Saint Aubert's skull at the Saint-Gervais Basilica
|Venerated in||Roman Catholic Church|
Orthodox Catholic Church
|Major shrine||Church of S Gervais in Avranches|
Aubert lived in France during the reign of Childebert III (695-711) and died about 720. He was born of a noble family from Genetas, and received an extensive education. When the See of Avranches became vacant, Aubert, known for his wisdom and piety, was chosen bishop.
In 708 Aubert had a vision in which the Archangel Michael instructed him to build an oratory on the rocky tidal island at the mouth of the Couesnon. Aubert did not pay attention to this vision at first, doubting it was a true vision. The archangel appeared a second time, but still Aubert hesitated, less this be a demonic manifestation. At last in exasperation Michael appeared to him again, this time poking him in his head and ordered him to complete the task. Where the archangel touched him, Aubert was left with a hole in his skull. After this the oratory was built. It was dedicated on 16 October 709 Here he at first established canons; then the Benedictines. Aubert is reputed to have been buried at the oratory.
The relic of Aubert's skull, complete with hole where the archangel's finger pierced it, can still be seen at the Saint-Gervais Basilica in Avranches. It is more generally believed nowadays that the skull is in fact a prehistoric relic showing evidence of trepanation. He is regarded as a saint in the Roman Catholic Church, with a feast day of 10 September.
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