St. Gregory of Tours

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Gregory of Tours (538-594) was a Gallo-Roman historian and Bishop of Tours, which made him a leading prelate of the area that had been previously referred to as Gaul by the Romans.  As a historian, he is the primary source for contemporary history of the Merovingian dynasty, the ruling family of the Franks from the middle of the 5th century until 751.

Having contracted a serious illness, Gregory made a visit of devotion to the tomb of St. Martin at Tours. Upon his recovery, he began to pursue a clerical career and was ordained deacon by Avitus. Upon the death of St. Euphronius, he was chosen as bishop by the clergy and people, who had been charmed with his piety, learning, and humility.

His most notable work is the Decem Libri Historiarum (Ten Books of Histories), better known as the Historia Francorum (History of the Franks).  He is also wrote accounts on the miracles of saints, Glory of the Confessors, the Glory of the Martyrs, but especially his four books of the miracles of Martin of Tours.  His Life of the Fathers comprises twenty hagiographies of the most prominent men of the preceding generation,  with St. Illidius praised for his purity of heart, St. Brachio the abbot for his discipline and determination in study of the scriptures, St Patroclus for his unwavering faith in the face of weakness, and St. Nicetius, bishop of Lyon, for his justice. It is the life of St. Nicetius of Trier, though, which dominates this book.  

Writings:

  • Historia Francorum (History of the Franks)
  • Life of St. Martin
  • Life of the Fathers
  • Glories of the Martyrs
  • Glory of the Confessors

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