Serenus the Gardener
|Saint Serenus the Gardener|
|Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church|
|Major shrine||Billom, France|
According to legend, he was born in Greece, emigrated to Sirmium in present-day Sremska Mitrovica, and was known for his skill at gardening. He rebuked the wife of an imperial guard for walking in his garden and she told her husband, who reported him to the Emperor Maximian. The governor found Serenus innocent of insulting the guard's wife, but had him beheaded anyway when he refused to sacrifice to the Roman gods. Parts of his story are probably fictitious. However, Paul Burns writes that “there may possibly be some historical basis to the...story...”
A portion of Serenus' relics were claimed by Billom in the Auvergne, in France. Serenus became known as Saint Cerneuf in France, and there is a church dedicated to him at Billom. A tradition centered at Clermont-Ferrand maintains that St. Austremonius sent Cerneuf to evangelize Thiers, also in the Auvergne.
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