Eloy of Nonon – Saint Eligius

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Saint Eligius ( AKA Eloy of Noyon )

(588–659) In Christian legend, patron saint of metalworkers, goldsmiths, farriers, and horses.

Feast, 1 December.

Eloy was a goldsmith of Limoges who went into the service of King Clotaire II in Paris.

The king asked him to make a throne for him, and Eloy was supplied with gold and jewels for the work.

After making the throne, there was so much precious metal and so many stones left over that Eloy made a second throne for the king rather than pocket the leftover materials.

The king was so pleased with the work and with Eloy’s honesty that he took him into his confidence.

Clotaire’s successor, King Dagobert, made Eloy the master of the mint.

He cast the dies for the coinage of the realm (13 are known to bear his name).

When King Dagobert died, Eloy was made bishop of Noyon.

He was sent to preach in Belgium and, legend says, he went as far as Sweden and Denmark.

Before his consecration as bishop, he was tempted by the devil.

One day a horse was brought to him to be shod. The animal was possessed by a devil. Eloy cut off the leg of the horse and quietly put on the shoe.

When he was done he made the sign of the cross over the leg, and it attached itself to the horse.

The greatest oath of Chaucer’s prioress in The Canterbury Tales is “By Seint Eloy.”

In Christian art Saint Eloy of Noyon is portrayed either as a bishop or a smith. In either case he holds his smith’s tools, tongs, hammer, or bellows. The miracle of the horse is portrayed on the exterior of Or-San-Michele at Florence by Nanni di Banco.

Last updated: November 19, 2012 at 22:39 pm

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