Symphorian and Timotheus
- Symphorian is also the name of one of the Four Crowned Martyrs. For various places in France and Belgium, see Saint-Symphorien.
|Saints Symphorian and Timotheus|
The Martyrdom of Saint Symphorian, by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres
|Died||August 22, 178|
|Honored in||Roman Catholic Church|
|Attributes||Symphorian is depicted as a young man being dragged to martyrdom while his mother encourages him.|
|Patronage||Symphorian is patron of Autun; children; students; against eye problems, against syphilis|
Symphorian (Symphorianus, Symphorien) and Timotheus (Timothy) are venerated together as saints by the Catholic Church and share the same feast day (22 August), though the lives of the two martyrs are not related.
According to a legend of the early 5th century, St. Symphorian of Autun was beheaded, while still a young man, during the reign of Marcus Aurelius. He was the son of a senator named Faustus. He studied at Autun and was brought before the provincial governor Heraclius for not worshipping the pagan goddess Cybele. Symphorian is said to have asked for tools to destroy the statue. He was arrested and flogged and, because he was from a noble family, he was given a chance to recant. Symphorian was offered bribes to do so, but he declined.
His mother, the Blessed Augusta (?), encouraged him on his way to execution, 22 August 178, and was present at her son's death. In the oldest redaction of manuscripts containing the saintslife we find a Gaulish sentence recorded that she allegedly yelled from the city wall: nate, nate, synphoriane, mentobeto to diuo which may be read as "gnate, gnate, mentobe to diwo " "son, son, o synphorian, remember your god!".
According to a legendary passio of St. Benignus of Dijon, Symphorian was a young nobleman who was converted by Benignus at Autun.
Bishop Euphronius (died 490) built a handsome church over Symphorian's grave, connected with a monastery, which belonged to the Congregation of Sainte-Geneviève from 1656 until its suppression in 1791. Abbot Germanus later became Bishop of Paris, where he dedicated a chapel to the saint. Genesius of Clermont built a church dedicated to him at Clermont.
St. Symphorian is the patron saint of Autun. His veneration spread at an early date through the empire of the Franks. His cult was especially popular at Tours; St. Gregory of Tours relates a miracle wrought by the saint.
During the pontificate of Melchiades (311–13), St. Timotheus came from Antioch to Rome, where he preached for fifteen months and lived with Sylvester, who later became pope. The prefect of the city, Tarquinus Perpenna, threw him into prison, tortured, and finally beheaded him in 311. A Christian woman named Theon buried him in her garden. This is related in the legend of Sylvester. The name of Timotheus occurs in the earliest martyrologies.
- Thurneysen, Rudolf (1923). "Irisches und Gallisches". Zeitschrift für Celtische philologie 14: 1–17.
- R. Thurneysen, "Irisches und Gallisches," in: Zeitschrift für Celtische philologie 14 (1923) 1-17.
- Symphorian and Timotheus at the Catholic Encyclopedia
- Patron Saints Index: Symphorian
- Saint of the Day, August 22: Symphorian of Autun at SaintPatrickDC.org