CLOVIS, KING OF FRANCE
The story of Clovis in HisStory is one of the Lord’s intervening in the affairs of men and it was done through a major miracle. He is still doing miracles to advance His kingdom!
These first quotes are from - “Gregory of Tours (539-594) “History of the Franks” Book 2
This is an interesting part of HisStory; that happened on June 20, 451A.D:
7. And Attila, king of the Huns (434 to 453) went forth from Metz, France (We lived there for four years when Dad was in the Air Force) and when he had crushed many cities of the Gauls he attacked Orleans and strove to take it by the mighty hammering of battering rams. Now at that time the most blessed Annianus was bishop in the city just mentioned, a man of unequaled wisdom and praiseworthy holiness, whose miracles are faithfully remembered among us. And when the people, on being shut in, cried to their bishop, and asked what they were to do, trusting in God he advised all to prostrate themselves in prayer, and with tears to implore the ever present aid of God in their necessities. Then when they prayed as he had directed, the bishop said: "Look from the wall of the city to sec whether God's mercy yet comes to your aid." For he hoped that by God's mercy Ætius (Roman General) was coming. But when they looked from the wall, they saw no one. And he said: "Pray faithfully, for God will free you this day." When they had prayed he said: "Look again." And when they looked they saw no one to bring aid. He said to them a third time: "If you pray faithfully, God comes swiftly." And they besought God's mercy with weeping and loud cries. When this prayer also was finished they looked from the wall a third time at the old man's command, and saw afar off a cloud as it were arising from the earth. When they reported this the bishop said: "It is the aid of the Lord." Meanwhile, when the walls were now trembling from the hammering of the rams and were just about to fall, behold, Ætius came, and Theodore, king of the Goths and Thorismodus his son hastened to the city with their armies, and drove the enemy forth and defeated him. And so the city was freed by the intercession of the blessed bishop, and they put Attila to flight.
Intercession has been happening for a long time!
An interesting tidbit about Clovis’s parents. His father, Childeric was already a chieftain of the Franks.
12: ...Now when these princes were reigning at the same time, the Basina whom we have mentioned above left her husband and came to Childeric. And when he asked anxiously for what reason she had come so far to see him it is said that she answered: " I know your worth," said she, "and that you are very strong, and therefore I have come to live with you. For let me tell you that if I had known of any one more worthy than you in parts beyond the sea I should certainly have sought to live with him." And he was glad and united her to him in marriage. And she conceived and bore a son and called his name Clovis. He was a great and distinguished warrior.
From “The Christians” Volume 4 - A.D. 350 to 565,
To this formidable couple (Chideric and Basina) was born an even more formidable son, whom they named Chlodovech or Clovis in its Latinized form, who was destined to inaugurate a royal dynasty known as the Merovingian, after his grandfather Merovec. Just fifteen when his father died in 481, he would in the following thirty years, turn most of Gaul into a Frankish realm centered on Metz, Orleans, Paris, Soissons and Cologne. Furthermore, his sons and grandsons would extend this realm of Francia until it encompassed almost all of modern France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland and much of Germany as far as the Elbe River. Thus was the foundation of a great modern nation whose name, derived from that of their people, would be France.
Clovis’s own name, too, would be handed on right through to the nineteenth century. For by natural erosion the letter “C” would disappear, Clovis would become Lovis or Louis, the name adopted by seventeen later kings of France. And on an even more fundamental level, some historians maintain, this pagan tribal chief would provide the groundwork of a Christian Europe.
For the province of Gaul (modern day France), when the pagan ranks came bursting through, was a realm already permeated by piety. Urban residents, from upper and middle level aristocrats to the humblest labourer, flocked to their churches. The monastic movement was reaching into the countryside. Day and night the psalms were chanted in the monasteries and cathedral churches.
The Bishop of Rhiems, Remi helped Clovis to see the merit in marrying Clotilde, a princess of Burgandy; who was strong in her Christian faith.
From “Gregory of Tours (539-594) “History of the Franks” Book 2:
30.The queen (Clotilde) did not cease to urge him (Clovis) to recognize the true God and cease worshipping idols. But he could not be influenced in any way to this belief, until at last a war arose with the Alamanni, in which he was driven by necessity to confess what before he had of his free will denied. It came about that as the two armies were fighting fiercely, there was much slaughter, and Clovis's army began to be in danger of destruction. He saw it and raised his eyes to heaven, and with remorse in his heart he burst into tears and cried: "Jesus Christ, whom Clotilda asserts to be the son of the living God, who art said to give aid to those in distress, and to bestow victory on those who hope in thee, I beseech the glory of thy aid, with the vow that if thou wilt grant me victory over these enemies, and I shall know that power which she says that people dedicated in thy name have had from thee, I will believe in thee and be baptized in thy name. For I have invoked my own gods but, as I find, they have withdrawn from aiding me; and therefore I believe that they possess no power, since they do not help those who obey them. I now call upon thee, I desire to believe thee only let me be rescued from my adversaries." And when he said thus, the Alamanni turned their backs, and began to disperse in flight. And when they saw that their king was killed, they submitted to the dominion of Clovis, saying: "Let not the people perish further, we pray; we are yours now." And he stopped the fighting, and after encouraging his men, retired in peace and told the queen how he had had merit to win the victory by calling on the name of Christ. This happened in the fifteenth year of his reign.
31.Then the queen asked saint Remi, bishop of Rheims, to summon Clovis secretly, urging him to introduce the king to the word of salvation. And the bishop sent for him secretly and began to urge him to believe in the true God, maker of heaven and earth, and to cease worshipping idols, which could help neither themselves nor any one else. But the king said: "I gladly hear you, most holy father; but there remains one thing: the people who follow me cannot endure to abandon their gods; but I shall go and speak to them according to your words." He met with his followers, but before he could speak the power of God anticipated him, and all the people cried out together:/ "O pious king, we reject our mortal gods, and we are ready to follow the immortal God whom Remi preaches." This was reported to the bishop, who was greatly rejoiced, and bade them get ready the baptismal font. The squares were shaded with tapestried canopies, the churches adorned with white curtains, the baptistery set in order, the aroma of incense spread, candles of fragrant odor burned brightly, and the whole shrine of the baptistery was filled with a divine fragrance: and the Lord gave such grace to those who stood by that they thought they were placed amid the odors of paradise. And the king was the first to ask to be baptized by the bishop. And when he entered to be baptized, the saint of God began with ready speech: "Gently bend your neck, Sigamber; worship what you burned; burn what you worshipped." For there is extant a book of his life which tells that he raised a dead man. And so the king confessed all-powerful God in the Trinity, and was baptized in the name of the Father, Son and holy Spirit, and was anointed with the holy ointment with the sign of the cross of Christ. And of his army more than 3000 were baptized.
From “The Christians” Volume 4 - A.D. 350 to 565:
It was not until the king was hard pressed by dangerous neighbours, the Alamanni of Alsace, that his wife’s prayerful efforts took tangible effect. Toward the end of the 5th century, he met them in pitched battle on the Rhine. There was a terrible slaughter, writes Gregory of Tours, nearly a hundred years later in his “History of the Franks”, and Clovis’s army seemed about to annihilated. In desperation, he raised his eyes to heaven and appealed to “Jesus Christ, you who Clotilide (his wife) maintains to be the Son of the Living God.”
Gregory, a bishop himself, recounts in some detail the deal Clovis made with God: “If you will give me victory over my enemies, and if I may have evidence of that miraculous power which people dedicated in your name say they have experienced, then I will believe in you and I will be baptized in your name.” At that very moment, it was said, the Alamanni leader was killed, and with their chief dead, his warriors capitulated.
So Clovis kept his bargain, and the ceremony in Rhiems Cathedral was a magnificent one.
In 496, “Standing ready for Christian baptism were King Clovis himself, his son… and some three thousand warriors.”
I am fascinated with reading of our HisStory and how the nations came to be. France becomes a strong Christian nation, and “this pagan tribal chief would provide the groundwork of a Christian Europe”. I remember years ago when I was praying for the nations and as it came time to pray for France; there was a correction from the Lord. I, (note the I); was thinking that in praying for France, the Lord would use me to come against the excesses of the Catholic Church in France. (You can see my own bias). As I started to pray and was about to tear down; the Lord corrected me and stated there is still a blessing on France due to their support for His Kingdom years ago. Now, I am able to see some of the reasons for his continued blessing. They started strong for Jesus. Clovis and his descendants helped Christianity to grow and flourish. Our Christian heritage today owes a debt to saints of this land. This is an example of:
NIV Exodus 20:6 - “but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.”
We have many ancestors who have served the Lord and we are reaping the rewards of their faithfulness. Let us continue to be faithful and pass on His Blessings!
Lord, let your Kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Amen