Zealous in Spreading Christianity
570 – 627 A.D.
Theodelinda, daughter of Garibaldo, duke of Bavaria, and queen of the Lombards, is celebrated because of her instrumentality in converting the Arian Lombards to the Roman church.
She was at first betrothed to Childebert, son of the haughty Brunehaut, but was rejected by her. She afterwards, in 589, married Autari, king of the Lombards, with whom she lived with great affection; nevertheless he died in 590, and not without suspicion of having been poisoned.
Theodelinda became the mediator between the Lombards and the Catholic church, and early became imbued with its doctrines. She then solemnly placed the Lombard nation under the patronage of St. John the Baptist, and at Monza she built in his honor the first Lombard church, and the royal palace near it. Under her direction, too, the relics of St. Augustine were brought to be placed in the church at Pavia.
The people were very much attached to her; but that turbulent age seemed to require a stronger hand than that of a young girl to sway the rod of the empire. She therefore found it expedient to contract a second marriage with Favius Agilulphus, who, as her husband, was invested with the ensigns of royalty before a general congress at Milan. From that time she assumed the government as regent, which she maintained with vigor and prosperity.
Theodelinda encouraged and improved agriculture; endowed charitable foundations, and, in accordance with what the piety of that age required, built monasteries. What was more extraordinary, and seems to have been rarely thought of by the men sovereigns of that day, she reduced the taxes, and tried to soften the miseries of the inferior classes. She died in 627 A.D., bitterly lamented by her subjects.
Few men of this time have exhibited powers of mind so well balanced as were those of Theodelinda; and this unusual sense of the just and true fitted her for the manifold duties of government.
Reference: Woman: Her Position, Influence and Achievement Throughout the Civilized World. Designed and Arranged by William C. King. Published in 1900 by The King-Richardson Co. Copyright 1903 The King-Richardson Co.