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St. Vindicianus

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Bishop of Cambrai - Arras, b. if tradition is to be believed, perhaps at Beaulaincourt, near Bapeaume, about 620; d. 2 March, probably between 693 and 712. This is the birthplace indicated in the documents dating much later than the saint's death, but which claim to reproduce an ancient local tradition. Nothing is known of his early years. On the death of St. Aubert, Bishop of Cambrai - Arras (about 668), Vindicianus was elected his successor. In any case he was bishop of this see in the reign of Thierry III of Neustria (about 673). The author of the "Gesta episcoporum Cameracensium", who is generaly well informed, declares that he does not know the duration of the episcopate of Vindicianus. Legend has crept into the history of the holy bishop, but the following facts may be regarded as certain. In 673 Vindicianus supervised the translation of the body of St. Maxellende to Caudri. In the same year he consecrated the monastery of Honnecourt sur l'Escaut, which was given in 685 to St. Bertin. In 675 he signed a charter of donation in favour of the abbey at Maroilles, rendered illustrious by St. Humbert. In the same year he consecrated the church at Hasnon. He was probably in relation with St. Arnaud of Tongres, since we find his signature to the latter's testament in 679. In 681 he claimed for his diocese the honour of possessing the body of St. Léger, the unfortunate victim of the political strife which was then filling Neustria with blood, but he did not succeed, the remains of St. Léger being confided to Ansoald, Bishop of Poitiers. His predecessor, St. Aubert, had founded the Monastery of St. Vaast, the building of which he had been unable to complete; Vindicianus finished it, apparently in 682, and placed it temporalities under the protection of Thierry III, who conferred numerous gifts on the monastery. In 685 a certain Hatta was placed at its head by Vindicianus. In the following year the latter dedicated the church at Hamaye, and acted at the exhumation of the bodies of Sts. Eusebia and Gertrude, who had been abbesses of the monastery of that name.

The events of his life after this date (686) are unknown. He was buried at Mont-St-Eloi. The region was ravaged by the Normans in the ninth century, and on more than one occasion the relics of the saint were in danger, until in 1030 Bishop Gerard of Cambrai had his body removed to the episcopal city. After having been at Douai and Arras, the relics were returned to Mont-St-Eloi in 1453. After still further translations, especialy in 1598 and 1601, the body was finally placed in the cathedral at Arras.


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