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St. Salvius Returns from Paradise to Earth

Hugh O’Reilly
In his commentaries on the Apocalypse (21:16), the great Jesuit exegetist Fr. Cornelius a Lapide describes the Celestial Jerusalem and speaks about a Bishop of the 6th century who saw it, described it, and returned to earth.

hermit and abbot St Salvius

The monk Salvius was taken
to the Celestial Paradise by Angels

He first tells about St. Salvius, a monk and hermit, who was taken up to the Heavenly Jerusalem after his death. After returning to life, the hermit exclaimed: “Listen, dear ones, and understand that what you look upon in this world is as nothing, as the Prophet Solomon sang: ‘All is vanity.’ Happy is he who lives in this world so as to deserve to see the glory of God in Heaven.”

Then those present asked him where he had gone and what he had seen. He replied:

“Four days ago when my cell quivered and you saw me lifeless, I was seized by two Angels and carried up to the highest Heavens, so that I saw under my feet not only this filthy world but the sun also, and the moon, the clouds and the stars.

“Then I was taken through a door brighter than the light into a dwelling in which all the pavement was like shining gold and silver, a brightness and spaciousness beyond description, and such a multitude of both sexes was there that the end of the length and breadth of the throng could not be seen.

“A way was made for me through the multitude by the Angels who guided me, and we came to a place which I had already seen from a distance; a cloud hung over it brighter than any light, in which no sun or moon or star could be seen, but, excelling all these, it gleamed more brightly than the light of nature.”

“Then I, a sinner, was humbly greeted by men who were there in priestly and civil dress who, my guides told me, were Martyrs and Confessors whom we venerate here with the greatest reverence. I stood where I was bidden and a very sweet odor enveloped me so that I was refreshed by this sweetness, and up to the present I have wanted no food or drink.

bishop of Albi

‘Let him return to life & become Bishop of Albi’

He continued on to speak about the sounds and perfumes of that Heavenly Jerusalem, of the great multitude and, finally, of the voice that spoke:

“A voice came from the cloud, like the voice of many waters. And I heard the voice saying: ‘Let him return to the world since he is necessary to Our Church.’

“It was only the voice that was heard, for it could not be seen Who spoke. And I prostrated myself on the pavement and said in tears:

“‘Alas, alas, Lord, why didst Thou show me this if I was to be deprived of it. Behold today Thou wilt cast me out from Thy face to return to the sinful world and never be able to return here again. I beseech Thee, Lord, not to take Thy mercy from me but permit me to stay here and not fall thither and perish.’

“And the voice which spoke to me said: ‘Go in peace, for I am your keeper until I bring you back to this place.’

Then I was left alone by my companions and I departed weeping by the gate through which I entered and returned here.”

He was made Bishop of Albi in 574 and continued on to live a celestial and angelic life and work many miracles.

All this was reported by St. Gregory of Tours in his VII Historia Francorum, chap. I. St. Gregory swore that he had received this narration directly from the lips of St. Salvius. He also reported the passing of St. Salvius to the Lord in the year 586.

His memory is celebrated by the Church on September 10.


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Adopted from Cornelius a Lapide,
Commentaria in Apocalypsim, 21:16
Posted January 13, 2024

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