Butler’s Lives of the Saints – Saint Vigilius, Bishop of Trent, Martyr


This saint succeeded Abundantius in the episcopal see of Trent in 385. He begged of Saint Ambrose, who was his metropolitan, rules for his conduct in his ministry, which that holy prelate gave him in a long letter, in which he exhorted him vigorously to oppose the practice of usury, and the custom of Christians intermarrying with infidels. There remained still many idolaters in the valleys of the diocess of Trent, who adored Saturn and other false divinities. Saint Vigilius sent Saints Sisinnius, Martyrius, and Alexander, to preach the faith to them, and afterwards wrote their acts, or a narrative of their martyrdom in a short letter to Saint Simplician, Saint Ambrose’s successor, and in another longer to Saint Chrysostom. He looked on their glory with a holy envy, and condemned himself as a mercenary and a coward so long as he saw his own crown deferred. His labours, however, were at length recompensed with the happiness of laying down his life for Christ. The ancient calendars rank him among the martyrs, and Fortunatus tells us, that in seeking death he found life, being slain for the faith by a troop of infidel peasants. Usuardus says, they murdered him by a shower of stones, and places his martyrdom in the consulship of Stillico, which happened in 400 or 405. Surius confounds this saint with another of the same name, who lived one hundred years later.

MLA Citation

  • Father Alban Butler. “Saint Vigilius, Bishop of Trent, Martyr”. Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Principal Saints, 1866. CatholicSaints.Info. 25 June 2013. Web. 22 September 2021. <>