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E06045: Constantius of Lyon, in his Life of *Germanus (bishop of Auxerre, ob. c. 448, S00455), written in Latin at Lyon (central Gaul) between c. 460 and c. 480, describes how Germanus healed the wife of the Praetorian Prefect of the Gauls, Auxiliaris, at Arles, southern Gaul, probably in the mid 430s.

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posted on 2018-07-26, 00:00 authored by dlambert
Constantius of Lyon, Life of Germanus of Auxerre 24

For a full account of Constantius' Life of Germanus, see $E05841.

Germanus has travelled to Arles, seat of the Praetorian Prefect, to ask the Prefect to grant the people of Auxerre a remission of taxes. This passage follows $E07557.

Auxiliaris etiam regebat tum per Gallias apicem praefecturae. Qui praesentiam sacerdotis duplicata gratulatione suscepit, quod et insignem uirtutibus uirum desiderabat agnoscere, et quod uxor eiusdem longo iam tempore quartano tabescebat incommodo. Ingredienti longissime praeter consuetudinem famulatur occursu simulque admiratione defigitur. Ita enim dignitas uultus, sermonis eruditio, praedicationis auctoritas stupentis animum conpleuerunt ut merito fama eum minorem fuisse cognosceret; inuentus est enim rebus maior esse quam nuntiis. Offert munera, ingerit beneficia, ambiuitque a beatissimo uiro ut dignaretur accipere quod querebat. Incommodum etiam confitetur uxoris; qua uisitata, ita uis passionis extincta est ut tremor praecedens et febris subsequens delerentur, redditaque pristinae sanitati, fidelis matrona remedium caeleste suscepit, quo et corpus salubritate et anima credulitate conualuit. Acceptis itaque ex uoluntate beneficiis, optatum leuamen propriae detulit ciuitati, licet in se maximum ciuibus et remedium referret et gaudium.

'Auxiliaris at that time governed Gaul from the very pinnacle of the Prefecture. He had two reasons for his joy at the Bishop's coming. He wanted to make the acquaintance of a man so famous for his spiritual powers, and his own wife had for a long time suffered from a quartan ague. He advanced to meet him much earlier than etiquette required and was held motionless by wonder. The majesty of his bearing, his knowledge in discussion, the authority of his preaching, all filled Auxiliaris with awe and he realised that the Bishop's fame did him less than justice; reality exceeded report. He offered him gifts, plied him with services and asked as a favour of the man of blessings that he would condescend to accept what he had come to ask. Then he spoke of his wife's illness. The Bishop went to see her and the strength of the malady was so completely destroyed that the shaking that used to proceed the attacks, and the fever that followed, both disappeared. Restored to her former health, the good lady partook also of heavenly remedy which increased both the vigour of her body and the faith of her soul. Thus the Bishop obtained boons from a willing giver and brought back the desired relief for his diocese. But in the eyes of his flock the best remedy and the greatest joy that he brought back with him was his own return.'

This passage is followed by Constantius' account of Germanus' second visit to Britain: E06021.

Text: Borius 1965. Translation: Hoare 1954.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Germanus, bishop of Auxerre, ob. c. 448 : S00455

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)

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

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle during lifetime Healing diseases and disabilities

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops Officials Aristocrats


Germanus of Auxerre (PCBE 4, 'Germanus 1', pp. 878-883) was the most important and revered episcopal saint of 5th century Gaul. The Life of Germanus was written at an uncertain date, some years after Germanus' death, which is traditionally dated to 448 (but some scholars would place up to twelve years earlier). The Life was probably written at some point between about 465 and 480. The author was Constantius (PCBE 4, 'Constantius 3', pp. 521-522), a literary figure, possibly a cleric, attested as active in Lyon in the 460s and 470s. For full discussion of the issues relating to the authorship and date of the Life of Germanus, see E05841.


This miracle takes place when Germanus is at Arles, the residence of the Praetorian Prefect of the Gauls, to which he has travelled to request a tax remission for Auxerre (his mission is described in § 19). Constantius' narrative implies that Germanus' journey took place immediately after he returned from his first mission to Britain (in 429), but it was almost certainly several years later: the journey can be dated reasonably closely since the Prefect Auxiliaris is attested by other sources which show that his term of office was during the period 435-437 (see PLRE II, 'Auxiliaris 1'). The success of Germanus' mission to obtain tax-relief for Auxerre is presented by Constantius as the indirect consequence of his healing of Auxiliaris' wife.


Editions: Borius, R., Constance de Lyon, Vie de saint Germain d'Auxerre (Sources chrétiennes 112; Paris, 1965), with French translation. Levison, W., Vita Germani episcopi Autissiodorensis auctore Constantio, in: Passiones vitaeque sanctorum aevi Merovingici V (Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptores rerum Merovingicarum 7; Hannover and Leipzig, 1919), 246-283. English translation: Hoare, F.R., The Western Fathers (London, 1954), 283-320. Reprinted in T.F.X. Noble and T. Head (eds.), Soldiers of Christ: Saints and Saints' Lives from Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages (University Park PA, 1995), 75-106.

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