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E05846: Constantius of Lyon, in his Life of *Germanus (bishop of Auxerre, ob. c. 448, S00455), written in Latin at Lyon (central Gaul) between c. 460 and c. 480, describes how Germanus and his companion *Lupus (bishop of Troyes, S00418) visited the shrine of *Albanus/Alban (martyr of Verulamium, S01364) and Albanus subsequently protected their crossing of the Channel.

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posted on 2018-06-21, 00:00 authored by dlambert
Constantius of Lyon, Life of Germanus of Auxerre 16, 18

For a full account of Constantius' Life of Germanus, see $E05841.

After Germanus and Lupus have triumphed over the British Pelagians, and Germanus has carried out the healing miracle of $E05881, Germanus and Lupus visit the shrine of Alban (§ 16):

Conpressa itaque peruersitate damnabili eiusque auctoribus confutatis animisque omnium fidei puritate conpositis, sacerdotes beatum Albanum martyrem acturi deo per ipsum gratias petiuerunt.

'When this damnable heresy had been thus stamped out, its authors refuted, and the minds of all reestablished in the true faith, the bishops visited the shrine of the blessed martyr Alban, to give thanks to God through him.'

After a narrative of Germanus' subsequent activities in Britain (§§ 16-18), including his defeat of an invasion by the Picts and Saxons, and a number of miracles (on which see $E06862 and $E07553), Constantius narrates the departure of Germanus and Lupus back to Gaul (§ 18). Here, as in most of his narrative of the visit, Constantius keeps Lupus firmly in the background, and does not mention him by name.

Conposita itaque opulentissima insula securitate multiplici, superatisque hostibus uel spiritalibus uel carne conspicuis, quippe qui uicissent Pelagianistas et Saxones, cum totius merore regionis reditum moliuntur. Tranquillam nauigationem merita propria et intercessio Albani martyris parauerunt quietosque antistites suorum desideriis felix carina restituit.

'Thus this most wealthy island, with the defeat both of its spiritual and of its human foes, was rendered secure in every sense. And now, to the great grief of the whole country, those who had won the victories over both Pelagians and Saxons made preparations for their return. Their own merits and the intercession of Alban the martyr secured for them a calm voyage; and a good ship brought them back in peace to their expectant people.'

For Germanus' next miracles in Britain, see $E06862 and $E07553. After Germanus' return to Auxerre, Constantius describes how he found the city crushed by excessive taxes and therefore decided to seek a remission of taxes from the Praetorian Prefect (§ 19). He begins a journey to Arles, during which his next miracle occurs: $E07554.

Text: Borius 1965. Translation: Hoare 1954. Summary: David Lambert.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Alban, martyr of Verulamium (Britain) : S01364 Lupus, bishop of Troyes, ob. 479 : S00418 Germanus, bishop of Auxerre, ob. c. 448 : S00455

Saint Name in Source

Albanus Germanus

Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Lives


  • 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)

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

Cult activities - Places

Martyr shrine (martyrion, bet sāhedwātā, etc.)

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Power over elements (fire, earthquakes, floods, weather)

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops


Germanus of Auxerre (PCBE 4, 'Germanus 1', pp. 878-883) was the most important and revered episcopal saint of 5th century Gaul. The Life of Germanus was written at an uncertain date, some years after Germanus' death, which is traditionally dated to 448 (but some scholars would place up to twelve years earlier). The Life was probably written at some point between about 465 and 480. The author was Constantius (PCBE 4, 'Constantius 3', pp. 521-522), a literary figure, possibly a cleric, attested as active in Lyon in the 460s and 470s. For full discussion of the issues relating to the authorship and date of the Life of Germanus, see E05841.


The mission of Germanus and Lupus of Troyes to Britain in 429 is narrated in Life of Germanus 12-18. For a contemporary reference to it, see Prosper of Aquitaine, Chronicle 1301. Further details about Germanus' visit to the shrine of Alban appear in the Passion of Alban 10-11 (E07536), where the account of Germanus' visit is more detailed than the one in Constantius' Life. The Life of Germanus is the earliest datable work to refer explicitly either to the shrine of Alban or to Alban himself, though a reference to an unnamed martyr by Victricius of Rouen in the late 4th century has often been taken to be an allusion to Alban (Victricius of Rouen, Praising the Saints 12, lines 104-5).


Editions: Borius, R., Constance de Lyon, Vie de saint Germain d'Auxerre (Sources chrétiennes 112; Paris, 1965), with French translation. Levison, W., Vita Germani episcopi Autissiodorensis auctore Constantio, in: Passiones vitaeque sanctorum aevi Merovingici V (Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptores rerum Merovingicarum 7; Hannover and Leipzig, 1919), 246-283. English translation: Hoare, F.R., The Western Fathers (London, 1954), 283-320. Reprinted in T.F.X. Noble and T. Head (eds.), Soldiers of Christ: Saints and Saints' Lives from Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages (University Park PA, 1995), 75-106.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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