Gaul

Latin: Gallia

The name the Romans gave to land bounded by the Alps, Mediterranean, Pyrenees, Atlantic, and the Rhine. Massilia was founded c.600 B.C. Southern Gaul became a Roman province in 121 B.C., and Julius Caesar conquered northern Gaul, 58-51 B.C. From the letter sent by persecuted Christians of Lyons and Vienne, we know that the Church of Gaul existed in A.D. 117. Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons, intervened in the Easter Controversy, c.200; Saint Cyprian mentions, in 254, Faustinus, Bishop of Lyons. Gregory of Tours’s statement that thc Church in Gaul was organized c.250 by seven Roman bishops has been more or less accepted. By 314 many sees existed, and Christianity flourished in the towns. Saint Martin established a monastery near Tours for conversion of rural districts. Athanasius influenced the episcopate during the Arian struggle, and Saint Hilary of Poitiers championed orthodoxy. Priscillianism gained headway, Pelagianism divided the Church, and Semipelagianism prevailed until the Council of Orange, 529. Irenaeus had recognized the primacy of Rome; and in 417 Pope Saint Zosimus made the Bishop of Arles his delegate or vicar in Gaul. The Visigothic invasion established Arianism until the coming of the Franks in 507. Through all changes the bishops played important parts in upholding the social fabric.