Seint Joce

(d. c. 668)

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(d. c.668),

prince and hermit. A son of Juthael, king of Brittany, Judoc renounced his position and wealth c.636, was ordained priest, went on pilgrimage to Rome, and then became a hermit in Ponthieu in the place later called Saint-Josse-sur-Mer (near Étaples) where he died. His body was claimed to be incorrupt, his beard and hair were trimmed from time to time by his followers (as was claimed for Cuthbert). Charlemagne gave this hermitage to Alcuin to be used as a guest-house for English travellers; Judoc's connection with England was substantially strengthened when c.902, while the New Minster at Winchester was being built, there arrived some refugees from Saint-Josse who brought with them the relics of their founder. Grimbald enshrined them in the new church. Consequently feasts of Judoc were kept at a high rank at Winchester; Winchester influence is inferred when they occur elsewhere in English calendars.

His popularity in England may be deduced from the frequent Christian name Joyce (for both men and women) and from the use of his name in oaths by the Wife of Bath in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales (‘by God and by Seint Joce’). The cult of Judoc also spread partly through the discovery of a rival set of relics at Saint-Josse in 977 from northern France to Flanders (where he is sometimes called Joost), Germany, Alsace, Switzerland, and Austria, where he is represented on the mausoleum of Maximilian at Innsbruck. In art his usual emblem is a pilgrim's staff, with a crown at his feet symbolizing his renunciation of royal power and honour. There seem to have been no ancient English church dedications but there were plenty abroad in the areas mentioned. Feast: 13 December; translation, 9 January.

Propylaeum, p. 581; J. Mabillon, AA.SS. O.S.B., ii. 542–7; for other lives see B.H.L., 4504–11; M. Chibnall (ed.), Ecclesiastical History of Orderic Vitalis, ii (1969), 156–66, 366–7; J. Trier, Der heilige Jodocus (1924); B.L.S., xii. 114–15; D.C.B., iii. 467–8.

Subjects: Christianity — Literary Studies (Early and Medieval).

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