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E04485: Gregory the Great, in his Dialogues (3.23-25), mentions a monastery dedicated to *Peter the Apostle (S00036) on the mountain above Praeneste, near Rome. He describes miracles which took place here, one of which effected by *Acontius (6th c. sacristan near Praeneste, S01761). Written in Latin in Rome, c. 593.

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posted on 19.12.2017, 00:00 by robert, frances
Gregory the Great, Dialogues 3.23-25

Praenestinae urbi mons praeeminet, in quo beati petri apostoli monasterium situm est uirorum dei.

'The monastery of St Peter, the home of men of God, is situated on a mountain overlooking Praeneste.' (ch. 23)

Gregory continues to describe a vision of Peter which appeared to Theodore, a sacristan of the church, when he was trimming the lamps of the church. After this vision, he was confined to bed for several days. According to Gregory, this was because the flesh can be overwhelmed by things of the spirit. (ch. 24)

There was also a sacristan of the same church called Acontius. A paralysed girl of the parish prayed to Peter and was told by Peter to seek aid from Acontius in a vision. When she found Acontius, she was able to stand. (ch. 25)

Text: de Vogüé 1978. Summary and translation: Frances Trzeciak.

History

Evidence ID

E04485

Saint Name

Peter the Apostle : S00036 Acontius, sixth-century sacristan of Mount Preneste : S01761

Saint Name in Source

Petrus Apostolus Acontius

Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Other saint-related texts

Language

Latin

Evidence not before

590

Evidence not after

604

Activity not before

450

Activity not after

590

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 - Places

Cult building - monastic

Cult activities - Places Named after Saint

  • Monastery

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Prayer/supplication/invocation

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Miracle during lifetime Healing diseases and disabilities Apparition, vision, dream, revelation Miraculous power through intermediary

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

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

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

Preneste is modern day Palestrina, near Rome.

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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