Sunday, November 24, 2013

Saint Cesarius

Reliquary bust  of Saint Cesarius (Saint-Césaire)
Silver exterior decked with sapphires,and other jewellery on top of wooden base
12th century
Height 90 cm
Eglise Saint-Sulpice, Maurs, Auvergne

This year marks the 1500th anniversary of the grant by Pope Saint Symmachus of the pallium to St. Caesarius Archbishop of Arles (370 -543)

It is said to be the first occasion on which it was granted to any Western bishop.

The 1500 year old pallium has recently been restored and was exhibited in a recent Exhibition in Arles

The exhibition also had other relics of the saint

He dominated  Gallic Christian politics throughout his tenure of his see  from 502-542. 

As a result of his intervention the Pope also  granted to the clergy of Arles the use of the dalmatic

The Pope confirmed him as Metropolitan, and renewed for him personally (11 June, 514) the dignity of Vicar of Apostolic See in Gaul, more or less regularly held by his predecessors

As Vicar of the Pope he was responsible for the summoning and presiding at a large number of synods and Councils: Arles (524), Carpentras (527), Orange (II) and Vaison (529), and Marseilles (533) as well as  Agde,  Gerone, Saragossa, Valencia and Lérida in Spain (516-524), as well as of Epaone (517) and Orléans (538, 541)

Cesarius adopted the view of St Augustine of Hippo in the battle with the Manichaens

Now he is best known for his sermons. He was one of the great popular preachers, "the first great Volksprediger of the Christians"

Recently a biography in English was published which should bring him to the attention of a wider audience:

William E. Klingshirn, Caesarius of Arles: The Making of a Christian Community in Late Antique Gaul. Cambridge Studies in Medieval Life and Thought. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994. Pp. xxii + 317. ISBN 0-521-43095-X.

His sermons are short, down to earth -models of clarity and simplicity

Here is a brief extract from one:
 "What kind of a Christian is the man who ... drinks until he vomits and, after he is drunk, gets up to dance and leap like a madman in diabolical fashion, and sings shameful, bawdy, and wanton verses?" (Serm. 16.3)

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