Paulinus of Trier

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Our father among the saints Paulinus of Trier was the sixth bishop of Trier, in present day Germany, who was among the foremost Gallic defenders of orthodoxy during the Christological conflicts with Arianism. His feast day is August 31.


Little is known of the early life of Paulinus. He was born in what is known as Gascony in France. He was educated in the cathedral school at Poitiers. He accompanied St. Maximinus to Trier in present day Germany. At that time Trier, also Treves, was the government seat of the Western emperor of the Roman empire. There, he apparently was consecrated a bishop by Maximinus and succeeded him as Bishop of Trier in 349.

Paulinus attended the Council of Sirmium in 351, where he boldly championed the orthodox position. When the letter of condemnation of St. Athanasius was tendered for him to sign, he scornfully rejected it and exclaimed that he would sign the condemnation of Photinus and Marcellus, but not of Athanasius.

At the Council of Arles in 353, Paulinus's fate was decided. There, he was targeted by the Arians, and emperor Constantius II, a friend of the Arians, decreed the banishment of all bishops who refused to subscribe to the condemnation of Athanasius. Paulinus remained firm and, after being condemned by the bishops, he was driven into exile to Phrygia in Asia Minor, to areas inhabited by heathen and heretics. This occurred in 353 or, at latest, in 354.

He died five years later, in either 358 or 359, while in exile. His relics were returned to Trier in 395 where he was entombed in the crypt of the city's St. Paulinus Church, which was dedicated to him. The church, named for him, was then outside the walls of the city and was one of the earliest churches at Trier.

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Paulinus of Trier
Preceded by:
Bishop of Trier
Succeeded by:
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