Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 1731
Presbyter Cato from Clermont (Gaul) refuses the offer, presented to him by Martyrarius and Abbot Leubastes from Tours, to become bishop of Tours. He does so because he desires the bishopric of Clermont, AD 551–556. Account of Gregory of Tours, "Histories", Tours (Gaul), AD 573–594.
Decedente vero apud urbem Turonicam Guntharium episcopum, per emissionem, ut ferunt, Cautini episcopi Cato presbiter ad gubernandam Turonicae urbis ecclesiam petebatur. Unde factum est, ut coniuncti clerici cum Leubaste martyrario et abbate cum magno apparatu Arvernum properarent. Cumque Catoni regis voluntatem pate fecissent, suspendit eos a responso paucis diebus. Hi vero regredi cupientes, dicunt: "Pande nobis voluntatem tuam, ut sciamus, quid debeamus sequi; alioquin revertimur ad propria. Non enim nostra te voluntate expetivimus, sed regis praeceptione". At ille, ut erat vanae gloriae cupidus, adunata pauperum caterva, clamorem dari praecepit his verbis: "Cur nos deseris, bone pater, filios, quos usque nunc edocasti? Quis nos cibo potuque reficiet, si tu abieris? Rogamus, ne nos relinquas, quos alere consuesti". Tunc ille conversus ad clerum Turonicum, ait: "Videtis nunc, fratres dilectissimi, qualiter me haec multitudo pauperum diligit; non possum eos relinquere et ire vobiscum". Istud hi responsum accipientes, regressi sunt Turonus. Cato autem amicitias cum Chramno nexuerat, promissionem ab eo accipiens, ut, si contigerit in articulo temporis illius regem mori Chlotharium, statim eiecto Cautino ab episcopatu, iste praeponeretur ecclesiae. Sed qui cathedram beati Martini contemptui habuit, quam voluit non accepit; impletumque est in eo quod David cecinit, dicens: Noluit benedictionem, et prolongabitur ab eo. Erat enim vanitatis coturno elatus, nullum sibi putans in sanctitate haberi praestantiorem. Nam quadam vice conductam pecuniam mulierem clamare fecit in ecclesia quasi per inergiam et se sanctum magnum Deoque carum confiteri, Cautinum autem episcopum omnibus sceleribus criminosum indignumque, qui sacerdotium debuisset adipisci.
(ed. Krusch 1937: 141–142)
After Bishop Guntharius had died in the city of Tours, at the suggestion, or so it was said, of Bishop Cautinus [of Clermont], the presbyter Cato was invited to rule over the Church of the city of Tours. As a result, a delegation of clerics with Martyrarius and Abbot Leubastes came to Clermont with great pomp. When they had explained the king's wishes to Cato, he kept them waiting for an answer for a few days. Keen to return home, they said, "Tell us your decision, so that we may know what we should do. Otherwise, we shall go back to Tours. For it is by the king's command and not our own [will] that we demand to know your answer". Cato, as he was filled with vain glory, had gathered crowds of the poor and instructed them to shout in these words: "Why are you leaving your children, good father, whom you have nourished until now? Who will provide us with food and drink if you go away? We beg you not to desert, but to keep nourishing us". Cato then turned to the clergy from Tours, saying, "You see, my dearest brethren, how much this crowd of the poor loves me. I just cannot desert them and go with you". Having received their answer, they went back to Tours. As to Cato, he established a friendship with Chram [son of King Chlothar I], who made him a promise that if King Chlothar happened to die in the foreseeable future, Cautinus would be at once deposed from his episcopate, and Cato would be placed in charge of the Church [of Clermont]. Yet he who held the throne (cathedram) of Saint Martin in contempt did not receive what he wished for, and it was fulfilled in him what David sang: "As he delighted not in blessing, so let it be far from him" [Ps 109 (108):17]. He was so above himself in his vain conceit that he imagined that no one was more holy than he. Once he bribed a woman to behave in church as if she were possessed and to shout out that he, Cato, was a great saint and dear to God, whereas Bishop Cautinus had committed every wicked crime and should be considered unworthy to have obtained priesthood.
(trans. Thorpe 1974: 203–204, altered by J. Szafranowski)


According to Gregory of Tours (Histories X.31.17), Bishop Guntharius died at the end of AD 555.

Place of event:

  • Gaul
  • Paris
  • Tours

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.


Travel and change of residence
Ecclesiastical transfer
Functions within the Church - Urban presbyter
Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
Described by a title - Clericus
Monastic or common life - Monastic superior (abbot/prior)
Fame of sanctity
Ecclesiastical administration - Ecclesiastical envoy
Economic status and activity - Indication of wealth
Reverenced by
Relation with - Another presbyter
Relation with - Bishop/Monastic superior
Relation with - Deacon
Relation with - Lower cleric
Relation with - Woman
Further ecclesiastical career - None
Episcopal ambitions
Pastoral activity - Helping the poor and needy
Functions within the Church - Martyrarius Martyrarius
Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: J. Szafranowski, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER1731,