Icons of St. Radegunda, Royal
Abbess of Poitiers
Feast: Aug. 13
St. Radegunda was a woman of
rare accomplishments. From a captive she was made, in 540, the queen of
the king of Soissons, Clotaire. She took the veil of a Deaconess at the
hand of St. Medard, then withdrew to her villa of Saix in Poitou, and
finally to her Abbey of Our Lady of Poitiers. Well-read in the Church
Fathers, venerated by kings and bishops, and full of repentance and
humility, she reposed in the year 587. The middle icon above
depicts the grand event of the Translation of the Holy Cross to
"Radegund soon began to
petition the Byzantine Emperor for relics from the Holy Land to
sanctify her convent. The first petition she sent him was for a relic
of the Cappadocian martyr, St. Mamas of Caesarea. The Patriarch of
Jerusalem eventually authorised the transfer of the little finger of
the saint's right hand from Jerusalem to Poitiers. The second petition
was for a fragment of the True Cross, i.e. the cross on which Christ
was crucified. In response, the Emperor sent not only a large piece of
wood from the cross, but also some gospels studded with gold and gems.
Euphronius, Bishop of Tours, deposited these relics in the convent in
the year 569. Following the acquisition of these relics, Radegund had
the convent renamed the Abbey of the Holy Cross, and it became the
destination of pilgrimages from throughout the Frankish lands and
beyond. In her last years, Radegund took her habitual practice of
asceticism still further. She shut herself off from the day-to-day life
of the convent, and isolated herself in a walled-up cell, where she
devoted her hours to prayer and meditation. She died on 13th August 587
and her funeral was conducted by her friend Gregory of Tours." -
Alex Perkins, web site of Jesus College, Cambridge. Holy Royal Abbess
Radegunda, pray to God for us!
Icon: from the Atelier of the two Saints John (deux saintes Jean).
Next Icon: from the community at Gorze
Next Icon: from the monastery
of St. Anthony the Great in France. St. Radegunda is the royal abbess
standing to the left of the table of preparation on which is the Cross.
St. Euphronius is in the centre, and to the right of him stands St.
Venantius Fortunatus, the secretary and biographer of St.
Next Icon: from a workshop of
the Orthodox Church of France (ECOF). Click the image to see the
composite icon from which this graphic was taken.
Icon: fresco by Pere Cassien, Greek Old Calendarist Hermitage, Clara,