St. Judoc, Hermit
(Joder, Josse, Joyce, Joost, Jost, Judganoc)

13 December

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Died 668; feast of his translation is January 9. Son of the Breton king Juthael and younger brother of King Saint Judicael (f.d. December 17), Saint Judoc hesitated in his religious vocation. He renounced his position and wealth, and was ordained to the priesthood about 636 at Ponthieu; nevertheless, when his brother abdicated, Judoc ruled Brittany for some months. After a pilgrimage to Rome, he left Brittany and became a hermit at Runiacum near the mouth of the Canche (later Villiers-Saint-Josse, near Saint-Josse-sur-Mer and Etaples), where he died. He was entombed above ground and his body remained incorrupt. It is said that his hair, beard, and nails continued to grow and that his successors in the hermitage had to cut them occasionally (a similar story is related of Saint Cuthbert (f.d. March 20)).
Charlemagne gave Judoc's hermitage at Saint-Josse-sur-Mer to Blessed Alcuin (f.d. May 19) to use as a hospice for cross-Channel travellers. A New Minster tradition at Winchester relates that Judoc's relics were brought to Hyde Abbey about 901 on January 9 by some refugees from Saint-Josse. Saint Grimbald (f.d. July 8) enshrined them in the new church. It is interesting to note the Chaucer's "Wife of Bath" swears by 'God and by Seint Joce' and that the popularity of the saint in England is evidenced by the frequency of the Christian name 'Joyce' for both men and women.

His cultus also spread north to Flanders (where he is known as Joost), Germany, Austria, Alsace, and Switzerland following the discovery of a rival set of relics at Saint-Josse in 977 (Attwater2, Benedictines, Coulson, Encyclopaedia, Farmer, Walsh).

Saint Judoc is portrayed as a pilgrim with cockle-shells, staff and wallet, with the crown he renounced at his feet. At times a fountain may be springing under his staff, or he is shown with a book, staff, crown and sceptre near him and birds and fish around him (Roeder). There is a representation of Saint Judoc on the mausoleum of Maximilian at Innsbruck, Austria (Farmer). Judoc is venerated in Brittany, Franconia, Saint Josse-sur-Mer, Villiers- Saint-Josse, and Winchester. He is invoked against harvest fire, fever, and storms (Roeder). (Roeder).

Icon of St. Judoc

St. Judoc of Ponthieu as a pilgrim holding a staff and a book

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Page last updated: 13 December 2008
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