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E05953: In the anonymous Life of the Jura Fathers, the author describes how *Eugendus (ascetic in the Jura mountains, ob. 512/515, S02182), shortly before his death, had a vision of *Lupicinus and Romanus (brothers and founders of the Jura monasteries, mid 5th c., S00003); 512/515 in Condat. Written in Latin at Condat in the Jura mountains (modern Saint-Claude in eastern Gaul), 515/525.

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posted on 2018-07-13, 00:00 authored by dlambert
The Life of the Jura Fathers 176-177 (Life of Saint Eugendus the Abbot)

The author recounts Eugendus' final illness, which lasted about six months (§ 175). A few days before his death he had the following vision:

Cumque, transacta nocte, de nocturna quoque quiete a nobis percontaretur, diluculo in lacrimis ac singultum aerumpens: 'Parcat', ait, 'uobis omnipotens deus, qui me tanta inequalitate constrictum non permittitis corporeis uinculis iam resolui'. At cum trepidi inter profluas lacrimas, conuulsis quoque in corde singultibus, sileremus: 'Domini', inquit, 'mei abbates Romanus ac Lupicinus propriis humerius feretrum ante hoc lectulum exhibentes, me quoque deoscultatum atque conpositum elevantes, deferendum gestaturio inmiserunt. Cumque eleuatum in oratorium introferrunt, concurrentibus uobis in hostio, uiolenter excussus, in hoc sum uobis lectulo reportatus. Et ideo rogo, si quid seni, si quid uero paternae pietati praestatis, ne me istic retinere diutius, sed tandem transire permittatis ad patres. [...]'

'When the night had ended, and when we inquired of him at dawn if he had passed the night peacefully, he burst into tears and sobs and said, "May almighty God spare you for hindering me, sick as I am, from being freed of my bodily chains!" Trembling, and with abundant tears, convulsed also by the sobbing of our hearts, we fell silent. "My lords, the abbots Romanus and Lupicinus", he continued, "brought before this bed, on their own shoulders, a litter; after they kissed me and arranged my body, they lifted me and placed me on this bier in order to carry me away. When they carried me into the oratory on their shoulders, you all ran into the doorway, violently forced me out, and carried me back on this bed. Because of this, I beg you, if you have any regard for an old man, if you have any respect for the fatherly love I have shown towards you, do not keep me here with you any longer but allow me at last to cross over to the fathers. [...]"'

Text: Martine 1968, 428. Translation: Vivian 1999 et al., 183-4.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Eugendus, ascetic in the Jura mountains in Gaul, ob. AD 510 : S02182 Romanus and Lupicinus, brothers and founders of the Jura monasteries, mid 5th c. : S00003

Saint Name in Source

Romanus ac 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

Apparition, vision, dream, revelation

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - abbots Ecclesiastics - monks/nuns/hermits


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)


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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