Feast of St. Salvius of Albi (September 10)   Leave a comment

Above:  A Map of Gaul in 561

SAINT SALVIUS OF ALBI (DIED 584)

Roman Catholic Bishop

St. Salvius, a native of Albi, Gaul, became a lawyer then a magistrate before entering monastic life and living as a hermit.  He spent the last ten years of his life as Bishop of Albi.  As bishop the saint lived simply and aided the poor of the area.  He also ransomed prisoners of Mammolus, a patrician, at the city.  Yet the saint’s major claim to fame and holiness pertains to Chilperic I (reigned 561-584), King of Soissons.

Now I invite you, O reader, to follow the bouncing balls with me.

Gaul under Merovingian rule was Francia, seldom a unified realm.  When a king of all Franks died, his sons inherited parts of the kingdom.  They usually fought among themselves thereafter, bringing warfare to Francia.  Chilperic I was one of our sons of Clotaire/Lothair I (reigned 511-561), King of Soissons from 511 and King of all Franks from 558.  Chilperic I divorced one wife so he could marry Galeswintha, his sister-in-law.  Then he had her strangled and married his mistress, Frenegund.  Chilperic’s forces also fought those of his brother Sigibert I (reigned 561-575), King of Austrasia.  Frenegund had Sigibert assassinated, thus saving Chilperic from defeat and the loss of his realm.

Chilperic I was not a nice man.  And I have only begun to describe his perfidy.

Chilperic I also interfered with the church, trying to control it.  He committed simony when he sold bishoprics.  The king also fined young priests for not serving in the army.  And he annulled the wills of men who left large sums of money to the church.  The monarch also forbade the teaching of the doctrine of the Trinity as St. Gregory of Tours understood it.  St. Gregory, a historian on Francia, likened Chilperic I to Herod the Great and Nero.  That might have been an overreach, but harsh criticism of the monarch was justified.  The king, a pretentious man who wrote bad poetry and added four letters to the Latin alphabet, raised taxes steeply–for his own financial gain, not to benefit the kingdom.  And he did cause many people to die.

Both Sts. Gregory and Salvius opposed the offending policies and activities of Chilperic I, who increased his territory as brothers died.  Yet Chilperic began to change his mind and to back down after two of his sons died.  Maybe Sts. Gregory and Salvius proved to be persuasive.  And/or perhaps the aging monarch feared damnation.  Anyhow, he fell victim to an assassin in 584.  Next Frenegund ruled for a time as regent for their newborn son, Clotaire/Lothair II (reigned 584-629), King of Neustria from 584 and of all Franks from 613.  The price he paid for uniting Francia was to make concessions to nobles, setting the stage for the decline of Merovingian dynastic power and the rise of what became the Carolingian Dynasty.

Geeking out over French history is my right, my privilege, and a harmless activity, but now I return to the main purpose of this post–explaining the sanctity of St. Salvius.

St. Salvius, by opposing Chilperic I, placed himself at great risk, for people who proved inconvenient to the monarch ran the risk of turning up dead.  Yet the saint stood his ground while committing a host of good deeds for the benefit of people who could never repay him.  He, in fact, finished his days tending to plague victims.  His life overflowed with sanctity until the end.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 20, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS FLAVIAN II OF ANTIOCH AND ELIAS OF JERUSALEM, ROMAN CATHOLIC PATRIARCHS

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANSEGIUS OF FONTANELLE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT

THE FEAST OF ELIZABETH CADY STANTON, AMELIA BLOOMER, SOJOURNER TRUTH, AND HARRIET ROSS TUBMAN, WITNESSES TO CIVIL RIGHTS FOR AFRICAN AMERICANS AND WOMEN

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Heavenly Father, Shepherd of your people,

we thank you for your servant Saint Servius of Albi,

who was faithful in the care and nurture of your flock;

and we pray that, following his example and the teaching of his holy life,

we may by your grace grow into the stature of the fullness

of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Ezekiel 34:11-16

Psalm 23

1 Peter 5:1-4

John 21:15-17

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 718

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