(Also spelled Exsuperius).
|Feast: September 28
|Bishop of Toulouse in the beginning of the
fifth century; place and date of birth unascertained; died after 410. Succeeding
St. Silvius as bishop, he completed the basilica of St. Saturninus, begun by his
predecessor. St. Jerome praises him for his munificence to the monks of
Palestine, Egypt, and Libya, and for his charity to the people of his own
diocese, who were then suffering from the depredations of the Vandals, Alans,
and Suevi. Of great austerity and simplicity of life, he sought not his own, but
gave what he had to the poor. For their sake he even sold the altar vessels and
was compelled in consequence to carry the Sacred Host in an osier basket and the
Precious Blood in a vessel of glass. In esteem for his virtues and in gratitude
for his gifts, St. Jerome dedicated to him his "Commentary on Zacharias .
Exuperius is best known in connection with the Canon of the Sacred Scriptures.
He had written to Innocent I for instructions concerning the canon and several
points of ecclesiastical discipline. In reply, the pope honoured him with the
letter Consulenti tibi , dated February, 405, which contained a list of the
canonical scriptures as we have them to-day, including the deuterocanonical
books of the Catholic Canon, books of the Catholic Canon. The assertion of
non-Catholic writers that the Canon of Innocent I excluded the Apocrypha is not
true, if they mean to extend the term Apocrypha to the deuterocanonical books.
The opinion of Baronius, that the bishop Exuperius was identical with the rhetor of the same name, is quite generally rejected, as the rhetor was a teacher of Hannibalianus and Dalmatius, nephews of Constantine the Great, over a half a century before the period of the bishop. From Jerome's letter to Furia of Rome, in 394, and from the epistle of St. Paulinus to Amandus of Bordeaux, in 397, it seems probable that Exuperius was a priest at Rome, and later at Bordeaux, before he was raised to the episcopate, though it is possible that in both of these letters reference is made to a different person. Just when he became bishop is unknown. That he occupied the See of Toulouse in February , 405, is evident from the letter of Innocent I mentioned above; and from a statement of St. Jerome in a letter to Rusticus it is certain that he was still living in 411. It is sometimes said that St. Jerome reproved him, in a letter to Riparius, a priest of Spain, for tolerating the heretic Vigilantius; but as Vigilantius did not belong to the diocese of Toulouse, St. Jerome was probably speaking of another bishop.
Exuperius was early venerated as a saint. Even in the time of St. Gregory of Tours he was held in equal veneration with St. Saturninus. His feast occurs on 28 September. The first martyrologist to assign it to this date was Usuard, who wrote towards the end of the ninth century.
Leo A. Kelly
From the Catholic Encyclopedia, copyright © 1913 by the Encyclopedia Press,
Inc. Electronic version copyright © 1996 by New Advent, Inc.
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