Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 107
Venantius, abbot and presbyter in Tours (Gaul), witnesses a eucharistic miracle while a presbyter says Mass, before 507. Account of Gregory of Tours, "Life of the Fathers", Tours (Gaul), ca 590.
Abbot and Presbyter Venantius in Tours was unable to celebrate Eucharist due to his poor eyesight [103]. Another presbyter says Mass.
Dicente igitur presbitero, ipse proximus adstetit, ventumque est, ut sanctum munus iuxta morem catholicum, signo crucis superposito, benediceretur. At ille intuitus, vidit quasi ad fenestram absidae scalam positam et quasi descendentem per eam virum senem, clericati honore venerabilem atque oblatum altario sacrificium dextera extensa benedicentem. Haec enim agebantur in basilicae sancti Martini, quod nullus videre meruit nisi ipse tantum; reliqui vero cur non viderint, ignoramus. Ipse tamen deinceps fratribus retulit, nec enim est dubium, haec fideli famulo Dominum demonstrasse, cui etiam dignatus est arcanorum secreta caelestium revelare.
(ed. Krusch 1885: 275)
Abbot and Presbyter Venantius in Tours was unable to celebrate Eucharist due to his poor eyesight [103]. Another presbyter says Mass.
While the presbyter officiated, the holy man [Venantius] stood very near to him. When the moment arrived at which, according to catholic custom, the holy offering had to be blessed by the sign of the cross, [Venantius] saw at one window of the apse something like a ladder. Down the ladder seemed to descend a venerable old man, honoured with the marks of the clericature, who with his outstretched hand blessed the sacrifice offered on the altar. These things happened in the basilica of saint Martin; but nobody merited the sight of them except him, and we do not know why the others did not see anything. Afterwards he told this to the brothers, and there is no doubt that the Lord had allowed his faithful servant to see these things and had deigned to reveal to him the secrets of the celestial mysteries.
(trans. James 1991: 101-102, slightly altered and summarised by J. Szafranowski)


The first possible terminus ante quem of Venantius' presbyterial activity is the year 507, when Licinius, who succeeded him in abbacy, became bishop of Tours. Thus Venantius was probably active in the last quarter of the 5th century.

Place of event:

  • Gaul
  • Tours

About the source:

Author: Gregory of Tours
Title: Life of the Fathers, Vita Patrum, Liber Vitae Patrum
Origin: Tours (Gaul)
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
Gregory of Tours (bishop of Tours in Gaul in 573-594) started writing his Life of the Fathers some time before 587 and finished it around 592 or slightly later, as shown by the cross-references to his other works.  It is a collection of twenty Gallic saints` lives of different lengths. They all are in some way connected to Gregory`s family or church interests, while also exemplifying different virtues leading to sanctity. Saints presented in the Life of the Fathers are all either ascetics or bishops.
More on the text: James 1991: ix-xxv.
B. Krusch ed., Gregorii Episcopi Turonensis Miracula et Opera Minora, Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptores rerum Merovingicarum 1.2, Hannover 1885, 211-294.
Gregory of Tours, Life of the Fathers, trans. E. James, Liverpool 1991.


Functions within the Church - Urban presbyter
Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
Ritual activity - Eucharist
Relation with - Another presbyter
Devotion - Veneration of saints and relics
Devotion - Supernatural experience
Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: J. Szafranowski, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER107,