Maximin of Trier

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Saint Maximin of Trier
Ettringen St. Maximin und Anna152.JPG
Ettringen, St. Maximin and Anna
Died c. 346 AD
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church
Canonized Pre-Congregational Saint
Major shrine St. Maximin's Abbey, Trier
Feast 29 May
Attributes depicted receiving Saint Athanasius at Trier; book; model of a church; bear at his side; commanding a bear to carry his things.
Patronage Trier; invoked as protection against perjury, loss at sea and destructive rains

Saint Maximin (born at Silly near Poitiers; — Poitiers 12 September 346[1]) was the fifth bishop of Trier, according to the list provided by the diocese's website, taking his seat in 341/342.[2] Maximin was an opponent of Arianism,[3] and was supported by the courts of Constantine II and Constans, who harboured as an honored guest Athanasius twice during his exile from Alexandria, in 336-37, before he was bishop, and again in 343. [4] In the Arian controversy he had begun in the party of Paul I of Constantinople; however, he took part in the synod of Sardica convoked by Pope Julius I (ca. 342), and when four Arian bishops consequently came from Antioch to Trier with the purpose of winning Emperor Constans to their side, Maximinus refused to receive them and induced the emperor to reject their proposals.


Maximin was interred in the cemetery outside the northern gate of Trier, where his remains were joined by later bishops in the multi-chambered crypt of a church dedicated to John the Evangelist, later rededicated as St. Maximin's Abbey, Trier. Gregory of Tours[5] already attests to the cult of Maximin in the church of Saint John Evangelist and the cult offered at his grave. The Abbey — destroyed by Normans in 882, and rebuilt, then entirely re-built in the 1680s, secularised in 1802, bombed in World War II and since largely demolished — was one of the oldest in western Europe.

In iconology Maximin was portrayed as a bishop, with book, model of a church, and, borrowing from the legend of Corbinian, a bear carrying the Saint's travelling pack. As a patron, Maximin was invoked as protection against perjury, loss at sea and destructive rains.[6] His cultus was strongest in the region around Trier and in Alsace.

Medieval legend conflated him with Maximinus of Aix (French: Saint Maximin d'Aix), who was added to the Seventy Apostles referred to in the Gospel of Luke. That Maximinus was said to have accompanied Mary Magdalene and a company of the faithful to Aix-en-Provence, miraculously sped by a frail boat without a rudder or a mast. After Maximinus became the first Bishop of Aix-en-Provence Mary retired to the "right sharp desert" nearby for thirty years before being found and retrieved by Maximin just before her death. The thirteenth-century telling of the legend can be read in William Caxton's English translation of Jacobus de Voragine's Golden Legend[7] In fact this part of the legend is lifted from the Eastern story of Saint Mary of Egypt and Saint Zosimas of Palestine. The cultus of Mary Magdalene and this Saint Maximin in Provence was centered at Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume. Other communes in France named Saint-Maximin commemorate one or the other Saints Maximin.


  1. ^ His brother was bishop of Poitiers. Other dates are given for his death; this is from Schaff-Herzog.
  2. ^ Jerome's Martyrology and the Acta.
  3. ^ Athanasius, Epistolae Aeg. 8.336f.
  4. ^ Trier at New
  5. ^ Gregory, De gloria confessorum, xciii, published in Patrologia Latina lxii, cc, 898ff, noted by Warren Sanderson, "The Early Mediaeval Crypts of Saint Maximin at Trier", The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 24.4 (December 1965:03-310) p.305, note 11.
  6. ^ Name bedeutet: der Größte (latein.) (25 March 2007). "Maximin von Trier – Ökumenisches Heiligenlexikon". Retrieved 2010-04-29. 
  7. ^ "Medieval Sourcebook: The Golden Legend: Volume 4 (full text)". Retrieved 2010-04-29. 

External links[edit]

Titles of the Great Christian Church
Preceded by
Archbishop of Trier
353 – 358
Succeeded by