Saint Lambert of Liège: The Iconography

In Liège, in Belgium, blessed Lambert, Bishop of Maastricht. Out of zeal for religion he chastised the royal house. For this he was killed, an innocent man at the hands of the wicked. Thus he entered, forever victorious, into the halls of the heavenly kingdom. – Roman Martyrology for September 17

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 second and third images at right capture the moment when the assassins rushed in on Lambert and his people while they were at prayer.


The saint is often pictured with just a mitre and crozier to indicate his role as a bishop, 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. Revised 2017-06-25.


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

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

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


  • Feast day: September 17
  • 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.
  • In Latin, Landebertus