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E05150: Gregory of Tours, in his Miracles of Julian (9), recounts the construction of the church of *Julian (martyr of Brioude, S00035) in Brioude (central Gaul); how people were cured there from various diseases; a paralytic woman was healed after Julian appeared to her in a dream. Written in Latin in Clermont and Tours (central and north-west Gaul), 570/587.

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posted on 2018-03-04, 00:00 authored by kwojtalik
Gregory of Tours, Miracles of Julian (Liber de passione et virtutibus sancti Iuliani martyris) 9

Pro quibus ac talibus virtutum ornamentis magna ibi basilica fabricata a fidelibus, virtutibus, ut praefati sumus, martyris beati refulget, in qua paralyticorum, clodorum, caecorum et aliorum quoque morborum saepius petita remedia conquiruntur. Fedamia quaedam mulier paralysi humore constricta, quae nullum corporis membrum sine dolore vigebat, exhibita est, deferentibus propinquis, ad beatam basilicam, ut vel stipem a largientibus mereretur. Quae dum in porticu illa, quae sanctae basilicae coniungitur, decubaret noctem dominicam, dum sacrosanctis vigiliis populi fides devota concelebrat, et illa quiescens lectulo paululum obdormisset, a viro quodam per visum correpta atque increpita est, dicente sibi, cur, reliquis excubias nocturnas Deo exhibentibus, illa deesset. Respondit, se ab omni membrorum parte debilem nec penitus gressum agere posse. Tunc quasi sustentata a viro qui loquebatur ei et ad sepulchrum usque deducta, dum in sopore fundit orationem, visum est ei, quasi multitudo catenarum ab eius membris solo decidere.

A quo etiam sonitu expergefacta, sensit omnium artuum recepisse plenissimam sanitatem. Protinus surrexit a lectulo, et stupentibus cunctis, cum gratiarum actione vociferans, sanctam est ingressa basilicam. Ferunt etiam quidam, solitam fuisse eam referre habitum viri qui eam fuerat adlocutus. Dicebat, eum statura esse procerum, veste nitidum, elegantia eximium, vultu hilarem, flava caesariae, inmixtis canis, incessu expeditum, voce liberum, allocutione blandissinium, candoremque cutis illius ultra lilii nitorem fulgere, ita ut de multis milibus hominum, quae saepe vidisset, nullum similem conspicaret. Unde multis non absurde videtur, ei beatum martyrem apparuisse. Quae mulier post decim et octo annos sanata est.

'Because of these and other comparably distinguished miracles the believers constructed a great church there. This church was celebrated because of the miracles of the blessed martyr, as I said; in it cures were often requested and received for people suffering from paralysis, lameness, blindness, and other illnesses. A woman named Foedamia was restricted by swelling due to paralysis and felt pain whenever she moved any part of her body. Her relatives brought her and put her on display at the blessed church, so that she might gain alms from the generous. On the night before a Sunday she was lying in the forecourt attached to the holy church. While the people were faithfully and piously celebrating the sacred vigils, and while she was peacefully dozing a bit on her bed, a man admonished and rebuked her in a dream. He asked her why she was not with the others who were offering vigils to God during the night. She replied that she was disabled in all her limbs and that she could not walk at all. Then [she felt] as if the man who was speaking to her supported her and led her all the way to the tomb. While she was praying in her sleep, it seemed to her as if a load of chains fell from her limbs to the ground.

Awakened by this sound, she knew that she had received complete health in all her limbs. Immediately she got up from her couch and to everyone’s surprise shouted out her gratitude and entered the holy church. Some say that this woman used to describe the appearance of the man who had addressed her. She said that the man was tall, well dressed, and exceptionally elegant, with a smiling face, his blond hair streaked grey, moving gracefully, speaking openly and most pleasantly, the gleam of his skin surpassing the whiteness of a lily. And out of the thousands of men she had often observed, she had seen no-one else like him. To many people it seemed quite reasonable that the blessed martyr had appeared to her. This woman was cured after eighteen years.'

Text: Krusch 1969, 118-119. Translation: Van Dam 1993, 170, modified.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Julian, martyr of Brioude : S00035

Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Collections of miracles


  • Latin

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Tours Clermont

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

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

Major author/Major anonymous work

Gregory of Tours

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Construction of cult buildings

Cult Activities - Miracles

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

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Other lay individuals/ people Women


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. The Miracles of Julian, full title Martyrdom and Miracles of the Martyr Saint Julian (Liber de passione et virtutibus sancti Iuliani martyris), consists of 50 chapters. It opens with a brief account of Julian's martyrdom and of the discovery of his head in Vienne (chapters 1 and 2), followed by 48 chapters of miracles effected by the saint, primarily at his tomb in Brioude (south of Clermont, central Gaul), but also through relics distributed in other areas of Gaul (and in one case, chapter 33, even in an unnamed 'city of the East'). Brioude and the shrine of Julian are within the ancient territory of Clermont, Gregory's native city, and the attachment that he and his wider family felt towards Julian is manifest in a number of stories in the Miracles, including evidence that Gregory often attended the feast of the saint on 28 August. In chapter 50 Gregory addresses Julian as his patron and asks for his support through the remainder of his life. Gregory wrote the Miracles of Julian over an extended period, very possibly starting before he became bishop of Tours in 573. Statements he makes in chapters 32 and 34 suggest that he initially planned to draw the book to a close with less chapters than the fifty we have, and that this was soon after his consecration to Tours; but, learning later of more miracles (primarily from Aredius of Limoges, chapters 41-45) and himself witnessing a further miracle (chapter 46a), he extended the book to 50 chapters, completing these in the early or mid 580s. Chapter 50 addresses the reader in a valedictory tone, with a personal invocation of Julian; but it is possible that the work was never published in Gregory's lifetime. For discussion of the work, see: Krusch B., Gregorii Turonensis Gregorii episcopi Turonensis Miracula et opera minora (Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptores rerum Merovingicarum I.2; 2nd ed.; Hannover, 1969), 2. Monod G., Études critiques sur les sources de l’histoire mérovingienne, 1e partie (Paris, 1872), 42–45. Van Dam, R., Saints and their Miracles in Late Antique Gaul (Princeton, 1993), 162-163. 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.


Edition: Krusch B., Gregorii episcopi Turonensis Miracula et opera minora (Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptores rerum Merovingicarum I.2; 2nd ed.; Hannover 1969), 112–134. Translation: de Nie. G., Lives and Miracles: Gregory of Tours (Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library 39; Cambridge MA, 2015). Van Dam, R., Saints and their Miracles in Late Antique Gaul (Princeton, 1993), 200–303. Further reading: Murray A.C. (ed.), A Companion to Gregory of Tours (Leiden and 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.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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