Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Saint Julian the Hospitaller

Also known as
Julian the Poor
Memorial
12 February
Profile
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 as pilgrims seeking absolution. On his way home, to continue his penance, he 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.
Patronage
Patron Saint of boatmen; Patron Saint of carnival workers; Patron Saint of childless people; Patron Saint of circus workers; Patron Saint of clowns; Patron Saint of ferrymen; Patron Saint of fiddlers; Patron Saint of fiddle players; Patron Saint of hospitality; Patron Saint of hotel-keepers; Patron Saint of innkeepers; Patron Saint of jugglers; Patron Saint of knights; Patron Saint of murderers; Patron Saint of pilgrims; Patron Saint of San Giljan, Malta; Patron Saint of shepherds; Patron Saint to obtain lodging while travelling; Patron Saint of travellers; Patron Saint of wandering musicians
Representation
carrying a leper through a river; ferryman; hart; holding an oar; man listening to a talking stag; oar; stag; with Jesus and Saint Martha as patrons of travellers; young hunter with a stag; young man killing his parents in bed; young man wearing a fur-lined cloak, sword, and gloves; young, well-dressed man holding a hawk on his finger

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