· Calendar of Saints 

Saint Eucherius of Orleans, Bishop
  February 20th  

    According to his biographer, apparently a contemporary, St. Eucherius led a holy life from earliest childhood. He was born at Orleans, and entered the Benedictine abbey of Jumièges about the year 714. After he had spent six or seven years there, Soavaric, Bishop of Orleans, who was his uncle, died, and the senate and people with the clergy of the city sent a deputation to Charles Martel, mayor of the palace, to ask his permission to elect Eucherius to fill the vacant see. Charles consented, and charged one of his officers of state to conduct the young monk from his monastery to Orleans. The saint was filled with dismay and entreated the monks to save him from the dangers that threatened him in the world. In spite of their reluctance they urged him to depart, setting the public good above their own desires. He was consecrated in 721. Unwilling as he had been to take office, he proved himself an exemplary pastor and devoted himself entirely to the care of his people, who loved and venerated him.

    Eucherius did not, however, retain the favour of Charles Martel. To defray the expenses of his wars and other undertakings, and to recompense those who served him, it was the practice of that prince to seize the revenues of churches and he encouraged others to do the same. It would appear that St. Eucherius strenuously opposed these confiscations, and certain persons represented this to Charles as an insult offered to his person. In the year 737, when he was returning to Paris after having defeated the Saracens in Aquitaine, Charles took Orleans on the way and ordered Eucherius to follow him to Verneuil-sur-Oise, and then exiled him to Cologne. Here the saint became so popular on account of his piety and charming character that Charles ordered him to be transferred to a fortified place near Liège, where he would be under the observation of the governor of the district. Here again the bishop won all hearts, and the governor made him distributor of alms and allowed him to retire to the monastery of Saint-Trond near Maestricht, where he spent the rest of his life in prayer and contemplation. The legend that St. Eucherius saw Charles Martel burning in hell is an interpolation which does not belong to the primitive biography, but it is worth mentioning because the incident is sometimes depicted in representations of the saint in art.

The biography is printed in the Acta Sanctorum, February, vol. iii, and in Mabillon. See also Duchesne (Fastes Episcopaux, vol. ii, p. 458), who points out that whereas the author of the life makes Eucherius the immediate successor of Soavaric, the eposcopal lists of Orleans mention two or three bishops intervening. There are also other difficulties about the chronology of the life which suggests serious doubts as to its being the work of a contemporary. See "Saints de Saint-Trond" in Analecta Bollandiana, vol. lxxii (1954).

The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XIV
Nihil Obstat, July 1, 1912, Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor
Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York