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Valerio of Bierzo


Visigothic ascetic and author; fl. northwestern Spain, c. 675; d. after 695. He wrote three autobiographical accounts in decadent Latin, as well as several poems and religious treatises. In Ordo querimoniae Valerio recounted his retirement to a mountain solitude near Astorga where his rigorous life attracted disciples. In Replicatio and Residuum he further detailed his sufferingsmany directly inflicted by Satanin various hermitages. He resisted ordination as priest for a proprietary church, and thus is a witness to the existence of this institution in Spain. Valerio was connected in some way with the Abbey of San Pedro de Montes; he wrote for the monks there and was latter erroneously considered abbot. Of Valerio's other writings his Vita et epistola beatissimae Egeriae is important in helping to establish the spelling of Egeria's name (see egeria, itinerarium of). De genere monachorum vigorously condemns proprietary monasteries. Valerio also described in his writings three contemporary visions of heaven and hell. The bollandists claim his cult is doubtful. His inscription, extant in the church of San Pedro, calls him "sanctus," then simply a title of honor. His various feast days have no sound authorization.

Bibliography: Obras, ed. r. fernÁndez pousa (Madrid 1944). c. m. aherne, Valerio of Bierzo, an Ascetic of the Late Visigothic Period (Washington 1949). Acta Sanctorum Feb. 3:490.

[c. m. aherne]

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