VIII. Saints' Tombs to be visited. VIII.1
those taking the St Giles route to Santiago, the
first visit must be to the body of St Trophimus
the Confessor at Arles, mentioned by St Paul in
his Letter to Timothy. Paul made him bishop and
he was the first to be sent to Arles to preach.
As Pope Zozimus wrote, from this clearest of springs,
the whole of France received rivers of faith. His
feast day is the 29th December.
is the tomb of St Caesarius, bishop and martyr,
who in the same city established an order of nuns.
His festival is the 1st November.
the cemetary at Arles pilgrims seek the help of
the bishop St Honoratus, whose feast is the 16th
body of the most holy martyr St Genesius lies in
his magnificent and venerated church.
Arles, between two branches of the River Rhone,
in the village of Trinquetaille, is an imposing
marble column behind the church. There the faithless
populace tied St Genesius before cutting his head
off; to this day red bloodstains appear on it. As
soon as he was decapitated, he took his head in
his own hands and threw it into the Rhone, then
floated his body up the middle of the river to the
church of St Honoratus, where he lies in honour.
His head, borne by the Rhone and the sea current,
was brought by an angel to the city of Carthage
in Spain, where it now rests in glory and works
many miracles. His feast day is the 25th August.
to be visited is the cemetery called 'les Alyscamps',
near Arles. Custom decrees that you pray for the
dead with prayers, psalms and gifts to charity.
The cemetery is a mile long and a mile wide, and
there is nothing like it for its numbers of marble
tombs. They are carved in different styles, and
engraved with Latin letters in an unintelligible,
ancient language. The further you look, the more
tombs you will see.
any of the cemetery's seven churches, if a priest
says Mass for the dead, or if a layman has a priest
devoutly celebrate, or if a clergyman reads the
psalms, he will find, at the final resurrection,
help among the pious dead to help him achieve salvation
in God. For many bodies of martyred saints and confessors
lie there, whose souls rejoice together in the seat
of paradise. Their commemoration is customarily
celebrated on the holiday after the Easter octave.
look carefully at the worthy body of St Giles, the
holy confessor and abbot. St Giles, famous throughout
the world, should be venerated, celebrated, held
dear, invoked, and asked for favours by all.
the prophets and apostles, no saint is more worthy,
more holy, more glorious, or quicker to help.
than the other saints, he comes quickly to help
the poor and sick and anguished who call him. O
what a beautiful and precious thing it is to visit
his tomb! Pray to him with all your heart, and that
day you will be happy.
myself have proof of what I say. For I saw a man
in this town, who had invoked the saint one day,
escape by the intercession of the blessed confessor
from the dilapidated house of a shoemaker named
Peyrot, which collapsed afterwards. Who therefore
will see most fully his home? Who will adore God
in his sacred basilica? Who will most embrace his
tomb? Who will kiss his venerated altar? Who will
tell of his most holy life? For a sick man puts
on his tunic, and is healed. Through his endless
virtue, a man bitten by a snake is healed; another
possessed by a demon is liberated; a storm at sea
ceases; the daughter of Theocrite is restored after
a long illness; a man sick in his entire body is
restored to longed-for wellness; a deer, previously
indominitible, is tamed to serve him; an order of
monks grows with him as abbot protector; a possessed
man is liberated from his demons; a sin of Charlemagne,
revealed to him by an angel, is forgiven; a dead
man is restored to life, and a violated man to his
former health; and more, two cypresswood offerings
of the bishops carved with images of the apostles
arrive from Rome to a port on the Rhone, through
the waves and the seas, without anyone steering
but solely by his mighty power.
disgusts me to die because I cannot tell all the
things he did that should be venerated, they are
so many and so great. This magnificent Greek star,
lighting up the people of Provence with his rays,
lay among them not declining but growing greater,
not losing his light by death but giving it to everybody,
redoubled, not descending into the abyss but rising
to the summit of Olympus. His setting light did
not become dark but, in his heavenly fame, became
brighter than all the other saints throughout the
four quarters of the world.
was in the middle of the night, the first Sunday
of September, when this star lay down, called to
a throne by a choir of angels, and the Gothic people
along with an order of monks gave him an honoured
tomb in their free territory, that is, between the
city of Nimes and the Rhone.
large golden casket behind his alter, over his venerable
body, is sculpted on the left hand side on the first
step with the images of six apostles, and in primacy
on the same step a matching image of St. Mary. Higher
up on the second step are the signs of the zodiac
in this order: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo,
Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius
and Pisces. Through them are golden flowers like
the third and highest step are the images of twelve
of the twenty-four elders, with these verses written
above their heads:
the splendid chorus of twice-twelve elders,
sing sweet songs on their clear lyres.
the right hand side, on the first level, there are
similarly seven other images, of which six are apostles
and the seventh is any disciple of Christ that one
pleases. Above the heads of the apostles on both
sides of the casket are sculpted the images of the
virtues that reside in them, in the form of women:
goodness, gentleness, faith, hope and charity and
so on. On the second level on the right are flowers
in the form of a vine. On the third, highest level,
as on the left-hand side, are the images of twelve
of the twenty-four elders, with these verses written
above their heads:
extraordinary urn, finished with jewels and gold,
the relics of St. Giles.
breaks it, the Lord will condemn,
with Giles and the heavenly host.
roof and both sides of the urn are carved in fish
scales. Inlaid at its top are thirteen crystal stones,
some in chessboard pattern, others like apples or
pomegranates. One crystal is a huge fish, a trout,
erect, with tail turned upwards.
first crystal forms a huge bowl; above it is placed
a precious golden cross. In the middle of the front
of the urn, the Lord resides in a circle of gold,
blessing with his right hand and in his left holding
a book, on which is written, 'Choose peace and truth'.
Under his footstool is a golden star, and at his
outstretched arms are two letters, Α and Ω. Above
his throne two precious stones glitter in an indescribable
to the throne, on the outside, are the four evangelists,
with wings, with scrolls at their feet in which
the beginning of their respective gospels are written.
Matthew, to the right and above, appears as a man;
Luke is below as an ox, John, left and above, is
an eagle, and underneath Mark is a lion.
to God's throne you can see two angels, a Cherub
on the right with his feet above Luke, and and Seraph
on the left, feet above Mark, both finely sculpted.
finely worked are two sets of precious stones of
all kinds, one around the Lord's throne, the other
around the rim of the urn. Three jewels are places
together to represent the Trinity.
famous for loving the blessed confessor has set
with golden nails in the urn, towards the altar,
his image in gold, which to this day appears there
for the glory of God.
the other side of the casket, the back, the ascension
of the Lord is carved.
the first place are six apostles, faces upwards,
looking at God as he ascends to heaven. Above their
heads is written: 'Men of Galilee! This Jesus, who
was assumed into heaven from you. He will come back,
as you have seen.'
the second level the other six apostles are sculpted,
standing in the same way, but here there are golden
columns between the apostles and the other parts.
the third level God stands straight on a golden
throne, with two angels, one on his right, the other
on his left, their hands pointing out the Lord to
his apostles, one hand pointing upwards, the other
God's head beyond the throne is a dove, carved as
if flying above him.
the fourth and highest level is God on another golden
throne, with four apostles beside him, Luke as an
southwards and below, and Matthew above as a man.
On the other side to the north and below is Mark
as a lion, and above, John as an eagle.
is important to note that the Divine Majesty on
the throne is not seated, but stands straight with
his back to the south and his head raised as if
looking to heaven. His right hand is raised and
he holds a cross in his left, and thus he ascends
to his Father who awaits him at the top of the casket.
so stands the tomb of Blessed Giles the Confessor,
in which his venerated body lies in honour. The
Hungarians who say they have his body should blush;
the monks of Chamalieres who dream they have his
whole corpse should be bankrupted; those men of
Saint-Seine who claim to have his head, should melt
away; likewise the Normans of Coutances who glory
in having his body should be struck by awe, for
it has been tested by many that at no time his sacred
bones could be removed from his own region.
men once tried to take away a venerable arm of the
Blessed Confessor from his homeland to distant shores,
but were utterly unable to take it with them.
are four holy bodies which many witnesses attest
are not possible to remove from their own sarcophagi:
St James, son of Zebedee; St Martin of Tours; St
Leonard of Limousin; and St Giles the Confessor.
Tradition has it that Philip, King of France, once
attempted to take these bodies to France, but nothing
could move them from their own tombs.
à Codex. Guide
at wanadoo.fr - 01/01/2013