Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 58
Nicetius is ordained presbyter in Chalon (Gaul) at the age of thirty. He still works with his hands, and teaches children born in his family house how to read and sing psalms, ca 543-551. Account of Gregory of Tours, "Life of the Fathers", Tours (Gaul), ca 590.
Aetate quoque iam tricinaria praesbiterii honore praeditus, nequaquam se a labore operis, quod prius gessit, abstenebat, sed semper manibus propriis operabatur cum famulis, ut apostoli praecepta compleret, dicentis: Laborate manibus [propriis], ut habeatis, unde tribuere necessitatem patientibus. Illud omnino studebat, ut omnes pueros, qui in domo eius nascebantur, ut primum vagitum infantiae relinquentes loqui coepissent, statim litteris doceret ac psalmis imbueret; scilicet ut, cum ad implendum cursum oratorium fuisset ingressus, tale iungeretur psallentium, ut tam antephonis quam meditationibus diversis, ut devotio flagitabat animi, possit implere. Castitatem enim non modo hic custodiens, verum etiam custodiendi gratiam aliis iugiter praedicabat et a polluto tactu et verbis obscenis ut desisterent edocebat.
(ed. Krusch 1885: 242)
At the age of thirty he [saint Nicetius of Lyon] was honoured with the dignity of the presbyterate, but he did not abstain from the work which he was doing. He continued to work with his hands, with the servants, so that the words of the apostles might be fulfilled, namely "Work with your hands that you may have to give to him that needeth" (Ephes. 4:28). Above all he busied himself in the task of making sure that all the children born in his house [Nicetius was still living in his parents' house along with his mother], as soon as they had left the wailings of infancy and had begun to speak, were instructed in reading and taught the psalms, so that when they entered the oratory for the divine office they so could join in the singing that they could perform the antiphons and the prayers, and ensure that devotion might importune the soul. As for chastity, not only did he keep it with greatest care, but he also always used to recommend the grace to others and taught them to abstain from all polluting contact and impure words.
(trans. James 1991: 51, slightly altered by J. Szafranowski)


Compare with the account provided by Aetherius of Lyon in his Life of Bishop Nicetius of Lyon 3 ([59]).

Place of event:

  • Gaul
  • Chalon

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.
B. Krusch ed., Gregorii Episcopi Turonensis Miracula et Opera Minora, Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptores rerum Merovingicarum 1.2, Hannover 1885, 211-294.
Gregory of Tours, Life of the Fathers, trans. by E. James, Liverpool 1991.


Social origin or status - Social elite
Education - Home education
Sexual life - Sexual abstinence
Food/Clothes/Housing - Type of housing
Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
Act of ordination
Ritual activity - Divine office/Liturgy of the hours
Economic status and activity - Indication of wealth
Relation with - Children
Relation with - Slave/Servant
Pastoral activity - Teaching
Ritual activity - Chanting
Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: J. Szafranowski, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER58,