December 16

St. Ado of Vienne

Saint Ado of Vienne

Intelligent, bold, humble are some of the adjectives that best describedthe saint of the day. This ninth-century scholar and historian commandedthe attention of Popes and Kings for his outstanding virtues and piety.

Noble Beginning

Ado was born on 1 January 800 into one of the most wealthy andaristocratic families in Sens, present-day north-central France. Hisparents sent him off to a Benedictine monastery reputed to be highlydisciplined and versed in education, seeking the best for their son.

At the Ferrieres Abbey, France, young Ado was under the tutelage of thefamous Abbot Lupus. Ado being intelligent and good with his studies butstill humble, had the attention and admiration of his teachers.

Being an outstanding youth armed with nobility and excellent education,many people expected and urged Ado to take up a career in one of themany fields deserving of a person of his standing in the society.

But, Ado chose a very different path.

Dumping Nobility

Ado renounced his inheritance and joined the monastic life at FerrieresAbbey, becoming a Benedictine monk. Later, at the request of AbbotMarcward to the Ferrieres, Abbey Ado transferred to Prum near Trier,Germany.

At Prum, Ado was charged with the teaching of the Sacred Sciences. Heexcelled in whatever he does, and his holiness earned him envy fromother monks. When abbot Marcward died in 853, some brothers conspiredand chased Ado out of the monastery.

Ado moved to Rome, where he spent about five years as a pilgrim andvisiting tombs of the apostles. He later moved to Ravenna, Italy, wherehe spent time gathering hagiographical materials.

He found an old copy of the Roman martyrology, which he used to write anew version published in 858.

Ado went back home to France and settled at Lyon, where he was welcomedby archbishop Remigius (St).

Archbishop of Vienne

At Lyons, Ado served as the parish priest of St.Romain. His consistencyand sincerity are always reflected in his work.

In 859, Ado was appointed the Archbishop of Vienne in Lortharingia byPope Nicholas 1 and was consecrated in 860. Ado knew the obligations ofhis office and discharged them with utmost courage and in favor of noone but God.

As bishop, he sat in many Councils and held several reforms at Vienne.Notably, his reform on the moral laxity and decadence among the clergyand the faithful. Ado raised the bar by leading by example. The prayerlife and ethical practice of the church in Vienne shot up.

As Shepherd of Vienne, he believed in the saying that the ‘Body needsboth physical and spiritual food,’ Ado did not only concern himselfwith the spiritual needs of his sheep. He cared for the well-being ofthe poor. At his expense, hospitals were raised for the reception andcomfort of the needy.

A Lone Voice at the Council

In 862, King Lothair 11 of Lotharingia divorced his legally wedded wifeTheutberga to marry his mistress Waldrada. To lean credence to hisactions, he bribed the bishops and clergy who would be sitting at acouncil set up by Pope Nicholas 1 to investigate his divorce.

When Metz’s Synod (council) was held in 863, they tendered falsedocuments supporting King Lothair 11.

The only different voice at the council was Bishop Ado of Vienne. Adoset off to Rome to give the correct report to the Pope. Oninvestigation, pope Nicholas denounced the board of Metz and its ruling,describing them as not being worthy of the name synod comparing them toa brothel.

For his piety and virtues, Ado won the admiration of Pope Nicholas 1 andhis successor Pope Adrain 11, also kings Charles the Bald and Lewis ofGermany. The kings are inclined to his advice.

Farewell Ado

Ado remained in Vienne serving God and people until it pleased the goodLord to call him home to himself on 16 December, 875.

His feast day is 16 December, the date of his death.

5 Interesting Facts About St. Ado of Vienne

  1. A fantastic historian, Ado wrote many books and authored the lives
    of St.Desiderius, a martyr of the faith, and St. Theuderius, a
    hermit and abbot of the 6th century.
  2. Seen a saint with a great combination of humility, courage, and
    intelligence? Ado of Vienne had a good dose of both. No matter how
    high his accomplishments flew, he remained very humble.
  3. He never took his eyes off his goal for 15 years and 3 months as
    Archbishop of Vienne. Till today, he is honored in the church of
  4. Ado always starts his preaching by saying, “ Hear the eternal
    truth which speaks to you in the gospel OR Hear Jesus Christ who
    said to you “. He was never afraid of telling the truth the way
    it is.
  5. Just like Paul had said to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “
    Imitate me then, just as I imitate Christ.” In the same way, Ado’s
    life speaks to the Vienneians. He gave power to his words by
    leading through example.

Prayer to St. Ado of Vienne

There is no official prayer to St. Ado of Vienne.

St. Ado of Vienne, Pray for us