Venantius Fortunatus, Miracles of Hilary (Libri de virtutibus sancti Hilarii) 3 (6-10)
Probianus, a boy at the point of death, was brought by his parents (Franco and Periculosa), who had already prepared his funeral, to the church of Hilary in Poitiers. The boy was cured and later became a bishop.
Text: Krusch 1885, 8. Summary: Katarzyna Wojtalik.
Saint NameHilarius/Hilary, bishop of Poitiers, ob. 367 : S00183
Saint Name in SourceHilarius
Type of EvidenceLiterary - Hagiographical - Collections of miracles
Evidence not before567
Evidence not after568
Activity not before500
Activity not after567
Place of Evidence - RegionGaul and Frankish kingdoms
Place of Evidence - City, village, etcPoitiers
Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)Poitiers
Major author/Major anonymous workVenantius Fortunatus
Cult activities - PlacesCult building - independent (church)
Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and CustomsVisiting graves and shrines
Cult Activities - MiraclesMiracle after death
Healing diseases and disabilities
Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and NarrativesChildren
Other lay individuals/ people
SourceVenantius Fortunatus was born in northern Italy, near Treviso, and educated in Ravenna. In the early 560s he crossed the Alps into Merovingian Gaul, where he spent the rest of his life, making his living primarily through writing Latin poetry for the aristocracy of northern Gaul, both secular and ecclesiastical. His first datable commission in Gaul is a poem to celebrate the wedding in 566 of the Austrasian royal couple, Sigibert and Brunhild. His principal patrons were Radegund and Agnes, the royal founder and the first abbess of the monastery of the Holy Cross at Poitiers, Gregory, the historian and bishop of Tours, Leontius, bishop of Bordeaux, and Felix, bishop of Nantes, but he also wrote poems for several kings and for many other members of the aristocracy. In addition to occasional poems for his patrons, Fortunatus wrote a four-book epic poem about Martin of Tours, and several works of prose and verse hagiography. The latter part of his life was spent in Poitiers, and, probably in the 590s, he became bishop of the city; he is presumed to have died early in the 7th century.
Fortunatus' Miracles of Hilary (Liber de virtutibus sancti Hilarii) consists of thirteen very short chapters describing only nine miracles. The work is a complement to his Life of Hilary (see E06713). Both the Miracles and the Life are dedicated to Pascentius, bishop of Poitiers, which enables us to date their composition with some precision to 567/568, since Fortunatus almost certainly arrived in Poitiers in 567, while Pascentius died, and was succeeded as bishop by Meroveus, in 568. Gregory of Tours used the Life and Miracles, in Glory of the Confessors 2 (see E02452) and Histories 2.37 (see E02032).
DiscussionThe boy Probianus, later a bishop, whose miraculous salvation is here recounted by Venantius, was perhaps the priest who represented the bishop of Bourges (central Gaul) at the Council of Orléans in AD 541, and who as bishop of Bourges attended the Council of Paris in 552 and another Council of Paris between 556 and 573. Gregory of Tours in his Glory of the Confessors 79 (see E02711) also tells of this Probianus (Van Dam 1993, 157, n. 3).
Krusch, B., Venanti Honori Clementiani Fortunati presbyteri Italici Opera pedestria (Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Auctores Antiquissimi 4.2; Berolini: Apud Weidmannos, 1885).
Van Dam, R., Saints and Their Miracles in Late Antique Gaul (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993).