by ewtn.com | Source: ewtn.com
St. Saturninus was, says Tillemont, one of the most illustrious martyrs France has given to
the Church. We possess only his Acts, which are very old, since they were utilized by St. Gregory of
Tours. He was the first bishop of Toulouse, whither he went during the consulate of Decius and
Gratus (250). Whether there were already Christians in the town or his preaching made numerous
conversions, he soon had a little church. To reach it he had to pass before the capitol where there
was a a temple, and according to the Acts, the pagan priests ascribed to his frequent passings the
silence of their oracles.
One day they seized him and on his unshakeable refusal to sacrifice to the
idols they condemned him be tied by the feet to a bull which dragged him about the town until the
rope broke. Two Christian women piously gathered up the remains and buried them in a deep ditch,
that they might not be profaned by the pagans. His successors, Sts. Hilary and Exuperius, gave him
more honourable burial.
A church was erected where the bull stopped. It still exists, and is called
the church of the Taur (the bull). The body of the saint was transferred at an early date and is
still preserved in the Church of St. Sernin (or Saturninus), one of the most ancient and beautiful
of Southern France. His feast was entered on the Hieronymian Martyrology for 29 November; his cult
spread abroad. The account of his Acts was embellished with several details, and legends linked his
name with the beginning of the churches of Eauze, Auch, Pamplona, and Amiens, but these are without
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