Arnold of Soissons

Last updated
Arnold of Soissons
St. Arnold of Soissons is often depicted with a bishop's mitre and a mash rake.
Tiegem, Flanders
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church
Canonized 6 January 1120 by Pope Callixtus II
Feast 14 August
Attributes As a bishop, with a mash rake
Patronage hop-pickers, beer brewing

Arnold (Arnoul) of Soissons or Arnold or Arnulf of Oudenburg [1] (ca 1040–1087) is a saint of the Roman Catholic Church, the patron saint of hop-pickers and Belgian brewers.

Patron saint saint regarded as the tutelary spirit or heavenly advocate of a nation, place, craft, activity, class, clan, family, or person

A patron saint, patroness saint, patron hallow or heavenly protector is a saint who in Roman Catholicism, Anglicanism or Eastern Orthodoxy, is regarded as the heavenly advocate of a nation, place, craft, activity, class, clan, family or person.

Hops female flowers of Humulus lupulus

Hops are the flowers of the hop plant Humulus lupulus. They are used primarily as a bittering, flavouring, and stability agent in beer, to which they impart, in addition to bitterness, floral, fruity, or citric flavours and aromas. Hops are also used for various purposes in other beverages and herbal medicine. The hop plant is a vigorous, climbing, herbaceous perennial, usually trained to grow up strings in a field called a hopfield, hop garden, or hop yard when grown commercially. Many different varieties of hops are grown by farmers around the world, with different types used for particular styles of beer.

Brewing production of beer

Brewing is the production of beer by steeping a starch source in water and fermenting the resulting sweet liquid with yeast. It may be done in a brewery by a commercial brewer, at home by a homebrewer, or by a variety of traditional methods such as communally by the indigenous peoples in Brazil when making cauim. Brewing has taken place since around the 6th millennium BC, and archaeological evidence suggests that emerging civilizations including ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia brewed beer. Since the nineteenth century the brewing industry has been part of most western economies.



Arnold, born in Brabant, the son of a certain Fulbertus [2] was first a career soldier before settling at the Benedictine St. Medard's Abbey, Soissons, France. He spent his first three years as a hermit, but later rose to be abbot of the monastery. His hagiography states that he tried to refuse this honor and flee, but was forced by a wolf [3] to return. He then became a priest and in 1080, bishop of Soissons, another honor that he sought to avoid. When his see was occupied by another bishop, rather than fighting, he took the opportunity to retire from public life, founding the Abbey of St. Peter in Oudenburg. [4]

France Republic with mainland in Europe and numerous oversea territories

France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.

Hermit person who lives in seclusion from society

A hermit is a person who lives in seclusion from society, usually for religious reasons. Hermits are a part of several sections of Christianity, and the concept is found in other religions as well. Billionaire Howard Hughes is considered to be one of the most noteworthy examples of a public figure becoming a hermit.

Abbot Religious title

Abbot, meaning father, is an ecclesiastical title given to the male head of a monastery in various traditions, including Christianity. The office may also be given as an honorary title to a clergyman who is not the head of a monastery. The female equivalent is abbess.

As abbot in Oudenburg, Arnold brewed beer, as essential in medieval life as water. He encouraged local peasants to drink beer, instead of water, due to its "gift of health." During the process of brewing, the water was boiled and thus, unknown to all, freed of pathogens, making the beer safer to drink. The beer normally consumed at breakfast and during the day at this time in Europe was called small beer, having a very low alcohol content, and containing spent yeast. It is likely that people in the local area normally consumed small beer from the monastery, or made their own small beer at the instructions of Arnold and his fellow monks. During one outbreak of sickness, Arnold advised the local people to avoid consuming water, in favor of beer, which advice effectively saved lives. [5]

Brewery business that makes and sells beer

A brewery or brewing company is a business that makes and sells beer. The place at which beer is commercially made is either called a brewery or a beerhouse, where distinct sets of brewing equipment are called plant. The commercial brewing of beer has taken place since at least 2500 BC; in ancient Mesopotamia, brewers derived social sanction and divine protection from the goddess Ninkasi. Brewing was initially a cottage industry, with production taking place at home; by the ninth century monasteries and farms would produce beer on a larger scale, selling the excess; and by the eleventh and twelfth centuries larger, dedicated breweries with eight to ten workers were being built.

Small beer

Small beer is a lager or ale that contains a lower amount of alcohol by volume (ABV) than other beers, typically between 0.5% to 2.8%. Sometimes unfiltered and porridge-like, it was a favored drink in Medieval Europe and colonial North America against more expensive beer with higher alcohol. Small beer was also produced in households for consumption by children and servants.

One miracle tale says, at the time of an epidemic, rather than stand by while the local people fell ill from drinking water, Arnold had them consume his monastery brews. Because of this, many people in his church survived the plague. [6] This same story is also told of Arnulf or Arnold of Metz, another patron of brewers. There are many depictions of St. Arnold with a mashing rake in his hand, to identify him. He is honoured in July with a parade in Brussels on the "Day of Beer." [7]

Arnulf of Metz Frankish bishop

Saint Arnulf of Metz was a Frankish bishop of Metz and advisor to the Merovingian court of Austrasia, who retired to the Abbey of Remiremont. In French he is also known as Arnoul or Arnoulf. In English he is known as Arnold. He is claimed to be a direct descendant of Flavius Afranius Syagrius, being a rare case for descent from antiquity.

Mashing heating grain and water into mash

In brewing and distilling, mashing is the process of combining a mix of grains – typically malted barley with supplementary grains such as corn, sorghum, rye, or wheat – known as the "grain bill" with water and then heating the mixture. Mashing allows the enzymes in the malt to break down the starch in the grain into sugars, typically maltose to create a malty liquid called wort. The two main methods of mashing are infusion mashing, in which the grains are heated in one vessel, and decoction mashing, in which a proportion of the grains are boiled and then returned to the mash, raising the temperature. Mashing involves pauses at certain temperatures and takes place in a "mash tun" – an insulated brewing vessel with a false bottom.

Miracles that were reported at his tomb were investigated and approved by a council at Beauvais in 1121; Arnold's relics were translated to the church of Saint Peter, Aldenburg in 1131. [8] St. Arnold's feast day is 14 August. [9]

Miracle highly unusual event believed to be of supernatural or divine origin

A miracle is an event not explicable by natural or scientific laws. Such an event may be attributed to a supernatural being, magic, a miracle worker, a saint, or a religious leader.

Beauvais Prefecture and commune in Hauts-de-France, France

Beauvais is a city and commune in northern France. It serves as the capital of the Oise département, in the Hauts-de-France region. Beauvais is located approximately 75 kilometres from Paris. The residents of the city are called Beauvaisiens.

See also

Related Research Articles

Amandus Christian saint

Amandus, commonly called Saint Amand, was a bishop of Tongeren-Maastricht and one of the great Christian missionaries of Flanders. He is venerated as a saint, particularly in France and Belgium.

Gambrinus Culture hero of European legend, celebrated as an icon of beer


Beer in Belgium

Beer in Belgium varies from pale lager to amber ales, lambic beers, Flemish red ales, sour brown ales, strong ales and stouts. In 2016, there were approximately 224 active breweries in Belgium, including international companies, such as AB InBev, and traditional breweries including Trappist monasteries. On average, Belgians drink 84 liters of beer each year, down from around 200 each year in 1900. Most beers are bought or served in bottles, rather than cans, and almost every beer has its own branded, sometimes uniquely shaped, glass. In 2016, UNESCO inscribed Belgian beer culture on their list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity.

Drogo of Metz illegitimate son of Frankish emperor Charlemagne by the concubine Regina

Drogo, also known as Dreux or Drogon, was an illegitimate son of Frankish emperor Charlemagne by the concubine Regina.

History of beer describes the historical development of the brewing

Beer is one of the oldest drinks humans have produced, dating back to at least the 5th millennium BC in Iran, and was recorded in the written history of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia and spread throughout the world.

Itta of Metz, O.S.B. was the wife of Pepin of Landen, Mayor of the Palace of the Kingdom of Austrasia. After his death, she founded the Abbey of Nivelles, where she became a Colombanian nun along with her daughter, Gertrude of Nivelles. Both are honored as saints by the Catholic Church.

Gorze Abbey abbey located in Moselle, in France

Gorze Abbey was a Benedictine monastery in Gorze in the present arrondissement of Metz, near Metz in Lorraine. It was prominent as the source of a monastic reform movement in the 930s.

Gembloux Abbey

Gembloux Abbey was a Benedictine abbey near the town of Gembloux in the province of Namur, Belgium.

Břevnov Monastery

Břevnov Monastery is a Benedictine archabbey in the Břevnov district of Prague, Czech Republic. It was founded by Saint Adalbert, the second Bishop of Prague, in 993 AD with the support of Duke Boleslav II of Bohemia. The first Benedictine male monastery in Bohemia, it also has the oldest tradition of beer brewing in the Czech Republic. Brewing was interrupted several times in the history, but up to today, the Břevnov Monastery Brewery brew its beer here.

Saint John of Gorze was a Lorraine-born monk, diplomat, administrator, and monastic reformer.

Dom Martinus Dom, O.C.R., was a Belgian Trappist monk. He served as the first abbot of the Trappist Abbey of Westmalle, where he founded the Westmalle Brewery.

William the Walloon was a Benedictine abbot.

Abbey of Saint-Arnould Benedictine abbey in Metz, France

The Abbey of Saint-Arnould, St. Arnold,Saint-Arnoult or Abbey of the Holy Apostles is a Benedictine abbey residing in Metz since the 6th century.

Arnulf was bishop of Orléans. He is known for his feud with Abbo of Fleury, and his denunciation of the papacy.

Abbey of St. Peter in Oudenburg abbey in Oudenburg, Belgium

The Abbey of St. Peter in Oudenburg was an abbey established in 1070 by Arnold of Soissons.

Arnold I, Count of Looz (Loon), son of Emmo, Count of Loon, and Suanhildis, daughter of Dirk III, Count of Holland, and his wife Othelandis.

Arnold II, Count of Looz, son of Arnold I, Count of Looz, and Agnes von Mainz, daughter of Gerhard I, Count of Rieneck, and Helwig von Bliescastel. He is distinguished from his father of the same name by historians who note records for counts named Arnold or Arnulf between 1179 and 1141. The first Arnold must have died between 1125 when Count Arnold appears in a record with his son also named Arnold, and 1135, when a new Count Arnold appears with his own son and successor Louis.

Belgian beer culture Beer culture in Belgium

Belgian beer culture includes traditions of craftsmanship for brewing beer and is part of the diet and social life of Belgians. Its cultural value was formally recognized in 2016 when it was added to UNESCO's "Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity" list.


  1. Arnold has no connection with Oudenaarde, where several barons bore the name Arnulphus of Oudenaarde.
  2. "a gentleman of Brabant" according to John McClintock, Cyclopaedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature 1889 s.v. "Arnulph (St.)"; "a French nobleman" according to Alban Butler, Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Other Principal Saints (1866), s.v. "Arnoul, or Arnuphus, C.".
  3. Arnulf signifies "[noble] eagle-wolf".
  4. At Oudenburg he is known as Arnold of Oudenburg; the abbey was demolished at the time of the French Revolution.
  5. Millar, Rupert. "Beer Saint's Day: Arnold of Soissons" The Drinks Business", August 14, 2015
  6. Gately, Iain (2009). Drink: A Cultural History of Alcohol. New York: Gotham Books. p. 85. ISBN   978-1-592-40464-3.
  7. DC Beer. Original article written 28/08/2009 Retrieved 25/05/2016
  8. Patron Saints Index: Saint Arnulf of Soissons Archived March 22, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  9. Patron Saints Index: Saint Arnulf of Soissons Archived March 22, 2009, at the Wayback Machine