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The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

from its origins to circa AD 700, across the entire Christian world

John, bishop of Arles (ob. after 668), in a letter to nuns in Arles, mentions that their monastery was dedicated to *Mary (Mother of Christ, S00033). Written in Latin at Arles (southern Gaul), c. 660/c. 668.

Evidence ID


Type of Evidence

Documentary texts - Letters

Letter of John, Bishop of Arles

The letter begins as follows, before going on to discuss disciplinary issues:

Sanctis ac venerandis in Christo sororibus, ipsis quibus sanctae memoriae praedecessor noster Aurelianus episcopus monasterium sanctae Mariae intra muros Arelatensis urbis constituit, praecepta vivendi sancivit, Ioannes, gratia Domini ac Dei nostri Iesu Christi, episcopus.

'John, bishop by the grace of our Lord and God Jesus Christ, to the sisters, holy and venerable in Christ, for whom our predecessor of holy memory Bishop Aurelianus established the monastery of the holy Mary within the walls of the city of Arles and enacted rules for living.'

Text: PL 72. Translation: David Lambert.

Cult Places

Cult building - monastic

Non Liturgical Activity

Saint as patron - of a community


John's letter to the nuns was included as an appendix to the Regula ad virgines of Aurelianus of Arles (E07947) in the Codex regularum, the collection of monastic rules compiled in the early 9th century by the monastic reformer Benedict of Aniane (ob. 821).


This letter confirms that the female monastic community dedicated to Mary, which had been founded by Bishop Aurelianus of Arles between 546 and 551 (see E07947), was still in existence just over a century later. The precise dates of John's tenure as bishop of Arles are not known, but he is first attested in office in 660, and last attested in 668 (Duchesne 1907, 260).


Migne, J.P., Patrologia Latina 72, 859.

Further reading:
Duchesne, L., Fastes épiscopaux de l'ancienne Gaule. Tome premier: Provinces du Sud-Est, 2nd ed. (Paris, 1907).

Record Created By

David Lambert

Date Last Modified


Related Saint Records
IDNameName in SourceIdentity
S00033Mary, Mother of ChristMariaCertain

Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL:
David Lambert, Cult of Saints, E07948 -