Butler’s Lives of the Saints – Saint Piat, Apostle of Tournay, Martyr

Article

Saint Piat or Piaton, a zealous priest, came from Italy, being a native of Benevento, to preach the gospel in Gaul, probably about the same time with Saint Dionysius of Paris, and his companions. Penetrating as far as Belgic Gaul, he converted to the faith the country about Tournay, and was crowned with martyrdom, as it seems, under the cruel governor Rictius Varus, about the year 286, about the beginning of the reign of Maximian Herculeus, who then marched into Gaul. His body was pierced by the persecutors with many huge nails, such as were used in joining beams or rafters, and are described by Galloni and Mamachi among the instruments of torture used by the Romans. Saint Piat seems to have suffered torments at Tournay, the capital, but to have finished his martyrdom at Seclin. This martyr’s body was discovered in the seventh century at Seclin, pierced with these nails, by Saint Eligius of Noyon, as Saint Owen relates in his life of Saint Eligius. He was before honoured there, or Saint Eligius would not have sought his body in that place. It is enshrined in the collegiate church which bears his name at Seclin, a village between Lille and Tournay, the ancient capital of the small territory called Medenentensis, now Melantois; and he is honoured as the apostle and patron of that country. In the invasions of the Normans the relics of Saints Bavo, Wandrille, Aubert, Wulfran, Wasnulf, Piat, Bainus, Winnoc, and Austreberte were conveyed to Saint Omer, and there secured forty years, according to the chronicle of the Normans in Duchesne, an. 846. Those of Saint Piat were in another invasion conveyed to Chartres, and part still remains there in a collegiate church of canons, which bears his name. Fulbert of Chartres has left us a hymn in his honour. The body of Saint Eubertus or Eugenius, his companion and fellow-martyr, is kept in the great collegiate church of Saint Peter at Lille, which was founded and richly endowed by Baldwin of Lille, earl of Flanders, in 1066. See Tillemont who gives his most ancient Acts, since interpolated in two editions.

MLA Citation

  • Father Alban Butler. “Saint Piat, Apostle of Tournay, Martyr”. Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Principal Saints, 1866. Saints.SQPN.com. 1 October 2013. Web. 21 September 2014. <>