Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 1741
Presbyter Heraclius of Bordeaux is elected to replace Bishop Emerius of Saintes who was removed from his see. King Charibert I, however, reinstates Emerius and punishes Heraclius, AD 561/567. Account of Gregory of Tours, "Histories", Tours (Gaul), AD 573-594.
Huius regis tempore apud urbem Sanctonicam Leontius, congregatis provinciae suae episcopis, Emerium ab episcopatu depulit, adserens, non canonice eum fuisse huic honore donatum. Decretum enim regis Chlotharii habuerat, ut absque metropolis consilium benediceretur, quia non erat praesens. Quo eiecto, consensum fecere in Heraclium tunc Burdigalensis urbis presbiterum; quod regi Charibertum subscriptum propriis manibus per nuncupatum presbiterum transmiserunt. Qui veniens Toronus, rem gestam beato Eufronio pandit, depraecans, ut hoc consensum subscribere dignaretur; quod vir Dei manifeste respuit. Igitur postquam presbiter Parisiacae urbis portas ingressus regis praesentiam adiit, haec affatus est: "Salvae, rex gloriosae. Sedis enim apostolica eminentiae tuae salutem mittit uberrimam". Cui ille: "Numquid", ait, "tu Romanam adisti urbem, ut papae illius nobis salutem deferas?" "Patris", inquid presbiter, "tui Leontius cum provincialibus suis tibi salutem mittit, indicans Cymulum", – sic enim vocitare consueverant Emerium in infantia sua – "eiectum ab episcopatu, pro eo quod, praetermissa canonum sanctione, urbis Sanctonicae episcopatum ambivit. Ideoque consensum ad te direxerunt, ut alius in loco eius substituatur; quo fiat, ut, dum transgressores canonum regulariter arguuntur, regni vestri potentia aevis prolixioribus propagitur". Haec eo dicente, frendens rex, eum a suis conspectibus extrahi iussit, et plaustro spinis opplete inponi desuper et in exilium trudi praecipit, dicens: "Potasne, quia non est super quisquam de filiis Chlothari regis, qui patris facta custodiat, quod hi episcopum, quem eius volontas elegit, absque nostrum iuditic proiecerunt?" Et statim directis viris relegiosis, episcopum in loco restituit, dirigens etiam quosdam de camarariis suis, qui, exactis Leontio episcopo mille aureis, reliquos iuxta possibilitatem condempnavit episcopos. Et sic principie est ulta iniuria.
(ed. Krusch 1937: 157-158)
In the time of this king [Charibert I], Leontius [bishop of Bordeaux] assembled the bishops of his province in the city of Saintes and removed Emerius from his see [of Saintes], claiming that he had not been appointed according to the canons. For by the decree of King Chlothar, Emerius has obtained the [episcopal] blessing without the approval of his metropolitan, as he was not present at that time. Having dismissed Emerius, [the bishops] agreed to elect Heraclius, the presbyter from the city of Bordeaux. This decision [written in the document] signed by their own hands they have sent to King Charibert through the same presbyter. [Heraclius, on the way to Charibert] reached Tours and explained to blessed Eufronius what had happened, asking him to give his consent by adding his own signature. This the man of God steadfastly refused. Not long after, the presbyter entered the gates of the city of Paris and sought an audience with the king, whom he addressed in these words: "Hail, glorious King. I bring to your eminence most copious greetings from the Apostolic See". To which the king said: "Can it be that you come from the city of Rome and carry the greetings from the pope?" "I bring you the greetings from Leontius, your father, and the bishops from his province. He wishes to inform you that he has dismissed Cymulus – by this name they used to call him in his infancy – from his see, because he has accepted the episcopate of the city of Saintes against the canons. Therefore, [the bishops from the province of Bordeaux] announce to you their decision, that someone else should replace him. Let the transgressors of the canons be justly convicted, so that the glory of your realm will increase in the following years." On hearing this, the king, gnashing his teeth, ordered [the presbyter] to be removed from his sight, thrown into a wagon filled with thorns, and driven into exile. He said, "Do you think that there is no one apart from the sons of Chlothar who upholds the decisions made by him? That [those bishops] can overthrow a bishop whom he has chosen by his will without our approval?" Without more ado, he dispatched his ecclesiastics (viris relegiosis) and restored the bishop to his office. He also sent some of his chamberlains who, having collected one thousand golden coins (aureis) from Bishop Leontius, fined other bishops as much as their circumstances permitted. Thus, the injustice done to the ruler was punished.
(trans. Thorpe 1974: 219-220, altered by J. Szafranowski)


This event took place during the reign of King Charibert I (561-567).

Place of event:

  • Gaul
  • Tours
  • Paris
  • Bordeaux
  • Saintes

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
Functions within the Church - Urban presbyter
Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
Ecclesiastical administration - Participation in councils and ecclesiastical courts
Ecclesiastical administration - Ecclesiastical envoy
Public law - Secular
Relation with - Bishop/Monastic superior
Relation with - Monarch and royal/imperial family
Relation with - Secular authority
Administration of justice - Secular
Administration of justice - Corporal punishment
Administration of justice - Exile
Episcopal ambitions
Conflict - Violence
Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: J. Szafranowski, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER1741,