Post #22.1, Thursday, July 1, 2021

Historical setting: 584 C.E., Eve’s cottage on the Loire

         Eve and Anatase are telling me about a visit from soldiers. When Nic heard this he laughed and asked to keep the walnut shell.

         “Did you give it to him?”

         “Of course. Was it something special?”

 “Yes, it could remind Nic of a story I told him about a relic. I’m glad you gave it to him.”

         Eve asks, “Why did he think it was a relic?”

         “Apparently my fellow student at the inks of Tours is now the bishop as he predicted. He was George, or Georgius Florentius back then. He bragged that one day he would be a famous bishop, named “Gregory of Tours.” He said it with a kind of backwards genuflect, starting at his belly and turning his hand upward as a gesture of his own empowerment. He was assigned to teach me not to be a heretic, and I was supposed to teach him proper grammar. He was too stubborn to change his writing style and I was too stubborn to give up the notion that Jesus was a human person.  We had to show our work to the bishop. So for my part, I claimed a patron saint who was a fourth century Jewish Christian martyred before all the wrinkles of creed were even ironed smooth.  I made the relic of the true whiskers of St. Lazarus. But the lesson didn’t take. I still have my heresy. I still believe Jesus was human and that dead saints aren’t magical — either the pagan or Christian saints.  I mean, if Jesus taught us relics were important we would have saved a lot more old and smelly stuff back in the day when Jesus walked and taught.”  [Footnote 1]

         “Nevertheless, Nic thought your relic was a precious reminder.”

         “A reminder to smile maybe. I hope he didn’t try to explain it. And I wonder if my fellow student George ever finished his book about the History of the Franks. I read the first draft of the first chapter and it was just packed with fantastic powers and supposed heavenly acts of saints. In that story the first king of all the Franks, Clovis, was spawned from a beast and took on baptism as a Christian as good luck charm to help in winning wars. There were bible stories right in the mix but there wasn’t a word of the Jesus teachings of love for one’s enemies.” [Footnote 2]

 (Continues Tuesday, July 6, 2021)

[Footnote 1] “Roman law attached great importance of the sacrosanctity of a corpse” in the article “Dead or alive? The holy man as a healer in East and West in the late sixth century” by Joan M. Peterson, Journal of Medieval History, Vol.9, Issue 2, 1983 tracks to root of the miracle-empowered relic back to Roman paganism. In this article the example is described by Gregory of Tours, regarding the relics of St. Martin, and Western cults of saints.  https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1016/0304-4181(83)90003-9 retrieved 4-11-2021

[Footnote 2]Brehaut, Ernest (trans.) A History of the Franks, by Gregory of Tours (reprint First Rate publishers)


Published by J.K. Marlin

Retired church playwright learning new art forms-- fiction writing, in historical context and now blogging these stories. The Lazarus Pages have a recurring character -- best friend of Jesus -- repeatedly waking to life in various periods of church history and spirituality.

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