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St. Anthelm

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Feastday: June 26
Birth: 1107
Death: 1178

Carthusian monk and bishop, defender of papal authority. Anthelm was born in 1107 in a castle near Chambery, in Savoy, France. He was ordained a priest and visited the Carthusian Charterhouse at Portes, where he entered the Order at the age of thirty. Two years later, in 1139, he was appointed abbot of Le Grande Chartreuse, which had been damaged. Anthelm made the monastery a worthy motherhouse of the Carthusians, constructing a defensive wall and an aqueduct. As minister-general, Anthelm also united the various charterhouses of the Order. Rules were standardized, and women were given the opportunity to enter the Carthusians in their own charterhouses. After a few years as a hermit, starting in 1152, Anthelm returned to Le Grande Chartreuse and defended Pope Alexander III against the antipope Victor IV. In 1163, the pope appointed him as bishop of Belley, France. Anthelm reformed the clergy and regulated affairs, going as far as to excommunicate a local noble, Count Humbert of Maurienne, who had taken one priest captive and murdered another priest trying to free him. When Humbert appealed to Rome and won a reversal, Anthelm left Belley in protest. Pope Alexander then sent Anthelm to England to mediate the dispute between Henry II and St. Thomas Becket. Anthelm was unable to undertake that journey. He returned to Belley to care for the poor and for the local lepers. On his deathbed, Anthelm received a penitent Count Humbert. Anthelm died on June 26, 1178. His feast has been celebrated by the Carthusians since 1607. His relics were enshrined in Belley. In liturgical art, Anthelm is depicted with a lamp lit by a divine hand.


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