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Letaldus of Micy: The Journey of the Body of St. Junianus to the Council of Charroux, c. 990s CE

In this work Letaldus describes the journey made by the monks of Nouaillé to an episcopal council held at the abbey of Charroux bearing the relics of their patron Junianus. That council was the first recorded meeting of bishops in the Aquitaine to proclaim the so-called "Peace of God," that is an attempt to outlaw certain forms of violence on the part of the armed classes through threat of excommunication. The Constantine at whose command Letaldus composed the work was the former abbot fo Letaldus' house of Micy.

Brother Letaldus gives salutations to Lord father Constantine and to the other brothers of the monastery of Nouaillé.

(1) The angel Gabriel was once sent by the Lord to alleviate the labors of Tobias. The angel not only delivered him from toil, but also gave him the support of the kindness of divine piety. Then he returned to him by whom he had been sent, going forth from whom does not make one absent. Gabriel first taught those who had benefited from heavenly kindness and addressed them, saying, "It is good to hide the secret of a king, but gloriously to reveal the works of God."[Tobias 12:7] Therefore it is fitting that we reveal and confess the works of Christ which are allowed to happen in our times through his most glorious confessor Junianus, both for the praise and glory of the saint's name and for the edification of those who will hear the story. All people should learn these things, for such works as were done in the days of our fathers and are still done for us now do not happen on accout of our own merits, but through the kindness of piety and the intervention of those fathers who are provided as intercessors for us. They provide something for us to copy in the important correction of our own lives.

(2) We therefore approach the task of writing this work which we have promised, not trusting in the help of men, but supported by the aid of divine largess, which comes from him who said, "Open your mouth wide and I will fill it."[Psalm 80:11 (81:10 in RSV)] Reverend fathers and brothers, you have begged us with your prayers and you have enjoined me by your charitable command. Do not allow our rustic speech to be displeasing to you, if only so that truth alone may bring forth the whole narrative, as it was told by you. At that time sinners were rising up like stalks of wheat. Evil people wasted the vineyard of the Lord just as briars and thorns choke the harvest of the land. Therefore it pleased bishops, abbots, and other religious men that a council be held at which the the taking of booty (praeda) would be prohibited and the property of the saints, which had been unjustly stolen, would be restored. Other evils which fouled the fair countenance of the holy church of God were also struck down by the sharp points of anathemas. I think that this council was held at the monastery of Charroux and that a great crowd of many people (populus) gathered there from the Poitou, the Limousin, and neighboring regions. Many bodies of saints were also brought there. The cause of religion was strengthened by their presence, and the impudence of evil people was beaten back. That council--convoked, as it was thought, by divine will--was adorned through the presence of these saints by frequent miracles. Along with these various relics of the saints honored by God, the remains of the glorious father Junianus were brought with proper honor.

(3) Several things occurred when the relics of the holy father Junianus were brought forth from their monastic enclousure. Not far from the monastery [of Nouaillé] those who carried the bundle containing the saint stopped and put down their holy burden. After the most holy relics departed, the faithful in their devotion erected a cross in order to memorialize and record the fact that the relics of the holy father had rested there. From that time to this, whosoever suffers from a fever and goes there is returned to their former health through the invocation of the name of Christ and the intercession of this same father Junianus. When the party came to the little village called Ruffiacus, they sought out the manse house their and passed the night there in a vigil singing hymns and praise to God. The next day they resumed their journey. At the place where the relics had rested, faithful Christians erected a sort of fence from twigs, so that the place where the holy body had lain might remain safe from the approach of men and animals. Many days later a wild bull came by and wantonly struck that same fence with his horns and side, when suddenly he retreated from the fence, fell down, and died. In that same place a little pool was created by placing a gutter tile to allow run-off water to be stored up. Because of the reverence for the holy relics, this pool served as an invitation for many people to wash. Among these there was a woman who suffered from elephantiasis. When she washed herself with that water, she was returned to her former health.

Source: Source: Letaldus of Micy, Delatio corporis s. Juniani ad synodem Karoffensem in Patrologia latina, ed. Jean-Paul Migne, 221 vols. (Paris, 1844-1864), 137:823-26. The work was most probably composed in the mid 990s. For a complete discussion of the text, see Thomas Head, "Letaldus of Micy and the Hagiographic Traditions of Nouaillé," Analecta Bollandiana 115 (1997), 253-267.

This translation by Thomas Head has been made available to fellow students and researchers for private or classroom use. All other rights are reserved. Duplication for any other purpose, including publication, is prohibited. This translation was last updated on June 10, 1997.

From Thomas F. Head, An Anthology of Translated Texts Illustrative of the History of the Cult of the Saints (c 2000). [Link is to Internet Archive]. Thomas Head prepared these texts as part of the now defunct ORB: Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies [Link is to an archived and non-maintained version]. Dr. Head died on Nov 12, 2014 after an extended illness. I believe that he would have wanted his translated texts, marked for free personal use, and bibliographies to continue to be available and not just through the sometimes slow operation of the Internet Archive. They were marked "They may be reproduced for private use, but may not be reproduced for publication."

This text is part of the Internet Medieval Sourcebook. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts related to medieval and Byzantine history.

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© Paul Halsall,January 2023
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