Saints of the Day – Chrodegang of Metz

detail of a stained glass window of Saint Chrodegang of Metz, la chapelle Sainte-Glossinde de Metz, date unknown, artisti unknown; photographed on 16 September 2007 by Graoully/Archimatth; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsArticle

Born at Hesbaye, Brabant, near Liege, in c.712-715; died at Metz, March 6, 776. A near relative of Pepin the Short, Chrodegang was probably educated at Saint Trond Abbey and became Charles Martel’s secretary and chancellor of France. Even then he went about in hair shirts and unostentatious clothing, fasting and praying, and many of the poor depended entirely upon his charity.

In 742, shortly after the death of Charles Martel, he became bishop of Metz though he was still a layman. So treasured was his advice by Martel’s son Pepin the Short that Pepin refused to allow the saint to be consecrated until Chrodegang had promised to continue as his chief minister.

Thus, Chrodegang served as ambassador to Pope Stephen III for Pepin, mayor of the palace, and was very much involved in the coronation of Pepin as King of the Franks, the first Carolingian king, in 751, and in Pepin’s defense of the papacy and Rome against the Lombards and his restoration of the exarchate of Ravenna, which he had won from the Lombards, to the Holy See.

Chrodegang’s support for the papacy was of inestimable value at a time when the Lombards had managed to force the pope into exile. Chrodegang himself safely brought the pope over the Alps, and Pepin the Short welcomed him to France.

This bishop is of importance because of his continuation of the work of Saint Boniface of Crediton in reforming the Frankish Church. Chrodegang put into effect many ecclesiastical reforms in his see. In particular, he sought to raise the standard of the clergy by suitable education and by encouraging them, when possible, to live a common life together. For such communities he drew up a rule, based in part on that of Saint Benedict. This movement spread and was widely influential as the canons regular movement.

He was active in founding and restoring churches and monasteries, including the abbey of Gorze, Italy, in 748; introduced the Roman liturgy and Gregorian Chant in his see; and established a choir school at Metz, which became famous all over Europe. He also participated in several councils.

Pope Stephen II having conferred on him archepiscopal rank, and having full support of King Pepin the Short, he was able to get his reforms taken up in neighboring dioceses. Saint Chrodegang, we are told, was a man of handsome appearance and generous disposition, a ready writer in Latin and in his own tongue, a man whose character and abilities eminently fitted him to carry on the work Saint Boniface had begun (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Delaney).

MLA Citation

  • Katherine I Rabenstein. Saints of the Day, 1998. CatholicSaints.Info. 23 May 2020. Web. 28 May 2020. <>