Lambert of Maestricht

Lambert Of Maestricht, a martyr and a saint of the Romish Church, commemorated on September 17, was born at Maestricht, Holland, towards the middle of the 7th century; was educated by Theodard, bishop of that see, whom he succeeded in office when that prelate died a martyr in 668. The major domus Ebroin was then in war with the Merovingian dynasty, and persecuted all its supporters. Upon Lambert also fell his displeasure, and he deprived him of his bishopric, and appointed Faramund in his place. Lambert remained for seven years (674-81) in the Convent of Stablo, where he led a life of penitence and humiliation. When Pepin d'Heristal, after killing Ebroin, became the head of the kingdom, Lambert was restored to his bishopric. The ancient historians relate that he was killed by a Frankish chieftain named Dodo, out of revenge. Two relatives of Dodo attempted to seize on the goods of the Church, and were killed by Lambert's nephew; Dodo, in return caused Lambert himself to be murdered at Liege. Subsequent writers attempted to render this history more interesting. They say that he was murdered by Dodo on account of the freedom with which he reproved Pepin d'Heristal for his improper intimacy with Alpais, a sister of Dodo. Siegbert of Gemblours and others say that on one occasion he refused at the king's table to bless Alpais's cup with the sign of the cross, and, seeing that he would be killed for this, he forbade his followers defending him, and said to them, "If you truly love me, love Jesus, and confess your sins to him; as for me, it is time that I should go to live in communion with him." After saying which, he knelt down, and, while praying for his enemies, was killed with a spear. It was on the 17th of September, 708 (709 according to the Bollandists; others say 697 or 698). So great was the veneration in which Lambert was held by his contemporaries, that in 714 a church was built in commemoration of him at Liege. His successor in the bishopric was Hubert. Biographies of Lambert were written by Godeschalk, deacon of the Church of Liege in the middle of the 8th century, Stephan, bishop of Liege in 903, a canon called Nicholas, about 1120) and a monk named Reiner. See A. Butler, Lives of the Saints; F.W. Rettberg, K. Gesch. Deutschlands, 1:558 sq.; Herzog, Real-Encyklop. 8:165; Wetzer und Welte, Kirchen-Lex. 6:323, 324.

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