I took a brief trip to Saarbrücken this week to present a paper at a
small conference. I managed to make a small detour to see the 13th
century gothic church of St. Arnual:
As described in remarkably identical wording on quite
a few Web sites,
Arnual... still preserves a village-like atmosphere, and seems a world
away from downtown Saarbrücken, though it is in fact just 3km distant.
Just off its market square, St Arnualer Markt, stands the Gothic
Stiftskirche, nowadays the Protestant parish church. It was the
favoured burial place of the House of Nassau-Saarbrücken, and contains
several dozen tombs of family members. The most imposing is that in the
middle of the choir to Elisabeth of Lorraine. A pioneering translator
of French novels into German, she is depicted in the widow's outfit she
wore on assuming the role of regent following the death of her husband
in 1429. Most of the later memorials are placed upright against the
walls; many are executed in a somewhat folksy version of the
Renaissance style and still preserve their bright polychromy.
I queued up among the masses and shuffled my way along the designated
tourist route, peering for my designated twenty seconds at the tomb of
Or more accurately, I walked into the empty church and inspected its
contents at my leisure, undisturbed by anyone. Perhaps the most
impressive was the tomb of Count Johann III of Nassau-Saarbrücken
(d.1472), depicted along with his two wives (Johanne von Loen and
Elisabeth von Württemberg) as illustrated on this
(scroll down to section "Saarbrücken, Landeshauptstadt. Evangelische Stiftskirche St. Arnual).
Some more historical information about the church can be found here
(both in German only, although if you do not speak
German, they can also perhaps use automated translation aids, as Google
, if you are ready to employ a certain level from
Who was St. Arnual? Not clearly listed in the register of Catholic Saints
apparently he is also known as St.
which matches up to the timeline
also linked above
Arnulf seems to be a popular name, or at
least a saintly one as there are six other St. Arnulfs listed in the
register at catholic.org. This particular St. Arnulf doesn't seem
to be a particularly exciting saint; a cynic might even say he's only a
saint thanks to royal patronage of King Theodebert II of Austrasia (who
gave him the village of Merkingen as a gift & changed its name to
St Arnual by royal decree) More biographical detail can be found here
Comparing him to the other saints who share
July 18 (as described here
he's definitely low on the list of impressive criteria for sainthood.
Here's my own ranking of the July 18 saints (all descriptions cribbed
from the breviary.net site linked above).
1. St. Gundenes, virgin.
... at four different times
stretched on the rack for the faith of Christ, horribly lacerated with iron
hooks, confined for a long time in a filthy prison, and finally put to the
2. St. Symphorosa, ... first beaten a long
time, then suspended by her hair, and lastly thrown into the river with a
stone tied to her body. Her sons were stretched by pulleys attached to
stakes, and completed their martyrdom in divers ways.
Emilian, martyr, who was cast into a furnace.
4. St. Marina,
virgin and martyr.
5. St. Frederick, bishop
Philastrius, bishop of [Brescia], who both by word and writing opposed the
heretics, especially the Arians, from whom he suffered greatly.
Finally he died in peace, a confessor renowned for miracles.
7. St. Camillus de Lellis, priest and
confessor, founder of the Clerks Regular Ministering to the Sick, the
heavenly patron of hospitals and of the sick.
8. St. Arnulf, a
bishop illustrious for holiness and miracles. He chose the life of a
hermit and ended his blessed career in peace.
9/10: At Segni, St. Bruno, bishop and
confessor; At Forlimpopoli in Emília, St.
Ruffillus, bishop of that city.
The miracles are only vaguely stated, although the hermitage moves him
up from the very bottom of the list. Without death, misery and suffering it's
hard for a sainthood to impress me.