Monday, August 13, 2012

St. Holger's Cigar Club

You will notice that the blog has a new name, and this new name has a history.  Originally, this cigar club was  started by Fr. James, priest at the parish at St. Helena of the True Cross.  Later, Fr. James was transferred to Our Lady of Guadalupe (OLG) parish, so we called the club St. HOLG as a sort of blended acronym.  We have decided to "neutralize" the name of the club so that it is not attached to any particular parish.  At first, our idea was to create a fictitious saint, a cigar-smoking, tobacco-carrying, wine-toting saint: imagine something sort of like a Chesterton or Belloc.  But then we thought it might be wiser to use a real saint's name, so the name St. Holger was chosen.  St. Holger (also known as Ogier, Oger, Otger, Autchar, Autgarius, Auctarius, Otgarius, Oggerius, Othergus).  There are actually at least two "saints" by that name, though one is apparently more legendary than historical, and the other more historical than legendary.

St. Holger the Dane (Holger Danske or Ogier de Danemarche), Bullfinch's Mythology tell us, was son of Geoffroy, and it was he (Geoffroy) who wrested Denmark from the Pagans and became the first Christian king of the Danes.  Holger the Dane became one of Charlemagne's palladins, and is mentioned in that famous chansons de geste known about the Battle of Roncevaux known as the Song of Roland.  There may be some truth, however, to his existence, inasmuch as there is a chronicle from St. Martin's monastery in Cologne, that asserts that the monastery was rebuilt after being pillaged by the Saxons in 778 by a certain "Ogerus, dux Daniae," Holger the duke of the Danes, with the help of Charlemagne.  St. Holger the Dane's sword was called Curtana, which, one would think, would make a good name for a cigar.   Some legends developed where St. Holger was adverse to Charlemagne and his Germanic/Frankish influences, for example placing him with the Lombards and against Charlemagne.  This narrative has it that he eventually submitted to Charlemagne and joined a Benedictine monastery, St. Faro at Meaux.  Eventually, our St. Holger became the "El Cid" of Denmark, and became the national symbol of Denmark's resistance to Nazi Germany.  There is a marvelous statute of St. Holger the Dane by H. P. Pedersen-Dan at the Kronborg   Castle in Denmark.

The other less-legendary, more historical figure is known as St. Holger or St. Otger.  This St. Holger was from Utrecht.  He was a deacon and was the companion of St. Wiro, a Catholic bishop, and St. Plechelmus.  He was a consummate evangelizer, is considered essential in spreading the Gospel to the Dutch people, and died around 739 A.D.

St. Holger (Otger) of Utrecht

St. Odgerus (St. Holger) with his companion saints, St. Wiro, and St. Plechelmus.

1 comment:

  1. O.K., looks like we're in "good" hands. There is a cigar called, La Gloria Cubana Charlemagne and they make Holger Danske Cigarettes. It may be a reach but, I'm saying those 2 tidbits vets us very well.