St. Eusebius: The Eusebian Coenobium


St. Eusebius of Vercelli needed coordinators who could approach the people, both in the cities and in rural areas, regardless social conditions, in order to proclaim the Gospel and attract them to Christ, thus creating well-organized Christian communities.

Next to the Cathedral, he gathered in community life aspirants to the sacred ministry and future priests under his guidance. Thus began the “Eusebian Coenobium” distinct from the monasteries that had arisen long ago in the East, which had been created by laymen in order to sanctify themselves. It was called “Eusebian Coenobium” because this institution from Vercelli, exclusively restricted to the clergy of any ministerial order, was the first to emerge in the West followed later by others, including the most famous one founded by St. Augustine in Africa.

St. Eusebius was convinced that his Cenobites needed a deep inner life, fueled by personal and communal prayer, the study of the Sacred Scriptures and the experience of fraternal life, given the mission that was to come. Furthermore, the Cenobites should clearly know the doctrine of faith deeply rooted in the mystery of the Unity and Trinity of God.

Eusebius and his Cenobites made the first translation of the four Gospels and Psalms
from Greek to Latin.

The Eusebian Coenobium continued for a long time and became the ground of great saints, from where many bishops left to other cities: Honoratus and Limenius, successors of Eusebius in Vercelli; Gaudentius to Novara; Maximus to Turin; Innocent and Exuperantus to Tortona; Eulogius to Ivrea; Eustasius to Aosta. The Liguria, Emilia and Venice church representatives used to go to the Eusebian Coenobium to ask for their bishops, according to St. Ambrose’s testimony. This makes Eusebius of Vercelli, founder of the Coenobium, one of the most emeritus characters of the Church of Christ.

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