Rev. Alban Butler (171173). Volume IX: September. The Lives of the Saints. 1866.
St. Salvius, Bishop
HE was the seventh bishop of Albi, which see had been founded by St. Clarus, who is said to have suffered martyrdom in the third age, and who is honoured on the 1st of July. Before this he had been employed in the first offices of magistracy in the province; but his love for retirement, and the desire of being wholly freed from the distractions which impede a constant union with God, induced him to embrace the monastic state, in which he exhibited an example of piety to his brethren, who afterwards chose him for their abbot. He chiefly confined himself to a cell at a distance from the rest. Here, being seized by a violent fever, he grew so ill, that he lay for dead in the opinion of all about him. Indeed, the saint himself was always persuaded that he really died, and was restored to life by a miracle; be that as it will, he was soon after taken from his retreat, and placed in the see of Albi. He lived as austere as ever, and constantly refused the presents that were made him; but, if any thing were forced upon him, he on the spot distributed the whole among the poor. The patrician Mommolus having taken a great number of prisoners at Albi, the saint followed and redeemed them all. Salvius flourished in the reigns of Gontran, Childebert, and Chilperic: he withdrew the last of these princes from an error he had fallen into concerning the Trinity. In the eighteenth year of his episcopacy, an epidemic disorder made great havoc among his flock: at this season of peril, it was in vain his friends advised him to be careful of his health; animated with a zeal, unwearied as it was undaunted, he flew every where he thought his presence necessary. He visited the sick, comforted them, and exhorted them to prepare for eternity by the practice of such good works as their condition admitted. Perceiving that his last hour was near, he ordered his coffin to be made, changed his clothes, and prepared himself with a most edifying fervour to appear before God. He did not long survive the synod of Brennac, at which he assisted in 580.1 See the Roman Martyrology, St. Greg. of Tours, and the Gallia Christ. Nova, t. 1, p. 5.
Note 1. The following extract is taken from a MS. of Count de Boullain-villiers, which his family carefully preserves in the castle of St. Saire: The titles of the metropolitan of Rouen prove that about the year 800, and near a century after, there was a place in the forest of Bray, consecrated to the memory and honour of St. Salvius, who had been a solitary there. Whether this saint was bishop of Albi or Amiens, or even whether he was any more than a hermit, whose penitential life God hath glorified by divers miracles, is what must remain undecided; the memory of these facts being entirely lost. There remain, however, formal proofs of St. Salvius being a Solitary, in an ancient MS. from five to six hundred years, which contains the office of his feast. He is also represented in a pane of glass in an ancient subterraneous chapel in the dress of a hermit, on his knees, praying with his hands extended. The devotion of the people who visited the church or chapel which was built where his hermitage stood, was supported by miracles and extraordinary cures, which the divine power wrought there, insomuch that the reputation of it went very far. Some houses were built in the neighbourhood for the convenience of pilgrims; but the nature of the country rendered it inaccessible, and the horror of the marshes, augmented by the woods which covered them, hindered the progress of the establishment, which the piety of particulars might have otherwise founded. The canons of Rouen were at the expense of clearing some of the more accessible lands for the subsistence of the priests, who there performed the divine office; and this is the first origin of the parish of St. Saire, and the foundation of the lordship, which the chapter of Rouen possesses there. This village is about a league and a half from the little town of Neuchatel in Bray. [back]