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E06715: Venantius Fortunatus writes the Life of *Albinus (ascetic and bishop of Angers, ob. c. 550, S01181), presenting him as an ideal bishop and miracle-worker. Written in Latin in Poitiers, 569/572.

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posted on 2018-10-05, 00:00 authored by dlambert
Venantius Fortunatus, Life of Albinus (BHL 234)


The Life of Albinus is dedicated to Bishop Domitianus of Angers, in a dedicatory letter. In the prologue Venantius Fortunatus presents as his aim the preservation of Albinus’ merits for the edification of the people.

5-6. Albinus is born to well-off parents near the coast of Brittany, and at a young age he leaves them to join a monastery in Tincillacens [location unknown], where he excels in ascetic discipline.

7. While still a young boy, as he is travelling on an errand for his abbot, a violent rainstorm occurs, but Albinus remains miraculously untouched by the rain.

8. At age thirty-five he is made abbot, and the community thrives under his leadership for twenty-five years.

9. By popular acclaim and against his wishes, Albinus is made bishop of Angers; he fulfils his office by giving alms to the poor and redeeming captives.

10. In Angers Albinus heals a woman with a contracted hand.

11. Albinus raises a boy named Alabaudus from the dead, and he heals a blind man at the monastery of Asiacus [probably that of Assé-le-Reboul in the Sarthe]. In separate incidents, he also heals a blind man named Maurilio and another named Marcellinus.

12. When a noblewoman named Aetheria is held by royal order in the villa of Dullacens [location unknown], Albinus visits her and attempts to rescue her from the prison; when a guard intervenes and injures Albinus, the saint causes him to fall dead. Albinus proceeds to rescue Aetheria and pay her ransom to the king.

13. Near the village of Albivia [location unknown], Albinus heals a man from blindness and demon possession.

14. When Albinus is too ill to attend a planned meeting with King Childebert, the king sets off to meet the saint but contemplates taking a detour at a fork in the road; the king’s horse refuses to move until directed onto the path to the saint.

15. Similarly, in Vannes the deceased body of a pious young man is rendered too heavy to be moved to his tomb until Albinus arrives and offers a prayer.

16. Albinus heals Gennomerus, a monk of the monastery of Tincillacens, of blindness. In Angers Albinus asks a judge to release some prisoners; after the judge ignores his request, Albinus prays and causes part of the prison to collapse and release the prisoners. The prisoners honour Albinus for this miracle at the basilica of St. *Maurilius (bishop of Angers, ob. 453. S02421).

17. Albinus exorcises a demon from a woman.

18. In the face of pressure from his fellow bishops, Albinus refuses to sanction an incestuous royal marriage; rebuffed by his peers, he consults Caesarius of Arles about the matter.

19. Albinus dies and is buried. Some time later his successor as bishop of Angers, together with Germanus, bishop of Paris, attempt to translate his body to a new basilica but are impeded by the narrowness of his tomb; Albinus miraculously enables his translation by causing one of the walls of his tomb to collapse.

20. Three paralytics and two blind men are healed as his body is transported.

Text: Krusch 1885. Summary: Kent Navalesi.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Albinus, monk and bishop of Angers, ob. 550 : S01181 Maurilius/Maurilio, bishop of Angers, ob. 453 : S02421

Saint Name in Source

Albinus Maurilius

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)

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

Major author/Major anonymous work

Venantius Fortunatus

Cult activities - Places

Burial site of a saint - tomb/grave

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Composing and translating saint-related texts

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle during lifetime Miracle after death Power over life and death Healing diseases and disabilities Power over elements (fire, earthquakes, floods, weather) Miracles experienced by the saint Punishing miracle Exorcism Freeing prisoners, exiles, captives, slaves Saint aiding or preventing the translation of relics

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Women Ecclesiastics - bishops Ecclesiastics - monks/nuns/hermits Prisoners

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - entire body Transfer, translation and deposition of relics


The Life of Albinus was written between 569 and 572 and is dedicated to bishop Domitianus of Angers, a successor of Albinus. Its author, Venantius Fortunatus, was born and educated in Italy and made his career in Gaul as a poet in the service of kings, queens, bishops and other members of the elite. He settled in Poitiers and served as a priest and advocate at the convent of the Holy Cross founded by Radegund (S00182). The dedicatory epistle which opens the Life of Albinus sheds some light on the circumstances of its writing: during Fortunatus’ first visit to Domitianus in Angers, the bishop suggested that the poet compose a Life of his predecessor; at a later date, the bishop sent a trusted pupil with stories of the saint to Poitiers to aid Fortunatus in his composition.


Edition: Krusch, B., Vita sancti Albini, in: Venanti Honori Clementiani Fortunati presbyteri Italici opera pedestria (Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Auctores antiquissimi 4.2; Berlin, 1885), 27-33. Further Reading: Collins, R., "Observations on the Form, Language, and Public of the Prose Biographies of Venantius Fortunatus in the Hagiography of Merovingian Gaul," in: H.B. Clark and M. Brennan (eds.), Columbanus and Merovingian Monasticism (Oxford, 1981). Kitchen, J., Saints' Lives and the Rhetoric of Gender: Male and Female in Merovingian Hagiography (Oxford, 1998).

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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