c. 496 | Tolbiac

Clovis Converts to Christ

Jesus comes to the aid of the Franks.

Queen Clotild continued to pray that her husband might recognize the true God and give up his idol worship. Nothing could persuade him to accept Christianity.

Finally war broke out against the Alamanni, and in this conflict he was forced by necessity to accept what he had refused of his own free will. It so turned out that when the two armies met on the battlefield, there was great slaughter and the troops of Clovis were rapidly being annihilated. He raised his eyes to heaven when he saw this, felt compunction in his heart, and was moved to tears. “Jesus Christ,” he said, “you who Clotild maintains to be the son of the living God, you who deign to give help to those in travail and victory to those who trust in you—in faith, I beg the glory of your help. If you will give me victory over my enemies, and if I may have evidence of that miraculous power which the people dedicated to your name say that they have experienced, then I will believe in you and I will be baptized in your name. I have called upon my own gods, but, as I see only too clearly, they have no intention of helping me. I therefore cannot believe that they possess any power, for they do not come to the assistance of those who trust in them. I now call upon you. I want to believe in you, but I must first be saved from my enemies.” Even as he said this, the Alamanni turned their backs and began to run away. As soon as they saw that their king was killed, they submitted to Clovis. “We beg you,” they said, “to put an end to this slaughter. We are prepared to obey you.” Clovis stopped the war. He made a speech in which he called for peace. Then he went home. He told the Queen how he had won a victory by calling on the name of Christ. This happened in the fifteenth year of his reign.

About This Text

Gregory of Tours, from his History of the Franks, Book I.