Arnulf of Metz vs. Vincent of Saragossa

Like a fine wine or a craft beer, Lent Madness goes down smoothly with notes of penitence and joy. Fortunately, with today's battle, we have both possibilities at play. Arnulf of Metz is the patron saint of beer brewers; Vincent of Saragossa is the patron saint of wine makers. They have other identities as well, as you'll soon discover.

Yesterday, in what any commentators are calling a major upset, Catherine Booth doused Joan of Arc 63% to 37%.

You know, one of the things we love about Lent Madness is the ecumenical nature of both the bracket and the participants. We're happy to give our Lutheran friends some love, and bid you to check out the brilliant video podcast Reflections on Faith by the Rev. Tim Westrmeyer of St. Philip the Deacon Lutheran Church in Plymouth, Minnesota. Enjoy!

And then go vote.

Arnulf of Metz
Very few saints have the pedigree of Arnulf (also Arnold, c. 582–642). He was born into the royal Merovingian dynasty and became the third greatgrandfather of Charlemagne.

Arnulf’s life and career began in politics. As an administrator and military officer, he was intimately involved in the palace intrigues and power plays of his day. This eventually led to his appointment as the bishop of Metz, a position imbued with both political and religious importance in the empire.

Whatever his faith life was before his ordination and consecration, the position seems to have transformed him. He was known to be generous with his wealth, redistributing it to those in need. The people of Metz faced constant threat of illness, so the bishop advised them to drink more beer, which was boiled in the brewing process, rather than the water of questionable quality. During one particularly virulent outbreak of illness, Arnulf plunged his pectoral cross into a brew kettle, telling his parishioners, “Don’t drink the water, drink the beer.”

Troubled by the violence among the royal houses and worried that he had contributed to the feuds, Arnulf tossed his episcopal ring into a river and prayed that God would return the ring to him as a sign that he had been forgiven for his earlier life. Legend has it that years later, a fisherman brought dinner to the bishop; cutting into the fish, they discovered the ring in its belly.

At about forty years old, Arnulf withdrew to the monastic life. With a few close friends, he lived as a hermit in the French mountains. The former courtier and bishop lived out the rest of his days in prayer and contemplation.

One more outpouring of grace awaited. In the middle of the summer of 642, a group from Metz traveled to Arnulf’s mountain retreat to gather their beloved bishop’s remains and return them to the city. Trudging over the hard terrain in the heat, the group came to an inn and stopped to refresh themselves. Unfortunately, the innkeeper only had enough ale for one mug. However, as they passed the one mug between themselves, the beer never ran out. All of them had enough and were refreshed. Arnulf reminds us of the importance of life’s second act, and the value of a refreshing mug of beer.

Collect for Arnulf of Metz
O God, our heavenly Father, who raised up your faithful servant, Arnulf, to be a bishop and pastor in your Church and to feed your flock: Give abundantly to all pastors the gifts of your Holy Spirit, that they may minister in your household as true servants of Christ and stewards of your divine mysteries; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

—David Hansen


Vincent of Saragossa
Vincent of Saragossa was the first Christian martyred in the country of Spain. He was killed under the persecution of the emperor Diocletian in the year 304 in the northeast of Spain.

Vincent was born in Huesca, near Saragossa. He was ordained a deacon and became a preacher and spokesman for the bishop of Saragossa, Valerius, who had a speech impediment. Together, they were brought to Valencia and tried by Dacian, the governor of Spain under Diocletian. Vincent suffered extreme torture—being stretched on a rack, torn at with hooks, and burned on a hot gridiron. Through it all, he remained peaceful and refused to denounce the gospel or burn the Bible. His tranquility while suffering such pain converted his guards, which is a common occurrence in the narratives of early Christian martyrs.

While the elderly bishop Valerius was punished with exile, Vincent died upon a bed of pottery shards. He was wrapped in a sack and thrown into the sea, but his fellow Christians recovered his body and carried it to a spot now called Cape Vincent in Portugal. It is believed that ravens protected his body from vultures, and they continued to guard the shrine where his relics were interred. When Arabs ruled the region, they named this shrine the Church of the Raven. In the twelfth century, Saint Vincent’s body was exhumed and brought to Lisbon to buried at the cathedral.

Vincent is a widely venerated saint, thanks to many popular hagiographies of the Middle Ages. There are churches that honor him all over Spain, including Castres on the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela. When Christopher Columbus and his crew were the first Europeans to discover an island in the Caribbean on January 22, Saint Vincent’s feast day. Columbus named the island St. Vincent to honor the saint. Vincent is the patron saint of Valencia, Saragossa, and Portugal as well as wine, vinegar, and brickmakers.

His popularity reminds us of the power of the stories of the early Christians whose bravery and faith were so great they inspired the growth of the church. Vincent’s witness helps us remember not to oppress other minorities and reminds us that Christianity is a religion of peace, humility, and sacrifice, not domination or complacency.

Collect for Vincent of Saragossa
Almighty God, whose deacon Vincent, upheld by you, was neither terrified by threats nor overcome by torments: Strengthen us to endure all adversity with invincible and steadfast faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

—Amber Belldene


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Arnulf of Metz: XIIIfromTOKYO / CC BY-SA (
Vincent of Sargossa: Tomás Giner / Public domain


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171 comments on “Arnulf of Metz vs. Vincent of Saragossa”

  1. I'm going to have to douse myself with beer after Joan's loss yesterday. 🙂 I get why Arnulf would long for stillness. Arnulf for me today...I like his thinking outside the box.

  2. As a direct descendant of Arnulf of Metz, today's vote was easy. If only it were so easy to follow in his saintly footsteps.

      1. According to geneticists, it can be mathematically proven that everyone of western European ancestry is a descendant of Charlemagne. This is based on the world population at the time of Charlemagne, and on the fact that everyone's family tree consists of branches that intermesh once you trace the tree back a thousand years.

        1. love beer but gotta back Vincent given the guts he had to have had to prevail without a drop of ale but wine aplenty and unbounded faith

        2. And the LDS traces from Charlemagne back to Adam (through Bran the Blessed, Joseph of Arimathea, David, Judah, and Noah). It's a proud page in our otherwise humble family geneology.

  3. “Arnulf reminds us of the importance of life’s second act” — and he encouraged his people to follow best available protocol of his day during a pandemic. These are the two reasons I vote for Arnulf. A Saint for our times, and mine too!

  4. I feel really bad for Vincent, but even

    Beer was the breakfast drink in the US until early 1900's, which kept people safe since coffee came into vogue. History, you've got to love it!

  5. Without a witty or learned thing to add to the discourse, Arnulf has captured my vote today. While not really a beer drinker, these days I'm cheering on anyone whose actions are supportive of wellness and prevention of disease.

  6. Although I do enjoy a pint, I actually visited Metz in 2018, so I was leaning towards Arnulf before I even read his story.

    1. Thanks - God bless beer AND wine. Jesus made wine - and Vincent gave his all. Our blessed Mother Blossie is from St. Vincent - gotta go with Vincent. Come on wine lovers!!!! And I'm missing the communion wine - go away COVID!

  7. According to, Arnulf is a distant relative, so that secured my vote for him. Plus beer.

    1. Statistically speaking anyone with any European ancestry is related to Charlemagne, so we who have European ancestry are also related to Charlemagne's third great grandfather, Saint Arnulf, Bishop of Metz. See for a full explanation of why Charlemagne is the common ancestors of modern Europeans and those elsewhere with European ancestry.

  8. Here in Iowa we know in Heaven there is no beer. Voted for Arnulf because he had to find the balance between living in this world and living for the next.

  9. Arnulf gets my vote. My husband’s grandfather was given the French Leigon for encouraging hand washing among doctors. While that has improved, we are still fighting the battle for disease prevention today.

  10. I am aero for 6, and my bracket is destroyed. I had Matthias and Joan in the final. I have never had a record like this before! Now I kind of hope I am wrong on all of them.

  11. As a devoted wino, I am torn. I can tell which way the brewery wins are blowing, and my bracket so far is a disaster. Only one winner so far. Let me pour a glass of pinot noir and think about it.

  12. Traditional Scandinavian brewers used a "magic stick" or ring that they tossed into the fermenting beer, then brought out, dried, and used in the next batch. The live yeast that stuck to the stick became the starter for the next batch. They called it "God is good." Yes, indeed!

  13. My heart went out to Vincent, and also thinking of how many tortured have continued to bear the cost of Love, and stay loving. had to vote for him. The collect is perfect for this time we're in.

  14. JACKPOT! The video links gave me much craved information on The Dancing Saints! I’m so excited to learn the backstory of the Wonderful accompanying artwork - thank you!

  15. Enjoyed a beer last night after awful basketball game so will be voting for Arnuf today. B4 COVID last year my son & I enjoyed the Marchtoberfest Beer Festival but I haven’t heard about this year. Perhaps we should pray to Saint Arnuf for all the craft breweries we hope try.

  16. I am an avowed & practicing wine-bibber; I've been to Saragossa and some of the Vincent sites in Portugal; and my husband's name is Vincent; therefore, I have no choice but to vote for Vincent, though I suspect it's a lost cause. But Arnulf is a good guy, too, so, whatever the outcome, I'll raise a toast to it!

  17. I'm more of a cocktail girl, than wine or beer, but I do like a nice lambic on occasion and I have indeed missed communion wine over the last year. My vote went to Arnulf of Metz. "Whatever his faith life was before his ordination and consecration, the position seems to have transformed him. He was known to be generous with his wealth, redistributing it to those in need."

    One thing about the bio for Saint Vincent, it sounds like Saint Vincent would have wanted Columbus to ask the people already on the island what they called their island rather than name it after him. But how can we expect the guy who was trying to find India so he could stock up on spices but ended up starting the North Atlantic slave trade in the Caribbean to be that thoughtful?

    1. Amen, Ms. Jan!!! Lambec is nice, pinot better, but you can't beat a margarita or Cosmo!!! Beer is ok - but that fish story was quite catching. I'm still a Vincent girl - I like the man who can't recant!!

  18. I voted for St Arnulf of Metz. Who can argue with the patron saint of beer? I can also appreciate the importance of life's second act. He is also my ancestor! Vote for St Arnulf!

  19. As the granddaughter of Spanish immigrants ( from Aragon no less), I had to vote for Vincent. I have fond memories of our visits to Huesca and Zaragossa . I also was struck by his service to the ruler with a speech impediment. And who doesn't love a nice glass of wine !! Viva Espana!! Viva Vincent!


  21. No explanation for the vitner relationship for San Vincente, so Arnulf for the win today, cuz who doesn't like a bottomless mug o'beer?

  22. St. Vincent, after all he went through. I learned in Dr. Bruce Marshall’s class at Perkins that early Christians “did not pray for the martyrs; they asked the martyrs to pray for them.”

    1. Dr. Marshall is correct.

      Also, Go Red, Go Blue, Go SMU!

      I'm Class of '13, did my BA @ Meadows, but lived next to Perkins in Martin Hall. By senior year I could go from pillow to pew for University Worship in under 10 minutes on a Sunday morning. And coincidentally I'm currently wearing an SMU Peruna shirt.

    1. Thould it not be "Tharagotha," given that Cathtilian Thpanith hath had a lithp thinth the dayth of Ferdinand?

      1. The lithp references made me smile! I've been to Barcelona and the lithp does exist - at least it did in the 1970's!

      2. It's not a lisp. It's a feature of Castilian Spanish and is the standard way of speaking for tens of millions of Spaniards

  23. Beer it would be a easy one for me. But I picked Vincent on my bracket and I'll stick with him.