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E00846: Gregory the Great, in his Dialogues (3.4), narrates how *Datius (bishop of Milan, ob. 552, S00558), exorcised an evil spirit from a house in Corinth (south Balkans/Greece) while travelling to Constantinople. Written in Latin in Rome, c. 593.

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posted on 09.11.2015, 00:00 by dlambert
Dialogues 3.4

Summary:

Datius, bishop of Milan, was travelling to Constantinople. When he arrived in Corinth, he saw a large house which he commanded be prepared for him. The inhabitants of Corinth told him an evil spirit was resident there. This only encouraged Datius to have the house readied for the night. In the night, the demon made a great noise like a group of animals and Datius answered him, identifying him as a demon. The evil spirit left and never returned.

Summary: Frances Trzeciak.

History

Evidence ID

E00846

Saint Name

Datius, bishop of Milan (ob. 552) : S00558

Saint Name in Source

Datius

Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Collections of miracles

Language

Latin

Evidence not before

590

Evidence not after

604

Activity not before

540

Activity not after

552

Place of Evidence - Region

Rome and region

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Rome

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

Rome Rome Rome Roma Ῥώμη Rhōmē

Major author/Major anonymous work

Gregory the Great (pope)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Composing and translating saint-related texts

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle during lifetime Exorcism

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Demons Other lay individuals/ people Ecclesiastics - bishops

Source

Gregory the Great (Pope, 590-604) wrote his Dialogues on the Lives and Miracles of the Italian Fathers (Dialogi de vita et miraculis patrum italicorum) in Rome around 593. Organised into four books, the first three are a collection of lives and miracles of various Italian saints. The longest is the Life of Benedict of Nursia, which comprises the entirety of book 2. The final book consists of an essay on the immortality of souls after death. As a whole, the work documents and explains the presence of the miraculous in the contemporary world and the ability of saints to effect miracles both before and after death. The attribution of the Dialogues to Gregory has been disputed, most recently by Francis Clark who argued that the work was created in the 680s in Rome. Others - such as Adalbert de Vogüé, Paul Meyvaert and Matthew dal Santo - have, however, strongly argued for Gregory's authorship and it is broadly accepted that Gregory was responsible for the Dialogues. For a discussion of Gregory's devotion in writing the Dialogues, see E04383, and for the role of the Dialogues as a tract justifying the nature of miracles and theorising on the immortality of souls, see E04506. Gregory's principal aim in collecting the miracle stories of the holy men and a very few women of sixth-century Italy was to show the presence of God's power on earth as manifested through them, rather than to encourage the cult of these individuals. Indeed, though posthumous miracles at the graves of a few individuals are recorded (and also a few miracles aided by contact relics of dead saints), there is very little emphasis in the Dialogues on posthumous cult; some of the miraculous events that Gregory records (e.g. E04429) are not even attributed to named individuals. Although very few of the holy persons in the Dialogues are 'proper' saints, with long-term cult, we have included them all in our database, for the sake of completeness and as an illustration of the impossibility of dividing 'proper' saints from more 'ordinary' holy individuals.

Discussion

Datius (PCBE II, 'Datius', pp. 532-4) is attested in numerous sources to have travelled twice to Constantinople during the Three Chapters controversy, once c.542, and again c. 550 (he died in 552 during his second stay).

Bibliography

Edition: Vogüé, A. de, Grégoire le Grand, Dialogues, Sources chrétiennes 260 (Paris: Cerf, 1979). Translation: Zimmerman, O.J., Dialogues of Saint Gregory the Great, Fathers of the Church 39 (Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 1959). Further Reading: Clark, F.,The 'Gregorian' Dialogues and the Origins of Benedictine Monasticism (Leiden: Brill, 2003). dal Santo, M., "The Shadow of A Doubt? A Note on the Dialogues and Registrum Epistolarum of Pope Gregory the Great (590–604)," Journal of Ecclesiatical History, 61.1, (2010), 3-17. Meyvaert, P., "The Enigma of Gregory the Great’s Dialogues: A Reply to Francis Clark," Journal of Ecclesiastical History 39 (1988), 335–81. Vogüé, A. de, "Grégoire le Grand et ses Dialogues d’après deux ouvrages récents," Revue d’histoire ecclésiastique 83 (1988), 281–348.

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Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

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