Jan 15th - Remigius
When I usually think about saints, I think not about their historical significance but their spiritual significance, because, honestly, which one is more lasting?
Remigius, like those apostles in England and Ireland, started at the top. As in the Bible where the patriarch gives himself over to the Lord and his whole household with him, so it was when Clovis submitted to baptism by Remigius (though I am certain that his wife Clotilda may have had some influence).
Thus begins the historical total conversion of the French.
The significance to history may or may not be all it is discussed to be, but it did signal the beginning of the unification of the continent, where the Roman Church began to stretch from shore to shore and eventually, through political expansion by these European powers, to the world as a whole. It shows the significance of one action. Aside from the later descriptions of his miraculous life and actions, as evidenced in the letter below, he was obviously eloquent and persuasive. So he does not come down to a single act but that single act comes down to how he made Christ present in the lives of those he served.
Thus is Christ "known to all the world."
One of our citizens of Clermont (I know the man, but forget his business, which is immaterial) went recently on a journey to Belgic Gaul, and while at Rheims so won your copyist or your bookseller by the charms of his manner or of his purse that he wormed out of him, without your consent, a complete set of your Declamations. After his triumphant return with such a splendid spoil of volumes, he insisted on presenting the whole series to us as his fellow townsmen, though we were quite ready to purchase them----a rather graceful act. All of us here who are devoted to literature were properly desirous of reading the books, and we at once began to transcribe the whole, committing to memory as much as we were able. It was the universal opinion that there were few men living who could write as you do. There are few or none who before even beginning to write could arrange their subjects so well, so calculate the position of syllables, or the juxtaposition of consonant and vowel; and besides, there is none whose illustrations are so apposite, whose statements are so trustworthy, whose epithets are so appropriate, whose allusions so full of charm, whose arguments are so sound, whose sentiments carry such weight, whose diction has such a flow, whose periods come to so sudden a conclusion. The framework is always stout and firm, bound with many a delightful transition, and close caesura, but withal quite easy and smooth, and rounded to perfection; it helps the reader's tongue to pass without obstacle, so as never to be troubled by rough divisions, or roll in stammering accents on the palate. All is fluent and ductile; it is as when the finger glides lightly over a surface of polished crystal or onyx, where there is not the slightest crack or fissure to stay its passage. I have said enough. There is no orator alive whom your masterful skill would not enable you easily to surpass and leave far behind. I almost dare to suspect (forgive my audacity) that a flow of eloquence so copious and so far beyond my powers of description must sometimes make you vain. But do not think that because you shine with the twofold brilliance of your holy life and your consummate style you can therefore disregard our opinion; remember that though our authorship may be worth little, our criticism may count for much. In future, then, cease to evade our judgement, from which you have nothing either mordant or aggressive to fear. For I must warn you that if you leave our barrenness unenriched by the stream of your eloquence, we shall take our revenge by engaging the services of burglars, whose clever hands will soon despoil your roll-cases with our connivance and support. If you are imperturbable before a friendly request to-day, you will soon learn what perturbation means to-morrow, when the thieves have cleared your shelves. Deign to keep me in remembrance, my Lord Bishop.
-- Letter of Sidonius Apollinaris to To the Lord Bishop Remigius
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