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Sunday, October 2, 2011

Saint Remigius The Saints of October

Remigius was born about the year 438, the son of Emilius, count of Laon, and of a pius mother honoured as St. Celina. This noble youth, half French, half Roman, admired by the rhetoricians of his day for a collection of eloquent discourses, was made bishop by the people of Rheims at the age, it is said, of twenty two.

Fifteen years later the Roman Empire had succumbed in the West. The Germanic tribes were in occupation of Gaul: the Visigoths were south of the Loire; in the Rhone and Saone basins were the Bergundians; to the north, from the Channel to the Rhine, the Franks. Among these last, the Sicambri of Tournai had Clovis at their head, and his authority was soon felt as far as the Loire.

This pagan was not unaware of the prestige enjoyed by the bishops. Yielding to their counsels, he had, in 493, married the Catholic Clotilda.  Three years later, at grips with the Alamanni, masters of Alsace, who were threatening to invade Gaul, his troops began to retreat. Clovis then made a vow. "God of Clotilda," he said, "if you give me the victory, I will believe in you and receive baptism." He kept his word, and, on Christmas Day of 496, he was baptized at Rheims with three thousand of his warriors. Pouring the holy water on him, St. Remigius said to him: "Proud Sicambrian, bow your head; adore what you have burned and burn what you have adored."

Victorious at Tolbiac, Clovis beat the Burgundians at Dijon in 500, and the Visigoths at Vouille near Poitiers in 507. These victories gave him dominion from the Rhine to the Pyrenees, and they had another important result: the Burgundians and the Visigoths were all more or less Arians; their defeat was the defeat of Arianism in Gaul, and all the territories ruled by St. Remigius' spiritual son then came under obedience to the Roman Church.

The bishop of Rheims long survived these happenings. Blind and aged almost a hundred, he died after an episcopate of seventy-sever years.

I am bringing you these history lessons to illustrate a point. We need to learn from history. If it were not for certain battles between the true Chruch of Christ, and all sorts of heresies, like the battle of Lepanto for instance in 1571, we might all be wearing some sort of turbin on our heads and jabbering in some sort of Arabic dialect. "Those who refuse to learn from history are condemned to repeat it."

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