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E01104: Augustine of Hippo, in his City of God (22.8), tells of the healing of a demoniac at a memorial shrine (memoria) of *Gervasius and Protasius (martyrs of Milan, S00313), probably containing their relics, on the estate of Victoriana, near Hippo (North Africa), at the beginning of the 5th c. Written in Latin in Hippo Regius, c. 426/427.

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posted on 2016-02-07, 00:00 authored by robert
Augustine of Hippo, City of God 22.8

Victoriana dicitur villa, ab Hippone Regius minus triginta milia abest. memoria martyrum ibi est mediolanensium Protasii et Geruasii.

'There is a villa estate called Victoriana, less than thirty miles from Hippo Regius. At it there is a memorial shrine (memoria) to the Milanese martyrs, Protasius and Gervasius.'

There follows a story of a young man who was possessed by a demon and brought to the the aforementioned shrine.

Ibi cum iaceret uel morti proximus uel simillimus mortuo, ad uespertinos illuc hymnos et orationes cum ancillis suis et quibusdam sanctimonialibus ex more domina possessionis intrauit atque hymnos cantare coeperunt.

'As he lay at the memorial shrine (memoria), near death, or indeed very like a dead person, the lady of the villa, with her maids and religious attendants (sanctimoniales), entered the place for evening prayer and praise, as her custom was, and they began to sing hymns.'

The demon is expelled, but when leaving the young man makes his eye fall out of its socket.

Ibi maritus sororis eius, qui eum illo detulerat: "potens est, inquit, Deus sanctorum orationibus, qui fugauit daemonem, lumen reddere".

'But his sister's husband, who had brought him there, said, "God, who has banished the demon at the prayers of His saints, is also able to restore his sight".'

Finally, the young man is completely healed.

Text: Dombart and Kalb 1955. Translation: Dods 1887.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Gervasius and Protasius, martyrs of Milan (Italy), ob. 1st/4th c. : S00313

Saint Name in Source

Gervasius, Protasius

Type of Evidence

Literary - Other


  • Latin

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Latin North Africa

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Hippo Regius

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

Hippo Regius Carthage Carthago Karthago قرطاج‎ Qarṭāj Mçidfa Carthage

Major author/Major anonymous work

Augustine of Hippo

Cult activities - Liturgical Activity

  • Chant and religious singing

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - dependent (chapel, baptistery, etc.)

Cult Activities - Miracles

Healing diseases and disabilities Exorcism

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Women Ecclesiastics - monks/nuns/hermits


Augustine wrote Book 22 of the City of God in Hippo, c. 426/427. Chapters 8-9 enumerate a number of contemporary miracles, most of which took place in Hippo and other cities of North Africa, either at the relics of *Stephen, the First Martyr or those of Gervasius and Protasius, martyrs in Milan.


It cannot be said for sure whether relics of Gervasius and Protasius, which were discovered in Milan in 386 (see E00904), were kept at Victoriana, but memoriae usually had relics of the saints to whom they were dedicated. This memoria was evidently in private possession. It had an altar, thus the Eucharist was celebrated there, at least occasionally. The sanctiomoniales could be either nuns living in a monastery or virgins devoted to God, who lived in their own houses. Here the context suggests the latter. The words of the demoniac's brother-in-law serve to emphasise that the power of healing belongs to God, the saints' role is to intercede for those who ask them for help.


Edition: Dombart, B., and Kalb, A., Augustinus, De civitate dei, 2 vols. (Corpus Christianorum Series Latina 47-48; Turnhout: Brepols, 1955). English translation: Dods, M., Augustine, The City of God (Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, vol. 2; Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1887).

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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