Saint Caesarius of Arles

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Brother of Saint Caesaria of Arles. Entered the monastery at Lérins at age 18, and worked as his house’s cellarer. His devotion to duty earned him the enmity of some of his brother monks who were too interested in the house wines. Illness forced him to leave the monastery, and while he recovered in Arles, his uncle Eonus, bishop of Arles, had him transferred from Lérins.

Priest. Spent three years reforming a monastery that had lost discipline. Reluctant bishop of Arles in 503; he would rule his see for 40 years. Noted reformer and opponent of Arianism in his see, he presided over several synods where he insisted on discipline and orthodox teaching. He regularly visited his parishes, and was a successful preacher; several of his sermons have survived to today. He ordered that the Divine Office be sung every day in his churches. Built a convent in Arles with his sister as abbess, and wrote a rule for its nuns. His work restored confidence his clergy, and brought many back to the faith. Spiritual teacher of Saint Cyprian, whom he consecrated as bishop.

In 505 he was exiled to Bordeaux by King Alaric II of the Visigoths who was under the mistaken impression that Caesarius was trying to make Arles part of Burgundy. When the accusation was disproved, Caesarius was allowed to return to his diocese. There he helped the victims of the seige of Arles by the forces of Burgundy. He was arrested for political reasons when Theodoric the Ostrogoth seized Arles, but the charges were dropped and Caesarius freed in 513.

Pilgrim to Rome, Italy. Apostolic delegate to Gaul, receiving the pallium from Pope Saint Symmachus, repeatedly the first time a western bishop was so honoured. Attended the Council of Orange in 529, and led the movement to condemn Semi-pelagianism. Published Brevarium Alarici, an adaptation of Roman law; it became the civil law of all Gaul. Following the fall of Arles by the Franks in 536, Caesarius moved his offices and residence to Saint John’s convent where he lived out his last seven years, spending much of his time in prayer.

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MLA Citation

  • “Saint Caesarius of Arles“. Saints.SQPN.com. 11 November 2013. Web. 31 July 2014. <>