St. Honoratus was born in 350, and was the Archbishop of Arles. The place of his birth is not known for sure, but it is believed that he was born north of Gaul. He belonged to an illustrious pagan family. He converted to Christianity with his brother Venantius. He set out with his brother from Marseilles about 368, under the guidance of a holy person named Caprasius. They set out to visit the holy places of Palestine, Syria and Egypt. With the death of Venantius occurring suddenly at Methone, Achaia, it prevented the pious travelers from going any further. They returned to Gaul through Italy, and after having stopped at Rome, Honoratus went on into Provence. With the encouragement of the Bishop of Frejus, he took up his home in the wild Lerins Island, today called the “Ile of St. Honorat”, with the intention of living there in solitude.
It wasn’t long and disciples soon gathered around him, including Lupus of Troyes, Eucherius of Lyon, and Hilary of Arles. It was here that they founded the Monastery of Lerins, which during the fifth and sixth centuries was the beginning of many illustrious Bishops and remarkable Ecclesiastical writers.
St. Honoratus’s reputation for sanctity throughout the southeastern portion of Gaul was so great, that after the assassination of the Archbishop of Arles, he was summoned from his solitude to succeed him. The Diocese had been greatly disturbed by Arian and Manichaean beliefs. He not only was successful in re-establishing order and orthodoxy, but was also able to direct from a distance, the monks of Lerins. He later died in the arms of Hilary, one of his disciples and most likely a relative, who was to succeed him in the See of Arles. His writings were not preserved, nor was the rule which he gave to the monks at the Monastery at Lerins.
Practical Take Away
St. Honoratus was a humble man, who set out to visit the holy places of Palestine, Syria and Egypt with his brother Venantius. His brother died early into the trip, so he could go no further. Honoratus returned to Gaul, and established a Monastery at Lerins. He chose to live a life of solitude, but after the assassination of the Archbishop of Arles, he was summoned to fulfill that spot. As Archbishop of Arles, he restored order after much disruption from Arian and Manichaean beliefs.