Saint Léger, bishop of Autun

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Leodegar, évêque d'Autun

Also Known As: "Léger"
Birthplace: France
Death: October 02, 679 (59-68)
Sarcing, Somme, Picardy, Kingdom of the Franks (“he was led out into a forest on Ebroin's order and beheaded.”)
Immediate Family:

Son of Bodilon de Trèves and Saint Sigrade de Verdun
Brother of Adèle de Trèves, Abbess of Pfalzel; Warinus, count of Poitiers; Emnechilde of the Burgundians and niece of Dido, Bishop of Poitou

Occupation: Bishop of Autun, Mayor of the Palace 603-677
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Saint Léger, bishop of Autun


Leodegar of Poitiers (Latin: Leodegarius; French: Léger; c. 615 – October 2, 679 AD) was a martyred Burgundian Bishop of Autun.

Leodegar was the son of a high-ranking Burgundian nobleman, Bodilon, Count of Poitiers and Paris and St. Sigrada of Alsace, who later became a nun in the convent of Sainte-Marie at Soissons. His brother was Warinus.[1]

Leodegar was an opponent of Ebroin, the Frankish Mayor of the Palace of Neustria, and the leader of the faction of Burgundian nobles. His torture and death made him a martyr and saint.[1]

When Childeric II was murdered at Bondi in 675, by a disaffected Frank, Theoderic III was installed as king in Neustria, making Leudesius his mayor. Ebroin took advantage of the chaos to make his escape from Luxeuil and hasten to the court. In a short time Ebroin had Leudesius murdered and became mayor once again, still Leodegar's implacable enemy.[3]

The martyrdom of St. Leger

About 675 the Duke of Champagne, the Bishop of Châlons-sur-Marne and the Bishop of Valence, stirred up by Ebroin, attacked Autun, and Leodegar fell into their hands. At Ebroin's instigation, Leodegar's eyes were gouged out and the sockets cauterized, and his tongue was cut out. Some years later Ebroin persuaded the king that Childeric had been assassinated at the instigation of Leodegar. The bishop was seized again, and, after a mock trial, was degraded and condemned to further exile, at Fécamp, in Normandy. Near Sarcing he was led out into a forest on Ebroin's order and beheaded.[6]
A dubious[5] testament drawn up at the time of the council of Autun has been preserved as well as the Acts of the council. A letter which he caused to be sent to his mother after his mutilation is likewise extant.
In 782, his relics were translated from the site of his death, Sarcing in Artois, to the site of his earliest hagiography – the Abbey of St Maxentius (Saint-Maixent) near Poitiers. Later they were removed to Rennes and thence to Ebreuil, which place took the name of Saint-Léger in his honour. Some relics are still kept in the cathedral of Autun and the Grand Séminaire of Soissons. In 1458 Cardinal Rolin caused his feast day to be observed as a holy day of obligation.

For sources to his biography, there are two early Lives,[7] drawn from the same lost source (Krusch 1891), and also two later ones (one of them in verse).

Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume X: October. The Lives of the Saints. 1866. October 2. St. Leodegarius, or Leger, Bishop and Martyr < link >

ST. LEODEGARIUS was born about the year 616, being of the first quality among the French. His parents brought him very young to the court of king Clotaire II. (son of Fredegonda) who reigned first in Neustria; but in the year 614, the thirty-first of his reign, having taken Sigebert prisoner, and put to death his mother Brunehault, became king of all France, in the same manner that his grandfather Clotaire had been. This prince kept the young nobleman but a short time at court before he sent him to Dido, his uncle by the mother’s side, bishop of Poitiers, who appointed a priest of great learning to instruct him in literature, and some years after took him into his own palace to finish his education himself. …


Two siblings, parents not known:

  • 1. DIDO (-after 673). Bishop of Poitou. … The Passio Leudegarii names "Didone…Pectavi urbe episcopo" as "avunculo" of "Leodegarius urbis Agustedunensis episcopus"[503].
  • 2. [sister] . The Chronicon Ebersheimense names "Didone Pictavensi…episcopo" when recording that he was "avunculus" of "sanctum Leudegarium"[504], which would indicate that Leudegar's mother was Dido's sister, assuming that "avunculus" is used in its strict sense of maternal uncle. m ---. Three children:
    • a) LEUDEGAR (-murdered 676).
    • b) GARINUS [Warin] (-murdered 676).
    • c) daughter . m ---. [Two] children:
      • i) [daughter . The sources cited below under Berswinda state that she was "sororem…regina", but it is not known to which queen this may refer. m --- King of the Franks.]
      • ii) BERSWINDA . The Cronica Hohenburgensis records the marriage of "Athicum seu Adalricum" and "Berswindam…filiam sororis sancti Leodegarii, sororem videlicet regina"[511]. The Chronicon Ebersheimense names "Berswindam, filiam sororis Leodegarii episcopi…et Garini comitis Pictavensis, sororem videlicet regina" as the wife of Athicus[512]. m ADALRICUS [Athicus], son of LEUDESIUS maior domus & his wife --

French Wikipedia

Léger d'Autun or Léodegard (in Latin Leodegarius) is the son of Bodilon von Thurgau and Sigarde of Neustrie, daughter of Ansoud of Neustrie known as of Dijon, who becomes Saint Sigarde.

His mother has as his brother the bishop of Poitiers Dido; and his sister Béreswinthe, wife of Athalric, Duke of Alsace and mother of Saint Odile1.

Léger's brother, Warin/Guérin de Vergyn 1 and Poitiers, is also a powerful lord of Burgondie. Victim of the same Ebroin for the same reasons as Léger, he died as a martyr before his brother 2.


  • Brucker, Pierre-Paul. L'Alsace et l'Eglise au temps du Pape Saint Léon IX (Bruno d'Eguisheim). Tome Premier (Paris, France: Retaux-Bray, 1889) p. 299. Berswinde, born about 1640, married Etichon during the reign of Childeric II (660-673) and their daughter Sainte Odile was born circa 660. Brucker gives a good chronology in the book, and cites the chronicle of Ebersheim and a handwritten notice from the 9th century formerly preserved at the abbey of Saint-Grégoire, and which make Berswinde the niece of Saint Léger d'Autun (sister of Saint Léger was born circa 620 and Berswinde circa 640 or slightly after).
  • St Gregory Armenian Catholic Church. “St. Leger.” Feastday: October 2 615 – 679 < link > Leger was raised at the court of King Clotaire II and by his uncle, Bishop Didon of Poitiers. Leger was made archdeacon by Didon, was ordained, and in about 651, became abbot of Maxentius Abbey, where he introduced the Rule of St. Benedict. … Though the Roman Martyrology calls him Blessed and a martyr, there is doubt among many scholars that he is entitled to those honors.
  • Ansoald (Latin: Ansoaldus) was the bishop of Poitiers from 676 until about 696. Ansoald was probably a Burgundian from the region around Autun. He inherited land from both his parents near Chalon-sur-Saône. In the second version of the Suffering of Leodegar, it is claimed that Ansoald was a relative of the martyred Leodegar.[2]
    • 2. Fouracre, Paul J.; Gerberding, Richard A., eds. (1996). Late Merovingian France: History and Hagiography, 640–720. Manchester University Press. p. 197 and n17.
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Saint Léger, bishop of Autun's Timeline

October 2, 679
Age 64
Sarcing, Somme, Picardy, Kingdom of the Franks