May 16 – St. Honoratus of Amiens

May 15, 2014

Saint Honoratus of Amiens (Honoré, sometimes Honorius, Honortus) (d. May 16, ca. 600) was the seventh bishop of Amiens. His feast day is May 16.

St. Honoratus Amiens

He was born in Port-le-Grand (Ponthieu) near Amiens to a noble family. He was said to be virtuous from birth. He was taught by his predecessor in the bishopric of Amiens, Saint Beatus (Beat). He resisted being elected bishop of Amiens, believing himself unworthy of this honor. According to tradition, a ray of light of divine origin descended upon his head upon his election as bishop. There also appeared holy oil of unknown origin on his forehead.

According to a legend, when it was known in his hometown that he had been proclaimed bishop, his nursemaid, who was baking bread for the family, refused to believe that Honoratus had been elevated to such a position. She remarked that she would believe the news only if the peel she had been using to bake bread put down roots and turned itself into a tree. When the peel was placed into the ground, it was transformed into a blackberry tree that gave flowers and fruit. This miraculous tree was still being shown in the sixteenth century.

Statue of St. Honoratus by Eugène Aizelin, photo by Jastrow

Statue of St. Honoratus by Eugène Aizelin, photo by Jastrow

During his bishopric, he discovered the relics of Victoricus, Fuscian, and Gentian, which had remained hidden for 300 years.

His devotion was widespread in France following reports of numerous miracles when his body was exhumed in 1060.

After his death, his relics were invoked against drought. Bishop Guy, son of the Count of Amiens, ordered that a procession be held, in which an urn holding Honoratus’ relics were carried around the walls of the city. Rain is said to have fallen soon after.

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In 1202, a baker named Renold Theriens (Renaud Cherins) donated to the city of Paris some land to build a chapel in honor of the saint. The chapel became one of the richest in Paris, and gave its name to Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. In 1400, the bakers of Paris established their guild in the church of Saint Honoratus, celebrating his feast on May 16 and spreading his cultus.

He is also the patron of a Carthusian establishment at Abbeville, which was founded in 1306.

An individual Saint-Honoré Pastry by Chatsam.

An individual Saint-Honoré Pastry by Chatsam.

In 1659, Louis XIV ordered that every baker observe the feast of Saint Honoratus, and give donations in honor of the saint and for the benefit of the community.

He is the namesake of the St. Honoré Cake.

A statue of Honoratus stands in the portal of Amiens Cathedral.

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