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Saturday, May 28, 2016
at Silly near Poitiers, France
12 September 349 or 29 May 352 (records vary)
Bishop of Trier, b. at Silly near Poitiers, d. there, 29 May, 352 or 12 Sept., 349. He was educated and ordained priest by St. Agritius, whom he succeeded as Bishop of Trier in 332 or 335. At that time Trier was the government seat of the Western Emperor and, by force of his office, Maximinus stood in close relation with the Emperors Constantine II and Constans. He was a strenuous defender of the orthodox faith against Arianism and an intimate friend of St. Athanasius, whom he harboured as an honoured guest during his exile of two years and four months (336-8) at Trier. He likewise received with honours the banished patriarch Paul of Constantinople in 341 and effected his recall to Constantinople. When four Arian bishops came from Antioch to Trier in 342 with the purpose of winning Emperor Constans to their side, Maximinus refused to receive them and induced the emperor to reject their proposals. In conjunction with Pope Julius I and Bishop Hosius of Cordova, he persuaded the Emperor Constans to convene the Synod of Sardica in 343 and probably took part in it. That the Arians considered him as one of their chief opponents is evident from the fact that they condemned by name along with Pope Julius I and Hosius of Cordova at their heretical synod of Philippopolis in 343 (Mans, "Sacrorum Conc. nova et ampl. Coll.", III, 136 sq.). In 345 he took part in the Synod of Milan and is said to have presided over a synod held at Cologne in 346, where Bishop Euphratas of Cologne was deposed on account of his leanings toward Arianism. (Concerning the authenticity of the Acts of this synod see the new French translation of Hefele's "Conciliengeschichte", I, ii (Paris, 1907), pp. 830-34.) He also sent Sts. Castor and Lubentius as missionaries to the valleys of the Mosel and the Lahn. It is doubtful whether the Maximinus whom the usurper Magnentius sent as legate to Constantinople in the interests of peace is identical with the Bishop of Trier (Athanasius, "Apol. ad Const. Imp.", 9). His cult began right after his death. His feast is celebrated on 29 May, on which day his name stands in the martyrologies of St. Jerome, St. Bede, St. Ado, and others. Trier honours him as its patron. In the autumn of 353 his body was buried in the church of St. John near Trier, where in the seventh century was founded the famous Benedictine abbey of St. Maximinus, which flourished till 1802. Catholic Encyclopedia
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Islamic State extremists blew up one of Mosul's most famous churches, known as the Clock Church. The clock tower was bought by Empress Eugenie of France, wife of the last Emperor Napoleon III, as a gift to the Dominican Fathers who built the church in the 1870s. The Empress Eugenie was rewarding the Dominican friars' attempts to end an outbreak of typhoid in the city. The Dominican monks had to promise the citizens they would not climb the tower and spy on residents sleeping on their roofs. Many historic sites and Christian shrines, and churches have been destroyed by ISIS in this area. . Mosul has always been known as a city where Sunni Muslims, Christians, Shabaks, Arabs, Kurds, Assyrians, Armenians and Turkmens all co-existed. It had more than 40 churches and monasteries at the time of the invasion of 2003.
The list of tragedies in the family of the Blessed Margaret is still far from complete, but sufficient instances have been given to justify the description we have given of her whole career. Margaret, Countess of Salisbury, was born at Farley Castle, near Bath, on 14th August, in or about the year 1473. Her mother, Isabel, daughter of the above-mentioned "King-maker," died 22nd December, 1476, and her father in the Tower nearly two years later. During the reign of Edward IV, little Margaret and her brother were brought up at Sheen, with the children of her uncle, King Edward IV. At his death, Margaret and Edward, after a short stay at Warwick Castle—their ancestral home—resided for a short time at the Court of Richard III. When the crook-back King's son died, the youthful Earl of Warwick became de jure heir to the Crown, and Margaret, his sister, in the same way, Princess Royal. These short-lived honours, however, ended in 1485, when the victory of Bosworth gave the Throne to the Tudor Adventurer who, as Henry VII was to introduce a new dynasty and the oldest and most repulsive form of Oriental despotism into the realm!
England, as the late Mr. J. M. Kerr shows in his well-known Elements of Public Law, was as practically free in 1485 as she was in the nineteenth century. By the time of the death of Harry Tudor's appalling son, the country had become as abject and prostrate as any of the dominions of contemporary Sultans or Rajahs! In 1491, when Margaret was about eighteen years of age, she was married by the King, Henry VII, to a distant relative and thorough-going supporter of his own, Sir Richard Pole. The Order of the Garter was conferred upon this gentleman, who hailed from Buckinghamshire, and in 1486, on the birth of Prince Arthur, the King's eldest son, he received the high position of Governor to the Prince of Wales.
Lady Pole, as she was now, appears to have been happy in her union. Five children were born of the marriage, and both she and her husband stood high in the favour of the cold and calculating King. But one dark cloud hung ever over her. All this time her unhappy brother, the true heir to the Crown, lay in the Tower, his only "crime," of course, being that summed up in the phrase, "the right of the first-born is his!" Secluded from all society, and most shamefully neglected, the poor young Earl of Warwick grew up in almost total ignorance and simplicity, so as not to know, as men said, "a goose from a capon." Once, to expose the Lambert Simnel pretensions by the most convincing of all proofs, Henry caused the unhappy youth to be paraded through London, and this show duly over, the royal captive was again consigned to his lonely prison.
Then in 1499, came his alleged attempt to escape, together with another claimant, the plebeian Perkin Warbeck, and the cruel and selfish despot had a plausible pretext for bringing the "last of the Plantagenets to the scaffold." This was one of the most brutal and callous State murders in the whole of English history, and the absence of any sort of protest either from the servile hierarchy or the upstart lords that bowed down before Henry's throne, shows how deeply the nation had already sunk in political and social slavery! The decapitated corpse of the young and perfectly innocent Earl, thus foully done to death, was interred at Bisham Priory, near Maidenhead, a place where his grief-stricken sister was to find a home nearer the end of her own sorrow-laden and tragic life. When the sickly Arthur married Catharine of Aragon, and went to keep his short-lived Court at Ludlow Castle, Lady Pole became one of the ladies of the Princess of Wales. The appointment must have carried with it poignant reflections on both sides. For Catharine herself believed—and was later bitterly to make her foreboding known—that no good could come of her union with the scion of the Tudor House, since that union had been brought about by the price of innocent blood! For the "most Catholic"—and most calculating—King Ferdinand VII, her father, had made it one of the conditions of his daughter's nuptials, that there should be no claimants to the English Crown. His royal brother of England had forthwith nobly obliged by presenting to the Monarch of Castile and Aragon, the head of the innocent Warwick on a charger—and "all went merry as a marriage-bell"—for a time! Catharine on her side, soon conceived a great affection for the sister of one so cruelly sacrificed to make smooth her own matrimonial path. She did all she could to forward the interests of the Pole family, notably after the death of Sir Richard in 1503.
There can also be little doubt that when, in November, 1513, Parliament reversed the infamous Act of Attainder passed on her murdered brother and restored to Margaret's family the title and estates, forfeited on that iniquitous occasion, the excellent Queen Catharine again proved herself a friend at Court, and facilitated by her influence the partial undoing of this hideous murder by statute. When the Princess Mary, afterwards Queen, was baptized in the Church of the Franciscan Observants at Greenwich, the Countess of Salisbury—as Lady Margaret Pole had now become, owing to the reversal of her brother's attainder, and the restoration of the ancestral honours—held the child at the font. Nine years later, she was nominated Governess of the Princess, and appointed to preside over the Court of the little royal lady at Ludlow Castle, one of the official residences of the Princes and Princesses of Wales. Meanwhile the children of the Lady Salisbury were growing up, and the most interesting of them was undoubtedly Reginald, the future Cardinal and last Catholic Archbishop of Canterbury. Endowed by Providence with great personal beauty and rare mental gifts, he possessed what was greater than these, that sense of principle, and that elevated moral standard which were so conspicuously lacking to the ruling and upper classes throughout the Tudor period. A boy Bachelor of Oxford at the age of fifteen, he had afterwards studied the Canon Law at Padua. The world, indeed, was at the feet of this singularly gifted youth. Henry was to think of making him Archbishop of York after the death of Wolsey, and still later was even more intensely to think of having him assassinated! Meanwhile, as a most winsome and delectable youth, he was a decided "catch" from the matrimonial point of view, and good Queen Catharine, ever eager to serve a family that had suffered so much through her, but surely not by her, had ideas of marrying the Princess Mary to the brilliant son of her almost lifelong friend.
The "future" of the much-discussed Reginald, however, was settled, and settled finally by the complications and menaces of the royal divorce question which became acute about 1527-8. A little later, the French Ambassador Castillon, horrified at the well-nigh weekly slaughter that had become almost a mere incident in the life of England at this period, exclaimed: "I think few Lords feel safe in this country!" Reginald Pole, to whom the King looked for learned and moral support at this crisis, was certainly one of the majority, so to save his head, he prudently withdrew to the Continent, under the pretext of pursuing his theological studies. The immediate effect of the King's divorce and subsequent marriage with Anne Boleyn, was to deprive the Countess of Salisbury of her post of Governess to the Princess Mary, and, indeed, to cause her forcible separation from her charge to whom she had become tenderly attached. Robbed thus of the friends of her youth—doomed to see many of them die in prison or on the scaffold—herself declared illegitimate and deprived of her just rights—is it any wonder that Mary learnt to loathe the very name of the "Reformation?" For from the first, its aiders and abetters ever showed themselves the thick and thin supporters of despotism—the despotism that plundered the church and the poor—cynically gave the "people" a Bible which most of them could neither read nor understand—and filled the whole country with nauseating phrases and catchwords redolent of cant and hypocrisy! All this has to be borne in mind in judging of the Queen of "bloody" memory.
After the breaking up of the Princess Mary's household, Lady Salisbury went to live for a time at Bisham, close to her murdered brother's "last long home." The greater Abbeys, as is well-known, were not suppressed till 1539, but for many months before this, it was generally understood throughout England that the Religious Houses were doomed. Henry's prodigality was enormous, and his meretricious Court and the host of extravagances its pleasures—noble and ignoble—entailed, made him cast envious eyes on the age—long monastic Foundations and their material possessions. This was quite apart from their known dislike of his schismatical policy, and so the fate of Abbeys and Priories was soon sealed. The Priory of Canons Regular of St. Augustine at Bisham was dear to Lady Salisbury and her family, apart from its sacred character, and the fact that the remains of their murdered relative, the ill-fated Earl of Warwick, lay buried within its precincts. For it had been founded by William de Montacute, Earl of Salisbury, in the reign of Edward III, and so might almost be regarded as a quasi possession of the house. Lady Salisbury now advised the Prior not to resign the Priory unless the inevitable occurred, when, of course, all would be able to see that the dissolution had been made by force. The said Prior was ejected to make way for the notorious William Barlow, who shortly afterwards "surrendered" the House to the King. The year that saw the passing of Bisham and the rest of the abodes of "the Monks of Old," was the year of the appearance of Reginald Pole's treatise De Unitate Ecclesiastical The book gave the lie to almost every one of Henry's recent declarations on the subject of the Church, and in arraigning him at the bar of ecclesiastical history and Catholic doctrine, exposed him to the condemnation of Europe. The rage of the royal Nero, of course, knew no bounds. In vain did he command Pole to return to England without excuse or delay so as to lose his head! Equally in vain did he instruct Sir Thomas Wyatt and other of his agents abroad, to have his daring relative assassinated.1 Pole was now a Cardinal and busy pushing forward the initial negotiations and arrangements that were to prepare the way for the Council of Trent. His office as Legate to the Low Countries was all in the same direction—to make peace between the Emperor and France, and so facilitate the opening of the Council that was to do so much to heal the wounds of Holy Church. He was not, as Lingard shows (History, vol. v., chap. ii.), engineering a crusade against the Tudor Monster, though, no doubt, the thought of such a movement was uppermost In many minds. Unable either to get the Cardinal in his toils or murdered out of hand, Henry struck at his kinsfolk and acquaintances. In November, 1538, Henry Lord Montague, Sir Geoffrey Pole, Sir Edmund Neville, the Marquis of Exeter, and Sir Nicholas Carew, were lodged in the Tower on the usual charge of "Treason." Historic accuracy compels us to admit that Cardinal Pole, like Lord Stafford in 1680, was not "a man beloved of his own relatives," at least in this crisis. His own mother had seen the danger likely to arise from his book and had even spoken of him as "a traitor." His brother, Lord Montague had likewise written letters of remonstrance to him. Needless to say all this was largely pro forma to divert Henry's fatal wrath, but whatever was the object all was in vain, and this crowd of noble personages, except Sir Geoffrey Pole, were done to death after the usual judicial mummery on Tower Hill, 3rd January, 1539.
Before being officially murdered, Lord Montague asked for absolution for having taken the Oath of Supremacy, and this fact is said to have sealed his fate. The "execution" of these gentlemen, as usual, caused universal horror, and Henry was widely compared to the worst of the persecutors in the days of pagan Rome, though that heathen city, at least, had the advantage of a Pretorian Guard to deliver its citizens from their tyrants when these got past all bearing. While her family was being prepared for the slaughter—to make a Tudor holiday—the now aged Countess of Salisbury was living in retirement at Warblington, near Havant in Hampshire. She was arrested there by Fitz William, Earl of Southampton, and Goodrich, Bishop of Ely, 13th November, 1538, and almost immediately removed to Cowdray, Sussex. Here she remained several months, being treated by the Earl of Southampton, her jailer, with great harshness. Her trunks and coffer were searched, and in one of these was found a tunic or "vestment," embroidered with the Five Wounds. It looks as if an ordinary tabard adorned with one of the devices of the Plantaganets, Margaret's ancestors, had come to light, but Cromwell and his Master affected to see in this old raiment a traitorous connection with the "Pilgrimage of Grace," the banner of which was a representation of Our Lord's Wounds. Another murder by Act of Parliament, of course, went forward, and on 28th June, 1539, the Countess of Salisbury, her eldest son, the Marquis of Exeter, and a number of other persons of lesser degree, including three Irish priests "for carrying letters to the Pope," were added to the "attainted" victims of the King. The news of his dear mother's condemnation greatly affected the Cardinal. "You have heard, I believe, of my mother being condemned by public Council to death, or rather to eternal life," he wrote on 22nd September, of the same year. "Not only has he who condemned her, condemned to death a woman of seventy—than whom he has no nearer relative, except his daughter, and of whom he used to say there was no holier woman in his kingdom—but at the same time her grandson, son of my brother, a child, the remaining hope of our race.1 See how far this tyranny has gone, which began with priests, in whose order it only consumed the best, then [went on] to nobles, and there, too, destroyed the best." (Epistolae Poli, ii, 191.) On the very day that the obsequious Divan, misnamed Parliament, passed the Bill of Attainder, Margaret was transferred from Cowdray to the Tower. There for two years, she suffered much from cold and neglect, for she had been hurried to London without any time to make the necessary preparations. At last it was resolved to add her venerable name to those of the other martyrs of the Faith. She was sacrificed out of hatred to her son, the great champion of the Church, whose discourses and writings had done so much to expose to the world the villainies of the Tudor Tiberius and his Sejanus, Thomas Cromwell, and make all just men shrink with horror at the very mention of the names of these two oppressors of the human race. The Countess of Salisbury was taken to East Smithfield early in the morning of 28th May, 1541, and there beheaded on a low block or log in the presence of the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, and a few other spectators. The regular headsman was away from London at the time, and his deputy, an unskilful lout, hacked at the blessed Martyr in such a way as to give some foundation to the story afterwards made current by Lord Herbert of Cherbury, that she had refused to lay her head on the block and was, therefore, struck repeatedly by the executioner till she fell dead. Before her death, she prayed for the King, Queen (Catherine Howard), Prince of Wales (later Edward VI), and the Princess Mary Her last words were: "Blessed are they who suffer persecution for justice' sake for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven." The body of the Blessed Margaret, Countess of Salisbury, was interred in the Tower, in that Chapel dedicated to St. Peter's Chains, whose illustrious dead and historic associations are enshrined in Macaulay's memorable lines. She was declared Blessed with many of the rest of the English Martyrs by Leo XIII, 29th December, 1886. Others than her co-religionists, no doubt, like to reflect that a life, so marked by piety, and so full of griefs ever heroically borne, has after the lapse of nearly four centuries been thus honoured, and that the last direct descendant of the Plantaganet line has her place in the Hagiography of the Church so long associated with their sway. Endnotes 1 Two ruffians nearly carried out the King's benign intention concerning his kinsman, but Pole magnanimously forgave the would-be murderers, and merely sent them to the galleys for a few days. But after this he increased his bodyguard which then formed part of every Cardinal's household, at least in Italy. 2 This "remaining hope of our race" was Edward Courtenay, Earl of Devon, who after a captivity of sixteen years in the Tower, was among the prisoners released by Queen Mary immediately after her accession, 1553. Had he been "possible," there is little doubt but that the Queen would hare married him, and so saved all the odium and trouble that followed from the highly unpopular "Spanish match." Courtenay, who had probably been ruined in character by neglect and imprisonment, soon left the country, and ended his unworthy life at Padua, 1556. (Taken from Vol. V of "The Lives or the Fathers, Martyrs and Other Principal Saints" by the Rev. Alban Butler, (c) Copyright 1954, Virtue and Company, Limited, London.)
ABBOT AND BISHOP OF PARIS
Feast: May 28
|St. Germanus, the glory of the church of France in the sixth age, was born in the territory of Autun about the year 469. He was brought up in piety and learning under the care of Scapilion his cousin, a holy priest. In his youth no weather could divert him from always going to Matins at midnight, though the church was above a mile from the place of his abode. Being ordained priest by St. Agrippinus bishop of Autun, he was made abbot of St. Symphorian's in the suburbs of that city, a house since converted into a priory of regular canons. Fortunatus, bishop of Poitiers, who was well acquainted with our saint, tells us that he was favored at that time with the gifts of miracles and prophecy. It was his custom to watch great part of the night in the church in prayer, while his monks slept. One night in a dream he thought a venerable old man presented him with the keys of the city of Paris and said to him, that God committed to his care the inhabitants of that city, that he should save them from perishing. Four years after this divine admonition, in 554, happening to be at Paris when that see became vacant, on the demise of the bishop Eusebius, he was exalted to the episcopal chair, though he endeavored by many tears to decline the charge. His promotion made no alteration in his continual fasts and other austerities; and the same simplicity and frugality appeared in his dress, table, and furniture. In the evening at nine o'clock he went to the church, and staved there in prayer till after Matins, that is, in summer till about break of day His house was perpetually crowded with the poor and the afflicted. and he had always many beggars at his own table, at which no dainty meats were ever served; he took care that the souls of his guests should be refreshed at the same time with their bodies, by the reading of some pious book. God gave to his sermons a wonderful influence over the minds of ale ranks of people; so that the face of the whole city was in a very short time quite changed. Vanities were abolished, dances and profane amusements laid aside, enmities and discord extinguished, and sinners reclaimed. King Childebert, who till then had been an ambitious worldly prince, by the sweetness and the powerful discourses of the saint, was entirely converted to piety, and by his advice reformed his whole court. And so desirous did that prince become of exchanging the perishing goods of this world for eternal treasures, that, not content with making many religious foundations, to be nurseries of piety in all succeeding ages, and with sending incredible sums of money to the good bishop, to be distributed among the indigent after his coffers were drained he melted down his silver plate, and gave away the chains which he wore about his neck, begging the bishop, whom he made the steward of his charities, never to cease giving, assuring him that on his side he should never be tired with supplying all things for the relief and comfort of the distressed.|
In the year 542, king Childebert, together with his brother Clotaire, making war in Spain, besieged Saragossa. The inhabitants of that city reposed a particular confidence in the patronage of St. Vincent, whose relics they carried in procession within sight of the French camp. King Childebert was moved with their devotion, and desiring to speak with the bishop of the city, promised to withdraw his army, on condition he might obtain some portion of the relics of St. Vincent. The bishop gave him the stole which that holy deacon wore at the altar. Upon which the king raised the siege, and, at his return to Paris, built a church in honor of St. Vincent, and of the Holy Cross; which is now called St. Germain's in the meadows, and stands in the suburbs of Paris. Childebert falling sick at his palace at Celles, near Melun, at the confluence of the Yon and Seine, St. Germanus paid him a visit; and when the physicians had in vain tried every thing, all human means failing, the saint spent the whole night in prayer for his recovery, and in the morning laid his hands on him; and at the same moment the king found himself perfectly healed. The king relates himself this miracle in his letters patent, in which, in gratitude to God for this benefit, he gave to the church of Paris and the bishop Germanus, the land of Celles, where he had received this favor. The good king did not long survive. As the king had chosen the church of St. Vincent for the place of his burial, the saint, assisted by six other bishops, performed the ceremony of the dedication on the 23d of December, 558, the very day on which that prince died. The king likewise had built a large monastery joining to this new church, which he endowed most liberally with the fief of Issy and other lands, on part of which a considerable suburb of Paris has been since built. This magnificent edifice was called the Golden Church, the walls being covered on the outside with plates of brass gilt, and within adorned with paintings on a rich gilt ground.1 This church was plundered by the Normans, in 845, 857, 858, and set on fire by them in 861 and 881; but rebuilt in 1014, and dedicated by pope Alexander III. in 1163. The lower part of the great tower and its gate with the statues of Clovis, Clodomir, Thierri, Childebert and his wife Ultrogotta, Clotaire, and others, seem to be as old as the time of king Childebert. This prince committed the monastery and church to the care of our saint, who placed there monks under the holy abbot Droctoveus, whom he had invited from Autun, where he had formed him to a religious life. Clotaire, who succeeded his brother Childebert, was the last of the sons of the great Clovis; and united again the four kingdoms of France into one monarchy. On his removing from Soissons to Paris, he at first seemed to treat the holy bishop coldly; but falling ill soon after of a violent fever, was put in mind by some that were about him to send for St. Germanus. He did so, and full of confidence in the power of God and the sanctity of his servant, took hold of his clothes and applied them to the parts of his body where he felt pain, and recovered immediately. From that moment he always treated the saint even with greater honor than Childebert had done. But that prince dying shortly after, in 561, his four sons, Charibert, Gontran, Sigebert, and Chilperic, divided the French monarchy into four kingdoms, in the same manner as the sons of Clovis had done. That of Paris was given to Charibert or Aribert, Gontran was king of Orleans and Burgundy, Sigebert of Austrasia, and Chilperic of Soissons. Charibert sunk into a vicious indolence, yet was obstinate and headstrong in his passions not being divested of all the prejudices of paganism, he divorced his wife Ingoberga, and took to wife Marcovesa her maid, who had worn a religious habit; and after her death, he married her sister Merofleda, Ingoberga being still living. Our saint many ways endeavored to make him sensible of the enormity of his crimes; but finding all his remonstrances lost on him, he proceeded so far as to excommunicate him and the accomplice of his sin, to hinder at least the dangerous influence of his scandalous example. The sinners were hardened in their evil courses; but God revenged the contempt of his laws and of the holy pastor as he has often done, by visible judgments; for the criminal lady fell ill and died in a few days, and the adulterous king did not long survive her, leaving by his lawful wife only three daughters, two of whom became nuns, the third, called Bertha, was married to Ethelbert, king of Kent.
Upon the death of Charibert in 570, his three brothers divided his dominions; but not being able to agree who should be master of Paris, the capital, came to an accommodation that they should hold it jointly, on condition that none of them should go into the city without the leave of the other two St. Germanus found his flock involved by this agreement in great difficulties, and the city divided into three different parties, always plotting and counterplotting against one another. He did all that the most consummate charity, prudence, and vigilance could do, to preserve the public peace; yet Sigebert and Chilperic appeared in arms, being fired by ambition, and stirred up by their wicked queens Fredegonda, wife of the latter, and Brunehaut of the former, burning with the most implacable jealousy against each other. The saint prevailed with them to suspend their hostilities for some time. At length Chilperic invaded the territories of Sigebert, but being worsted in battle, fled to Tournay. This victory left Sigebert free liberty of going to Paris with his wife Brunehaut and children, where he was received as conqueror. St. Germanus wrote to the queen, conjuring her to employ her interest with her husband to restore the peace of France, and to spare the life and fortune of a brother, whose ruin and blood would cry to heaven for vengeance. But Brunehaut's passion rendered her deaf to all remonstrances, and Sigebert was determined by her furious counsels to besiege Tournay. As he was setting out for this enterprise, he was met by St. Germanus, who told him that if he forgave his brother, he should return victorious; but if he was bent on his death, divine justice would overtake him, and his own death should prevent the execution of his unnatural design. Sigebert allowed this wholesome advice no weight; but the event showed that God had put these words in the mouth of the good bishop; for queen Fredegonda, enraged at the desperate posture of her husband's.
affairs, hired two assassins, who dispatched him with poisoned daggers, while he made a halt in his march at Vitri, in 575, after he had reigned fourteen years, with some reputation of humanity, as Fortunatus tells us.
Chilperic, by his tyranny and oppressions, deserved to be styled the French Nero, as St. Gregory of Tours calls him. He sacrificed his own children by former wives to the fury of Fredegonda, but having discovered her infidelity to him, he was, by her contrivance, murdered by her gallant in 584. Fredegonda was regent of the kingdoms of Soissons and Paris for her son Clotaire III., and continued her practices and wars against Brunehaut and her son till she died, in 601. Brunehaut governed the kingdom of Austrasia for her son Childebert II., and after his death for her grandson Theodebert; but afterwards persuaded Theodoric, her second grandson, who reigned at Challons, to destroy him and his whole family in fill. The year following Theodoric died, and Clotaire II., surnamed the Great, son of Fredegonda, inheriting both their estates, accused Brunehaut before the states of putting to death ten kings and St. Desiderius, bishop of Vienne, because he had reproved her for her public scandalous lusts, and many other illustrious persons. She had at first appeared liberal, and built several churches; but afterwards became infamous for her cruelty, avarice, restless ambition, and insatiable lusts, to which she sacrificed all things, and employed both the sword and poison in perpetrating her wicked designs. Being condemned by the states, she was put to the rack during three days, and afterwards dragged to death, being tied to the tail of a wild mare; or, according to others, drawn betwixt four horses, in 613.
St. Germanus lived not to see the miserable ends of these two firebrands of their country. In his old age he lost nothing of that zeal and activity with which he had filled the great duties of his station in the vigor of his life, nor did the weakness to which his corporal austerities had reduced him, make him abate any thing in the mortifications of his penitential life, in which he redoubled his fervor as he approached nearer to the end of his course. By his zeal the remains of idolatry were extirpated in France. In the third council of Paris, in 557, he had the principal share in drawing up the canons. By his advice, king Childebert issued an edict commanding all idols to be destroyed throughout his dominions, and forbidding all indecent dances and diversions on Sundays and festivals. The saint continued his labors for the conversion of sinners till he was called to receive the reward of them on the 28th of May, 576, being eighty years old. King Chilperic composed his epitaph, in which he extols his zeal for the salvation of his people, and their affection and veneration for his person. He mentions the miracles which were wrought at his tomb, and says that sight was restored to the blind and speech to the dumb.2 He was, according to his own desire, buried in St. Symphorian's chapel, which he built at the bottom of the church of St. Vincent already mentioned. Many miracles manifested his sanctity, of which Fortunatus, then a priest, afterwards bishop of Poitiers, has left us a history, in which he gives two on his own evidence. Also two anonymous monks compiled relations of several miracles of St. Germanus, which Aimoinus, a monk of this monastery in 870, and a careful writer, digested into two books.3 The relics of St. Germanus remained in the aforesaid chapel till the year 754, when the abbot removed them into the body of the church. The ceremony of this translation was performed with great solemnity; and king Pepin thought himself honored by assisting at it.
Prince Charles, known afterwards by the title of Charlemagne, who was then but seven years old, attended his father on this occasion, and was so strongly affected with the miracles performed at that time, that when he came to the crown, he took a particular pleasure in relating them, with all their circumstances. The greatest part of the relics of St. Germanus remain still in this church of St. Vincent, commonly called St. Germain-des-Prez. This abbey is possessed of the original privilege of its foundation and exemption, written on bark, and subscribed by St. Germanus, St. Nicetius, and several other bishops. The most valuable work of St. Germanus of Paris, is An Exposition of the Liturgy, published from an ancient manuscript by Dom. Martenne.4 The characteristical virtue of St. Germanus was his unbounded charity to the poor. Liberality in alms moves God to be liberal to us in the dispensations of his spiritual graces; but he who hardens his heart to the injuries and wants of others, shuts against himself the treasury of heaven.