Vedast or Vedastus, also known as Saint Vaast (in Flemish, Norman and Picard) or Saint Waast (also in Picard and Walloon), Saint Gaston in French, and Foster in English (died c. 540) was an early bishop in the Frankish realm.


The ordination of Saint Vedast
Bornc. 453
Venerated inEastern Orthodox Church
Roman Catholic Church
FeastFebruary 6
Attributesa child at his feet; a bear; bishop with a wolf carrying a goose in its mouth
Patronageinvoked on behalf of children who walk with difficulty
for diseases of the eyes
diocese of Arras, Boulogne and Saint-Omer, France

At the beginning of the sixth century, Remigius, bishop of Reims, profited by the good will of the Frankish monarchy to organize the Catholic hierarchy in the north of Gaul. He entrusted the diocese of Arras and diocese of Cambrai to Vedast, who was the teacher of Clovis after the victory of Tolbiac and helped with the conversion of the Frankish king.


St Vedast and the beast

As a young man, Vedast left his own country (which seems to have been in the west of France) and led a holy life concealed from the world in the diocese of Toul. The bishop, taking notice of him, ordained him to the priesthood. Clovis, King of Franks, while returning from his victory over the Alemanni, hastened to Rheims to receive baptism and stopped at Toul to request some priest to instruct him on the way. Vedast was assigned to accompany the king.[1] Extraordinary healings are also attributed to his intercession.

The traditional account says that while on the road to Reims, they encountered a blind beggar at the bridge over the river Aisne. The man besought Vedast's assistance. The priest was inspired to pray and blessed the beggar, at which point the man immediately recovered his sight. The miracle convinced the king to adopt his wife's religion.[1] Vedast became an advisor to King Clovis.

A Vita of Vedast by Alcuin recounts a story that on one occasion, having spent the day in instructing a nobleman, his host would see him on his way with a glass of wine to sustain him, but found the cask empty. Vedast bid the servant to bring whatever he should find in the vessel. The servant then found the barrel overflowing with excellent wine.[2]

In 499, Remigius named him the first bishop of Arras, France;[3] around 510, he was also given oversight over Cambrai.[1]

Death and venerationEdit

The statue of St Vedast in the church of St Vedast in Wambrechies

He died on February 6, 539 at Arras; that night the locals saw a luminous cloud ascend from his house, apparently carrying away Vedast's soul.[4] The Abbey of St. Vaast was later founded in his honour in Arras.

Vedast was venerated in Belgium as well as England (from the 10th century) where he was known as Saint Foster. The spread of his cult was aided by the presence of Augustinians from Arras in England in the 12th century. Three ancient churches in England – St Vedast Foster Lane in London, and in Norwich and Tathwell in Lincolnshire – were dedicated to him.[5]

His feast is on 6 February.


He is a patron saint invoked against eye trouble.



  • Dales, Douglas (2013). Alcuin: Theology and Thought. Cambridge UK: James Clarke & Co. pp. 122–131, 189–190. ISBN 978-0-227-17394-7.
  • The Historical Works of Venerable Bede: Biographical writings, letters, and chronology. Vol. 2. Translated by Giles, J.A. London: J. Bohn. 1845. pp. 115–134. [Alcuin's life]
  • Jonas (Abbas Elnonensis) (1905). Krusch, Bruno (ed.). Ionae Vitae Sanctorum Columbani, Vedastis, Iohannis. Monumenta Germaniae Historica (in German and Latin). Hannover: Impensis Bibliopolii Hahniani.
  • Kreiner, Jamie (2014). The Social Life of Hagiography in the Merovingian Kingdom. Cambridge University Press. pp. 101–103, 160, 237–263. ISBN 978-1-107-05065-5.
  • Shanzer, Danuta (2002). Avitus of Vienne. Liverpool University Press. pp. 362–373. ISBN 978-0-85323-588-0. [letter of Avitus on Clovis' baptism]
  • Simpson, William Sparrow; Simpson, Gertrude Sparrow (1896). Carmina Vedastina. London: Elliot Stock.
  • van der Essen, Léon (1907). Étude critique et littéraire sur les vitae des saints mérovingiens de l'ancienne Belgique (in French). Louvain: Bureaux du recueil. pp. 211–216. [Jonas]


  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. {{cite encyclopedia}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)

External linksEdit