Eucharius

Eucharius

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Saint Eucharius is venerated as the first bishop of Trier. He lived in the second half of the third century. According to an ancient legend, he was one of the seventy-two disciples of Christ
Christ
Christ is the English term for the Greek meaning "the anointed one". It is a translation of the Hebrew , usually transliterated into English as Messiah or Mashiach...

, and was sent to Gaul
Gaul
Gaul was a region of Western Europe during the Iron Age and Roman era, encompassing present day France, Luxembourg and Belgium, most of Switzerland, the western part of Northern Italy, as well as the parts of the Netherlands and Germany on the left bank of the Rhine. The Gauls were the speakers of...

 by Saint Peter
Saint Peter
Saint Peter or Simon Peter was an early Christian leader, who is featured prominently in the New Testament Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles. The son of John or of Jonah and from the village of Bethsaida in the province of Galilee, his brother Andrew was also an apostle...

 as bishop, together with the deacon
Deacon
Deacon is a ministry in the Christian Church that is generally associated with service of some kind, but which varies among theological and denominational traditions...

 Valerius
Valerius of Trèves
Saint Valerius was a semi-legendary bishop of Trier. His feast day is 29 January.-Legend:According to an ancient legend, he was a follower of Saint Eucharius, the first bishop of Trier...

 and the subdeacon Maternus
Maternus
Maternus, also known as Maternus II or St. Maternus, was the first known bishop of Cologne, Germany, c. 285-315. He founded a church on the site of a Roman temple which later became Cologne Cathedral.-Legend:...

, to preach the Gospel
Gospel
A gospel is an account, often written, that describes the life of Jesus of Nazareth. In a more general sense the term "gospel" may refer to the good news message of the New Testament. It is primarily used in reference to the four canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John...

.

They came to the Rhine and to Elegia (Ehl
Ehl
Ehl — a locality lying close to the town of Benfeld in Alsace, France — is the site of the important Gallo-Roman city of Ellelum....

) in Alsace
Alsace
Alsace is the fifth-smallest of the 27 regions of France in land area , and the smallest in metropolitan France. It is also the seventh-most densely populated region in France and third most densely populated region in metropolitan France, with ca. 220 inhabitants per km²...

, where Maternus died. His two companions hastened back to St. Peter and begged him to restore the dead man to life. St. Peter gave his pastoral staff to Eucharius, and, upon being touched with it, Maternus, who had been in his grave for forty days, returned to life. The Gentiles were then converted in large numbers. After founding many churches the three companions went to Trier where the work of evangelization progressed so rapidly that Eucharius chose that city for his episcopal residence. Among other miracles related in the legend he raised a dead person to life. An angel
Angel
Angels are mythical beings often depicted as messengers of God in the Hebrew and Christian Bibles along with the Quran. The English word angel is derived from the Greek ἄγγελος, a translation of in the Hebrew Bible ; a similar term, ملائكة , is used in the Qur'an...

 announced to him his approaching death and pointed out Valerius as his successor. Eucharius died on December 8, having been bishop for twenty-five years, and was interred in the church of St. John outside the city.

Valerius was bishop for fifteen years and was succeeded by Maternus, who had in the meantime founded the dioceses of Cologne
Cologne
Cologne is Germany's fourth-largest city , and is the largest city both in the Germany Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with more than ten million inhabitants.Cologne is located on both sides of the...

 and Tongeren, being bishop altogether for forty years. The staff of St. Peter, with which he had been raised to life, was preserved at Cologne till the end of the tenth century when the upper half was presented to Trier, and was afterwards taken to Prague
Prague
Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of over 2.3 million...

 by Emperor Charles IV
Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles IV , born Wenceslaus , was the second king of Bohemia from the House of Luxembourg, and the first king of Bohemia to also become Holy Roman Emperor....

.

Veneration and traditions


In the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 it was believed that the pope used no crozier, because St. Peter had sent his episcopal staff to St. Eucharius; Innocent III concurs in this opinion (De Sacrif. Missæ, I, 62). The same instance, however, is related of several other alleged disciples of St. Peter, and later criticism interprets the staff as the distinctive mark of an envoy, especially of a missionary
Missionary
A missionary is a member of a religious group sent into an area to do evangelism or ministries of service, such as education, literacy, social justice, health care and economic development. The word "mission" originates from 1598 when the Jesuits sent members abroad, derived from the Latin...

. Missionaries in subsequent centuries, e. g. St. Boniface, were occasionally called ambassadors of St. Peter, the pope who sent them being the successor of Peter. Moreover, in medieval times the foundation of a diocese was often referred to as early a date as possible, in order thereby to increase its reputation, perhaps also its rights. Thus Paris gloried in Dionysius Areopagita as its first bishop; similarly ancient origins were claimed by other Frankish dioceses. In time, especially through the ravages of the Normans, the more reliable earlier accounts were lost. When at a later period the lives of primitive holy founders, e. g. the saints of ancient Trier, came to be written anew, the gaps in tradition were filled out with various combinations and fanciful legends. In this way there originated in the monastery of St. Matthias near Trier the famous chronicle of Trier (Gesta Treverorum
Gesta Treverorum
The Gesta Treverorum is a collection of histories, legends, wars, records of the Archbishops of Trier, writings of the Popes, and other records that were collected by the monks of the St. Matthias Abbey in Trier. It was begun in the 12th century and was continued until 1794 when the Archbishopric...

, ed. Waitz in Mon. Germ. Hist.; script., VIII, 111-174) in which there is a curious mixture of truth and error. It contains the account of the life of St. Eucharius given above. An amplification thereof, containing the lives of the three saints in question, is said to have been written by the monk
Monk
A monk is a person who practices religious asceticism, living either alone or with any number of monks, while always maintaining some degree of physical separation from those not sharing the same purpose...

 Goldscher or Golscher, who lived in that monastery about the year 1130. From the "Gesta" the narrative passed unchallenged into numerous medieval works. Later criticism has detected many contradictions and inaccuracies in these ancient records, and it is almost universally believed at present that, with few exceptions, the first Christian missionaries came to Gaul, to which Trier then belonged, not earlier than about 250. Following Hontheim
Hontheim
Hontheim is an Ortsgemeinde – a municipality belonging to a Verbandsgemeinde, a kind of collective municipality – in the Bernkastel-Wittlich district in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany.- Location :...

, Calmet and others, the Bollandists, with Marx, Aloys Lütolf
Aloys Lütolf
Aloys Lütolf was a Swiss Catholic ecclesiastical historian.-Life:...

, and other historians refer these bishops of Trier to a period following 250, though not all of them consider this as fully established. The feast of St. Eucharius is celebrated on 8 December.

External links

  • Eucharius at the Catholic Encyclopedia
    Catholic Encyclopedia
    The Catholic Encyclopedia, also referred to as the Old Catholic Encyclopedia and the Original Catholic Encyclopedia, is an English-language encyclopedia published in the United States. The first volume appeared in March 1907 and the last three volumes appeared in 1912, followed by a master index...