Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 108
Venantius, abbot and presbyter in Tours (Gaul), witnesses Eucharist miracles, before 507. Account of Gregory of Tours, "Life of the Fathers", Tours (Gaul), ca 590.
Nam idem dum de basilicis sanctorum die dominica, ex pleta oratione, reverteretur, super bacellum sustentatus, in medio beati confessoris atrio, erectis auribus oculisque ad caelum diutisstme adtentis, stetit inmobilis. Deinde motus a loco, coepit dare gemitus ac suspiria longa producere. Interrogatusque a suis, quid hoc esset, aut, si aliquid divinum fuisset intuitus, enarraret, respondit: 'Vae nobis inertibus et pigris! Ecce iam in caelo missarum solemnia expediuntur, et nos eignes nec inchoare coepimus huius misterii sacramentum. Vere', inquid, 'dico vobis, quod ego audivi voces angelorum in caelis 'Sanctus' in lande Domini proclamantes'. Et dicto citius in monasterio missarum solemnia iussit expleri. Sed nec illud praeteribo, quod quadam vice, dum iuxta consuetudinem, ut supra diximus, de basilicis, quas orationis gratia adierat, repedaret, et in basilica ad missas dominicae orationis verbi decantarentur, cum illi dixerunt: 'Libera nos a malo', audivit tumulo cuius dam vocem dicentem similiter: 'Libera nos a malo'. Quod non sine perfectionis merito censetur, ut haec meruisset audire.
(ed. Krusch 1885: 275-276)
The same Venantius, indeed, was returning one Sunday from the basilica of the saints after completing the prayers, supported on his stick. He stopped still in the middle of the forecourt of the church of the holy confessor [i.e. Martin of Tours], listening carefully, his eyes turned for a long time towards heaven. Then, stepping forward a few paces, he began to groan and to sigh. Asked by those who accompanied him what it was, and to tell them if he had seen some divine thing, he replied 'Woe on us apathetic and idle creatures! I see that in heaven the solemnity of Mass is far advanced, while we are so dilatory that we have not even heard the voices of the angels in heaven, singing 'Sanctus!' and proclaiming the praises of the Lord.' Then he ordered Mass to be said immediatelly in the monastery. I would also like to mention another occasion, when he was returning from the churches after having said prayers there, as was his custom (as I have said before). Mass was being celebrated in the basilica, and when the words from the Lord's Prayer 'Deliver us from evil' were sung, he heard a voice from the tomb which said also 'Deliver us from evil.' One must believe that he who deserved to hear that was a man of special merit.
(trans. James 1991: 102, slightly altered by J. Szafranowski)


The 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 - Monastic presbyter
Monastic or common life - Monastic superior (abbot/prior)
Fame of sanctity
Ritual activity - Eucharist
Devotion - Veneration of saints and relics
Devotion - Private devotional practice
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, ER108,