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E07555: 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, reflects on the nature of Germanus' miracles.

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posted on 2019-05-07, 00:00 authored by dlambert
Constantius of Lyon, Life of Germanus of Auxerre 6

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

Qui duplicem uiam Christo ad profectum religionis instituens, in conspectu oppidi, interposito Icauna flumine, monasterium conlocauit, ut ad fidem catholicam populi et congregationibus monachorum et ecclesiastica gratia raperentur, praesertim cum tali pontifice uel magistro, accedentibus miraculis, fides succensa ferueret. Et ut ad temptamenta uirtutum, crescentibus meritis, ueniretur, non praesumptionis, sed misericordiae principium fuit.

'Furthermore, for the advancement of religion he provided two roads to Christ, by founding a monastery within sight of the town, across the river Yonne, so that the surrounding population might be brought to the Catholic faith by contact with the monastic community as well as by the ministrations of the Church. This was all the more likely to succeed since the flame of faith was fanned by such a bishop and such a teacher, to say nothing of the miracles. As for these, when, as his holiness grew, he came to make proof of his spiritual powers, his motive was not presumption but mercy.'

This passage is followed by Constantius' account of Germanus' miraculous recovery of gold that had been lost by a tax-collector: E07550.

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

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops


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.


Constantius justifies Germanus' miracles by stating that they served the purpose of inflaming people's faith (fides succensa ferueret), and were therefore works of mercy not presumption (it is quite interesting that Constantius felt it was necessary to state this). His defence of Germanus can also be read as a justification for the central role he himself gave to miracles in the Life.


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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