Saint Arnulf of Metz – Feast Day on July 18th
Saint Arnulf of Metz (580 – 640), was the great-grandfather of Charlemagne, a military commander, civil administrator and bishop of Metz. Arnulf (his icon above), anglicized to Arnold for our purposes, is the patron saint of brewers, a distinction earned by saving the people of Metz from the plague by telling them to drink beer instead of water. It is recounted that he would tell his parishioners that “from man’s sweat and God’s love, beer came in to the world.”
A legend of St. Arnulf involves parishioners retrieving his remains from the solitary place that he retired to after tiring of the episcopal grind. On the way back to the Basilica of the Holy Apostles in Metz, the parishioners grew weary and ran out of provisions. A devout man name Duc Notto prayed, “By his powerful intercession the Blessed Arnold will bring us what we lack.” Immediately, the small amount of beer they had left at the bottom of the pot “multiplied in such amounts that the pilgrims’ thirst was quenched and they had enough to enjoy the next evening when they arrived in Metz.”
Saint Arnold of Soissons – Feast Day on August 15
St. Arnold was born in Tiegem, Flanders – the son, it is claimed, of a prominent brewer. He became a brave and famous knight before renouncing the world and joining the Abbey of Saint Medard in Soissons, France. He was living a life of almost total solitude within the abbey when he was pressed to become bishop of Soissons, to which he reluctantly agreed. Despite some successful efforts at reform, however, Arnold grew unhappy with the level of corruption and resigned, eventually founding the abbey at Oudenburg, where he died in 1087.
Arnold is the patron saint of Belgian brewers and hop-pickers because he admonished the people to drink pathogen-free beer instead of plague-infested water. It is said that during the height of the plague in Flanders he plunged his staff into a brew kettle, and those who drank from the kettle were miraculously cured. Some even credit him with being the inventor of filtration in the brewing process. One of St. Arnold’s symbols in Christian art is a brewer’s mash rake. (Bio excerpted from “Drinking with the Saints” by Michael P Foley)