ST. SERVATIUS, BISHOP OF TONGRES
HE gave St. Athanasius, during his banishment, a
friendly and honorable reception, strenuously defended his cause, and
the Catholic faith, especially in the council of Sardica; resisted
the Arians at Rimini, and labored much in preventing the ill
consequences with which the church was threatened by the misconduct
of the bishops in that council, through the fraud of the Arians. St.
Gregory of Tours relates that he foretold that the Huns would invade
Gaul, and implored the divine mercy to avert that scourge by
watching, fasting, prayers, and many tears, and by a pilgrimage to
Rome to the tomb of St. Peter. This penitential journey he undertook
in the year 382, that he might obtain the patronage of the apostles
in behalf of his people, for whom he never ceased to implore the
divine mercy by watching, fasting, and prayer, accompanied with
tears. But he was informed by a revelation that God had determined to
punish the sins of that nation, which calamity, like Ezechias, he was
assured his eyes should never behold. Thereupon, weeping, he hastened
back to Tongres, where he shortly after sickened and died, on the
13th of May, 384, having been bishop about thirty-seven years, not
fifty-six, as is affirmed in the new edition of Moreri. St. Gregory
testifies that miracles drew many to his tomb, and that a church was
erected over it. His body remains in the noble collegiate church in
Maestricht, except some small portions distributed in other places.
The city of Tongres was shortly after plundered, and left in ruins by
Attila, since which time it retains nothing of its ancient splendor.
Some pretend that St. Servatius removed his episcopal see to
Maestricht a little before his death: but it is certain that
translation was only made in the following century, after the city of
Tongres was destroyed by Attila. See the works of St. Athanasius, St.
Gregory of Tours, Hist. Francor. &c., in Henschenius, p. 210;
also Rivet, Hist. Littér. de la France. t. 1, part. 2, p. 242;
Foullon, Histor. Leod. t. 1, p. 43, and Henschenius, in the Acta
Sanctorum, in his Exegesis De Episcopatu Tungrensi et Trajectensi,
prefixed to t. 7, Maij.