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ST. ROMANUS, ARCHBISHOP OF ROUEN, C.

HE was born of an illustrious and virtuous French family, brought up in the practice of piety, and placed young in the court of Clotaire II., the third French king who was master of the whole monarchy. He was referendary or chancellor to that prince, when, in 626, upon the death of Hidulphus, he was chosen archbishop of Rouen, and compelled to receive episcopal consecration. The remains of idolatry in that diocese excited his zeal; he converted the unbelievers, and destroyed a famous temple of Venus at Rouen, and three others in the diocese dedicated to Mercury, Jupiter, and Apollo. Amongst many miracles which he wrought, it is related that the Seine having overflowed a considerable part of the city, the saint, who happened then to be at the court of Dagobert for certain affairs of his church, upon hearing this melancholy news, made haste to comfort and succor his afflicted flock; and kneeling down to pray on the side of the water with a crucifix in his hand, the water retired gently within the banks of the river.* If the miracles of this holy prelate raise our admiration, the eminent virtues which he practised ought still more to fix our attention. He macerated his body with continual austerities, and after the fatigues of his ministry, passed almost whole nights in prayer. By his indefatigable zeal he banished vice and superstition, and watched over the souls of all his flocks as over his own. He had discharged all the duties of an apostolic pastor thirteen years, when God made known to him that the time was come in which he was to be called to receive his recompense. Romanus, whose whole life had been an earnest preparation for that hour, received the summons with joy; and redoubling the fervor of his penance, prayers, and other good works, disposed himself for that happy moment, in which he entered the joy of his Lord on the 23d of October, 639. St. Owen was his successor Romanus was interred in the church of St. Godard, one of his predecessors; but, in the eleventh age, his body was removed into our Lady’s, which is the cathedral. The first shrine having been impoverished, the archbishop Rotrou, in 1179, caused a very rich one to be made, which is known by the name of La fierta-saint-Romain. See Le Cointe, Ann. Franc. au. 626, 635, 638, and the Life of St. Romanus written in Leonine verses, by a clergyman or monk of Rouen, before the reign of Charlemagne, brought to light by the Maurist monks Martenne and Durand, in 1717. (Thesaur. Nov. Anecdot. p. 1651.) This poem was compiled from a life of this saint which was more ancient, (Rivet, Hist. Lit. t. 4, p. 73, et Contin. t. 8, p. 376.) St. Romanus’s life was again composed by Gerard, dean of St. Medard’s at Soissons in the tenth age; also by Fulbert, the learned archdeacon of Rouen, in 1091, (not by the second Fulbert, who flourished in 1130.) This last piece was published by Rigaltius with dissertations and notes.








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