Desiderius of Vienne, St.

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Desiderius (French, Didier) is the name of a number of early sainted bishops of cities in France: Auxerre (60527), Cahors (63055), Langres (fl. 343), Rennes (eighth century), and Vienne (595606). Desiderius of Vienne was born of Christian parents. He devoted himself to grammatical and religious studies and, after refusing a number of bishoprics, was persuaded to become bishop of Vienne in 595. He received many letters from Pope St. gregory i (590604), who recommended St. augustine of canterbury to his hospitality on the latter's way to evangelize England; but at the Council of Chalon-sur-Saône in 602 and 603, Desiderius was deposed on a morals charge at the instigation of Queen Brunhilde. Four years later he was recalled from exile and restored. Because he continued to reprove the queen and her son, Theodoric II, he was arrested in his church and eventually assassinated. Details of his life are given in an early Passio and a Vita written by the Visigothic King Sisebut. The church of Saint-Didier-sur-Charlaronne was erected over his tomb.

Feast: May 23.

Bibliography: r. van doren, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques, ed. a. baudrillart et al. (Paris 1912) 14:410411. b. krusch, ed., "Vita Desiderii Episcopi Viennensis." Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Scriptores rerum Merovingicarum 3:620648. a. butler, The Lives of the Saints, ed. h. thurston and d. attwater (New York 1956) 2:374375.

[e. g. ryan]