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Born in Treves (Trier), Germany, (or Lorraine, France), c. 350; died at Arles, France, 429.

Saint Honoratus was born into a Gallo-Roman family of consular rank. He was well-versed in the liberal arts. He converted from paganism to Christianity in his youth and won his older brother, Venantius, to Christ. The two brothers desired to forsake the world entirely; but their father put continual temptations in their way. Finally, they secured the services of Saint Caprasius (f.d. June 1), a holy hermit, who acted as their instructor in the ways of holiness.

The three sailed from Marseilles to Greece, intending to live there in some unknown desert and learn more about monasticism. Venantius died at Modon; Honoratus was also ill. He and his mentor were forced to return home via Rome. He intended to live the life of a hermit, but God had other plans for him. At first he lived as one near Frejus. Two small islands were just off the coast near Cannes: a larger one called Lero (now St. Margaret's); the other, smaller and further out called Lerins (now Saint-Honorat).

Around 410 (400?), he established himself on this smaller desert island, where he was joined by SS. Lupus of Troyes (f.d. July 29), Eucherius of Lyons (f.d. November 16), and Hilary of Arles (f.d. May 5), as well as others. This was the beginning of the celebrated monastery of Lerins, whose history lasted for nearly 1,400 years. Some of the monks lived in community; others were anchorites. The Rule was that of Saint Pachomius (f.d. May 9).

About 426-427, he was forced to become archbishop of the important see of Arles. However, the labours in the field he did not want lasted less than three years. Honoratus died exhausted by his austerities and apostolic labours in 429.

His relative Hilary, who succeeded him as bishop of Arles, wrote a panegyric of Saint Honoratus that speaks of the trouble taken by the saint to ensure that no one in this island community should be dispirited, overworked, or idle; and 'it is astonishing how much work he got through himself, of poor health as he was.' Many visitors found their way to the island (including Saint John Cassian), and no one left it 'without a perfectly carefree mind.' Honoratus is one of those blessedly joyful saints (Attwater, Benedictines, Encyclopaedia, Hoare, Walsh).

Lerin Islands (Iles des Lerins) - Directly off the shore of Cannes are the Iles de Lerins. These islands mirror the city's history and there is a classic coastal fortress designed by Vauban on the Ile Sainte-Marguerite with its Maritime Museum and where the mysterious Man in the Iron Mask and Marshal Bazaine were imprisoned. The Ile Saint-Honorat has a Mediterranean coastal forest of native pine, eucalyptus and cypress trees and a fortified abbey based in the monastery founded by Saint Honoratus at the end of the 4th Century, which graduated St. Patrick, St. Hilaire, and St. Cezaire, among others.

Saint Honoratus is generally portrayed as driving serpents from the island of Lerins, whose monastery he founded. He is shown at times (1) as a bishop over the island of Lerins with a phoenix below, or (2) drawing water from a rock with his mitre near him (Roeder).

Icon of St. Honoratus (Honorine):
In the Icons Folder of [celt-saints]

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