Evreux and Saint Taurinus

Page Two: Saint Taurinus and His Legend

So this is Saint Taurinus (a.k.a. Taurin) first bishop of Evreux.


His legend has inacurracies.  The Catholic Encyclopedia tells his story like this:

A legend purporting to date from a certain Deodatus, who is said to have been converted and then later ordained by St. Taurinus, makes the latter first Bishop of Evreux. According to this legend St. Taurinus was baptized at Rome by St. Clement and sent into Gaul as a companion to St. Denis. According to Mgr. Duchesne this legend arose about the ninth century, when Abbot Hilduin of Saint-Denis was intent on proving the identity of Dionysius the Areopagite with Dionysius (Denis), first Bishop of Paris. It is certain that in the time of Charles the Bald (ninth century) St. Taurinus was held in high esteem at Evreux; still earlier, Bishop Landulphus, who seems to have occupied the See of Evreux at the beginning of the seventh century, had built the basilica in his honour.

So we have some confusion in terms of his missionary companion St. Denis being Dionysius the Areopagite who was a disciple of Paul of Tarsus, getting several hundred years confused.  St. Denis was the first bishop of Paris, and was brutally tortured and martyred, along with two companions, about 275 A.D.  So were he and Taurinus sent to Gaul together?  That is Taurinus' legend, and it would be credible if Taurinus was in Evreux during the third century, but the best that scholars can do is place him in Evreux at the start of the fifth century.   

OK, enough of that, we will go along with the ninth-century myth-maker and tell the story as he tells it, except for mixing the two Dionysius's together, that particular mixup is a bit too much for me.

Miracles are what make Taurinus interesting: he raised people from the dead and converted many through his miracle-laced preaching.  A source cited in the Wikipedia article on Saint Taurinus tells the story in some detail!  It is "The Ecclesiastical History of England and Normandy" by Orderius Vitalis (lived 1075-1143?), translated by Thomas Forester, published in London in 1853, pages 132-137.

The Vitalis account contains the following wondrous stories about his life, which I made into what I believe to be an impressive Resumé for his application for sainthood:

‍‍RESUMÉ: Saint Taurinus

Bishop of Evreux, Normandy, France, beginning of the Fifth Century

Professional Objective

Education & Training




Skills & Abilities








. . .

. . .



. . .

. . .

The primary display about the life of Saint Taurinus in the museum is a golden, decorated box with scenes from his life and death.  The scene is the top right of the left photo is blown up in the right photo and shows him addressing his subjects as he rises in his casket being lowered into his grave, an angel appears to be reaching for him from above:


The narrower ends of this gilded box show Saint Peter on one end, and an angel on the other:


Below are some panels with the holding his Bishops' Staff and wearing his Bishops' Mitre, and on the right note the fleeing demons to the right of his staff as he is preaching:


The smiling angel on the left below is perhaps raising the dead woman back to life, and a woman with a baby is being blessed?  Then on the right our Saint is preaching to a multitude of apparent unbelievers who are undressed for baptism?  In early times baptismal subjects were naked and then clothed in white robes, for a time, to mark their new life.


To the left, below, our Saint's baptism; and to the right? Is he on his knees receiving a blessing (the two raised fingers) from the Bishop of Paris at his ordination as Bishop?


On the museum wall behind this display of piety stands this piece taken from the "Temple of Love" at Navarre (Spain).  Two cherubs carrying, or competing for the privilege of carrying, a palm frond?  Interesting, but unexplained.

Are you now enthused and ready to visit more of Evreux?  OK. let's go to the third page.

Go to Third Evreux Page: The Cathedral

Go to Fourth Evreux Page: Evreux City

Go to Fifth Evreux Page: Walk in Saint Michel neighborhood

Go to Sixth Evreux Page: The Church of Saint Taurinus

Go Back to First Evreux Page: Orientation

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