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E00673: Anonymous Latin Life of *Lupus (bishop of Troyes, ob. 479, S00418). Probably written at Troyes (north-east Gaul) in the 6th century. Presents Lupus as an ideal bishop and a worker of healing miracles.

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posted on 2015-09-01, 00:00 authored by dlambert
Life of Lupus, Bishop of Troyes (Vita Lupi episcopi Trecensis, BHL 5087, CPL 989)


§§ 1-2: Lupus is born in the urbs Leucorum (Toul, north-eastern Gaul). At school he distinguishes himself by his eloquence. He marries Pimeniola, the sister of Hilary, the later bishop of Arles. After seven years of marriage they convert to asceticism and become celibate. Lupus travels to the monastery of Lérins and becomes a monk there.

§ 3: While on a visit back to northern Gaul to dispose of his property, Lupus is chosen by the people of Troyes (Tricassina) as their bishop.

§ 4: Lupus accompanies *Germanus of Auxerre (S00455) on his mission to Britain to combat Pelagianism.

§ 5: During the invasion of Gaul by Attila the Hun, Lupus, through his prayers, prevents the Huns from sacking Troyes. Attila is so impressed with Lupus' holiness that he makes him accompany the retreating Hun army to the Rhine to ensure God's protection.

§ 6: Lupus returns to the hillfort of Latisco (Mont-Lassois), to which he had evacuated his people, but then decides to go to Mâcon (Matisco). On the way, he heals a paralysed woman at Alise-Saint-Reine (Alisia), and a girl who had lost the power of speech as a result of demonic possession at Mâcon.

§ 7: Description of Lupus' personal asceticism.

§ 8: It is stated that Lupus brought healing to very many (plurimis) people, among whom was a boy or young man named Claudius, of senatorial family, who was so seriously ill from an unspecified illness that he appeared to be at the point of death.

§ 9: Lupus heals 'a mother of senatorial rank' (clarissima matrisfamilias) who was completely paralysed.

§ 10: Lupus persuades King Gebavultus of the Alamanni to release inhabitants of a town near Troyes, whom he had been holding captive.

§ 11: Holy bishops who were disciples of Lupus (Polychronius of Verdun, Severus of Trier, Albinus of Châlons-en-Champagne).

§ 12; Lupus dies, after being bishop of Troyes for fifty-two years. There is no reference to his burial, or to any posthumous cult.

Text: Krusch 1920. Summary: David Lambert.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Lupus, bishop of Troyes : S00418 Germanus, bishop of Auxerre, ob. c. 448 : S00455

Saint Name in Source

Lupus Germanus

Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Lives of saint


  • Latin

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)

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

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Composing and translating saint-related texts

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle during lifetime Healing diseases and disabilities Miraculous protection - of communities, towns, armies

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops Foreigners (including Barbarians) Monarchs and their family


The anonymous life of Lupus of Troyes (Vita Lupi episcopi Trecensis) was composed at an uncertain point after Lupus' death in (probably) 479. Nothing in its content, which is often confused about issues such as chronology, as well as being written in very unclassical Latin, suggests that it was written by a contemporary of Lupus, though it is impossible to use such considerations to establish a precise date of composition. The fact that the Life was used by Bede, in his Ecclesiastical History (1.21) and his Martyrologium (29 July, cf. $E00924, $E05591), shows that it must have been in circulation by the early 8th century, though there is no reason to believe that its composition was so late. It seems most likely that it dates from the 6th century, but this cannot be proven. The date of the Life of Lupus was the subject of prolonged controversy in the late 19th and 20th centuries, originally sparked off by Bruno Krusch, its editor for MGH, who dismissed it as a Carolingian forgery. The arguments of Krusch and his critics have now been superseded, but for a summary of the controversy see Anton 1993, 17-20.


Lupus of Troyes was born c. 395. According the Life of Lupus he married Pimeniola, the sister of Hilary of Arles (Pimeniola's existence is not otherwise attested, and has sometimes been doubted). After seven years of marriage, they adopted a celibate, ascetic life. Shortly afterwards, Lupus became a monk at Lérins (attested by the contemporaneous evidence of Eucherius, De laude eremi 42), though only for a relatively short time, probably not much more than a year. Probably in the year 427, he became bishop of Troyes in northern Gaul, not far from his native city of Toul. In 429, two years after becoming bishop of Troyes, he accompanied *Germanus of Auxerre (S00455) on his mission to combat Pelagianism in Britain (see E05846, E06024). In his later years, from about 470 onwards, he appears quite frequently in the correspondence of Sidonius Apollinaris. The period in between is devoid of contemporary evidence for his activities, with the exception of a short letter on matters of ecclesiastical discipline which was written in 453 by Lupus jointly with Bishop Eufronius of Autun (text in CCSL 148, 140-41); this, the only known piece of writing by Lupus, survives through being cited at a Gallic church council. Lupus died after being bishop of Troyes for fifty-two years, according to the Life of Lupus. There is no reason to doubt its accuracy on this point: the evidence of Sidonius shows that he was still alive in the 470s. The year was probably 479. The Life of Lupus is a short text, most of which comprises a series of discrete incidents, none presented at great length, whose relationship to each other and chronological sequence is often unclear. The content of the Life may partly be based on written documents such as Lupus' epitaph or will, and partly on traditions preserved orally or in writing by the church at Troyes. The latter probably provided the basis for its account of Lupus' miracles. It is possible that the author was familiar with literary sources such as Constantius' Life of Germanus of Auxerre (E05841). The Life attributes four healing miracles to Lupus, though presenting one of them (§ 8) as merely an example of the healing that he bestowed on 'very many' (plurimis). Of the healings recounted, two are linked as having taken place when Lupus was visiting Mâcon (Matisco): on the way from Troyes to Mâcon he healed an unnamed woman from paralysis at Alise-Saint-Reine (Alisia), while at Mâcon itself he healed an unnamed girl who had lost the power of speech as a result of demonic possession (§ 6). A subsequent chapter relates how Lupus healed Claudius, the son of a senator named Germanianus, from an unspecified disease which had brought him to the point of death (§ 8). The account of the healing of Claudius bears a marked resemblance to the healing of the son of the court official Volusianus in Constantius, Life of Germanus of Auxerre 38 (E05967). Finally, the Life describes how he healed from paralysis the mother of a family of senatorial rank (clarissima matrisfamilias), who is identified as the sister of a priest named Rusticus (§ 9). The account of her healing alludes to the healing of the leper by Jesus at Luke 5:12-13, thus implicitly comparing Lupus with Christ. As far as can be established, none of the individuals named in these passages is attested outside the Life. The Life also credits Lupus' prayers with protecting Troyes against attack from Attila and the Huns (§ 5), an incident which is also attested in a hymn commemorating Lupus quoted by Bede in his Martyrology (E00924). The Life does not describe Lupus' burial, and makes no reference to his tomb, to any posthumous cult, or to the church dedicated to him, which is attested by other sources such as Gregory of Tours (E00721), Nicetius of Trier (E00674), and the Chronicle of Fredegar (E00701).


Edition: Krusch, B., Vita Lupi episcopi Trecensis, in: Passiones vitaeque sanctorum aevi Merovingici (V) (Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Scriptores Rerum Merovingicarum 7; Hannover / Leipzig: Impensis Bibliopolii Hahniani, 1920), 295-302. Further reading: Anton, H.H., "Studien zur sozialen und kirchlichen Führungsschicht Galliens: Germanus von Auxerre, Lupus von Troyes und Trierer Bischöfe des 5. Jahrhunderts," Jahrbuch für westdeutsche Landesgeschichte 19 (1993), 17-46. Ewig, E., "Bemerkungen zur Vita des Bischofs Lupus von Troyes," in: K. Hauck and H. Mordek (eds.), Geschichtsschreibung und geistiges Leben im Mittelalter. Festschrift für Heinz Löwe zum 65. Geburtstag (Cologne: Böhlau, 1978), 14-26. Pietri, L., "Troyes," in: N. Gauthier and J.-C. Picard (eds.), Topographie chrétienne des cités de la Gaule des origines au milieu du VIIIe siècle, vol. 8: Province ecclésiastique de Sens (Lugdunensis Senonia) (Paris: Boccard, 1992), 67-80.

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