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E07550: 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 miraculously restored money lost by a tax collector

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posted on 2019-05-07, 00:00 authored by dlambert
Constantius of Lyon, Life of Germanus of Auxerre 7

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

This passage follows the one discussed in $E07555. A man named Ianuarius, who was head of the governor's staff (princeps praesidialis), was collecting taxes. One day, while visiting Germanus at Auxerre, he mislaid the bag (sacculus) filled with the money he had collected. The bag was found and taken away by a man subject to demonic possession. The bag was searched for all over the city without success, and Ianuarius became increasingly desperate.

Et cum nihil indicii fuisset inuentum, postero die is qui solidos requirebat lacrimans genua sacerdotis amplectitur, contestans adpetiturum se supremae mortis occasum, nisi pecunia publica fuisset inuenta. Indicit episcopus patientiam, pollicetur securitatem, nec multo post, prius quam prodiretur ad missam, exhiberi secrete ad se unum ex his, qui pati consueuerant, praecepit. Fortuitu, is qui furti auctor fuerat praesentatur. Quem cum districta examinatione discuteret, dicens fieri non posse ut admissum facinus lateret, inimico, per quem fieri praua consueuerant, imperat ut ueri fidem celeriter fateatur. Sed nequam spiritus crimen a malitia, quod commiserat, denegauit. Tum uero pia commotio sacerdotis produci infitiantem praecepit in populo. Nec mora, missam celebraturus egreditur, praemissaque in plebem salutatione sollemni, in oratione tota corporis strage prosternitur. Statimque infelix inimici et captiuus pariter et minister in sublime suspenditur, ecclesia eius clamore conpletur, plebs uniuersa turbatur, et quasi flammis circumdatus, cum uoce maxima nomen inuocat sacerdotis, crimen quod commiserat confitetur. Tandemque uir beatissimus, ex oratione consurgens, accedit ad podium; euocat aestuantem, omnia discutit, uniuersa cognoscit. Solidi de latebris proferuntur, clamor popularis adtollitur, et uno ore Germani meritum et diuinitatis potentia praedicatur, eodemque miraculo et deceptus pecuniam et obsessus recepit sospitatem. Plures quidem iam ante curauerat, sed semper notitiam secreti obumbratione subpressit. Hoc uero factum ideo memorabile, quia publicum fuit.

'The next day, when there was still no trace of the gold, the man who was looking for it clasped the Bishop’s knees with tears in his eyes, assuring him that it would mean the death penalty for him if the state’s money were not found. The Bishop enjoined patience, promising that all, would be well. Soon afterwards, before setting out for Mass, he gave orders for one of the sufferers from demoniacal possession to be brought before him privately; and who should be brought to him but the man responsible for the theft.

He put him through a strict examination, saying that it was impossible for a crime on his conscience to remain concealed. Then he ordered the enemy of souls who had been prompting these evil deeds to admit the truth of the matter without delay. But the wicked spirit, from sheer malice, denied having committed the crime. At this the Bishop, in righteous anger, ordered the liar to be produced in front of the congregation and, without further
delay, set out to celebrate Mass.

He gave the solemn salutation to the people, then prostrated him at full length in prayer, All at once the unhappy man, the captive and at the same time the servant of the demon, was lifted high into the air. The church was filled with his screams, the whole congregation was in confusion and the man himself, yelling out the Bishop’s name as if he were in the midst of flames, confessed his crime.

Then at last the man of blessings rose from his prayer and came down to the steps of the sanctuary. He called up the raving man, cross-examined him and learnt the whole truth. The coins were brought out of their hiding-place, the acclamations of the people resounded, and with one accord they proclaimed the sanctity of Germanus and the power of God. By one and the same miracle the man who had been robbed had got back his money and the
demoniac his sanity. Germanus had, indeed, cured many before this, but always under a veil of secrecy. What made this occasion so notable was its publicity.'

This miracle is followed by the one described in E06019.

Text: Borius 1965. Translation: Hoare 1954.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

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

Saint Name in Source


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 Finding of lost objects, animals, etc. Exorcism

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops Officials Demons


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 incident is narrated during part of the Life (§§ 7-11) in which Constantius narrates miracles which took place in Germanus' see of Auxerre (most of the Life is devoted to events that take place elsewhere). The recovery of the gold lost by Ianuarius the tax-collector is presented as the first miracle by Germanus to occur in public and must therefore have taken place towards the beginning of his episcopate (around 418 on the traditional dates).


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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