St. Hermenegild (Feast: April 13)
Hermenegild and his brother Reccared were the sons of Leovigild, a Visigothic King of Spain and his first wife, Theodosia. Leovigild shared his kingdom with his two sons, placing Hermenegild upon the throne of Seville. Both had been raised as Arians, a heretical sect that denied the divinity of Christ.
Hermenegild, the elder, was married to Inguthis, a daughter of the Frankish King Sigibert I. Whereas he was Arian, she was a zealous Catholic, and her patient fortitude in the persecutions and torments inflicted on her by Leovigild’s second wife, Gosvint, as well as the instructions and exhortations of the Bishop of Seville, St. Leander, eventually lead to Hermenegild’s conversion.
Despite his father’s rage at his decision and the pressure from his family, Hermenegild held firm in his newfound Catholic faith. As the sovereign King of Seville, Hermenegild defended himself and his subjects against Leovigild’s attacks. However, being much too weak to withstand the sieges of such a strong power, and having been unable to secure any assistance from Constantinople and, subsequently, suffering a bitter betrayal at the hand of the Roman generals, Hermenegild fled, seeking refuge in a much venerated church in Osseto.
King Leovigild refused to violate this sanctuary and, instead, sent Hermenegild’s brother Reccared in to promise him pardon should he submit and come out. Hermenegild complied and came out to the convincing pretense of sincerity and joy from his father. However, once back in Leovigild’s camp, the king ordered him stripped of his royal robes, bound, and imprisoned in the tower of Seville, where the young prince had reigned for two short years.
His father's cruelty failed to move the young king from his resolve. Hermenegild was unwavering in his faith and even imposed additional austerities and penances upon himself during his imprisonment in spite of his already intense suffering. The last straw came for Leovigild when his son refused Communion from the hand of an Arian bishop who came to visit him during the solemnity of Easter.
He was subsequently beheaded on April 13 in the year 586.
DAILY QUOTE for January 21, 2021
SAINT OF THE DAY
One night, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and told him he must become a Christian.