Fructuosus of Braga

Fructuosus of Braga

Infobox Saint
name=Saint Fructuosus of Braga
birth_date=early 7th century
death_date=April 16, 665
feast_day=April 16
venerated_in=Roman Catholic Church

birth_place=Visigothic Kingdom of Hispania
death_place=Braga, (modern-day Portugal)
titles=Bishop and Confessor
attributes=Monk with a stag

:"For the martyr-saint of Tarragona, see Fructuosus".Saint Fructuosus of Braga was the Bishop of Dumio and Archbishop of Braga, a great founder of monasteries, who died April 16, 665. [Like many such accounts, his "vita" is clear on the day but hazy on the year.] He was the son of a Visigothic "dux" in the region of Bierzo and he accompanied his father at a young age on certain official trips over his estates. Fructuosus was a disciple of Bishop Conantius of Palencia.

St Fructuosus' relationship with the kings of his time was not always happy one. In 652, he wrote what was apparently a second letter to King Recceswinth asking for the release of political prisoners held from the reign of King Chintila, some of whom had languished in prison until the reign of King Erwig. In 656, he undertook to plan for a voyage to the Levant. However, according to the new laws enacted by King Chindasvinth, it was illegal to leave the kingdom without royal permission. One of the few disciples privy to his plans had given him up to authorities and Fructuosus was subsequently arrested and imprisoned. He was later present at the Eighth Council of Toledo in 653, in place of Bishop Riccimer of Dumio. It was at this Council that St Fructuosus raised the issue of political prisoners once again.

After the death of Bishop Riccimer, Fructuosus succeeded him in the See of Dumio. At the subsequent Tenth Council of Toledo (656), the clergy of Dumio complained that Riccimer's will, which dispensed church rents to the poor and freed the episcopate's slaves, had impoverished the See. The Council agreed that, by not providing compensation, Bishop Riccimer had obviated his duty and the acts of his will were rendered invalid. They gave the job of correcting the problem to Fructuosus and commanded him to take moderation in the case of the slaves. At the same Council, Archbishop Potamius of Braga was remanded to a monastery for licentiousness and his archdiocese was given to St Fructuosus on December 1, 656.

St Fructuosus was a true medieval saint in every way. He dressed so poorly as to be mistaken for a slave and he even received a beating from a peasant, from which he was only saved by a miracle (according to the monastic chroniclers). He founded his greatest monastery at Nono and attracted such a number of monks that the local dux complained to the king that he had lost too much of his military levy. His "Vita" is one of the chief sources for writing the history of his age.

Saint Fructuosus' feast day is observed on April 16. His relics, which for a time were in the Cathedral of Braga, were later transferred to the Shrine of Santiago de Compostela in the year 1102.



*Thompson, E. A. "The Goths in Spain". Clarendon Press: Oxford, 1969.

External links

* [ Catholic Encyclopedia: "St. Fructuosus of Braga"]

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