Monday, April 16, 2012

Saint Hermengild

Martyred by his own family.
Leovigild, the Arian King of the Visigoths (569-86), had two sons, Hermengild and Reccared, by his first marriage with the Catholic Princess Theodosia. Hermengild married, in 576, Ingundis, a Frankish Catholic princess, the daughter of Sigebert and Brunhilde. Led by his own inclination, and influenced by his wife as well as by the instructions of St. Leander of Seville, he entered the Catholic fold.

Leovigild’s second wife, Goswintha, a fanatical Arian, hated her daughter-in-law and sought by ill-treatment to force her to abandon the Catholic Faith. Hermengild had accordingly withdrawn, with his father’s sanction, to Andalusia, and had taken his wife with him. But when Leovigild learned of his son’s conversion he summoned him back to Toledo, which command Hermengild did not obey.

The fanatical Arianism of his step-mother, and his father’s severe treatment of Catholics in Spain, stirred him to take up arms in protection of his oppressed co-religionists and in defence of his own rights. At the same time he formed an alliance with the Byzantines. Leovigold took the field against his son in 582, prevailed on the Byzantines to betray Hermengild for a sum of 30,000 gold solidi, besieged the latter in Seville in 583, and captured the city after a siege of nearly two years. (Read entire post.)

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