Saint Hermenegild (ca. 564 - April 13, 585), or Saint Ermengild (San Hermenegildo) (from Gothic Ermen Gild: "immense tribute"), was a member of the Visigothic Royal Family in Hispania (the Iberian Peninsula, comprising both modern Spain and Portugal). His ultimate martyrdom was the catalyst in the Visigoths conversion from Arianism to Catholicism.
St. Hermenegild was the son of King Leovigild and brother to Reccared. He was brought up in the Arian belief, but married Ingund (the daughter of the Frankish King Sigebert I of Austrasia), who was a Catholic. Ingund was pressured by Leovigild's wife Goiswinth to abjure her beliefs, but she would not abandon her faith.
Under Ingund's influence, and that of St. Leander, Hermenegild was converted to Catholicism. His family demanded that he return to the Arian faith, but he refused. As a result, he led a revolt against Leovigild. He asked for the aid of the Byzantines, but he was left without aid. After some time he sought sanctuary in a church. Leovigild would not violate the sanctuary, but sent Reccared instead inside to speak with St. Hermenegild and to offer peace. This was accepted, and peace was made for some time. Goiswinth, however, brought about another alienation within the family. St. Hermenegild was imprisoned in Tarragona or Toledo. He subjected himself to mortifications, and asked God to aid him in his struggles.
During his captivity in the tower of Seville, an Arian bishop was sent to St. Hermenegild during the Easter Season, but he would not accept Holy Communion from the hands of that prelate. King Leovigild ordered him to be murdered, and the axemen found him to be resigned to this end. He was martyred on April 13, 585. The later conversion of King Reccared to Catholicism has been attributed to his brother's (St. Hermenegild's) intercession.
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