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E03508: The Lives of the Fathers of Mérida written in Latin in 633/660, in Mérida (southern Spain), recount how Bishop Fidelis, while still alive, was seen to stand and sing in the choir of the church with the host of saints. Once a boy sees him at night in a procession of saints from the church of *Faustus (martyr of Córdoba, S00497) to the church of *Lucretia (martyr probably of Mérida, S01457), both outside the city, and then into Mérida.

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posted on 2017-08-01, 00:00 authored by mszada
Lives of the Fathers of Mérida, 4.7

7. [1] Hic namque uir beatus in corpore positus crebro eum cum sanctorum cateruas in coro eclesie stans et psallens uisus fuisse peribetur. Et alia multa narrantur, que scribere propter prolixitatem sui, ne fastidium legentibus prebeant, desiuimus. [2] Die quadam puerum familiarem suum ad locum quo Caspiana uocabulum est, quod ab Emerita urbe milibus sedecim distat, direxit ac precepit eum sub omni festinatione reuerti. [3] Qui quum fuisset et eodem die reuerti non occurrisset, ibidem mansit. Cui in ipso noctis initio iam dormienti uisum fuit gallos cantasse. Statim que expergefactus caballum suum ascendit atque festinus properans ante medium noctis ad portam ipsius ciuitatis, que appellatur Porta Pontis, peruenit. [4] Qui dum ibi diutissime residens cerneret quia ante ora oportuna consurrexisset et quia, quamuis clamasset, uociferante nullus ei portam aperiret, uisum est ei ut caballo suo pabulum erbe paululum daret, quousque aliquis forsitan portam reseraret. [5] Et ecce subito intempeste noctis eleuans oculos suos uidit eminus glouum igneum ab eclesia sancti Fausti, que ab urbe fere miliario distat, procedente atque ad basilicam sancte Leucricie peruenientem. [6] Qui quum tacitus contemplaret quidnam esset, nec mora et ecce multitudo sanctorum, quibus illud lumen preibat, uenientes per pontem ad portam usque peruenerunt, cum quibus etiam gradiebatur sanctissimus Fidelis. [7] At ubi uentum est ad portam, uidens supradictus puer aucta candidatorum agmina, ipsum etiam sanctum Fidelem ciclade niuea indutum in medio eorum properantem cernens obstipuit et exterritus ac tremebundus pre timore factus est uelut mortuus. [8] Illis uero claustra portarum diuinitus reserauit mox que ingressi sunt ciuitatem. Quibus ingressos, ille consurgens atque uolens post eos ingredi, sed nullatenus potuit, quia portam ita clausam sicut prius inuenit. [9] Qui quum primo diluculo aperta peruenisset ad atrium, protinus eum uir sanctus interrogauit quali ora de predicto loco egressus fuisset. Cui ille et oram in qua surrexerat et moram quam ad portam fecerat enarrauit. [10] Quem quum uir Dei interrogasset si aliquid non uidisset et ille uidisse se fateretur, hunc admonuit ut, quousque ipse sanctus in corpore esset, nulli referret ne ei ad immane periculum pertineret.

1. Even while still in the flesh this blessed man is said to have often been seen standing and singing in the choir of the church with the hosts of the saints. Many other tales are told about him which we shall decline to relate on account of the length of the telling, lest they should become burdensome to our readers. 2. One day he sent a boy from his household to a place called Caspiana, sixteen miles away from Merida and instructed him to return in all haste. 3. He, when he had gone and was unable to return the same day, stayed there. At nightfall when he was already asleep, he dreamt that the cocks had crowed. Waking at once, he mounted his horse and hurried through the middle of the night until he came to the gate of the city which is called the Gate of the Bridge. 4. When he had been there a long time, he realised that he had risen at an untimely hour and that, though he had shouted, no one would open the gate for him when he called, and so he decided to put his horse to grass for a short while until someone should unbar the gate. 5. And, lo, lifting up his eyes in the stillness of the night, he saw far off a fiery globe coming from the church of St Faustus which lies around a mile from the town. Setting out from there, it passed to the basilica of St Lucretia. 6. He watched this in silence wondering what it might be, then all at once there came a multitude of saints whom the light preceded, who crossing the bridge, arrived at the gate and amongst their number walked the most holy Fidel. 7. When they reached the gate, the boy, seeing the columns of white-clad saints had multiplied and that the holy Fidel wearing a white cloak was hurrying along in their midst, was astounded. Petrified, he began to tremble and through his fear became as a dead man. 8. The Deity opened the bars of the gates for the host and they entered the city. When they had gone in, the boy rising up wished to go in after them, but was in no way able to do so, for he found the gate secured just as it had been before. 9. When it was opened at dawn, he went to the palace and straightaway the holy man asked him at what hour he had set out from Caspiana. The boy told him the hour at which he had risen and the delay that he had experienced at the gate. 10. When the man of God then asked him if he had not seen something and he confessed that he had, Fidel warned him to make no mention of it, while he, the Holy man, remained in the body, to avoid coming into great peril.'

Text: Maya Sánchez 1992, 38-41 (text numbering from Garvin 1945, as used by Fear). Translation: Fear 1997, 67-68.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Faustus, Ianuarius, and Martialis, martyrs of Córdoba, Spain : S00497 Lucretia, martyr probably in Mérida (southern Iberian Peninsula), ob. 304/311 : S01457

Saint Name in Source

Faustus Lucretia

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 - Liturgical Activity

  • Procession

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult Activities - Miracles

Apparition, vision, dream, revelation Miraculous sound, smell, light Power over objects

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops Other lay individuals/ people


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).


The basilica of Faustus was most probably dedicated to the martyr of Córdoba, killed together with Ianuarius and Martial (see Prudentius, Crowns of the Martyrs 4.19-20, E00801). About Lucretia we have no other information from the Late Antique and Visigothic periods. A martyr of that name from Mérida is mentioned only in the 9th century martyrology of Usuard (Fear 1997, 68, n. 96).


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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