SAINT PATIENS, ARCHBISHOP OF LYONS, C.
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 greatest part of the towns in Gaul, as
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 honor 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.* 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
480.3 His name is honored on the 11th of September in the Roman
Martyrology. See Apollinaris Sidonius, Tillemont, Dom. Rivet, Hist.
Littér. de la France, t. 2, p. 504.