University of Oxford

File(s) not publicly available

E03127: Gregory of Tours, in his Miracles of Martin (2.23), recounts how Vinast, a blind man, was cured after he prayed in Candes (north-west Gaul) by the bed where *Martin (ascetic and bishop of Tours, ob. 397, S00050) died; he was partially cured there, and fully cured after acting on a vision telling him to visit Martin's basilica in Tours; AD 575. Written in Latin in Tours (north-west Gaul), 575/581.

online resource
posted on 2017-06-27, 00:00 authored by kwojtalik
Gregory of Tours, Miracles of Martin (Libri de virtutibus sancti Martini episcopi) 2.23

Talia exercens quidam Vinastis nomine, lumen recepit, dum pauperibus illis victus necessaria ministravit. Hic caecitate maxima per annos plurimos adgravates, habebat in consuetudine, adveniens de regione sua ad antedictam sancti cellulam, pauperibus illis alimentum amplissimum exhiberet, vigiliisque devotissime celebratis, eos in satietate refecerit, quorum ipse iuxta possibilitatem tamquam famulus serviebat. Dum igitur haec per multos, ut diximus, annos inpenderet, quadam vice impleto voto servitioque simul, prosternitur ad cancellum sancti lectuli, et orans ac vale dicens, regredi cupiebat. Post conpletam autem orationem exsurgens, apertis parumper oculis, intuetur cortinam siricam de cancello pendere et ait: 'Video tamquam pallium siricum hic adpensum'. Cui aiunt sui: 'Veritatem te videre cognoscimus'. Ipse autem coepit iterum flere atque orare, ut beatus confessor opus coeptum dignanter expleret. Quic dum orat attentius, obdormivit; apparuitque ei vir per visum, dicens: 'Vade ad basilicam domni Martini, et ibi plenam obtenes sanitatem'. Qui nihil moratus, famulorum manibus deductus, ut limina beati confessoris adtigit, lumen integrum, opitulante fide, recepit.

'While he was performing similar deeds and supplying the food necessary for these poor people, a man named Vinast recovered his sight. Although this man had suffered from total blindness for many years, it was his custom to travel from his own district to the saint’s aforementioned cell and provide abundant food for these poor people. After he had most piously celebrated vigils, he generously nourished these people whom he assisted as was necessary just like a servant. For many years, as I said, Vinast performed these tasks. Once, after he had simultaneously fulfilled both his vow and his service, he knelt before the railing around the holy bed, prayed, paid his respects, and then wished to leave. But when he stood up after finishing his prayer, his eyes were slightly opened, and he saw the silk curtain that was hanging from the railing. He said: 'I see [something] like a silk curtain hanging here.' His servants said to him: 'We know that you see what is truly there.' Vinast then again began to weep and to pray that the blessed confessor would complete the task that he had begun. While he was earnestly praying, he fell asleep, and a man appeared to him in a vision and said: 'Go to the church of lord Martin, and there you will obtain a complete cure.' Vinast did not delay. He was led by the hands of his servants, and when he reached the threshold [of the church] of the blessed confessor, with the assistance of his faith he completely regained his eyesight.'

Text: Krusch 1969, 166-167. Translation: Van Dam 1993, 239 (de Nie 2015, 577-579).


Evidence ID


Saint Name

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

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Collections of miracles


  • 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)

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

Major author/Major anonymous work

Gregory of Tours

Cult activities - Places

Place associated with saint's life

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Visiting graves and shrines

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Healing diseases and disabilities Apparition, vision, dream, revelation

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Other lay individuals/ people The socially marginal (beggars, prostitutes, thieves) Slaves/ servants

Cult Activities - Relics

Contact relic - saint’s possession and clothes


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.


The church of Martin where Vinast was instructed to go was the one in Tours.


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.

Usage metrics

    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity