Rulers persecute me without cause, but my heart trembles at your word.
Desiderius, Bishop of Vienne (France), was a model church leader who supported missionary activity, cared for the sick, enthused his clergy and challenged the ungodly lifestyle of the secular rulers of his day. This made him many enemies.
Desiderius’ chief persecutor was Queen Brunhildis, whose grandsons, Theodebert and Theodoric, were kings of Austria and Burgundy respectively.
Desiderius was accused of being too worldly because he read the great Latin classics and gave lessons in grammar. Despite being cleared by Pope Gregory the Great, Brunhildis brought a series of fictitious charges against him and had him expelled for four years.
On his return, Desiderius strongly condemned King Theodoric’s lifestyle to the court. For this, the king ordered three of his hired men to beat the bishop on the way back to his house. He was attacked so severely that he died as a result of his injuries.
O Lord, who by triumphing over the power of darkness, didst prepare our place in the New Jerusalem: Grant us, who have this day given thanks for thy resurrection, to praise thee in that city whereof thou art the light; where with the Father and the Holy Spirit thou livest and reignest, world without end.
William Bright (1824-1901), Parish Prayers (no. 295)