Jump to content

Eucherius of Lyon

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Saint Eucherius of Lyon
Statue of Saint Eucherius of Lyon in Beaumont-de-Pertuis
Archbishop of Lyon
Bornc. 380
Diedc. 449
Venerated inCatholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church
Feast16 November

Eucherius (c. 380 – c. 449) was a high-born and high-ranking ecclesiastic in the Christian church in Roman Gaul. He is remembered for his letters advocating extreme self-abnegation. From 439, he served as Archbishop of Lyon, and Henry Wace ranked him "the most distinguished occupant of that see" after Irenaeus.[1] He is venerated as a saint within the Catholic Church[2] and Eastern Orthodox Church.


Eucherius was married to a Gallo-Roman woman named Galla.[3] They had two sons: Veranus and Salonius, who were born c.400.[4] According to some sources, they also had two daughters, Consortia and Tullia.[5][6]

After their sons were born, Eucherius suggested that they adopt a more ascetic life together.[7][8] Galla and Eucherius' marriage evolved to a 'marriage of friendship' like others undertaken by other religious figures such as Paulinus and Therasia of Nola.[4] The family practised "unwealth" - where life was restricted to the minimum in order to support prayer and devotion.[9]

On the death of his wife Galla, as was common in the 5th century, Eucherius withdrew with his sons, Veranus and Salonius, to the monastery of Lérins for a time.[10] Both sons were later sent to visit Paulinus of Nola.[7] There he lived a severely simple life of study, devoting himself to the education of his sons. Soon afterwards he withdrew further, to the neighbouring island of Lerona (now Île Sainte-Marguerite), where he devoted his time to study and mortification of the flesh. With the thought that he might join the anchorites in the deserts of the East, he consulted John Cassian, the famed hermit who had arrived from the East in Marseille. Cassian dedicated the second set of his Collationes (nos. 11–17) to Eucherius and Honoratus, the founder of Lérins. These describe the daily lives of the hermits of the Egyptian Thebaid and discuss the important themes of grace, free will and scripture.[2]

Though imitating the ascetic lifestyle of the Egyptian hermits, Eucherius kept in touch with men renowned for learning and piety: Cassian, Honoratus, Hilary of Arles, Claudianus Mamertus, Agroecius (who dedicated a book to him) and Sidonius Apollinaris. The fame of Eucherius was soon so widespread in southeastern Gaul that he was chosen bishop of Lyon.[11] This was probably in 434. It is certain, at least, that he attended the first council of Orange as metropolitan of Lyon in 441, and that he retained this dignity until his death.[2] He was succeeded in the bishopric by his son Veranus, while Salonius became Bishop of Geneva.


Around 428, Eucherius wrote his epistolary essay De laude eremi ("in praise of the desert"), addressed to Hilary of Arles.[2] His Liber formularum spiritalis intelligentiae,[12] addressed to his son Veranus, is a defence of the lawfulness of allegorical readins of the Bible, bringing to bear the metaphors in Psalms and such phrases as "the hand of God." The term anagoge (ἀναγωγὴ) is employed for the application of Scripture to the heavenly Jerusalem to come, and there are other examples of what would become classic medieval hermeneutics. Among Eucherius' other letters are his Institutiones ad Salonium, addressed to his other son, and a letter to Faustus of Lérins describing his pilgriamge to Jerusalem.[13]

Eucherius' Epistola paraenetica ad Valerianum cognatum, de contemptu mundi ("Epistle of exhortation to his kinsman Valerian, On the contempt of the world") is an expression of the despair for the present and future of the world in its last throes shared by many educated men of Late Antiquity, with hope for a world to come. Desiderius Erasmus thought so highly of its Latin style that he edited and published it at Basel (1520).


  1. ^ Dictionary of Christian Biography and Literature to the End of the Sixth Century A.D., with an Account of the Principal Sects and Heresies. Christian Classics Ethereal Library Archived 2005-02-19 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ a b c d Clugnet, Léon (1909). "St. Eucherius". Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 5. New York City. Retrieved 30 August 2022.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  3. ^ Jones, A. H. M. (Arnold Hugh Martin), 1904-1970. (1971–1992). The Prosopography of the later Roman Empire. Martindale, J. R. (John Robert),, Morris, John, 1913-1977. Cambridge [England]: University Press. p. 491. ISBN 0-521-20160-8. OCLC 125134.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  4. ^ a b Beach, Alison I; Cochelin, Isabelle, eds. (2020). The Cambridge History of Medieval Monasticism in the Latin West. Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/9781107323742. ISBN 9781108766760. S2CID 236305538.
  5. ^ Waarden, Joop van, “Eucherius of Lyon”, Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online, General Editor David G. Hunter, Paul J.J. van Geest, Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte
  6. ^ O'Loughlin, Thomas (2023-04-14). Early Medieval Exegesis in the Latin West: Sources and Forms. Taylor & Francis. pp. vii. ISBN 978-1-000-94694-9.
  7. ^ a b Antelmy, J. (1726). Assertio pro unico S. Eucherio Lugdunensi episcopo. Auctore Jos. Antelmio,... Opus posthumum. Accedit concilium Regiense sub Rostagno metrop. Aquensi, anni MCCLXXXV. Nunc primo prodit integrum, & Notis illustratum operâ Car. Antelmii: apud Ant. Claudium Briasson.
  8. ^ Beach, Alison I.; Cochelin, Isabelle (2020-01-09). The Cambridge History of Medieval Monasticism in the Latin West. Cambridge University Press. p. 155. ISBN 978-1-108-77063-7.]
  9. ^ Cecconi, Giovanni Alberto; Lizzi Testa, Rita; Marcone, Arnaldo, eds. (2019). The Past as Present: Essays on Roman History in Honour of Guido Clemente. Studi e testi tardoantichi. Vol. 17. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols Publishers. doi:10.1484/m.stta-eb.5.117753. ISBN 978-2-503-58524-6. S2CID 211588972.
  10. ^ Waarden, Joop van, "Eucherius of Lyon", Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online, (General Editor David G. Hunter, Paul J.J. van Geest, Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte)
  11. ^ Monks of Ramsgate. "Eucherius". Book of Saints 1921. CatholicSaints.Info. 17 January 2013Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  12. ^ Curtin, D. P. (February 2017). Formulas for Spiritual Intelligence. Dalcassian Publishing Company. ISBN 9781088299579.
  13. ^ John Wilkinson, Jerusalem Pilgrims before the Crusades (Ariel Publishing House, 1977), pp. 3–4


External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by Archbishop of Lyon
c. 434 – c. 449
Succeeded by