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E05901: In the anonymous Life of the Jura Fathers, the author recounts how a possessed man was healed at the tomb of *Romanus (ascetic and monastic founder of the Jura, ob. 455/460, S00003) in La Balme (eastern Gaul); 455/525. Written in Latin at Condat in the Jura mountains (modern Saint-Claude in eastern Gaul), 512/525.

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posted on 2018-07-01, 00:00 authored by dlambert
The Life of the Jura Fathers 41-42 (Life of Saint Romanus the Abbot)

The author recalls the miracles that occurred at the tomb of Romanus. In particular, unclean spirits were repelled there.

De mirabilibus uero signorum, quae gratia diuina uallatus in expulsionem inmundorum spirituum gessisse memoratur, replicarem utcumque nunc aliqua, nisi multo illa eminentiora coniciantur quae, latendi causa, teste tantum Domino studuit operari. Vnde, quia exstingui nequit accensa semper gratia meritorum, dona haec sancti Spiritus circa sepulchrum ipsius peculiarius curiosus religiosusque lector inquirat, ubi pro fide uel meritis expetentum plus uidet quisque quod credat, quam legat fortasse quod dubitet. Memini tamen beatissimum domnumque meum Eugendum referre solitum quod, inter eos quos illic in pueritia uiderat diuerso more, una tamen potentiae uirtute torqueri, ita supra urnam beati Romani quemdam ex infelicibus in faciem uidisset extendi, ut solent criminosi hac scelerati diuaricati tendiculis iudicum sententia uerberari, atque inibi duobus cubitis fere semihora suspensus, obsidentis scelera uel crimina clamans atque eiulans publicabat.

'With regard to the remarkable miracles related about Romanus, which, protected as he was by divine grace, he worked to repel unclean spirits, I should recount a few of them, as best I can. Much more excellent, however, are those that for the sake of secrecy he strove to perform with only God as witness. Therefore, because the grace enkindled by good works can never be extinguished, let the pious and diligent reader seek these gifts of the Holy Spirit, particularly around the tomb of this holy man. There, according to the faith and good works of those who seek him out, each person gains more belief from what he sees than he does from the things he reads and perhaps doubts. I still remember how my blessed lord Eugendus was accustomed to relating this event: Among those whom he saw there in his childhood), he saw one unfortunate person, one among many who were tormented in a number of ways by the same Power; this one was lying face down, stretched out upon the sarcophagus (urna) of blessed Romanus as criminals and malefactors under sentence of judgement lie prostrate, bound hand and foot for flogging. And there, suspended four feet in the air for half an hour, wailing and crying out, the man proclaimed the wicked deeds and crimes of the Power who possessed him.'

Text: Martine 1968, 284 and 286. Translation: Vivian et al. 1999, 122.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Romanus and Lupicinus, brothers and founders of the Jura monasteries, mid 5th c. : S00003

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Lives



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)

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

Cult activities - Places

Burial site of a saint - tomb/grave

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Oral transmission of saint-related stories

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Exorcism

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - abbots Other lay individuals/ people


The Life of the Jura Fathers (Vita patrum Iurensium) consists of three vitae – of Romanus (ob. 455/460; PCBE 4, 'Romanus 3'), Lupicinus (ob. 472/475; PCBE 4, 'Lupicinus 4'), and Eugendus (ob. 512/515; PCBE 4, 'Eugendus'). Romanus and his brother Lupicinus were the founders of the ascetic communities which grew up in the 5th century in remote rural areas in the Jura mountains of eastern Gaul; Eugendus was their eventual successor in the late 5th century. Romanus' community was located at Condat (Condadisco), modern Saint-Claude, where he seems to have settled sometime in the 430s (to judge from the not always clear chronology of his Life); within a few years he was joined by his younger brother Lupicinus. As the size of the community grew, Lupicinus eventually established his own settlement nearby at Lauconnus (modern Saint-Lupicin). Romanus also founded a female monastic community, headed by his sister (whose name is unknown), at Balma (La Balme, modern Saint-Romain-des-Roches), a few miles from Condat. The Life of the Jura Fathers was written after the death of Eugendus, which occurred in the period 512/515 (the date is established by Avitus of Vienne, Letter 19), probably soon after. François Massai pointed out that in spite of the author's demonstrative reverence for Eugendus, the Life attributes no posthumous miracles to him (Massai 1971, 57), suggesting that it was composed only a short time after his death. More debatably, Massai argued (Massai 1971, 50, 56) that references in the text to the shrine of the Theban Legion at Saint-Maurice-d'Agaune – notably the preface (E05898) and § 44 (E07851) – seem to depict it before its refoundation by the Burgundian prince Sigismund in 515. While not dating the work quite so early, Martine 1968, 56, argued that it influenced the Life of the Abbots of Agaune (E06267), which he dated to the mid 520s. The Life of the Jura Fathers is anonymous, but the author discloses various details about his life: he seems to have been a native of the Jura region, and he himself was a member of the community at Condat. He knew Eugendus personally, and regularly emphasises that he was a witness of events in Eugendus' time and was told about many earlier events by Eugendus himself. His knowledge of Romanus and Lupicinus came from the traditions of the community and the reminiscences of Eugendus and other older monks (by the time the Life of the Jura Fathers was written, thirty to forty years had passed since the death of Lupicinus, and fifty to sixty since the death of Romanus). On the author, and the information that can be established about him, see Martine 1968, 45-53; Vivian et al. 1999, 48-52. The author was well-read in Latin ascetic literature: he was certainly familiar with the works of Sulpicius Severus on Martin of Tours, which he sometimes quotes directly. Allusions and references in his work suggest that he also knew the Life of Antony (probably the Latin version by Evagrius, E00930), Jerome's ascetic Lives, Rufinus' Latin version of Eusebius' Church History, and works by Basil of Caesarea (in translation) and John Cassian. See Vivian et al. 1999, 50-51. For full discussion of the text, author, and date, see primarily the introduction to Martine 1968; see also Vivian et al. 1999, 47-61. For brief accounts of the sites associated with Romanus, Lupicinus and Eugendus, see Vieillard-Troiekouroff 1976, 249-250, 262-264, 273-274. The lives of Romanus and Lupicinus are also recounted by Gregory of Tours in his Life of the Fathers 1 (see E00003, E00004). (David Lambert)


The incident reported here is attributed to Eugendus' recollection of an event that took place in his childhood – perhaps sometime in the 460s. In a note to this passage, Vivian et al. suggest that it is unclear what the author meant by his statement that the possessed man was suspended four feet over Romanus' tomb, suggesting it may mean simply that he was lying on top of the tomb which was four feet (literally, 'two cubits', duobus cubitis) above the ground (Vivian et al. 1999, 122, n. 114). However, the general depiction of exorcisms in the literature of the period leaves little doubt that the possessed man should be visualised as suspended in the air above the tomb.


Edition: Martine, F., Vie des pères du Jura (Sources Chrétiennes 142; Paris: Les Éditions du Cerf, 1968). English translation: Vivian, T., Vivian, K., and Russell, J.B. The Life of the Jura Fathers (Cistercian Studies Series 178; Kalamazoo: Cistercian Publications, 1999). Further reading: Massai, F., "‘La «Vita patrum iurensium» et les débuts du monachisme à Saint-Maurice d’Agaune," in: J. Autenrieth and F. Brunhölzl (eds.), Festschrift Bernard Bischoff zu seinem 65. Geburtstag (Stuttgart, 1971), 43-69. Vieillard-Troiekouroff, M., Les monuments religieux de la Gaule d'après les œuvres de Grégoire de Tours (Paris, 1976).

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