To the Ends of the Earth

Orthodox Christian Missions

St. Victricius of Rouen

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Commemorated August 7

c. 330-407

The son of a Roman legionnaire, he set out on a military career. After becoming a Christian, he refused to remain in the legions. Flogged and sentenced to death for remaining adamant in his refusal to return to the army, he somehow avoided execution and received a discharge. Victricius became a missionary among the tribes of Flanders, Hainault, and Brabant, Belgium, and later the bishop of Rouen, France (about 386). Owing to his reputation for goodness and being a capable prelate, he journeyed to England in 396 to assist in the settlement of some dispute among the bishops there, although in his later years he was accused of heretical leanings. Not only was he exonerated by Pope St. Innocent I (r. 401-417), but he received from the pope the important decretal of the Liber Regularum. (A decretal being a papal letter containing a decision, often with wider ramifications beyond the particular issue being addressed–ed.) He was also the author of the work The Praise of Saints.

Hat Tip: Orthodox England.  Source: Catholic Online.  A fuller life in German can be found here.

St. Victricius was also a friend of St. Martin of Tours (France), St. Paulinus of Nola (Italy), and most likely St. Ambrose of Milan as well.  Indeed, most of what we know of St. Victricius is from St. Paulinus.  Below is an except of one of St. Paulinus’ letters in which St. Victricius is called a “living martyr”–probably referring to his renouncement of the army and his punishment thereafter:

I believe you will graciously remember that I once saw your sanctity at Vienne in the presence of our blessed father Martin, to whom the Lord has made you an equal though unequal in age.  Although I acquired but little knowledge of you from him, nevertheless I embrace you with great love and I revered your sanctity with all the feeling I could then muster…but I lament the heedlessness of my misfortune because, unaware, I lost the opportunity of so great a blessing.  At that time not only was I darkened by the sins that even now weigh heavily upon me, but also by the cares of this world (curae huius saeculi), from which now by God’s kindness I am free; so I saw you only as a bishop, for that was open to all, and I did not know how to see you as what was more distinguished, a living martyr (martyr vivus).

Source: Paulinus of Nola: Life, Letters, and Poems

I was unable able to find an icon of St. Victricius online.


Written by Stephen

August 7, 2009 at 7:32 pm

Posted in European Saints, Saints

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