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E05267: Gregory of Tours, in his Miracles of Julian (47), describes how a blind woman was cured in a church with relics of *Julian (martyr of Brioude, S00035), built on a rural estate near Saintes (western Gaul), after receiving a dream vision in Tours (north-west Gaul) of Martin (ascetic and bishop of Tours, ob. 397, S00050). Written in Latin in Clermont and Tours (central and north-west Gaul), 573/587.

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posted on 2018-03-26, 00:00 authored by kwojtalik
Gregory of Tours, Miracles of Julian (Liber de passione et virtutibus sancti Iuliani martyris) 47

Mulier erat a nativitate caeca, quae se exhiberi a parentibus ad beati Martini tumulum deprecata est. Ubi cum venisset, prostrata per triduum ad cancellos, qui ante sepulchrum sancti antistitis habentur extrinsecus, responsum accepit per somnium, dicente sibi sancto viro: 'Si lumen recipere desideras, require basilicam sancti Iuliani, in qua dum praesidium martyris expetis, ille coniunctus Martino visum tibi necessarium simul orationum suarum suffragiis revocabunt'. Exsurgens autem mulier, ignorans, quod in Turonico huius martyris reliquiae tenerentur, ad Sanctonicam urbem dirigit. Victurina etenim matrisfamilias ex nobili stirpe progenita in villae suae territurio basilicam construxerat reliquiasque martyris beati condiderat. Ad hanc ergo aedem mulier accedens, orat per triduum.

‘A woman who had been blind from birth asked to be brought by her parents to the tomb of the blessed Martin. When she had come there, for three days she knelt before the railings that were in front of the tomb of the holy bishop. She received a reply in a dream, when the holy man said to her: ‘If you wish to receive your sight, go to the church of Saint Julian. When you request the protection of the martyr in that church, he joined with Martin will restore the sight that you need through the support of their prayers.’ The woman arose, and because she did not know that there were relics of this martyr [Julian] in Tours, she went to Saintes. For Victurina, who was descended from a noble lineage and was the head of her family, had constructed a church on land belonging to her own villa and had placed relics of the blessed martyr in it. The woman went to this church and prayed for three days. The third day was the festival celebrating the baptism of the Lord.'

On the third day, it was the feast of the birth of the Baptist. During the service a great murmur broke out, and when the priest asked why, he was told that the blind woman had been cured. All praised God.

Text: Krusch 1969, 133. Translation: Van Dam 1993, 193, modified.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Julian, martyr of Brioude : S00035 Martin, ascetic and bishop of Tours, ob. 397 : S00050

Saint Name in Source

Iulianus Martinus

Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Collections of miracles


  • Latin

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Gaul and Frankish kingdoms Gaul and Frankish kingdoms

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

Burial site of a saint - tomb/grave

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Visiting graves and shrines

Cult Activities - Miracles

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

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Women Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy Aristocrats

Cult Activities - Relics

Unspecified relic


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. Gregory's Miracles of Martin (full title Libri de virtutibus sancti Martini episcopi, 'Books of the Miracles of Saint Martin the Bishop'), consists of four books of miracles, 207 chapters in all, effected by Martin, primarily at his grave and shrine in Tours. Most of them occurred at the time of the saint's festivals, on 4 July and 11 November. Gregory tried to record the miracles in chronological order, so historians have been able to calculate quite precisely the dates of the events and miracles mentioned in the work. This fairly precise chronology has enabled scholars to determine the dates of completion of each book. There have been three main dating schemes proposed for the composition of the four books. The oldest was suggested by Monod in 1872, another by Krusch in 1885, and then one by Van Dam in 1993 (for fuller discussion, see Shaw 2015, 103-105). Their datings of the individual books do not vary substantially, and in our entries we have given only those of Van Dam. Shaw 2015 convincingly demolishes an earlier theory, that Gregory wrote the Miracles in two distinct stages: a first stage that was written during a particular period, and a second stage in the early 590s, in which Gregory revised the whole work. Book 1, with 40 chapters, was written between 573 and 576. In the prologue, Gregory mentions that he started writing after he became bishop of Tours in August 573. Book 1 must have been completed by 576, since Venantius Fortunatus in a letter to Gregory of that year referred to it (Epistula ad Gregorium 2, prefatory letter to Fortunatus' Life of Martin, MGH Auct. ant. 4.1, p. 293). Book 2 consists of 60 chapters. It must have been finished before November 581, because the last miracles it mentions occurred in November 580, while the first ones recorded in Book 3 happened in November 581. Using the same methodology, the completion of Book 3, which also covers 60 chapters, can be dated between 587 and July 588. Book 4, which consists of 47 chapters, seems never to have been completed, presumably because of Gregory’s death. There are two main arguments in support of the idea that it is unfinished. Firstly, Book 4 has no conclusion and no tidy number of chapters, while each of Books 1 to 3 has these elements. Secondly, the last story recorded in Book 4 is not about Gregory himself, unlike the final stories of Books 2 and 3. Book 1 covers miracles that occurred before Gregory’s episcopate in Tours. The next three books are a running chronicle of Martin’s miracles under Gregory’s episcopate. Some of the miracles are recorded in very summary form, while others are much more elaborately presented: because of this, it has been argued that Gregory first jotted down notes, and only subsequently gave the stories full literary treatment (which in some cases, he was never able to do). The three completed books of the Miracles of Martin were probably released as they were completed, rather that published together. In this sense they are the exception amongst Gregory's writings, since the rest of his work was not finally completed and seems to have been unpublished at the time of his death. For discussion of the work, see: Krusch, B. (ed.), Gregorii episcopi Turonensis miracula et opera minora (Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptores rerum Merovingicarum 1,2; 2nd ed.; Hannover, 1969), 2–4. Monod, G., Études critiques sur les sources de l’histoire mérovingienne, 1e partie (Paris, 1872), 42–45. 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. Van Dam, R., Saints and Their Miracles in Late Antique Gaul (Princeton, 1993), 142–146, 199.


The church with relics of Julian near Saintes was probably the one in Saint-Julien-de-l’Escap. For more details, see Vieillard-Troiekouroff 1976, 259-260.


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. Vieillard-Troiekouroff, M., Les monuments religieux de la Gaule d’après les oeuvres de Grégoire de Tours (Paris, 1976).

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