Confrérie Internationale
The History of Saint Hubert

In the year 683, Hubert, theson of Bertrand, Duke of Aquitaine and great-grand-son of Clovis, was a well known nobleman throughout the Gaul, by his intelligence, wealth and kindness.

He spent most of his time in the Ardennes, with his parent, Pepin of Herstal, powerful lord mayor of the palace of the King of Austrasia. He went hunting every day, ran through forest of which the impenetrable thickets were home to wild boars, deer, bears and wolves, and did not return the castle before night. He was always busy, training his swift greyhounds, huge Mongolian Bulldogs, hairy griffons and his falcons. He handled the axe, spear, knife and sword 
with equal dexterity. He served the game with steady hand.

One winter day at first light of dawn, Hubert rode out for hunting. It was the day of the celebration of the Nativity of Our Lord. The trees were laid with ice, a few snowflakes falling. And as he began to hunt, a white ten pointer deer of extraordinary size sprang from a thicket and ran before him, dragging him into the depths of the forest. After several hours of pursuit, the stag do still showed no fatigue while Hubert was broken. Suddenly, the deer stopped short and turned around. In a vision, Hubert saw between the horns, the image of a bright crucifix and he heard a voice saying: "Hubert! Hubert! For how long wilt thou pursue the beasts in the forests? How long will this passion make you forget the salvation of your soul? " Hubert, seized with terror, threw himself down and, like Saint Paul, he questioned the vision: "Lord! What should I do? " The voice told him "Go to Lambert, my bishop, Maastricht and repent." Hubert responds with vigour and enthusiasm, "Thank you, my Lord. You have my promise. I shall show myself worthy of you!. "

Hubert kept his word. He went to Lambert, his bishop, implored his protection and assured him that he wanted to spend the rest of his life to God. The bishop gave his blessing and put him on the path of salvation.

Hubert retired to the vollage of Andage in the forest of Champlon, where the Lord had shown himself in the form of a luminous crucifix between the horns of white deer. The rumour of his conversion spread through the Ardennes. Pagans, on learning this, converted en masse.

When Lambert, bishop of Maastricht, was killed by pagans, Pope Sergius called Hubert to succeed him. In the year 708, Hubert established his Episcopal seat at Liege, after taking care to have the remains of St. Lambert transported there. Since then, Hubert was constantly doing pious works, converted many pagans and encouraged charity.

He lived the rest of his life sick and suffering from a nagging and terrible illness that nothing could relieve. When he felt he quickly withered away, he made choice of his burial place ..... in the church he had built in Liege. "There you will dig my grave and place my remains in it. Hubert died on Friday, May 30st of the year 727 at the age of 71.

Eighty-eight years after the death of St. Hubert, the Benedictine monks of Andage claimed his remains. The Pope has given its permission and Valcand, bishop of Liege, ordered to escort the magnificently carved shrine, ordered by Carloman, to Andage, to put the relics of the Saint. This took place with very great ceremony, attended by the most religious Louis the Pious. However, when they were hunting in their possession, the Benedictine Andage could not resist the temptation to open it. They found the body of the Saint perfectly preserved. They then had the excellent idea to remove the stole of silk and gold from the shrine. This miraculous stole is all what remains of Saint-Hubert, and since then it holds the world in amazement.

During the French Revolution, the shrine and the remains of the Saint disappeared. It Assumed is, that the monks wanted to save the relics and brought them to a secret place that was never found.
There was a glimmer of hope when, in 2009-2010 the city of Saint-Hubert began the renewal works of the Place Abbatiale. Very ancient foundations were discovered in the underground.. But it was vain hope, because no trace of the shrine, or relics was found. But the hope of finding them one day remains of course alive.

One winter day in November, long time after the death of St Hubert, two noblemen hunted in the Ardennes forest near Andage. To their surprise, they found no trace of game. Dismayed, they suddenly remembered they were on St. Hubert's favourite hunting grounds. They made the vow to offer to the Saint the first animal. they would take. Their dogs immediately launched a huge boar, which led hunters and hounds to the walls of the monastery of Saint-Hubert. Here, boar stopped, without giving head, as if he offered himself voluntarily to the hunters. And all were in the greatest joy to see such a decision. But forgetting the promises they had made, the Lords gave the order to take the boar away. The latter, stood up at once, as if he felt indignant to be removed from his pious destination, sprang between the dogs and disappeared from the eyes of the with terror and remorse filled hunters.

Since that time, the 3th of November, which was the day of his canonization, is made Saint Hubert celebration day. On that day, hunters attend the hunts that are organized in honour of the Saint. The sound of the hunting horns wake up the villages in the Ardennes. The first game taken is offered to Saint Hubert.

Images of Saint-Hubert



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Confrérie Int. Les Compagnons de Saint-Hubert©2011