Saturday, September 6, 2014


St. Julian
Julian the Hospitaller
Also known as Julian the Poor Man
Feast day: February 12

According to a pious fiction that was very popular in the Middle Ages, Julian was of noble birth .
 Fictitious; feast day of January 29 in the Acta Sanctorum appears to be arbitrary. Of the many churches, hospitals, and other charitable institutions in western Europe which bore or bear the name of Saint Julian, most commemorate this hero of a romance, a pious fiction that was very popular in the Middle Ages. There is no evidence to suggest any historicity whatsoever.

 According to the James Voragine's Golden Legend, Julian the Hospitaler accidentally committed one of the worst crimes possible: He killed his parents. This was predicted one day while the nobleman was hunting. A deer reproached Julian for hunting him and said that in the future he would commit the crime. Afraid of committing such a terrible crime, Julian migrated to a far land and served the king there so well that he was knighted and given a rich widow in marriage with a castle for her dowry.

While he was away his mother and father arrived at his castle seeking him; When his wife realized who they were, she put them up for the night in the master's bed room. When Julian returned unexpectedly later that night and saw a man and a woman in his bed, he suspected the worst and killed them both. When his wife returned from church and he found he had killed his parents, he was overcome with remorse and fled the castle, no longer fit to live with decent people. She refused to abandon him. Together they set out to attempt to make amends for his crime. They forsook their fine castle and journeyed first to Rome to obtain absolution, then as far as a swiftly flowing, wide river where they built a hospital for the poor and an inn for travellers. In addition to this work, they did penance for Julian's crime by helping travellers across the swift river. resolved to do a fitting penance. He was forgiven for his crime when he gave help to a leper in his own bed; the leper turned out to be a messenger from God who had been sent to test him.

 After many years Julian was awakened one freezing night by a voice from the other side of the river crying for help. He got up, crossed over, and discovered a man almost frozen to death. Julian carried the man across the river and warmed him back to life in his own bed. The poor sufferer appeared to be a leper, but this did not stop Julian. And when the man recovered, he revealed himself to be a special messenger from God, sent to test the saint's kindness. "Julian," the leper said, "Our Lord sends you word that He has accepted your penance"

 There are many saints named Julian. Some of their stories have mixed with the tale of the Hospitaler and vice versa. The one with which he is most confused is Julian the Martyr, whose wife was also named Basilissa. Nevertheless, Julian the Hospitaller's story is recorded in the sermons of Antoninus of Florence, the 13th-century work of Vincent of Beauvais, and in one of Gustave Flaubert's Trois Contes .

 Saint Julian is depicted in his identifying scene: killing his parents in bed. Sometimes he is shown as young, richly dressed with a hawk on his finger making him difficult to distinguish from Saint Bavo;  holding an oar;  wearing a fur-lined cloak, sword, and gloves;  with a stag; or  carrying a leper over the river to his waiting wife Saint Basilissa . Julian's legend is portrayed in several important cycles of 13th-century stained glass at both Chartres and Rouen, as well as medieval paintings elsewhere .

 He is the patron of boatmen, ferrymen, innkeepers, musicians, travellers, and wandering minstrels .

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