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eugenius iii

Eugenius III of Toledo

Eugenius III (sometimes called the Younger, as the successor of Eugenius II of Toledo) was Archbishop of Toledo from 647 to 13 November657, the date of his death.

Life

He was the son of a Goth named Evantius, became a cleric in the cathedral of Toledo, and at the death of Eugenius II was elected his successor. The office was so little to his taste that he fled to Saragossa to lead a monastic life, but was forced to return to Toledo by King Chindaswith and take up the government of that see. He undertook the reform of the ecclesiastical chant of the Divine Office and achieved distinction as a writer of prose and poetry.

His feast is kept on 13 November.

Works

His style is natural and clear, and his exposition easy and agreeable. His poems, though lacking polish and elegance, are full of fire, spirit, and poetic movement. His thought is solid, fertile, and gives evidence of a well-trained mind.

Eugenius left two books in prose and verse, published (Paris, 1619) by Father Sirmond, S.J., containing his poems on religious and secular subjects, his recension of the poem of Dracontius on "The Six days of Creation" (Hexaemeron), to which he added a "Seventh Day", and a letter to King Chindaswith explaining the plan of the entire work; he also edited the metrical "Satisfactio" of Dracontius, an account of the writer's misfortunes.

Of this work Bardenhewer says (Patrology, tr. St. Louis, 1908, p. 619) that it "underwent a substantial revision at the hands of Eugenius II, Bishop of Toledo, in keeping with the wish of the Visigothic King Chindaswith (642-49); not only were the poetical form and the theology of the poem affected by this treatment,but probably also its political sentiments. It is this revision that was usually printed as Dracontii Elegia (Migne, P.L., LXXVIII, 383-88), until the edition of Arévalo (Rome, 1791, 362-402, and 901-32) made known the original text".

He also wrote a treatise on the Trinity probably against the Arian Visigoths. Ferrera mentions a letter of Eugenius to the king and one to Protasius, the Metropolitan of Tarragona, promising if possible to write a mass of St. Hippolytus and some festal sermons, but disclaiming the ability to equal his former productions.

References

  • Jacques Sirmond, Opera (Venice, 1728), II, 610;
  • Patrologia Latina, LXXXVII, 347-418;
  • Ferrara, History of Spain, ad ann. 647-658;
  • Gams, Kirchengesch. Spaniens (1874), II, 2, 132-35;
  • Michaud, Biog. Univ. (Paris, 1826).

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