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E00726: Victricius of Rouen lists the relics of saints already present in Rouen: *John the Baptist (S00020), the Apostles *Andrew (S00289) and *Thomas (S00199), *Gervasius and Protasius (martyrs of Milan, S00313), *Agricola (martyr of Bologna, S00310), *Euphemia (martyr of Chalcedon, S00017), and *Luke (the Evangelist, S00442). Account in Victricius' Praising the Saints, written in Latin, c.396 in Rouen (northern Gaul).

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posted on 2015-09-21, 00:00 authored by mtycner
Victricius of Rouen, Praising the Saints 6

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

Victricius addresses the relics of saints sent to him from Milan, and tells them of the saints they will already find within the city (lines 32-37):

Hic inuenietis Iohannem Baptistam, illum, inquam, qui in stadio communi cruentus stetit, sed ad caelum coronatus ascendit, quem Dominus ipse inter natos mulierum autumat potiorem. Hic Andream, hic Thomam, hic Geruasium, hic Protasium, hic Agricolam, hic Eufemiam, quae quondam masculato animo sub percussore uirgo non palluit.

'You will find here John the Baptist, he, I say, who stood bloodstained in the common arena, but ascended crowned to heaven, he whom the Lord himself names as greatest among those born of women. Here you will find Andrew, here Thomas, here Gervasius, here Protasius, here Agricola, here Euphemia, who once, her soul made masculine, did not, though a virgin, pale before the executioner.'

Later in the chapter (lines 53-60) Victricius continues his address to the new saints:

A uobis ad uos uenistis. Hic reperietis quos circa Domini Iesu Christi altaria ministrantes. Porrectis brachiis uos Baptista Iohannes expectat. Vos Thomas, uos Andreas, Lucas et cetera multitudo caelestis parili uos desiderio in suum gremium uocat. Nullus uos nouus hospes excipiet. Hi sunt cum quibus militatis in caelo. Peculiaris tamen erit gratulatio, si iungantur reliquiis, qui sunt iuncti claritudine spiritali.

'You have come from yourselves to yourselves. Here you will find those you left ministering at the altars of the Lord Jesus Christ. John the Baptist waits for you with arms outstretched. Thomas, Andrew, Luke, and all the heavenly multitude call you to their embrace with equal longing. It is no new host who will receive you: these are they with whom you are soldiers in heaven. But there will be special thanksgiving if those who are joined in spiritual light are joined in relics.'

Text: Mulders and Demeulenaere 1985, 78-79. Translation: Clark 1999, 383-4.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

John the Baptist : S00020 Andrew, the Apostle : S00288 Thomas, the Apostle : S00199 Gervasius and Protasius, martyrs of Milan (Italy), ob. 1st/4th c. : S00313 Agricola, martyr of Bolonia (Italy), master of Vitalis, ob. 303/312 : S00310 Euphemia,

Saint Name in Source

Iohannes Baptista Andreas Thomas Gervasius, Protasius Agricola Eufemia Lucas

Type of Evidence

Literary - Sermons/Homilies Literary - Theological works


  • 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)

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

Major author/Major anonymous work

Victricius of Rouen

Cult activities - Rejection, Condemnation, Scepticism

Considerations about the veneration of saints

Cult Activities - Relics

Unspecified relic Collections of multiple relics 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 saints listed by Victricius as present in Rouen, before the arrival of the new relics from Milan, form an interesting collection. *Gervasius and Protasius had been discovered in Milan by Bishop Ambrose (E00904, $05211; E01019); Ambrose also assisted at the discovery of *Agricola (and Vitalis, not named in the passage) in Bologna in 393 (E00853). We know that Ambrose sent the relics of saints which he discovered to different recipients in Italy and Gaul, and it is probable that these three relics (Gervasius, Protasius and Agricola) formed a previous gift to Victricius. As for the other saints, *Thomas, *Andrew, *Luke, *John the Baptist and *Euphemia of Chalcedon (all of them biblical, or very important, saints from the East), it is difficult to say how and when exactly they reached Rouen. Bishop Gaudentius of Brescia (Italy), whom Ambrose consecrated bishop and to whom he granted relics, had John the Baptist, Andrew, Thomas, and Luke, but claimed to have brought their relics, along with some others, from the Holy Land (see E05338). Bishop Paulinus of Nola, another recipient of Milanese relics, also possessed these four relics, along with relics of Euphemia, Agricola, Vitalis, Proclus and Nazarius. It is quite probable that the bishops of Northern Italy and Gaul exchanged relics among themselves, and this was the way in which Rouen was provided with the relics listed in our passage. It is however notable that Milan, Brescia and Nola are all in Italy, and that Rouen, in the far north of Gaul, is very much an outlier within this pattern. On the exchange of relics, see Clark 1999, n. 96 For a second list of saints and relics in the treatise, see E00723.


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.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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