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E07463: Ildefonsus, bishop of Toledo, in his On the Lives of Famous Men, written in Latin in 657/667, writes that Bishop Asturius of Toledo in the late 4th c. found in Complutum the tombs of *Iustus and Pastor (schoolboys and martyrs of Complutum, S00504), and spent the rest of his days there.

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posted on 2019-03-21, 00:00 authored by mszada
Ildefonsus of Toledo, De viris illustribus 1

Asturius post Audentium in Toletana urbe sedis metropolis prouinciae Carthaginis pontifex successor obuenit.

Vir egregius adsignans opera uirtutum plus exemplo uiuendi quam calamo scribentis. Hic et sacerdotio beatus et miraculo dignus, quia quibus iungeretur in caelo, eorum terreno reperire membra meruit in sepulchro. Nam cum sedis suae sacerdotio fungeretur, diuina dicitur reuelatione commonitus, Complutensi sepultos municipio, quod ab urbe eius ferme sexagesimo miliario situm est, Dei martyres perscrutari. Qui concitus adcurrens, quos et tellus aggeris et obliuio temporis presserat, in lucem et gloriam terrenae cognitionis prouehendos inuenit. Quibus repertis, redire in sedem renuens, seruitute simul et adsiduitate sanctis innexus, diem clausit extremum. Cuius tamen sedem, donec uixit, nemo adiit. Inde, ut antiquitas fert, in Toleto sacerdos nonus et in Compluto agnoscitur primus.

'Asturius was the successor of Audentius in the metropolitan see of the city of Toledo in the province of Carthaginensis.
An outstanding man, he displayed his virtues more through the example of his life than by the works he wrote. Blessed in his ministry and deemed worthy of performing a miracle, he earned the right to have an earthly burial by those with whom he would be united in heaven. For while bishop of his see, it is said that he was told by divine revelation to seek out the tombs of the martyrs of God in the town of Complutum, which lies some sixty miles from Toledo. Swiftly hastening there, he encountered the remains of men whom the weight of earth and the passage of time had consigned to oblivion and who ought to be brought to the light and the glory of being remembered by men. On discovering them, he declined to return to his see and, binding himself to the continual service of these saints, there ended his days. No-one while he lived, acceded to his seat. For this reason, as the ancients tell us, he is known as the ninth bishop of Toledo and the first bishop of Complutum.'

Text: Codoñer 2007, 603. Translation: Fear 1997, 109-110, lightly adapted.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Iustus and Pastor, schoolboys and martyrs of Alcala, Spain : S00504

Saint Name in Source

martyres Dei

Type of Evidence

Literary - Other


  • Latin

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Iberian Peninsula

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Toledo Osset Osset Osen (castrum) Osser castrum

Cult activities - Places

Burial site of a saint - unspecified

Cult Activities - Miracles

Apparition, vision, dream, revelation

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - entire body Discovering, finding, invention and gathering of relics


Ildefonsus was abbot of the important monastery of Agali and later bishop of Toledo. Here he succeeded his uncle, Eugenius II, in 657 and was bishop until his death in 667. He was then succeeded by Quiricius. Julian, bishop of Toledo in 680-690 and also a former abbot of Agali, wrote an Elogium in honour of Ildefonsus, which is our main source for his life. In his capacity as abbot of Agali, Ildefonsus was present at the Eighth and Ninth Councils of Toledo in 653 and 655. Because of his Marian devotion, he is sometimes considered responsible for the project to establish the feast of Mary in December, which was introduced by the Tenth Council of Toledo in 656. Ildefonsus, however, does not appear amongst the signatories of the council, so it seems that he did not take part in the proceedings. Four works were certainly authored by Ildefonsus of Toledo – On the Virginity of Holy Mary, On the Lives of Famous Men, On the Understanding of Baptism and On the Way of the Desert. There are also letters and liturgical texts (see Clavis Patrum Latinorum nos. 1247-1256). Their exact chronology is uncertain. On the Lives of Famous Men was probably written sometime during Ildefonsus' episcopate, between 657 and 667.


It is uncertain when exactly Asturius was a bishop, it was probably sometime in the second half of the fourth century (Fear 1997, 110, n. 10). A story about Asturius leaving his see to devote himself to the martyrs and become the first bishop of Complutum is strange because the act is clearly uncanonical. We do not know the sources of Ildefonsus but as the story concerns one of his predecessors we may assume that it was a local, Toletan tradition. Or it was derived from the tradition of the see of Complutum which linked its origins–as uncanonical as they might be–to the discovery of the martyrs' bodies. Ildefonsus once more notes a bishop's special attention to the martyrs in his note about Bishop Nonnitus of Gerona, see E07465.


Edition and translation: Codoñer Merino, C., De viris illustribus, in: Ildefonsi Toletani opera omnia (Corpus Christianorum Series Latina 114A; Turnhout, 2007), 595-616. Fear, A.T., Lives of the Visigothic Fathers (Translated Texts for Historians 26; Liverpool 1997), 107–122.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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