Born into a noble family in France, St. Anthelm was born in 1107, and hedied in 1178 on the 26th of June. He was born in a castle nearChambery
Early in life, he received an ecclesiastical benefice in the area ofBelley, and he was involved in the church politics. He only focused onimproving his power, however after a visit to the Carthusian changed hisview towards the vocation. He then went on to resign when he was 30years old to become a Carthusian monk at Portes.
His Works as a Monk
Two years after joining the order, he was made the prior of the GrandeChartreuse, which was the motherhouse of his order. This motherhouse hadincurred considerable damage.
St. Anthelm carried out his administrative duties effectively, and thecommunity increased in fervency and number. He was responsible forrestoring and improving the buildings. He even constructed a defensivewall and an aqueduct.
He standardized the rules of the order and changed the rules to allowwomen to enter the order in their own charter houses. He was a prior ofthe Carthusian Grand Chartreuse and bishop of Belley. He also broughtthe other houses of the order closer to the motherhouse and the monkswho were under him expressed great fondness of him including Hugh ofLincoln
St Anthelm was continuously served in his office for more than 24 yearsbefore leaving to become a hermit. In 1152 that is when he returned tothe Grand Chartreuse and he advocated for the sitting Pope Alexander IIIagainst antipope Victor IV. Pope Alexander III then appointed Anthelm asthe bishop of Belley.
As the bishop, St. Anthelm was fearless and did not make any compromisesas he worked towards reforming the clergy and regulating the affairs ofthe diocese. At one point he excommunicated Count Humbert of Mauriennefor holding a priest in captivity and for murdering another one, howeverthe excommunication was reversed after Humbert had appealed to the Pope.This resulted in St. Anthelm withdrawing from his diocese in protest.
His Last Days
St. Anthlem’s health was no longer in a good state as he failed totravel to England to try and reconcile Henry II of England and ThomasBecket after he had been commissioned to do so by the pope. He howeverreturned to Belley and took care of the poor and the lepers of the area.
He is venerated in the Roman Catholic Church. He is depicted holding alamp lit by a divine hand.
St. Anthelm’s feast day is on June 26 and his feast day has beencelebrated since 1607 by the Carthusians.
His relics were enshrined in Belley.
Saint Anthelm is a testament to the extreme importance that Christianityplaces on being meek and humble. Being humble and meek does not meanbeing quiet and submissive. Rather, it means accepting one’s lot inlife with courage and strength, and finding one’s identity not insuperficial things, but in God. Saint Anthelm was initially seeking onlypower. The example of the Carthusians, however, convinced him, as itcould convince many of us, that striving for power, authority andprestige is ultimately an unfulfilling goal.
5 Interesting Facts About St. Anthelm
- St. Anthelm was a hermit for a few years
- When he was on his deathbed, St. Anthelm received Humbert and
recognized that he had truly repented.
- St. Anthelm is also known as Anthelm de Chignin or Anthelme or
- St. Anthelm sought to increase his power and authority rather than
ability to serve when he initially heed the call to ecclesiastical
- St. Anthelm had the enmity of Emperor Fredrick Barbarossa due to
his support for Pope Alexander.
Prayer to St. Anthelm
Dear God, please help me to learn both humility and meekness.