VATICAN - Cromatius was a wise teacher and a zealous bishop. His first and principal commitment was to listen to the Word, in order to be able to announce it to others: in his teaching he always starts from the Word of God to then return to it again.
Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) - “Cromatius was a wise teacher and a zealous bishop. His first and principal commitment was to listen to the Word, to be able to announce it to others: in his teaching he always starts from the Word of God to then return to it again… A zealous shepherd, Cromatius knows how to speak to his people with language which is fresh, vivid and incisive. Although versed in perfect Latin ‘cursus’, he preferred to use popular language, rich in images easily comprehensible”. It was to Bishop Cromatius of Aquileia, elected bishop of that city in the year 388, that the the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI dedicated catechesis during the general Wednesday audience on 5 December.
Cromatius was born in Aquileia about the year 345. As a young boy he learned from his family to know and to love Christ. He was ordained a deacon, then a priest and later the Bishop of that same Church. In September 381 about 35 Bishops from the coasts of Africa, the valley of Rodano and the Decima region gathered in Aquileia for a Synod which intended to eradicate from the West, the last remnants of Arianism. As an expert of the Valerianus Bishop of Aquileia, the priest Cromatius was also present at that Council. “Having received episcopal consecration from Bishop Ambrose - the Holy Father recalled -, Cromatius dedicated himself with courage and energy to the vast task due to the size of the territory entrusted to his pastoral: the ecclesiastic jurisdiction of Aquileia, extended in fact from the territories of what are today Switzerland, Bavaria, Austria and Slovenia, as far as Hungary”. Most probably Cromatius died in exile at Grado in 407 while trying to escape barbarian incursions.
Known and esteemed in the Church of his time, Cromatius occupied the prestigious see of Aquileia: the fourth most important town of the Italian peninsula and the nones of the Roman Empire. Invasions of Goths and Huns “seriously undermined the transmission of the works of the Fathers preserved in the Bishop's Library, filled with manuscripts. The writings of Cromatius were also mislaid” the Holy Father recalled, underlining that “the rediscovery of a good part of the works of Cromatius is due to fortunate and eventful vicissitudes, which only in recent years made it possible to rebuild quite a consistent corpus of writings: more than forty sermons, of which about ten are fragmentary, and over sixty treatises commenting the Gospel of Mathew”.
Among the themes especially dear to Cromatius, Benedict XVI cited “first of all the Trinitarian mystery, which he contemplates as it reveals itself in the history of salvation. Then the theme of the Holy Spirit: Cromatius continually reminds the faithful of the presence and the working of the third Person of the Most Holy Trinity in the life of the Church. But with particular insistence the holy Bishop returns to the mystery of Christ. The incarnate Word is true God and true man: He assumed humanity totally, in order to give it the gift of His own divinity. These truths, affirmed with insistence also in an anti-Arian function, led fifty years later to the definition made by the Council of Calcedonia”.
Cromatius speaks often of the Blessed Virgin Mary above all because of her relation with the human nature of the Son of God: “his mariological doctrine is terse and precise. To him we owe certain evocative descriptions of the Most Holy Virgin”. Often Our Lady is put in relation with the Church: both in fact are "virgin" and "mother". In his comment on the Gospel of Matthew, Cromatius dwells on some recurrent points: “the Church is one, born of the blood of Christ; a precious mantle woven by the Holy Spirit; the Church is where it is announced that Christ was born of the Virgin, where brotherhood and harmony flourish. An image of which Cromatius was particularly fond was that of a boat on the stormy sea”.
The Holy Father concluded his catechesis recalling that although he lived in a turbulent epoch, Cromatius succeeded in “being close to the faithful to comfort them and open their souls to trust God who never abandons his children”. (S.L.) (Agenzia Fides 6/12/2007 - righe 47, parole 654
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