« Perpetua, Vibia Perpetuus, St., archbp. of Tours Petilianus, a Donatist bishop »

Perpetuus, St., archbp. of Tours

Perpetuus, St., 6th archbp. of Tours, between St. Eustochius and St. Volusianus, both of whom were his relatives, belonged to one of the great senatorial families of the Auvergne. He possessed considerable wealth (Greg. Tur. Hist. Franc. x. 31), was a student of sacred literature and a friend of the two poets Sidonius Apollinaris and Paulinus of Périgueux (Sid. Apoll. Ep. vii. 9; Paul. Petr. de Vita S. Mart. vi.; Ep. ad Perpet. Migne, Patr. Lat. lxi. 1064 sqq., 1071). Consecrated in 460 or 461, he presided in 461 over the council of Tours, convoked to check the worldliness and profligacy of the Gallic clergy (Mansi, vii. 943 sqq.). The council of Vannes, c. 465, over which apparently he also presided, had the same object (ib. 951 sqq.). His principal work was the construction of the great church of St. Martin at Tours. The one built by Briccius had become too small for the fame and miracles of the saint. Of the new one which replaced it at 550 paces from the city, and to which the saint's body was translated with great ceremony (c. July 4, 473), we have, owing to its being Gregory the historian's own church, full and interesting details and measurements. (See Hist. Franc. ii. 14; de Mirac. S. Mart. i. 6.) A good many other churches were built by Perpetuus, notably one in honour of St. Peter and St. Paul, which he constructed to receive the roof of St. Martin's old church, as it was of elegant workmanship. Perpetuus also bestowed much care on the services. Gregory recounts the fasts, vigils and regulations for divine service instituted by him for different seasons of the year and still observed in Gregory's own time (Hist. Franc. x. 31; cf. Hist. Litt. ii. 626–627; Ceillier, x. 438, 441). Perpetuus died in 490 or 491, after an episcopate of 30 years (Hist. Franc. ii. 26; x. 31), and, as he had asked in his will, was buried in the church he had built, at the feet of St. Martin (Epitaphium in Migne, Patr. Lat. lviii. 755, and elsewhere).

[S.A.B.]

« Perpetua, Vibia Perpetuus, St., archbp. of Tours Petilianus, a Donatist bishop »
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