Saint Maximus (venerated in the Christian West as a Church Father) is the first known Christian bishop of Turin. Our knowledge of his life is very fragmentary. One major historical source is the Catalogue of Illustrious men, written by Gennadius the Presbyter: this work mentions that Maximus died (moruit) around A.D. 423. Other sources mention one "Maximus episcopus Taurinensis" at two local councils (Milan A.D. 451 and Rome A.D. 465). Some historians have argued the existence of two early bishops of Turin, both named Maximus. Others tend to see an error in the witness of Gennadius, reading that Maximus "flourished" (floruit) around A.D. 423. If we accept the words of Gennadius at face value, it is likely that Maximus (or in any case the first bishop with this name) summoned the Council of Turin in the year 398.

The veneration of Saint Maximus has always been present in Turin (though not always highly emphasized), and his memory is linked to the most ancient churches and places of worship of the town. According to the local tradition, his relics were hidden, to protect them from barbarians (or perhaps from the iconoclasts, active in Turin at the beginning of the 9th century); some little fragments of relics attributed to him were discovered in the 17th century.

The feast day of Saint Maximus is on 25 June (7 July new style), the day after the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist, for whom Saint Maximus had a particular veneration, and whom he elected as patron saint of Turin.

back to the previous page