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E05234: Gregory of Tours, in his Miracles of Julian (33), recounts how relics of *Julian (martyr of Brioude, S00035), in the form of dust from his tomb at Brioude (central Gaul), cured a possessed man 'in a certain city of the East', and were venerated there; the merchant who had the relics later built a basilica in Julian's honour. 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) 33

Quid de eius reliquiis in Oriente fidelium fratrum relatio signat, edicam. In quadam Orientis civitate, dum in eclesia quidam a daemonio torqueretur, in navi beati martyris praedixit esse reliquias. Cumque navis portum fuisset adepta, hic ad eam saltuatim prosilit, ac provolutus solo coram navi, erumpente ab ore et naribus tabe, persona purgata est. Quae cum episcopo nuntiata fuissent, commovet populum cum accensis cereis ad portum usque procedere. Igitur nauclerius audiens flensque prae gaudio, in occursum episcopi properat, nihil se aliud adserens de beati sustulisse basilicam, nisi parumper pulveris, qui circa sanctum iacebat tumulum; sed Deus omnipotens is conprobans fidem viri, oculi virtutem martyris non permisit. Dehinc episcopus sublatas reliquias usque ad sanctam eclesiam cum magno honore deportat. Negotiator vero tanta cernens mirabilia, basilicam in honore martyris aedificavit, in qua beatas reliquias collocans, multa deinceps miracula vidit operari.

‘I will now recount a story told me by reliable brothers regarding relics of his in the East. While a man was being tormented by a demon in the cathedral of a certain city of the East, he announced that relics of the blessed martyr were on board a ship. Once the ship reached port, this man hurried to greet it. After he knelt on the ground in front of the ship, his contamination flowed from his mouth and nose, and the man was cleansed. News of this event was brought to the bishop, who aroused the people to light candles and proceed to the harbour. The ship’s captain heard [this procession] and wept for joy. He hurried to meet the bishop and insisted that he had brought nothing from the church of the blessed [Julian] except a bit of the dust that was lying about the holy tomb. But omnipotent God verified the [possessed] man's faith and did not allow the martyr’s power to be hidden. Then the bishop took the relics and brought them with great honour to the holy cathedral. The merchant, seeing these impressive marvels, constructed a church in honour of the martyr. He placed the blessed relics in this church and thereafter saw many miracles happen there.’

Text: Krusch 1969, 128. Translation: Van Dam 1993, 185.


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 - 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 - Liturgical Activity

  • Procession

Cult activities - Places

Burial site of a saint - tomb/grave

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Construction of cult buildings

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Exorcism

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops Other lay individuals/ people Merchants and artisans

Cult Activities - Relics

Contact relic - dust/sand/earth Privately owned relics 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.


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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