Saint Lambert of Liège: The Iconography

Born in Maestricht, St. Lambert served there as bishop and was buried there after his death in the tiny settlement of Liège, in an area he had converted to Christianity. According to the Golden Legend he had denounced the French ruler Pepin for keeping a mistress and was assassinated by members of the mistress's family. To house the saint's remains, his successor built a basilica in Liège, which became the focal point for the settlement's growth into a major urban center.


The narrative images below left capture the moment when the assassins rushed in on Lambert and his people while they were at prayer.


The saint is often shown with just his episcopal mitre and crozier, but when an attribute is added it will be a sword, as in the first image at right.

Prepared in 2014 by Richard Stracke, Emeritus Professor of English, Augusta University


St. Lambert with a sword, his most common attribute (See description page)

Saraceni, The Martyrdom of St. Lambert of Liège (See description page)

15th-century painting of the murder(See description page)


  • The Golden Legend puts St. Lambert's death in 410, long before anyone named Pepin was ruling in France. Butler puts it in 705, during the rule of Pepin of Herstal, the father of Charles Martel (Butler, 579).


  • St. Lambert is sometimes referred to as St. Lambert of Maestricht.