
|Patronage||invoked on behalf of children who walk with difficulty|
for diseases of the eyes
diocese of Arras, Boulogne and Saint-Omer, France
Vedast or Vedastus, also known as Saint Vaast (in Flemish, Norman and Picard) or Saint Waast (also in Picard and Walloon), Saint Gaston in French, and Foster in English. (died c. 540) was an early bishop in the Frankish realm.
At the beginning of the sixth century, Saint Remigius, bishop of Reims, profited by the good will of the Frankish monarchy to organize the Catholic hierarchy in the north of Gaul. He entrusted the diocese of Arras and diocese of Cambrai to Vedast, who was the teacher of Clovis after the victory of Tolbiac and helped with the conversion of the Frankish king.
As a young man, Vedast left his own country (which seems to have been in the west of France) and led a holy life concealed from the world in the diocese of Toul. The bishop, taking notice of him, ordained him to the priesthood. Clovis, King of Franks, while returning from his victory over the Alemanni, hastened to Rheims to receive baptism and stopped at Toul to request some priest to instruct him on the way. Vedast was assigned to accompany the king.
The traditional account says that while on the road to Reims, they encountered a blind beggar at the bridge over the river Aisne. The man besought Vedast's assistance. The priest was inspired to pray and blessed the beggar, at which point the man immediately recovered his sight. The miracle convinced the king to adopt his wife's religion. Vedast became an advisor to King Clovis. Remigius named him the first bishop of Arras, France (499) and later Bishop of Cambrai (510).
Death and veneration
He died on February 6, 539 at Arras; that night the locals saw a luminous cloud ascend from his house, apparently carrying away Vedast’s soul. The Abbey of St. Vaast was later founded in his honour in Arras.
His feast is on 6 February.
Vedast was venerated in Belgium as well as England (from the 10th century) where he was known as Saint Foster. The spread of his cult was aided by the presence of Augustinians from Arras in England in the 12th century. Three ancient churches in England (in London (St Vedast Foster Lane), Norwich and Tathwell) were dedicated to him.
He is a patron saint invoked against eye trouble.
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