Remigius of Reims, St.
REMIGIUS OF REIMS, ST.
Also known as Remi or Remy, bishop, "Apostle of the Franks"; b. either at Cernay or Laon, France, c. 437;d. Reims, France, Jan. 13, c. 533. He was the scion of an influential Gallo-Roman family, his mother being St. Cilinia (feast: October 21) and his younger brother St. Principius (feast: September 25); his father was Aemilius, count of Laon. He was educated at Reims, and his learning and sanctity were such that he was chosen bishop of the city in his 22d year. The most notable event of his nearly 100-year life was the conversion of clovis, the pagan king of the Franks. As a result of his territorial aggrandizements in Gaul, the king had come into conflict with the Alamanni. Hard pressed by this people, Clovis had vowed to embrace the faith of his wife, St. clotilde, if the God of the Christians would grant him victory. He prevailed in 496 at the battle of Tolbiac (Tolbiacum or Zülpich, near Cologne), and was baptized by Remigius on Christmas 498 or 499, with the aid of Clotilde and St. vedast. Clovis became known as the eldest son of the Church and was of inestimable influence in the subsequent history of Christianity in the West. Remigius himself seems throughout his career to have been a distinguished administrator and missionary, for with papal approval he set up bishoprics at Tournai, cambrai, Therouanne, Arras, and laon. Illustrative of his influence is the oft-told story of how he successfully interceded with Clovis for the return of the sacred vessels stolen from the church of Soissons. He is credited with four Letters (Patrologia Latina 65:963–970); a Testament (Patrologia Latina 65:970–976), appearing in a longer and interpolated form and a shorter form in metrical prose; and a Vita from shortly before his death, not extant. Two of the four Letters are to Clovis, a third has to do with Remigius's defense of his own actions regarding an offending priest named Claudius, and the fourth is to the bishop of Tongres. His Sermones (not extant) won the admiration of sidonius apollinaris (9.70). The account of the baptism of Clovis is found in gregory of tours' Historia Francorum (2.3), and lives of the saint were written by hincmar of reims (Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Scriptores rerum Merovingicarum 3:239–349) and Venantius fortunatus [Acta Sanctorum Oct. 1 (1765) 128–1301]. His relics were translated by Pope leo ix to the Abbey of saint-remi in 1049.
Feast: Oct. 1 (translation); Jan. 13 (Reims).
Bibliography: Acta Sanctorum Oct. 1 (Venice 1765) 59–187. Bibliotheca hagiographica latina antiquae et mediae aetatis, 2 v. (Brussels 1898–1901; suppl. 1911) 7150–73. h. jadot, Bibliographie des ouvrages concernant la vie et le culte de saint Remi (Reims 1889–90). É. d'avenay, Saint Remi de Reims, apôtre des Francs (Lille 1896). a. haudecoeur, Vie populaire de Saint Remi, évêque de Reims et apôtre des Francs (Abbeville 1896). l. levillain, "La Conversion et le baptême de Clovis," Revue d'histoire de l'Église de France 21 (Paris 1935) 161–192. a. van de vyver, "La Victoire contre les Alamans et la conversion de Clovis," Revue Belge de Philologie et d'Histoire 15 (1936) 859914; 16 (1937) 35–94; 17 (1938) 793–813. abbÉ dessailly, Authenticité du grand testament de Saint Remi (Paris 1996). h. leclercq, Dictionnaire d'archéologie chrétienne et de liturgie (Paris 1907–53) 14.2:2231–37, l. rÉau, Iconographie de l'art chrétienne (Paris 1955–59) 3:1144–47. É. brouette, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner (Freiburg 1957–65); suppl., Das Zweite Vatikanishe Konsil: Dokumente und Kommentare, ed. h. s. brechter et al. (1966) 8:1226–27.
[w. c. korfmacher]