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ST. PROJECTUS, BISHOP OF CLERMONT, M.
CALLED AT LYONS ST. PRIEST, AT SENS ST. PREST, IN SAINT-ONGE ST. PREILS, AT PARIS AND IN PICARDY ST. PRIX.
THE episcopal see of Auvergne, which was founded by St. Austremonius, in the middle of the third century, has been honored with many holy bishops, of whom twenty-six are ranked among the saints. Of these the most eminent are St. Alidius, called in French Allyre, the fourth bishop, in 380, St. Sidonius Apollinaris in 482, St. Gallus in 656, St. Prix in 674, and St. Bont in 710. About the year 1160, the title of bishops of Auvergne was changed into that of Clermont, from the city of this name. St. Prix was a native of Auvergne, and trained up in the service of the church, under the care of St. Genesius, first archdeacon, afterwards bishop of Auvergne, and was wel skilled in plain song, (which was esteemed in that age the first part of the science of a clergyman,) and in holy scriptures and church history. The parish of Issoire, and afterwards the nunnery, of Candedin, (now probably Chantoen, a convent of barefooted Carms,) were the chief theatres of his zeal, till about the year 666 he was called by the voice of the people, seconded by Childeric II., king of Austrasia, to the episcopal dignity, upon the death of Felix, bishop of Auvergne. Partly by his own ample patrimony, and partly by the great liberalities of Genesius, the holy count of Auvergne, he was enabled to found several monasteries, churches, and hospitals; so that all distressed persons in his extensive diocese were provided for, and a spirit of fervor in the exercises of religion, and all Christian virtues, reigned in all parts. This was the fruit of the unwearied and undaunted zeal, assiduous sermons and exhortations, and the admirable example and sanctity of the holy prelate; whose learning, eloquence, and piety, are exceedingly extolled by the two historians of his life. The saint, on his road to the court of king Childeric, whither he was going for the affairs of his diocese, restored to health St. Damarin, or Amarin, a holy abbot of a monastery in the mountains of Voge, who was afterwards martyred with him. This king caused Hector, the patrician of Marseilles, whom the saint had severely rebuked for having ravished a young lady of Auvergne, a rich heiress, and having unjustly usurped considerable estates belonging to his church, to be put to death for this rape and other crimes. One Agritius, imputing his death to the complaints carried to the king by St. Prix, in revenge stirred up many persons against the holy prelate, and with twenty armed men met the bishop as he returned from court, at Volvic. two leagues from Clermont, and first slew the abbot St. Damarin, whom the ruffians mistook for the bishop. St. Prix, perceiving their design, courageously presented himself to them, and was stabbed in the body by a Saxon named Radbert. The saint, receiving this wound, said, “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge, for they know not what they do.” Another of the assassins clove his head with a back-sword, and scattered his brains. This happened in 674, on the 25th of January. The veneration which the Gallican churches paid to the memory of this martyr began from the time of his death. His name was added to the calendar in the copies of the Sacramentary of St. Gregory, which were transcribed in France, and churches were erected under his invocation in almost every province of that kingdom. The principal part of his relics remain in the abbey of Flavigny, whither they were carried about the year 760. Some portions are kept in the abbey of St. Prix at St. Quintin’s, of the congregation of Cluni; another in the priory of St. Prix near Bethune, and in certain other places. See the two lives of St. Prix, the first written by one who was acquainted with him, the other by one of the same age, both extant in Bollandus, pp. 628, 636, and in Mabillon Act. Ben. t. 1, pp. 642, 650.
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