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E03536: The Lives of the Fathers of Mérida written in Latin in 633/660, in Mérida (south-west Spain) recount that because of the virtues of Bishop Masona (c. 570–c. 600/610) and the merits of *Eulalia (virgin and martyr of Mérida, S00407), God kept disease and famine far from Lusitania, people were wealthy, joyful, and full of charity, and the Jews and pagans converted to Christianity.

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posted on 2017-08-07, 00:00 authored by mszada
Lives of the Fathers of Mérida, 5.2

The hagiographer describes Masona as a Goth of noble stock who is full of faith, charity and love of God and his neighbour.

[2] ... dilectus namque Deo et hominibus, etate et gloria mirabilis, amator fratrum, multum orans pro populo, cuius nomen multis choruscando miraculis per omnem terram pertransibit. [3] Huius itaque temporibus morbum pestem inedie que inopiam ab urbe Emeretensi uel omnem Lusitaniam eius precibus Dominus procul abegit meritis que sacresancte Eolalie uirginis longius pepulit tantam que salutem et omnium copiam deliciarum cuncto populo inpertire dignauit, [4] ut nullus umquam, quamuis inops, aliquid dehabere uideretur aut qualibet necessitate fatigaretur, sed quemammodum opulenti ita et inopes omnibus bonis habundarent et quodam modo instar celestis gaudii uniuersus populus in terris tanti pontificis meritum congauderet.

'2. ... For beloved of God and men, the wonder and glory of his age, a lover of his brethren, he prayed greatly for his people, and his name, resplendent from the many miracles he performed, became known throughout all the land. 3. In his time through his prayers the Lord kept disease, plague, and famine far from the city of Merida and indeed from all Lusitania, driving them far away because of the merits of the most holy virgin Eulalia. Moreover, he deemed it worthy to impart such health and such a bounty of every delight to all the people 4. that no one, not even a poor man, was seen to be in need or to be wearied by want, but the poor just like the wealthy had an abundance of all good things and all the people on earth were joyful, as if they were rejoicing in heaven, at the virtue of so great a bishop.'

Then it is said that all the people live in peace and were charitable, no one was in grief, no one was jealous, all were free from fear.

[7] Non solum autem in omnium fidelium arcanis eius fraglabat inmensa karitas, sed omnium Iudeorum uel gentilium mentes miro dulcedinis sue affectu ad Xpi. gratia pertraebat.

'7. And this great love of Masona did not only burn in the innermost hearts of all the faithful, but through his wondrous sweet affection he drew minds of all the Jews and pagans in to the grace of Christ.'

Text: Maya Sánchez 1992, 48-50 (text numbering from Garvin 1945, as used by Fear). Translation: Fear 1997, 73-74. Summary; M. Szada.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Eulalia, martyr of Mérida (Spain), ob. 303/305 : S00407

Saint Name in Source


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 - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs


Cult Activities - Miracles

Miraculous protection - of communities, towns, armies


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).


An idea that the miraculous event is an effect of the prayers of the pious bishop joined with the merits of Eulalia appears also in the story about the destruction of the episcopal palace during the episcopate of Masona's predecessor, Fidelis. See Lives of the Fathers of Merida 4.6 (E03293).


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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