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E05414: Venantius Fortunatus, in his Miracles of Hilary , describes how Castorius and Crispius, two lepers from Cahors (south-west Gaul) were cured after they applied over a long period dust from the tomb in Poitiers of *Hilary (bishop of Poitiers, ob. 367, S00183). Written in Latin in Poitiers (western Gaul), 567/568.

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posted on 2018-05-13, 00:00 authored by kwojtalik
Venantius Fortunatus, Miracles of Hilary (Libri de virtutibus sancti Hilarii) 4 (11-14)

Castorius, who subsequently became a deacon, and Crispius, who subsequently became a subdeacon, two lepers from Cahors, came to the tomb of Hilary in Poitiers.

Nam cum a Cadurcis venissent duo leprae maculis immutati spem suae salutis in sancti intercessione fundantes, de pulvere qui ab eius sepulchro abstergebatur sua lavantes capita et membra reliqua perunguentes, tam diu sibi talem curam fideliter impenderunt, donec infirmitatis ipsiuis ulcus ac varietas de corpore quod captivaverat captiva migraret, ut decepta suis solatiis colorem quem invaserat inviolata relinqueret et quam secum attulerat turpitudinis speciem non teneret. Post innumerabilia vulnera membris omnibus instaurata est cutis una: vultus ille diuturna deletus sordidine sua coepit repingi imagine nec agnosci. Per fidelissimum lavacrum Pictavis illis purificus Iordanis inventus est et non ipsi ad fluvium sed fluvius ad ipsos hic occurrit. Quae tam praedicabilis patuit miseratio confessoris, qui et laborem longinqui itineris abstulit et salutis vota porrexit.

'Two lepers who were disfigured with sores came from Cahors. Since they had entrusted their hope for a cure to the intercession of the saint, they washed their heads and smeared their limbs with dust that had been wiped from his tomb. They faithfully applied this remedy to themselves for a long time until the ulcers and the discoloration caused by their illness were arrested and left the bodies that they had seized. Once this illness was ensnared by this cure, it was healed, left behind the [healthy] coloration that it had attacked, and did not maintain the ugly appearance that it had imposed. Despite countless sores, a single [healthy] skin was restored to all their limbs, and their faces that had been ruined by this lengthy disfigurement began to be reformed in their own likenesses, even if they were unrecognized. The purifying waters of the Jordan River were found in this most reliable fountain at Poitiers, and since these lepers did not go to this river, this river came here to them. The confessor’s compassion appeared to be so praiseworthy because he removed the effort of a lengthy journey and fulfilled their requests for a cure.'

Text: Krusch 1885, 8-9. Translation: Van Dam 1993, 157.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Hilarius/Hilary, bishop of Poitiers, ob. 367 : S00183

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

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


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

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

Major author/Major anonymous work

Venantius Fortunatus

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 Healing diseases and disabilities

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

The socially marginal (beggars, prostitutes, thieves)

Cult Activities - Relics

Contact relic - dust/sand/earth


Venantius 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).


The healing of two lepers at the tomb of Hilary in Poitiers is also recounted by Gregory of Tours in his Glory of the Confessors 2, see E02452.


Edition: Krusch, B., Venanti Honori Clementiani Fortunati presbyteri Italici Opera pedestria (Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Auctores Antiquissimi 4.2; Berolini: Apud Weidmannos, 1885). Translation: Van Dam, R., Saints and Their Miracles in Late Antique Gaul (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993).

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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