Born to the Belgian nobility, the son of Tizekinus and Adalwif. His was a pious family; when Poppo was grown, his mother became a nun. Career soldier. Pilgrim to the Holy Lands in 1000, and then to Rome, Italy. While on the road late one night, a flame suddenly lit over his head, and his lance radiated a brilliant light. Poppo took this as a sign of the Holy Spirit, and started considering a religious vocation. Monk at the Saint Theirry monastery at Rheims, France in 1005.
Beginning in 1008 he worked with Abbot Richard of Saint-Vanne to restore order and religious observance to several houses. Prior of the monastery of Saint Vaast in Arras, France in 1013. Prior at Vasloges, France in 1016. Abbot-general for a large group of houses in Lotharingia (in modern France, Germany and Switzerland) in 1020. Abbot of Stavelot-Malmédy in Belgium in 1021.
The monastic revival he led spread to other houses, including Hautmont, Marchiennes, Saint Maximinus of Trier in Germany, and Saint Vaast in Arras in France. He practiced severe personal asceticism, cared nothing for literature, and lacked organization, but managed to bring order and devotion to his houses, earning the love of his brothers and the laity. Unofficial counselor to emperor Saint Henry II on matters of faith, politics, and diplomacy.
- Book of Saints, by the Monks of Ramsgate
- Lives of the Saints, by Father Alban Butler
- Our Sunday Visitor’s Encyclopedia of Saints
- “Saint Poppo“. Saints.SQPN.com. 25 January 2013. Web. 23 May 2013. <>