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E00004: Gregory of Tours, in his Life of *Lupicinus and Romanus (brothers and founders of the Jura monasteries, later 5th c.,S00003), tells of their burial-places: Lupicinus in the church of his monastery, Romanus, at his own request, outside the monastery, so that both women and men could access the tomb; here a large church is subsequently built and many miracles occur; all in the Jura (eastern Gaul). From Gregory's Life of the Fathers, written in Latin in Tours (north-west Gaul), 573/594.

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posted on 2020-02-13, 00:00 authored by dlambert
Gregory of Tours, Life of the Fathers, I.6

At the end of his joint Life of Lupicinus and Romanus (for an overview of which, see E00003), Gregory tells of their deaths and chosen places of burial:

6. Post haec autem, cum iam senes profectaeque essent aetatis, Lupicinus abba scilicet et Romanus, frater eius, ait Lupicinus germano suo: "Dic", inquid, "mihi, in quale monasterium vis tibi parari sepulchrum, ut simul quiescamus?" Qui ait: "Non potest fieri, ut ego in monasterio sepulchrum habeam, a quo mulierum accessus arcetur. Nosti enim, quid mihi indigno et non merenti dominus Deus meus gratiam tribuit curationum, multique per inpositionem manus meae ac virtutem crucis dominicae a diversis langoribus sint erepti. Erit autem concursus ad tumulum meum, si ab hac luce migravero. Ideoque rogo, ut eminus a monasterio requiescam". Pro hac vero causa, cum obisset, in decim milibus a monasterio in monte parvulo sepultus est. Super cuius deinceps sepulchrum magnum templum aedificatum est, in quo ingens frequentia populi diebus singulis accurrit. Multae enim virtutes ibi in Dei nomine nunc ostenduntur. Nam et caeci ibi lumen et surdi auditum et paralytici gressum plerumque recipiunt. Lupicinus autem abba obiens, intra monasterii basilicam est sepultus, reliquitque Domino pecuniae creditae multiplicata talenta, id est beatas monachorum congregationes in eius laude devotas.

'6. Later, when Abbot Lupicinus and Romanus were old men advanced in age, Lupicinus said to his brother, "Tell me, in which monastery do you want your burial place to be prepared, so that we may rest together?" Romanus replied, "I do not want to have my tomb in a monastery which women are forbidden to enter. As you know, the Lord has given me grace of bringing cures, although I am unworthy and do not deserve it, and many have been snatched from various illnesses by the imposition of my hands and the power of the Lord's cross. Thus many people will gather at my tomb when I leave the light of this life. That is why I ask to rest far from the monastery." For that reason, when he died he was buried ten miles from the monastery, on a small hill. At length a great church was built over the tomb, and large crowds came there every day. Many miracles are now accomplished there in the name of God: the blind find the light, the deaf their hearing, the paralysed the use of their limbs. Abbot Lupicinus was buried in the basilica of the monastery, and thus left to the Lord greatly multiplied the sums which had been lent to him, this is to say, the blessed congregations of monks devoted to His praise.'

Text: Krusch 1969, 217-218. Translation: James 1991, 10


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Romanus and Lupicinus, brothers and founders of the Jura monasteries, mid 5th c. : S00003

Saint Name in Source

Romanus, Lupicinus

Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Lives



Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Gaul and Frankish kingdoms

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Tours Tours Tours Toronica urbs Prisciniacensim vicus Pressigny Turonorum civitas Ceratensis vicus Céré

Major author/Major anonymous work

Gregory of Tours

Cult activities - Places

Burial site of a saint - tomb/grave

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Healing diseases and disabilities

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Women Ecclesiastics - abbots

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - entire body


Gregory, bishop of Tours from 573 until his death (probably in 594), was the most prolific hagiographer of all Late Antiquity. He wrote four books on the miracles of Martin of Tours, one on those of Julian of Brioude, and two on the miracles of other saints (the Glory of the Martyrs and Glory of the Confessors), as well as a collection of twenty short Lives of sixth-century Gallic saints (the Life of the Fathers). He also included a mass of material on saints in his long and detailed Histories, and produced two independent short works: a Latin version of the Acts of Andrew and a Latin translation of the story of The Seven Sleepers of Ephesus. The Life of the Fathers by Gregory of Tours is different from his other hagiographical works (Miracles of Julian, Miracles of Martin, Glory of the Confessors and Glory of the Martyrs), which all concentrate on posthumous miracles of the saints. The Life of the Fathers, by contrast, describes the exemplary behaviour in life of twenty Gallic saints (for a list of the Lives, see E05870). Gregory himself draws this contrast in the opening words of his preface: 'I had decided to write only about what has been achieved with divine help at the tombs of the blessed martyrs and confessors; but I have recently discovered information about those who have been raised to heaven by the merit of their blessed conduct here below, and I thought that their way of life, which is known to us through reliable sources, could strengthen the Church' (trans. James 1991, 1). In this preface Gregory also explains why he chose to call the book Life of the Fathers, not Lives of the Fathers: because they all lived the same bodily life. The nineteen Lives of men, and the single Life of a woman (Life 19), all relate to holy people of Gaul, the majority living in the mid to later sixth century. Although this agenda is unspoken, there can be little doubt that Gregory wrote these Lives partly to show that holiness, and the miraculous, were not just things of the past, but very much present within the Gaul of his day (a message that he expressed explicitly in his Histories). Almost all the saints he describes were active within one or other of the two dioceses with which Gregory was most familiar (his native Clermont, and Tours, the city of his episcopate), or indeed were his relatives (all bishops - Life 6 is of an uncle, Life 7 of a great-grandfather, and Life 8 of a great-uncle). Although Gregory says in his preface that they all shared one bodily life, in reality his saints fall into one of two distinct categories: holy bishops who are effective leaders of their flocks but only moderately ascetic (Lives 2, 4, 6, 7, 8 and 17), and holy ascetics who have withdrawn from the world and sometimes engage in extreme mortification of the body (Lives 1, 3, 5, 9-16, and 18-20). Gregory's work was unquestionably didactic in purpose - teaching the correct way to lead a good Christian life, and it is notable, for instance, how, in this work written by a bishop, his ascetics accept episcopal correction when necessary (Lives 15.2 and 20.3, in both cases from Gregory himself), and might even delay their death to suit the timetable of a bishop (Life 10.4). Because the focus is on the lives of these holy people, there is much less emphasis on their cult after death than in Gregory's other hagiographical works; however, all the Lives close with an account of the burial of the saint, and in almost all cases with reference to posthumous miracles recorded there (the exceptions are Lives 10, 11 and 20, which have no reference to miracles at the tomb). Gregory probably collected material for the Life of the Fathers (and perhaps wrote individual Lives) over a long period of time. However, from the words of his preface (quoted above) and from other references within the text, it is evident that he assembled his material into the polished work we have today only towards the very end of his life, after he had already written much of his extensive hagiography recording the miracles of saints lying in their graves. Because Gregory's views on saints do not seem to have changed during his writing life, we have not here expended energy in exploring the possible dating of individual lives, merely recording them all as written some time between 573 and 594. For more on the text, and on its dating: James 1991, xiii-xix; Shaw 2015, particularly 117-120.


For an overview of the Life of Romanus and Lupicinus, see E00003. In this, its final chapter, Gregory continues the overall theme of his joint Life (see E00003), praising both men for their saintliness, while stressing the different approaches of the strict and reclusive Lupicinus, and the much more accommodating Romanus. We know from the Life of the Jura Fathers that Romanus and Lupicinus were buried respectively at La Balme and Lauconnus, two of the satellite communities they founded near the original community at Condat. For the passages in the Life of the Jura Fathers on the burial and tomb of Romanus, see E05901, E05904 and E07855, and on the burial of Lupicinus, E05920.


Edition: Krusch, B., Gregorii Turonensis Opera. 2: Miracula et opera minora (Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptores rerum Merovingicarum I.2; 2nd ed.; Hannover: Hahnsche Buchhandlung, 1969). Translation: James, E., Gregory of Tours. Life of the Fathers (Translated Texts for Historians 1; 2nd ed.; Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 1991). de Nie, G., Gregory of Tours, Lives and Miracles (Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library 39; Cambridge MA, 2015). Further reading: Shaw, R., "Chronology, Composition, and Authorial Conception in the Miracula", in: A.C. Murray (ed.), A Companion to Gregory of Tours (Leiden-Boston 2015), 102-140.

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