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Death: 586


Praetextatus, bishop of Rouen, France, was exiled from his see due to the complex political intrigues besetting the Frankish monarchy. Among the players in this feud was Fredegund, mistress of King Chilperic, a murderous woman responsible for the deaths of several members of the royal family. Fredegund disdained Praetextatus, and opposed his return from exile, but an episcopal council overruled her objections and reinstated him at Rouen. Upon encountering Praetextatus, Fredegund threatened him with the comment, “The time is coming when you shall revisit the place of your exile.” Praetextatus answered her, “I was a bishop always, whether in exile or out of exile, and a bishop I shall remain; but as for you, you shall not always enjoy your crown.” He then urged her to repent of her crimes and return to God. This call to conversion fell on deaf ears. Shortly after midnight on Easter morning of 586, as Praetextatus was attending the office of Matins in the cathedral, an assassin acting on the queen’s orders stabbed him. The wounded bishop managed to drag himself to the altar and receive Viaticum before dying.


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