Catholic Encyclopedia – Saint Paulinus II, Patriarch of Aquileia

Article

Born at Premariacco, near Cividale, Italy, about 730-40; died 802. Born probably of a Roman family during Longobardic rule in Italy, he was brought up in the patriarchal schools at Cividale. After ordination he became master of the school. He acquired a thorough Latin culture, pagan and Christian. He had also a deep knowledge of jurisprudence, and extensive Scriptural, theological, and patristic training. This learning won him the favour of Charlemagne. After the destruction of the Kingdom of the Longobards in 774, Charles invited Paulinus to France in 776, to be royal master of grammar”. He assisted in restoring civilization in the West. In 777 Paulinus made his first acquaintance with Petrus of Pisa, Alcuin, Arno, Albrico, Bona, Riculph, Raefgot, Rado, Lullus, Bassinus, Fuldrad, Eginard, Adalard, and Adelbert, the leading men of that age. His devotion to Charlemagne was rewarded by many favours, among them the gift of the property of Waldand, son of Mimo of Lavariano, with a diploma dated from Ivrea, and his appointment by Charles as Patriarch of Aquileia in 787. Paulinus took a prominent part in the important matters of his day. In his relations with the churches of Istria, or with the Patriarch of Grado, the representative of Byzantine interests, he showed the greatest prudence and pastoral zeal. Paulinus obtained diplomas for the free election of the future patriarchs, and other privileges for the Church of Aquileia, viz. the monastery of Saint Mary in Organo, the church of Saint Laurence of Buia, the hospitals of Saint John at Cividale and Saint Mary at Verona. He helped in preparing the new Christian legislation, and we find some canons of his synods. In 792 he was present at the Council of Ratisbon, which condemned the heresy of Adoptionism taught by Eliphand and Felix, Bishop of Urgel. In 794 he took a leading part in the national Synod of Frankfort-on-the-Main, where Adoptionism was again condemned, and wrote a book against it which was sent to Spain in the name of the council. Leaving Frankfort Paulinus paid a visit to Cividale and accompanied Pepin against the Avars. At Salzburg he presided over a synod of bishops, in which were discussed the evangelization of the barbarians, and baptism, as we learn from letters of Charles, Alcuin, Arno, and Paulinus. Returning from the expedition the patriarch once more opposed the Adoptionists at the Synod of Cividale in 796. Paulinus expounded the Catholic doctrine about the Blessed Trinity, especially about the procession of the Holy Ghost from the Father and the Son. At this synod fourteen “canons” on ecclesiastical discipline, and on the sacrament of marriage, were framed and a copy of the Acts was sent to the emperor. Paulinus is said to have assisted at the Council of Altinum, but Hefele has proved that a council was never held there. In 798 he was “Missus Dominicus” of Charlemagne at Pistoia, with Arno and ten other bishops; and afterwards he went to Rome as imperial legate to the Pope. The activity of Paulinus as metropolitan is clear from the “Sponsio Episcoporum ad S. Aquileiensem Sedem . Among his works are: Libellus Sacrosyllabus contra Elipandum ; Libri III contra Felicem ; the protocol of the conference with Pepin and the bishops on the Danube, a work very important for the history of that expedition. Paulinus was also a poet, and we till possess some of his poetical productions: “Carmen de regula fidei ; the rhythmus or elegy for the death of his friend, Duke Heric, killed in battle, 799; another rhythm on the destruction of Aquileia; eight rhythms or hymns to be sung in his own church for Christmas, the Purification, Lent, Easter, Saint Mark, Saints Peter and Paul, the dedication, and “Versus de Lazaro”. He died revered as a saint. In manuscripts prior to the Martyrology of Usuard his feast is recorded on 11 Jan. In the calendars of saints of the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, used in the Church of Aquileia and Cividale, his feast has a special rubric. The first appearance of the name Saint Paulinus in the Liturgy occurs in the “Litaniae” of Charles the Bald of the ninth century. It appears also in the “Litaniae Carolinae”, in the “Litaniae a S. Patribus constitutae”, and finally in the Litaniae” of the Gertrudian manuscript of the tenth century. Down to the sixteenth century the feast was celebrated on 11 January, during the privileged octave of the Epiphany. The patriarch Francesco Barbaro at the beginning of the seventeenth century translated the feast to 9 February. The Church of Cividale keeps his feast on 2 March. After several translations the relics of the saintly patriarch were laid to rest under the altar of the crypt of the basilica of Cividale del Friuli.

MLA Citation

  • Aluigi Cossio. “Saint Paulinus II, Patriarch of Aquileia”. Catholic Encyclopedia, 1913. Saints.SQPN.com. 11 January 2013. Web. 22 July 2014. <>