Home  »  Volume III: March  »  St. Albinus, Bishop of Angers, Confessor

Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume III: March. The Lives of the Saints. 1866.

March 1

St. Albinus, Bishop of Angers, Confessor

HE was of an ancient and noble family in Brittany, 1 and from his childhood was fervent in every exercise of piety. He ardently sighed after the happiness which a devout soul finds in being perfectly disengaged from all earthly things. Having embraced the monastic state at Cincillac, called afterwards Tintillant, a place somewhere near Angers, he shone a perfect model of virtue, especially of prayer, watching, universal mortification of the senses, and obedience, living as if in all things he had been without any will of his own, and his soul seemed so perfectly governed by the Spirit of Christ as to live only for him. At the age of thirty-five years, he was chosen abbot, in 504, and twenty-five years afterwards, bishop of Angers. He every where restored discipline, being inflamed with a holy zeal for the honour of God. His dignity seemed to make no alteration either in his mortifications, or in the constant recollection of his soul. Honoured by all the world, even by kings, he was never affected with vanity. Powerful in works and miracles, he looked upon himself as the most unworthy and most unprofitable among the servants of God, and had no other ambition than to appear such in the eyes of others, as he was in those of his own humility. By his courage in maintaining the law of God and the canons of the church, he showed that true greatness of soul is founded in the most sincere humility. In the third council of Orleans, in 538, he procured the thirtieth canon of the council of Epaone to be revived, by which those are declared excommunicated who presume to contract incestuous marriages in the first or second degree of consanguinity or affinity. He died on the 1st of March, in 549. His relics were taken up and enshrined by St. Germanus of Paris, and a council of bishops, with Eutropius, the saint’s successor, at Angers, in 556; and the most considerable part still remains in the church of the famous abbey of St. Albinus at Angers, built upon the spot where he was buried, by king Childebert, a little before his relics were enshrined. Many churches in France, and several monasteries and villages, bear his name. He was honoured by many miracles, both in his life-time and after his death. Several are related in his life written by Fortunatus, bishop of Poitiers, who came to Angers to celebrate his festival seven years after his decease; also by St. Gregory of Tours, (l. de Glor. Confess. c. 96.) See the Notes of Henschenius on his life.  1
Note 1. It is proved by Leland in his Itinerary, published by Hearne (t. 3. p. 4.) that the ancestors of St. Albinus of Angers came from Great Britain, and that two branches of his family flourished long after, the one in Cornwall, the other in Somersetshire. [back]