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E03000: Gregory of Tours, in his Miracles of Martin (2.2), recounts how Justinus, his sister's husband, was cured after he drank a potion of water and ash from a candle brought from the tomb of *Martin (ascetic and bishop of Tours, ob. 397, S00050) in Tours; AD 573. Written in Latin in Tours (north-west Gaul), 575/581.

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posted on 2017-06-18, 00:00 authored by kwojtalik
Gregory of Tours, Miracles of Martin (Libri de virtutibus sancti Martini episcopi) 2.2

In this chapter Gregory returns to the wax candles which he had brought from the tomb of Martin (Miracles of Martin 1.34, see E02925).

Mecum detenerem, Iustinus, vir sororis meae, in valitudine inruit et, invalescente febre cum doloribus membrorum omnium, valdea ad extremis agere coepit. Nuntius haec ad me dilatus retulit, efflagitans, ut, si quid medicamenti repperire possim, morituro transmitterem, ne obiret. At ego in virtute antestitis beati confisus, unum ex cereolis
transmitto per puerum, dicens: 'Accendite illum coram eo, et in contemplatione luminis orationem fundat ad Dominum et deprecetur omnipotentiam antestitis, ut ei succurrat'. Missus autem puer quod dederam deportavit. Quo accenso ante lectum aegroti, favillam scirpi, quem iam ignis consumpserat, cultro eradunt, delutumque aqua aegroto porregunt ad bibendum. At ille, ut hausit, protinus sanitatem recepit.

'While I was preoccupied with my own affairs, Justinus, my sister’s husband, became ill and began to suffer very badly as the fever increased together with pains in all his limbs. A messenger sent to me announced this news and asked that if I could find any medicine, I send it to this man who was on the verge of death, lest he perish. Because I trusted in the power of the blessed bishop, I sent one of the candles with the servant and said: 'Burn this candle in Justinus’ presence, and as he considers its light, let him offer a prayer to the Lord and request the bishop’s power to assist him.' The servant was sent off and brought what I had given him. After they lit the candle before the bed of the ill man, with a knife they cut off the ash from the wick that the fire had already consumed, mixed it with water, and offered it to the ill man to drink. When Justinus drank it, immediately he received his health.'

Text: Krusch 1969, 159-160. Translation: Van Dam 1993, 229-230, modified (de Nie 2015, 537-539).

History

Evidence ID

E03000

Saint Name

Martin, ascetic and bishop of Tours (Gaul), ob. 397 : S00050

Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Collections of miracles

Language

  • Latin

Evidence not before

575

Evidence not after

581

Activity not before

550

Activity not after

576

Place of Evidence - Region

Gaul and Frankish kingdoms

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Tours

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 - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Prayer/supplication/invocation

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Healing diseases and disabilities

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops Aristocrats Slaves/ servants

Cult Activities - Relics

Contact relic - other Eating/drinking/inhaling relics

Cult Activities - Cult Related Objects

Oil lamps/candles

Source

Gregory, of a prominent Clermont family with extensive ecclesiastical connections, was bishop of Tours from 573 until his death (probably in 594). He 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. Gregory's Miracles of Martin (full title Libri de virtutibus sancti Martini episcopi, 'Books of the Miracles of Saint Martin the Bishop'), consists of four books of miracles, 207 chapters in all, effected by Martin, primarily at his grave and shrine in Tours. Most of them occurred at the time of the saint's festivals, on 4 July and 11 November. Gregory tried to record the miracles in chronological order, so historians have been able to calculate quite precisely the dates of the events and miracles mentioned in the work. This fairly precise chronology has enabled scholars to determine the dates of completion of each book. There have been three main dating schemes proposed for the composition of the four books. The oldest was suggested by Monod in 1872, another by Krusch in 1885, and then one by Van Dam in 1993 (for fuller discussion, see Shaw 2015, 103-105). Their datings of the individual books do not vary substantially, and in our entries we have given only those of Van Dam. Shaw 2015 convincingly demolishes an earlier theory, that Gregory wrote the Miracles in two distinct stages: a first stage that was written during a particular period, and a second stage in the early 590s, in which Gregory revised the whole work. Book 1, with 40 chapters, was written between 573 and 576. In the prologue, Gregory mentions that he started writing after he became bishop of Tours in August 573. Book 1 must have been completed by 576, since Venantius Fortunatus in a letter to Gregory of that year referred to it (Epistula ad Gregorium 2, prefatory letter to Fortunatus' Life of Martin, MGH Auct. ant. 4.1, p. 293). Book 2 consists of 60 chapters. It must have been finished before November 581, because the last miracles it mentions occurred in November 580, while the first ones recorded in Book 3 happened in November 581. Using the same methodology, the completion of Book 3, which also covers 60 chapters, can be dated between 587 and July 588. Book 4, which consists of 47 chapters, seems never to have been completed, presumably because of Gregory’s death. There are two main arguments in support of the idea that it is unfinished. Firstly, Book 4 has no conclusion and no tidy number of chapters, while each of Books 1 to 3 has these elements. Secondly, the last story recorded in Book 4 is not about Gregory himself, unlike the final stories of Books 2 and 3. Book 1 covers miracles that occurred before Gregory’s episcopate in Tours. The next three books are a running chronicle of Martin’s miracles under Gregory’s episcopate. Some of the miracles are recorded in very summary form, while others are much more elaborately presented: because of this, it has been argued that Gregory first jotted down notes, and only subsequently gave the stories full literary treatment (which in some cases, he was never able to do). The three completed books of the Miracles of Martin were probably released as they were completed, rather that published together. In this sense they are the exception amongst Gregory's writings, since the rest of his work was not finally completed and seems to have been unpublished at the time of his death. For discussion of the work, see: Krusch, B. (ed.), Gregorii episcopi Turonensis miracula et opera minora (Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptores rerum Merovingicarum 1,2; 2nd ed.; Hannover, 1969), 2–4. Monod, G., Études critiques sur les sources de l’histoire mérovingienne, 1e partie (Paris, 1872), 42–45. 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. Van Dam, R., Saints and Their Miracles in Late Antique Gaul (Princeton, 1993), 142–146, 199.

Bibliography

Editions and translations: Krusch, B. (ed.), Gregorii episcopi Turonensis miracula et opera minora (Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptores rerum Merovingicarum 1,2; 2nd ed.; Hannover, 1969), 134–211. Van Dam, R. (trans.), Saints and Their Miracles in Late Antique Gaul (Princeton, 1993), 200–303. de Nie, G. (ed. and trans.), Lives and Miracles: Gregory of Tours (Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library 39; Cambridge MA, 2015), 421–855. Further reading: Murray, A.C. (ed.), A Companion to Gregory of Tours (Leiden-Boston, 2015). Shanzer, D., "So Many Saints – So Little Time ... the Libri Miraculorum of Gregory of Tours," Journal of Medieval Latin 13 (2003), 19–63.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

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