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E05233: Gregory of Tours, in his Miracles of Julian (32), recounts how relics of *Julian (martyr of Brioude, S00035) were taken to a church built in his honour at Reims (north-east Gaul), curing a possessed man along the way. Written in Latin in Clermont and Tours (central and north-west Gaul), 573/587.

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posted on 19.03.2018, 00:00 by kwojtalik
Gregory of Tours, Miracles of Julian (Liber de passione et virtutibus sancti Iuliani martyris) 32

Quidam apud Belgicae secundae provintiam, id est suburbano Remensis urbis, basilicam in honore beati martyris studiose construxit, cuius reliquias post perfectam fabricam expetiit fideliter ac devote. Quas acceptas, dum via cum psallendo regreditur, Remensim est ingressus campaniam. Erat enim haud procul a via ager cuiusdam divitis campanensis, ad quem scindendum multitudo magna convenerat. Igitur adpropinquante viatore cum his pignoribus, coepit quidam de aratoribus male torqueri et quasi in excessu mentis dicere: 'En', inquit, 'beatissimum Iulianum adpropinquantem! Ecce virtutem eius! Ecce gloriam eius! Currite viri, relinquite boves, dimittite aratra, caterva omnis eat in obviam!' Stupentes illi et quid narraret ignoti, dum hebetati admirantesque tam voces quam dicta personae, protinus miser, relicto arvis vomere, elidens se in terram verberansque palmas, in parte qua vir ille beati martyris veniebat cursu celeri capitur, clamans: 'Ut quid me, sancte, sic crucias? Ut quid me, gloriose martyr, incendis? Cur regionem tibi non debitam adgrederis? Cur habitacula nostra perlustras?' Talia eo dicente, ad locum, ubi iam sacerdos tabernaculum erexerat, turbolentus advenit, prostratusque coram sanctis reliquiis, diutissime humo incubuit. Tunc presbiter capsulam illam sanctam super eum ut posuit, ilico erumpente ex ore eius sanguine, ab incursione diabolicae erroris mundatus est; deinceps virtutem sancti praedicans, comes fuit huius itineris.

‘In the province of Second Belgica, that is in the suburbs of Reims, a man zealously constructed a church in honour of the blessed martyr, and, when the building was completed, faithfully and piously sought his relics. He acquired relics and chanted psalms while he returned; he entered the district of Reims. Not far from the road was a field belonging to a rich man from this district, and a large crowd of people had gathered to plough his field. As the traveller approached with these relics, one of the ploughmen began to be terribly tormented and to speak as if he had lost his mind. He said: ‘Behold, the most blessed Julian is approaching! Behold his power! Behold his glory! Hurry here, you men; leave the oxen, abandon the ploughs, and let us all go to meet him!’. The other ploughmen were amazed and did not understand what he was talking about; so they were uncertain and wondered about both the man’s shouting and his words. Suddenly the wretched man dropped his plough in the fields, fell to the ground, and pounded his fists. Then he swiftly ran, attracted to the spot where the traveller [with the relics] of the blessed martyr was coming, crying out: ‘Saint, why do you torment me so? Glorious martyr, why do you inflame me? Why are you approaching a region that is not indebted to you? Why are you travelling among our homes?’ As he said this the man was agitated and went to the place where the priest had already constructed the shrine. He prostrated himself before the holy relics and lay on the ground for a very long time. Then, as soon as the priest placed the holy reliquary on the man, immediately blood flowed from his mouth and he was cleansed from the onset of this diabolical falsehood. He confessed the saint’s power and became a companion on the journey.’

Text: Krusch 1969, 127-128. Translation: Van Dam 1993, 184-185, modified.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Julian, martyr of Brioude : S00035

Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Collections of miracles



Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Gaul and Frankish kingdoms Gaul and Frankish kingdoms

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Tours Clermont

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

Tours Tours Tours Toronica urbs Prisciniacensim vicus Pressigny Turonorum civitas Ceratensis vicus Céré Clermont Tours Tours Toronica urbs Prisciniacensim vicus Pressigny Turonorum civitas Ceratensis vicus Céré

Major author/Major anonymous work

Gregory of Tours

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Composing and translating saint-related texts

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Exorcism

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives


Cult Activities - Relics

Unspecified relic Transfer, translation and deposition of relics


Gregory, of a prominent Clermont family with extensive ecclesiastical connections, was bishop of Tours from 573 until his death (probably in 594). He was the most prolific hagiographer of all Late Antiquity. He wrote four books on the miracles of Martin of Tours, one on those of Julian of Brioude, and two on the miracles of other saints (the Glory of the Martyrs and Glory of the Confessors), as well as a collection of twenty short Lives of sixth-century Gallic saints (the Life of the Fathers). He also included a mass of material on saints in his long and detailed Histories, and produced two independent short works: a Latin version of the Acts of Andrew and a Latin translation of the story of The Seven Sleepers of Ephesus. The Miracles of Julian, full title Martyrdom and Miracles of the Martyr Saint Julian (Liber de passione et virtutibus sancti Iuliani martyris), consists of 50 chapters. It opens with a brief account of Julian's martyrdom and of the discovery of his head in Vienne (chapters 1 and 2), followed by 48 chapters of miracles effected by the saint, primarily at his tomb in Brioude (south of Clermont, central Gaul), but also through relics distributed in other areas of Gaul (and in one case, chapter 33, even in an unnamed 'city of the East'). Brioude and the shrine of Julian are within the ancient territory of Clermont, Gregory's native city, and the attachment that he and his wider family felt towards Julian is manifest in a number of stories in the Miracles, including evidence that Gregory often attended the feast of the saint on 28 August. In chapter 50 Gregory addresses Julian as his patron and asks for his support through the remainder of his life. Gregory wrote the Miracles of Julian over an extended period, very possibly starting before he became bishop of Tours in 573. Statements he makes in chapters 32 and 34 suggest that he initially planned to draw the book to a close with less chapters than the fifty we have, and that this was soon after his consecration to Tours; but, learning later of more miracles (primarily from Aredius of Limoges, chapters 41-45) and himself witnessing a further miracle (chapter 46a), he extended the book to 50 chapters, completing these in the early or mid 580s. Chapter 50 addresses the reader in a valedictory tone, with a personal invocation of Julian; but it is possible that the work was never published in Gregory's lifetime. For discussion of the work, see: Krusch B., Gregorii Turonensis Gregorii episcopi Turonensis Miracula et opera minora (Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptores rerum Merovingicarum I.2; 2nd ed.; Hannover, 1969), 2. Monod G., Études critiques sur les sources de l’histoire mérovingienne, 1e partie (Paris, 1872), 42–45. Van Dam, R., Saints and their Miracles in Late Antique Gaul (Princeton, 1993), 162-163. Shaw R., "Chronology, Composition and Authorial Conception in the Miracula," in: A.C. Murray (ed.), A Companion to Gregory of Tours (Leiden/Boston, 2015), 102–140.


For more details about the church of Julian in Reims, see Vieillard-Troiekouroff 1976, 235.


Edition: Krusch B., Gregorii episcopi Turonensis Miracula et opera minora (Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptores rerum Merovingicarum I.2; 2nd ed.; Hannover 1969), 112–134. Translation: de Nie. G., Lives and Miracles: Gregory of Tours (Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library 39; Cambridge MA, 2015). Van Dam, R., Saints and their Miracles in Late Antique Gaul (Princeton, 1993), 200–303. Further reading: Murray A.C. (ed.), A Companion to Gregory of Tours (Leiden and Boston, 2015). Shanzer, D., "So Many Saints – So Little Time ... the Libri Miraculorum of Gregory of Tours," Journal of Medieval Latin 13 (2003), 19–63. Vieillard-Troiekouroff, M., Les monuments religieux de la Gaule d’après les oeuvres de Grégoire de Tours (Paris, 1976).

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