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E02179: Gregory of Tours, in his Histories (6.6), describes miracles effected by *Hospicius (ascetic and recluse near Nice, ob. 581, S01178). In c. 574, foretells the coming of Lombard invaders to Nice (southern Gaul), warns its residents, then faces down the soldiers. He cures several people: a deaf and dumb man from Angers (in north-west Gaul), who was travelling to Rome to seek a cure from the Apostles *Peter and *Paul (S00036 and S00008) and from *Laurence (deacon and martyr of Rome, S00037) and the other martyrs of the city; a blind man called Dominicus; two women possessed by demons. Hospicius predicts his own death. Gregory has heard that Hospicius' Life had been written by many authors. The man from Angers, whom Gregory met and talked with, was travelling to Rome with a deacon who planned to collect relics of the Apostles and other saints. Written in Latin in Tours (north-west Gaul), 581/594.

online resource
posted on 27.12.2016, 00:00 by Bryan
Gregory of Tours, Histories (Historiae) 6.6

Fuit autem apud urbem Nicensim eo tempore Hospicius reclausus magnae abstinentiae, qui constrictus catenis ad purum corpus ferreis, induto desuper cilicio, nihil aliud quam purum panem cum paucis dactalis comedebat. In diebus autem quadraginsimae de radicibus herbarum Aegyptiarum, quas heremitae utuntur, exhibentibus sibi negotiatoribus, alibatur. Et primum quidem ius in quo coxerant auriens, ipsas sumebat in posterum. Magnas enim per eum Dominus virtutes dignatus est operare. Nam quodam tempore, revelante sibi Spiritu sancto, adventum Langobardorum in Galleis hoc modo praedixit: 'Venient', inquid, 'Langobardi in Galleis et devastabunt civitates septem, eo quod increverit malitia eorum in conspectu Domini, quia nullus est intellegens, nullus est qui faciat bonum, quo ira Dei placetur. Est enim omnes populus infidelis, periuriis deditus, furtis obnoxius, in homicidiis prumptus, ad quibus nullus iustitiae fructus ullatenus gliscit. Non decimae dantur, non pauper alitur, non tegitur nudus, non peregrinus hospitio recipitur aut cibo sufficiente sacietur. Ideo haec plaga supervenit. Nunc autem dico vobis: Congerete omnem substantiam vestram infra murorum septa, ne a Langobardis deripiatui, et vos ipsos in locis firmissimis cummonite'. Haec eo loquente, omnes obstupefacti et vale dicentes, cum magna admiratione ad propria sunt regressi. Monachis quoque dixit: 'Abscidite et vos a loco, auferentes vobiscum quae habetis. Ecce enim adpropinquat gens quam praedixi!' Dicentibus autem illis: 'Non relinquemus te, sanctissime pater', ait: 'Nolite timere pro me; futurum est enim, ut inferant mihi iniurias, sed non nocebunt usque ad mortem'. Discedentibus autem monachis, venit gens illa; et dum cuncta quae repperit vastat, pervenit ad locum ubi sanctus Dei reclausus erat. At ille per fenestram turris ostendit se eis. Ille vero circumeuntes turrem, aditum, per quem ingrederentur ad eum, invenire non poterant. Tunc duo ascendentes, detexerunt tectum, et videntes eum vinctum catenis indutumque cilicio, dicunt: 'Hic malefactor est et homicidium fecit, ideo in his legaminibus vinctus tenitur'. Vocatumque interpraetem, sciscitantur ab eo, quid male ficerit, ut tale supplitio artaretur. At ille fatetur, se homicidam esse omnesque criminis reum. Tunc unus, extracto gladio, ut caput eius libraret, dextera in ipso ictu suspensa diriguit, nec eam ad se potuit revocare. Tunc gladium laxans, terrae deiecit. Haec videntes socii eius, clamorem in caelo dederunt, flagitantes a sancto, ut, quid agere poterent, clementer insinuaret. Ipse vero inposito salutis signo brachium sanitati restituit. Ille autem in eodem loco conversus, tonsorato capite, fidelissimus monachus nunc habetur. Duo vero duces, qui eum audierunt, incolomes patriae redditi sunt; qui vero contempserunt praeceptum eius, miserabiliter in ipsa provintia sunt defuncti. Multi autem ex ipsis a daemoniis correpti, clamabant: 'Cur nos, sancte beatissime, sic crucias et incendis? ' Sed inpositam eis manum, mundabat eos.

Post haec homo erat Andecavensis incola, qui per nimiam febrem eloquium pariter auditumque perdederat; et cum febrae convaluisset, surdus permanebat ac mutus. Igitur diaconus ex provintia illa Romam directus est, ut beatorum apostolorum pignora vel reliquorum sanctorum, qui urbem illam muniunt, exhiberet. Quod cum ad parentes infirmi illius pervenisset, rogant, ut eum sibi comitem iteneris sumere dignaretur, confisi, quod, si beatissimorum apostolorum adiret sepulchra, protinus possit adsequi medicinam. Euntibus autem illis, venerunt ad locum, ubi beatus Hospicius habitabat. Quo salutato ac deoscolato, causas iteneris diaconus pandit ac proficisci se Romam indecat seque his qui sancto viro de naucleris amici essent commendare deposcit. Cumque ibi adhuc moraretur, sensit vir beatus per spiritum Domini adesse virtutem; et ait diacono: 'Infirmum, qui comes tui nunc est iteneris, rogo ut meis conspectibus repraesentis'. At ille nihil moratus, velociter ad metatum vadit invenitque infirmum febre plenum, qui per nutum aures suas dare tinnitum indecabat; adpraehensumque ducit ad sanctum Dei. At ille adpraehensa manu caesariem, adtraxit capud illius in finestram, adsumptumque oleum benedictione sanctificatum, tenens manu sinistram linguam eius, ori verticique capitis infudit, dicens: 'In nomine domini mei Iesu Christi aperiantur aures tuae, reseretque os tuum virtus illa, qui quondam ab homine surdo et muto noxium eiecit daemonium'. Et haec dicens, interrogat nomen. Ille vero clara voce ait: 'Sic dicor'. Cum haec vidisset diaconus, ait: 'Gratias tibi inmensas refero, Christi, qui talia per servum tuum dignaris ostendere. Quaerebam Petrum, quaerebam Paulum Laurentiumque vel reliquos, qui Romam proprio cruore inlustrant; hic omnes repperi, hic cunctos inveni'. Haec eo cum maximo fletu et admiratione dicente, vir Dei omni intentione vanam vitans gloriam, ait: 'Sile, sile, dilectissime frater, non haec ego facio, sed ille qui mundum ex nihilo condedit, qui, pro nobis hominem suscipiens, caecis visum, surdis auditum, mutis praestat eloquium; qui leprosis cutem pristinam, mortuis vitam et omnibus infirmis adfluentem medicinam indulget'. Tunc diaconus gaudens et vale dicens, abscessit cum comitibus suis.

Quibus discedentibus, homo quidam Dominicus, - sic enim erat viro nomen - a nativitate caecus, advenit ad istius miraculi virtutem probandam. Qui dum in monastirio duobus aut tribus mensibus resederet, oratione ac ieiuniis vacans, tandem vocat eum ad se vir Dei et ait: 'Vis recipere visum?' Cui ille ait: 'Voluntas', inquid, 'mea erat ignota cognuscere. Nam quae sit lux ignoro. Unum tantum scio, quod ab omnibus conlaudatur; ego autem ab inicio aetatis meae usque nunc videre non merui'. Tunc cum oleo benedicto super oculus eius crucem sanctam faciens, ait: 'In nomine Iesu Christi redemptores nostri aperiantur oculi tui'. Et statim aperti sunt oculi eius, et erat admirans cernensque magnalia Dei, quae in hoc mundo videbat. Dehinc mulier quaedam, quae, ut ipsa declamabat, tria habens daemonia, ad eum adducta est. Quam cum tactu sacro benedixisset atque ex oleo sancto crucem fronte eius inposuisset, eiectis daemonibus, purgata discessit. Sed et aliam puellam, ab spiritu inmundo vexatam, benedictione sanavit. Cum autem iam dies obitus eius adpropinquaret, vocavit ad se praepositum monastirii, dicens: 'Exibe ferramentum et inrumpe parietem et mitte nuntius ad episcopum civitatis, ut veniat ad me sepeliendum. Die enim tertia ab hoc egredior mundo et vado in requiem distinatam, quam mihi Dominus repromisit'. Haec eo dicente, misit praepositus ad episcopum civitatis Nicensis, qui ei haec nuntiarent. Post haec Crescens quidam venit ad fenestram, et videns eum catenis vinctum, vermibus plenum, ait: 'O domine mi, qualiter tam valida turmenta tollerare tam fortiter potes?' Cui ille ait: 'Confortat me ille, pro cuius nomine haec patior. Dico autem tibi, quia iam absolvor ab his vinculis et vado in requiem meam'. Adveniente autem die tertia, deposuit catenas, quibus vinctus erat, prostravit se in orationem; et cum diutissime cum lacrimis orasset, conlocans se super scamnum, extensis pedibus elevatisque ad caelum manibus, gratias agens Deo, tradedit spiritum. Et statim omnes vermes ille, qui sanctos artos perforabant, evanuerunt. Adveniens autem Austadius episcopus, beatum corpus studiosissime sepulturae mandavit. Haec omnia ab ipsius ore cognovi, quem superius mutum et surdum ab eo sanatum exposui. Qui multa mihi et alia de eius virtutibus narravit, sed prohibuit me res illa loqui, quia audivi vitam ipsius a multis fuisse conscriptam.

'At this time there lived near the town of Nice a recluse called Hospicius. He was a man of great abstinence, who had iron chains wound round his body, next to the skin, and wore a hair-shirt (cilicium) on top. He ate nothing but dry bread and a few dates. In the month of Lent he fed on the roots of Egyptian herbs, which merchants brought home for him. Hermits are greatly addicted to these. First he drank the water in which they were boiled, and then he would eat the herbs themselves. The Lord deigned to perform remarkable miracles through the agency of Hospicius. Once the Holy Ghost revealed to him the coming of the Longobards into Gaul. His prophecy went as follows: ‘The Longobards’, he said, ‘will invade Gaul and they will destroy seven cities, because the wickedness of those cities has grown great in the eyes of the Lord. No one in them understands God, no one seeks Him, no one does good in order to appease the wrath of God. The entire populace is without faith, given to perjury, prone to theft, quick to commit murder: and no justice can be seen to flourish among them. They do not pay their tithes, they do not feed the poor, they do not clothe the naked: no hospitality is offered there to strangers, and they are not even given enough to eat. As a result disaster is on its way to these people. I therefore tell you: Collect all your property together inside your walls, for otherwise the Longobards will steal it. Fortify yourselves in the strongest places you can find.’ Everyone was amazed at what Hospicius said. They bade him farewell and hurried off home in great perturbation. Then he spoke to his monks. ‘Leave this place immediately,’ he said, ‘and take all your possessions with you. The people about whom I have told you are already approaching.’ ‘We cannot abandon you, holy father,’ they answered. ‘Have no fear for me,’ he said. They will do me harm, it is true, but they will not kill me.’ The monks ran off and the Longobards arrived. They destroyed everything that they could lay their hands on, and came eventually to the spot where the holy man of God lived as a recluse. He showed himself to them through a window in his tower. They marched round and round the tower, but they could find no entrance through which they could come to him. Two of them climbed up and tore a hole in the roof. Whe

History

Evidence ID

E02179

Saint Name

Hospicius, recluse near Nice, ob. AD 581 : S01178 Paul, the Apostle : S00008 Peter the Apostle : S00036 Laurence, martyr of Rome, ob. 258 : S00037 Martyrs, unnamed or name lost : S00060

Saint Name in Source

Hospicius Paulus Petrus Laurentius

Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)

Language

Latin

Evidence not before

581

Evidence not after

594

Activity not before

550

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 - Places

Place associated with saint's life

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Pilgrimage

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle during lifetime Revelation of hidden knowledge (past, present and future) Healing diseases and disabilities Exorcism Healing diseases and disabilities Miraculous protection - of communities, towns, armies

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - monks/nuns/hermits Soldiers Other lay individuals/ people Women Ecclesiastics - bishops

Cult Activities - Relics

Unspecified relic Transfer/presence of relics from distant countries

Source

Gregory of Tours wrote the Histories (Historiae) during his episcopate in Tours (573–594). They constitute the longest and most detailed historical work of the post-Roman West. Gregory's focus is Gaul under its Frankish kings, above all the territories of Tours and (to a lesser extent) Clermont, where he had been born and brought up. Much of his work tells of the years when, as bishop of an important see, he was himself centrally involved in Frankish politics. The Histories are often wrongly referred to as a History of the Franks. Although the work does contain a history of the rulers of Francia, it also includes much hagiographical material, and Gregory himself gave it the simple title the 'ten books of Histories' (decem libri historiarum), when he produced a list of his own writings (Histories 10.31). The Histories consist of ten books whose scope and contents differ considerably. Book 1 skims rapidly through world history, with biblical and secular material from the Creation to the death in AD 397 of Martin of Tours (Gregory’s hero and predecessor as bishop). It covers 5596 years. In Book 2, which covers 114 years, the focus moves firmly into Gaul, covering the years up to the death of Clovis in 511. Books 3 and 4, which cover 37 and 27 years respectively, then move fairly swiftly on, closing with the death of king Sigibert in 575. With Book 5, through to the final Book 10, the pace slows markedly, and the detail swells, with only between two and four years covered in each of the last six books, breaking off in 591. These books are organised in annual form, based on the regnal years of Childebert II (r. 575-595/6). There continues to be much discussion over when precisely Gregory wrote specific parts of the Histories, though there is general agreement that none of it was written before 575 and, of course, none of it after Gregory's death, which is believed to have occurred in 594. Essentially, scholars are divided over whether Gregory wrote the Histories sequentially as the years from 575 unfolded, with little or no revision thereafter, or whether he composed the whole work over the space of a few years shortly before his death and after 585 (see Murray 2015 for the arguments on both sides). For an understanding of the political history of the time, and Gregory's attitude to it, precisely when the various books were written is of great importance; but for what he wrote about the saints, the precise date of composition is of little significance, because Gregory's attitude to saints, their relics and their miracles did not change significantly during his writing-life. We have therefore chosen to date Gregory's writing of our entries only within the broadest possible parameters: with a terminus post quem of 575 for the early books of the Histories, and thereafter the year of the events described, and a terminus ante quem of 594, set by Gregory's death. (Bryan Ward-Perkins, David Lambert) For general discussions of the Histories see: Goffart, W., The Narrators of Barbarian History (A.D. 550–800): Jordanes, Gregory of Tours, Bede, and Paul the Deacon (Princeton, 1988), 119–127. Murray, A.C., "The Composition of the Histories of Gregory of Tours and Its Bearing on the Political Narrative," in: A.C. Murray (ed.), A Companion to Gregory of Tours (Leiden and Boston, 2015), 63–101. Pizarro, J.M., "Gregory of Tours and the Literary Imagination: Genre, Narrative Style, Sources, and Models in the Histories," in: Murray, A Companion to Gregory of Tours, 337–374.

Discussion

Gregory of Tours records a posthumous miracle of Hospicius in his Glory of the Confessors 95 (E02754). Although Gregory believed that many had written Lives of Hospicius, none has survived. With his explicit statement that Hospicius effected a cure that the deaf and dumb man from Angers hoped to obtain from the great saints of Rome, Gregory is dwelling on a theme that runs through much of his writing (particularly his Life of the Fathers): that sanctity and miraculous power were also present in 6th century Gaul. Hospicius died on 21 May 581, at San-Sospis, near Villefranche, in the Department of Alpes-Maritimes, France, and was buried by Austadius, bishop of Nice.

Bibliography

Edition: Krusch, B., and Levison, W., Gregorii episcopi Turonensis Libri historiarum X (Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptores rerum Merovingicarum I.1; 2nd ed.; Hannover, 1951). Translation: Thorpe, L., Gregory of Tours, The History of the Franks (Penguin Classics; London, 1974). Further reading: Murray, A.C., "The Composition of the Histories of Gregory of Tours and Its Bearing on the Political Narrative", in: A.C. Murray (ed.), A Companion to Gregory of Tours (Leiden-Boston 2015), 63-101. Vieillard-Troiekouroff, M., Les monuments religieux de la Gaule d'après les œuvres de Grégoire de Tours (Paris, 1976).

Continued Description

n they saw Hospicius wrapped round with chains and wearing a hair-shirt (cilicium), they exclaimed: ‘Why, this is a criminal! He must have murdered someone. That is why he has chains tied round him.’ An interpreter was called and they asked Hospicius what he had done to merit such punishment. He confessed that he had committed murder and that he was guilty of every crime in the calendar. One of the Longobards drew his sword and made ready to cut off the recluse’s head. His right hand was paralysed in mid air as he dealt the blow, and he was unable to draw it back to his side. He dropped his sword and let it fall to the ground. At the sight of this his comrades gave a great shout, beseeching the holy man to tell them what they should do next. Hospicius made the sign of the Cross over the soldier’s arm and it became whole again. The man was converted on the spot: his head was tonsured, and he became one of Hospicius’ most faithful monks. Two of the Longobard leaders, who had listened to what he said, returned home to their country safe and sound. The others, who had nothing but scorn for his warnings, died miserably in Provence. Many of them were possessed by demons and kept shouting: ‘Holy man, most blessed man, why do you torture and burn us in this way?' He laid his hand upon them and cured them. Some time afterwards there was an inhabitant of Angers who developed a very high temperature and lost the power of speech and hearing. He recovered from his fever, but he remained deaf and dumb. A deacon was about to set out for Rome from this region, to bring back relics of the blessed Apostles and other saints who watch over that city (beatorum apostolorum pignora vel reliquorum sanctorum). When the sick man’s parents heard of this, they asked the deacon to be so good as to take their son with him on his journey, for if only he could visit the tombs of the blessed Apostles he would immediately be cured. The two set off together and came at length to the spot where Saint Hospicius lived. The deacon saluted him and gave him the kiss of peace. He explained the reasons for their journey and said that he was on his way to Rome. He asked the holy man to give him an introduction to any local sailors whom he might know. Just before they left, Hospicius felt miraculous powers rising in him through the Spirit of our Lord. He said to the deacon: ‘Show me, please, this afflicted person who is travelling with you.’ The deacon hurried off to his lodging and found the invalid, who was once more suffering from a high temperature. The man made signs that there was a tremendous ringing in his ears. The deacon seized his arm and rushed him off to the Saint. Hospicius laid his hand on the man’s hair and pulled his head in through the window. He took some oil, consecrated it, held the man’s tongue tight in his left hand and poured the oil down his throat and over the top of his head. ‘In the name of my Lord Jesus Christ,’ he said, ‘may your ears be unsealed and your mouth opened, by that miraculous power which once cast out the evil spirit from the man who was deaf and dumb.’ As he said this, he asked the man what his name was. ‘I am called so-and-so,’ he answered, enunciating the words clearly. When the deacon saw what had happened, he said: ‘I thank you from the bottom of my heart, Jesus Christ, for having deigned to reveal such a miracle by the hand of your servant. I was on my way to Peter, I was going to Paul and Lawrence, and all the others who have glorified Rome with their blood. I have found them all here, in this very spot I have discovered them.’ As he said this, he wept and was filled with wonder. The man of God took no empty credit to himself. ‘Be quiet, dear brother,’ he said. ‘It is not I who do this, but He who created the world out of nothing, who was made man for our salvation, He who makes the blind to see, the deaf to hear, the dumb to speak, who restores the skin which they have lost to the leprous, and finds a soothing remedy for all who are sick.’ The deacon bade Hospicius farewell and went on his way rejoicing with his companions. When they had gone, a man called Dominicus - and this time I give you his real name - who had been blind from birth, came to put to the test this miraculous power. He stayed in the near-by monastery for two or three months, spending all his time in prayer and fasting. Then Hospicius summoned him. ‘Do you wish to gain your sight?’ he asked. ‘It has always been my wish to learn about things which are unknown to me,’ answered Dominicus. ‘I do not know what light is. One thing I am sure of, and that is that everyone who sees it praises it highly. As for me, from the day I was born until now I have never possessed the power of sight.' Hospicius consecrated some oil, and made the sign of the Cross over his eyes with it. ‘May your eyes open,’ he said, ‘in the name of Jesus Christ our Redeemer.’ The man’s eyes opened immediately, and he stood lost in admiration as he gazed on the wonderful works of God, which he was seeing for the first time in this world. Some time later there was brought to Hospicius a woman who, on her own admission, was possessed of three demons. He laid his hand on her and blessed her, marking the sign of the Cross on her brow with consecrated oil. The demons were driven out and the woman went away cured. By his blessing he cured another girl who was harassed by an unclean spirit. As the day of his death drew near, Hospicius called the prior of the monastery to him. ‘Bring a crow-bar,’ he said, ‘break through the wall, and send messengers to the Bishop of the city of Nice, so that he may come and bury me. Three days from now I shall leave this world and go to my appointed rest, which the Lord has promised to me.’ As Hospicius said this, the prior of the monastery sent his men to the Bishop of Nice to give him the news. Meanwhile a certain Crescens came to the window. When he saw the chains round Hospicius' body, which was alive with worms, he said: ‘My lord, how can you bear such terrible torments?' Hospicius replied: ‘He in whose name I endure these sufferings offers me comfort. I tell you, I am being released from these chains and I am going to my rest.' On the third day he removed the chains which were bound round him and knelt in prayer. When he had prayed and wept for a long time, he lay down upon a bench, stretched out his feet, raised his hands to heaven, rendered thanks to God and so gave up the ghost. All the worms which had eaten into his saintly limbs immediately disappeared. Bishop Austadius came and committed the Saint’s body to the grave (sepultura). I heard all this from the mouth of the deaf and dumb man who, as I have told you, was cured by Hospicius. This man told me many other stories about the miracles performed by Hospicius, but I decided not to set them down, because I heard that his life had been written by many others (quia audivi vitam ipsius a multis fuisse conscriptam).'Text: Krusch and Levison 1951, 272-276. Translation: Thorpe 1974, 333-337.

Licence

Exports

Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

Categories

Licence

Exports