Baldacchino Bees, by Bernini

Bernini’s Baldacchino Bees

Pope Benedict XVI, in his book Church Fathers: From Clement of Rome to Augustine, touches on the life and teaching of Saint Maximus of Turin (380-465AD). Discussing this Saint’s emphasis on the duties of the Bishop, Pope Benedict writes,

And in Sermon 89, the Bishop of Turin describes his tasks to the faithful, making a unique comparison between the Bishop’s function and the function of bees: “Like the bee,” he said, Bishops “observe bodily chastity, they offer the food of heavenly life using the sting of the law. They are pure in sanctifying, gentle in restoring, and severe in punishing.” With these words, Saint Maximus described the task of the Bishop in his time.