May 11

760 Death of St. Gengulphus

Gengulphus of Burgundy (aka Gengoux, Gengoult, Gangolf, or Gingolph) was a decent sort of fellow. Born into Burgundian nobility (such as it was in that dark age) he served King Pepin the Short at court and on the battlefield. He was known to be a pious Christian, a generous donor to the Church, charitable to the poor, and a good lord to the peasants on his estate. 

It was his misfortune to marry a woman of easy virtue. While Gengulphus was absent on a military campaign, she committed adultery with a priest. When the nobleman was informed of this on his return, his wife protested her innocence but Gengulphus put her claim to the test. He commanded that his wife dip her hand in a spring of water he had miraculously found and, to her horror, the hand was instantly scalded. Being of a merciful disposition Gengulphus merely banned his wife from further relations with him, banished the priest, and proceeded to live a life of charity and chastity.

Alas for the poor husband. The unfaithful wife contrived to have the criminous priest return and carry out a murderous plot against her spouse. The priest attacked Gengulphus as he slept and dealt him a wound which proved fatal, whereupon he and the hussy escaped, only to meet a suitably grisly end elsewhere. (One splendid account of the guilty couple’s fate reveals that the wife was cursed with bouts of uncontrollable farting.)

The Church considered him a martyr and his relics were widely distributed. He is the patron saint of betrayed husbands and unhappy marriages. 

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