Nicetius, of Auvergne, France, had been serving as abbot of a monastery in Limoges when he was nominated by the Frankish King Theodoric I to become bishop of Trier, Germany. While journeying to Trier to be consecrated, Nicetius did not hesitate to condemn the royal officials accompanying him when one evening these men released their horses into the wheat fields of the local peasants, ruining their crops. In response to Nicetius’ threat to excommunicate the perpetrators, the officers laughed at him, but he continued: “The king has drawn me, a poor abbot, from my quiet cloister, to set me over this people, and by God’s grace I will do my duty by them and protect them from wrong and robbery.” Nicetius then went after the horses himself to drive them out of the peasants’ fields. As bishop of Trier, Nicetius manifested great apostolic courage in excommunicating those who entered into incestuous marriages and in denouncing from the pulpit public officials guilty of grave evils. For a time he suffered banishment for condemning the crimes of King Clotaire I.
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By Justin Soutar
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