Sainted Paulinus the Merciful, Bishop of Nolanum

Commemorated on January 23

      Sainted Paulinus the Merciful, Bishop of Nolanum, was descended from an aristocratic and rich family of the city of Bordeaux (France). By virtue of his extensive education and upbringing, the twenty year old youth was selected to become a Roman senator, later he became consul and finally, governor of the region of Campagna in Italy. At twenty-five years of age he together with his spouse was converted to Christ and was baptised. After this he completely changed his manner of life: he disposed of all his property and distributed the money at hand to the needy, for which he had to endure the scorn of his friends and servants.
      Not having children of their own, the pious couple adopted poor orphans and raised them in the fear of God. In his searchings for a secluded life, Saint Paulinus went off to the Spanish city of Barcelona.
      News about his ascetic life spread about, and in the year 393 they besought him to accept the dignity of presbyter. Soon he left Spain and went on to the city of Nola (in Latin "Nolanum") in Italy, where he was chosen bishop.
      When Vandal barbarians invaded Italy and carried off many people to Africa in captivity, holy Bishop Paulinus then made use of church funds to ransom the captives. However, not having sufficient means to ransom the son of a certain poor widow, he himself went voluntarily into slavery in place of him. In the attire of a slave, Saint Paulinus began to serve the Vandal prince.
      Soon his secret was revealed, and he not only himself received his freedom, but he obtained it for all the captives, and together with them returned home. His love for mankind and compassion for all the poor and needy comprises a distinctive feature of his character. Saint Paulinus is known both as a builder of churches and as a Christian poet. He died at 78 years of age on 22 June 431. There remains from him several hymns and writings, containing various moral discourses imbued with deep piety. His relics are situated in Rome, in the church of the holy Apostle Bartholomew.

1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.

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