Saint of the Day – 31 August – Saint Paulinus of Trier (Died 358 or 359) Bishop of Trier, Missionary, Defender of the Faith, Confessor. Born in Gascony, France and died in 358 in Phrygia, Asia Minor (in modern Turkey). St Paulinus was the sixth Bishop of Trier in present day Germany. He was among the foremost defenders of orthodoxy during the Christological conflicts with Arianism.
Little is known of the early life of Paulinus. He was born in what is known as Gascony in France. He was educated in the cathedral school at Poitiers. He accompanied St Maximinus to Trier (died c 349) in present day Germany. At that time Trier, was the government seat of the Western Emperor of the Roman empire. There, he apparently was Consecrated a Bishop by Maximinus and succeeded him as Bishop of Trier in 349.
Paulinus attended the Council of Sirmium in 351, where he boldly championed the orthodox position. He defended the creed, as it was written down by the Council of Nicaea in 325. Accordingly, Christ was of the same nature as the Father; He is true God and at the same time true man. The opposite position is associated with the name of the Alexandrian priest Arius (circa 260-336). It’s followers, the Arians, held the view that Christ was only god-like.
When the letter of condemnation of St Athanasius was tendered for him to sign, he scornfully rejected it and exclaimed that he would sign the condemnation of Photinus and Marcellus but not of Athanasius. Sulpicius Severus (circa 363-425) mentions Paulinus by name among the few who resisted the “Arians.”
At the Council of Arles in 353, Paulinus’s fate was decided. There, he was targeted by the Arians and Emperor Constantius II, a friend of the Arians, decreed the banishment of all bishops who refused to subscribe to the condemnation of Athanasius. Paulinus remained firm and, after being condemned by the bishops, he was driven into exile to Phrygia in Asia Minor, to areas inhabited by heathen and heretics. This occurred in 353 or, at latest, in 354.
He died five years later, in either 358 or 359, while in exile. His relics were returned to Trier in 395 where he was entombed in the crypt of the city’s St Paulinus Minor Basilica, which was dedicated to him. The Basilica, named for him, was then outside the walls of the city and was one of the earliest churches at Trier.