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E05898: In the preface to the anonymous Life of the Jura Fathers, written in Latin, the author addresses John, a monk at Agaune (eastern Gaul), and describes him as reclining upon the tomb of *Maurice (commander of the Theban Legion, S00339). Written at Condat in the Jura mountains (modern Saint-Claude in eastern Gaul), 512/525.

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posted on 01.07.2018, 00:00 by kwojtalik
The Life of the Jura Fathers 2 (Preface)

[...] prior [Iohannes] priscum secutus Iohannem, supra urnam sancti Mauricii, id est legionis Thebaeorum martyrum caput, uelut ille eximius apostolus atque symmystes supra salutiferi pectus recumbit Auctoris [...]

'[...] you, John, following the Apostle John of old, recline upon the sarcophagus of Saint Maurice, head of the legion of Theban martyrs, just as the famous apostle and companion of Christ reclined upon the breast of the author of our salvation [...]'

Text: Martine, 1968, 238. Translation: Vivian et al. 1999, 98.

History

Evidence ID

E05898

Saint Name

Theban Legion, commanded by *Maurice, martyrs of Agaunum Gaul : S00339

Saint Name in Source

Mauricius

Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Lives

Language

Latin

Evidence not before

512

Evidence not after

525

Activity not before

510

Activity not after

530

Place of Evidence - Region

Gaul and Frankish kingdoms

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Condat

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

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

Cult activities - Places

Burial site of a saint - tomb/grave

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - monks/nuns/hermits

Source

The Life of the Jura Fathers (Vita patrum Iurensium) consists of three vitae – of Romanus (ob. 455/460; PCBE 4, 'Romanus 3'), Lupicinus (ob. 472/475; PCBE 4, 'Lupicinus 4'), and Eugendus (ob. 512/515; PCBE 4, 'Eugendus'). Romanus and his brother Lupicinus were the founders of the ascetic communities which grew up in the 5th century in remote rural areas in the Jura mountains of eastern Gaul; Eugendus was their eventual successor in the late 5th century. Romanus' community was located at Condat (Condadisco), modern Saint-Claude, where he seems to have settled sometime in the 430s (to judge from the not always clear chronology of his Life); within a few years he was joined by his younger brother Lupicinus. As the size of the community grew, Lupicinus eventually established his own settlement nearby at Lauconnus (modern Saint-Lupicin). Romanus also founded a female monastic community, headed by his sister (whose name is unknown), at Balma (La Balme, modern Saint-Romain-des-Roches), a few miles from Condat. The Life of the Jura Fathers was written after the death of Eugendus, which occurred in the period 512/515 (the date is established by Avitus of Vienne, Letter 19), probably soon after. François Massai pointed out that in spite of the author's demonstrative reverence for Eugendus, the Life attributes no posthumous miracles to him (Massai 1971, 57), suggesting that it was composed only a short time after his death. More debatably, Massai argued (Massai 1971, 50, 56) that references in the text to the shrine of the Theban Legion at Saint-Maurice-d'Agaune – notably the preface (E05898) and § 44 (E07851) – seem to depict it before its refoundation by the Burgundian prince Sigismund in 515. While not dating the work quite so early, Martine 1968, 56, argued that it influenced the Life of the Abbots of Agaune (E06267), which he dated to the mid 520s. The Life of the Jura Fathers is anonymous, but the author discloses various details about his life: he seems to have been a native of the Jura region, and he himself was a member of the community at Condat. He knew Eugendus personally, and regularly emphasises that he was a witness of events in Eugendus' time and was told about many earlier events by Eugendus himself. His knowledge of Romanus and Lupicinus came from the traditions of the community and the reminiscences of Eugendus and other older monks (by the time the Life of the Jura Fathers was written, thirty to forty years had passed since the death of Lupicinus, and fifty to sixty since the death of Romanus). On the author, and the information that can be established about him, see Martine 1968, 45-53; Vivian et al. 1999, 48-52. The author was well-read in Latin ascetic literature: he was certainly familiar with the works of Sulpicius Severus on Martin of Tours, which he sometimes quotes directly. Allusions and references in his work suggest that he also knew the Life of Antony (probably the Latin version by Evagrius, E00930), Jerome's ascetic Lives, Rufinus' Latin version of Eusebius' Church History, and works by Basil of Caesarea (in translation) and John Cassian. See Vivian et al. 1999, 50-51. For full discussion of the text, author, and date, see primarily the introduction to Martine 1968; see also Vivian et al. 1999, 47-61. For brief accounts of the sites associated with Romanus, Lupicinus and Eugendus, see Vieillard-Troiekouroff 1976, 249-250, 262-264, 273-274. The lives of Romanus and Lupicinus are also recounted by Gregory of Tours in his Life of the Fathers 1 (see E00003, E00004). (David Lambert)

Discussion

The preface of the Life of the Jura Fathers dedicates it to John and Armentarius, who were monks or recluses at the shrine of Maurice at Agaune. The reference here to the tomb of Maurice may indicate that John was an overseer of the shrine (suggested by Martine 1968, 238, n. 3), or lived in the shrine and literally slept upon the tomb (suggested by Vivian 1999, 98, n. 8); however, it may simply be a figurative way of saying that he resided at the shrine. For some details about the monastery in Saint-Maurice d'Agaune see Vieillard-Troiekouroff 1976, 265-268.

Bibliography

Edition: Martine, F., Vie des pères du Jura (Sources Chrétiennes 142; Paris: Les Éditions du Cerf, 1968). English translation: Vivian, T., Vivian, K., and Russell, J.B. The Life of the Jura Fathers (Cistercian Studies Series 178; Kalamazoo: Cistercian Publications, 1999). Further reading: Massai, F., "‘La «Vita patrum iurensium» et les débuts du monachisme à Saint-Maurice d’Agaune," in: J. Autenrieth and F. Brunhölzl (eds.), Festschrift Bernard Bischoff zu seinem 65. Geburtstag (Stuttgart, 1971), 43-69. Vieillard-Troiekouroff, M., Les monuments religieux de la Gaule d'après les œuvres de Grégoire de Tours (Paris, 1976).

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