Legend of the Graoully dragon and Saint Clement of Metz

      On the 23rd of November and on Christmas Eve, the people of the city of Metz in Northeastern France celebrate and feast the defeat of the Graoully dragon. Saint clement of Metz is venerated as the first Bishop of Metz, and according to tradition, he was sent by Saint Peter during the first century to vanquish the local dragon and other snake-like dragons who inhabited the local Roman amphitheatre.

     The snakes’ breath had so poisoned the area that the inhabitants of the town were effectively trapped in the town. After converting the local inhabitants to Christianity after they agreed to do so in return for ridding them of the dragon, Clement went into the amphitheater and quickly made the sign of the cross after the snakes attacked him. They immediately were tamed by this. Clement led the Graoully to the edge of the Seille, and ordered him to disappear into a place where there were no men or beasts. Orius did not convert to Christianity after Clement tamed the dragon. However, when the king’s daughter died, Clement brought her back from the dead, thereby resulting in the king’s conversion.

     The Graoully quickly became a symbol of the town of Metz and can be see in numerous demonstrations of the city, since the 10th century. In the Middle Ages, a large effigy of the Graoully was carried during processions in the town.

       The Graoully quickly became a symbol of the town of Metz and can be see in numerous demonstrations of the city, since the 10th century. In the Middle Ages, a large effigy of the Graoully was carried during processions in the town. The Graoully is often made with a large canvas figure stuffed with hay and twelve feet high.  

      The dragon is often mentioned to children stories as an evil dragon who punished bad/misbehaving children. On Christmas eve, the dragon is present in the main square in Metz (La place Saint Louis). There are large amounts of food made/baked for the entire public to consume and it attracts many tourists from around the world.

      I recommend attending the festival if any of you can travel to France at any time.

                       Place Saint Louis-Metz


    Matthias Baudinet


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