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E01047: Augustine of Hippo, in his City of God (22.8), states that most contemporary miracles, including those produced by the relics of saints, remain unknown, and the healing of a blind man, which took place in Milan in 386 at the relics of *Gervasius and Protasius (martyrs of Milan, S00313), is an exception. He will provide other examples of miracles, describing healings which occurred recently in Africa. Written in Latin in Hippo Regius (North Africa), c. 426/427.

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posted on 03.01.2016, 00:00 by robert
Augustine of Hippo, City of God 22.8

Augustine claims that contrary to what detractors say, miracles did not cease to occur.

Nam etiam nunc fiunt miracula in eius nomine, siue per sacramenta eius siue per orationes uel memorias sanctorum eius; sed non eadem claritate inlustrantur, ut tanta quanta illa gloria diffamentur. Canon quippe sacrarum litterarum, quem definitum esse oportebat. Illa facit ubique recitari et memoriae cunctorum inhaerere populorum; haec autem ubicumque fiunt, ibi sciuntur uix a tota ipsa ciuitate uel quocumque commanentium loco. Nam plerumque etiam ibi paucissimi sciunt ignorantibus ceteris, maxime si magna sit ciuitas; et quando alibi aliis que narrantur, non tanta ea commendat auctoritas, ut sine difficultate uel dubitatione credantur, quamuis christianis fidelibus a fidelibus indicentur. Miraculum, quod Mediolani factum est, cum illic essemus, quando inluminatus est caecus, ad multorum notitiam potuit peruenire, quia et grandis est ciuitas et ibi erat tunc imperator et inmenso populo teste res gesta est concurrente ad corpora martyrum Protasii et Geruasii; quae cum laterent et penitus nescirentur, episcopo Ambrosio per somnium reuelata reperta sunt; ubi caecus ille depulsis ueteribus tenebris diem uidit.

'For even now miracles are wrought in the name of Christ, whether by His sacraments or by the prayers or relics of His saints [memoriae sanctorum]; but they are not so brilliant and conspicuous as to cause them to be published with such glory as accompanied the former miracles. For the canon of the sacred writings, which it was proper to limit, causes those to be everywhere recited, and to sink into the memory of all the congregations; but these modern miracles are scarcely known even to the whole population in the midst of which they are wrought, and at the best are confined to one spot. For frequently they are known only to a very few persons, while all the rest are ignorant of them, especially if the city is a large one; and when they are reported to other persons in other localities, there is no sufficient authority to give them prompt and unwavering credence, although they are reported to the faithful by the faithful. The miracle which was wrought at Milan when I was there, and by which a blind man was restored to sight, could come to the knowledge of many; for not only is the city a large one, but also the emperor was there at the time, and the occurrence was witnessed by an immense concourse of people that had gathered to the bodies of the martyrs Protasius and Gervasius, which had long lain concealed and unknown, but were now made known to the bishop Ambrose in a dream, and discovered by him. By virtue of these remains the darkness of that blind man was scattered, and he saw the light of day.'

There follows a collection of a dozen miracles which occurred at relics of Stephen, Gervasius and Protasius, and some other martyrs, deposited in Hippo, Uzalis, Calama, and other places in North Africa in Augustine's times (see records $E01104, $E01108, $E01109, $E01111, $E01116, $E01117, $E01118, $E01119, $E01120, $E01121, $E01125, $E01136).

Text: Dombart and Kalb 1955. Translation: Dods 1887, adapted.
Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

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Keywords

History

Evidence ID

E01047

Saint Name

Gervasius and Protasius, martyrs of Milan (Italy), ob. 1st/4th c. : S00313

Saint Name in Source

Gervasius, Protasius

Type of Evidence

Literary - Other

Language

Latin

Evidence not before

426

Evidence not after

427

Activity not before

350

Activity not after

427

Place of Evidence - Region

Latin North Africa

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Hippo Regius

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

Hippo Regius Carthage Carthago Karthago قرطاج‎ Qarṭāj Mçidfa Carthage

Major author/Major anonymous work

Augustine of Hippo

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Oral transmission of saint-related stories

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Unspecified miracle Healing diseases and disabilities

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops Other lay individuals/ people Monarchs and their family

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - entire body Discovering, finding, invention and gathering of relics

Source

Augustine wrote Book 22 of the City of God in Hippo, c. 426/427; chapters 8-9 enumerate a number of contemporary miracles, most of which took place in Hippo and other cities of North Africa, either at the relics of *Stephen, the first martyr or those of Gervasius and Protasius, martyrs in Milan.

Discussion

In this passage Augustine refers to the miracles which took place in Milan after the discovery of the bodies of the martyrs Gervasius and Protasius in 386, which took place when he himself was in this city. This event was described by Ambrose himself, in his Letter 77 (E05211) and Hymn 11 (E###), by Paulinus of Milan in his Life of Ambrose (E00904), by Augustine in his Confessions (E01019). Augustine emphasises that most contemporary miracles remain unknown and the collection of miracles presented in the City of God aims to change this.

Bibliography

Edition: Dombart, B., and Kalb, A., Augustinus, De civitate dei, 2 vols. (Corpus Christianorum Series Latina 47-48; Turnhout: Brepols, 1955). English translation: Dods, M., Augustine, The City of God (Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, vol. 2; Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1887).

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Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

Categories

Keywords

Licence

Exports