University of Oxford

File(s) not publicly available

E05917: In the anonymous Life of the Jura Fathers, the author recounts how people were cured after they lay in the bed of a monk who had been restored to health by *Lupicinus (ascetic of the Jura, ob. c. 475, S00003); c. 455/c. 475 in Condat (eastern Gaul). Written in Latin at Condat in the Jura mountains (modern Saint-Claude in eastern Gaul), 512/525.

online resource
posted on 2018-07-07, 00:00 authored by dlambert
The Life of the Jura Fathers 78 (Life of Saint Lupicinus the Abbot)

The author tells the story (§§ 71-78) of a monk in the monastery in Condat whose fasting was so extreme (he ate nothing but crumbs from the evening meals of the other monks) that it reduced him nearly to the point of death. He could neither straighten his spine, nor walk, nor use his arms. Lupicinus came to him and tried to restore him to health. He took him to the garden and acting as if he himself were knotted up by a similar affliction he was stretching his limbs. Then he did the same with the monk's limbs and fed him with bread soaked in wine. On the third day the monk was able to stand on his own and weed the vegetables. Within a week he was restored. The author then states:

(78.) Huic namque fratri, meritorum gratia adstipulante, diuina largitate concessum est, ut si quis aegrotans lectulo
ipsius fuisset inpositus, explosa omni inaequalitate, confestim sanitatis pristinae commodis redderetur. Ego etiam multis adhuc puerulus ex his fratribus uidi qui id et uisu in aliis et in semet experimentis creberrimis conprobarant.

'Divine largesse, which works together with the grace of good works, was so fully bestowed upon this brother that if someone placed a sick person on his bed, the illness was driven completely away and the person was immediately fully restored to his former good health. I myself, still a young child at the time, saw many of the brothers corroborate this, both from having seen it happen to others and from repeated experiences of their own.'

Text: Martine 1968, 324. Translation: Vivian et al. 1999, 139.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

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

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)

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

Cult activities - Places

Place associated with saint's life

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Oral transmission of saint-related stories

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle during lifetime Healing diseases and disabilities

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - monks/nuns/hermits Ecclesiastics - abbots

Cult Activities - Relics

Contact relic - saint’s possession and clothes


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)


This part of the Life of Lupicinus records how Lupicinus restored the health of an unnamed monk who had reduced himself nearly to the point to death by extreme fasting. This is not presented as a miraculous healing, but as the result of Lupicinus' kindness and understanding. However it was then granted to the healed monk that his bed possessed the power to heal sick people who lay on it. Pace the suggestion of Vivian et al. (Vivian et al. 1999, 139, n. 19), the Latin of the passage as a whole leaves no reasonable doubt that the reference in § 78 to 'this brother' (huic namque fratri), the possessor of the healing bed, is to the monk who had been healed by Lupicinus, not to Lupicinus himself. The monk is repeatedly referred to in the preceding paragraphs as a frater, while nowhere in the passage is the word used of Lupicinus.


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).

Usage metrics

    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



    Ref. manager