Saint Sulpitius of Bourges: The Iconography

In Bourges, Aquitaine, the death of St. Sulpicius Pius, whose worthy life and death are honored by glorious miracles. – Roman Martyrology for January 17

Saint Sulpitius of Bourges was the third bishop of that city. He is always portrayed as a mitred bishop with a crozier in one hand and sometimes a second object in the other hand. In some images the object is a book. In the first picture at right, it is a loaf of bread. The loaf presumably refers to the story that he resigned as bishop in order to "minister" to the poor, although his early vitae never mention a distribution of food.1 In the second picture at right he is pictured with a congregation of the crippled and maimed. The Wikimedia page for this relief calls it "Saint Sulpice curing the crippled and maimed." No such miracle appears in his early vitae, so the subject may simply be the "ministry" he undertook after his resignation.

Most images of this saint are in France.

Prepared in 2016 by Richard Stracke, Emeritus Professor of English, Augusta University

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Sulpitius with a loaf of bread (See the description page)


Sulpitius with the crippled and the maimed (See the description page)

DATES

  • Died 647

NAMES

  • In French, he is St. Sulpice.

HAGIOGRAPHY

NOTES

1 Acta Sanctorum, January vol. II, 172, 175. Butler, I, 111-12. The first of the two vitae in the Acta Sanctorum also says he helped the poor even before he became a clergyman (ibid., 168).