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E06067: Gennadius of Marseille, in his De viris illustribus ('On distinguished men'), states that *Makarios ('the Egyptian', monastic founder in the Sketis, ob. 391, S00863), and *Euagrios of Pontus (ascetic in Egypt, ob. 399, S01418) performed miracles. Written in Latin at Marseille (southern Gaul), c. 468.

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posted on 2018-07-31, 00:00 authored by dlambert
Gennadius, De viris illustribus 10-11

Gennadius begins his entry on Makarios (vir. ill. 10) as follows:

Macarius, monachus ille Aegyptius, signis et virtutibus clarus, unam tantum Ad iuniores professionis suae scripsit epistulam ...

'Macarius the Egyptian monk, celebrated for signs and miracles, wrote only one letter, To the juniors of his profession [...]'

Gennadius then summarises the content of the letter. There is no further reference to miracles.

The following entry (11), on Evagrius Ponticus, is one of the longest in De viris illustribus.The entry begins:

Evagrius monachus supradicti Macarii familiaris discipulus, divina et humana litteratura instructus atque insignis, cuius etiam liber, qui adtitulatur Vita patrum, velut continentissimi et eruditissimi viri mentionem facit, scripsit multa monachis necessaria, e quibus ista sunt ...

'Evagrius the monk, friend and disciple of the above-mentioned Macarius, learned and celebrated in divine and secular literature, whose book which is called Life of the Fathers, mentions him [Macarius] as a most learned and erudite man, wrote many things necessary for monks, from which are these [...]'

The entry goes on to summarise at length Evagrius' monastic works, some of which Gennadius claims to have translated into Latin (these translations do not survive). He concludes the entry with the statement:

Vixit longa aetate signis et virtutibus pollens.

'He lived to a great age, powerful in signs and miracles.'

This is the only reference in the entry to Evagrius' miracles. No details are given.

Text: Richardson 1896. Summary and translation: David Lambert.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Euagrios of Pontus, ascetic in Egypt, 345-399 : S01418 Makarios the Egyptian, ascetic and monastic founder in Sketis, ob. 391 : S00863

Saint Name in Source

Evagrius Macarius

Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)


  • 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)

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

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Composing and translating saint-related texts

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle during lifetime Unspecified miracle

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - abbots Ecclesiastics - monks/nuns/hermits


Gennadius was a presbyter at Marseille in southern Gaul, active as a writer from approximately the 460s to the 490s. His main surviving work, De viris illustribus ('On distinguished men', CPL 957) provides short descriptions of the works of Christian writers, together with minimal biographical detail. It is a continuation of Jerome's work of the same name.


In each of these two entries on Egyptian monastic figures, Makarios 'the Egyptian' and Evagrius Ponticus, Gennadius makes the claim that they were well-known for their miracles, without giving further details. At the beginning of his entry on Evagrius, Gennadius states that he wrote a work called Life of the Fathers, in which he wrote about Macarius. By this Gennadius almost certainly means the extant History of the Monks of Egypt, which in fact was not by Evagrius, but was sometimes attributed to him (see E04012). This was presumably his source for Makarios, though miracles are also attributed to Makarios in the Sayings of the Desert Fathers (E01645, E01646), and Palladius' Lausiac History (E03318). The source of his claim that Evagrius performed miracles may be the short biography of Evagrius in the Lausiac History of Palladius (E03327).


Edition: Richardson, E.C., Hieronymus, Liber de viris inlustribus. Gennadius, Liber de viris inlustribus (Texte und Untersuchungen 14/1; Leipzig, 1896). Further reading: Czapla, B., Gennadius als Literaturhistoriker (Münster, 1898).

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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