Saint NameTimotheus and Apollinaris, martyrs of Reims (Gaul) : S00329
Saint Name in SourceTimotheus, Apollinaris
Type of EvidenceDocumentary texts - Will
Evidence not before511
Evidence not after535
Activity not before511
Activity not after535
Place of Evidence - RegionGaul and Frankish kingdoms
Place of Evidence - City, village, etcReims
Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)Reims
Cult activities - PlacesCult building - independent (church)
Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and CustomsBequests, donations, gifts and offerings
Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and NarrativesEcclesiastics - bishops
SourceRemigius was bishop of Reims for several decades in the 5th and early 6th centuries: apparently becoming bishop in his early twenties and living into his nineties, his tenure, if accurately preserved, is one of the longest known. He himself states in a letter dating to the years 512/514 (Epistolae Austrasicae 3) that he had been a bishop for fifty-three years, implying that his consecration was in 459/461. The date of his death is not precisely attested, but later sources such as Gregory of Tours attribute to him an episcopate of around seventy years (Glory of the Confessors 78: qui, ut ferunt, septuaginta aut eo amplius in episcopatu annos explevit, 'who, they say, completed seventy or more years as a bishop'), implying that he died in the early 530s. His second successor is known to have been in office in 535. Remigius was one of the most important figures of the late-antique Gallic church, especially for his involvement in the career and conversion of Clovis, the effective founder of Merovingian Francia. For full biographical details, see PCBE 4, 'Remigius 2', pp. 1600-1604; Isaïa 2010, 27-192.
The will of Remigius is quoted in its entirety in the Life of Remigius (BHL 7152) by the 9th c. author and bishop of Reims, Hincmar (806-882). After long controversy in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the version of the will reproduced by Hincmar is now regarded as authentic: see Jones, Grierson and Crook 1957. A longer version of the will, which appears in the History of the Church of Reims by the 10th c. historian Flodoard, is regarded as significantly interpolated and falsified. The will was drawn up after the death in 511 of Clovis, whom it refers to as 'of illustrious memory', but otherwise cannot be precisely dated.
DiscussionThe will of Remigius disposes of substantial landed property together with the slaves and coloni who worked on it, some of whom are freed, others left to Remigius' heirs. Property is left to Remigius' nephews, Bishop Lupus of Soissons and a priest named Agricola, as well as to several churches, primarily those of Reims and Laon (on the will as evidence for Remigius' property, see Isaïa 2010, 116-127). Unlike some Merovingian wills such as those of Aredius of Limoges (E06895), Adalgyselus (E03513), Desiderius of Auxerre (E05912), or Bertram of Le Mans (E06095), the will generally does not name the saints to whom the churches were dedicated. The only exception is the mention in two places of a church at Reims dedicated to the martyrs Timotheus and Apollinaris: a certain Friaredus, who Remigius says he had purchased for 14 solidi 'to stop him being killed' is instructed to give 12 solidi to pay for a 'chamber' (camera) in the church, while in a postscript to the will, Remigius leaves a silver salver (missorium) to the church to pay for his own burial.
Remigius' will is the earliest evidence for the cult of Timotheus and Apollinaris at Reims, and shows that a church dedicated to them existed there by the 530s at the latest. Gregory of Tours mentions the building of the church in an anecdote centred on the installation in it of relics of the two saints (Glory of the Martyrs 54; E00580), but without any indications as to the date of these events. The celebration at Reims of their feast day is also mentioned in the Martyrologium Hieronymianum (E04928). Gregory states that Timotheus and Apollinaris were martyred at Reims, but otherwise none of these sources contain any information about them. A very formulaic Martyrdom, probably dating from the 8th century (BHL 8296), also contains no further meaningful information. Given this apparent lack of any local story associated with their martyrdom, and in view of the fact that their feast is only two days after that of the Roman martyr Timotheus (S00330), it has been suggested they were not actual local martyrs, but adaptations of the cults of Timotheus of Rome and Apollinaris of Ravenna (Duchesne 1915, 142, n. 4).
Krusch, B., in: Passiones vitaeque sanctorum aevi Merovingici et antiquiorum aliquot (I) (Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Scriptores Rerum Merovingicarum 3; Hannover, 1896), 336-340; reprinted Corpus Christianorum Series Latina 117 (Turnhout, 1957), 473-479.
Duchesne, L, Fastes épiscopaux de l'ancienne Gaule. Tome troisième: Les provinces du Nord et de l'Est (Paris, 1915).
Isaïa, M.-C., Remi de Reims. Mémoire d'un saint, Histoire d'une Église (Paris, 2010).
Jones, A.H.M, Grierson, P., and Crook, J.A., "The Authenticity of the 'Testamentum S. Remigii'," Revue belge de philologie et d'histoire 35 (1957), 356-373.
Pietri, L., and Neiss, R., "Reims," in N. Gauthier, B. Beaujard, and F. Prévot (eds.), Topographie chrétienne des cités de la Gaule des origines au milieu du VIIIe siècle, vol. 14: Province ecclésiastique de Reims (Belgica Secunda) (Paris, 2006), 21-45.