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St. Radegunda, queen & deaconess


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 Poitiers. 

"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!

Top 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. Radegunda.

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.

Lower Icon: fresco by Pere Cassien, Greek Old Calendarist Hermitage, Clara, France


A note on the icon graphics we host on this site, including the above icon: 
St. John Cassian Press does not "carry," i.e., reproduce, sell, or stock these icons. Those who wish to acquire icons should contact the icon's producer / distributor, if shown; otherwise, an icon maker or distributor should be contacted (a cursory list appears on the main Icons page). 

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Last update: 07/20/2007