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The Life and Legacy of St. Saturninus, the First Bishop of Toulouse

Articles | November 29, 2023 | by Catholics for Catholics

Saturninus, the inaugural bishop of Toulouse, established a small church in the town shortly after his arrival. It remains unclear whether there were Christians in the area prior to his arrival or if his preaching led to many conversions. Despite the pagan temple located in front of the capitol, which he had to pass by frequently to reach his parish, he persevered. The pagan priests believed that the silence of their oracles was due to his frequent presence.

One day, they seized him and demanded that he sacrifice to their idols. When he refused, they tied him to a bull and paraded him around the town. After the rope broke, two devout women gathered his remains and buried them in a deep ditch to prevent the pagans from profaning them. His successors, Sts. Hilary and Exuperius, gave him a more dignified burial.

The Church of the Taur, which still stands today, was erected where the bull stopped after dragging the bishop’s body around the town. The body of St. Saturninus was later transferred and is currently preserved in the Church of St. Sernin, one of the oldest and most stunning churches in Southern France.

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