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Holy Ghost ; and it was made the ground of a serious
opposition to his admission into the Priesthood. But
we do not find that objection was raised against German
at a subsequent period when elevated to the Bishopric,
on the score of any such omission. Nor would he have
been deprived of that Christian instruction, which the
catechetical schools of the primitive Church afforded.
A part so essential of ecclesiastical discipline, must
have held at Auxerre as in the rest of Chi'istendom, the
place which was due to it. The five Bishops who have
governed the Church of Auxerre before St. German's
accession, have all been honoured by posterity as Saints.
And we may safely infer that the flock which they
tended, possessed all the spiritual advantages which the
Church can fm-nish.

It was under these circumstances that German went
to Rome to complete his education and enter into public
life. Rome was at that time, what Paris was in the
middle ages, the University of Universities, or, as it
was called, the " Home of jurisprudence, and the school

' £v aul^ 1-^ xXi'yr) zsspixvQus sXafSEv. Euseb. B. vi. 43 ch.

18 ST. German's youth.

of letters."^ In the thirteenth century an ilhistrious
Italian was known to seek for knowledge in France ;
but in the foui-th, the native of Gaul repaired to Rome
in order to give the last finish to his studies. ^ Thither
flocked from all quarters of the empire numbers of
students, the occupations of whom attracted the special
notice of Government. They were obliged to enter
their names in the registers, to present testimonials of
their birth-place and quality, and to declare what studies
they intended to follow. Lodgings Avere assigned to
them, and officers, called Censuales, were appointed to
make an inspection into their lives, and to see that they
avoided clubs or associations, and attendance on public
sports and entertainments. If any were found faulty,
they were to be punished, and sent away home. But
none were permitted to stay at Rome after twenty, lest
the splendour and vanities of the city should tempt
them to forsake the service of their country.^ Besides
a large number of private teachers, there were public
professors appointed, who had their schools in the area
of the Capitol. Notwithstanding this discipline, among
the great temptations which Rome presented, German
would naturally require tlie antidote of early habits of
restraint, and experience the benefit of those precepts
which he had leai'nt of his parents and Bishop. His
character indeed had not as yet the mark of deep holi-
ness ; rather it appeared of an unformed kind ; like many
of his own age, he would seek to enjoy life, and yet
shrink from transgressing tlie dictates of conscience.
But where pleasure is constantly before the eyes, the

« Sid. Ap. B. i. Litt. 6. p. 30.
- See Villemain. Litterature, on Dante.
» See Stillingfleet's Origines. p. 215. Ed. 1840 — See also a
letter of St. Jerome to Rusticus.

ST. German's youth. 19

conscience may soon lose its discernment, unless directed
by special circumstances. German's sojourn at Rome
has been left in obscurity by his biographers, and we
might fear for the consequences of his residence in so
corrupt a city.^ Yet nothing has been transmitted
which could throw any blame upon his morals or general
character, except what might be involved in careless-
ness with regard to religious duties, and fondness for
juvenile sports. Still such were the temptations which
especially then surrounded the Christian in Rome, and
in every large city of the empire, that public amuse-
ments, which are never without their dangers, were
poison in themselves to those who joined in them.
The majority of Christians nevertheless did indulge in
them, and the best that can be said of this practice is,
that the intention might be innocent at first. " Behold,
says Salvian, innumerable thousands of Christians resort
daily to the impure representations of the Theatres."
The theatres and games were but the continuance of
the old Pagan custom aggravated by the depravity of
imperial manners, and no baptized person, says the same
author, could attend them without offering plain vio-
lence to the oath of his initiation. Any one may easily
convince himself of this fact by the numerous accounts
left by ancient Christian authors, St. Augustine, St.
Cyprian, Tertullian and Salvian. So great however was
the force of example, that the circus and theatres were
crowded by those who might have been joining in the
solemn services of the Church. " If it should happen,
as it does indeed frequently, that the same day an ecclesi-

• St. Jerome in his early years, not long before, had experienced
the dangers of Rome, and was haunted ever after with the pain-
ful recollection of them. Vid. Fleury, Lib. xvii. § 3 — See also
the interesting poem of Chateaubriand : Les Martyrs.

20 ST. German's youth.

astical festival be observed and public games announced,
I ask all candid persons which place attracts the most
Christians, the stalls of the theatre, or the House of
Qod ? — Nay, if the day of the Fimeral games (Feralia
Ludicra) occur at the same time as a feast of the
Church, not only do tliey who call themselves Chris-
tians not come to Church, but if any unawares should
have come, and hear suddenly that the games are going
on while they are in Church, immediately tl^ey take
their departure."^

However it is remarkable how guarded the expres-
sions are which afford any clue to his life previous to
his conversion. " The austerities of his future years,
we are told, were sufficient to effiice his past errors, if
he had committed any, and render him who perhaps
had been exposed to sin, the pattern of virtue."*^ Tliis
deserves particular consideration ; for whereas on one
hand, much instruction is to be gained from the history
of persons who have lived long under the influence of
Satan and the world, and afterwards have been turned
to God, and passed the latter part of their lives in peni-
tence and deeds of amendment ; so on tlie other it is
useful to remark that unconunon religious fervour in
later years, need not be introduced by a youtli of dissi-
pation and vice, as the proverbial saying might seem to
imply : " The greater the sinner, the greater the Saint."
If this popular phrase can bear any good sense, it must
be taken to mean that those who have been great
sinners, must double their endeavours after holiness, in
order to reach the level of the just and make amends
for past transgressions. In early times it was a source
of lasting bitterness to have sullied the white garments

' Salvian p. p. 127, 131, 133. Ed. Baluzii.
■ Constantius C. ii. § 12.

ST. German's youth. 21

of baptism, though the rigours of penance had restored
the sinner to God's favour.

However if students were obliged to return to their
countries at the age of twenty, German must have left
Rome before any durable impression could be made
on his disposition. About this time he entered upon
the public duties of his profession, probably in his own
country, Gaul, and distinguished himself in an especial
manner before the tribunals of the Prefect. He ac-
cordingly did not wait long to lay aside the Toga,
(which was the name for the Lawyer's habit, and from
which the whole class were called Togati ;) and he was
soon invested with the insignia of an administrative
charge. It is uncertain what the first office was to
which he was promoted. A later writer says he was
Censor,^ but his authority is insufficient. Soon how-
ever he rose to one of the highest dignities in the
Empire ; he was appointed Duke and Governor of the

Not to mention the numerous subdivisions of offices,
there were three distinct gradations in the government
of the provinces represented by the Prefect, the Gov-
ernor, and the JMagistrate. The first had the adminis-
tration of an entire province, the second that of a part
only, the third the superintendence of a city or small
district. In the last persecution which preceded the
establishment of Christianity, the edict of Maximin,
the Emperor, had been in the first place addressed to
the Prefect ; then it was the part of the Prefect, to
transmit its contents to the governors of the provinces'^
who in their turn were enjoined to communicate the
imperial orders to the various magistrates of parti-

'■ Hericus.

- 01 xar 'iQyos r,'yov/u.fvot, or ol xar inxct^y^ity. — Euseb. Lib. ix. ch. i.

22 ST. German's Yorxir.

nilar placos. ^ It was to the second of these sta-
tions that German was raised ; the importance of
it was great, for he appears to have had the gov-
ernment of the Armorican and Nervican Districts,
whicli comprehended what was called at that time
the first and second Acpiitain, the ])rovince of Sens,
and the second and third Lugdunensis, a tract of land
which extended nearly from the banks of the Ehine,
to tlie shores of the Atlantic. The title of Duke which
was attached to his office,^ had lost its etymological
sense of a charge only military, and was identical with
that of governor to all appearance, although naturally
he would have commanded the service of the troops.
Superior to him in the provinces, were the Pretorian
Prefect of all Gaul, and the vice-prefect or Yicarius
of Gaul, strictly so called. Tlie whole of the Roman
Empire was divided into four Prefectures, the East,
lilyria, Italy and Gaul. The Prefecture of Gaul in-
cluded Britain, Spain and Gaul. Consequently the
Prefect had a power equal almost to that of the sove-
reio-n. His residence was first at Treves, but during
the episcopate of German, it was fixed at Aries in the
south of France. Under him were three Vicarii,^
whose authority must have been little inferior to that of
the Prefect himself ; there was one in each of the three
great divisions, Britain, Spain, and Gaul. They must
have been in fact the great check upon the Prefect's
power, for they were not properly liis ministers, but

' y.o'^iiyra.], 'jrfcirr.'^oi and propositi.
- Thus in Euseb. ix. 4. mention is made of a Trf^troT^iBctfyJ-if (dif-
ferent from the irrpixrr.yos or magistrate) Iv ^ovkcx (Duke) Pw/xaioi
cT/)0(Ta70f)Euou(T. and the Codex Theod. says : " Ducis et Praesidis simul
officio quandoque idem functus." "Idem Dux et Corrector
Provinciarum. Kotitia Dignitatum."

■■> See Sirmondus, Note I. to Litt. 2. B. I. Sidonius.

ST. German's youth. 23

were appointed by the Emperor, and their office was
accordingly considered sacred, ^ like that of their supe-
rior. Next to these came the Dukes or Governors of
the provinces, to the number of twelve in the west,
one of whom was German. Before he reached this
high post, he had married Eustachia, a lady eminent
for her birth and wealth, as well as for her good quali-
ties ; nothing is known concerning her, except that
subsequently when German was ordained, she changed
the character of wife, for that of his spiritual sister.

In all these circumstances of St. German's secular
career, it would seem that he had been providentially
prepared for the ecclesiastical dignity he was after-
wards to hold. By the study of eloquence, which his
early profession required, he had learnt the art of com-
municating his thoughts freely to any assembly of men,
an acquisition which proved valuable in the exercise
of his episcopal duties ; for though on occasions, or
even tliroughout his future life, he may have been su-
pernaturally guided by the Holy Spirit in his inter-
course with others, yet it is impossible to say how far
what we call natural instruments, are rendered sub-
servient to the ends of God, or whether He ever dis-
penses with them, or whether there is not an antecedent
absurdity, involved in any of those distinctions, which
are founded on man's short sighted inductions, the
whole theory of human ideas being of a nature so in-
conceivable. Again, German's acquaintance Avith ju-
risprudence, was of the greatest importance to his
pastoral office, and enabled him to meet those numerous
legal emergencies which are common enough now, but
in the fifth century engi'ossed, in a special manner, the
attention of the Bishop. " The Bishop, says a modern
^ Sacra vice.

24 ST. German's youth.

historian,^ was become in each town the natural head
of the people, and in fact the major. His election and
the interest it awakened ^vere the great events of the
city. It was chiefly by means of the Clergy that the
Roman laws and customs were preserved in the towns,
from which they were aftenvards drawn for the general
legislature of the state." It were easy to object against
this consideration, that the career of the law was very
generally adopted, as has been observed, and that if
German was called from a secular pi'ofession to a re-
ligious office, it is not necessary to seek for a provi-
dential intervention to account for the advantages just
mentioned. Two thirds of the laity, it might be said,
were skilled in oratory and jurisprudence, and it
would be more extraordinary that German should be
ignorant with i-egard to them than the reverse. Again
it may be objected, that transitions from a seculai* life
to the ecclesiastical ministry were almost an every
day's occurrence. The fact is not denied ; and since
the invasion of the Goths, they had become still more
frequent. " If there is no strength in the republic,
said an author of the same age, ^ no protection ; if the
Emperor's supplies are at an end, the nobility have
resolved either to abandon their country or to assume
the Tonsure," which was the mark of ecclesiastical pro-
fession. But after all, the dictates of gratitude towards
the moral Governor of the world may have their founda-
tion in the reality of things, though the events which
are the immediate occasion, have in them apparently
nothing extraordinary or contrary to the expectations
of men. Effects are contained in causes, and effects
virtually imply causes ; if effects are good, on the sup-

' Guizot. Essais. Ed. Charpentier, p. 39.
- Sidon ApoU. B. II. Lett. I.


position of a benevolent Author of all things, the causes
must not only be good, but providential. In strict
truth those occurrences which are most common, are
as miraculous and providential as those which appear
strange to our apprehensions. How can our concep-
tions grasp the real nature of any thing ? How can we
understand the relations, the causes, the ends, the
means, which constitute the reality of things ? Happy
coincidences are but the instrument of awakening our
perceptions of God's righteous government, they are
not the first link of a wise chain of circumstances.
Still they are the just ground of gratitude to God,
since they both involve the eternal causes of things,
and are the development of the excellent and har-
monious designs of Him who is the Foimtain of all
wisdom and g-oodness.


The Church of Auxerre.

One of the districts of German's department was Aux-
erre. And there he resided. At the time he held the
office of Governor, St. Amator was bishop of the town.
Amator was the fifth bishop since an episcopal See had
been founded there at the introduction of Christianity
into that part of Gaul.

St. Peregrine, in the middle of the third century,
was sent by Pope Sixtus the second, at the request of a
few Christians at Auxerre ; and preached the gospel
to the Pagans who formed the bulk of the population.
He built a small Church at one of the gates of the
town, called the Gate of the Baths, because it was
near the river Yonne where Baths were erected. This


was probably tbe time when seven Bishops were sent
through Gaul in the Decian persecution, who accom-
plished the conversion of that nation, although a great
number of Pagans remained till a very late period.^
Some provinces however had Christian Churches long
before ; those of Marseilles, Lyons, Vienne, were flour-
ishing in the time of Domitian, as Irenaius shows. St.
Peregrine, after he had accomplished his Apostolic task
at Auxerre, removed to other pagan districts, and finally
obtained the pahii of martyi-dom at Baugy in Bur-
gundy, during a persecution which was raised against
the Christians. We shall again have occasion to revert
to this Saint, and the circumstances of his life. His
memory is honom'ed on the ICth of May. St. Mar-
celianus was his successor in the Episcopate, and after
him St. Valerian, who was present at the Councils of
Sardica and Cologne, in the years 347, and 349. At
his death in 366, St. Eladius governed the Church of
Auxerre, and was succeeded by St. Amator in 388,
who, as has been observed, Avas Bishop, while German
was Governor.

This illustrious person, who holds such a conspicuous
part in the history of German, was the only son of
Proclides, and his wife Ursiciola.^ His father con-
strained him to marry Martha, a native of Langres, in

' The authors of the Gallia Christiana make a singular mis-
take in placing the persecution of Domitian in the third century.
It was the persecution of Decius.

See Anquetil. France, torn. i. p. 170. Some say that nine
Missionaries were sent by the Apostolic See into Gaul. Satur-
ninus to Toulouse ; Trophimus to Aries ; Paul to Narbonne ;
Stremonius to Clermont ; Martial to Limoges ; Gratian to
Tours ; Peregrine to Auxerre ; Savinian to Sens ; Dionysius
to Paris. See Tillcmont, tom. iv. Mt^m. 480.

-' Isiciala in Gall. Chr. but Ursiciola in Tillcmont.


Champagne, in order to leave the riches of the family
to natural heirs. St. Valerian, who was then Bishop,
was desired to give the nuptial blessing. However,
Amator, who had profited by the spiritual counsels of
the Bishop, after the ceremony, determined to live a
life of vii'ginity, and accordingly communicated his in-
tention to Martha, who adopted a similar resolution.
After the death of his father, not content with this
secret vow, he applied to St. Eladius, the successor of
St. Valerian, and made public profession of continence,
on which occasion he received the Tonsure and was
ordained Deacon, while Martha was enlisted among the
women who consecrated themselves to God. They did
not however part from each other, and in this imitated
the example of St. Paulinus and St. Therasia, and
many others.^ It was not unlikely that envy should
take occasion of this circumstance ; and in fact, after
Amator became Bishop, Licinius, his Archdeacon, with
others, endeavoured to attack his character ; but God
took upon Himself the part of vindicating his innocence,
and punished severely his accusers, who had carried

' According to Stephanas, the African, in the sixth century,
there was ecclesiastical sanction for the practice of the minor
Clergy living in the same house with their wives, and partaking
of the same table. But when they attained to a superior order,
it was not lawful ; whether Priests came under this limitation
does not appear. P. 55. Boll, ad Mai. I. Tillemont, however,
does not attach much credit to this author. See notes at the
end of torn. xv. Eccl. Mem.

In Constantius we find a Presbyter living in the same house
with his wife, Senator and Nectariola.

St. Aug. Cons. Evang. lib. ii. " Hoc enim exemplo (Mariae
et Joseph) magnifice insinuatur fidelibus conjugatis etiam, ser-
vata pari consensu continentia, posse permanere vocarique con-
jugium,non permixto corporis sensu, sed custodito mentis affectu.

28 THE CHURCH of auxeure.

their profane curio^^ity so far as to penetrate into his
bed-chamber. Shortly after Martha died, and was
buried at the Mons Autricus, which was the great
Cemetery in the vicinity of Auxerre, where the three
Bishops, Marcellianus, Valerian, and Eladius, were like-
wise buried.

The author of Amatoi-'s life,^ who lived in the sixth
century, and had opportunity to obtain correct infor-
mation concerning him, relates, that while Amator
was still Deacon, a lady of rank, called Palladia, entered
the Church on Easter-day dressed in a costly man-
ner. She had been married to a rich Pagan called
Heraclius, of -^dua or Autun, and had subsequently
turned Christian, though her husband remained a hea-
then. " When the sacrifice was ended," ^ the author
continues, " and she had received the holy Eucharist in
bread, she advanced towards Aniator, who, as Deacon,
was appointed to administer the cup to the faithful as
the contirmation of the communion." But he rejected
her and bid her dejjurt, because she Avas splendidly
dressed, and had not witliheld intercourse with her
husband to prepare for so solemn a feast. Pricked to
the heart at this public reproof, she went home and
related to her husband what had happened, and urged
him to take vengeance on the Deacon. AVhile they
were designing the death of Amator, they both fell
dangerously ill. At last, conscious of the Divine wrath,
they set off in a carriage, (for they were too exhausted

' Stephanus, an African priest, whose worli is found in the
Boll, ad Mai. i. p. 58.

•-■ Perfecto itaque sacrificio, dum Eucharistiae libamina San-
guinis quoque haustu confirmare voluisset, accessit ad beatissi-
muni Amatorem, tunc Diaconum, qui sacratissimum Calicem
in vitani ajtcrnam populis porrigebat.


to Avalk) and when they found the Deacon, threw them-
selves at his feet, and entreated his pardon for the bad
purposes they had entertained. Amator readily com-
plied, and having sent for a Priest, he had Heraclius,
the lady's husband, baptized, and then with oil that he
himself had blessed, anointed them, calling on the
name of the Lord, and healed them.

Amator succeeded to Eladius in 388, on Monday, the
27th of March, and governed the Diocese of Auxerre
for thirty years, during which he effected a great re-
formation by his preaching, and performed a number of
miracles. There was still much Paganism in that part
of Gaul, notwithstanding the efforts of the preceding
Bishops ; and we must not consider Amator in his
position when first he entered on his Episcopal duties,
in the same light with subsequent Bishops, or again
with Prelates of our own time. Power was still in the
hands of the heathen, though the seat of the empire
had declared for Christianity, and probably multitudes
preferred the gorgeous display of Pagan rites, to the
more simple ceremonies of Christians. Accordingly it
was with difficulty that ground was obtained for build-
ing Churches, ^ the number of which was very small.
However as the zeal of Amator converted many of the
Gentiles, it became necessary to obtain space for re-
ligious worship. He therefore applied to a wealthy
citizen named Ruptilius, for a large house which he
possessed within the town. Ruptilius at first refused,
but having fallen sick, he was compelled to resign it.
Amator then turned it into a Church, and dedicated it
on the .3rd of October. This is the Church which was
afterwards celebrated as that of St. Stephen, and stood
where the present Cathedral is situated. We shall see
' See Steph. Amat. Vita and Hericus Mirac. B. i. ch. 3.


that St. Gennan Avas afterwards ordained Priest and
elected Bishop in the same, and that Aniator there
breathed liis hist, surrounded by his flock. Li GOO,
Didier, Bisiiop of the place, enlarged it, and dedicated
it afresh on the lOth of April. ^ And in 1215, William,
likewise Bishop of Auxerre, had it pulled down and
restored on a more magnificent scale. While Amator
was building, a large sum of money was found in the
house, which he sent to Ruptilius, the former owner ;
but it was refused by him, and returned for the benefit
of the poor and the repairs of the Church.

Among the miracles which are related of St. Amator,
he is said to have put to flight the evil spii'its which
occupied the public burial place on the Mons Autricus ;
to have restored sight to the blind, the use of their
limbs to the cripple and paralytic, nay, even life to the
dead ; and to have stopped a conflagration which
threatened to reduce the city to ashes. ^ Without
stopping to examine the evidence on which these
accounts rest, and to consider the degree of authority
due to Stephen the African, who is the chief witness to
them, it may be observed that there is no antecedent
improbability in them, since we shall find that St. Ger-
man performed greater and more miracles some time
after, and that the testimony which has handed them
down, is allowed by learned critics to be of tlie most
authentic and trustworthy nature.

During J^anator's episcopate took place the invasion
of the Goths, to which allusion has ah-eady been made.

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