Butler’s Lives of the Saints – Saint Silvin of Auchy, Bishop and Confessor

Article

He was born of a considerable family in the territory of Thoulouse, and passed his first years at the court of two successive kings, Childeric II and Theodoric III. Everything was ready for his marriage, when, powerfully touched by divine grace, he renounced all worldly prospects, and retired from court. His thoughts were now bent upon Jesus Christ alone, and he longed for nothing so much as to enjoy silence and solitude. After several devout penitential pilgrimages to Jerusalem and other places, he took orders at Rome, and was consecrated bishop, some say of Thoulouse, others of Terouenne. But his name is not found in any ancient register of either of those churches, and it is now agreed, among the most judicious critics, that he was ordained a legionary bishop to preach the gospel to infidels. His zeal carried him into the north of France, and he spent most of his time in the diocess of Terouenne, which was then full of Pagans, and Christians but one remove from them. He was indefatigable in preaching to them the great truths and essential obligations of our holy faith, and taught them to despise and renounce the pleasures of this life, by appearing on all occasions a strong lesson of self denial and mortification. Instructing them thus, both by words and actions, he gathered a large harvest in a wild and uncultivated field. After many years thus spent, he died at Auchy, in the county of Artois, on the 15th of February, in 718. He is commemorated in Usuard, the Belgic and Roman Martyrologies, on the 17th, which was the day of his burial; but at Auchy on the 15th. The greater part of his relics are now at Saint Bertin’s, at Saint Omers, whither they were carried in 951, for fear of the Normans. Usuard is the first who styles Saint Silvin bishop of Terouenne. Some think he was born not at Thoulouse, but at Thosa, or Doest, near Bruges, or rather at another Thosa, now Doesbury, in Brabant; for in his life it is said that he travelled westward to preach the gospel. His original life, which was ascribed to Antenor, a disciple of the saint, is lost: that which we have was compiled in the ninth century.

MLA Citation

  • Father Alban Butler. “Saint Silvin of Auchy, Bishop and Confessor”. Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Principal Saints, 1866. Saints.SQPN.com. 17 February 2013. Web. 28 August 2014. <>