Saints of the Day – Radbod of Utrecht

illustration of Saint Radbod of Utrecht, c.1600, artist unknown; swiped from WikipediaArticle

Died 918. Saint Radbod’s maternal great-grandfather (also named Radbod) was the last pagan king of Friesland, who said that he preferred to be in hell with his ancestors than in heaven without them. The fruit of his loins was made of different, though equally tenacious, stuff. Although Radbod’s father was a noble Frank, he received his initial education at the hands of Bishop Gunther of Cologne, his maternal uncle. His tuition was completed in the courts of Charles the Bald and Louis the Stammerer, where the greatest scientific minds of the time were to be found.

Little else is known of his life until Radbod, upon his ordination to the priesthood in 900, wrote: “I Radbod, a sinner, have been taken, though unworthy, into the company of the ministers of the church of Utrecht; with whom I pray that I may attain to eternal life.” Later that year he was unanimously chosen and consecrated bishop of Utrecht. Immediately he donned the Benedictine habit because all his predecessors had been monks. Radbod ruled the monastic cathedral and the diocese as an exemplary abbot-bishop. As a Benedictine he never again ate meat, fasted frequently for several days at a time, and was exceedingly generous to the poor.

Saint Radbod spread the life and miracles of Saint Martin in whose honor he wrote hymns and an office. He also composed an eclogue and sermon on Saint Lebuin, a hymn on Saint Swithbert, and other poems. At the end of his life when the Danes invaded, he moved his see to Deventer, where he died (Attwater 2, Benedictines, Coulson, Encyclopedia, Husenbeth, Walsh).

In art, Saint Radbod is pictured as a bishop washing the feet of the poor (Roeder).

MLA Citation

  • Katherine I Rabenstein. Saints of the Day, 1998. CatholicSaints.Info. 20 August 2020. Web. 1 December 2020. <>