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E05921: In the anonymous Life of the Jura Fathers, the author recounts how *Lupicinus and Romanus (brothers and founders of the Jura monasteries, mid 5th c., S00003) appeared in a vision to Eugendus (later abbot in Condat) to show him his future; 450/460 in Izernore (eastern Gaul). Written in Latin at Condat in the Jura mountains (modern Saint-Claude in eastern Gaul), 512/525.

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posted on 2018-07-08, 00:00 authored by dlambert
The Life of the Jura Fathers 121-125 (Life of Saint Eugendus the Abbot)


After describing (§ 120) how Eugendus was born in the town of Izernore in the Jura, the son of a presbyter, the author describes how, when he was a child, Eugendus had a vision (visio) in which he was carried away by two monks, who are at first unnamed, but who the author states further on in the passage were 'without doubt' Romanus and Lupicinus (sanctos procul dubio Romanum et Lupicinum patres). They first showed him the stars, making him understand that, as with Abraham, 'So shall thy seed be' (Gen. 15:5). Gradually first one, then another of these spiritual descendants appeared, until he was surrounded by a vast multitude, like an enormous swarm of bees. Then something like huge gates (instar amplissimae portae) opened in the heavens (culimina ... caelestia), through which he saw a staircase like crystal, down which advanced choirs of angels, dancing and singing God's praises. They mixed with the human beings surrounding him, and then returned to heaven. The author states that he was told by Eugendus himself (bene, ipso dignanter referente, commemini, 'I well remember, because he kindly told me') that he only fully understood the vision later, when he had joined the monastery and heard the choir singing antiphonally 'I am the way, the life, and the truth' (Jn 14:6, the alteration of the biblical word order is in the original). The heavens and the stars then closed up and Eugendus woke. He immediately told his father, who understood that his son should be dedicated as a monk. After spending about a year teaching him to read and write, his father offered (oblatus) him to Romanus, and he joined the monastery.

Text: Martine 1988, 368-372. Summary: David Lambert.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Romanus and Lupicinus, brothers and founders of the Jura monasteries, mid 5th c. : S00003 Angels, unnamed or name lost : S00723

Saint Name in Source

Romanus, Lupicinus

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 - Miracles

Miracle during lifetime Apparition, vision, dream, revelation

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - abbots Children


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)


Unlike other visions of Romanus and Lupicinus recorded in the Life of Eugendus (E05922 and E05953), this took place when both men were alive. The author goes on (§ 126) to state that Eugendus joined the monastery when he was seven, so this vision took place when he was about six. It is stated in the same passage that when Eugendus died (between 512 and 515) he was 'over sixty' (ultra sexagesimo). Since he joined the monastery when Romanus, who died by about 460, was still alive, his vision and subsequent joining of the monastery must have taken place at some point in the mid 450s.


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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