Butler’s Lives of the Saints – Saint Sigebert II, French King of Austrasia, Confessor

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Dagobert I, king of France, led for some time a very dissolute life, but was touched by an extraordinary grace upon the birth of his son Sigebert, and from that time was entirely converted to God. Bagnetrude, our saint’s mother, is only styled the concubine of Dagobert, though he was publicly married to her. The father desiring to have his son baptized by the most holy prelate of his dominions, recalled Saint Amand, bishop of Maestricht, whom he had banished for his zeal in reproving his vices, fell at his feet at Clichi, near Paris, to ask his pardon, promised amendment, and by the advice of Saint Owen and Saint Eligius, then laymen in his court, engaged him to initiate his son in the sacrament of regeneration. The ceremony was performed with great pomp at Orleans, Charibert, king of part of Aquitain, and brother to Dagobert, being god-father. The young prince’s education was intrusted by the father to the blessed Pepin of Landen, mayor of his palace, who being forced by the envy of the nobility to withdraw for some time, carried Sigebert into the dominions of Charibert in Aquitain, where he enjoyed a considerable estate, the paternal patrimony of his wife the blessed Itta. Pepin remained there about three years; after which term he was recalled to the court of Dagobert, who declared his son Sigebert, though only three years old, in 633, king of Austrasia, and gave him for his ministers, Saint Cunibert, archbishop of Cologne, and duke Adelgise, and committed the administration of the whole kingdom to Pepin, whom he always kept near his own person. Dagobert’s second son, Clovis II, was born in the following year, 634, and to him the father allotted for his inheritance all the western part of France, containing all Neustria and part of Burgundy. Austrasia, or Eastern France, (in which sense Austria retains a like name in Germany,) at that time comprised Provence and Switzerland, (dismembered from the ancient kingdom of Burgundy,) the Albigeois, Auvergne, Quercy, the Cevennes, Champagne, Lorraine, Upper Picardy, the archbishopric of Triers, and other states reaching to the borders of Friesland; Alsace, the Palatinate, Thuringia, Franconia, Bavaria, Suabia, and the country which lay betwixt the Lower Rhine and Old Saxony. Dagobert died in 638, and was buried at the abbey of Saint Denys, of which he was the munificent founder. According to the settlement which he had made, he was succeeded in Austrasia by Saint Sigebert, and in the rest of France by his youngest son Clovis II. Pepin of Landen, who had been mayor of the palace to the father, discharged the same office to his death under Saint Sigebert, and not content to approve himself a faithful minister, and true father to the prince, he formed him from the cradle to all heroic Christian virtues. By his prudence, virtue, and valour, Saint Sigebert in his youth was beloved and respected by his subjects, and feared by all his enemies. Pepin dying in 640, the virtuous king appointed his son Grimoald mayor of his palace. He reigned in perfect intelligence with his brother, of which we have few examples among the Merovingian kings whenever the French monarchy was divided. The Thuringians revolting, he reduced them to their duty; and this is the only war in which he was engaged. The love of peace disposed his heart to be a fit temple of the Holy Ghost, whom he invited into his soul by assiduous prayer, and the exercise of all Christian virtues. His patrimony he employed in relieving the necessitous, and in building or endowing monasteries, churches, and hospitals. He founded twelve monasteries, the four principal of which were Cougnon, now a priory, not far from Bouillon; Stavelo and Malmedi, two miles from each other, and Saint Martin’s, near Metz. Saint Remaclus brought from Solignac the rule of Saint Columban, which king Sigebert in his charter to Cougnon calls the rule of the ancient fathers. This that holy abbot established first at Cougnon, and afterwards at Malmedi and Stavelo. A life filled with good works, and devoted all to God, can never be called short. God was pleased to call this good king from the miseries of this world to the recompense of his labours on the 1st of February, in the year 656, the eighteenth of his reign, and the twenty-fifth of his age. He was interred in the abbey of Saint Martin’s, near Metz, which he had built. His body was found incorrupt in 1063, and placed in a monument on the side of the high altar: and in 1170 it was enshrined in a silver case. The monastery of Saint Martin’s, and all others in the suburbs, were demolished by Francis of Lorraine, duke of Guise, in 1552, when Charles V laid siege to Metz. The relics of Saint Sigebert are now deposited in the collegiate church of our Lady at Nancy. He is honoured among the saints in a great part of the dominions which he governed, and in the monasteries and churches which he founded. See Fredegarius and his continuator, Sigebert of Gemblours, in his life of this saint, with the learned remarks of Henschenius.

MLA Citation

  • Father Alban Butler. “Saint Sigebert II, French King of Austrasia, Confessor”. Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Principal Saints, 1866. Saints.SQPN.com. 1 February 2013. Web. 28 December 2014. <>