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.  


  • 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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Quotes and Excerpts:

-Eight Books of Miracles (Written ca. 575 A.D.)

[1, 4]
The course of this life having been completed by Blessed Mary, when now she would be called from the world, all the Apostles came together from their various regions to her house. And when they had heard that she was about to be taken (1) from the world, they kept watch together with her. And behold, the Lord Jesus came with His angels, and taking her soul, He gave it over to the Angel Michael and withdrew. At daybreak, however, the Apostles took up her body on a bier and placed it in a tomb; and they guarded it, expecting the Lord to come. And behold, again the Lord stood by them; and the holy body having been received, He commanded that it be taken in a cloud into paradise: where now, rejoined to the soul, [Mary ] rejoices with the Lord’s chosen ones, and is in the enjoyment of the good of an eternity that will never end.

[1, 8 (al. 9)]
But Mary, the glorious Mother of Christ, who is believed to be a virgin both before and after she bore Him, has, as we said above, been translated into paradise, amid the singing of the angelic choirs, whither the Lord preceded her.

“Some time ago I saw a man named John, who had left Gaul after
contracting leprosy. He had made his dwelling in the very place
where, as we have said, the Lord was baptized and stayed there for a whole year. He used to bathe in the river regularly, in order to recover his original health, to the point that his skin was restored, even better than before.
After receiving some relics of blessed Mary in Jerusalem, he set
about to return to his homeland, but he wanted to visit Rome first. However, when he was in a lonely region of Italy, he fell in with thieves. Straightway he was despoiled of his garments, and they even robbed him of the purse in which he kept the holy relics. Now his enemies, thinking that he had some gold coins inside, forced the latch and carefully examined the contents. But because they found no money, they took the relics and threw them into the fire; then, after showering the man with blows, they went off.
But John, though half dead, managed to get up, in order to gather up at least the ashes of the relics. Instead, he saw the relics, unharmed, sitting atop the glowing embers; even the cloth in which they were wrapped was quite unscathed. It did not appear to have been thrown into embers but looked like it had been pulled out of the water. The man joyfully gathered up all the relics and, resuming the journey he had undertaken, reached Gaul safe and sound. We have known many others who, after bathing in the Jordan or in the waters of the city of Levi, were purified from this disease.”
-Gregory of Tours, Libri Miraculorum 1:19

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