Theobald of Provins

(d. 1066)

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(d. 1066),

hermit. Born at Provins (Brie) of the family of the counts of Champagne, Theobald with a companion called Walter opted for a hermit life in preference to a military one. They went first to St Remi at Reims and then on to Pettingen (Luxembourg), where they built themselves two small cells. As they were untrained in crafts or agriculture, they hired themselves out by the day in the neighbouring villages, making a simple living by unskilled work for long hours; during the night they sang the Divine Office. They went on pilgrimage to Compostela, to Rome, and to other places in Italy; they eventually settled at Salanigo, near Vicenza, whose bishop ordained Theobald priest after his companion Walter had died. A small community gathered round Theobald, who was eventually professed as a Camaldolese monk; his mother settled near him at the end of his life. He died on 30 June, and was canonized in 1073 by Alexander III. He is patron of charcoal-burners. Several English medieval churches are dedicated to him, but he is sometimes confused with other saints of the same name such as Theobald of Alba (Piedmont), patron of cobblers and porters, whose feast is on 1 June. Theobald of Provins' feast is on 30 June or 1 July; his cult is centred on Provins and Saint-Thibault-en-Auxois (Côte d'Or), where the Cluniac priory had received important relics.

B.L.S., vi. 245–6 and 443; AA.SS. Iun. V (1715), 588–606.

Subjects: Christianity.

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