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Bertulf, Saint

Abbot of Bobbio (d. ca. 640)

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Bertulf, Saint, Abbot of Bobbio, date of birth unknown; d. 639 or 640. He was the son of a pagan nobleman in Austrasia and a near relative of St. Arnulf, Bishop of Metz, whose pious example had such an influence on Bertulf that he became a Christian and in 620 entered the monastery of Luxeuil. A few years later he became acquainted with Abbot Attala, who had come to Luxeuil on a visit, and, with permission of Abbot Eustace of Luxeuil, joined Attala’s community at Bobbio in Italy. Upon the death of Attala, in 627, Bertulf was elected by the monks of Bobbio as their abbot. Like his holy predecessor, he insisted on the observance of the austere rule introduced by St. Columban, the founder of Bobbio, and preached fearlessly against Arianism, which had gained a firm foothold in Italy under the Lombard kings. When the Bishop of Tortona endeavored to bring Bobbio under his own jurisdiction, Bertulf hastened to Rome, where Pope Honorius received him kindly and granted the monastery entire exemption from episcopal jurisdiction. Jonas, a monk of Bobbio, who accompanied Bertulf on his journey to Rome, relates that, while returning to his monastery, Bertulf was attacked by a deadly fever, and cured miraculously by St. Peter. The same author ascribes a few other miracles to the prayers of St. Bertulf. Most martyrologies give him the title of saint. His feast is celebrated on August 19.

MICHAEL OTT


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