Saint of the Day August 2 | St. Eusebius of Vercelli, Bishop

Prayer to St. Eusebius of Vercelli

Lord God, help us to imitate the constancy of St. Eusebius, Your Bishop, in professing the Divinity of Your Son. In this way by remaining firm in the Faith he taught, we may be enabled to share in the life of Your Son. Amen.

St. Eusebius of Vercelli, Bishop

Born of a noble Sardinian family, St. Eusebius was taken to Rome by his mother while still an infant. There he received a Christian education and was ordained a lector by Pope St. Sylvester. Later, he went to Vercelli in Piedmont where he joined the clergy of that Church and was made Bishop about 340. Eusebius was the first Bishop in the Western Church to unite the clerical with the monastic life, for he lived in community with his clergy, anticipating the practice of the regular canons; at the same time, he also succeeded in forming a renowned clergy. 

St. Eusebius was a strenuous upholder of the Orthodox Faith against the inroads of Arianism. At the heavily pro-Arian Council of Milan in 355 he positively refused to subscribe to the condemnation of St. Athanasius, the greatest champion of the Faith of the time. As a consequence, the Emperor banished him to Scythopolis in Palestine, where he had to undergo great suffering for the Faith at the hands of the Arians, he was next removed to Cappadocia and some time later to Upper Thebes in Egypt. 

After his release upon the death of the Emperor Constantius in 361, this Saint stopped at Alexandria where he met St. Athansius. He also traveled through other parts of the East and strengthened many in the Faith. On returning to Vercelli, he encountered St. Hilary of Poitiers who like himself had been one of the exiled Bishops, and both of them exerted their zeal against Auxentius, the Arian Bishop of Milan. St. Eusebius died in peace at Vercelli in 371.