Hermenegild, son of the King of the Visigoths in Spain, married the daughter of the Frankish King of Austrasia, and was converted to Catholicism, his family being Arian. His father in his anger threw him into a dungeon and in the night of Easter caused an Arian bishop to take Communion to him. "But God did not abandon him in his prison" (Epistle). Hermenegild sacrified to the love of God the love of his father, and of his own life (Gospel), and indignantly repelled the heretical bishop.
Put to death on April 13th, 586, he shared the triumph of Christ who "in the kingdom of God gave him the royal sceptre" (Epistle). His futher died recommending the martyr's brother, Recarede, to bring back the nation to the true faith. Thus Spain became Catholic.
"Following the example of St. Hermenegild, who preferred heavenly toearthly royalty, let us despise perishable possessions and only seek the eternal ones " (Collect).
In virtute tua, Domine laetabitur justus: et super salutare tuum exsultabit vehementer: desiderium animae ejus tribuisti ei. * Quoniam praevenisti eum in bendictionibus dulcedinis: posuisti in capite ejus coronam de lapide pretioso.
In Thy strength, O Lord, the just man shall joy and in Thy salvation he shall rejoice exceedingly: Thou hast given him his heart's desire. For Thou hast prevented him with blessing of sweetness: Thou hast set on his head a crown of precious stones.
(Psalm 20:2-3,4 from the Introit of Mass)
Or in Paschaltide:
Protexisti me, Deus, a conventu malignantium, alleluja: a multitudine operantium iniquitatem, alleluja, alleluja. * Exaudi, Deus, orationem meam cum deprecor: a timore inimici eripe animam meam.
Thou hast protected me, O God, from the assembly of the malignant, alleluia: from the multitude of the workers of iniquity, alleluia, alleluia. * Hear, O God, my prayer, when I make supplication to Thee: free my soul from the fear of the enemy.
(Psalm 63:3,2 from the Introit of Mass)
Deus, qui beatum Hermenegildum Martyrem tuum caelesti regno terrenum postponere docuisti: da, quaesumus, nobis; ejus exemplo caduca despicere, atque aeterna sectari.
O God, who didst teach blessed Hermenegild, Thy martyr, to value the kingdom of heaven more than an earthly throne; grant, we beseech Thee, that following his example, we may despise all transitory things, and seek after those which are eternal.
Hymn for St Hermenegild
Pope Urban VIII composed two hymns for the Feast of St Hermenegild. This is the one from Vespers.
Regali solio fortis Iberiae,
Hermenegilde jubar, gloria Martyrum,
Christi quos amor almis
Caeli coetibus inserit.
Ut perstas patiens, pollicitum Deo
Servans obsequium! quo potius tibi
Nil proponis, et arces
Cautus noxia, quae placent.
Ut motus cohibes, pabula qui parant
Surgentis vitii, non dubios agens
Per vestigia gressus,
Quo veri via dirigit!
Sit rerum Domino jugis honor Patri,
Et natum celebrent ora precantium,
Flamen laudibus efferant.
Glory of Iberia's throne!
Joy of martyred saints above!
Who the crown of life have won
Dying for their Saviour's love.
What intrepid faith was thine!
What unswerving constancy!
Bent to do the will divine
With exact fidelity.
Every rising motion checked
Which might lead thy heart astray,
How thou didst thy course direct
Whither virtue showed the way.
Honour, glory, majesty,
To the Father and the Son,
With the Holy Spirit be,
While eternal ages run.