As a young nobleman, Remigius was so good a student of the word of God and lived so saintly a life that he was just twenty-two when he was elected Bishop of Rheims. That was around A. D. 462. Rheims, which is about eighty miles Northeast of Paris, was then a largely unevangelized area.
Remigius immediately undertook to spread the gospel among the Franks. He sent Antimond as a missionary to Terouanne and Boulogne and Vaast as a missionary to Arras. He also established bishops in Cambrai, Laon, and Tournai.
It was as a matchmaker that Remigius is most famous. He helped bring about the marriage of the Christian lady Clotilda to King Clovis. Clotilda, Remigius and the Holy Spirit worked on the heart of Clovis. The king became a Christian--in name at least. Remigius baptized the pagan ruler on December 24, 496. Hundreds of the king's followers also submitted to baptism.
Remigius died on this day, January 10, 535 (some sources say the 13th). But the repercussions of his life affected France down to our own day.
France became a Catholic nation, prominent in its defense of the popes--and quarrels with them. Such was the honor in which Remigius was held, that Rheims became the place where almost all of the kings of France were crowned (including Charles VII, when Joan of Arc steadied him to victory).
Clovis and his noblemen made many grants of land and other goods to Remigius. He used this wealth to endow churches.
Remigius wrote sermons and commentaries, but not much has survived. His sermons were highly regarded by contemporaries. In one, on Matthew chapter 24, where Christ foretold the overthrow of Jerusalem and the spread of the gospel, Remigius remarked that "...the Lord knew that the hearts of the disciples would be made sad by the destruction of Jerusalem, and overthrow of their nation, and He therefore comforts them with a promise that more of the Gentiles should believe than of the Jews should perish."
- Dedieu, Joseph. "St. Remigius." Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton, 1914.
- Mann, Horace K. "Archdioces of Reims." Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton, 1914.
- Various internet and encyclopedia articles.
Last updated June, 2007