Baring-Gould’s Lives of the Saints – Saint Frodobert, Abbot of Troyes

Article

(7th century)

[Gallican and German Martyrologies. Saint Frodobert died on Jan ist, but his body was translated on January 8th, and on that day, accordingly, his festival is observed at Troyes, and by the Benedictine Order. His life was written by his disciple, Lupellus, and used in the compilation of a later life, by a monk of Moutier la Celle, near Troyes, about 872.]

Saint Frodobert, the son of parents of the middle class, from the earliest age was inspired with the love of God, and a wondrous gentleness and child-like simplicity. He is said, as a little boy, to have healed his mother of blindness, as, in a paroxysm of love and compassion for her affliction, he kissed her darkened eyes, and signed them with the cross. At an early age he entered the abbey of Luxeuil, where his singleness of soul and guilelessness exposed him to become the butt of the more frivolous monks. During the time that he was there, a certain TeudoHn, abbot of Saint Seguanus, was staying at Luxeuil for the purpose of study, and Frodobert was much mth him, being ordered to attend on the wants of the visitor, and obey him impHcitly. This Teudolin diversified his labours with playing practical jokes on his gentle assistant; but Frodobert never resented any jest. One day the abbot Teudolin sent Frodobert to another monk, who was also fond of practising jokes on Frodobert, for a pair of compasses, saying that he wanted them for writing. The lay brother took the message without in the least knowing what compasses were. The monk, suspecting that the abbot had sent Frodobert on a fool’s errand, put a pair of stones off a hand-mill round his neck, and told him to take them to Teudolin. Frodobert obeyed, but was scarcely able to stagger along the cloister under the weight. On his way, the abbot of Luxeuil, his own superior, met him, and amazed to see the poor brother bowed to earth under this burden, bade him throw down the mill-stones, and tell him whither he was taking them. Frodobert obeyed, and said that the abbot Teudolin had sent him for them, as he wanted them for Hterary purposes. The superior burst into tears, grieved that the good, simple-minded lay brother should have been thus imposed upon, and hastening to the visitor, and then to the monk who had put the “compasses ” about Frodobert’s neck, he administered to them such a sharp rebuke, that from that day forward no more practical jokes were played upon him.

As years passed, his virtue became more generally known, and the Bishop of Troyes summoned him to be in attendance on himself The humble monk in vain entreated to be allowed to return to his monastery; the bishop retained him about his person in his palace.

As he was unable to return to the quiet of his cloister, Frodobert withdrew as much as possible from the world in which he moved, into the calm of his own heart, and practised great abstinence in the midst of the abundance wherewith the bishop’s table was supplied. Living outside his cloister, he kept its rules, and in Lent he never ate anything till after sunset. Those who were less strict in their living, sneered at his self-denial, and told the bishop that Frodobert kept a supply of victuals in his bedroom, and ate privily. To prove him, the prelate gave him a chamber in the church tower, and burst in upon him at all unseasonable moments, but was never able to detect the slightest proof of the charge being well founded. He, therefore, regretted his mistmst, and restored the monk to his room in the palace.

Frodobert was given at last, by Clovis II, some marshy land near Troyes, and on this he built a monastery, which he called La Celle, which was soon filled with numerous monks, and became famous for the learned men it educated. Here Saint Frodobert spent many years. He passed his declining years in building a church to Saint Peter, and when the church was completed, his strength failed, and he knew that he had not many days to live. His great desire was to see it consecrated on the feast of the Nativity, and he sent two of his monks to the bishop to beseech him to dedicate his new church that day. But the duties of Christmas, in his Cathedral, rendered it impossible for the prelate to grant this request. Frodobert received the refusal with many tears, but lifting his eyes and hands to heaven, he prayed, and God prolonged his days, so that he survived to see his church consecrated on the Octave of the Nativity, January 1st; and when the ceremony was over, he resigned his soul into the hands of God. The body was translated, some years after, on the 8th January. The weather had been wet, and the marshes were under water, so that the abbot and monks were in trouble, because tlieir house was surrounded with the flood, and it would be difficult for the bishop and clergy of Troyes to attend the ceremony of the translation. “Grant,” said the abbot, “that the blessed Frodobert may obtain for us a sharp frost, or we shall have no one here tomorrow.” This was said on the eve of the projected translation. That night, so hard a frost set in, that by morning the whole surface of the water was frozen like a stone, and the bishop, clergy, and faithful of Troyes, came to the monastery over the ice.

MLA Citation

  • Sabine Baring-Gould. “Saint Frodobert, Abbot of Troyes”. Lives of the Saints, 1897. CatholicSaints.Info. 8 January 2014. Web. 17 August 2017. <>