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E00723: Victricius of Rouen names saints who perform healing miracles at their burial place and elsewhere: *John (the Apostle and Evangelist, S00042), *Proculus and *Agricola (martyrs of Bologna, S00448 and S00310), *Antonius/Antoninus (martyr of Piacenza, S00328), *Nazarius (martyr of Milan, S00281) and several other saints, male and female, of uncertain identity (S00446, S00449, and S00453). Written in Latin in Rouen (northern Gaul), 395/397.

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posted on 2015-09-21, 00:00 authored by Bryan
Victricius of Rouen, Praising the Saints 11, lines 1-17

For a summary and discussion of the whole text see E00717.

Victricius argues that the saints are equally potent in the place where they are buried, where their relics are deposited, and generally everywhere:

Huc accedit quod non minus in partibus quam in soliditate curatio est. An aliter in Oriente, Constantinopoli, Antiochiae, Thessalonicae, Naiso, Romae, in Italia miseris porrigunt medicinam? An aliter laborantia corpora defecantur? Curat Ephesi Iohannes Euangelista, praeterea et in locis plurimis: quem a Christi pectore nec ante consecrationem accepimus recessisse, et apud nos ipsa eius est medicina. Curat Bononiae Proculus, Agricola et hic quoque horum cernimus maiestatem. Curat Placentiae Antonius. Curat Saturninus, Troianus in Macedonia. Curat Nazarius Mediolano. Mucius, Alexander, Datysus, Chindeus larga uirtute gratiam salutis infundunt. Curat Ragota, Leonida, Anastasia, Anatoclia, ut ait apostolus Paulus: In uirum perfectum, in mensuram aetatis plenitudinis Christi, uno atque eodem spiritu, qui omnia in omnibus operatur. Rogo an alia est apud nos, alia apud alios memoratorum medela sanctorum? Quod si quicquid ubique sanctorum est, parili pietate cultores suos defendunt, purgant, tuentur.

'Moreover, their [the saints'] healing power is no less in their parts than in their entirety. Do they offer medicine to the wretched differently in the East, at Constantinople, at Antioch, at Thessalonica, at Naissus, at Rome, in Italy? Do they purify ailing bodies differently? John the Evangelist cures at Ephesus, and many other places besides; we are told that he did not leave Christ's breast even before his sanctification, and that same healing power is here with us. Proculus and Agricola cure at Bononia, and here too we observe their majesty. Antonius cures at Placentia. Saturninus and Troianus cure in Macedonia. Nazarius cures at Milan. Mucius, Alexander, Datysus, Chindeus pour out the favour of health with generous virtue. Ragota, Leonida, Anastasia, Anatoclia cure, as the apostle Paul says "to perfect man, to the measure of the age of the fullness of Christ" by one and the same spirit "who does all in all." I ask, do these saints I have named heal in one way among us, in another among others? No: if anything of the saints is anywhere, they defend, cleanse, and protect their worshipers with equal piety.'

Text: Mulders and Demeulenaere 1985, 86-87. Translation: Clark 1999, 393-394, modified.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

John the Evangelist : S00042 Antoninus, martyr in Piacenza, ob. 3/4th century : S00328 Saturninus, martyr in Macedonia, ob. before 395 : S00446 Proculus, martyr at Bologna, companion of *Vitalis and *Agricola, ob. 303/312 : S00448 Nazarius and Ce

Saint Name in Source

Iohannes Euangelista Antonius/Antoninus Saturninus Proculus Nazarius Mucius Ragota/Rogata Agricola

Type of Evidence

Literary - Sermons/Homilies Literary - Theological works


  • Latin

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


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)

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

Major author/Major anonymous work

Victricius of Rouen

Cult activities - Places

Burial site of a saint - unspecified

Cult activities - Rejection, Condemnation, Scepticism

Considerations about the nature of relics

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Healing diseases and disabilities

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - entire body Unspecified relic Transfer/presence of relics from distant countries


In Praise of the Saints was composed by Victricius, bishop of Rouen (Rotomagus) in Gaul as an expanded version of his homily, delivered on the occasion of the arrival of relics of saints to Rouen. The relics were sent to Victricius by Ambrose, bishop of Milan, and the treatise was most probably written immediately after their festal reception, and given to the envoys, who took it back to Milan (Clark 1999, 365-366). The date of composition can be established firmly: the homily was delivered after the invention of the body of Nazarius in Milan on 28 July 395 (E00905; E02034), and before the death of Ambrose on 4 April 397. Bishop Ambrose discovered in Milan bodies of several saints and sent their relics to other bishops in Italy and Gaul. As suggested in § 6 of the treatise, the reception commemorated by Victricius was almost certainly the second occasion on which relics of saints were transferred from Milan to Rouen. The text deals mostly with the theology of relics, with some references to the event itself. The theological argument is sometimes difficult to comprehend. On the text see Demeulenaere and Mulders 1985, 55-63; Clark 1999; Wiśniewski 2010, 28-33.


The quoted passage is an exemplification of the general idea of Victricius' treatise: that the saints are equally potent in their partial relics, as they are in their whole bodies (and as they were/are in person). The author lists places where saints are active as healers, naming the most important centres of the late antique world. An unexpected name on the list is Naissus (Naiso) - for a possible explanation see Clark 1999, n. 148. It is very interesting that Victricius emphasises the healing activity of the saints, thus providing early evidence for the conviction that martyrs perform healing miracles after death and that they do it through their earthly remains. The list of saints is less clear, and many of the names are not at all easy to identify. Some of those at the beginning of the list are straightforward: John the Evangelist, Proculus and Agricola of Bologna, Nazarius of Milan, and Antonius/Antoninus of Piacenza. The body of Agricola had been discovered in 393 (E00853), and that of Nazarius in 395 (E00905), both by Ambrose, the recipient of Victricius' treatise, and we know that Rouen had already received relics of Agricola and of two other Milanese saints, Gervasius and Protasius (E00726). It is a reasonable supposition that Victricius lists here saints whose relics were already in Rouen, or were arriving with this most recent gift. The identity of Saturninus and Troianus (who appears in the manuscripts also as 'Traianus') is uncertain. Several well-known saints bore the name 'Saturninus', but none of them can be clearly linked to Macedonia. The same can be said about Troianus, even though his name is less popular. No other source presents these two as a pair. Mucius and Alexander are even more obscure cases - we have no idea who these saints might have been. Mucius is not a popular saint's name, but the number of possible identifications is still too big (with examples in Africa, Spain and Constantinople) to be sure whom Victricius might have had in mind. The name Chindeus is almost certainly a version of the name Cindeus (noted also as 'Quindeus', 'Guideus', 'Zindeus' and others). There are several martyrs of this name, but we might suspect that the one meant in the passage is Cindeus, martyr of Axiopolis (in the north-east Balkans). He is often mentioned with another saint, Cyrillus (or 'Quirillus', etc.), and indeed this name at times replaces Chindeus in the manuscript tradition of our passage (a third saint, Zeno, who usually appears with the latter two, does not appear in Victricius). There is another possible link with Axiopolis, in the name *Datysus, also transmitted as 'Dacius', which closely resembles 'Dassus' or 'Dasus', another saint from Axiopolis (see Farlati 1819, 111-112). We should also note that Victricius (somewhat unexpectedly) mentions Naissus as a major cult centre, suggesting that he had a particular interest in Balkan saints. The female saints: Ragota (or rather 'Rogata', as more plausibly transmitted in the manuscript tradition), Leonida, and Anatoclia cannot be identified, though Anastasia could be the martyr of Sirmium, again in the Balkans (S00602). Whether all these saints were from distant parts, or whether some of them were local martyrs of Rouen (who subsequently disappear from the record) is unclear.


Edition: Demeulenaere, R., and Mulders, J., Foebadius, Victricius, Leporius, Vincentius Lerinensis, Evagrius, Ruricius (Corpus Christianorum Series Latina 64; Turnholti: Brepols, 1985). English translation with introduction: Clark, G., “Victricius of Rouen: Praising the Saints,” Journal of Early Christian Studies 7: 3 (1999), 365-399. (available online: Polish translation with introduction: Wiśniewski, R., Poczatki kultu relikwii na Zachodzie (Akme. Zrodla starozytne; Warszawa, 2010). Further reading: Clark, G., “Translating relics: Victricius of Rouen and fourth‐century debate,” Early Medieval Europe 10:2 (2001), 161-176. Farlati, D., Riceputi, F., and Coleti, S., Illyrici sacri tomus primus [-octavus]: Ecclesia salonitana ab ejus exordio usque ad sæculum quartum æræ Christianæ. vol. 8 (Venetiis 1819: Apud Sebastianum Coleti.).

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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