Saints of the Day – Hubert of Liège

statue of Saint Hubert of Liege with the deer; date and artist unknown; Sint-Jan Evangelist Church, Tervuren, Belgium; photographed on 21 August 2010 by Wouter Hagens; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsArticle

Died at Tervueren (near Brussels), Belgium, May 30, 727. Nothing reliable is known about Saint Hubert before he became a cleric under Saint Lambert, whom he succeeded as bishop of Tongres-Maestricht.

In medieval times many saints derived both the pleasure of sport and some of their food from hunting. According to legend both Saint Eustace and Saint Hubert came upon a stag with a crucifix between its antlers. The stag’s warning to Hubert was sterner than that to Saint Eustace, since Hubert had been hunting on Good Friday. Stopped in his tracks by the sight of the stag and crucifix, Hubert heard a voice warning him that unless he turned to Christ he was destined for hell.

This was in the forest of Ardenne. Hubert had been a courtier whose wife died giving birth to their son in the year 685. He retired from the service of Pepin of Heristal and became a priestly servant of Bishop Lambert. For 10 years Saint Lambert taught the future Saint Hubert self-discipline by making him live alone as a hermit in the forest.

Around 705 Lambert publicly criticized King Pepin for his adultery with the sister of his wife. The woman called on her brother and some other men to murder Lambert in the tiny village of Liège. Hubert was elected Lambert’s successor.

Hubert courageously cherished the memory of Saint Lambert. Since the saint had been murdered at Liège, Hubert decided that his bones should not lie in the cathedral at Maestricht. He transferred them to Liège and also made that village the seat of his diocese. In consequence Liège grew to be a great city. There today Saint Lambert is regarded as patron of the diocese and Saint Hubert as patron and founder of the city.

In the 8th century, the forest of Ardenne was filled with men and women to whom the Gospel had never been preached. They worshipped idols. The saint assiduously worked to convert these people and destroy their pagan gods. He loved to go in procession through the fields, chanting Christian prayers and blessing the crops.

In 726, while fishing from a boat in the Meuse, he met with an accident that caused him much suffering, and he died fifteen months later, murmuring the Lord’s Prayer on May 30, 727, while on a trip to consecrate a new church. His son succeeded him as bishop of Liège (Attwater, Bentley, Delaney, Encyclopedia).

In art Hubert is represented as a huntsman adoring a stag with a crucifix in its horns. Variously, he may be shown (1) as a knight with a banner showing the stag’s head and crucifix; (2) as a young courtier with two hounds; (3) kneeling in prayer, a hound before him; (4) kneeling before a stag as an angel brings him his stole; (5) as a bishop holding a stag with the crucifix on his book; (6) as a bishop with a hound, hunting horn, and stag with a crucifix (not to be confused with Germanus of Auxerre); (7) celebrating Mass as an angel brings him a scroll (very similar to the Mass of Saint Giles) (Roeder).

Hubert is the patron of hunters and trappers, metal-workers, and mathematicians (Roeder). It is believed that the 15th century legend of his conversion developed because he was regarded as a patron of hunters in Ardenne (Attwater).

MLA Citation

  • Katherine I Rabenstein. Saints of the Day, 1998. CatholicSaints.Info. 10 August 2020. Web. 29 November 2020. <>