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Germain, St.


Germain, St., 6th-century bishop of Paris; b. near Autun, France, c. 496; d. Paris, May 28, 576. Germain became an anchorite early in life, was ordained by Bishop Agrippinus (c. 530), and appointed administrator by Bp. Nectarius of Paris and then abbot of the monastery of St. Symphorian near Autun. In 555 Germain was elected bishop of Paris; during his episcopate he continued to practice the rigorous life he had begun in the monastery as abbot. He presided over the third and fourth Councils of Paris (557 and 573) and attended the second Council of Tours in 566. He was credited with having miraculously restored King Childebert to health; with the monarch's aid he founded the celebrated abbey later known as Saint-Germain-des-Pres. Noted for his charity and learning, Germain befriended SS. Radegunda and Fortunatus and exerted great pressure to bring peace and stable government to the merovingian kingdom. The last years of his life were shadowed by the crimes and scandals of Clotaire's sons. In fact he had to excommunicate Charibet as an incorrigible adulterer. Germain died in his 81st year and was buried in the chapel of St. Symphorian in the vestibule of the abbey. In 754 his relics were solemnly moved into the body of the church by Bishop Eligius, in the presence of King Pepin and his son Charlemagne, who was then only a boy of seven. The relics were destroyed in 1795. His vita was written in verse by Venantius fortunatus.

Feast: May 28.

Bibliography: venantous fortunatus, Vita, ed. b. krusch (Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptores rerum Merovingicarum 7.1; 1919) 332428. Analecta Bollandiana 2 (1883) 6998. a. rodewyk, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche (Freiburg, 195766) 4:756757. o. holder-egger, Neues Archiv der Gesellschaft für ältere deutsche Geschichtskunde 18 (1893) 274281. j.l. baudot and l. chaussin, Vies des saints et des bienheureux selon l'ordre du calendrier avec l'historique des jêtes, ed. by the Benedictines of Paris (Paris 193556) 5:546550. y. chaussy, Catholicisme 4:188586. a. wilmart, Dictionnaire d'archéologie chrétienne et de liturgie, ed. f. cabrol, h. leclercq, and h. i. marrou (Paris 190753) 6.1:10491102.

[d. keller]

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