File(s) not publicly available

E05132: Paulinus of Nola, writing in c. 405 in Nola (southern Italy), describes the translation to Constantinople of the relics of *Timothy (the disciple of Paul, S00466) and *Andrew (the Apostle, S00288), and how, at this time, small fragments of bone were detached and distributed.

online resource
posted on 2018-02-26, 00:00 authored by frances
Paulinus of Nola, Natalicium 11, verses 329-363, [AD 405]

Paulinus describes the translation of the relics of saints including Timothy and Andrew to Constantinople (see E04767). These relics effected miracles at the places where they stopped on the journey. When they arrived at their destination, the couriers were encouraged to take a fragment of the relics with them:

inde igitur suadente fide data copia fidis
tunc comitum studiis, quaedam ut sibi pignora uellent
ossibus e sanctis merito decerpere fructu,
ut quasi mercedem officii pretiumque laboris
praesidia ad priuata domum sibi quisque referrent.

ex illo sacri cineres quasi semina uitae
diuersis sunt sparsa locis, quaque osse minuto
de modica sacri stipe corporis exiguus ros
decidit in gentes, illic pia gratia fontes
et fluuios uitae generauit gutta fauillae.

'This, then, was the means by which the faithful and zealous escorts of the relics were afforded a chance at the prompting of faith to break off some keepsakes from the holy bones as their deserved reward, so that they could individually bear back home for their personal protection the reward for their service and payment for their toil. As a result, the sacred ashes have been scattered over different areas like life giving seeds. Wherever a drop of dew has fallen on men in the shape of a particle of bone, the tiny gift from a consecrated body, holy grace has brought forth fountains in that place, and the tiny drops of ashes have begotten rivers of life'.

Text: Dolveck 2015. Translation: Walsh 1975.
Summary: Frances Trzeciak.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Timothy, the disciple of Paul the Apostle : S00466 Andrew, the Apostle : S00288

Saint Name in Source

Timotheus Andreas

Type of Evidence

Literary - Poems Literary - Hagiographical - Other saint-related texts



Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Italy south of Rome and Sicily Italy south of Rome and Sicily

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Nola Cimitile

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

Nola Adriatic Sea Adriatic Sea Adriaticum Mare Cimitile Adriatic Sea Adriatic Sea Adriaticum Mare

Major author/Major anonymous work

Paulinus of Nola

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Unspecified miracle

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - entire body Bodily relic - corporeal ashes/dust Division of relics Bodily relic - bones and teeth


The Natalicia are a series of poems which were composed by Paulinus of Nola (ob. 431), to be delivered annually on Felix’s feast day (14 January) between 395 and 408. These poems were written and delivered before Paulinus became bishop of Nola. Natalicium 1 was composed in Spain whilst the rest of the poems were written and delivered at Nola. They provide an insight into the development of the cult of Felix in Nola under Paulinus. They are often understood in the classical tradition of ‘birthday poems’ – in this case Felix’s birthday being the day he was reborn in heaven. Yet Roberts (2010) has argued they equally incorporate tropes from epideictic poetry and speeches delivered at public festivals. Additionally, Nat. 3 and 4 – sometimes called the Vita Felicis – draw on hagiographic tropes. The Natalicia have been re-edited in their original order by Dolveck (2015), the numbering we follow. A concordance with the numbering of Wilhelm Hartel's earlier edition (1894) is offered below: Natalicium 1 (395) - Carmen 12 Natalicium 2 (396) - Carmen 13 Natalicium 3 (397) - Carmen 14 Natalicium 4 (398) - Carmen 15 Natalicium 5 (399) - Carmen 16 Natalicium 6 (400) - Carmen 18 Natalicium 7 (401) - Carmen 23 Natalicium 8 (402) - Carmen 26 Natalicium 9 (403) - Carmen 27 Natalicium 10 (404) - Carmen 28 Natalicium 11 (405) - Carmen 19 Natalicium 12 (406) - Carmen 20 Natalicium 13 (407) - Carmen 21 Natalicium 14 (408) - Carmen 29


The division and distribution of both corporeal and contact relics was a practice Paulinus eagerly took part in. For example, fragmentary relics of various apostles and martyrs (including Andrew) rested in altars in the basilica complex at Nola/Cimitile and the church founded by Paulinus in Funda/Fondi (southern Italy) (see E05104 and E04768). Many of these were sent by friends and contacts. For example relics of Gervasius and Protasius - whose full body relics rested in Milan - were sent to Paulinus by Ambrose of Milan (ob. 397). Similarly, he received a fragment of the True Cross from Melania the Elder. He then sent a splinter of this relic to his correspondent, Sulpicus Severus, so it could be placed in his church at Primuliacum (modern day Prémillac) in southern Gaul (see E02995).


Edition Dolveck, Franz, Carmina, Paulini Nolani, Corpus Christianorum Series Latina (Turnhout: Brepols, 2015) no. 21, pp. 293 – 493. Translation P. G. Walsh, The Poems of Paulinus of Nola, Ancient Christian Writers (New York: Newman Press, 1975) pp. 73-105; 114-201; 209-220; 254-307. Further Reading Moliner, Manuel, 'La basilique funéraire de la rue Malaval à Marseille (Bouches-du-Rhône)', Gallia: Archéologie de la France antique 69(2) (2012) 131-36. Mratschek, Sigrid, ‘Multis enim notissima est sanctitas loci: Paulinus and the Gradual Rise of Nola as a Center of Christian Hospitality’, Journal of Early Christian Studies, 9(4) (2001) 511-53. Trout, Dennis, Paulinus of Nola: Life, Letters and Poems (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1975). Roberts, Michael, ‘Rhetoric and the Natalica of Paulinus of Nola’, Quaderni Urbinati di Cultura Classica, 95(2) (2010), 53-69

Usage metrics