Saints of the Day – Trophimus of Arles

Saint Trophimus of ArlesArticle

Died c.280. Trophimus, the first bishop of Arles whose cathedral of Saint Trophime now honors his memory, is often confused with the Trophimus mentioned by Saint Paul. The bishop Trophimus was sent from Rome to Gaul about 240-260. Saint Gregory of Tours (died 594) testifies that Trophimus was one of several bishops associated with Saint Sernin of Toulouse, who founded the famous sees of France.

The cultus of Trophimus is ancient. Writing to the bishops of Gaul in 417, Pope Zozimus mentioned him as being sent by the papacy to preach and found the church of Arles. His church contains a 3rd century crypt, which was discovered in 1835.

Paul’s disciple was a gentile convert from Ephesus who accompanied the Apostle on his third missionary journey (Acts 20:4) and to Jerusalem, where his presence (as a gentile) in the Temple provoked violent protests against Paul that almost resulted in his death (Acts 21:26-36). Paul mentions him again in 2 Timothy 4:20, saying he “left Trophimus ill at Miletus.”

Since the Synod of Arles in 452, the church of Provence has identified their first bishop with Saint Paul’s disciple, but this is clearly an impossibility. In essence, both are honored today because of the confusion (Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Farmer).

In art, Saint Trophimus is a bishop carrying his eyes. The picture may show (1) his eyes being put out, (2) him with lions, or (3) surrounded by the Apostles. (He was identified with the Trophimus who was a disciple of Saint Paul.) He is the patron of children and invoked against drought (Roeder).

MLA Citation

  • Katherine I Rabenstein. Saints of the Day, 1998. CatholicSaints.Info. 21 August 2020. Web. 5 December 2020. <>