A Garner of Saints – Saint Julian, Bishop of Le Mans

detail of a stained glass window of Saint Julian of Le Mans; date and artist unknown; church of Saint-Pierre de Chevaigné, France; photographed on 14 September 2013 by GO69; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsArticle

Flourished in the third century, the traditions however are very confused, a matter of no great wonder seeing that the calendar contains the names of no less than forty-two distinct Julians. According to one tradition he was the same as Simon the leper who entertained Christ, and who was afterwards sent to France by Saint Peter. It is more probable however that he was born at Rome of a patrician family, and that he received from Pope Clement who converted him the mission to evangelise Gaul. Taking with him the priest Thuribe and the deacon Pavace he proceeded to Le Mans, of which city he became the first bishop. Arrived at Le Mans they found the gates shut, for the city was at war and the inhabitants feared a surprise; accordingly Julian and his companions were obliged to content themselves by preaching in the country. Shortly afterwards a number of the inhabitants came out in search of water; Julian, to prove the truth of his mission, planted his staff in the earth and caused a fountain of water to spring up, preaching Christ to them the while. This miracle established his fame, though he was obliged to endure persecution from the rich inhabitants of the city. But the protector of the town sent for him and was converted on seeing Julian heal a blind man at the door of his house. The protector then gave him a part of his palace to transform into a church, and it stood on the site of the present cathedral. Not long after Julian raised the child of a citizen named Anastasius who had died, and also raised a youth who was being carried to the grave, thereby converting a great number of Pagans. Many other miracles were wrought by him in raising the dead, casting out devils and healing the sick. His zeal in destroying the worship of the false gods aroused many enemies. One day, near Artius, a crowd of idolaters gathered and threatened to kill him, Undaunted by their menaces, Julian entered their temple and, invoking the name of Christ, overthrew and dashed to pieces an enormous idol of Jupiter. From this issued a huge dragon, which devoured a number of its own worshippers. Then the idolaters implored Julian’s help, and making the sign of the cross, he commanded the dragon to take to flight without harming anyone. The monster obeyed and the multitude was converted. One day a serpent had enfolded a child in its coils and was preparing to devour it, when Julian came up, and after he had uttered a short prayer, the monster burst in the middle. Before his death Julian went back to Rome to render an account of his mission. Returning to Le Mans he appointed his successor, and retired to a distant place when he expired in the midst of his clerks and disciples; the protector being informed of the event by a vision. When the funeral cortege which was bearing his body to Le Mans arrived at the River Sarth, it was so swollen by rain that it was no longer fordable, but the horses crossed the water as if it had been dry land. 27th January.

Attributes

  • Girl with pitcher seated at feet, or chasing a dragon. Wears the episcopal habit.

MLA Citation

  • Allen Banks Hinds, M.A. “Saint Julian, Bishop of Le Mans”. A Garner of Saints, 1900. CatholicSaints.Info. 20 April 2017. Web. 20 August 2017. <>