ST. JUSTUS, ARCHBISHOP OF LYONS, C.
HIS virtues rendered him so conspicuous whilst he
served the church of Vienne in quality of deacon, that he was
advanced to the metropolitan see of Lyons about the year 350. In this
exalted station he showed by the whole tenor of his conduct that he
feared nothing but God, hoped for nothing but from God, and regarded
not the applause or presents, but wants of those that approached him.
His patience and temper were proof against every trial: the ardor of
his zeal made him severe in reproving everything that deserved
reproof. His attachment to discipline and good order was inviolable,
and his love of peace, concord, and unity, sincere and constant. He
was circumspect everywhere, and in all things. A great council of
western prelates being assembled at Aquileia, in the reign of
Gratian, in 381, Saint Justus of Lyons, with two other bishops from
Gaul, assisted at it. The chief affairs there debated, regarded the
Arians, and St. Ambrose managed everything in that venerable
assembly. That holy bishop had a particular respect for our saint, as
appears from two letters which he addressed to him concerning certain
questions of the holy scripture.
It happened a little before this council, that at
Lyons, a certain madman, who had stabbed some persons in the street,
took sanctuary in the great church; and St. Justus, in order to
appease the mob, delivered him into the hands of a public officer,
upon the promise that the prisoner’s life should be spared.
Notwithstanding this he was despatched by the populace. The good
bishop was apprehensive that he had been accessary to his death, and
was by that irregularity disqualified for the ministry of the altar;
and having long desired to serve God in retirement, he made use of
this occasion to resign the pastoral charge. The extreme opposition
of his flock seemed an impediment to his design. But his journey to
the council afforded him a favorable opportunity, and in his return
he stole from his friends in the night at Torrente, and bending his
course to Marseilles he there took shipping with a lector of his
church named Viator, and sailed to Alexandria. Concealing his
character he lived unknown in a numerous monastery in Egypt,
surpassing the whole community in the fervor of his penance. After
some years he happened to be discovered by one who came from Gaul, to
visit the monasteries in Egypt. The whole house was much surprised at
so extraordinary an example, and the Church of Lyons had no sooner
notice, but a priest called Antiochus was sent to conjure him, in the
name both of the clergy and people, to return; but he was not to be
prevailed upon. Antiochus determined to bear him company in his
solitude and penance, and the saint shortly after died in his arms,
about the year 390. His body was soon after translated to Lyons. St.
Justus is commemorated on this day in the Roman Martyrology, and in
those of Bede, Ado, and Usuard. The village of St. Just in Cornwall
takes its name from this saint. See his elegant and accurate ancient
life, with the notes of Stilting the Bollandist, Sept. t. 1, p. 365.
Tillemont, t. 8, 546, Fleury,1. 18, n. 10, Dom. Rivet, Hist. Littér.
t. 1, part 2, p. 254. The two brothers of Ste. Marthe, Gallia
Christiana Vet. edit. t. 1, p. 293.