St. Sigismund
King of Burgundy:

42nd great-grandfather


The holy Sigismund and Antony the Great with Mary and the child by Nerrocio de Landi ca. 1495Son of Gunebald, the Vandal king of Burgundy, in the early 6th century, claimed to be a Christian but denied the divinity of Jesus Christ.

His son and heir, Sigismund, under the influence of Bishop Saint Avitus of Vienne, accepted the truth. In 515, Sigismund built the famous monastery of Saint- Maurice at Agaune in Valais, where many hermits had lived in scattered cells.  Sigismund succeeded his father in 516.

A Christian by faith, Sigismund had a hot temper, and was still close to his pagan roots. When his son opposed and insulted his second wife during a political dispute in 517, he ordered the young man strangled to death.

When Sigismund's temper cooled, he was appalled at what he had done to his son. He strove to make amends. He retired to the monastery of Saint-Maurice, bringing with him enough monks to ensure that the voice of praise could be heard at all times. The king became a lover of the poor, liberally distributing his goods in their service. But still he felt he had not properly made amends for the murder of Sigeric.

Gunebald had killed the grandfather of three royal sons of Clovis, king of the Franks. They decided not only to take revenge by attacking Sigismund; they also aimed at overrunning Burgundy, too. The three men conquered Sigismund in battle.

St. Sigismund and St. Korbinian with Mary and the child. Wood carving.Sigismund disguised himself in a monk's habit and hid in a cell near the abbey of Agaunum. For some time Sigismund escaped their swords, but he was eventually found, captured, and taken to Orléans for execution. His corpse was flung down a well at Columelle. His shrine is near the Abbey of Agaunum, where he is honored as a martyr; however his relics were translated to the cathedral of Prague by Emperor Charles IV.


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