Saints of the Day – Maximus of Riez

illustration of Saint Maximus, Bishop, from 'Pictorial Lives of the Saints'Article

Born at Decomer (Châteauredon near Digne), Provence, France; died 460. Saint Maximus was baptized in infancy and raised in a Christian home, where he lived a reclusive life at home in order to mortify his senses and train his will. Finally he decided to enter religious life in the community of Lérins, which was then under the direction of its founder, Saint Honoratus.

When Honoratus was consecrated archbishop of Arles in 426, Maximus was chosen to be the second abbot of Lérins to succeed its founder. Saint Sidonius records that the monastery acquired a new luster because the prudent conduct and bright example of Saint Maximus were such that the monks did not mind the severities of the rule; they obeyed him cheerfully and quickly.

Maximus was also favored with the gift of working miracles which supplemented his reputation for great sanctity. So many came to consult him that he eventually had to hide in a forest to escape those seeking to make him bishop of Fréjus. Later he was promoted to the see of Riez in Provence and much against his will, in 434, received the episcopal consecration from Saint Hilary. (He had fled to the coast of Italy in an attempt to shun the dignity.) He was one of the most prominent prelates of the church of Gaul in his time. Throughout his episcopacy, he continued to wear his hair shirt and habit, and observe the monastic rule as far as it was compatible with his episcopal functions.

Among the sermons wrongly attributed to Eusebius Emisenus are several now ascribed to Saint Maximus. He attended the councils of Riez in 439, Orange I in 441, and Arles in 454. His body now rests in the cathedral of Riez, which is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin and Saint Maximus (Attwater 2, Benedictines, Coulson, Husenbeth).

MLA Citation

  • Katherine I Rabenstein. Saints of the Day, 1998. CatholicSaints.Info. 19 August 2020. Web. 27 November 2020. <>