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Pilgrims journeying to Compostela on the Toulouse Road were able to venerate the mortal remains of a major saint who had been, according to tradition, a disciple and  travelling companion of Saint Paul.Arles-Fac-Apostles-L It was written that Trophimus had been directed by the Apostle Peter to evangelise Gaul. He was the first bishop of Arles and his relics were held in the cathedral.

As a direct link to the original Apostolic Mission, Trophimus was held in the highest esteem. This perception is graphically rendered in the sculpture of the west facade of the cathedral where Trophimus is admitted into the college of the Apostles standing alongside James of Compostela.

The Pilgrim’s Guide declares that travellers: “Must visit in Arles the remains of the Blessed Trophimus the confessor.”

Arles-Fac Troph 1-

Trophimus was ordained by Saint Paul himself. “He was the first one to be directed to the said city to preach the Gospel of Christ”, continued the text of the Guide.

Arles had long been an important Roman administrative centre and in 412 its bishopric became the Metropolitan See for the whole of Gaul.

Trophimus is mentioned by name in the Acts of The Apostles.After Paul was driven from Ephesus he travelled with a select band of eight disciples whom he joined at Troas.

From there they journeyed on to Miletus where, Paul wrote in his Second Epistle to Timothy that he was obliged to leave behind Trophimus who had fallen sick.

The twelfth century tradition held that Trophimus had rejoined Paul in Spain when Saint Peter intervened and directed him to evangelise Gaul.

Trophimus’ bishopric had in reality occurred at some point in the third century. A general tendency to idealise the evangelisation of Gaul and antedate it to the time of the first Apostles  meant that during the medieval period, his conflation with Paul’s disciple was accepted. Trophimus-Canon-1-WP Such a direct and intimate link to the original Apostolic mission meant that Trophimus’ mortal remains were highly revered. Initially his relics were kept in a tomb at the cemetery of Honoratus, part of the Alyscans.

During the tenth century they were transferred to the cathedral of Arles, then under the patronym of Saint Stephen but shortly to be renamed the cathedral of Saint Trophimus.

Trophimus was a confessor saint who had, according to Gregory of Tours, passed his life “In great holiness, winning many people over to the church”.

In the twelfth century a large new cathedral church was constructed and the relics of Trophimus were ceremoniously translated there in 1152.

One Comment

  1. The conflation of the two Sts Trophimus reminds me of St Dénis in Paris!


5 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] their geographical order beginning with the Toulouse Road. This road joined together the shrines of Trophimus, Caesarius, Honoratus and Genesius at Arles and tombs of the Alyscans at the entry to the city.  […]

  2. By Saint Gabriel | The Joining of Heaven & Earth on 22 Feb 2013 at 10:49 pm

    […] travelling from Aix-en-Provence towards the great shrine of Saint Trophimus and the Alyscans would have stopped at the town of Saint Gabriel to embark on shallow boats which […]

  3. […] in taking over Arles, he retired from public life. His relics were kept at the cathedral of Saint Trophime at […]

  4. […] and Honoratus, pilgrims would proceed to the cathedral in order to visit the tomb of the confessor Saint Trophimus, whose mortal remains were translated there from the Alyscans in great ceremony in […]

  5. By The River Rhône | The Joining of Heaven & Earth on 02 Mar 2013 at 11:03 pm

    […] cults of numerous saints flourished. Trophimus, Honoratus, Genesius, Martha, Caesarius, Mary Salomé and Mary Jacoby and […]

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