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Saint Justus of Lyon

Saint Justus (Iustus in Latin, meaning One Who Helps) was the Bishop of Lyon and well known and respected desert monk).

In the year 35 AD, Saint Justus was consecrated as the 13th Bishop of Lyon, the capital of Gaul. In 381 AD Saint Justus particiated and assisted at the Council of Aquileia, a key council that rejected Arianism and condemned Palladius and Secondien. He became close friends with Saint Ambrose of Milan here and several letters between the two have survived the many years. Soon after the council a moment would come that would forever change Saint Justus's life.

A mentally insane man, in a violent fit, attacked and killed several townspeople in the streets of Lyon with a sword. A large crowd attempted to restrain the man but he managed to escape the crowd to take refuge in the church. Saint Justus maintained the right of Sanctuary for the man in the Church, but agreed to hand the man over when the magistrate assured Saint Justus that the man would be handled fairly and according to the law. The man barely made outside the door of the church before the crowd leapt on him and killed him in the streets. The moment forever changed Saint Justus as he believed he was now unworthy to lead the Christians of Lyon. Resolving to live the rest of his life as penance, Saint Justus resigned his See and departed from Marseilles on a ship bound for Egypt with the cathedral lector, Saint Viator of Lyons.

In Egypt the two men joined a community of monks south of Alexandria in the Libyan desert at a place known as Scetes. Saint Macarius of Egypt (or Saint Macarius the Elder), a disciple of Saint Anthony, led the group. Saint Justus led the rest of his life here in solitude following the strict asceticism of the community until he died in 389 AD. Both the body of Saint Justus and the body of Saint Viator were repatriated by the new Bishop of Lyons and interred them in the Basilica of the Maccabees (which was soon renamed to Saint-Just Basilica). The basilica was destroyed years later and a new church, the Church of Saint-Just was rebuilt on it's site. The town that grew around the basilica is now an arrondissement of Lyon, specifically the 5th arrondissement of Lyon known as Saint-Just.

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