Dictionary of Christian Biography and Literature to the End of the Sixth Century/Trophimus, 1st bishop of Arles

Trophimus (3), St., 1st bp. of Arles, a subject of eager controversy. According to the tradition of the see, he was the disciple of St. Paul mentioned in Acts and II. Tim., and was sent forth as a missionary to Arles by St. Peter or St. Paul, or both. As early as 417 pope Zosimus, in a letter to the bishops of Gaul, speaking of the city of Arles, says, "Ad quam primum ex hâc sede Trophimus summus antistes, ex cujus fonte totae Galliae fidei rivulos acceperunt, directus est" (Ep. 1, Patr. Lat. xx. 645); and in the same pope's letter to Hilary, bp. of Narbonne, Trophimus was "quondam ad Arelatensem urbem ab apostolica sede transmissus" (Ep. 6, Patr. Lat. ib, 667) Again, the 19 bishops of the province of Arles, writing to pope Leo about the middle of 5th cent., assert that it is known to all Gaul and to the church of Rome "prima intra Gallias Arelatensis civitas missum a beatissimo Petro apostolo sanctum Trophimum habere meruit sacerdotem, et exinde aliis paulatim regionibus Galliarum bonum fidei et religionis infusum" (Patr. Lat. liv. 1880), though it should be mentioned that the genuineness of this letter has been questioned. So, too, Ado, in his Martyrologium (Dec. 29) and Chronicon. On the other hand, Gregory of Tours, apparently quoting from the Acta of St. Saturninus, says in effect that Trophimus arrived in Gaul with the first bishops of Tours, Paris, and other cities in the consulate of Decius and Gratus, i.e. after the middle of 3rd cent.; and in a very old catalogue of the archbishops published by Mabillon, Vetera Analecta, p. 220 (Paris, 1723), he is preceded by Dionysius, as though he were the second bishop. The question, to which some bitterness has been imparted as being closely connected with the hotly resented claims of the early archbps. of Arles to a sort of primacy in Gaul, is elaborately discussed by Trichaud (Hist. de l’Eglise d’Arles, i. 21–143). The cathedral church at Arles was dedicated to Trophimus, with St. Stephen (Gall. Christ. i. 519).