San Arnulfo

How could it be otherwise, brewers also have their own patron saint. In this case, it is San Arnulfo and, although it may seem strange or contradictory that brewers have their own saint, when the church preaches against excesses, it must be remembered that the first beers were brewed in monasteries.

According to the saints, Saint Arnulfo is celebrated on July 18, who is the patron saint of beer and brewers . The saint died on July 18, 640, so that day all the brewers in the world are celebrating. The saint is also known as San Arnulfo de Metz or San Arnulfo de Soissons.

Although it may seem strange that the Christian church, which usually preaches against excesses and habitually dismisses alcohol as something diabolical or harmful to the soul, dedicates a saint to brewers. However, it must be borne in mind that this was not always the case, since in the Middle Ages beer, wine and spirits were made in monasteries throughout Europe and parts of Asia.

In fact, within the Rituale Romanum, chapter 8 is dedicated to the blessing of beer and of the brewers. In this chapter, entitled Benedicto Cerevisiae, God is asked to bless the beer and the brewer with words such as: “Bless this creature beer, which you have deigned to produce with the best grain; let it be a salutary remedy for the human race…”

In fact, at that time, both beer and other liquors that were made in abbeys and monasteries such as Soissons, were mainly dedicated to curing illnesses. 

Who was Saint Arnulf?

It is believed that Saint Arnulf was born in the year 582 in the French town of Austrasia. As the son of a wealthy family, he was sent to serve in the court of King Theodobert II. There, under the protection of Gondulfo, the alderman of the palace, he learned much about politics and war, which earned him to enter the list of royal officials, becoming one of the main ministers of the crown , as well as a renowned commander, who participated in the battle of Soissons, and a great civil administrator.

He later married a noblewoman, Doda, with whom he had two sons, Ansegis and Clodulfo. However, Arnulfo’s aspirations were far from earthly life and he devoted many hours to study, meditation and religious thought. So much so that, years later, together with his faithful friend Romarico, he planned his retirement at the Lérins abbey.

It was in this way that in 612, at the age of 32, Arnulf became Bishop of Metz . From this position, Arnulfo demonstrated an exemplary character that earned him the fame of a holy and wise man. 

At this time, it was common for the water sources that people drank from to be contaminated. This was because outbreaks of “plague” were common and caused animals and people to die, their bodies falling into wells and water courses, poisoning them. 

Saint Arnulf devoted much of his efforts to warning the people of the time and his church members about the dangers of drinking contaminated water, asking his parishioners to drink beer instead , which had antibacterial properties.

After fifteen years as bishop, Arnulf retired to Remiremont Abbey in France, where he died on July 18, 640.

Why is he the patron saint of brewers?

Beyond his insistence on beer consumption, Saint Arnulf is the patron saint of brewers due to one of his best-known miracles. 

A year after his death, the citizens of Metz called for his body to be exhumed and transferred from Remiremont to Metz, to be buried in the local church where he had so often preached the virtues of beer.

The request was heard and the body exhumed. However, the means of the time were not the best and the journey between the two places was long and hard. Furthermore, that was a particularly hot year, so the procession of parishioners decided to stop at Champigneulles to rest.

Unfortunately for them, there was only one mug of beer left in the local tavern , which was entirely insufficient to quench the thirst of the funeral procession that accompanied the saint. At that moment, one of the parishioners exclaimed: “Blessed Arnulfo will provide us with what is lacking”, and from that moment on, the pitcher was never finished , so that everyone could drink as much as they wanted from it.

This is the so-called “miracle of beer” and the reason why both the Catholic and Orthodox churches designated Saint Arnulf as the patron saint of brewers.

However, this had not been his first miracle. Many years before he died, when he was still bishop of Metz, tired of wars and tormented by his sins, he threw his bishop’s ring into the river, asking God to return it to him only if he would forgive him for his sins. of the. Years later, a fisherman brought a fish to the bishop’s kitchen and inside it they found his ring.

Another miracle took place when Saint Arnulf wanted to stop being a bishop. At that moment there was a great fire in the basement of the Royal Palace, which seemed to spread throughout the city. However, the saint stood in front of it and exclaimed: “If God wants me to be consumed, I am in his hands”, and at that moment the fire was extinguished, saving the city and the palace.

All these miracles earned him to enter the list of patron and saints. For this reason, on July 18, Christian saints celebrate the day of Saint Arnulfo, patron saint of brewers.

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