Abrahamic / Middle Eastern Christianity Who Was Saint Eligius (A Patron Saint of Horses)? Eligius also is venerated by metalworkers Share Flipboard Email Print De Agostini Picture Library/Getty Images Christianity Catholicism Saints Beliefs and Teachings Prayers Tips Worship Holy Days and Holidays Christianity Origins The Bible The New Testament The Old Testament Practical Tools for Christians Christian Life For Teens Christian Prayers Weddings Inspirational Bible Devotions Denominations of Christianity Funerals and Memorial Services Christian Holidays Christian Entertainment Key Terms in Christianity Latter Day Saints View More By Whitney Hopler Religion Expert B.A., Comparative Religion, George Mason University Whitney Hopler has written on faith topics since 1994. She is communications director for the Center for Advancement of Well-Being at George Mason University. our editorial process Whitney Hopler Updated June 25, 2019 St. Eligius of Noyon is the patron saint of horses and people involved with horses, such as jockeys and veterinarians. He lived from 588 to 660 in the area that is now France and Belgium. Eligius also is the patron saint of metalworkers, such as goldsmiths, and coin collectors. Eligius was a counselor to King Dagobert of France and was appointed the bishop of Noyon-Tournai after Dagobert died. He was driven to convert parts of rural France to Christianity. In addition to horses, jockeys and metal workers, other craftspeople are part of Eligius' posse. These include electricians, computer scientists, mechanics, miners, security guards, gas station workers, taxi cab drivers, farmers, and servants. Famous Miracles of St. Eligius Eligius had the gift of prophecy and even was able to predict the date of his own death accurately. Eligius focused a lot of attention on helping poor and sick people, and many of those people reported that God worked through Eligius to meet their needs in ways that were sometimes miraculous. A well-known miracle story involving Saint Eligius and a horse is likely little more than a bit of folklore. The legend has it that Eligius encountered a horse who was greatly upset when Eligius was trying to shoe him. Some versions of the story suggest Eligius believed the horse might have been possessed by a demon. So, to avoid upsetting the horse any further, Eligius miraculously removed one of the horse's forelegs, put the horseshoe on that leg while it was off of the horse's body, and then miraculously reattached the leg to the horse. Biography of St. Eligius Eligius' parents recognized his creative talent for metalworking when he was young and sent him to serve as an apprentice to a goldsmith who ran the mint in their area. Later, he worked for the royal treasury mint of the French king Clotaire II and befriended other kings. His close ties to royalty gave him opportunities to help disenfranchised people, and he made the most of those opportunities by collecting charity money for the poor and setting as many slaves free as he could. While he served King Dagobert, Eligius was considered a trusted and wise counselor. Other ambassadors to the king sought out Eligius' guidance, and he continued to his unique position and closeness to the royal set to help bring about positive changes for the poor In 640, Eligius became a church bishop. He founded a monastery and a convent and built churches and a major basilica. Eligius served the poor and sick, traveled to preach the Gospel message to pagan people, and acted as a diplomat for some of the royal families whom he had befriended. Death of St. Eligius Eligius had asked that, after his death, his horse be given to a certain priest. But a bishop then took the horse away from the priest because he liked that particular horse and wanted it for himself. Reportedly, the horse became sick after the bishop took it, but then was miraculously healed immediately after the bishop returned the horse to the priest.