Site logo

The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

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


Nazarius and Celsus, companion martyrs of Milan

Saint ID


Number in BH

BHL 6039-6043

Reported Death Not Before


Reported Death Not After


Type of Saint
Martyrs, Children
Related Evidence Records
E00367Gregory of Tours writes the Glory of the Martyrs (Liber in Gloria Martyrum), in Latin in Tours (north-west Gaul), 580/594. Overview entry.
E00478Gregory of Tours, in his Glory of the Martyrs (46), tells of a written Martyrdom of *Nazarius and Celsus (martyrs of Milan, S00281), according to which they were martyred in Embrun (south-east Gaul), and buried there; their graves were lost and a pear-tree grew over them, which bore healing fruits; the saints ordered it to be cut down, and a church was built on the spot; in the altar of this church there are relics of *Genesius (notary and martyr of Arles, S00263). Written in Latin in Tours (north-west Gaul), 580/594.
E00585Gregory of Tours, in his Glory of the Martyrs (60), tells of a man struck dead in 577/593 after taking a golden belt offered to *Nazarius (martyr of Milan, S00281) in a church with his relics in a village of the territory of Nantes (north-west Gaul). Written in Latin in Tours (north-west Gaul), 580/594.
E00723Victricius of Rouen names saints who perform healing miracles at their burial place and elsewhere: *John (the Apostle and Evangelist, S00042), *Proculus and *Agricola (martyrs of Bologna, S00448 and S00310), *Antonius/Antoninus (martyr of Piacenza, S00328), *Nazarius (martyr of Milan, S00281) and several other saints, male and female, of uncertain identity (S00446, S00449, and S00453). Written in Latin in Rouen (northern Gaul), 395/397.
E00905The Life of *Ambrose (bishop of Milan, ob. 397, S00490), by Paulinus of Milan, relates how Ambrose discovered, thanks to a vision, the body of *Nazarius, not far from that of Celsus (later known as companion martyrs of Milan, S00281). Their transfer to a new basilica was accompanied by the confession of a demoniac who said he was tormented by Ambrose, all c. 395 in Milan (northern Italy). Written in Latin in North Africa, c. 422.
E02034The Latin Martyrdom of *Nazarius and Celsus (martyrs of Milan, S00281) is written in a number of versions; the earliest presumably in Milan, after the early 5th c. It narrates their trials, travels in Italy and Gaul, and martyrdom in Milan under Nero. Their bodies are buried in a secret location, but later found by bishop Ambrose who transfers Nazarius to the Basilica Apostolorum in Milan, where many miracles occur.
E03572The author of the Copenhagen Continuation of Prosper, an anonymous continuation of the Latin chronicle of Prosper of Aquitaine, records that the Roman commander Asbadus was buried in the church of *Nazarius (martyr of Milan, S00281) at Ticinum (Pavia, northern Italy). Composed in northern Italy, c. 625.
E03894The Church Calendar of Ioane Zosime, compiled in Georgian in the 10th c., based however on 5th-7th c. prototypes from Palestine, commemorates on 13 October *Forty Martyrs of Sebaste (S00103), *Domnina (martyr of Anazarbus under Diocletian, S01658), and *Nazarius (martyr of Milan, S00281).
E04768Paulinus of Nola, in several of his poems (in the Natalicia) written in honour of *Felix (priest and confessor of Nola, S00000), describes the building work undertaken by Paulinus at Felix’s tomb at Nola/Cimitile (southern Italy); Natalicium 9 also refers to the relics of several other apostolic saints and martyrs housed in the basilica complex at Nola. Written in Latin, in Spain and later Nola, between 400 and 407.
E05104Paulinus of Nola, in a long letter to Sulpicius Severus of 403/404 (Letter 32), discusses building-work carried out by Severus at Primuliacum (southern Gaul) and sends proposals for poetic inscriptions at the site; Paulinus also describes his own building-work at Nola/Cimitile and Funda/Fondi (both southern Italy), quoting in full the poems he has written for these churches. Several of these poetic inscriptions refer to the saints venerated at Primuliacum, Nola and Fondi. Written in Latin at Nola.
E05338Gaudentius of Brescia preaches a sermon (Sermon 17) in Brescia (northern Italy), on the dedication of a basilica to the 'Council of Saints', with relics of *John (the Baptist, S00020), *Andrew (the Apostle, S00288), *Thomas (the Apostle, S00199), *Luke (the Evangelist, S00442), *Gervasius and Protasius (martyrs of Milan, S00313), *Nazarius (martyr of Milan, S00281), the *Anaunian Martyrs (Sisinnius, Martyrius and Alexander, ob. c. 397, S00605), and the *Forty Martyrs of Sebaste (S00103). Written in Latin, probably 402/403.
E05555Venantius Fortunatus writes eleven books of Poems in Latin, mainly in western and north-western Gaul, 565/600; many of them with reference to saints. Overview entry.
E05612Venantius Fortunatus, in a poem (1.10) On lord *Nazarius (martyr of Milan, S00281), recounts how Leontius, bishop of Bordeaux (south-west Gaul), built a church in the diocese of Bordeaux to the saint, in 542/571. Written in Latin in Gaul, 565/576.
E05811Agnellus of Ravenna, in his Liber Pontificalis Ecclesiae Ravennatis, written in Latin, quotes Latin inscriptions and refers to foundations in honour of the *Vitalis (martyr of Ravenna, S02826), *Mary (Mother of Christ, S00033), *Gervasius and Prostasius (martyrs of Milan, S00313), and *Nazarius (martyr of Milan, S00281) in Ravenna (northern Italy). Agnellus claims these inscriptions and foundations were made during the episcopate of Ecclesius (bishop of Ravenna, 522-532); account written in Ravenna in 830/846.
E06586The Latin Gelasian Sacramentary (or Liber Sacramentorum Romanae Ecclesiae), probably compiled around 750 near Paris using earlier material from Rome, records prayers to saints on their feast days in June.
E06885Pope Symmachus I, in a letter of 508, replies positively to a request for relics of *Nazarius (martyr of Milan, S00281) and *Romanos (perhaps the deacon of Caesarea, martyred at Antioch, S00120) from African bishops exiled by the Vandal king to Sardinia. Written in Latin in Rome.
E08076Five relic labels at the monastery of Saint-Maurice d'Agaune (south-east Gaul), datable by their script to the 7th c., for relics of various Gallic and Italian saints. Written in Latin, either where the relics originated, or at Saint-Maurice d'Agaune.