« Germanus, St., bp. of Auxerre Germanus, bp. of Paris Gervasius »

Germanus, bp. of Paris

Germanus (18) (Germain), St., 20th bp. of Paris, born at Autun of parents of rank named Eleutherius and Eusebia (c. 496), and educated at Avalon and Luzy (Lausia). In due time he was ordained deacon, and three years later priest. He was next made abbat of the monastery of St. Symphorian at Autun, by bp. Nectarius. In 555, being present at Paris on some mission to Childebert, when that see was vacant by the death of Eusebius, he was raised to the archbishopric. His great object seems to have been to check the unbridled licence of the Frank kings, and to ameliorate the misery produced by constant civil war. In 557 he was present at the third council of Paris, and appears to have exercised considerable influence over Childebert, whose edict against pagan revelry on holy days may have been due to St. Germanus (Migne, Patr. Lat. lxxii. 1121), and likewise the building by Childebert of the church of St. Vincent to receive the stole of that martyr which he had brought from Spain. (See the charter given by Aimoin, de Gest. Franc. ii. 20, ed. Jac. du Brevi, Paris, 1602, and cf. Hist. Litt. de la France, iii. 270). This church was said to have been consecrated by St. Germanus on the day Childebert died (Dec. 23, 558). Childebert's successor Clotaire was, according to Venantius Fortunatus, at first not equally amenable, but a sickness changed his disposition. Germanus's death is variously dated 575, 576, and 577. He was buried in an oratorium near the vestibule of the church of St. Vincent; and in 754 his body was removed with great ceremony into the church itself, in the presence of Pippin and his son Charles the Great, then a child. The church henceforth was called St. Germain des Prés.

There is extant by St. Germanus a treatise on the Mass, or exposition of the old Gallic Liturgy (Patr. Lat. lxxii. 89; cf. Ceillier, xi. 308 seq., for the reasons for ascribing it to him). Among his writings is also generally counted the privilege which he granted to his monastery exempting it from all episcopal jurisdiction (c. 565). Its authenticity has been vehemently attacked and defended (see Migne, Patr. Lat. lxxii. 81 n. and the authorities there referred to). St. Germanus's Life was written by Venantius Fortunatus, his contemporary and friend, but the work is little else than a string of miracles. It may be found in Mabillon's Acta SS. Ord. S. Bened. i. 234–245 (Paris, 1668–1701). See also Boll. Acta SS. Mai. vi. 774 sqq.; Gall. Christ. vii. 18–21; Mansi, ix. 747, 805, 867, 869; and, for the monastery, the Dissertatio of Ruinartius, in Bouquet, ii. 722.

[S.A.B.]

« Germanus, St., bp. of Auxerre Germanus, bp. of Paris Gervasius »





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