Saint of the Day – 1 March – Saint Albinus of Angers (469-549) Bishop, Confessor, Monk, Abbot, miracle-worker. Born in 469 at Vannes, Brittany, France and died in 1 March 549 of natural causes. Patronage – invoked against pirate attacks. Also known as Aubin of Angers, Albino of Angers.
Albinus was born of an ancient and noble family in Brittany 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.
In 504, at the age of thirty-five years, he was chosen Abbot and remained so for twenty-five years and thereafter, was chosen as the Bishop of Angers. He 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.
At 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 (marriage between those closely related through blood), as well as other immoral practices. This action caused a great deal of persecution by the wealthy families of the time, who were guilty of these sins.
Many Christians of his Diocese had fallen into slavery through the invasions of the barbarians and Saint Albinus used every resource available to him for their redemption. To the graces of charity from which his people benefitted, were joined those deriving from his public miracles. He resurrected a young child and when one of his servants died during his absence, those who carried the man to his grave were unable to lower him until the Bishop arrived to give the final benediction.
One of the miracles recorded states that as St Albinus passed a prison tower in Angers he heard the cries and moans of badly treated prisoners. He entered and added his moans to those of the prisoners in his pleading for clemency. He then went to the local Magistrate and formally submitted a plea for their release but it was refused. He returned to the tower and prayed in front of it, after several hours, a landslide brought down part of the tower, the prisoners escaped, followed Albinus to the Church of Saint Maurichies, reformed their ways and became model citizens and Christians.
Albinus was a contemporary of St Bede. We owe appreciation to St Albinus for assisting St Bede in composing his “Ecclesiastical History of the English.” St Bede records this fact in the letter he sent to Albinus with a copy of the work. St Bede also spoke very highly of Albinus, stating that he was a most learned man in all the sciences and giving Albinus credit for his assistance.
He died on the 1st of March, in 549. In 556, 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. 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 lifetime 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 death, also by St Gregory of Tours. From St Gregory of Tours too, we know that the cult of St Albinus was extremely widespread, spreading to Germany, England and Poland, making Albinus one of the most popular Saints of the Middle Ages.
St Albinus, we need your intercession in our times, please pray for us!