Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ID
ER 102
Silvinus, an abbot and probably a presbyter in Tours (Gaul), addresses Venantius, who wishes to become a cleric, with a priestly speech, and tonsures him, before 507. Account of Gregory of Tours, "Life of the Fathers", Tours (Gaul), ca 590.
16.1
 
Venantius is born in Bourges of free-born parents. He is betrothed. By divine inspiration, however, he travels to Tours and in the basilica of Saint Martin decides to become a cleric, and for this reason he seeks Abbot Silvinus from the monastery near the basilica.
 
Advenit ad antedictum abbatem, provolutusque ad pedes eius, quid intimo corde gereret, cum lacrimis patefecit. At ille gratias agens Deo pro fide pueri, addita etiam praedicatione sacerdotali, iuvenem totondit et gregi monasteriali adscivit.
 
When Silvinus died, Venantius was chosen by his companions as his successor.
 
(ed. Krusch 1885: 275, summarised by J. Szafranowski)
16.1
 
Venantius is born in Bourges of free-born parents. He is betrothed. By divine inspiration, however, he travels to Tours and in the basilica of Saint Martin decides to become a cleric, and for this reason he seeks Abbot Silvinus from the monastery near the basilica.
 
He [Venantius] came to the abbot [Silvinus] and threw himself at his feet, and told him his innermost feelings, weeping as he did so. And the abbot thanked God for the faith of this boy and addressing him a priestly speech he tonsured the youth and admitted him into the monastic flock.
 
When Silvinus died, Venantius was chosen by his companions as his successor.
 
(trans. James 1991: 101, summarised by J. Szafranowski)

Discussion:

Silvinus addresses Venantius with a priestly speech (praedicatio sacerdotalis); this probably means that he was a presbyter. His title, abba, may suggest that he was responsible for the basilica in Tours and an abbot to the clerical community consisting of its clergy. For more on presbyters described as abbates, see Pietri 1983.
 
Venantius was afterwards ordained presbyter; see [103], where he is asked to celebrate Eucharist.
 
The terminus ante quem of Venantius' presbyterial activity is the year 507, when Licinius, who succeeded him in abbacy, became bishop of Tours. Thus Venantius was probably active in the last quarter of the 5th century.

Place of event:

Region
  • Gaul
City
  • Tours

About the source:

Author: Gregory of Tours
Title: Life of the Fathers, Vita Patrum, Liber Vitae Patrum
Origin: Tours (Gaul)
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
Gregory of Tours (bishop of Tours in Gaul in 573-594) started writing his Life of the Fathers some time before 587 and finished it around 592 or slightly later, as shown by the cross-references to his other works.  It is a collection of twenty Gallic saints` lives of different lengths. They all are in some way connected to Gregory`s family or church interests, while also exemplifying different virtues leading to sanctity. Saints presented in the Life of the Fathers are all either ascetics or bishops.
 
More on the text: James 1991: ix-xxv.
Edition:
B. Krusch ed., Gregorii Episcopi Turonensis Miracula et Opera Minora, Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptores rerum Merovingicarum 1.2, Hannover 1885, 211-294.
 
Translation:
Gregory of Tours, Life of the Fathers, trans. E. James, Liverpool 1991.
Bibliography:
L. Pietri, Les abbés de basilique dans la Gaule du VIe siècle, "Revue d'histoire de l'Église de France" 69 (1983), pp. 5-28.

Categories:

Food/Clothes/Housing - Hairstyle
Functions within the Church - Urban presbyter
Functions within the Church - Monastic presbyter
Described by a title - Sacerdos/ἱερεύς
Described by a title - Abba
Monastic or common life - Cenobitic monk
Monastic or common life - Monastic superior (abbot/prior)
Monastic or common life - Clerical community
Reasons for ordination - Personal piety
Attributes of clerical status
Ritual activity - Ordaining
Social origin or status
Pastoral activity - Spiritual direction
Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: J. Szafranowski, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER102, http://presbytersproject.ihuw.pl/index.php?id=6&SourceID=102