Saint of the Day – 18 September – Saint Eustorgius of Milan (Died c 349) Ninth Bishop of Milan, Confessor, Defender of the Faith. Both St Athanasius and St Ambrose remember Eustorgius of Milan as one of the most steadfast and illustrious opponents of the Arian heresy.
The Roman Martyrology says of him: “At Milan, St Eustorgius, Bishop of that City, highly recommended by blessed Ambrose.”
According to tradition, Eustorgius was a noble Greek. He was the legate of Milan and he was elected as Bishop at the death of Protasius in 343. Eustorgius travelled to Constantinople to have his election as Bishop ratified by the Emperor, the Son of Constantine. Not only did he get it but he also obtained exemption from taxes for the Milanese and a grandiose marble ark with the bodies of the Magi, Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar. Returning to Milan, Eustorgius erected the Basilica that took its name from him, to house these most precious Relics.
From 345 to 346 and from 347 to 348, he held two Synods. He also began construction of Churches and Basilicas in Milan. Saint Athanasius called him a “Defender of the Faith” and mentions him as an opponent of Arianism. Saint Ambrose called him by the honourable title of “Confessor.” His name was included in the Ambrosian Rite and his cult in Milan is testified by the presence of five Churches dedicated to him, the best known of which, is the Basilica of Sant’Eustorgio. containing the Holy Relics of the Magi.
Eustorgius died on 18 September and was buried in the Basilica dedicated to him.
In 1164, te Relics of the Magi were taken from Milan by Holy Roman Emperor, Fredrick Barbarossa and given to the Archbishop of Cologne, Rainald of Dassel. A Shrine of the Three Kings at Cologne Cathedral still exists (a part of these Relics were returned to the Basilica of St Eustorgius of Milan in 1904).