Palilinus, St, Of Nola
paulinus wealth augustine saint
PALILINUS, ST, OF NOLA. Pontius Meropius Anicius Paulinus, who was successively a consul, a monk, and a bishop, was born at Bordeaux in 353 A.D. His father, priefectus prmtorio in Gaul, was a man of great wealth, so that Augustine could speak of Paulimis, who inherited it, as " opulentissimus dives," and Ansonius, himself a man of property, could speak of his estates as " regna." The literary education of the future saint was entrusted to his elder contemporary and townsman Ansonins, and how con-siderable was the degree of culture to which lie attained as a writer both in prose and verse can yet be seen from his extant works, though it is of course impossible for any one in cold blood to concur in all the friendly praises of Ausonius and Jerome, the latter of whom compares him as a letter-writer to Cicero. In 378 he was raised to the rank of consul suffectus, and in the following year he appears to have been sent as consularis into Campania. .11ere, whether in an official capacity or not, he certainly remained for some time; and, according to his own account, it was at this period, while present at a festival of St Felix of Nola, that he first entered upon his lifelong devotion to the cultus of that saint. Probably before this time he had married a wealthy Spanish lady named Therasia ; the union appears to have been a, sympathetic and happy one, though not unclouded by domestic sorrows, among which may be mentioned the death in infancy of their only child, - a bereavement which, combined with the many disasters by which the empire was being visited, did much to foster in them that world-weariness to which they afterwards gave such emphatic expression. From Campania Paulinus re-turned to his native place and came into correspondence or personal intimacy with men like Martin of Tours and Ambrose of Milan, whose example could not fail to keep before him the claims of Christianity as conceived by them ; and ultimately (about 389) he was formally received into the church by Bishop Delphinus of Bordeaux, whence shortly afterwards he withdrew with his wife beyond the Pyrenees. This withdrawal from the pursuits and pleasures of the world called forth the playful ba,nter and serious remon-strances with which alternately he was plied by Ausonius ; all appeals, however, to the common memories of an old friendship and to the claims of patriotism and of ambition were made in vain. It is impossible, of course, to say what precise amount of truth may underlie the poet's hint at an undue feminine ascendency over his friend, which is implied in the expression " Tanaquil tint." Therasia was certainly at least not behind her husband in eagerness to have done with the fast- failing friendship and help of " the world " ; but Paulinus is unflinching in his reply to everyreproach and entreaty : "Negant Camcenis, nec patent Apollini dicata Christo pectora. . . . Nunc alio- mentem vis agit, major deus. . . . 0 bcata injuria, displicere cum Christo." The personal asceticism of Paulinus and his liberality towards the poor soon brought him into great repute among all the devout of the region in which he had settled ; and 1A-hile he was spending Christmas at 13arcelona the enthusia,sm of the people rose to such a pitch that they insisted on his being forthwith ordained to the priesthood. The irregularity of this step, however, was resented by many of the clergy, and the occurrence is still passed lightly over by his Boman Catholic pa,negyrists. In the following year he went into Italy, and after visit-ing Ambrose at Milan and Siricius at -Home - the latter of whom, however, jealous probably of the growing monkish spirit and mindful also of the irregular ordination, received him somewhat coldly - he proceeded into Campania, where, in the neighbourhood of Nola, Ile settled among the rude structures which on his former visit lie had caused to be built around the tomb and relics of his " dominiedius " (lord of the edifice) and patron saint. Along with Ther-asia (now a sister, not a wife), while leading a life of rigid asceticism, he devoted the whole of his vast wealth to the entertainment of needy pilgrims, to payment of the debts of the insolvent, and to public works of utility or ornament ; besides building basilicas at Fondi and Nola, be provided the latter place with a much-needed aqueduct. At the next vacancy, not later than 409, he succeeded to the bishopric of Nola, and this office he held with ever-increas-ing honour until his death, which occurred shortly after that of Augustine in 431. He is commemorated by the Church of Rome on 22d June.
The extant writings of Paulinus consist of some fifty Epistoke, addressed to Sulpicius Severus, Delphinns, Augustine, Jerome, and others; thirty-twc Cambia in a. great variety of metre, including a series of hexameter "natales," begun about 393 and continued annually in honour of the festival of St Felix, metrical epistles to Ausonius and Gestidius, and paraphrases of three psalms ; and a Passio S. Genesii. They reveal to us a kindly and cheerful soul, well versed in the literary accomplishments of the period, but without any strength of intellectual grasp and peculiarly prone to superstition. The somewhat conspicuous place in church history occupied by Paulinus is chiefly due to the effect his great influence had in promoting the practice of pilgrimage, relic-hunting, and. picture-worship, as well as the uncritical acceptance of every alleged miracle ; to the intellectual development of Christianity Ile contributed nothing and it may well be questioned whether the inanner in which he discharged the stewardship of his wealth was as judicious and beneficial as it certainly was generous.
IIis works were edited by Rosweyde and Fronton le Due in 1622 (Antwerp, 8ro), and their text WaS reprinted in the Blig. max. patr. (1677). The next editor was Le Brun des Marettes (Paris, 1685, 2 vols. 4t0), whose text was reproduced in substance by Muratori (Verona, 1736), and reprinted by Migne.