Germanus of Auxerre


A saint who lived from 378 to 448. He was a Roman official who presided in Gaul before, in 418, he was appointed bishop of Auxerre. He traveled to Britain in 429 to regulate the Church, which had been divided by Pelasgian heresy. News reached him of a combined Saxon and Pict raid, which he met with a British force that lay in ambush until Germanus rose and shouted 'Hallelujah!' three times, a cry that was, apparently, sufficiet to cause the Saxons and the Picts to turn tail and flee.

The second visit, in 447, becomes material of legend in Nenniusís Historia Brittonum, partly adapted from Germanusís Life. Nennius says that Germanus came to Britain at the request of King Vortimer. Christianity had been damaged during the reign of Vortigern, whom Vortimer had deposed. When Vortigern reclaimed the throne, Germanus condemned him for marrying his own daughter. When Vortigern ignored Germanusís pleas to break the union, his castle (in one account) was destroyed in a holy fire.

The name Germanus appears on the 'Pillar of Eliseg' in the eighth paragraph of the inscription on that pillar. This states that Germanus blessed Britu, son of Vortigern, but, seeing that Germanus was sided against the Saxons, this would seem to indicate that his blessing was not of a kindly nature but one that would today be called a curse.