Feast Day : July 18
Patronage: brewers; millers; music; finding lost objects
Also known as: Arnold, Arnulph
Arnulf was born to a distinguished Frankish family in Austrasia, the eastern section of the original kingdom established by the Merovingian king Clovis I. He studied under Gundulf, mayor of the palace under Austrasian king Theodebert II, and was so skilled that he became a trusted minister of the king and eventual head of six provinces. These palace mayors (major domus) actually ran the civil and military affairs of the kingdom; later Merovingian kings were mere figureheads. Arnulf married Lady Doda, and they had two sons: Anseghisel and Clodulf. In 610, Arnulf planned to join the abbey of Lerins as a monk along with his friend Romaricus; Doda had already become a nun at Treves. But the episcopal see of Metz was vacant, and Arnulf was consecrated bishop in 611. He remained an officer and adviser at court, handling both civil and ecclesiastical business. In 613, following the death of Theodebert II, he and other nobles—principally Blessed Pepin of Landen—negotiated the installation of Clothaire II, king of Neustria, as king of Austrasia. Upon Clothaire II’s death in 623, Arnulf served as the new king Dagobert I’s tutor as well as chief minister. Arnulf wielded so much power that succeeding ministers were known as “Arnulfings.” By 626, Arnulf yearned for the monastic life and resigned his see. His son Clodulf eventually became the third bishop of Metz. Arnulf and his friend Romaricus, later St. Romaric, withdrew to a hermitage in the mountains at Vosges, where he lived until his death in 640. The hermitage later became the Remiremont monastery. Arnulf’s other son, Anseghisel, married St. Begga, daughter of the nobleman Pepin of Landen. Their son Pepin II of Heristal was the father of Charles Martel—Pippinid mayor of the palace under kings Chilperic II and Theuderic IV, sole ruler but not king of Austrasia from 737 to 741, grandfather of Charlemagne and founder of the Carolingian dynasty.