"He who receives a prophet because he is a prophet, shall receive a prophet's reward."
St. Matthew 10:41
Saint Gontran was the son of King Clotaire and grandson of Clovis I and Saint Clotildis. When Clotaire died in 561, his domains were divided among his four sons. While Gontran's brother Caribert reigned at Paris, Sigebert in Metz, and Chilperic in Soissons, he was crowned king of Orleans and Burgundy in 561. He then made Chalons-sur-Saone his capital.
When compelled to take up arms against his ambitious brothers and the Lombards, he made no other use of his victories, gained under the conduct of a brave general called Mommol, than to give peace to his dominions. The crimes in which the barbarous habits of his nation involved him, he effaced by tears of repentance. The prosperity of his reign, both in peace and war, condemns those who suppose that human policy cannot be determined by the maxims of the Gospel, whereas the truth is just the contrary: no others can render a government so efficacious and prosperous.
Saint Gontran always treated the pastors of the Church with respect and veneration. He was the protector of the oppressed, and the tender parent of his subjects. He gave the greatest attention to the care of the sick. He fasted, prayed, wept, and offered himself to God night and day as a victim ready to be sacrificed on the altar of His justice, to avert His indignation, which Saint Gontran believed he himself provoked and drew down upon his innocent people. He was a severe punisher of crimes in his officers and others, and by many wholesome regulations he restrained the barbarous licentiousness of his troops; but no man was ever more ready to forgive offenses against his own person. With royal magnificence he built and endowed many churches and monasteries.
This good king died on the 23rd of March in 593, in the sixty-eighth year of his age, having reigned thirty-one years.
Reflection. There is no means of salvation more reliable than the practice of mercy, since Our Lord has said: Blessed are the merciful, for they shall find mercy. (Matt. 5:7)
Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler's Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894).