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E03258: The Lives of the Fathers of Mérida, written in Latin in 633/660, in Mérida (southern Spain), tells how an unnamed monk of the monastery of Cauliana near Mérida, who was a drunkard and glutton, reforms. Dying soon afterwards, he is confident he will be greeted in heaven by the Apostles *Peter (S00036) and *Paul (S00008), and by *Laurence (deacon and martyr of Rome, S00037). Fifteen years later his tomb is found, it smells sweetly and the body inside is uncorrupted.

online resource
posted on 2017-07-11, 00:00 authored by mszada
Lives of the Fathers of Mérida, 2

In the monastery of Cauliana near Mérida, while Renovatus (later bishop of Mérida) is abbot, there lives a monk who abandoned the rules of monastic life. He is a glutton, drunkard, and thief. Renovatus rebukes and flogs him, forces him to fast, and imprisons him in his cell, but the monk does not want to reform. Renovatus then orders those who are in charge of monastic stores to allow this monk to take anything he wants. From this time on, the monk steals from the cellars, and hides in the garden to drink and eat the stolen goods. One day, however, he is seen drunk, leaving the cellars with what he had stolen, by young boys from the monastic school. He is shamed by them, and from this moment he wants to reform. He prays, and in response God, having mercy on him, strikes him with sickness. He asks the abbot for penance, and receives it.

[20] Tertio post hec die migraturus e corpore et ualefaciens cunctis fratribus sic ayt: "Cognoscite quia omnia delicta mici dimissa sunt. Et ecce pro foribus sanctissimi apostoli Petrus et Paulus, necnon et beatus Laurentius arcidiaconus et martir cum innumerabili turba candidatorum me expectant, cum quibus ad Dominum pergere debeam". Et hec dicens migrauit e corpore. Corpusculum uero eius ex more sepulture est traditum.

[21] Post quindecim uero aut eo amplius annos memorabilis amnis Ana nimium excrescens ripas que albei sui supergrediens fluenta liquoris late adsparsit et ruinas edium per uillulas uicinas litori suo multas fecit, similiter et Caulianensis monasterii cellas euertit. [22] Quas dum monachi restaurare uoluissent, contigit ut, dum fundamenta construunt in cellula qua supradictus iacebat, ipsum sepulcrum aperirent. Sed mox inde nectareus odor erupit. Ipse uero integer et incorruptus reppertus est, ac si ora eadem fuisset humatus, ut nec uestimenta eius nec capilli ex aliqua parte cernerentur fuisse corrupti.

'20. Three days later when he was on the point of journeying from his body, he made his farewells to all the brethren, saying "Know that all my sins have been forgiven. And, lo, before the gates of heaven the most holy apostles Peter and Paul with the blessed Laurence, archdeacon and martyr with an innumerable host dressed in gleaming white are waiting for me, with whom I must go to the Lord." And so speaking he passed from the body which was buried according to custom.

21. Fifteen years later that noteworthy river, the Gaudiana, flooded and having broken its banks, spread its waters far and wide, laying in ruins many buildings in the little villages by its stream and in similarwise overturned the cells of the monastery at Cauliana. 22. When the monks wished to restore them, it came to pass that while they were laying the foundations upon the cell where this monk lay, they came across his tomb. And straightaway a heavenly odour came from it. He himself was found to be whole and uncorrupted as if he had been buried that very hour nor were his vestments or hair found in any part to be corrupted.'

Text: Maya Sánchez 1992, 14-20 (text numbering from Garvin 1945, as used by Fear). Translation: Fear 1997, 54-55. Summary M. Szada.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Laurence, martyr of Rome, ob. 258 : S00037 Peter the Apostle : S00036 Paul, the Apostle : S00008

Saint Name in Source

Laurentius Petrus Paulus

Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Lives


  • Latin

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Iberian Peninsula

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


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

Merida Osset Osset Osen (castrum) Osser castrum

Cult activities - Places

Burial site of a saint - other

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs


Cult Activities - Miracles

Miraculous sound, smell, light Bodily incorruptibility

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - monks/nuns/hermits

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - entire body


The Lives of the Fathers of Mérida (Vitas Sanctorum Patrum Emeretensium) is a complex hagiographical work composed c. 633/650. The last bishop mentioned in the text is bishop Renovatus who died in 633. J. Garvin (1946) thought the Lives were composed during the episcopacy of Renovatus' successor, Bishop Stephen (633-638). A.T. Fear (1997, xxxi) following Diaz y Diaz (1981) preferred to date the work slightly later, to the middle of the 7th century, The Lives consist of five parts, the first three recount miraculous stories that took place in Mérida, in imitation of the Dialogues of Gregory the Great (written probably 593/594). The last two tell the history of the bishops of Mérida from the second half of the 6th century: Paul, Fidelis, Masona, and Renovatus. The author of the Lives identifies himself as a deacon of the church of Saint Eulalia. The edition of Maya Sánchez from 1992 is based on ten manuscripts, the earliest of the 10th c. (Maya Sánchez 1992: x–xxxi).


Editions: Garvin, J.N., The Vitas Sanctorum Patrum Emeretensium (Washington, 1946). Maya Sánchez, A., Vitas sanctorum patrum Emeretensium (Corpus Christianorum Series Latina 116; Turnhout, 1992). English translation: Fear. A.T., Lives of the Visigothic Fathers (Translated Texts for Historians 26; Liverpool, 1997), 45-105. Further reading: Diaz y Diaz, M.D., "Passionnaires, légendiers et compilations hagiographiques dans le haut Moyen Age espagnol," in: Hagiographie, Cultures, et Sociétés, IVe-XIIe siècles. Actes du colloque organisé à Nanterre et à Paris, 2-5 mai 1979 (Paris, 1981), 49-61.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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