Eustorgius I

Saint Eustorgius I (d. ca. 350 AD) was a bishop of Milan from 344 until his death. His feast day is September 18. From 345 to 346 and from 347 to 348, he held two synods. He also began construction of churches and basilicas in Milan. Saint Athanasius called him a "defender of the faith" and mentions him as an opponent of Arianism. Saint Ambrose called him by the honorable title of "confessor", and just in such a way some verses concerning Milan in ca. 700. His name was included in the Ambrosian Rite and his cult in Milan is testified by the presence of five churches dedicated to him (as testified in a 14th-century document, Liber notitiae sanctorum Mediolani ), the best known of which is the Basilica of Sant'Eustorgio. A 5th or 6th century song indicates that he was a famous holy man and that he had built a great sarcophagus. And two little cows had transported the large shrine. Eustorgius was perhaps buried in the cemetery on the grounds of Sant'Eustorgio, which was located outside the Roman walls along the road to Pavia. , and then in his church which was dedicated by him. His relics are in the main altar. For September 18, the Roman Martyrology states: "At Milan, St. Eustorgius I, Bishop of that city, rendered by the testimony of blessed Ambrose."


His legendary Vita dates from the 12th century and exists in 20 different documents. His legend states that in 344, he brought the relics of the Three Magi from Constantinople to Milan, with two small cows which transported a large sarcophagus of marble. (Photo: Empty shrine in St. Eustorgio, ca. 300 AD)

The relics of the Magi were taken from Milan by Holy Roman Emperor Fredrick Barbarossa and given to the Archbishop of Cologne, Rainald of Dassel, in 1164. A Shrine of the Three Kings at Cologne Cathedral still exists.

"In the days of Philipp of Heinsberg, who followed Reinaldus, the shrine of the three magi was built. This was told to me by some eyewitnesses who were present when the three magi were put into the shrine." (Vita Eustorgii))

The Vita Beati Eustorgii Confessoris reports around the year 1200:

"... The holy Helena, mother of the emperor Constantine, was one with all virtues affected and a very much pious woman regarding the Christian religion. Therefore she proved uncommon eagerness in collecting relics of the holy ones. She traveled in own person through those widen countries of the Roman realm to the Orient and to the Western World. There she built over the bodies of the martyrs, who were killed by cruelty of tyrants because their Christian names, substantial memorials. Apart from the many fameful proofs of her piety to God she also accumulated the bodies of the Three Magi together, who were buried in different places, and Helena brought the bodies towards Constantinople. In this city they remained in large honours until the times of the emperor Manuel. At that time Eustorgius lived, Greek birth, a very informed man, nobly and piously, of pleasing exterior, eloquently, for the service to God quite been suitable and in this service turned, a guard of the faith, and also chaste, and a native from Constantinople, before the times of bishop Saint Ambrose of Milan. He came as an ambassador of the emperor Manuel to Milan, and the people of Milan selected him to bishop. Therefore Eustorgius returned to Constantinople, said thanks to the emperor and spoke: My father and emperor Manuel, I thanks you that you have appreciated the honour towards me up to now and that you have sent me into the holy city Milan, your metropolis. You should know that I have achieved everything, faithfully and after your will, the deliveries are always secured for you, but I am however the chosen one of the city, because you, in honour of God and to praise his charitableness. I unworthy one was urgent asked to return and to announce, what in the view on our God and on you your you faithfully resulted people have done at me and like the people delegated these envoys with me to you. Intend mine and instruct, what I am to do. The emperor answered: Become bishop, worthy man. Eustorgius answers: I thank God and you; but allow, dearest gentleman, that I can carry forward and can take away to the holy city of Milan anything of the sanctuaries, which me liked, if God's benignity permits it, in order to honour the church with holy relics, and as a gratification for your tributary people. The emperor answers: Select, receive, carry forward, which you would like. Be as if you are, or, is it possible, become still better. Greet my people and announce that from now on the whole delivery is issued. Thus Eustorgius went pleased, and he manufactured a marmorean coffin with large effort, and put into it the bodies of the Three Kings, who had brought Christus their gifts - gold, frankincense and myrrh. With trouble under many nights in which he was awake, and through God's assistance and amicability he transported it towards Milan into the city. The sarcophagus became buried outside of the city-wall closely beside the city in a church, which later was sanctified to honor holy Eustorgius. Also there is a famous and very holy source, where the neophytes had received the holy baptism, all Christians pious veneration with dignity. ..."


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