Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 67
An anonymous presbyter in Lyon (Gaul) is angry at bishop Nicetius for not leaving anything to his church, and is punished, ca 573. Account of Gregory of Tours, "Life of the Fathers", Tours (Gaul), ca 590.
The late Bishop Nicetius' testament is opened and read publicly.
Presbiter quoque basilicae tumens felle, quod nihil loco ille in quo sepultus fuerat reliquisset, ait: 'Agebant semper plerique, stolidum fuisse Nicetium; nunc ad liquidum verum esse patet, cum nihil basilicae in qua tumulatus est delegavit'. Sequenti autem nocte apparuit presbitero cum duobus episcopis, id est Iusto atque Eucherio, in veste folgend, dicens ad eos: 'Hic presbiter, sanctissimi fratres, blasphemiis me obruit, dicens, quia nihil facultatis scripserim templo huic quo requiesco; et nescit, quia quidquid pretiosius habui ibidem dereliqui, id est glebam corporis mei'. At illi dixerunt: 'Iniuste fecit, ut detraheret servo Dei'. Conversusque sanctos ad presbiterum, pugnis palmisque guttur eius inlisit, dicens: 'Peccator conterendae, desine stulte loqui!' Expergefactus antem presbiter, tumefactis faucibus, ita doloribus coartatur, ut ipsas quoque salivas oris cum labore possit maximo degluttire. Unde factum est, ut per dies 40 lectulo decubans graviter cruciaretur; sed invocato confessoris nomine, sanitati redditus, numquam ausus est ea verba quae prius praesumpserat garrulare.
(ed. Krusch 1885: 245)
The late Bishop Nicetius' testament is opened and read publicly.
Then a presbyter of the basilica swelled with rage because the saint had left nothing to that church in which he was buried, and he said 'Many people used to say that Nicetius was insensitive; it can now be clearly seen, since he has left nothing to the church in which he was buried.' But the following night he appeared in shining robes to the presbyter, accompanied by two bishops, Justus and Eucherius, to whom he said, 'This presbyter, my very holy brothers, covered me with blasphemies when he said that I had left nothing to this temple in which I rest. He does not realise that I have left there the most precious thing I have, the dust of my body.' And they replied, 'It is indeed wicked to disperage a servant of God.' The holy man turned to the priest and hit him on the throat with his fists and hands, saying 'Sinner, you ought to be crushed underfoot; cease your stupid mutterings!' The presbyter woke up with a swollen throat, which was so painful that he could swallow his saliva only with great difficulty. He had to stay in bed for forty days in considerable pain, but having called on the name of the confessor he was restored to health, and never again dared to prate such words as he had earlier presumed to do.
(trans. James 1991: 55, slightly altered by J. Szafranowski)


This event happened shortly after Bishop Nicetius of Lyon's death in 573.

Place of event:

  • Gaul
  • Lyon

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. E. James, Liverpool 1991.


Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
Ecclesiastical administration - Administering Church property
Administration of justice - Administration of justice
Relation with - Bishop/Monastic superior
Devotion - Veneration of saints and relics
Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: J. Szafranowski, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER67,