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Sulpitius

Name of two bishops of Bourges

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Sulpitius.—Two bishops of Bourges bore this name. (I) The first, St. Sulpitius the Severe, wrongly identified with Sulpicius Severus, the historian of St. Martin, was raised to the see in 584. He was, says St. Gregory of Tours, a man of high birth, one of the first senators of Gaul, of great oratorical talent, and expert in the art of poetical rhythms. The See of Bourges having become vacant with the death of Remigius, several candidates offered gifts to King Gontran to secure the assistance of his favor. But the latter rejected all these simoniacal gifts to favor the election of Sulpitius. He was elected, given Holy orders, and consecrated bishop. Shortly afterwards he held a council in Auvergne, to adjust the dispute which had arisen between two of his suffragans, Innocentius, Bishop of Rodez, and Ursicinus, Bishop of Cahors, with regard to parishes for which they contended. The council decided that the Bishop of Cahors should retain the contested parishes, which the Bishop of Rodez had not proved that he or his predecessors had long possessed. Sulpitius assisted at a Council of Macon in 585; he died in 591, his feast being inserted in the Roman Martyrology on January 29.

(2) Sulpitius the Pious (or the Debonnaire), b. at Vatan (Diocese of Bourges), of noble parents, before the end of the sixth century, devoted himself from his youth to good works and the study of Holy Scripture. Austregisilus, Bishop of Bourges, ordained him cleric of his church, then deacon, and finally made him director of his episcopal school. Clotaire II, King of the Franks, who had heard his merits spoken of, summoned him and made him chaplain of his armies. But at the death of Bishop Austregisilus (c. 624) he was recalled to Bourges to take his place. Sulpitius thenceforth labored with much zeal and success to reestablish ecclesiastical discipline, for the relief of the poor and the conversion of the Jews. In 626 he assisted at the Council of Clichy and held several others with the bishops of his province, but nothing of them remains. He intervened with King Dagobert in behalf of his flock, of whom a too heavy tax was exacted. At the request of the same king he consecrated to the See of Cahors his treasurer St. Didier, who was his personal friend, and there are extant three letters which he addressed to him. Towards the end of his life Sulpitius took a coadjutor, Vulfolnde, and retired to a monastery which he had founded near Bourges. There he died January 17, 646, which day several MSS. of the Hieronymian Martyrology indicate as his feast. In his honor the church bearing his name was built in Paris, from which the Society of St. Sulpice derives its own.


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