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E02838: In the Life of *Severinus (hermit and monk in Noricum, ob. 482, S00848), the saint obtains relics of *Gervasius and Protasius (martyrs of Milan, S00313), and adds them to relics of other (unnamed) martyrs in his monastery at Favianis (on the upper Danube), between around 454 and 482. Account by Eugippius, written in Latin near Naples (southern Italy) in 511.

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posted on 23.05.2017, 00:00 by Bryan
Eugippius of Lucullanum, Life of Severinus 9

Severinus instructs a man he had redeemed from captivity to cross the Danube and seek out a specific individual at a market (without giving any indication as to why he should do this):

Profectus itaque cuncta sic, ut vir dei praedixerat, miratus invenit. Is igitur ab eodem homine, quem repperisse se mirabatur, interrogatus audivit dicentem: "Putasne possum invenire hominem, qui me ad virum dei, cuius ubique fama diffunditur, qua voluerit mercede perducat? Diu est enim, quod ipsos sanctos martyres, quorum reliquias fero, suppliciter interpello, ut a tali ministerio tandem aliquando solvar indignus, quod huc usque non temeraria praesumptione, sed religiosa necessitate sustinui. Tunc nuntius hominis dei eius se aspectibus praesentavit. Qui debito sanctorum Gervasii et Protasii martyrum reliquias honore suscipiens in basilica, quam in monasterio construxerat, collocavit officio sacerdotum. Quo loco martyrum congregavit sanctuaria plurimorum, quae tamen praeeunte semper revelatione promuierit, sciens adversarium saepe subrepere sub nomine sanctitatis.

'So the man went and, to his surprise, found everything as the man of God had foretold him. As soon as he so surprisingly had found that man, he heard himself being addressed by him and asked: “Do you think I can find somebody who, for any sum of money he might name, would lead me to the man of God whose fame is spreading everywhere? It is a long time that I am instantly beseeching these holy martyrs here, whose relics I carry with me, to be at least released from this service of which I am unworthy, and which, so far, I have undertaken, not in bold presumption, but by a pious compulsion”. Then the messenger of the man of God made himself known to him. St. Severin received with due honor the relics of the holy martyrs, Gervasius and Protasius, and placed them at the disposal of the priests in the basilica which he had built in his monastery. In that place, he united the shrines of many martyrs; he was always deigned to know about them beforehand by revelation; for he knew that the enemy often creeps in under the name of holiness.’

Text: Noll 1981, 70-72 (from which paragraph numbers are taken). Translation: Bieler-Krestan 1965, 67-68.

History

Evidence ID

E02838

Saint Name

Severinus, hermit and monk in Noricum, ob. 482 : S00848 Gervasius and Protasius, martyrs of Milan (Italy), ob. 1st/4th c. : S00313 Martyrs, unnamed or name lost : S00060

Saint Name in Source

Severinus Gervasius, Protasius

Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Lives of saint

Language

Latin

Evidence not before

511

Evidence not after

511

Activity not before

454

Activity not after

482

Place of Evidence - Region

Italy south of Rome and Sicily

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Castellum Lucullanum

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

Castellum Lucullanum Adriatic Sea Adriatic Sea Adriaticum Mare

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - monastic

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Construction of cult buildings

Cult activities - Rejection, Condemnation, Scepticism

Scepticism/rejection of specific relics

Cult Activities - Miracles

Revelation of hidden knowledge (past, present and future)

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - monks/nuns/hermits Ecclesiastics - abbots Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy

Cult Activities - Relics

Unspecified relic Discovering, finding, invention and gathering of relics Construction of cult building to contain relics Transfer/presence of relics from distant countries Privately owned relics

Source

For the Life of Severinus see E02347.

Discussion

Eugippius' presentation of the arrival of these relics tells us that the holy man Severinus was able to distinguish between true and false relics, thus hinting at the anxiety about the provenance of relics in this period. Eugippius' remark that relics of other, unspecified, martyrs were kept at the monastery, in a basilica, provides evidence that Severinus' monastery was seen as a major centre for the veneration of relics of martyrs. Relics of John the Baptist were perhaps kept there (see E02841). As in Severinus' other acquisition of relics (E02841), Eugippius tells that Severinus is able to obtain relics because of his power of divination but also because owners of relics wish to give them to him because of his fame. The episode described by Eugippius cannot be dated with precision, but must have occurred between Severinus' arrival in the region around 454 and his death in 482.

Bibliography

Edition: Noll, R., Eugippius. Das Leben des heiligen Severin, 2nd edition (Passau, 1981), 59-116, at 70-72. Translation: Bieler, L., and Krestan, L., Eugippius, The Life of St. Severin (Fathers of the Church 55; Washington D.C., 1965), 57-119, at 67-68.

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