Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 1730
Presbyter Cato of Clermont (Gaul) is in conflict with the archdeacon Cautinus, later bishop of Clermont, shortly after AD 551. Account of Gregory of Tours, "Histories", Tours (Gaul), AD 573–594.
Igitur cum consensu clericorum ad episcopatum electus, cum adhuc non ordinatus cunctis ipse praeesset, Cautino archidiacono diversas minas intendere coepit, dicens: "Ego te removebo, ego te humiliabo, ego tibi multas neces impendi praecipiam". Cui ille: "Gratiam", inquid, "tuam, domne piissime, habere desidero; quam si mereor, unum tibi beneficium praestabo. Sine ullo enim labore tuo et absque ullo dolo ego ad regem pergam et episcopatum tibi obtineam, nihil petens, nisi promerear gratiam tuam". At ille suspicans, eum sibi velle inludere, haec valde despexit. Hic vero cum se cerneret humiliari atque calumniae subieci, languore simulato et per noctem civitatem egrediens, ad Theodovaldum regem petiit, adnuntians transitum sancti Galli. Quod ille audiens vel qui cum eo erant, convocatis sacerdotibus apud Metensem civitatem, Cautinus archidiaconus episcopus ordinatur. Cum autem venissent nuntii Catonis presbiteri, hic iam episcopus erat. Tunc ex iussu regis traditis ei clericis n et omnia, quae hi de rebus ecclesiae exhibuerant, ordinatisque qui cum eodem pergere deberent episcopis et camerariis, Arverno eum direxerunt. Qui a civibus et clericis libenter exceptus, episcopus Arvernis est datus. Grandis postea inter ipsum et Catonem presbiterum inimicitiae ortae sunt, quia nullus umquam potuit flectere Catonem, ut episcopo suo subditus esset. Nam et divisio clericorum facta est, et alii Cautino episcopo erant subditi, alii Catoni presbitero; quod eis fuit maximum detrimentum. Cautinus autem episcopus videns, eum nulla ratione posse flecti, ut sibi esset subditus, tam ei quam amicis eius vel quicumque ei consentiebant omnes res ecclesiae abstulit reliquidque eos inanes ac vacuos. Quicumque tamen ex ipsis ad eum convertebantur, iterum quod perdiderant recipiebant.
(ed. Krusch 1937: 139–140)
With the consent of the clergy [of Clermont], Cato was elected to the episcopate. Still being not ordained, he took charge of all [episcopal matters]. He started to make various threats against the archdeacon Cautinus, saying, "I will dismiss you, I will disgrace you, I will have you killed by various means", to which Cautinus replied, "Most pious lord, I wish to gain your favour; to deserve it, I will do you a service. To spare you the trouble, and with no ulterior motive of my own, I will go to the king and obtain the episcopacy for you. I ask for nothing in return except to be worthy of your favour". Cato strongly rejected this offer, suspecting that Cautinus wanted only to mock him. When Cato saw that he was the subject of humiliation and false accusations, he simulated illness and fled the city by night. He travelled to King Theudebald, announcing the passing of the holy Gallus [Bishop of Clermont]. Hearing this, the king and those with him summoned the priests to the city of Metz and ordained the archdeacon Cautinus for bishopric. By the time messengers reached the presbyter Cato, Cautinus was already a bishop. When by king's command the clerics and all of the church property was passed to him, and it was decided which bishops and chamberlains (camerarii) should accompany him, Cautiunus was sent to Clermont. He was well received by the townsfolk and clergy and given the bishopric of Clemont. There ensued a great feud between him and the Presbyter Cato, for no one could ever persuade Cato to submit to his bishop. The clergy was split into those who considered themselves subject to Cautinus and those [who followed] Cato. This caused them great harm. Therefore, seeing that no reasoning could persuade Cato to submit himself to him, Bishop Cautinus deprived both Cautinus and his friends and anyone supporting him from all church property, leaving them empty-handed (inanes et vacuos). Those who switched sides to his once again received what they had lost.
(trans. Thorpe 1974: 201–202; significantly altered by J. Szafranowski)


According to Gregory of Tours (Life of the Fathers 6.5) and Venantius Fortunatus (Carmen 4.4), Bishop Gallus of Clermont died on 14 May 551. The events presented in this passage took place shortly after his death, certainly before AD 555, when King Theudebald died.

Place of event:

  • Gaul
  • Clermont

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
Usurping episcopal power
Ecclesiastical administration - Administering Church property
Relation with - Bishop/Monastic superior
Relation with - Deacon
Relation with - Lower cleric
Administration of justice - Ecclesiastical
Episcopal ambitions
Administration of justice - Financial punishment
Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: J. Szafranowski, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER1730,