Saint Remigius

Last updated

Remigius
Chlodwigs taufe.jpg
Saint Remigius baptizes Clovis I , by the Master of Saint Gilles, c.1500 (National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.)
Bishop and Confessor
Bornc.437
Cerny-en-Laonnois, Picardy, Roman Empire
DiedJanuary 13, 533(533-01-13) (aged 95–96)
Rheims, Champagne, Kingdom of the Franks
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church
Anglican Communion
Eastern Orthodoxy
Feast January 13 [lower-alpha 1] [1]
October 1 (translation of relics) [1]
Attributes dove, book, lamp
Patronage France
Statue of Saint Remigius at the Saint Remigius Church, Simpelveld, Netherlands Simpelveld-Kerk-beeld Remigius.JPG
Statue of Saint Remigius at the Saint Remigius Church, Simpelveld, Netherlands

Remigius (French : Remi or Rémi; c.437 – January 13, 533), was the Bishop of Reims and "Apostle of the Franks". On 25 December 496 he baptised Clovis I, King of the Franks. This baptism, leading to the conversion of the entire Frankish people to Christianity, was a momentous success for the church and a seminal event in European history.

Contents

Life

Remigius was born, traditionally, at Cerny-en-Laonnois, near Laon, Picardy, into the highest levels of Gallo-Roman society. He is said to have been son of Emilius, count of Laon (who is not otherwise attested) and of Celina, daughter of the Bishop of Soissons, which Clovis had conquered in 486. He studied at Reims and soon became so noted for his learning and sanctity, and his high status, that he was elected Bishop of Reims at age 21, though still a layman. [2] He was both Lord Chancellor of France and Référendaire of France.

The story of the return of the sacred vessels (most notably the Vase of Soissons), which had been stolen from the church of Soissons, testifies to the friendly relations existing between him and Clovis, King of the Franks, whom he converted to Christianity with the assistance of Vedast (Vedastus, Vaast, Waast) and Clotilde, the Burgundian princess who was wife to Clovis. Even before he embraced Christianity, Clovis had showered benefits upon Remigius and the Christians of Reims, and after his victory over the Alamanni in the battle of Tolbiac (probably 496), he requested Remigius to baptize him at Reims (December 25, 496) in the presence of a large company of Franks and Alamanni; according to Gregory of Tours, 3,000 Franks were baptized with Clovis. [lower-alpha 2]

King Clovis granted Remigius stretches of territory, in which Remigius established and endowed many churches. He erected bishoprics at Tournai; Cambrai; Thérouanne, where he personally ordained the first bishop in 499; Arras, where he installed St. Vedast; and Laon, which he gave to his niece's husband Gunband. In 530 he consecrated Medardus, Bishop of Noyon. Remigius' brother Principius was Bishop of Soissons and also corresponded with Sidonius Apollinaris, whose letters give a sense of the highly cultivated courtly literary Gallo-Roman style all three men shared. [3]

Baptism of Clovis by Paul Dubois, 1896, at the side of the Abbey of Saint-Remi, in Reims Bateme de Clovis par St Remy-edit.jpg
Baptism of Clovis by Paul Dubois, 1896, at the side of the Abbey of Saint-Remi, in Reims

The chroniclers of "Gallia Christiana" record that numerous donations were made to Remigius by the Frankish nobles, which he presented to the cathedral at Reims. [2]

Though Remigius never attended any of the church councils, in 517 he held a synod at Reims, at which after a heated discussion he converted a bishop of Arian views. [2] Although Remigius's influence over people and prelates was extraordinary, upon one occasion his condoning of the offences of one Claudius, a priest whom Remigius had consecrated, brought upon him the rebukes of his episcopal brethren, who deemed Claudius deserving of degradation. The reply of Remigius, still extant, is able and convincing.

Few authentic works of Remigius remain: his "Declamations" were elaborately admired by Sidonius Apollinaris, in a finely turned letter to Remigius, but are now lost. [4] Four letters survive in the collection known as the Epistulae Austrasicae : one containing his defence in the matter of Claudius, two written to Clovis, and a fourth to Bishop Falco of Tongres. The "Testament of Saint Remigius" is apocryphal. A brief and strictly legendary "Vita" was formerly ascribed to Venantius Fortunatus. Another, according to Jacobus de Voragine, was written by Ignatius, bishop of Reims. [5] A letter congratulating Pope Hormisdas upon his election (523) is apocryphal, and "the letter in which Pope Hormisdas appears to have appointed him vicar of the kingdom of Clovis is proved to be spurious; it is presumed to have been an attempt of Hincmar to base his pretensions for the elevation of Reims to the primacy, following the alleged precedent of Remigius." [6]

A Commentary on the Pauline Epistles (edited Villalpandus, 1699) is not his work, but that of Remigius of Auxerre. [7]

Remigius' relics were kept in the Cathedral of Reims, whence Hincmar had them translated to Épernay during the Viking invasions and thence, in 1099 to the Abbey of Saint-Rémy. His feast is celebrated on October 1.

Remigius is remembered in the Church of England with a commemoration on 1 October. [8]

Legacy

List of churches dedicated to Saint Remigius:

See also

Preceded by Archbishop of Reims
459–533
Succeeded by

Related Research Articles

496 Calendar year

Year 496 (CDXCVI) was a leap year starting on Monday of the Julian calendar. In the Roman Empire, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Paulus without colleague. The denomination 496 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.

Clovis I First king of the Franks (c. 466–511)

Clovis was the first king of the Franks to unite all of the Frankish tribes under one ruler, changing the form of leadership from a group of petty kings to rule by a single king and ensuring that the kingship was passed down to his heirs. He is considered to have been the founder of the Merovingian dynasty, which ruled the Frankish kingdom for the next two centuries.

Clotilde Christian saint and second wife of the Frankish king Clovis I

Clotilde, also known as Clothilde, Clotilda, Clotild, Rotilde etc., was a Queen of All the Franks. She was supposedly descended from the Gothic king Athanaric and became the second wife of the Frankish king Clovis I in 493. The Merovingian dynasty to which her husband belonged ruled Frankish kingdoms for over 200 years (450–758).

Chlothar I King of the Franks (r. 511–558) of the Merovingian dynasty

Chlothar I was a king of the Franks of the Merovingian dynasty and one of the four sons of Clovis I.

Battle of Tolbiac

The Battle of Tolbiac was fought between the Franks, who were fighting under Clovis I, and the Alamanni, whose leader is not known. The date of the battle has traditionally been given as 496, though other accounts suggest it may either have been fought earlier, in the 480s or early 490s, or later, in 506. The site of "Tolbiac", or "Tolbiacum", is usually given as Zülpich, North Rhine-Westphalia, about 60 km east of what is now the German-Belgian frontier. The Franks were successful at Tolbiac and established their dominance over the Alamanni.

Avitus of Vienne

Alcimus EcdiciusAvitus was a Latin poet and bishop of Vienne in Gaul. His fame rests in part on his poetry, but also on the role he played as secretary for the Burgundian kings.

Hincmar Archbishop of Reims

Hincmar, archbishop of Reims, was a Frankish jurist and theologian, as well as the friend, advisor and propagandist of Charles the Bald. He belonged to a noble family of northern Francia.

There have been a number of councils held at Troyes:

Tilpin Bishop of Reims

Tilpin, Latin Tilpinus, also called Tulpin, a name later corrupted as Turpin, was the bishop of Reims from about 748 until his death. He was for many years regarded as the author of the legendary Historia Caroli Magni, which is thus also known as the "Pseudo-Turpin Chronicle". He appears as one of the Twelve Peers of France in a number of the chansons de geste, the most important of which is The Song of Roland. His portrayal in the chansons, often as a warrior-bishop, is completely fictitious.

Carloman was the youngest son of Charles the Bald, king of West Francia, and his first wife, Ermentrude. He was intended for an ecclesiastical career from an early age, but in 870 rebelled against his father and tried to claim a part of the kingdom as an inheritance.

Vedast

Vedast or Vedastus, also known as Saint Vaast or Saint Waast, Saint Gaston in French, and Foster in English was an early bishop in the Frankish realm.

The Vase of Soissons was a semi-legendary sacred vase, probably in precious metal or a hardstone carving rather than pottery, which was kept in a cathedral in the Kingdom of Soissons during Late Antiquity. The existence and fate of the vase are known from Gregory of Tours, a Gallo-Roman historian and bishop. Because Gregory wrote his account more than a century after the vase was said to have been destroyed, it is difficult if not impossible to distinguish myth from history.

Tonantius Ferreolus, was a vir clarissimus, or Gallo-Roman senator.

Roman Catholic Diocese of Soissons

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Soissons, Laon, and Saint-Quentin is a diocese of the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church in France. The diocese is suffragan to the Archdiocese of Reims and corresponds, with the exception of two hamlets, to the entire Department of Aisne. The current bishop is Renauld Marie François Dupont de Dinechin, appointed on 30 October 2015. In the Diocese of Soissons there is one priest for every 4,648 Catholics.

Quintian of Rodez

Saint Quintian was a bishop of Rodez and a bishop of Clermont-Ferrand (Arvernes) in the sixth century, and participated in the Councils of Agde (508) and Orleans (511).

Hincmar, called the Younger, was the Bishop of Laon in the West Frankish Kingdom of Charles the Bald from 858 to 871. His career is remembered by a succession of quarrels with his monarch and his uncle, archbishop Hincmar of Rheims. After initial loyalty to Charles trouble occurred from 868 due to the allocation of benefices on the see's estates. The conflict grew dangerous as it became embroiled in the larger dispute of Lotharingian succession following Lothair II’s attempted divorce from his wife. Hincmar’s struggle against his king provides a Carolingian example of early Medieval clerical exemption.

Holy Ampulla Glass vial containing the chrism for French coronations from 1131 to 1774

The Holy Ampulla or Holy Ampoule was a glass vial which, from its first recorded use by Pope Innocent II for the anointing of Louis VII in 1131 to the coronation of Louis XVI in 1774, held the chrism or anointing oil for the coronation of the kings of France.

Ragnachar or Ragnarius was a Frankish petty king (regulus) who ruled from Cambrai. According to Gregory of Tours, Ragnachar "was so unrestrained in his wantonness that he scarcely had mercy for his own near relatives".

Arbogast was a comes (Count) of Trier of Frankish origin in the late fifth century.

Christianization of the Franks

Christianization of the Franks was the process of converting the pagan Franks to Catholicism during the late 5th century and early 6th century. It was started by Clovis I, regulus of Tournai, with the insistence of his wife, Clotilde and Saint Remigius, the bishop of Reims.

References

  1. Great Synaxaristes: (in Greek) Ὁ Ἅγιος Ρεμίγιος Ἐπίσκοπος Ρημῶν. 13 Ιανουαρίου. ΜΕΓΑΣ ΣΥΝΑΞΑΡΙΣΤΗΣ.
  2. The legend of the ampulla of holy oil that was used to anoint the kings crowned at Reims originated after Remigius' time, with Bishop Hincmar of Reims.
  1. 1 2 January 13 Archived 2011-10-12 at the Wayback Machine . The Roman Martyrology.
  2. 1 2 3 Dedieu-Barthe, Joseph Germain Eugène (1911). "St. Remigius"  . In Herbermann, Charles (ed.). Catholic Encyclopedia . Vol. 12. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  3. Book IX, p. viii
  4. Book IX, p. vii
  5. Jacobus de Voragine, The Golden Legend, October 1: "St. Remigius."
  6. Philip Schaff, "The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge," entry by A. Hauck
  7. Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Remigius, St"  . Encyclopædia Britannica . Vol. 23 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  8. "The Calendar". The Church of England. Retrieved 2021-04-08.

Further reading