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E07947: The rule for nuns produced by Aurelianus, bishop of Arles (ob. 551) refers to the basilica and monastery of *Mary (mother of Christ, S00033) in Arles. Written in Latin at Arles, southern Gaul, 546/551.

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posted on 2020-07-27, 00:00 authored by dlambert
Aurelianus of Arles, Regula ad virgines

Prol. Sanctis et in Christo venerandis sororibus in monasterio beatae Mariae quod, Deo iubente, intra muros Arelatensis urbis fecimus, constitutis, Aurelianus episcopus. [...]

'Prologue. Bishop Aurelianus to the sisters, holy and venerable in Christ, placed in the monastery of the blessed Mary, which, at God's command, we have established within the walls of the city of Arles [...]'

14. Nec viri nec mulieres saeculares in monasterium ingrediantur, praeter in basilicam Beatae Mariae et in salutatorium.

'14. Neither men nor secular women may enter the monastery, except the basilica of the blessed Mary and the salutatorium.'

38. Cursum diurnum vel nocturnum, id est, matutinos, vigilias, nocturnos, vesperam, et duodecimam in basilica Dominae Mariae congregatio dicat. Quod si hiems aspera fuerit matutinos tantum, vesperam et duodecimam in praedicta basilica dicite: secundam vero, tertiam, sextam et nonam in interiori oratorio [...]

'38. Let the congregation say the diurnal and nocturnal office, that is: matins, vigils, nocturns, vespers and the twelfth hour in the basilica of the Lady Mary. But if there is a harsh winter, say only matins, vespers and the twelfth hour in the aforementioned basilica, but the second, third, sixth and ninth hours in the interior oratory [...]'

Text: PL 68. Translation: David Lambert.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Mary, Mother of Christ : S00033

Saint Name in Source



  • 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)

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

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - dependent (chapel, baptistery, etc.)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Saint as patron - of a community

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - monks/nuns/hermits


Aurelianus, bishop of Arles from 546 to 551, founded male and female monasteries in the city (for the men's monastery, see E07748) and composed rules for both. His Regula ad virgines is preserved in the Codex regularum, the collection of monastic rules compiled in the early 9th century by the monastic reformer Benedict of Aniane (ob. 821).


This basilica is almost certainly the basilica dedicated to Mary which was founded by Caesarius of Arles (Life of Caesarius 1.57 and 2.50 – see E06283), and in which he was buried. The monastery is said to be within the walls of Arles both by Aurelianus himself in the prologue to his Rule, and in a letter (E07948) by his later successor John (pointed out by Diem 2014, 211), and it is very unlikely that there were two publicly accessible basilicas in the city both dedicated to Mary. This is notable, since the basilica was physically attached to the monastery for women founded by Caesarius only a few years earlier (Caesarius, Regula ad virgines 1). As the references to it in Aurelianus' Rule indicate that the nuns from his community could enter the basilica without going out in public, this must have been true of his foundation as well. Aurelianus' new community for women must therefore have been housed in a building that was almost – or even literally – next door to the one founded by Caesarius (for discussion see Diem 2014, 211-212). A notable difference between the two communities was that Caesarius' nuns were strictly enclosed and forbidden to leave the confines of their monastery even to enter the basilica, while those of Aurelianus' community were specifically instructed by his Rule (§ 38) to observe the liturgical Hours in the basilica (they could also meet people from outside the monastery in its salutatorium, a supervised meeting-room). They would therefore have been much more visible to the wider population of the city than the members of Caesarius' community.


Edition: Migne, J.P., Patrologia Latina 68, 399-406. Further reading: Diem, A., "... ut si professus fuerit se omnia impleturum, tunc excipiatur. Observations on the Rules for Monks and Nuns of Caesarius and Aurelianus of Arles," in: V. Zimmerl-Panagl, L.J. Dorfbauer, and C. Weidmann (eds.), Edition und Erforschung lateinischer patristischer Texte – 150 Jahre CSEL. Festschrift für Kurt Smolak zum 70. Geburtstag (Berlin/Boston, 2014), 191-224.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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