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E05945: In the anonymous Life of the Jura Fathers, the author describes how a crowd of afflicted people went to *Eugendus (ascetic in the Jura mountains, ob. 512/515, S02182) for healing, and how he gave written injunctions (mandata) and oil to cure others who could not come in person; Condat, c. 496/515. Written in Latin at Condat in the Jura mountains (modern Saint-Claude in eastern Gaul), 512/525.

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posted on 2018-07-12, 00:00 authored by dlambert
The Life of the Jura Fathers 147-148 (Life of Saint Eugendus the Abbot)

Cum ergo fama uitaue uiri uirtutum dilatationes succresceret, tanta miserorum aceruatim coepit in monasterium turba concurrere, ut saecularium, immo tribulantium multitudo paene cateruis uideretur numerosior monachorum. Interea dum inibi mox nonnulli, alii etiam post bidui triduique, quidam uero post mensibus quommoda uotiva percipiunt. Dei sanctus manum ad salutare conpendium mittens, fatigationem miseris auferebat. Dabat ergo supplicibus atque sospitibus deportanda inligandaque infirmis cum sancti olei quantitate superius, contraria larvis ac miseris scripta mandata, quae ita, cooperante fide, porrigebant in provinciis longe positis medicinam, ut illi quoque obtinebant, qui eius in monasterio praesentabantur aspectui. Neque solus beatissimus pater in coenobio, sed et presbyteri multique inibi fratres potiebantur charismata meritorum, et, zeli ambitione cessante, illis potissimum quam sibi Dei homo medendi delegabat officium.

'As the renown and the life of the man grew thanks to the spreading fame of his powers, such a large crowd of unfortunate people began to flock to the monastery in groups that the multitude of secular persons (or, rather, those afflicted) seemed almost more numerous than the companies of monks. In the meantime, while some received the prayed-for blessings at the monastery right away, others did so after two or three days, while for a certain number it took months: the holy man of God, laying his hands on them in a timely manner in order to heal them, removed their weariness and miseries. To those who came as suppliants and who were healthy, he would give, along with a generous quantity of holy oil, written injunctions against spirits and maladies for them to take with them and bind on those afflicted; they would bear these notes (which worked in cooperation with faith) to far flung provinces so that people there might obtain the same remedy of healing as those who had presented themselves to him in person at the monastery. Nor was the blessed father the only one in the community who had the possession of the gifts of good works, but presbyters too, and many brothers there; so that jealous desires might cease, the man of God would delegate to them this ministry of healing rather than keep it for himself.'

Text: Martine 1968, 396 and 398. Translation: Vivian et al. 1999, 169-170, adapted.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Eugendus, ascetic in the Jura mountains in Gaul, ob. AD 510 : S02182

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 - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Visiting/veneration of living saint

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle during lifetime Healing diseases and disabilities Miraculous power through intermediary

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - abbots Crowds Ecclesiastics - monks/nuns/hermits Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy

Cult Activities - Relics

Handwriting of a saint Contact relic - oil


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)


For other references to the letters sent out by Eugendus to heal people, see E05923, E05924, E05925. The depiction of Eugendus' letters as having these powers echoes an incident in the Life of Martin in which a girl is healed by a letter from Martin: for full discussion, see E05925. In this instance it is also stated that he gave out 'holy oil'– probably oil he had blessed.


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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