jeudi 16 juillet 2015

Saint EUSTACE (EUSTATHIUS) d'ANTIOCHE, patriarche et confesseur

Eustathius of Antioch B (RM)

(also known as Eustace)

Born in Side, Pamphylia; died in Thrace, Greece, c. 335, or Illyricum, c. 337. Much of what we know about Eustace comes from Saint Athanasius. Confessor during a persecution by Diocletian of Licinius, Eustace was a learned, eloquent, and virtuous man. His ardent zeal for the purity of the faith caused him to be made bishop of Beroea, Syria. When Saint Philogonius of Antioch died c. 323, the weak and wavering bishop Paulinus succeeded him for a short time as patriarch. Saint Eustace was called to replace Paulinus, but he opposed the transfer to the third most important see because of his zeal for the purity of the faith, the quality most needed at that time in Antioch. He felt that the transfer of bishops leads to dangerous temptations of ambition and avarice. In various ways, Eustace was forced to accept the patriarchal see of Antioch against his will.

He attended the Council of Nicaea and concurred with his fellow bishops to forbid all translations of bishops from one see to another. During, before, and after the council, Eustace was a firm opponent of Arianism both in his preaching and in his writing.

Eustace was an outstanding bishop. Upon returning to Antioch, he convened a synod to unite the factions that had developed. He judiciously examined the character and faith of those seeking ordination. Many he rejected later became leaders of Arianism. He sent capable, virtuous men into other dioceses within his patriarchate to teach and encourage the faithful.

In a impolitic move, Eustace raised violent opposition against Eusebius of Caesarea, a suffragan bishop of Antioch, who was one of the Arian leaders and close to the throne. Together with Bishop Eusebius of Nicomedia, the bishop of Caesarea plotted to remove Saint Eustace from his see. They accused him of altering the Nicene Creed.

Eusebius of Nicomedia went to Jerusalem and there gathered like- minded Arians, including Theognis of Nicea, Eusebius of Caesarea, Patrophilus of Scythopolis, Actius of Lydda, Theodotus of Laudicea, and other. They returned to Antioch and assembled a synod in 331. They obtained the false testimony of a women, who said that Eustace had fathered her child. Eustace protested his innocence and alleged that tradition requires two or more witnesses before convicting a priest. Before her death she did declare before many priests that she had been bribed to make the charge and that Patriarch Eustace was innocent, the father of the child was another Eustace, a brazier.

The Arians also accused him of Sabellianism. Although the Catholic bishops present loudly protested against the injustice of these proceedings, the Arians pronounced a sentence of deposition against the saint. Eusebius of Nicomedia and Theognis hastened to inform Emperor Constantine of the decision. The people of Antioch raised a great sedition on this occasion, but Constantine was open to hearing the slanders presented by his friends. He ordered Eustace to Constantinople.

Before his departure from Antioch, the holy pastor assembled the people and exhorted them to remain steadfast in the true doctrine. Constantine banished Eustace, together with several of his priests and deacons, first into Thrace, as Saint Jerome and Saint John Chrysostom testify, then into Illyricum, as Theodoret adds (Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Husenbeth).

St. Eustathius, Patriarch of Antioch, Confessor

From St. Athanasius, Sozomen, Theodoret, l. 1, Hist. c. 6, St. Jerom, in Catal. c. 85. See Tillem. t. 7, p. 21. Ceillier, t. 4, and the Bollandists, Bosch in his Life, t. 4. Jul. p. 130, and Solier in Hist. Chron. Patr. Antioch. ante, t. 4, Jul. p. 35.

A.D. 338.

ST. EUSTATHIUS was a native of Sida, in Pamphylia, and with heroic constancy confessed the faith of Christ before the pagan persecutors, as St. Athanasius assures us, 1 though it does not appear whether this happened under Dioclesian or Licinius. He was learned, eloquent, and eminently endowed with all virtue, especially an ardent zeal for the purity of our holy faith. Being made bishop of Beræa, in Syria, he began in that obscure see to be highly considered in the church, insomuch that St. Alexander, of Alexandria, wrote to him in particular against Arius and his impious writings, in 323. St. Philogonius, bishop of Antioch, a prelate illustrious for his confession of the faith, in the persecution of Licinius, died in 323. One Paulinus succeeded him, but seems a man not equal to the functions of that high station; for, during the short time he governed that church, tares began to grow up among the good seed. To root these out, when that dignity became again vacant, in 324, the zeal and abilities of St. Eustathius were called for, and he was accordingly translated to this see, in dignity the next to Alexandria, and the third in the world. He vigorously opposed the motion, but was compelled to acquiesce. Indeed, translations of bishops, if made without cogent reasons of necessity, become, to many, dangerous temptations of ambition and avarice, and open a door to those fatal vices into the sanctuary. To put a bar to this evil, St. Eustathius, in the same year, assisting at the general council of Nice, zealously concurred with his fellow bishops to forbid for the time to come all removals of bishops from one see to another. 2 The new patriarch distinguished himself in that venerable assembly by his zeal against Arianism. Soon after his return to Antioch he held a council there to unite his church, which he found divided by factions. He was very strict and severe in examining into the characters of those whom he admitted into the clergy, and he constantly rejected all those whose principles, faith, or manners appeared suspected; among whom were several who became afterwards ringleaders of Arianism. Amidst his external employs for the service of others, he did not forget that charity must always begin at home, and he laboured in the first place to sanctify his own soul; but after watering his own garden he did not confine the stream there, but let it flow abroad to enrich the neighbouring soil, and to dispense plenty and fruitfulness all around. He sent into other diocesses that were subject to his patriarchate, men capable of instructing and encouraging the faithful. Eusebius, archbishop of Cæsarea, in Palestine, (which church was, in some measure, subject to Antioch,) favoured the new heresy, in such a manner as to alarm the zeal of our saint. 3 This raised a violent storm against him.

Eusebius of Nicomedia laid a deep plot with his Arian friends to remove St. Eustathius from Antioch, who had attacked Eusebius of Cæsarea, and accused him of altering the Nicene Creed. Hereupon, Eusebius of Nicomedia, pretending a great desire to see the city of Jerusalem, set out in great state, taking with him his confidant, Theognis of Nice. At Jerusalem they met Eusebius of Cæsarea, Patrophilus of Scythopolis, Aëtius of Lydda. Theodotus of Laodicea, and several others, all of the Arian faction: who returned with them to Antioch. There they assembled together, as in a Synod, in 331, and a debauched woman, whom the Arians had suborned, coming in, showed a child which she suckled at her breast, and declared that she had it by Eustathius. The saint protested his innocence, and alleged that the apostle forbids a priest to be condemned unless convicted by two or more witnesses. This woman, before her death, after a long illness, called in a great number of the clergy, and publicly declared to them the innocence of the holy bishop, and confessed that the Arians had given her money for this action, pretending that no perjury was implied in her oath, upon the frivolous and foolish plea that she had the child by a brazier of the city called Eustathius. 4 The Arians accused him also of Sabellianism, as Socrates and others testify; this being their general charge and slander against all who professed the orthodox faith.

The Catholic bishops who were present with Eustathius, cried out loudly against the injustice of these proceedings, but could not be heard, and the Arians pronounced a sentence of deposition against the saint; and Eusebius of Nicomedia and Theognis hastened to inform the Emperor Constantine of these proceedings. The Arian bishops invited Eusebius of Cæsarea to exchange his see for the patriarchal chair of Antioch; but he alleged the prohibition of the canons; and the Emperor Constantine commended his modesty, by a letter which Eusebius has inserted in his life of that prince. 5 We should have been more edified with his humility had this circumstance been only recorded by others. 6 This happened, not in 340, as Baronius and Petavius imagine, but in 330 or 331, as is manifest not only from the testimony of Socrates, Sozomen, Theodoret, and Philostorgius, but also from several circumstances of the affair. 7 The people of Antioch raised a great sedition on this occasion, but the Emperor Constantine, being prepossessed by the slanders of the two bishops, ordered St. Eustathius to repair to Constantinople, and thence sent him into banishment. The holy pastor assembled the people before his departure from Antioch, and exhorted them to remain steadfast in the true doctrine, which exhortations were of great weight in preserving many in the Catholic faith. St. Eustathius was banished, with several priests and deacons, first into Thrace, as St. Jerom and St. Chrysostom testify, and from thence into Illyricum, as Theodoret adds. Socrates and Sozomen confound him with a priest of Constantinople of the same name, when they tell us he was recalled by Jovian, and survived till the year 370; for St. Eustathius died thirty years before St. Meletius was advanced to the see of Antioch in 360, as Theodoret testifies. Nor was he mentioned in the council of Sardica, or in any of the disputes that followed; and our best critics and historians conclude him to have been dead in 337. Philippi, in Macedon, which, in the division of the empire into diocesses, was comprised in that of Illyricum, was the place of his death, 8 but his body was interred at Trajanopolis, in Thrace, from which city Calandion, one of his successors, caused it to be translated to Antioch, about the year 482, as Theodorus Lector informs us. 9t. Eustathius bore his exile with patience and perfect submission, and was under its disgraces and hardships greater and more glorious than whilst his zeal and other virtues shone with the brightest lustre on the patriarchal throne. We may please ourselves in those actions in which we seem to be something; into which, however, self-love, under a thousand forms, easily insinuates itself. But the maxims of our Divine Redeemer teach us that no circumstances are so happy for the exercise of the most heroic virtue as humiliations and distresses when sent by Providence. These put our love to the test, apply the remedy to the very root of our spiritual disorders, employ the most perfect virtues of meekness, forgiveness, and patience, and call forth our resignation, humility, and reliance on Providence; in these trials we learn most perfectly to die to our passions, to know ourselves, to feel our own nothingness and miseries, and with St. Paul to take pleasure in our infirmities. Here all virtue is more pure and perfect. A Christian suffering with patience and joy, bears in spirit the nearest resemblance to his crucified Master, and enters deepest into his most perfect sentiments of humility, meekness, and love: for Jesus on his cross is the model by which his disciples are bound to form themselves, which they no where can do with greater advantage than when they are in a like state of desolation and suffering.

Note 1. Hist. Arian ad Monachos, p. 346. [back]

Note 2. Conc. Nicæn. Can. 15. [back]

Note 3. That prelate had been educated at Cæsarea, where he studied with St. Pamphilus the martyr, whose name he afterwards added to his own. He suffered imprisonment with him for the faith about the year 309, but recovered his liberty without undergoing any severer trial, and was chosen archbishop of Cæsarea in 314. When Arius, in 320, retired from Alexandria into Palestine, having been deposed from the priesthood by St. Alexander the year before, Eusebius of Cæsarea and some other bishops were imposed upon by him, and received him favourably. Hereupon Arius wrote to Eusebius of Nicomedia, whom he calls brother to the other Eusebius of Cæsarea. Eusebius of Nicomedia was at that time of an advanced age, and had great interest with Constantine, who after the defeat of Licinius kept his court some time at Nicomedia as other emperors had done before him since Dioclesian had begun to reside in the East. This prelate was crafty and ambitious; his removal, procured by his intrigues, from his first see of Berytus to Nicomedia seems to have given occasion to the canon of the Nicene council, by which such translations were forbidden. Notwithstanding which, in defiance of so sacred a law, he afterwards procured himself to be again translated to the see of Constantinople, in 338, in the beginning of the reign of Constantius. The council of Sardica, in 347, confirmed the above-mentioned Nicene canon under pain of the parties being deprived even of lay communion at their death; but this arch-heretic died in 342. He openly defended not only the person, but also the errors of Arius; subscribed the definitions of the Nicene council for fear of banishment; but three months after, being the author of new tumults, he was banished by Constantine, and after three years recalled, upon giving a confession of faith in which he declared himself penitent, and professed that he adhered to the Nicene faith, as Theodoret relates. By this act of dissimulation he imposed upon the emperor, but he continued by every base art to support his heresy, and endeavoured to subvert the truth. Eusebius of Cæsarea held that see from 314 till his death in 339. He was always closely linked with the ringleaders of the heresy. Nevertheless, the learned Henry Valois, in his Prolegomena to his translation of this author’s Ecclesiastical History, pretends to excuse him from its errors, though he often boggled at the word Consubstantial. He certainly was so far imposed upon by Arius, as to believe that heretic admitted the eternity of the Divine Word; and in his writings many passages occur which prove the divinity and, as to the sense, the consubstantiality of the Son, whatever difficulties he formed as to the word. On which account Ceillier and many others affect to speak favourably, or at least tenderly of Eusebius in this respect, and are willing to believe that he did not at least constantly adhere to that capital error. Yet it appears very difficult entirely to clear him from it, though he may seem to have attempted to steer a course between the tradition of the church and the novelties of his friends. See Baronius ad an. 380, Witasse Nat. Alexander, and the late Treatise in folio, against the Arian heresy, compiled by a Maurist Benedictin monk. Photius, in a certain work given us by Montfaucon, (in Bibl. Coisliana, p. 348,) roundly charges Eusebius with Arianism and Origenism.

  Eusebius, whose conduct was so inconstant and equivocal, shines to most advantage in his works, especially those which he composed in defence of Christianity before the Arian contest arose. The first of these is his book against Hierocles, who, under Dioclesian, was a persecuting judge at Nicomedia, and afterwards rewarded for his cruelty against the Christians with the government of Egypt. In a book he wrote he made Apollonius Tyanæus superior to Christ. But Eusebius demonstrates the history of this magician, written by Philostratus, when he taught rhetoric at Rome, one hundred years after the death of that magician, to be false and contradictory in most of its points, doubtful in others, and trifling in all. About the time he was made bishop he conceived a design of two works, which showed as much the greatness of his genius, as the execution did the extent of his knowledge. The first of these he called The Preparation, the other The Demonstration of the Gospel. In the first he, with great erudition, confutes idolatry, in fifteen books, showing that the Greeks borrowed the sciences and many of their gods from the Egyptians, whose true history agrees with that of Moses; but the fictions of their theology are monstrous, impious, and condemned by their own learned men; that their oracles, which were only a chain of impostures and frauds, or the responses of devils, never attained to any infallible knowledge of contingencies, and were silenced by a power which they acknowledged superior. He also shows the Unity of God, and the truth of his revealed religion as ancient as the world. In his Demonstration of the Gospel, in ten books, he shows that the Jewish law in every point clearly points out Christ and the gospel. These books of Evangelical Preparation and Demonstration furnish more proofs, testimonies, and arguments for the truth of the Christian religion than any other work of the ancients on that subject.

  Eusebius’s two books against Marcellus of Ancyra, and three On Ecclesiastical Theology are a confutation of Sabellianism. His topography or alphabetical explication of the places mentioned in the Old Testament, is most exact and useful. It was translated into Latin, and augmented by St. Jerom. Eusebius’s useful Comments on the Psalms were published by Montfaucon. (Collect. Nova Script. Græc. Paris, 1706.) His fourteen Discourses or Opuscula, published by F. Sirmond, (Op. Sirmond, t. 1,) are esteemed genuine, though not mentioned by the ancients. His discourse on the Dedication of the Church at Tyre, rebuilt after the persecution, in 315, contains a curious description of that ceremony and of the structure. By his letter to his Church of Cæsarea, after the conclusion of the council of Nice, he recommended to his flock the definitions and creed of that assembly. His panegyric of Constantine was delivered at Constantinople in presence of that prince, who then celebrated the thirtieth year of his reign by public games. The praises are chiefly drawn from the destruction of idolatry; but study reigns in this composition more than nature, and renders the discourse tedious, though the author took some pains to polish the style. His four books of the Life of Constantine were written in 338, the year after that emperor’s death. The style is diffusive, and the more disagreeable by being more laboured. Photius reproaches the author for dissembling or suppressing the chief circumstances relating to Arius, and his condemnation in the council of Nice.
  The Chronicle of Eusebius was a work of immense labour, in two parts; the first called his Chronology, contained the distinct successions of the kings and rulers of the principal nations from the beginning of the world; the second part, called the Chronicle or the Rule of Times, may be called a table of the first, and unites all the particular chronologies of different nations in one. This second part was translated into Latin, and augmented by St. Jerom. The first part was lost when Joseph Scaliger gathered the scattered fragments from George Syncellus, Cedrenus, and the Alexandrian Chronicle; but Scaliger ought to have pointed out his sources; and has inserted many things which certainly belong not to Eusebius.

  Our author’s name has been rendered most famous by his ten books of Church History, which he brings down to the defeat of Licinius, in 323, when he first wrote it, though he revised it again in 326. He collected the Acts of the Martyrs of Palestine, an abstract of which he added to the eighth book of his History. Rufinus elegantly translated this work into Latin, reduced to nine books, to which he added two others, wherein he brings down his history to the death of Theodosius. Eusebius copied very much Julius Africanus in his Chronicle; and in his History, St. Hegesippos (who had compiled a History from Christ to 170) and others. This invaluable work is not exempt from some mistakes and capital omissions; nor was the author much acquainted with the affairs of the Western Church. (See Ceillier, t. 4, p. 258,) &c. Christophorson, bishop of Chichester, elegantly translated this History into Latin, but changed the manner of dividing the chapters. The translation of the learned Henry Velesius is most accurate. Eusebius was one of the most learned prelates of antiquity, and a man of universal reading; but he did not much study to polish his discourses, which is the common fault of those who make learning and knowledge their chief business. [back]

Note 4. Theodoret, l. 1, c. 20, 21. S. Hier. l. 3, in Rufin, &c. [back]

Note 5. Eus. l. 4, de Vit. Constant. c. 61, p. 518. [back]

Note 6. Sozom. l. 2, c. 19, p. 469. [back]

Note 7. See Tillemont, Ceillier, Cave, Hist. Littér. p. 187, t. 1, and Solier, the Bollandist. Hist. Patr. Ant. c. 24, p. 36. [back]

Note 8. Theodoret, l. 1, c. 20. Theodorus Lector, l. 2, c. 1, p. 547. Theophanes, p. 114. See Tillem. note 4, p. 653. [back]

Note 9. St. Jerom (ep. 126, p. 38,) calls St. Eustathius a loud sounding trumpet, and says he was the first who employed his pen against the Arians. The same father admires the extent of his knowledge, saying that it was consummate both in sacred and profane learning, (ep. 84, p. 327.) His just praises are set forth by St. Chrysostom in an entire panegyric; and Sozomen assures us (l. 1, c. 2,) that he was universally admired both for the sanctity of his life, and the eloquence of his discourses. The elegant works which he composed against the Arians were famous in the fifth century, but have not reached us. But we have still his Treatise on the Pythonissa or Witch of Endor, published by Leo Allatius, with a curious Dissertation, and reprinted in the eighth tome of the Critici Sacri. In it the author undertakes to prove against Origen that this witch neither did nor could call up the soul of Samuel, but only a spectre or devil representing Samuel, in order to deceive Saul. He clearly teaches that before the coming of Christ the souls of the just rested in Abraham’s bosom; and that none could enter heaven before Christ had opened it; but that Christians enjoy an advantage above the patriarchs and prophets, in being united with Christ immediately after their death if they have lived well. This treatise is well written, and justifies the commendations which the ancients give to this great prelate and eloquent orator. Sozomen justly calls his writings admirable, as well for the purity of his style as for the sublimity of thought, the beauty of the expression, or the curious choice of the matter. Nothing more enhances his virtue, than the invincible constancy and patience with which he suffered the most reproachful accusation with which his enemies charged him, and the unjust deposition and banishment which were inflicted on him. [back]

Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73).  Volume VII: July. The Lives of the Saints.  1866.

mercredi 15 juillet 2015

Saint SWITHUN de WINCHESTER, religieux bénédictin, évêque et confesseur

Swithun (Swithin) of Winchester, OSB B (RM)

Born in Wessex, England; died at Winchester, England, July 2, 862. Saint Swithun was educated at the Old Abbey, Winchester, and was ordained (it is uncertain whether or not he was a monk). He became chaplain to King Egbert of the West Saxons, who appointed him tutor of his son Ethelwulf, and was one of the king's counselors. Swithun was named bishop of Winchester in 852 when Ethelwulf succeeded his father as king. Swithun built several churches and was known for his humility and his aid to the poor and needy. His veneration as a saint appears to date from the removal of his bones from the churchyard into the cathedral a century after his death. A long-held superstition declares it will rain for 40 days if it rains on his feast day, but the reason for and origin of this belief are unknown (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney).

July 15

St. Swithin or Swithun, Bishop and Patron of Winchester, Confessor

THIS city had been famous in the time of the Romans, and a station of their troops being called by Ptolemy and Antoninus, Venta. It became afterwards the chief seat of the West-Saxon kings. Among these, Kynegils, having received the faith about the year 635, gave to St. Birinus the city of Dorcester for his episcopal see, but founded a church at Winchester, which was dedicated by St. Birinus to St. Peter, according to the Saxon Chronicle, or to the Holy Trinity, according to Thomas Rudburn. Wini, the third bishop of the West-Saxons, fixed his see at Winchester, and this church became one of the most flourishing cathedrals of all Britain. St. Swithun, called in the original Saxon language Swithum, received in this church the clerical tonsure, and put on the monastic habit in the Old Monastery, which had been founded by king Kynegils. He was of noble parentage, passed his youth in innocent simplicity, and in the study of grammar, philosophy, and the holy scriptures. He was an accomplished model of all virtues when he was promoted to holy orders by Helinstan or Helmstan, bishop of Winchester.

Being ordained priest, he was made provost or dean of the Old Monastery. His learning, piety, and prudence moved Egbert, king of the West-Saxons, to make him his priest, under which title the saint subscribed a charter granted to the abbey of Croyland in 833. That great prince committed to his care the education of his son Ethelwolf, and made use of his counsels in the government of his kingdom. A degeneracy of manners had crept into the courts of the Mercians and Northumbrians, and their government was weakened by intestine divisions and several revolutions. Egbert having first vanquished Swithred king of the East-Saxons, and added his kingdom to his own, upon several provocations, invaded Mercia, and conquered it in 828, but soon after restored Withlaf, whom he had expelled, to the throne of that kingdom on condition he should hold the crown of him, and pay him an annual tribute. He treated in the same manner Eandred, the last king of the Northumbers, and made him tributary, after he had with a great army laid waste that province. The kingdom of the East Angles submitted to him about the same time with Mercia, with which it had been long engaged in war, and was thereby reduced to extreme poverty. Kent being at that time tributary to Mercia, it fell also to the share of the conqueror. After this Egbert assembled all the great men of his kingdom both clergy and laity, in a council at Wincester, in which he enacted that this kingdom should ever after be called England, and all its subjects Englishmen. At the same time he was again crowned and from that year, 829, was styled king of England. Thus were the names of Saxons and Jutes abolished among us, and an end was put to the heptarchy, or division of this nation into seven kingdoms, which began to be formed by Hengist in 457, when he took the title of king, seven years after his arrival in this island, in 449. Towards the latter end of Egbert’s reign the Danes first began to infest England. This general name historians give to those shoals of pirates which were composed not only of Danes, but also of Norwegians, Goths, Sweones or Swedes, and Vandals, as Eginhard, Henry of Huntingdon, and others assure us. 1

King Egbert reigned thirty-seven years over the West Saxons, and nine years over all England, dying in the year 838, or according to others in 837. Ethelwolf, his only surviving son, had been educated in piety and learning under the care of St. Swithin, then provost of the Old Monastery in Winchester, 2 and had been ordained subdeacon by bishop Helmstan, as Rudburn, Huntingdon, and others relate. But upon the death of his elder brother, whose name is not known, he was dispensed with by Pope Leo to marry, and returning again to a secular life, helped his father in his wars, and after his death was advanced to the throne. He married Osberge, a lady of remarkable piety, and had four sons by her, Ethelbald, Ethelbright, Ethelred, and Alfred. He governed his kingdom by the prudent advice of Alstan bishop of Shirborne, in temporal affairs; and by that of St. Swithin in ecclesiastical matters, especially those which concerned his own soul. And though the king was of a slow disposition, yet by the assistance of these worthy counsellors, he reigned prudently and happily; the Danes were often repulsed, and many noble designs for the good of the church and state were begun, and prosperously executed. Bearing always the greatest reverence to St. Swithin, whom he called his master and teacher, he procured him, upon the death of Helmstan, to be chosen bishop of Winchester, to which see he was consecrated by Ceolnoth, archbishop of Canterbury, in 852. Hearne has given us the profession of faith which he made on that occasion, according to custom, in the hands of the archbishop. 3 William of Malmesbury says, that though this good bishop was a rich treasure of all virtues, those in which he took most delight were humility and charity to the poor; and in the discharge of his episcopal functions he omitted nothing belonging to a true pastor. He built divers churches, and repaired others; and made his journeys on foot, accompanied with his clerks, and often by night to avoid ostentation. Being to dedicate any church, he with all humility used to go barefoot to the place. His feasting was not with the rich, but with the needy and the poor. His mouth was always open to invite sinners to repentance, and to admonish those who stood to beware of falling. He was most severe to himself, and abstemious in his diet, never eating to satisfy his appetite, but barely to sustain nature; and as to sleep, he admitted no more than what after long watching and much labour was absolutely necessary. He was always delighted with psalms and spiritual canticles, and in conversation would bear no discourse but what tended to edification.

By his counsel and advice King Ethelwolf, in a Mycel synod, or great council of the nation, in 854, enacted a new law by which he gave the tithes, or tenth part of his land, throughout the kingdom to the church, exempt and free from all taxations and burthens, with an obligation of prayers in all churches for ever for his own soul, on every Wednesday, &c. This charter, to give it a more sacred sanction, he offered on the altar of St. Peter at Rome in the pilgrimage which he made to that city in 855. He likewise procured it to be confirmed by the pope. 4 He carried with him to Rome his youngest and best beloved son, Alfred, rebuilt there the school for the English, and ordered to be sent every year to Rome one hundred mancuses 5 for the pope, one hundred for the church of St. Peter, and as much for that of St. Paul, to furnish them with lights on Easter Eve. He extended the Romescot, or Peterpence, to his whole kingdom. He reigned two years after his return from Rome, and died in 857. He ordained that throughout all his own hereditary lands every ten families shall maintain one poor person with meat, drink, and apparel; from whence came the corrodies, which still remain in divers places. St. Swithin departed to eternal bliss, which he had always thirsted after, on the 2d of July, 862, in the reign of King Ethelbert. His body was buried, according to his order, in the churchyard, where his grave might be trodden on by passengers.

About one hundred years after, in the days of King Edgar his relics were taken up by St. Ethelwold, then bishop of Winchester, and translated into the church in 964. On which occasion Malmesbury affirms that such a number of miraculous cures of all kinds were wrought, as was never in the memory of man known to have been in any other place. Lanfrid, in the original Saxon Lantfred, called by Leland an illustrious doctor, being then a monk at Winchester, wrote, in 980, a history of this translation, and of the miraculous cures of a blind man, and many others, through the intercession of this saint, which history has never been printed: though we have two beautiful fair manuscript copies of it, the one in the Cotton, the other in the king’s library in the inclosure of Westminster Abbey. 6 In the reign of William the Conqueror, Walkelyn, bishop of Winchester, a Norman, and the king’s relation, laid the foundation of the new church in 1079, which he lived to finish with the abbey, so that in 1093, the monks, in the presence of almost all the bishops and abbots of England, came in great joy from the old to the new monastery, and on the feast of St. Swithin, the shrine of this saint was in another solemn procession translated from the old to the new church; and on the next day the bishop’s men began to demolish the old abbey. William of Wickham, the celebrated chancellor of England in the reign of Edward III., and founder of a great college in Oxford, in 1379, added the nave and west front to this cathedral, which is now standing. This church was first dedicated to the Holy Trinity, under the patronage of St. Peter; afterwards by St. Ethelwold, in presence of King Etheldred, St. Dunstan, and eight other bishops, to St. Swithin, as Redburn relates, in 980. 7 King Henry VIII., in 1540, commanded this cathedral to be called no longer St. Swithin’s, but of the Holy Trinity. 8

St. Swithin is commemorated in the Roman martyrology on the 2d of July, which was the day of his death; but his chief festival in England was on the 15th of the same month, the day of the translation of his relics. See the calendar prefixed to the chronicle entitled Scala Mundi in a fair MS. in folio in the library of the English college at Douay; also the Sarum breviary and missal. An arm of St. Swithin was kept in the abbey of Peterborough, as is mentioned by Hugh Candidus, or White, in his accurate history of that monastery, published by Mr. Spark, p. 1723. The abbey of Hyde was first built within the precincts of the cathedral by King Edward the Elder, in pursuance of his father, Alfred’s, will, for secular canons, over whom St. Grimbald was intended to preside, had not his death prevented it. These canons, after sixty years’ continuance, yielded this church to the monks whom, in 964, St. Ethelwold brought in; from which time this abbey was called Newminster till it was translated by King Henry I. and the Bishop William Giffard, to a place near the walls of the city called Hyde. Of this magnificent abbey not so much as the walls are left standing, though in it lay the remains of King Edward, his son Alfred, his daughter St. Eadburga, &c. Its church was dedicated to the Holy Trinity, St. Peter, and St. Grimbald. See the short life of St. Swithin, written by Wolstan, a monk of Winchester, dedicated to St. Elphege, then bishop of that city, in 1001, but translated to Canterbury in 1006. It is published by Mabillon, sæc. 5. Ben. p. 628. See also Malmesbury, t. 2. de Pontif. Robert of Glocester’s Chronicle in verse, published by Mr. Herne. Thomas Rudburn, Historia Major Wintoniensis, published by Wharton, t. 1. p. 200. Lord Clarendon, and Sam. Gale, on the Antiquities of Winchester, and Pinius the Bollandist, t. 1. Julij, ad diem 2. p. 321. Also, S. Swithuni vita et miracula per Lamfridum monachum Winton. MSS. in Bibl. Regia Londini, xv. c. vii. 1.

Note 1. The barbarians who inhabited the northern coasts of the Baltic were called by one general name, Normans; and the Sclavi, Vandals, and divers other nations were settled on the southern coast, as Eginhard, Helmold, and others testify. [back]

Note 2. The authorities produced by Tho. Rudburn, a monk of the Old Monastery in Winchester, in 1450, to prove St. Swithun to have been some time public professor of divinity at Cambridge, are generally esteemed suppositions. See Rudburn, l. 3, c. 2, Hist. Maj. Wintoniensis, apud Wharton, Anglia Sacra, and the History of the University of Cambridge. [back]

Note 3. Hearne, Teat. Roffens, p. 269. [back]

Note 4. See Ingulph. Asser. Redborne. [back]

Note 5. The value of a mancuse is not known; it is thought to have been about the same with that of a mark. [back]

Note 6. Casleu and B. Nicholson falsely call this the life of St. Swithin; and it appears from Leland that Lantfred never wrote his life, which himself sufficiently declares in the history of his miracles. The contrary seems a mistake in Pits, Bale, and Thomas Rudburn, p. 223. Rudburn manifestly confounds Wolstan with Lantfred. [back]

Note 7. Hist. Major. Wintom. p. 223. Vita metrice S. Swithuni per Wolstanum monachum Winton. ib. 2. [back]

Note 8. At the east end of this cathedral is the place which in ancient times was esteemed most sacred, underneath which was the cemetery or resting place of many saints and kings who were interred there with great honour. At present behind the high altar there is a transverse wall, against which we see the marks where several of their statues, being very small, were placed, with their names under each pedestal in a row; “Kinglisus Rex. S. Birinus Ep. Kingwald Rex. Egbertus R. Adulphus (i. e. Ethelwolphus) R. Elured R. filius ejus. Edwardus R. junior Adhelstanus R. filius ejus (Sta. Maria D. Jesus in the middle.) Edredus R. Edgarus R. Alwynus Ep. Ethelred R. Cnutus R. Hardecanutus R. filius ejus,” &c. Underneath, upon a fillet were written these verses:

 “Corpora Sanctorum hic sunt in pace sepulta;
  Ex Meritis quorum fulgent miracula multa.”

At the foot of these, a little eastwards, is a large flat grave-stone, which had the effigies of a bishop in brass, said to be that of St. Swithin. See Lord Clarendon, and Samuel Gale, On the Antiquities of Winchester pp. 29, 30. [back]

Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73).  Volume VII: July. The Lives of the Saints.  1866.

Saint PLECHELM de GUELDERLAND, évêque et confesseur

Plechelm of Guelderland B (RM)

Born in Northumberland; died c. 730. Plechelm was ordained a priest. He went to Rome with another Northumbrian priest, Saint Wiro, and a deacon named Otger. In Rome, Wiro and Plechelm were consecrated regionary bishops. After doing missionary work in Northumbria, they went to the Friesland area of the Netherlands, where they evangelized the inhabitants of the lower Meuse Valley under Saint Willibrord or Saint Swithbert, and built a church and cells at Odilienberg on land granted to them by Blessed Pepin of Herstal. They were martyred while preaching the Gospel (Benedictines, Delaney).

St. Plechelm, Bishop and Confessor

[Apostle of Guelderland.]  HE was by birth a noble English Saxon, but born in the southern part of Scotland; for Lothian and the rest of the Lowlands as far as Edinburgh frith belonged for several ages to the Northumbrian English. Having received holy orders in his own country he made a pilgrimage to Rome, whence he returned home enriched with holy relics. Some time after, in company with the holy bishop St. Wiro, and St. Otger a deacon, he passed into those parts of Lower Germany which had not then received the light of faith. Having obtained the protection of Pepin, mayor of the palace in Austrasia, he converted the country now called Guelderland, Cleves, Juliers, and several neighbouring provinces lying chiefly between the Rhine, the Wahal, and the Meuse. When he had planted the gospel there with great success he retired to St. Peter’s Mount near Ruremund, but continued to make frequent missions among the remaining infidels. Prince Pepin, who though he had formerly fallen into adultery, led afterwards a penitential and Christian holy life, went every year from his castle of Herstal to confess his sins to this holy pastor after the death of St. Wiro, which the author of St. Plechelm’s life relates in the following words: 1 “Pepin, the king of the French, (that is, mayor with royal authority,) had him in great veneration, and every year, in the beginning of Lent, having laid aside his purple, went from his palace barefoot to the said mount of Peter where the saint lived, and took his advice how he ought to govern his kingdom according to the holy will and law of God, and by what means he might promote the faith of Christ and every advantage of virtue. There also having made the confession of his sins to the high priest of the Lord, and received penance, he washed away with his tears the offences which through human frailty he had contracted.” F. Bosch, the Bollandist, observes, this prince must have been Pepin, surnamed of Herstal, or the Fat, who though he never enjoyed the title of king, reigned in Austrasia with regal power, and with equal piety and valour. He died in 714, in the castle of Jopil on the Meuse, near Liege, which was his paternal estate, St. Pepin of Landon his grandfather being son of Carloman, the first mayor of this family, grandson of Charles count of Hesbay near Liege, the descendant of Ferreol, formerly præfectus-prætorio of the Gauls. St. Plechelm survived Pepin of Herstal seventeen years, is called by Bollandus bishop of Oldenzel and Ruremund, and died on the 15th of July, 732. He was buried in our lady’s chapel in the church, on the mountain of St. Peter, now called of St. Odilia, near Ruremund. His relics were honoured with many miracles. The principal portion of them is now possessed by the collegiate church of Oldenzel, in the province of Over-Yssel, part at Ruremund. His name is famous in the Belgic and other Martyrologies. His ancient life testifies that he was ordained bishop in his own country before he undertook a missionary life. Bede, in the year 731, mentions Pechthelm, who having been formerly a disciple of St. Aldhelm, in the kingdom of the West-Saxons, returning to his own country was ordained bishop to preach the gospel with more authority. He afterwards fixed his see at Candida Casa, now a parliamentary town of Galloway in Scotland, called Whitehorn. The Bollandists in several parts of their work contend this Pechthelm to have been a different person from St. Plechelm, whom Stilting demonstrates to have been at Mount St. Peter, whilst the other, somewhat elder according to Bede, was in North-Britain at Candida Casa; though Antony Pagi 2 and the author of Batavia Sacra endeavour to prove him, against F. Bosch and his colleagues, to have been the same. See his authentic life with the remarks of Bollandus and his colleagues, Julij, t. 4, p. 58, and Batavia Sacra, p. 50. 3

Note 1. N. 11, p. 69. [back]

Note 2. Critic. Hist. Chron. ad an. 734, n. 4. [back]

Note 3. Our saint’s colleague St. Wiro (in Irish Bearaidhe) is honoured on the 8th of May. By the Four Masters he is styled Abbot of Dublin; but with the Irish annalists, bishop and abbot are generally synonymous terms. He died in 650. See Ware.

  St. Plechelm’s other fellow-missionary, St. Otger, is honoured on the 10th of September; he is always styled deacon, by which it appears that he was never promoted to the priesthood. From his name and other circumstances it is thought he was an English-Saxon, though from the north, probably the southern parts of Scotland anciently subject to the kings of the Northumbers. Being desirous to accompany SS. Wiro and Plechelm to Rome, and in their apostolic missions into Germany, when Pepin gave the Mount of St. Peter or of St. Odilia to St. Wiro, the three saints settled there together, and ended their days in that monastery. Whether St. Otger outlived St. Plechelm is uncertain. All three were buried in the monastery of Berg, or of Mount St. Peter or St. Odilia; and their bodies remained there till, in 858, that monastery was given by King Lothaire to Hunger, bishop of Utrecht, when the greater part of these relics was translated to Utrecht. Part still remained in the church of Berg till, with the chapter of canons, it was removed to Ruremund. These relics were hid some time in the civil wars for fear of the Calvinists, but discovered in 1594, and placed again above the high altar. The portion at Utrecht was also hid for a time for fear of the Normans; but found and exposed to public veneration again by Bishop Baldric. See the life of St. Otger, with notes by Bollandus, and the additional disquisitions of Stilting, ad 10 Sept. t. 2, p. 612. [back]

Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73).  Volume VII: July. The Lives of the Saints.  1866.


Saint Plechelm of Guelderland

Also known as
  • Plechelm of Utrecht
  • Plechelmus of….
  • Apostle of Guelderland

Benedictine monk. Priest. Pilgrim to Rome, Italy with Saint Wiro and Saint Otger. Regional missionary bishop to Northumberland, England. Missionary to Friesland, in the modern Netherlands; may have worked with Saint Willibrord of Echternach. Helped found Saint Peter’s monastery at Roermond, Netherlands near modern Odilienberg c.700 on land given them by Blessed Pepin of Herstal.


mardi 14 juillet 2015

Bienheureux HUMBERT de ROMANS, prêtre dominicain et maître général de l'Odre des dominicains

Vénérable Humbert de Romans

Maître général de l'ordre des Dominicains ( 1277)

Né vers 1200, originaire de Romans, en Isère, il rejoint l'ordre des dominicains à Paris et devint Maître général de l'ordre en 1254. Il produit de nombreux ouvrages concernant les rites liturgiques dominicains, la prédication, les homélies... Il se retire en 1263 à Valence où il mourut le 14 juillet 1277.

Humbert de Romans, troisième successeur de saint Dominique à la tête de l'Ordre, maître de l'ordre de 1254 à 1263: le vénérable Humbertus de Romans (France)

"Puisque l'effort humain ne peut rien accomplir sans l'aide de Dieu", écrit-il, "la chose la plus importante pour un prêcheur est qu'il ait recours à la prière".


Vénérable Humbert de Romans
Fils d’un couple fortuné de la ville de Romans (Isère). Après avoir obtenu un doctorat en droit civil à Paris, il songe dans un premier temps à entrer dans l’Ordre des Chartreux, mais choisit finalement l’Ordre des Frères Prêcheurs, dont il prend l’habit au Couvent de Saint-Jacques en 1224. 
Il effectue ensuite un pèlerinage en Terre Sainte, et dès son retour est nommé gouverneur de la province romaine. 
Il gravit ensuite graduellement les échelons de son Ordre jusqu’à en atteindre le sommet en 1254 en devenant le cinquième général.

Il entreprend alors plusieurs missions en Europe en débutant par une visite en Hongrie. En 1258, il est admis à siéger au conseil du roi Saint-Louis afin de juger un conflit entre les seigneurs de Clermont, d’Anjou et de Poitiers.
Quelque temps après, il s’associe à Albert le Grand, Saint-Thomas d’Aquin et Pierre de Tarentaise pour tenter de préserver les populations du Hainaut des ravages causés par les incursions tartares.

En 1263, il quitte sa charge et se retire dans la solitude près de Valence, où il passe les quatorze dernières années de sa vie.
Humbert est aussi l’auteur de nombreux ouvrages théologiques, parmi lesquels figurent un traité sur les vœux de Religion, une histoire de la vie de Saint-Dominique et une petite chronique de son Ordre (+ 1277).

Blessed Humbert of Romans, OP (PC)

Born at Romans, Dauphiné, France, in 1193; died there in 1277. The contribution of Humbert of the Romans to Dominican life can never be overestimated. While he has never been formally beatified, he has been given the popular title of "blessed" since his death. His name is associated with the foundation of the order and the clarification of its rule and constitutions, which reveals the sure touch of his saintly and logical mind.

Humbert came from a large family, several of whom became religious; one of them was a Carthusian. He met the Dominicans at the University of Paris, where he was teaching on the faculty of arts and studying theology in 1224.

There is a charming story concerning his choice of a vocation to the Dominicans. He was kneeling one day in the cathedral of Notre Dame during the Office of the Dead being chanted by the canons. His mind kept wandering to the choice of a vocation, for his family had been friendly with the Carthusians for many years, and his brother had already joined them.

As he debated with himself, an old priest wandered down from the choir and engaged him in quiet conversation. He asked Humbert where he came from, and Humbert replied that he was a parishioner. The old priest regarded him shrewdly and said, "Do you remember what you promised at your baptism--to renounce the devil and all his pomps? Why don't you become a Friar Preacher?"

Humbert could hardly keep his mind off the priest's words, and at the responsory for the lesson, "Where shall I fly if not to You?," he decided once and for all that he would become a friar. He went to consult with his professor of theology, Hugh of Saint Cher, who was planning to become a Dominican himself as soon as he could arrange his affairs. On the feast of Saint Andrew, Humbert knelt at the feet of Blessed Jordan of Saxony and asked for the habit of the Dominicans.

The first task of the new brother was teaching at Lyons. His profound knowledge of Scripture recommended him for the highest teaching posts in the order. In 1240, when he was elected provincial of Lombardy, he began his administrative career.

From that time until his death, there was scarcely an event of any importance to the order in which he did not play a part. As provincial of France, from 1244 to 1254, he worked steadily to stabilize relations of the order and the university, perhaps foreseeing that there would one day be a showdown between the two great forces there. He was offered the patriarchate of Jerusalem, which he refused, and at the election of Gregory IX he received nearly enough votes to be elected pope.

Humbert was a careful canonist, and he carried around a master copy of the Dominican Constitutions in order that a copy could be made in the various houses. In his time the order had begun to feel the need for uniformity more than ever before, for its members were spreading to the far parts of the earth, and local regulations differed.

This was nowhere more clearly seen than in the liturgy, which differed not only with each diocese but with each basilica. When the brethren of various provinces got together for a general chapter, it was harrowing to try to chant the office. Humbert, along with several others, was appointed to begin work on a unification of the liturgy, even before he became master general in 1254. After his election as the fifth master general of the order, he intensified his efforts in this behalf.

Most of the regulations of the Dominican liturgy that have come down to us are in the words of Humbert. His principal contribution appears to be the unification of the liturgy. He set up a norm and insisted that all the varying elements conform to it, apologizing to the brethren meekly for the fact that some of them would be disappointed in the forms chosen ("since one cannot please everyone").

Many distinguishing features of the Dominican Mass can trace their definite form to this talented and sincere man who devoted his energies to the quiet task of building a structure that would wear through the centuries.

The dignity and clarity of the Dominican Constitutions likewise owe a debt to this man who wrote so clearly and unequivocally of the spirit that Dominic had left to his children, and which was in Humbert's day just being recorded for posterity. Humbert was also successful in the development of the foreign missions, and in the definitive planning of the studies of the Dominicans (Benedictines, Dorcy). 


Humbert of Romans


Fifth master general of the Dominican Order, b. at Romans in the Diocese of Vienne about 1194; d. 14 July, 1277 or 15 January, 1274, at Valence. He is mentioned as a student at Paris in 1215. In 1224 he entered the Order of St. Dominic, was professor of theology at the school of his order at Lyons in 1226, and prior at the same place from 1236 to 1239. In 1240 he became provincial of the Roman, and in 1244 of the French province of Dominicans. After holding the latter office ten years he was elected master general of his order at the general chapter held at Budapest in 1254. In 1263 he voluntarily resigned this office at the general chapter held in London, and retired to the monastery of Valence where he spent the rest of his life. During his generalate the liturgy of the Dominican Order received its permanent form. Humbert's humility did not permit him to accept the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, which was offered him after he had resigned as master general. He is the author of various ascetical treatises, some of which were collected and edited by Berthier: "Opera B. Humberti" (2 vols., Paris, 1889). In a treatise entitled: "Liber de tractandis in concilio Lugdunensi 1274" he severely criticizes the faults of the clergy. Parts of it were edited by Martène in "Veterum Script. et monument. ecclesiasticorum et dogmaticorum ampl. collectio" (Paris, 1724-33), VII, 174-98.


MORTIER, Histoire des Maîtres généraux de l'ordre des Frères-Prêcheurs, I (Paris, 1903-5), 415-664; L'Année Dominicaine, VII (Lyons, 1896), 283-342; DE WARESQUIL, Le bienhereux Humbert de Romans (Paris, 1901).

Ott, Michael. "Humbert of Romans." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 7. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 15 Jul. 2015 <>.


Humbert of Romans (Humbertus de Romanis, c.1200-1277), the fifth master general of the Order of Preachers, 1254-1263. Humbert was born at Romans-sur-Isère in south-eastern France (c.80 kms south of Lyons). As a young man, he went to Paris to study theology and canon law, becoming a Master of Arts before joining the Order of Preachers in 1224. In 1226, Humbert was appointed lector of theology for the convent in Lyons, for which he was conventual prior in 1237. Around 1238, he was elected prior provincial for the province of Romana, he received several votes at a papal election in 1241, in 1244-45 he was elected prior provincial of Francia, and finally, in 1254, the general chapter elected him master general of the Order. During his generalate, which lasted to 1263, Humbert contributed significantly to a re-organization and homogenization of the Order, an improved relation to the Franciscan Order, and a joined mendicant defense against their many secular critics. After leaving the office of master general in 1263, he went back to his old convent of Lyons, where he continued his series of numerous writings. Humbert died on 14 July 1277 and was buried in Valence (near Romans). He became venerated as Blessed within the Order, but was never officially beautified. 

Humbert has left us a number of written works of various kinds. These include a commentary on the Rule of St. Augustine and the Dominican constitutions (Exposito regulae beati Augustini Episcopi et super constitutiones fratrum praedicatorum), a treatise on the formation of preachers (De eruditione praedicatorum), supplemented with a series of model sermons, a treatise on the various officials in Dominican convents (Instructiones de officiis ordinis), a manual for preachers of the crusade (De predicatione crucis contra Saracenos), a short comment on the ways in which the brethren were bound by Dominican constitutions and decrees (Epistola de regularis observantia disciplinae), and finally the work Opus tripartitum with competent analyses of the state of the Western Church, relations between Greeks and Latins, and conditions of the Holy Land. Humbert also functioned as collector and publisher of earlier Dominican material, such as Fr. Gerald de Frachets famous Life of the Brethren (Vitae fratrum) and a Legenda sancti Dominici.

Lit.: William A. Hinnebusch OP, The History of the Dominican Order, vol. 2, New York 1973, 288-294; Simon Tugwell OP, Introduction, in Early Dominicans : Selected Writings, New York 1982, 31-35; Edward Tracy Brett, Humbert of Romans : His life and views of thirteenth-century society, Toronto 1984.

De predicatione crucis contra Saracenos (On Preaching the Cross against the Saracens).

Written by Humbert soon after the Saracens had taken Sephed in 1266 as a tool of assistance for the friars, whom the pope had commisioned to preach a new crusade to the Holy Land. In 46 chapters, Humbert prepares the friars for the task and provides them with ideas and materials for their sermons. Apparently, the crusade preaching manual was still considered highly valuable in fifteenth-century Germany. A summary is published by Lecoy de la Marche in La prédication de la croisade au XIIIe S., Revue des questions historique vol. 48 (1890), 5-28.

De predicatione crucis contra Saracenos is now available in extenso online in an edition by Kurt Villads Jensen, University of Southern Denmark 2007.


Blessed Humbert of Romans


Studied in Paris, France. Doctor of civil law. Joined the Dominicans in 1224. Pilgrim to the Holy Lands. Provincial of the Dominican Roman province in 1240. Dominican provincial of France in 1244. Fifth master-general of the Dominicans in 1254. Formed and sponsored several successful foreign missions, supported the education of Dominicans, and approved the final revision of the Dominican Liturgy. He stepped down from his position in 1263, and retired to the priory of Valence, France. Came briefly out of solitude at the request of Pope Clement IV to settle a dispute among members of the Cistercians.



Humbert of Romans, Fifth Master General of the Order of Preachers.TREATISE ON PREACHING. Translated by the Dominican Students Province of St. Joseph
Edited by WALTER M. CONLON, O.P. :

Voir aussi :