Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Tuesday, 13 April 2021

St Hermenegild

Today is the feast of the Spanish Visigothic St Hermenegild, who was martyred on the orders of his father King Leovigild, or Liuvigild, on this day in 585 for his adherence to Catholic rather than Arian Christianity. At the time he was only twenty one.

The Apotheosis of St Hermenegild
Francisco de Herrero the Elder (1576-1656)
Painted 1620-24

The martyr is shown ascending into Heaven. On the left is St Leander with Hermenegild’s son whilst Leander’s brother St Isidore, is shown on the right. King Leovigild crouches with his face averted.

Image :Wikimedia

There is an account of his life and martyrdom from Wikipedia which can be seen at Hermenegild

There is another account of the story from the National Catholic Reporter at April 13, St. Hermenegild, Martyr

Triunfo de san hermenegildo herrera el joven.jpeg

The Triumph of St Hermenegild
Francisco de Herrero the Younger (1622-1685)
Painted 1654

Image: Wikipedia

Both these paintings point to devotion to the Saint through such commissions and how he appealed to the Spanish Baroque imagination.

This royal martyr is the patron of the Spanish Armed Services and of the Royal and Military Order of St Hermenegild which was founded as a military award by King Ferdinand VII in 1814. It is in many ways the equivalent of the British Order of the Bath (1725/1815) and the Austrian Order of Maria Theresa (1757). It has four classes and is essentially a recognition for faithful  length of service. Wikipedia  has an account of it at Royal and Military Order of Saint Hermenegild

The distinctive Roman purple and white riband of the Order can be seen being worn frequently on pictures of Spanish State and Military occasions.

St Hermenegild pray for Spain and for fidelity to orthodox belief in the Church

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