Rev. Alban Butler (171173). Volume IX: September. The Lives of the Saints. 1866.
St. Patiens, Archbishop of Lyons, Confessor
GOD, by an admirable effect of his holy providence, was pleased to raise up this holy prelate for the comfort and support of his servants in Gaul, under the calamities with which that country was afflicted during great part of the fifth century. For his extraordinary virtues he was placed in the archiepiscopal chair of Lyons some time before the year 470: many think soon after the death of St. Eucherius in 450.1 By the dignity of his see he was metropolitan of the province called the Second of Lyons; but he diffused the effects of his boundless charity over all the provinces of Gaul. Providence wonderfully multiplied his revenues in his hands, to furnish him with abundant supplies to build a great number of rich and stately churches, to repair, adorn, and embellish many old ones, and to feed the poor in the greater part of the towns in Gaul, as St. Apollinaris Sidonius assures us.2 That illustrious contemporary prelate and friend of our saint declares, that he knew not which to admire and praise more in him, his zeal for the divine honour or his charity for the poor. By his pastoral solicitude and assiduous sermons many heretics were converted to the faith, and the Catholic church every day enlarged its pale. A great field was opened to the holy prelate for the exercise of his zeal; for the Burgundians, who were at that time masters of the city of Lyons, were a brutish and savage nation, and infected with the heresies of the Arians and Photinians. St. Patiens found the secret first to gain their hearts and afterward to open their understandings, convince them of the truth, and draw them out of the abyss of their errors.
The forty-eighth sermon among those attributed to Eusebius of Emisa, which is ascribed by the learned to our saint, is a confutation of the Photinian and Arian heresies.3 By order of St. Patiens, Constantius, a priest among his clergy, wrote the life of St. Germanus of Auxerre, which work he dedicated to our saint, and to Censurius of Auxerre. All pastoral virtues shone in an eminent degree in this apostolic bishop, says St. Apollinaris Sidonius. Like another Ambrose, he knew how to join severity with compassion, and activity with prudence and discretion. He seems to have died about the year 480.4 His name is honoured on the 11th of September in the Roman Martyrology. See Apollinaris, Sidonius, Tillemont, Dom. Rivet, Hist. Littér. de la France, t. 2, p. 504.
Note 1. See Tillemont, Hist. Eccl. t. 15, p. 129; t. 16, p. 97. [back]
Note 2. Apoll. Sidon. l. 2, ep. 10; l. 6, ep. 25, et ep. 12. [back]
Note 3. Eusebius, bishop of Emisa, (otherwise called Apamea, Hama, and at present Hems, upon the Orontes, in Syria, thirty miles from Aleppo,) was linked with the Semi-Arians, and flourished in 340. It is agreed that the homilies published under his name were mostly compositions of Gallican prelates in the early ages of that church. Several seem to belong to St. Patiens, to whom Miræus, (Auctor. de Scriptor. Eccles. c. 118,) Papirius Masson, and the Jesuit, Theophilus Raynaudus, (t. 8, p. 1671,) think the acts of St. Genesius are to be ascribed. [back]
Note 4. See Gall. Chr. Vet. a fratribus Sammarthanis, t. 1, p. 295. [back]