Saints of the Day – Epiphanius of Pavia, Bishop

bas-relief of Saint Epiphanius; date unknown, artist unknown; detail of a tympanum at the main, north-west door of the Basilica of Saint Godehard, Hildesheim, Germany; photographed on 3 October 2011 by Hildesia; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsArticle

Born in Pavia, Italy, 439; died in Burgundy, France, in 497. Saint Epiphanius, popularly called the “glory of Italy” and “light of bishops,” was elected bishop of Pavia in 467. He had a reputation for sanctity, charity to the poor, and working miracles, which put him in good standing with the Roman emperors as well as Kings Odoacer and Theodoric. His eloquence sometimes moved seemingly immovable forces to act justly. Epiphanius served as ambassador to Emperor Anthemius and King Euric at Toulouse. During his episcopate, Odoacer destroyed Pavia and the bishop rebuilt it. In order to ransom some of his flock who were held captive by Kings Gondebald and Godegisile, he travelled to Burgundy and there contracted a fever that caused is death at age 58. His relics were translated to Hildesheim in Lower Saxony in 963, where they may lie in a silver coffin near the high altar. His successor at Pavia, Saint Ennodius, wrote a panegyric about Epiphanius in verse (Attwater2, Benedictines, Coulson, Encyclopedia, Husenbeth). Although the image does not seem to match the story, in art, Epiphanius is supposed to be portrayed as a bishop going to his martyrdom with three maidens: Luminosa, Speciosa, and Liberata (Roeder).

MLA Citation

  • Katherine I Rabenstein. Saints of the Day, 1998. CatholicSaints.Info. 2 October 2021. Web. 16 October 2021. <>