Servaas van Maastricht, Patron of European Cities Born in Armenia

Servaas van Maastricht, Patron of European Cities Born in ArmeniaSaint Servatius or Servaas van Maastricht (Armenian: Սուրբ Սերվատիոս, Latin Servatius van Maastricht, Serbatios) was the first bishop of Tongeren (modern Belgium), a patron saint of the city of Maastricht and the towns of Schijndel and Grimbergen, and one of the Ice Saints. His feast day is May 13.

There is no reliable information about the origins of Servatius. He was born in Armenia and came to the territory of modern Belgium and the Netherlands through Jerusalem.

The reason for his journey allegedly is a wonderful vision of an angel who ordered him to preach Christianity in the northern lands. He was ordained bishop of Tongeren in the territory of modern Belgium.

In Trier, Servatius met Athanasius of Alexandria, who was there in exile in 336-338. At the church in Serdica (modern Sofia) in 343, Servatius became the defender of Athanasius from the Arians (Athanasius himself mentioned this in his records).

Servatius entered the history of the church as one of the defenders of the Trinitarian dogma from the attacks of the Arians. In particular, he is known for his condemnation of the Arian bishops at the cathedral in Cologne in 346.

In 350, Servatius became the envoy of the usurper Magnentius to the Roman Emperor Constantius II in Edessa. At the local council in Rimini (359-360), he argued with the Arians for a long time, but was deceived and as a result signed the Arian Creed.

In 381-382, he made a pilgrimage to Rome, where, as legends tell, Apostle Peter appeared to him and ordered to transfer the episcopal chair to Maastricht due to the invasion of the Huns.

Servatius died in Maastricht in 384 (traditionally), where his relics are kept in the cathedral of the Basilica of Saint Servatius. Part of the relics of Saint Servatius is located at the Basilica of Saint-Lambert in Dusseldorf (Germany).

Heinrich von Veldeke wrote a poem in the folk (Limburg) dialect based on Latin sources about Servatius’s life. Medieval legends also attributed relationship with John the Baptist and 375 years of life to Servatius.

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