Statue of Germanus, polychromed wood, Paris, Saint-Germain l'Auxerrois (15th century)

orn around 378 in the region of Auxerre, Germanus belonged to an aristocratic family of Gallo-Roman landowners active in the governing of the city. At first educated in the Liberal Arts in Gaul, he completed his legal training at Rome. He became a lawyer there and married before being sent back to Gaul as an administrator.

While the functions that he exercised remain unclear, his reputation in his native city seems to have been distinguished. He is in charge at the moment of the Germanic incursions into the western provinces.

Not long before his death, the bishop of Auxerre, Amator, inspired by God, saw in Germanus his successor. Urged on by the bishop, Germanus received the tonsure in spite of his reluctance to do so.
Amator dying shortly afterward, Germanus is elected unanimously to the episcopal seat. Once bishop, Germanus, converted to his new mission, adopts the rigor of asceticism , and turns to the service of the Church and the faithful.
He obtains as well the reduction of taxes for his city from the Prefect of Gaul. He intervenes equally before the empress Galla Placidia in favour of the rebelling Armoricans. Germanus dies in 448 during this embassy. His body is transported to Auxerre where he is buried in the oratory that he had built in honour of Saint Maurice of Agaune.
Carolingian representation of a bishop (crypt of Saint-Germain)