Meister Eckhart vs. Drogo

Another day, another mystic, as the great thinker Meister (please don't call me 'Mister') Eckhart faces off against Drogo, 12th century saintly soul and patron saint of coffee. WARNING: Don't even try to make your choice without first drinking a hot, steaming cup of coffee -- as long as this action will in no way ultimately influence your vote.

Yesterday in a tight, emotionally-charged contest, amid heavy voting, Julian of Norwich prevailed over William Wilberforce 52% to 48%. Julian will face the winner of Roch vs. Gertrude in the next round.

The SEC also released their weekly Monday Madness video in which a contest(!) was announced. Watch now to learn how you can own the cardboard cutout of 2015 Golden Halo winner, Francis Assisi (as seen at the Episcopal Church's 2015 General Convention).

And finally, if you need to add some extra Lent Madness commentary to your day, tune in to Priest Pulse's recent interview with one half of the Supreme Executive Committee (Tim). We suggest listening to it while on the treadmill, for that extra motivation, or during your commute, to make it speed seamlessly by.

Meister Eckhart


Eckhart von Hochheim, commonly known as Meister Eckhart, is one of the greatest mystics of the Christian tradition. After his initial schooling, he alternated between the universities at Cologne and Paris, first as a student and later as a professor. Born in Germany around 1260, Meister Eckhart joined the Dominican Order of Preachers as a young man. He returned to Strasbourg in 1314, but his popularity soon began to draw the wrong kind of attention.

Encouraged by the Archbishop of Cologne, the head of the Dominican Order in the German region investigated the soundness of Eckhart’s doctrine and cleared him of heresy. Unsatisfied with these findings, the archbishop ordered a more formal and comprehensive review. In February, 1327, despite Eckhart’s public declarations of innocence, he was called before the Inquisitors, who declared him a heretic.

Eckhart appealed his conviction to the Holy See. Accompanied by his Dominican superiors, Eckhart traveled to Avignon and submitted himself to
the judgment of Pope John XXII. Following the usual procedure, the appointed examiners did not receive complete texts of the writings to be judged, only suspicious lines taken out of context. On March 27, 1329, the papal commission upheld the conviction from Cologne, but by that time Eckhart had died, insisting to the end that he was faithful to the teachings of the Church.

Eckhart was a subtle and creative thinker. His Latin commentaries, produced for advanced Dominican students, demonstrate his mastery of the technical categories of the Scholastic philosophy. His German sermons were engaging and poetic, filled with puns and wordplay, drawing heavily on the vocabulary of courtly love, adapting it to speak of the birth of the Word in the soul.

After centuries of neglect, Meister Eckhart’s teachings experienced a revival at the end of the nineteenth century. Similarities between his thought and the mystical traditions of Asia have made him a fruitful resource for modern interreligious dialogue.

Collect for Meister Eckhart
O God, create in us hearts reconstructed by your simple goodness. Thank you for the life of your servant Meister Eckhart, who, for the love of you, put his life and honor at the feet of power to speak plainly of your abundance. Grant that we too might be awed by your marvelous depth of creativity and mystery, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

— Derek Olsen


Drogo Sint_Druon

Near the beginning of the twelfth century, Drogo was born into a family of Flemish nobility—but his path began to change immediately. Drogo’s father died prior to his birth, and his mother died because of complications in childbirth. The newborn orphan was given over to the care of family members. When he was ten-years-old, Drogo, a sensitive child, was devastated to learn the cause of his mother’s death and held himself personally responsible for it.

Reaching adulthood, Drogo renounced the wealth and ease that was his birthright and became a shepherd in the Flemish countryside. During his time in the pastures, Drogo developed a reputation for holy living and for the spiritual gift of bilocation. Tradition holds that Drogo would be observed in
the fields praying while watching his flocks and simultaneously attending worship in the village.

After a time, perhaps still seeking to assuage the guilt he felt for his mother’s untimely death, Drogo felt called to head out on pilgrimage. Drogo traveled to Rome in order to encounter the holy places and relics there. Over the course of nine years, he traveled to Rome and back nine times.

These pilgrimages came to an end when Drogo was afflicted by an unknown malady, which caused him disfigurement and estrangement from his community. In order to protect the residents of the village where he lived from his appearance, Drogo took up a hermit’s life. He took up residence in a cell adjacent to the local parish church and lived there for the rest of his life. Stories say that when a fire engulfed his cell, Drogo refused to leave and was discovered praying among the ashes.

Lately discovered by popular culture, Drogo of Sebourg is the subject of countless listicles, thanks to his identification as the patron saint of coffeehouses and baristas. Drogo died on April 16, 1186, and was buried in the parish church in which he had spent the majority of his life. For obvious reasons, Drogo is the patron of unattractive and repulsive people. It is less clear why he has long been associated with coffee—so we will pour another cup and ponder this connection.

Collect for Drogo
God of unsearchable wisdom, you hear us praying even among the ashes of our lives. Thank you for the example of your servant Drogo, who lived a life of deep prayer despite profound suffering, who walked holy roads and prayed for worldly souls. Grant us the grace to seek your face in all things and in all places. We ask this for the love of your son, Jesus. Amen.

— David Hansen

[poll id="145"]

Meister Eckhart: Meister Eckhart, Skulptur in Bad
Wörishofen, Kneippstraße. Image by Lothar Spurzem
(Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.0 de (http://creativecommons.
org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/de/deed.en)], via Wikimedia


Drogo: By Unknown, 18th-century drawing [Public
domain], via Wikimedia Commons


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288 comments on “Meister Eckhart vs. Drogo”

    1. I voted for him because he lost his parents and because he had such humility. Hiding himself away so he wouldn't upset others over his disfigurement is sweetly sad. I would have liked to have known him.

  1. Perhaps Drogo will grow on me but Meister Eckhart has been a friend for so many years, I have to vote for him. I guess I will go and make a cup of coffee.

    1. I was disappointed a Rocky reference did not appear within the hallowed confines of the above commentary. Delighted it made it into early comments. Well done, Sir.

      1. The fun things happen in the next round. The first rounds are more factual and serious than the later ones. That is probably why the Rocky reference didn't appear in the commentary. Should Drogo go on, I'm sure the Rocky reference will be made.

  2. Google Meister Eckhart and read his wisdom!
    “If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough.”. ."Truly, it is in darkness that one finds the light, so when we are in sorrow, then this light is nearest of all to us."

      1. Most of it was quite technical: whether Eckhart had said that the soul could become so totally one with God as to lose its existence and 'become' God' in the strongest possible sense. This is not a fair account of Eckhart's thought, but it's easy to see why a court might think that was what he was saying on the basis of sentences wrenched out of their context. Eckhart was a bit of a victim of the fact that he did a lot of his theology in the form of sermons, rather than writing propositional systematics, which are much less easy to understand. They're also much duller to read...

        Of course, there's also some evidence that a lot of the problem was down to the Archbishop of Cologne's jealousy of the Dominicans and their hotshot academic/ preacher...

        1. Thank you for the insight Mthr Jo Kershaw. I voted for Meister Eckhart. I also love the collect written by Derek Olsen.

        2. Now I am going to have to vote for Meistersinger Eckhart, after learning of his view of the soul.

    1. Yes! Thanks for the quotes and explanation. I love knowing what these teachers really taught and died for. I'm have a soft spot for academics, and for Eckhart has my vote.

    1. yes, bilocation and coffee. Ideally to be able to be in a coffee house and at the office at one and the same time. I can pray can't I?

  3. Seriously? Not biased by coffee? There is no possibility of this. Drogo for the win. i will raise a cup of Joe to Dro.

  4. Praying among the ashes...good read over my morning joe. My heart wrenched at the thought of his looks and how he must have been treated, through it all he remained faithful.

        1. Me, too. But at least I got here.
          While I'm commenting on your comment--I went for Meister Eckhart, mainly for the idea that thankfulness brings us close to God.
          But I'm glad so many are supporting Drogo, not only for his life and being patron of coffee, but because he lent his name to the father of Frodo Baggins.

          1. Oh, I KNEW I'd seen that name before, though the Saint was new to me. As a coffee fiend, I had a moment of tremulous unease, but Meister Eckhart has given me come-hither looks and gestures for years. My prayer life often boils down to "help," "thanks," and "oops." I suspect Eckhart said the others, too.

            I hate spelling suggestions! This stupid thing wanted to make Eckhart either a Meistersinger or just plain Moister! Argh!!!

      1. Yes -- the email was in a different form from usual -- there is no link that says "read more." I had to get here through "more comments" as well.

        1. Yes, the email and phone views were different today as usual. Usually at the end of the email it says "Read more" and has a button and you vote there. Not on today's email though.....

      2. Can vote from your phone, but just can't do it from within the email. Have to visit the post on the website via your phone's browser.

      3. But I did vote from my phone. An iPhone of course, but a phone all the same. Perhaps because I was sipping coffee from my LentMadness mug at the same time?

        1. You can vote on your phone, a tablet, a desktop, or whatever. The key is that you have to visit Leaving a comment, sending a carrier pigeon, or telling your next door neighbor is lovely, but none of those will be an actual counted vote.

          You can also write your vote on a $20 bill and send it to the SEC, and they'll see that your vote is counted. But other than that, you have to vote on

      4. Yes you can vote from your phone. I just did. I am still somewhat stunned that Wilber Wilberforce did not win. He ended slavery in Great Britain and the colonies. I am a doer, not a contemplator.

    1. Today's e-mail reminder appears to have a formatting problem, with no "Vote" button provided. A simple workaround is to point your browser to , then click "Read More" near the bottom of today's post. Then you *will* find a "Vote" button.

    2. When you say you are voting from your phone what is happening is that you are reading Lent Madness sent to you thru email. When you click on Read more that is opening up a browser which goes to the web page where you will vote. Today Read more was not there - what you can do is click on the saints name at the top of the email, that will also take you to the web page. What is happening behind the scene technically is that the email is bilocating to the browser.

  5. Drogo is pretty cool and I'm always a fan of people lacking in physical beauty as well as those who hang out with sheep. However, for me people convicted by church councils of heresy are my hands down favorites. Also, voted for Meister Eckhart because of his significance in modern interfaith dialogue.

    1. ME, too! Misjudged, misread--happens to me every time I write more than a one-sentence e-mail! Perhaps Meister Eckhart ought to be the patron saint of e-mail...

      I also voted for him because of his writing. He had a sense of humor... Drogo? not so sure... hanging out with sheep is a positive step, but he seemed too bent on self-torture.

      1. See what your autocorrect does when you type "Meister." Mine changed it to "Meistersinger " -- good thing I caught it.

  6. To be so misunderstood, and to be so conspired against! Most people would have gone into some attitude of 'Whatever, it's their loss.' Not Meister E. A prophetic voice that speaks to us now, thank you for not giving up or giving in to those of your time.

  7. Prepared to vote for Meister Eckart but And patron saint of unattractive people. You didn't even mention that he shares his name with a hobbit...Drogo it is.

  8. Good heavens, I must leap in to defend my Meister. He has long given me wisdom--and I vote for him since he had the courage to die for what his heart told him.

  9. The lovely priest and thinker John O'Donohue first drew my attention to the writings of Meister Eckhart. In remembrance of him, and for all those whose thinking and living puts them on the wrong side of the church authorities I cast my vote for Meister Eckhart.

  10. My first thoughts were Meister because of the Inquisition and being convicted of heresy. But then I read Drogo's bio: an orphan who later develops a disease that makes him so unattractive that he becomes a hermit to spare the villagers his looks. Then there is the whole bilocation thing. How could I resist? I'm not a coffee drinker so that didn't sway me at all.

  11. Game of Thrones. Khal Drogo, ill-starred husband of Daenerys Targaryen. There. Drogo has my vote this morning.

    1. I knew I'd heard that name somewhere! That seals my vote for Meister, actually (I am surrounded by Throne-o-holics), as does his standing up to men who misappropriated power.

    2. Yours is the first GOT reference in the comments. I expected more from this bunch, but there you go.

  12. I have to vote for Drogo. Coffee and unattractive / repulsive looking people? Sounds like my kinda guy.

  13. The biographer tells us that the soundness of Eckhart's doctrine was investigated but does not tell us what that doctrine was. If I had a better idea what the Meister was espousing it might influence my vote. Cool that he defended his ideas to the end, and was a good servant, submitting himself to the judgement of the Pope. But in the end it sounds like politics...the archbishop had some beef with him and just wouldn't let it go.
    Drogo - cool name, orphaned, lots of angst and guilt. Big faith,gave up his wealth and potential power for the shepherd's life. BILOCATION! Disfigurement, the hermit's existence, many pilgrimages to Rome. All in all, a classic tortured soul - tssted by God from the very beginning of his life right up to the end of it. Have to go with Drogo. AND being the patron of repulsive people and baristas/coffee drinkers? Drogo may go ALL THE WAY!

    1. I completely agree w/Steven. I read Meister Eckhart first and was left thinking "that wasn't written very well if I have to search for the true reason behind the heresy." So I sat there with my coffee and read though it again. Nope, I still didn't fully understand the magic behind the Meister. So I move on to Drogo...and I only had to read it once. He had me at bilocation, and then came the bit about coffee. No question who the true matchup-meister is today for me.

  14. Drogo Lives!! Must have been the first speed-walker to & from Rome, perhaps he should also be the patron saint of cobblers as well as coffee.

  15. Drogo of Sebourg is the subject of countless listicles ...
    Listicles? Before I looked up the word you had me wondering what a listicle could be. But now I know 10 reasons. 🙂

  16. Drogo. Even though I had never heard of him before just now and Meister E is a well known figure quite worthy of his halo, I think it's awesome that the unattractive of this world have a patron saint...and coffee, my goodness! Think of the kitch round. Let us not forget that dear Drogo also appears to be the patron saint of ADHD, since he seems to have been a master multitasker.

  17. Meister Eckart receives my vote because he had to deal with Pope John XXII (not be be confused in any way with saintly Pope John XXIII). Imagine, taking something out of context to prove your point. I'm glad such behavior is not evident today. I will, however, think fondly of Drogo as I sip my coffee this morning.

      1. Usually vote in the AM from the tablet; didn't work this morning, and I couldn't even vote from my desktop this evening, either. Finally succeeded via the website with a vote for Meister Eckhardt, despite the caffeinated call of Drogo.

    1. Another tea drinker here, so coffee doesn't do it for me. I'm not into tortured souls, but standing up to those accusing unjustly -that I can vote for. Meister Eckhardt!

  18. Coffee and prayer. Drogo, a shepherd, an orphan, disfigured, praying in the could I not vote for this Saint? I raise my cup of Java to you, Drogo.

  19. "Listicles"???
    As a note, I've been voting from my phone, but sometimes, in order to get the voting buttons, you have to click the Comment button first.