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Evroul(t)

(626—706)


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St Thomas Becket (c. 1120—1170) archbishop of Canterbury

 

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(626–706),

abbot. Evroul, a Bayeux noble, was a married man at the Merovingian court, his wife became a nun and he joined a monastery near Bayeux. Later he became a hermit at Ouche (Normandy) with a few companions who lived in very primitive conditions. He converted a band of robbers who helped to swell the numbers of his community which made foundations elsewhere. Both by exhortation and example he emphasized the importance of manual work for monks, both in order to earn their living and as a means of serving God. Four abbots from the monastery of Saint-Evroul ruled English monasteries in the 11th and 12th centuries, who both brought relics of, and fostered interest in, the saint. The calendar of Deeping and Thorney testifies to this with feasts on 29 December (the usual day) and 30 August (a translation feast, called exceptio, which presumably commemorated the arrival of relics from Saint-Evroul to Thorney, very likely under Robert de Pruniers, abbot of Thorney 1113–51). A translation had already taken place at Saint-Evroul in 1130. The Anglo-Norman historian, Ordericus Vitalis, was a monk of Saint-Evroul and described monastic life there in his time and this particular translation. In England the cult of Evroul was soon eclipsed by that of Thomas of Canterbury on the same day, 29 December, but Deeping venerated him on 30 August.

Ninth-century Life in AA.SS.O.S.B., i. 354–61; Ordericus Vitalis, Historia Ecclesiastica (ed. M. Chibnall), iii (1972), 264–302.French verse Life ed. J. Blin, Bulletin de la soc. hist. arch d. de l'Orne, vi (1887), 1–83; E.B.K. after 1100, i. 129–32; B.L.S., xii. 230–1.

Subjects: Christianity.


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