Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 1715
Avitus, abbot and presbyter near Chartres (Gaul), advices King Chlodomer of the Franks against killing King Sigismund of the Burgundians and his family, AD 524. Account of Gregory of Tours, "Histories", Tours (Gaul), AD 573–594.
Contra quem Chlodomeris iterum ire disponens, Sigimundum interficere distinat. Cui a beato Avito abbate, magno tunc tempore sacerdote, dictum est: "Si", inquid, "respiciens Deum, emendaveris consilium tuum, ut hos homines interfici non patiaris, erit Deus tecum, et abiens victuriam obtenibis; si vero eos occideris, tu ipse in manibus inimicorum traditus, simili sorte peribis; fietque tibi uxorique et filiis tuis, quod feceris Sigimundo et coniugi ac liberis eius".
Chlodomer kills Sigismund nevertheless but perishes in the battle with Godomar.
(ed. Krusch 1937: 102)
Chlodomer [Frankish king of Orléans] made preparations to attack him [Godomar, king of the Burgundians] a second time. He decided to have Sigismund [brother of Godomar] killed. Blessed Abbot Avitus, a great priest (sacerdos) of the period, addressed this plea to Chlodomer: "If you change your plans and show respect to God by refusing to have these men killed, the Lord will be with you and you will go forth to victory. On the other hand, if you do kill them, you will fall into the hands of your enemies and you will suffer a fate similar to theirs. Whatever you do to Sigismund and his wife and children, the same will be done to your children and your wife and you yourself".
Chlodomer kills Sigismund nevertheless but perishes in the battle with Godomar.
(trans. Thorpe 1974: 166, slightly altered by J. Szafranowski)


Godomar and Sigismund were kings of Burgundy. Sigismund converted from Homoian to Nicean creed, probably instigated by Bishop Avitus of Vienne. This could be part of the reason why Abbot and Presbyter Avitus advocated to Chlodomer to spare his life.
Gregory recalled this story himself when addressing the bishops present at the Fourth Council of Paris (AD 577); Avitus is referred to as a priest (sacerdos) (see Histories V.18).
Gregory of Tours in his Glory of the Confessors 97 mentions that Avitus was abbot of the monastery in the pagus Pertensis (La Perche) near Chartres, see [xxxxxxxxxxxxx">xxxxxxxxxxxxx].

Place of event:

  • Gaul
  • Chartres
  • Orléans

About the source:

Author: Gregory of Tours
Title: The History of the Franks, Gregorii episcopi Turonensis historiarum libri X, Histories
Origin: Tours (Gaul)
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
Gregory of Tours (Gaul) wrote his ten books of Histories (known commonly in English as the History of the Franks) during his episcopal reign in Tours between 573 and 594. The books vary in scope and length. The first book covers 5,596 years from the creation of the world to AD 397, that is the death of Saint Martin of Tours, Gregory`s predecessor in bishopric. The second book deals with the history of Gaul between 397 and 511, the latter being the year of death of King Clovis I. The third and fourth books cover the next 64 years till the death of Austrasian King Sigibert II in 575. Finally, the following six books describe exclusively the sixteen years from 575 to 591. Probably in 594, Gregory added the list of bishops of Tours in the end of the Histories, with brief accounts of their actions.
B. Krusch ed., Gregorii Episcopi Turonensis Historiarum Libri X [in:] Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptores rerum Merovingiciarum 1.1, Hannover 1884 (repr. 1951): 1­-537.
Gregory of Tours, The History of the Franks, trans. L. Thorpe, London 1974.


Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
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)
Relation with - Monarch and royal/imperial family
Pastoral activity - Ransoming and visiting prisoners and captives
Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: J. Szafranowski, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER1715,