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Vigilantius

b. c.370. Gallo-Roman opponent of excessive asceticism. Born in Calagurris, Aquitaine (Cazères), and brought up in an inn, he managed the estates of Sulpicius Severus,* acquired a considerable literary culture, and was ordained presbyter at Barcelona (395). He traveled in the East, but was repelled by the extreme asceticism there. Meeting Jerome* at Bethlehem, he returned to Gaul after a quarrel with him and published an attack on Jerome's asceticism and intolerance, labeling him an Origenist.* He declared that honor paid at martyrs' tombs was excessive, that hermit life was cowardice, and that presbyters should be married before ordination. Jerome replied in Contra Vigilantium (406), a work full of violent invective, from which most of our knowledge of Vigilantius comes. He nicknamed him “Dormitantius” (i.e., “Dormant” instead of “Vigilant”) for his rejection of vigils.*