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E07877: Gregory of Tours, in his Miracles of the Blessed Apostle Andrew, recounts numerous miracles carried out by *Andrew (the Apostle, S00288) during his lifetime. There is a brief reference to oil and 'manna' produced by his tomb. Written in Latin in Tours (north-west Gaul), 585/594.

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posted on 17.04.2020, 00:00 by dlambert
Gregory of Tours, Miracles of the Blessed Apostle Andrew (Liber de miraculis beati Andreae apostoli, BHL 430)

The following summary is deliberately brief: most miracles and other incidents are not specified individually. For the prologue in which Gregory explains why he wrote the work, see E07865.

1-2. When the Apostles disperse after the ascension of Christ, Andrew sets out for Greece, while Matthew goes to a place called Mermidona, where the inhabitants blind him and throw him into prison. An angel tells Andrew to go to Mermidona and rescue him. Instructed by the angel, Andrew gets into a ship which he finds on the shore, and sails to Mermidona. He finds Matthew, who at his prayer is healed and released from his bonds. Matthew departs, and Andrew preaches in Mermidona. A crowd seizes and injures him, but at his prayer they repent and are converted. On his return from Mermidona he heals a blind man.

3-17. Andrew travels through the cities of Asia Minor (Amaseia, Sinope, Nicaea, Nicomedia), Thrace (Byzantium, Perinthus), and Macedonia (Philippi, Thessalonica). He carries out miracles of all kinds: including healings, exorcisms, expelling demons from places they inhabited, resurrection of the dead, releasing prisoners, punishing miracles, weather miracles, and controlling earthquakes. He is occasionally protected by an angel. He constantly preaches and converts people in the cities he visits.

18. In Thessalonica the proconsul, Virinus, arrests Andrew and has wild beasts set on him, but they refuse to harm him. In the end Virinus gives up and Andrew goes free.

19-29. Andrew resumes his travels, moving on to Achaea and its cities (Corinth, Patras), continuing to preach and perform miracles.

30-36. In Patras, Andrew heals Maximilla, the wife of Egeas, the proconsul. Maximilla becomes a Christian, angering Egeas. He has Andrew arrested and imprisoned. Crowds come to the prison to hear his teaching, which he never ceases to deliver. After a few days he is taken out of prison, tortured, and crucified. He hangs on the cross for three days, never ceasing to preach, before giving up his spirit, 'which the reading of his passion reveals in full' (quod lectio passionis eius plenissime declarat). Maximilla receives his body and buries it.

37. Gregory recounts a miracle at Andrew's tomb in Patras: manna like flour (manna in modum farinae) and sweet-smelling oil flows from the tomb, and the quantity of oil predicts how fertile the fields would be each year. Gregory states that it is said that once oil ran from the tomb into the middle of the church, 'just as we wrote in our first book of miracles' (sicut in primo Miraculorum scripsimus libro). He has not narrated Andrew's martyrdom in detail because he found that someone else had already written it, usefully and elegantly (quia valde utilitier et eleganter a quodam repperimus fuisse conscriptum).

38. Gregory states that these are the miracles of Andrew, which he has presumed to narrate in an unworthy fashion and in rustic speech. He begs the mercy of Andrew, on whose feast day he was born, and hopes that Andrew will bring it about (obtineat) that he is forgiven for his sins when he faces judgement.

Text: Bonnet 1969. Summary: David Lambert.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Andrew, the Apostle : S00288

Saint Name in Source


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

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


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

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

Major author/Major anonymous work

Gregory of Tours

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult activities - Places

Burial site of a saint - tomb/grave

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Composing and translating saint-related texts

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle during lifetime Miracle after death

Cult Activities - Relics

Contact relic - oil Contact relic - dust/sand/earth


Gregory does not mention the Miracles of Andrew in the list of his works at the end of his Histories (10.31), and virtually none of the very large number of manuscripts attributes it to him. It is, however, generally accepted as Gregory's, primarily on the basis of the cross-reference at Miracles of Andrew 37 to Gregory's Glory of the Martyrs 30. Stylistic differences between the Miracles and Gregory's other works can be explained by the fact that Gregory was adapting an existing text. (For full discussion of the various issues, see Zelzer 1977; Rose 2013, 65-68.) Gregory's reference to the Glory of the Martyrs implies that the Miracles of Andrew was the later of the two works. Since Glory of the Martyrs seems to have been written between about 585 and 588, this suggests that Gregory produced the Miracles of Andrew in the late 580s or early 590s. The Miracles of Andrew was one of the most widely copied of Gregory's works: 74 manuscripts are listed in the non-exhaustive list provided by BHLms (, dating from the 9th century onwards. However, its manuscript tradition is peculiar, and differs from that of Gregory's other writings. It is almost always transmitted anonymously, usually as part of a collection known as the Virtutes apostolorum: a cycle of texts about the lives and miracles of the twelve apostles (also often referred to as the collection of Pseudo-Abdias, a non-existent author to whom it was attributed in the 16th century). The texts in the collection were of disparate origin, but seem to have been brought together by the 8th century, and thereafter the collection was regularly copied as a whole (on the collection, see Rose 2013). The Miracles of Andrew is frequently accompanied in the collection by one of the two Latin Martyrdoms of Andrew (E07881). The only modern critical edition of Gregory's text was produced in 1883 by Max Bonnet, based on ten manuscripts and an early printed edition.


In the Miracles of Andrew the content that relates to Gregory's own time is limited. There are his remarks at the beginning about his reasons for writing and his invocation at the end of the work (§ 38) of Andrew as a patron who he hopes will intercede for him after death. In this context, Gregory mentions that he had been born on Andrew's feast day (30 November) – the only evidence for this fact. Secondly, there is his reference to Andrew's tomb at Patras and its miraculous production of oil and 'manna' (§ 37). As Gregory notes, he had already related this in Glory of the Martyrs 30 (E00502), in language which closely parallels that of the Miracles of Andrew passage. (Note that none of the subsequent content of the Glory of the Martyrs passage, which consists of miracles by Andrew in Gregory's own time, appears in the Miracles of Andrew.) Gregory's sources The interest of the main body of the Miracles of Andrew relates largely to the question of Gregory's sources. Three separate texts can be traced: a) After Gregory's introductory remarks, the first part of the narrative (§§ 1-2), in which Andrew rescues the Apostle Matthew from imprisonment in a city called Mermidona, is based on a work known as the Acts of Andrew and Matthias (E07880). Gregory has drastically cut the original, reducing the lengthy text to a few lines. He has also toned down the content: most obviously, in the original the inhabitants of the city where Matthew is imprisoned are anthropophagoi (cannibals). Gregory identifies the Apostle rescued by Andrew as Matthew the Evangelist (S00791), not Matthias (S01784): Matheus autem apostolus, qui et evangelista (§ 1). b) The remainder of the Miracles of Andrew, with the exception of the very end (§§ 37-8), is based on the Acts of Andrew (E07879), a work originally composed in Greek, perhaps as early as the 2nd century, which Gregory knew via a Latin translation which is now lost. Because the Greek original does not survive in a coherent form either, but only in multiple fragmentary recensions (with some passages only surviving in languages such as Coptic or Armenian), it is often difficult to trace the precise changes made by Gregory (for an accessible summary of the different versions, see Elliott 1993, 231-9). However, his general way of working is clear: all the specific incidents in the Miracles of Andrew are paralleled in various versions of the Acts of Andrew, but Gregory has removed the lengthy speeches on doctrinal, moral, and philosophical issues which form a large part of the original. Apart from distracting from the miracles, these were often doctrinally dubious from a 6th century perspective. He also alters and simplifies the narrative in various ways: for example his account of Andrew's interaction with Aegeas and Maximilla omits the theme of Maximilla's sexual renunciation, which is central in the original. c) An account of Andrew's martyrdom, which Gregory mentions (§§ 36-7), but does not reproduce (it is likely that Gregory intended that it should be copied as an appendix to his text, as is the case in many manuscripts). This was identified by Bonnet (Bonnet 1969, 396, n. 2) as the extant Latin Martyrdom of Andrew known from its opening words as 'Conversante et docente' (BHL 429). This identification is open to question, however (for discussion, see E07881).


Editions: Bonnet, M., Liber de miraculis beati Andreae apostoli, in: Gregorii episcopi Turonensis miracula et opera minora (Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptores Rerum Merovingicarum 1.2; 2nd ed.; Hannover, 1969), 376-396. Prieur, J.-M., Acta Andreae (Corpus Christianorum, Series Apocryphorum 5-6; Turnhout: Brepols, 1989). Reprint of Bonnet's text, with French translation. English versions: There is no published English translation of the entire text of the Miracles of Andrew. However: MacDonald, D.R., The Acts of Andrew and the Acts of Andrew and Matthias in the City of Cannibals (SBL Texts and Translations 33; Atlanta: Scholars' Press, 1990), translates substantial parts of the text. James, M.R., The Apocryphal New Testament (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1924), 337-349, provides an extremely detailed summary of Gregory's text (James's summary is widely available online). Further reading: Elliott, J.K., The Apocryphal New Testament: A Collection of Apocryphal Christian Literature in an English Translation (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993). Roig Lanzillotta, L., Acta Andreae Apocrypha: A New Perspective on the Nature, Intention and Significance of the Primitive Text (Geneva: Patrick Cramer, 2007). Rose, E., "Virtutes Apostolorum: Origin, Aim, and Use," Traditio 68 (2013), 57-96. Zelzer, K., "Zur Frage des Autors der «Miracula b. Andreae apostoli» und zur Sprache des Gregors von Tours," Grazer Beiträge 6 (1977), 217-241.

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