Saint Julian the Hospitaller

detail of a stained glass window of Saint Julian the Hospitaller; date and artist unknown; Saint-Julien, Puy-de-Dôme, France; photographed on 15 July 2007 by Romary; swiped from Wikimedia Commons; click for source imageAlso known as

  • Julian the Poor



Noble layman; friend and counselor to the king, he was married to a wealthy widow. A stag he was hunting predicted he would kill his own parents. Julian moved far away to avoid his parents, but they found him, and came to make a surprise visit. His wife gave them her and Julian’s bed; Julian killed them, thinking they were his wife and another man.

As penance, he and his wife travelled to Rome, Italy as pilgrims seeking absolution. On his way home, to continue his penance, Julian built a hospice beside a river, cared for the poor and sick, and rowed travellers across the river for free.

Once, after having helped many, many travellers, Julian gave his own bed to a pilgrim leper who had nearly frozen to death. When they had him safely settled, the man suddenly revealed himself to be an angel. The visitor announced that Christ had accepted Julian’s penance; the angel then disappeared.

Immensely popular in times past; scholars today think the story is likely to be pious fiction, mistaken for history.




Additional Information

MLA Citation

  • “Saint Julian the Hospitaller“. CatholicSaints.Info. 22 August 2013. Web. 30 November 2015. <>