Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 1976
An anonymous presbyter builds a basilica in the honour of Saint Julian in the suburbs of Reims (Gaul). He then collects some relics of the saint from Brioude and heals with them a demoniac he meets on the road, the second half of the 6th century. Account of Gregory of Tours, "The Miracles of the Martyr Julian", Tours (Gaul), AD 573/585.
Quidam apud Belgicae secundae provinciam, id est suburbano Remensis urbis, basilicam in honore beati martyris studiose construxit, cuius reliquias post perfectan fabricam expetiit fideliter ac devote. Quas acceptas, dum via cum psallendo regreditur. remensem est ingressus Campaniam. Erat enim haud procul a via ager cuiusdam divitis campanensis, ad quem scindendum magna multitudo convenerat.
One of the people from a nearby village is instantly affected by the presence of the relics, shouting that Saint Julian torments him and rebuking the saint for coming to the region he has no ties with.
Talia eo dicente, ad locum ubi iam sacerdos tabernaculum erexerat turbulentus advenit, prostratusque coram sancti reliquiis, diutissime humo incubuit. Tunc presbyter capsulam illam sanctam super eum ut posuit, illico erumpente ex ore eius sanguine, ab incursione diabolici erroris mundatus est. Deinceps virtutem sancti praedicans, comes fuit huius itineris.
(ed. de Nie 2015: 378-380, summarised by J. Szafranowski)
Someone in the province of Belgica Secunda, on the outskirts of the city of Reims, built a basilica in honor of the blessed martyr with great care, and after the work had been completed went in faith and devotion to seek his relics. When he had received them and was returning on the road singing psalms, he came to the Countryside of Reims. Not far from the road, there was a field belonging to a wealthy local man where a large crowd had gathered to plow.
One of the people from a nearby village is instantly affected by the presence of the relics, shouting that Saint Julian torments him and rebuking the saint for coming to the region he has no ties with.
Saying such things, he came in great agitation to the place where the priest had already set up his tent and, prostrating himself in front of the relics of the saint, he lay on the ground for a long time. Then, when the presbyter placed the holy casket upon him, blood immediately rushed forth from his mouth, and he was cleansed of the diabolical attack. After this, he praised the power of the holy man and accompanied the relics for the rest of the journey.
(ed. de Nie 2015: 379-381, summarised by J. Szafranowski)


This is one of a few places found in the evidence where the words sacerdos and presbyter are used interchangeably to describe the same person (another is [1969]).
Judging by the place of these events in Gregory's narration, they took place somewhere in the beginning of second half of the 6th century.

Place of event:

  • Gaul
  • Brioude
  • Reims

About the source:

Author: Gregory of Tours
Title: The Miracles of the Martyr Julian, The Suffering and Miracles of the Martyr Saint Julian, De passione, virtutibus et gloria sancti Iuliani martyris, Virtutes sancti Iuliani
Origin: Tours (Gaul)
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
It seems that Gregory of Tours (Gaul) started to collect the stories of Julian`s miraculous interventions and his sanctuary at Brioude since the very beginning of his ecclesiastical career. In the second chapter of "The Miracles of Saint Julian" (Virtutes sancti Iuliani), Gregory mentions his journey to Brioude while still serving as deacon in Lyon. This is not surprising, as Brioude lies just some sixty kilometres south of Gregory`s hometown, Clermont. Julian maintained his position as a very important saint to Gregory after his episcopal ordination. During Gregory`s episcopate, Julian`s relics were brought to Tours and a basilica was built there in his name. By cross-reference, Raymond Van Dam proved that Gregory had finished his book on Julian`s miracles in the early 580s (Van Dam 1993: 162-163).
Recently, Giselle de Nie proposed a new edition of "The Miracles" which combines the earlier editions by Ruinart, Bordier, and Krusch. She normalised the spelling and punctuation, and provided a new translation "that stays as close as possible to the author`s train of thought" (de Nie 2015: xxv).
Gregory of Tours, Lives and Miracles, ed. and trans. G. de Nie, Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library 39, Cambridge, MA and London 2015, pp. 299-419.
Gregory of Tours, The Suffering and Miracles of the Martyr St. Julian, trans. R. Van Dam, in: R. Van Dam, Saints and their Miracles in Late Antique Gaul, Princeton 1993, pp. 162-195.


Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
Described by a title - Sacerdos/ἱερεύς
Ritual activity - Exorcism
Ecclesiastical administration - Construction/Renovation
Ritual activity - Dedication of churches and altars
Devotion - Veneration of saints and relics
Devotion - Supernatural experience
Ritual activity - Chanting
Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: J. Szafranowski, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER1976,