File(s) not publicly available

E00502: Gregory of Tours, in his Glory of the Martyrs (30), tells of the tomb of *Andrew (the Apostle, S00288) in Patras (Greece), which on the day of his feast produces 'manna' and oil; the oil has healing power and its quantity presages the fertility of the crops in the following year. Written in Latin in Tours (north-west Gaul), 580/594.

online resource
posted on 15.05.2015, 00:00 by dlambert
Gregory of Tours, Glory of the Martyrs 30

Andreas apostolus magnum miraculum in die solemnitatis suae profert, hoc est mannam in modum farinae vel oleum cum odore nectareo, quod de tumulo eius exundat. Per id enim, quae sit fertilitas anni sequentis, ostenditur. Si exiguum profluxerit, exiguum terra profert fructum; si vero fuerit copiosum, magnum arva proventum fructuum habere significat. Nam ferunt in aliquibus annis, in tantum e tumulo oleum exundare, ut usque medium basilicae profluat rivus ille. Haec autem aguntur apud provintiam Achaiam, in civitate Patras, in qua beatus apostolus sive martyr pro Redemptoris nomine crucifixus praesentem vitam gloriosa morte finivit.Tamen cum oleum defluxerit, tantum odorem naribus praestat, ut putes ibi multarum aromatum sparsam esse congeriem. Quod non sine miraculo ac beneficio habetur in populis. Nam ex hoc seu inunctiones factae sive potiones datae plerumque languentibus commodum praestant. Post cuius gloriosam adsumptionem multae virtutes vel ad hoc sepulchrum vel per loca diversa, in qua eius reliquiae collocatae sunt, feruntur ostensae.De quibus pauca memorari non putavi absurdum, quia aedificatio est eclesiae gloria martyrum virtusque sanctorum.

'On the day of his festival the apostle Andrew works a great miracle, that is, [by producing both] manna with the appearance of flour and oil with the fragrance of nectar which overflows from his tomb. In this way the fertility of the coming year is revealed. If only a little oil flows [from his tomb], the land will produce few crops; but if the oil was plentiful, it signifies that the fields will produce many crops. For they say that in some years so much oil gushed from his tomb that a torrent flowed into the middle of the church. These events happened in the province of Achaea, in the city of Patras where the blessed apostle and martyr was crucified for the name of the Redeemer and ended his present life with a glorious death. But when the oil flows, it offers such a strong fragrance to [people's] noses that you might think a collection of many different spices had been sprinkled there. A miracle and a blessing for the people accompany this [flow of oil]. For salves and potions are made from this oil; once used, they offer great relief to ill people. After the glorious reception of Andrew [in Paradise] many miracles are said to have been revealed either at this tomb or in various places where his relics are located. I do not think it inappropriate to relate a few of these miracles, because the edification of the Church is found in the glory of martyrs and the power of saints.'

There follows an account of the miracles of Andrew (see $E00503).

Text: Krusch 1969, 55. Translation: Van Dam 2004, 27.

History

Evidence ID

E00502

Saint Name

Andrew, the Apostle : S00288

Saint Name in Source

Andreas

Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Collections of miracles Literary - Hagiographical - Other saint-related texts

Language

Latin

Evidence not before

583

Evidence not after

593

Activity not before

585

Activity not after

593

Place of Evidence - Region

Gaul and Frankish kingdoms

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Tours

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

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

Major author/Major anonymous work

Gregory of Tours

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult activities - Places

Burial site of a saint - tomb/grave

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Divination

Cult Activities - Miracles

Healing diseases and disabilities Material support (supply of food, water, drink, money) Revelation of hidden knowledge (past, present and future)

Cult Activities - Relics

Myrrh and other miraculous effluents of relics Making contact relics Contact relic - oil

Source

Gregory, bishop of Tours from 573 until his death (probably in 594), was the most prolific hagiographer of all Late Antiquity. He wrote four books on the miracles of Martin of Tours, one on those of Julian of Brioude, and two on the miracles of other saints (the Glory of the Martyrs and Glory of the Confessors), as well as a collection of twenty short Lives of sixth-century Gallic saints (the Life of the Fathers). He also included a mass of material on saints in his long and detailed Histories, and produced two independent short works: a Latin version of the Acts of Andrew and a Latin translation of the story of The Seven Sleepers of Ephesus. Internal references to datable events and to other work by Gregory, suggest that he wrote the greater part of his Glory of the Martyrs between 585 and 588, though there is one chapter (ch. 82), long before the end of the book, that describes an event that is most readily dated to 590. It is in fact likely that Gregory was collecting and recording these stories throughout his life, and, fortunately for our purposes, precise dating is not of great importance, since his views on the role of saints and the correct ways to venerate them do not seem to have changed during his writing life. The work was probably never fully completed and polished: the version we have closes with four very disparate chapters, including one (105) about the divine punishment of an avaricious woman that bears no obvious connection to the overall theme of the book. (For discussions of the dating, see Van Dam 2004, xi-xii; Shaw 2015, 104-105, 111.) In his preface, Gregory states that his aim in the work is 'to publicise some of the miracles of the saints that have until now been hidden' (aliqua de sanctorum miraculis, quae actenus latuerunt, pandere), so, as in his Glory of the Confessors, his focus is not on the lives of the saints, nor on the details of their martyrdoms, but on miracles they have effected, particularly through their relics. Miracles are recorded from many places; but unsurprisingly the largest number is from Gaul. The book opens, rather curiously, with a sizeable number of miracles and relics of Jesus and his mother Mary, neither of them conventional 'martyrs'. The explanation for this must be that Gregory's interest was really much more in relics and miracles in general than in martyrs specifically. Many of the Gallic saints he included are somewhat obscure, but outside Gaul he concentrates for the most part on major saints; towards the end of the book, however, he slips in a couple of lesser Syrian saints, probably because they had interesting specialisms: Phokas and Domitios, with, respectively, particular skills at curing snake bites and sciatica. In the case of the non-Gallic saints, it is not always clear whether they were attracting active cult in Gaul – Phokas and Domitios, for instance, almost certainly didn't. It is only when Gregory tells us of a church dedication or relic that we can be certain that the saint concerned had serious cult in Gaul: in the case of the martyrs of Rome, for instance, this is true of Clement and Laurence, but not of Chrysanthus and Daria, Pancratius, and John I. Although each section contains extraneous material, the work can be broken down very roughly into the following sections:    *Chapters 1-7: Miracles and relics of Jesus (with some of Mary), including three chapters (5-7) on relics of the Passion. (For the most part, these chapters are not covered in our database.)    *Chapters 8-19: Miracles and relics of Mary and John the Baptist.    *Chapters 20-25: Miraculous images of Jesus, and a spring associated with Easter.    *Chapters 23-34: Miracles and relics of the Apostles and Stephen (i.e. New Testament saints).    *Chapters 35-41: Miracles and relics of the post-apostolic martyrs of Rome.    *Chapters 42-46: And of northern Italy.    *Chapters 47-77: And of Gaul (in no obvious order, except that the first three chapters are occupied by early martyrs). This is the longest section of the book.    *Chapters 78-87: Very miscellaneous, with only marginal references to saints: three anti-Arian stories (79-81); two stories regarding relics of Gregory's (82-83); four stories of the punishment of impure people (84-87).    *Chapters 88-102: Miracles and relics of martyrs of Spain, Africa (just one, Cyprian of Carthage), and the East, in that order.    *Chapters 103-106: Miscellaneous. But tight structuring was never a great concern of Gregory's, so within this broad framework, he often wanders off his main theme. For instance, a clutch of miracle stories relating to John the Baptist (chs. 11-13) lead Gregory into a general discussion of the River Jordan (ch. 16), which then leads him to discuss some springs near Jericho (ch. 17), linked to the preceding chapter by the common theme of 'miraculous waters in the Holy Land', but with no connection to any martyr. Similarly, a miracle story involving relics of St Andrew and the punishment of an Arian count (ch. 78) leads Gregory into three stories against Arians with no relation to saints. These digressions did not bother Gregory and are part of the charm of his work. Gregory very seldom tells us about his sources, which for the most part were certainly oral; he had a wide circle of acquaintances within the Gallic church, and also met and collected stories from travellers from abroad, including (if the source is to be believed) a man who had travelled to India (ch. 31). But Gregory also used a range of written texts, including Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History (chs. 20 and 48), the poems of Prudentius, Paulinus of Nola, and Venantius Fortunatus, and a substantial number of Martyrdoms (Van Dam 2004, xiv-xvi). Because many of his stories are set abroad, Glory of the Martyrs is less informative about cult practices than Glory of the Confessors, with its very local and very Gallic focus, but it is still a gold-mine of information. To take just two examples: the story of Benignus of Dijon is a remarkably rich and detailed account of the discovery and enhancement of a previously unknown martyr (ch. 50), while that of Patroclus of Troyes shows the importance of a written Martyrdom, and the degree of scepticism that might greet a new one (ch. 63). There is a good general discussion of Glory of the Martyrs in Van Dam 2004, ix-xxiii, and of Gregory's hagiography more widely in Shaw 2015. (Bryan Ward-Perkins)

Discussion

For the overview of the Glory of the Martyrs see E00367. The miraculous production of oil and 'manna' by Andrew's tomb is also mentioned by Gregory in his Miracles of Andrew (E07877), where Gregory cites the present passage.

Bibliography

Edition: Krusch, B., Liber in gloria martyrum, in: Gregorii Turonensis Opera. 2: Miracula et opera minora (Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptores rerum Merovingicarum 1.2; 2nd ed.; Hannover, 1969). Translation: Van Dam, R., Gregory of Tours, Glory of the Martyrs (Translated Texts for Historians 4; 2nd ed., Liverpool, 2004). Further reading: Shaw, R., "Chronology, Composition, and Authorial Conception in the Miracula", in: A.C. Murray (ed.), A Companion to Gregory of Tours (Leiden-Boston 2015), 102-140.

Usage metrics

Categories

Keywords

Licence

Exports