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E05270: Gregory of Tours, in his Miracles of Julian (50), recounts how he dedicated the church at Pernay in the Touraine (north-west Gaul) with relics of *Julian (martyr of Brioude, S00035), and *Nicetius (bishop of Lyon, ob. 573, S00049), and how a blind man was cured there; Gregory closes the chapter, and his book, with the hope that Julian, his patron, will help him lead a good Christian life. 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) 50

Gregory closes his Miracles of Julian with this chapter and these words:

Sed quoniam non est absurdum, si beatus Iulianus cum Iohanne aut Martino dona sanitatem inpertiat, cum quibus victor saeculi in caelo trepudiat, referam adhuc, qualiter cum Nicetio Lugdunense simili virtute floruerit. Igitur infra terminum territurii Turonici Litomeris quidam in honore sancti martyris basilicam aedificavit, in qua nos ex more ad benedicendum evocati, sancti Iuliani martyris cum Niceti Lugdunensis reliquias collocavimus. Sed non multum post tempore caecus adveniens, fideliter orationem fudit, visum recipere meruit. Memini huic caeco in libro vitae sancti Niceti, quia dignum est, ut communis virtus utriusque sancti scripta connectat.

Ergo his miraculis lector intendens intellegat, non aliter nisi martyrum reliquorumque amicorum Dei adiutoriis se posse salvari. Ego autem Domini misericordiam per beati martyris Iuliani patrociniae deprecor, ut advocatus in causis alumni proprii coram Domino adsistens obteneat, ut absque inpedimento maculae ullius huius vitae cursum peragam atque illa quae confessus sum in baptismum inreprehensibiliter teneam, fideliter exerceam, viriliter usque ad consummationem huius vitae custodiam. Amen'.

‘Since it is not surprising that the blessed Julian shares the gifts of healing with John and Martin, with whom as a victor over this world he dances in heaven, let me also relate how he, along with Nicetius of Lyon, was distinguished with a similar power. Within the boundaries of the territory of Tours Litomeris built a church in honor of the holy martyr. In accordance with custom I was invited for the dedication, and in this church I placed relics of the martyr Saint Julian along with those of Nicetius of Lyon. A bit later a blind man came [to this church], piously offered a prayer, and deserved to receive his sight. I have [also] recorded this blind man in my book about the life of Saint Nicetius, because it is proper that a common miracle link the writings about each saint.

Therefore let the reader who is interested in these miracles understand that he can be saved in no other way than by the assistance of the martyrs and the other friends of God. I, however, pray for the goodwill of the Lord through the patronage of the blessed martyr Julian. May he stand before the Lord and be successful as an advocate on behalf of [me,] his own foster son, so that I might complete the course of this life without the handicap of any blemish, and so that until the end of this life I might blamelessly retain, faithfully exercise, and manfully protect what I confessed at my baptism. Amen.’

Text: Krusch 1969, 133-134. Translation: Van Dam 1993, 194-195; lightly modified.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Julian, martyr of Brioude : S00035 Nicetius, bishop of Lyon, ob. 573 : S00049 Martin, ascetic and bishop of Tours, ob. 397 : S00050

Saint Name in Source

Iulianus Nicetus 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

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Construction of cult buildings

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Healing diseases and disabilities

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops

Cult Activities - Relics

Unspecified relic Transfer, translation and deposition of relics


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.


Gregory describes the miracle with a blind man in his Life of the Fathers 8.8, see E00062. For more details about the church of Julian and Nicetius in Pernay, see Vieillard-Troiekouroff 1976, 216-217.


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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