Legend has it that some of the relics of Saint Léger, which are today kept in a metal bust in the abbey, arrived in Meymac under peculiar circumstances.
Saint Léger was born around 615. He was the son of a noble Burgundy family, and a nephew of the Bishop of Poitiers. He became a deacon, then arch deacon, before being named Bishop of Autun in 663.
He was a supporter of the reunification of the Frankish Kingdom, at that time split into three, and he became counsellor to King Childeric II, ruler of the newly reunified Kingdom. But Saint Léger disapproved of the King’s marriage, so the furious King banished him into exile. After the death of Childeric, Léger was free to return from exile and once again took up his role as bishop. But Ebroïn, an old political foe, tried to get rid of him once and for all by laying siege to the town of Autun. After capturing Léger, Ebroïn had his tongue cut out and his eyes burned, after which he was condemned to death. Saint-Léger was beheaded in 679 and became a martyr two years later.
Photos credits :
– Détail de la statue représentant Saint Léger au pied du beffroi © Région Nouvelle Aquitaine, Inventaire général du Patrimoine culturel. S. Casenove, 2017.
– Le buste reliquaire de Saint Léger, église de Meymac © Région Nouvelle Aquitaine, Inventaire général du Patrimoine culturel. P. Rivière, 2017.
– Représentation de Childeric II, issue de l’Histoire chronologique des rois de France, médaille © Gallica, BNF
– Martyre de Saint Léger © Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dijon/François Jay
– Vitrail de l’abbatiale de Meymac représentant Saint Léger © Région Nouvelle Aquitaine, Inventaire général du Patrimoine culturel. P. Rivière, 2010
This is a statue of Saint Léger, whose relics are preserved in the church at Meymac. Listen to the audio guide for a brief history of Saint Léger.