Legend of Saint Romain - St. Godard
Saint Romain (or Romanus) is the patron Saint of Rouen, he was the Bishop of Rouen from 631-640. His parents were infertile and the father was visited by an angel one night announcing that the wife Felicity was pregnant, after which Romain was born.
Romain's early life was spent being educated in the court of king Clotaire II and when the Bishop of Rouen, Hidulphus, died he was elected to the position by the canons.
This stained glass window, dated 1540, was presented to the church of St Godard Rouen France, by Richard Caron. It retells the legend of Saint Romain life as Bishop of Rouen. The artist that created this work not recorded.
After being elected Bishop of Rouen, the local inhabitants asked him to remove the Temple of Venus near the amphitheatre in the north of the city. On arriving there they found that behind the pagan altar was an entry into hell from which flames and foul odours emanated. Having destroyed the dedication to Venus the temple collapsed.
Just before consecrating the font in the Cathedral, Romain discovered that he did not have the holy chrism (consecrated oil), and a deacon was sent to fetch it. On bringing it back the deacon slipped and broke the vessel spilling all the oil. After Romain picked up the pieces and the vessel and its contents were found to be undamaged.
During the middle ages a further legend was added to the 'history' of St Romain, that he was able to avert the floods that often inundated the city of Rouen.
In the fourteenth century the canons of Rouen Cathedral invented a legend to justify their privilege of being able to free a condemned man once a year. The legend is that a dragon (Gargoyle) was living in the swamps on the left bank of the city. Romain set out with two condemned prisoners to capture the beast that was devouring the people and animals of the area. The legend tells how one of the prisoners made off, but the other one managed to capture the dragon by tying Romain's scarve around its neck. The dragon was then brought back into the city where it was burned in front of the Cathedral.
Shortly before his death, whilst saying Mass, Saint Romain enters into an ecstasy where he floats above the ground as God reveals the date he will die.