The feast of Saint Eligius, patron saint of Army mechanics and metalworkers

The feast of Saint Eligius, patron saint of Army mechanics and metalworkers

Born near Limoges in 588, Eligius, also called Eloi and Eloy, trained to be a goldsmith. His craftsmanship was remarked upon and he was commissioned to make a throne of gold incrusted with precious stones for King Clotaire.

With the rest of the gold he had been given, he made a second throne, thereby demonstrating his extreme honesty.

King Dagobert made him one of his ministerial advisors. Eligius crafted many gold and silver pieces before taking holy orders in 633. He was made bishop of Noyon and died on 1 December 659.


Because of his master craftsmanship and unfailing honesty, he became the patron saint of goldsmiths, blacksmiths and metalworkers. His patronage was later extended to metalworkers and mechanical engineers in the armed forces. He is often depicted with a hammer or an anvil in his hand.

Saint Eligius is also mentioned by name in a popular French folksong called “Le bon roi Dagobert”.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION...

On-line article : website of the French Ministry of the Armed Forces, « Le bon saint Eloi », http://www.defense.gouv.fr/actualites/articles/le-bon-saint-eloi, 17 June 2015

Book : Jacques Duquesne, « Saint Eloi », Fayard, 18 September 1985, 232 pages

Photo source : Photo (C) RMN-Grand Palais (musée du Louvre) / image RMN-GP