Founder and first Bishop of Tours; b. probably at Rome; d. at Tours, December 20, 301
Gatianus, Saint, founder and first Bishop of Tours; b. probably at Rome; d. at Tours, December 20, 301. He came to Gaul during the consulate of Decius and Gratus (250 or 251), devoted half a century to the evangelization of the third Lyonnaise province amid innumerable difficulties, which the pagans raised against him. But he overcame all obstacles, and at his death the Church of Tours was securely established. The “traditional school”, relying on legends that have hitherto not been traced back beyond the twelfth century, have claimed that St. Gatianus was one of the seventy-two disciples of Christ, and was sent into Gaul during the first century by St. Peter himself. This assertion, which has been refuted by learned and devout writers, is untenable in the face of the testimony of Gregory of Tours. To this bishop, who lived in the sixth century, we are indebted for the only details we possess concerning his holy predecessor.