St. Remigius of Rheims, apostle to the Franks
Commemorated on October 1
He was born in 438 in northern Gaul. After devoting himself
for awhile to secular and sacred learning, he withdrew to a small house near
Laon, to live in reclusion and prayer. But when a bishop was needed in Rheims,
the clergy and people carried him off from his hermitage and made him their
bishop. He was only twenty-two years old at the time.
The holy bishop soon became renowned throughout norther Gaul. He converted heretics, brought Arian heretics back to the Orthodox Faith, cared for the many who suffered at the hands of barbarian marauders. Wherever he went, miracles attended him. He healed the sick and demonized and once, when a town was on fire, threw himself into the flames and quenched them. Birds would come to his table whenever he ate, and he would share his meal with them.
In 482 the young warrior Clovis became leader of the Frankish tribes in that region. Though he was a pagan, he knew and admired St Remigius, and was married to a Christian, St Clotilde (June 3). Once, when his army faced defeat by the Alemanii, Clovis prayed to 'the God of Clotilde and Remigius' and won a great victory. This answer to his prayers convinced him of the truth of the Christian Faith, and he asked St Remigius to instruct him. Two years later he gathered all his chieftains in Rheims to attend his baptism. The baptism was accompanied by many miracles, seen by all in attendance. Two of the king's sisters and three thousand of his lords and soldiers were baptized at the ceremony. This event is considered the birth of France as a Christian nation.
In great old age, St Remigius went blind, but miraculously recovered his sight. He reposed in peace at the age of 105, immediately after serving the Divine Liturgy.