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E05667: Desiderius of Cahors, in a letter written in Latin in Gaul in the mid 7th century, requests the favour of Abbo, bishop of Metz, for his cathedral at Cahors, dedicated to *Stephen, the First Martyr (S00030).

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posted on 2018-06-07, 00:00 authored by dlambert
Desiderius of Cahors, Letters 1.9

Dum lator praesentium apicum ad obseruando illo monasterio iussus accedit, et quia necesse est uestro eum patrocinium commendemus, igitur famulatus mei offitia persoluens supplico ut eum sicut famulum gratia pietatis uestrae recipiat commendatum. Et de condiciunculas domni Stefani, undecumque fuerint exortas, adhibete sollicitudinem, sicut me de uestra gratia confidere, ut credo, nullatenus ignoratis. Non enim a me docendus es, quid in nostris supplimentis et ecclesię, cui servimus, uel pauperum eius opportunitatibus praestis, quid uigilando prospicias, quidue experientiae actionis adtribuas. Nosti omnia omniaque non ambiges, quibus laboribus urguimur quibusque fatigamur aerumnis. Hoc solum cupimus te uelle, nam posse daturus est ille, sub cuius nomine nos, praesidio et fauore teneri gaudeamus.

When the bearer of the present letter approaches, ordered to oversee that monastery, and because it is necessary that we commend him to your patronage, paying, therefore, the duties of my devotion, I beg that the grace of Your Piety should receive him as a recommended servant. And as for the requirements of St Stephen, wherever they have arisen, exercise care, as I believe you are not at all ignorant that I rely on your good will. For you do not need to be taught by me what, in our gains and those of the church we serve, you should offer to the needs of its poor, what you may keep an eye on in vigilance for the future, or what you may assign to the experience of your activity. For you have learned everything and you are not in doubt of anything about the labours by which we are pressed and the troubles with which we are fatigued. We desire only that you should want this, for he under whose name we rejoice to be held in protection and favour will grant you the capacity.'

Text: Norberg 1961, 27. Translation: David Lambert.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Stephen, the First Martyr : S00030

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Literary - Letters


  • Latin

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Gaul and Frankish kingdoms

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Cahors Tours Tours Toronica urbs Prisciniacensim vicus Pressigny Turonorum civitas Ceratensis vicus Céré

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Bequests, donations, gifts and offerings

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops


The letter collection of Desiderius, bishop of Cahors from 630 to 655 (Norberg 1961, 5), contains fifteen letters by, and twenty-one letters to, Desiderius, covering the period from the 620s to Desiderius' death. The collection survives in a single manuscript, dating from c. 800 (Codex Sangallensis 190, the sole source for a number of late antique and early medieval Gallic letter collections). This letter is to Abbo, bishop of Metz in the 630s and 640s.


In this letter, Desiderius begins with a commendation for the bearer, who appears to be travelling from Cahors to take up a monastic office in Metz. He then requests Abbo to take care for 'the requirements of St Stephen'. The phrase undecumque fuerint exortas ('wherever they have arisen') is probably meant as an admonition to Abbo, whose own cathedral at Metz was dedicated to Stephen (Gauthier 1986, 43), that he should favour not just his own church but others dedicated to Stephen, such as the cathedral at Cahors. The nature of the 'labours' and 'troubles' mentioned by Desiderius is unknown.


Editions: Norberg, D., Epistulae s. Desiderii Cadurcensis (Stockholm, 1961), with commentary (in Latin). Arndt, W., Desiderii episcopi Cadurcensis epistolae, in: Epistolae Merowingici et Karolini Aevi (Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Epistolae 3; Berlin, 1892), 193-214. Further reading: Gauthier, N., "Metz," in: N. Gauthier and J.-Ch. Picard (eds.), Toppgraphie chrétienne des cités de la Gaule des origines au milieu du VIIIe siècle, vol. 1: Province ecclésistique de Trèves (Belgica Prima) (Paris, 1986), 33-53. Prévot, F., "Cahors," in N. Gauthier and J.-Ch. Picard (eds.), Topographie chrétienne des cités de la Gaule des origines au milieu du VIIIe siècle, vol. 6: Provinces ecclésiastique de Bourges (Aquitania Prima) (Paris, 1989), 57-65.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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