Now after the death of the bishop Rusticus, saint Namatius became the eighth bishop of Clermont. He undertook the task of building the older church which is still standing and is contained within the walls of the city, one hundred and fifty feet in length, sixty in width,-that is, the nave,-fifty in height to the vault, with a round apse in front and on each side aisles finely built, the whole building is laid out in the form of a cross; it has forty-two windows, seventy columns, eight doors.
The fear of God is in it and a great brightness is seen, and in the spring a very pleasant fragrance as if of spices is perceived there by the devout. It has near the altar walls of variegated work adorned with many kinds of marble.
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The blessed bishop on finishing the building in the twelfth year, sent priests to Bologna in Italy, to procure relics of saints Agricola and Vitalis, who we know very certainly were crucified in the name of Christ our God. His wife built the church of Saint Stephen in the outskirts of the city. And wishing to adorn it with colors she used to carry a book in her bosom, reading the histories of ancient times and describing to the painters what they were to represent on the walls.
It happened one day that while she sat in the church and read, a certain poor man came to pray, and seeing her in black clothing, already an old woman, he thought she was one of the needy, and he took out part of a loaf and put it in her lap and went off. But she did not disdain the gift of the poor man who did not know her, but took it and thanked him and put it away, and setting it before her at meals used it as holy bread until it was used up.
At that time a great plague destroyed the people. Egidius died and left a son, Syagrius by name. On his death Odoacer received hostages from Angers and other places.
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Count Paul with the Romans and Franks made war on the Goths and took booty. When Odoacer came to Angers, king Childeric came on the following day, and slew count Paul, and took the city. In a great fire on that day the house :of the bishop was burned. After this war was waged between the Saxons and the ; Romans; but the Saxons fled and left many of their people to be slain, the Romans pursuing. In the ninth month of that year, there was an earthquake. Odoacer made an alliance with Childeric, and they subdued the Alamanni, who had overrun that part of Italy.
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Euric, king of the Goths, in the 14th year of his reign, placed duke Victorius in command of seven cities. And he went at once to Clermont, and desired to add it to the others, and writings concerning this exist to the present. He gave orders to set up at the church of Saint Julian the columns which are placed there. He gave orders to build the church of Saint Laurentius and saint Germanus at the village of Licaniacus.
He was at Clermont nine years. He brought charges against Euchirius, a senator, whom he ordered to be put in prison and taken out at night, and after having him bound beside an old wall he ordered the wall to be pushed over upon him. Bishop Eparchius of Clermont finds his church at night full of demons. The holy Sidonius was so eloquent that he generally improvised what he wished to say without any hesitation and in the clearest manner. And this we have set forth more fully in the preface of the book which we have composed about the masses written by him.
Being a man of wonderful holiness and, as we have said, one of the first of the senators, he often carried silver dishes away from home, unknown to his wife, and gave them to poor people. And whenever she learned of it, she was scandalized at him, and then he used to give the value to the poor and restore the dishes to the house. Terrible fate of priests who rebelled against their bishop. In time of famine in Burgundy Ecdicius feeds more than four thousand persons.
The Gothic king Evatrix persecutes the Christians in southwestern Gaul. A bishop being "suspected by the Goths " is carried a captive into Spain. After these events Childeric died and Clovis his son reigned in his stead. In the fifth year of his reign Siagrius, king of the Romans, son of Egidius, had his seat in the city of Soissons which Egidius, who has been mentioned before, once held.
And Clovis came against him with Ragnachar, his kinsman, because he used to possess the kingdom, and demanded that they make ready a battlefield. And Siagrius did not delay nor was he afraid to resist. And so they fought against each other and Siagrius, seeing his army crushed, turned his back and fled swiftly to king Alaric at Toulouse. And Clovis sent to Alaric to send him back, otherwise he was to know that Clovis would make war on him for his refusal.
And Alaric was afraid that he would incur the anger of the Franks on account of Siagrius, seeing it is the fashion of the Goths to be terrified, and he surrendered him in chains to Clovis' envoys. And Clovis took him and gave orders to put him under guard, and when he had got his kingdom he directed that he be executed secretly. Now the army had taken from a certain church a vase of wonderful size and beauty, along with the remainder of the utensils for the service of the church.
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And the bishop of the church sent messengers to the king asking that the vase at least be returned, if he could not get back any more of the sacred dishes. On hearing this the king said to the messenger: "Follow us as far as Soissons, because all that has been taken is to be divided there and when the lot assigns me that dish I will do what the father [ note: papa. The word was used in the early Middle Ages in unrestricted, informal sense, and applied widely to bishops. Du Cange, Glossariam]asks.
In answer to the speech of the king those of more sense replied: " Glorious king, all that we see is yours, and we ourselves are subject to your rule. And at the end of the year he ordered the whole army to come with their equipment of armor, to show the brightness of their arms on the field of March. And when he was reviewing them all carefully, he came to the man who struck the vase, and said to him "No one has brought armor so carelessly kept as you; for neither your spear nor sword nor ax is in serviceable condition. Now the king of the Burgundians was Gundevech, of the family of king Athanaric the persecutor, whom we have mentioned before.
He had four sons; Gundobad, Godegisel, Chilperic and Godomar.
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Gundobad killed his brother Chilperic with the sword, and sank his wife in water with a stone tied to her neck. His two daughters he condemned to exile; the older of these, who became a nun, was called Chrona, and the younger Clotilda. And as Clovis often sent embassies to Burgundy, the maiden Clotilda was found by his envoys. And when they saw that she was of good bearing and wise, and learned that she was of the family of the king, they reported this to King Clovis, and he sent an embassy to Gundobad without delay asking her in marriage.
And Gundobad was afraid to refuse, and surrendered her to the men, and they took the girl and brought her swiftly to the king. The king was very glad when he saw her, and married her, having already by a concubine a son named Theodoric. He had a first-born son by queen Clotilda, and as his wife wished to consecrate him in baptism, she tried unceasingly to persuade her husband, saying: "The gods you worship are nothing, and they will be unable to help themselves or any one else.
For they are graven out of stone or wood or some metal. And the names you have given them are names of men and not of gods, as Saturn, who is declared to have fled in fear of being banished from his kingdom by his son; as Jove himself, the foul perpetrator of all shameful crimes, committing incest with men, mocking at his kinswomen, not able to refrain from intercourse with his own sister as she herself says: Jovisque et soror et conjunx.
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They are endowed rather with the magic arts than with the power of the divine name. But he ought rather to be worshipped who created by his word heaven and earth, the sea and all that in them is out of a state of nothingness, who made the sun shine, and adorned the heavens with stars, who filled the waters with creeping things, the earth with living things and the air with creatures that fly, at whose nod the earth is decked with growing crops, the trees with fruit, the vines with grapes, by whose hand mankind was created, by whose generosity all that creation serves and helps man whom he created as his own.
The boy, whom they named Ingomer, died after being baptized, still wearing the white garments in which he became regenerate. At this the king was violently angry, and reproached the queen harshly, saying: " If the boy had been dedicated in the name of my gods he would certainly have lived; but as it is, since he was baptized in the name of your God, he could not live at all.
My soul is not stricken with grief for his sake, because I know that, summoned from this world as he was in his baptismal garments, he will be fed by the vision of God. After this she bore another son, whom she named Chlodomer at baptism; and when he fell sick, the king said: "It is impossible that anything else should happen to him than happened to his brother, namely, that being baptized in the name of your Christ, should die at once.
The queen did not cease to urge him to recognize the true God and cease worshipping idols. But he could not be influenced in any way to this belief, until at last a war arose with the Alamanni, in which he was driven by necessity to confess what before he had of his free will denied.
It came about that as the two armies were fighting fiercely, there was much slaughter, and Clovis's army began to be in danger of destruction. He saw it and raised his eyes to heaven, and with remorse in his heart he burst into tears and cried: "Jesus Christ, whom Clotilda asserts to be the son of the 1iving God, who art said to give aid to those in distress, and to bestow victory on those who hope in thee, I beseech the glory of thy aid, with the vow that if thou wilt grant me victory over these enemies, and I shall know that power which she says that people dedicated in thy name have had from thee, I will believe in thee and be baptized in thy name.
For I have invoked my own gods but, as I find, they have withdrawn from aiding me; and therefore I believe that they possess no power, since they do not help those who obey them. I now call upon thee, I desire to believe thee only let me be rescued from my adversaries. And when they saw that their king was killed, they submitted to the dominion of Clovis, saying: "Let not the people perish further, we pray; we are yours now.
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This happened in the fifteenth year of his reign. Then the queen asked saint Remi, bishop of Rheims, to summon Clovis secretly, urging him to introduce the king to the word of salvation. And the bishop sent for him secretly and began to urge him to believe in the true God, maker of heaven and earth, and to cease worshipping idols, which could help neither themselves nor any one else. But the king said: "I gladly hear you, most holy father; but there remains one thing: the people who follow me cannot endure to abandon their gods; but I shall go and speak to them according to your words.
The squares were shaded with tapestried canopies, the churches adorned with white curtains, the baptistery set in order, the aroma of incense spread, candles of fragrant odor burned brightly, and the whole shrine of the baptistery was filled with a divine fragrance: and the Lord gave such grace to those who stood by that they thought they were placed amid the odors of paradise.
And the king was the first to ask to be baptized by the bishop.