Wonders in an ecclesiastical sense, are those remarkable occurrences, whether deceptive or otherwise, which partake of the nature of miracles, and have been regarded as such by those who witnessed them. Miracles were very common in the early Church, and were a powerful weapon in the hands of the clergy, both to convince unbelievers and to secure submission on the part of believers. It is proposed in the present treatment to consider them under the heads of the persons or objects. by which they were wrought, and in subdivisions to consider their purpose and the manner of their being wrought.
I. Wonders Wrought by Living Saints. — These were performed either by direct means, such as invocation of the name of Christ, prayer, signing of the cross, or the imposition of hands, or by indirect means, such as sending to the sick the garments of saints or others, bread, oil, or water which had been blessed by saints. It is a noticeable fact that in the accounts of miracles which. have reached us from the early fathers the writers lay no claim to the performance of the miracles they attest, and do not even mention the authors by name. Under this head we notice,
1. Miracles of Beneficence. — These consisted of
(1) Exorcism and Healing. — Justin Martyr tells us that Christians, in the name of Jesus, cast out daemons from those whom pagan enchanters could not cure. Irenaeus and Cyprian bear similar testimony to their power, while Tertullian declares, "Devils we not only despise, but both overcome and daily expose and expel from men, as is known to very many." Some of the earliest miracles of this class were wrought by Gregory, bishop of Neo- Caesarea, in Pontus, in the 3d century, the record of which, however, belongs to the 4th century. Among those recorded may be mentioned the exorcism of a youth by the imposition of hands, and the healing of the plague-stricken of Neo-Coesarea. Amounghthe miracles of this class wrought by the earlier Eastern monks, those of Antony and Hilarion will serve as examples. As belonging to the former we note the case of a boy in a fishing-boat, whose state of possession was indicated by a foul stench in the boat, but whose spirit yielded to the exorcism of the monk; and also that of a girl from whom he cast out an evil spirit at Alexandria in his old age; while among his cures may be mentioned the case of a man afflicted either with epilepsy or madness, upon whom he employed no means to effect a cure at once, but sent him away into Egypt, declaring that there he would be cured. Hilarion wrought chiefly in Sicily and Palestine. Of his miracles in the former place we have the testimony of a Grecian Jew that "a prophet of the Christians had appeared in Sicily, and was doing so many miracles and signs that men thought him one of the old saints." Jerome, who was his biographer, records among his miracles the restoration of sight to a woman who had been blind for ten years, a cure of paralysis, another of dropsy, and exorcising the possessed, even a camel, which, in its fury, had killed many. In one case a man was dispossessed, and offered a sum of money to the saint for the cure which had been wrought, but was informed that his acceptance of the money would surely bring back the possession. In another instance he effected the cure of an uneducated Frank, who began at once to speak Syriac and Greek, although having no previous knowledge of those languages. In the West we find, in the 4th century, St. Ambrose curing a woman of palsy, laying his hands on her in prayer while she touched his garment, casting out evil spirits, and, on the other hand, causing a thief to be repossessed on account of his misdeeds; also St. Martin of Tours delivering a slave of a devil, and healing a leper at Paris; while, in the following century, Germanus of Auxerre, at Aries, cures a praefect's wife of a quartan ague, at Alexia bestows power of speech on a girl who had lost it twenty years, at Autun heals a girl of a withered hand, in England a boy of contracted limbs, and at Milan and Ravenna casts out evil spirits.
Thus far the examples have been confined to exorcisms and cures by direct means. Some examples of the same results wrought through indirect means will next be presented. The monk Pachomius had been applied to by a man, whose daughter had an evil spirit, to work a cure. The saint bade the man bring him one of his daughter's tunics, warning him at the same time that the blessing he should bestow upon it would be of no avail so long as his daughter continued to live a sinful life. Accordingly, the girl was not cured until she had confessed and forsaken her sin. In another instance the saint had directed that in order to obtain a cure the energumen should, before each meal, take a small piece of a loaf of bread which had been blessed. As, however, he refused to touch the bread, the device was adopted of concealing morsels of it inside dates, but with no better success. The daemoniac carefully extracted them. At last, having been left some days without food, he took the bread and was cured. By means of consecrated oil Hilarion healed the bites of serpents, and St. Martin of Tours cured a paralytic girl, when at the point of death, by putting into her mouth a few drops of this oil. Threads frayed from St. Martin's garments healed the sick when wound around the neck or fingers, and a letter written by the saint cured a girl of fever when laid upon her chest. Straw upon which Germanuis of Auxerre had reposed for a single night cured a dsemoniac when bound upon it, and a barley loaf, which the bishop had blessed and sent to the empress Placidia, possessed and retained for a long time wonder-working properties. St. Genevieve of Paris cast out devils by threads of her garments, and cured the sick by bits of her candle.
With regard to the comparative prevalence of miraculous gifts of healing, as exercised by living saints in different ages, we can form an opinion only from tile records which have reached us. It would appear, however, that the power of working cures was in nowise diminished in the 6th, 7th, and 8th centuries. Daemoniacal possessions, madness, leprosy, paralysis, blindness, deafness, lameness, and many other diseases and infirmities constantly called forth, and found relief through, the thaumaturgic powers with which monks and bishops were endowed, while accidents, such as those to which monks themselves were exposed in the performance of their agricultural labors, were naturally not excluded from the sphere of miraculous treatment. Nor was there any partiality in the distribution of these gifts over the various regions of Christendom, although the accident of the birthplace or dwelling of some of those who undertook to record certain miracles might lead us to a contrary opinion. If, for example, during the 6th century, thaumaturgy, as exercised in the matter of healing and exorcism, shone brightly in the persons of monks and bishops, it shone no less brightly in Palestine in the person of the abbot Theodosius, or in France in the instances of Melanius, bishop of Rennes, and St. Genevieve of Paris.
(2) Raising from the Dead. — Irenaeus declares that "with much fasting and prayer the spirit of the dead returned;" and again, "before now, as we have said, even the dead have been raised up, and have remained with us many years." We mention a few alleged instances of this wonder occurring at different times. Julian, who suffered martyrdom at Antioch in the Diocletian persecution, raised a dead man to life, and St. James, bishop of Nisibis, in A.D. 325, a man who was brought to him as dead, with a view to obtaining money (presumably to defray the expenses of burial), and who really died while counterfeiting death. St. Martin of Tours restored to life a catechumen, who had died in his monastery unbaptized, by throwing himself upon the dead body and praying earnestly for its restoration, and on another occasion a slave, who had hanged himself. Hilary of Poitiers raised a child to life who had died unbaptized; Marcellus, abbot of a monastery of the Acoemetse, near Constantinople, in 446, a monk; and Gelasius, abbot of a monastery in Palestine, in 452, a child. Germanus of Auxerre, when at Ravenna, raised a man from the dead; St. Benedict of Nursia, a boy; St. Bavo of Ghent, in 653, a man; St. Walaricus, abbot of a monastery on the Somme, in 662, one who had been unjustly hanged; St. Wulfram, bishop of Sens, in 720, five Frisian youths who had been hanged as a sacrifice to the gods.
(3) Miracles of Deliverance, Protection, and Succor. These afford a series of wonders which range all the way from the deliverance of cities from siege or assault, or of districts from inundation, to the multiplication of corn in a granary, or of wine or beer in a cask. They differ widely from one another in respect of their object and importance, and the sphere they affect, and often degenerate into little else than a display of miraculous power for its own sake, thus losing the character of a true miracle. The raising of the siege of Nisibis will serve as an example of the power ascribed to living saints in this direction. Sapor II was besieging the city. The inhabitants, in their alarm, appealed to their bishop, St. James. In answer to the supplications he offered, swarms of gnats attacked the besiegers, their horses and elephants, irritating them to such a pitch of frenzy that they broke loose. To increase his discomfiture, the Persian king mistook the bishop, when he appeared on the walls in his purple and with his diadem on his head, for the Roman emperor, and thereupon raised the siege. According to Theophanes, (Chronographia, pages 52, 53), the bishop's prayers had the further result of bringing famine and pestilence upon the besiegers when they returned to their own land. The deliverance of Paris from the Huns by St. Genevieve is a case of like import. The miracle wrought by Gregory Thanmaturgus on the banks of the river Lycus furnishes an instance of the exercise of this power in another direction. The bishop, having been appealed to by the inhabitants of a certain district to deliver them from the calamities to which they were from time to time exposed by the overflowing of this river, made a journey to the place, and, invoking the name of Christ, planted his staff at the particular spot where the stream was wont to burst through the mound which had been erected on its banks to prevent its. encroachments. The staff became a tree; the water rose as usual, but henceforth never passed the tree. The miracle had its ethical result in the conversion of the inhabitants, who were at that time heathens. Similar miracles are ascribed to several others in different places.
As a rule, however, such interpositions of miraculous power were in behalf of small communities and frequently of individuals. As illustrations of this fact, we mention the cases in which St. Hilary cleanses the Insula Gallinaria of serpents; St. Martin of Tours, when, in his missionary zeal, he has set fire to a heathen temple, successfully repels the flames from an adjoining building; St. Maur walks on the water to save his friend Placidius; Germanus of Auxerre restores a stolen valise to its owner; St. Benedict of Nursia, and Leutfred, abbot of a monastery near Evreux, in A.D. 738, cause iron to swim, and others of like import. In marked contrast with the miracles of Christ and his apostles, we find the monks, on their missionary journeys or at home, working miracles in behalf of their own special needs, such as causing water to flow in dry places by the simple expedient of planting a staff in the ground or of striking on the rock with a rod, multiplying wine or beer in the cask, and of quenching the flames when fire had chanced to break out in a monastery or convent.
2. Miracles of Power. — In the early Church these assumed the forms of speaking with tongues, prevision of events, and the seeing of visions. Under this head we shall consider,
(1) Miracles Wrought in Confirmation of Christianity. For example, Gregory Thaumaturgus on one occasion was forced, through storm and the approach of nightfall, to take refuge, together with his companions in travel, in a heathen temple which happened to be famous for its oracles. Having invoked the name of Christ and signed the cross, the bishop spent the night in praising God. In the morning the priest of the temple found upon his arrival that the demons had forsaken their shrine. Gregory informed him that he could bring them back as well as expel them. Challenged to do so, he wrote upon a piece of paper, "Gregory to Satan — enter" and handed it to the priest, who placed it upon the altar. Forthwith the daemons gave evidence of their return. To satisfy the priest still further as to the truth of Christianity, Gregory accepted a challenge to move a large stone which lay near, by means of his word alone. He at once moved it, and thus convinced his opponent. Hilarion wrought a remarkable miracle of this class at Gaza. A Christian named Italicus, who bred horses for the chariot-races, applied to Hilarion to help him against a rival who made use of magic to check the speed of his horses, and thus secure the victory for his own steeds. The saint, although at first unwilling to lend his aid in so trivial a matter, acceded to the request, and sent Italicus the vessel he was wont to use in drinking, filled with water, wherewith horses, chariot, and charioteers were to be sprinkled. This done, the Christian's horses, flyinig like the wind, easily won the race.. Whereupon the pagan party, whose god was Miarnas, raised a loud shout, Marmas is conquered by Jesus Christ."
(2) Miracles Wrought in Confirmation cf Orthodoxy. — St. Arnulph, having received a command from the king of the Visigoths, who wished to test the saint's powers, to rid the land of a serpent whose breath was of so fiery a nature as apparently to dry up water, was conducted to the serpent's lair, where he laid his stole upon the head of the monster, and, bidding him follow, led him to a pond, and forbade him ever to leave it, or thenceforth to injure any living creature. In the same pond lay the body of a man who had died a violent death. Upon the approach of the saint the dead man prayed to be delivered from his miserable resting-place. In answer to the prayer, St. Arnulph raised the body and buried it in a fitting place. These miracles are said to have made such an impression upon the king and his courtiers that they forsook their Arianism and accepted the Catholic faith.
(3) Miracles Wrought in Punishment of Evil-doers. — When St. Willibrod, A.D. 739, was on a missionary journey, he, with his company, sought rest one day in a field. The owner of the land proceeded to drive him away, refusing to listen to his remonstrances, or to drink with him in token of amity. "Then drink not," exclaimed the saint, and the man lost the power of drinking, while suffering all the pangs of thirst, nor did he regain it till he had confessed his sin to the saint upon his return in the course of a year.
(4) Miracles Wrought in Illustration of the Gifts, Bestowed upon Men by their Enterprise and Piety. — St. Benedict of Nursia miraculously detected an infraction of the monastic rules by some of his monks, and a theft on the part of a messenger, and enabled two monks to carry a heavy fragment of a rock. Numerous other examples of miracles performed by living saints might be cited, but the foregoing will suffice.
II. Wonders Wrought by Relics. — The relics of a saint perpetuated the benefits which the saint himself, during his lifetime, had conferred upon those who stood in need of healing or succor. They originated in the latter half of the 4th century, and may be divided into
1. Miracles of Beneficence, consisting of
(1) Exorcisms and Miraculous Cures, wrought
1. By the Bodies of Saints. — Many miracles were wrought by St. Stephen's relics. The town of Calama had possessed relics of St. Stephen for about eight years, and that of Hippo for less than two years, when St. Augustine declared that many books would have to be written in order to recount all the miracles of healing alone which had been wrought by means of these relics during this space of time in the two districts of Calama and Hippo, and that of those which had been wrought in the latter district alone nearly seventy accounts had already been written (De Civitate Dei, 22:8, § 20).
2. By Objects brought into Contact with, or Proximity to, the Bodies of Saints, Living or Dead. — Such miracles, according to Gregory the Great, were likely to make a deeper impression on the popular mind than those wrought by the bodies of the saints themselves, for the reason that in the latter case they might be regarded as wrought in answer to prayer, by the saint himself, whose spirit was supposed to hover about its former tenement. These may be further classified:
(a) The Garments or Possessions of Saints. — The tunic of St. John the Evangelist, preserved in Rome, worked many miracles; the shoes of St. Gall; A.D. 646, healed a man to whom they were given after the saint's death of contraction of the limbs; while the keys of St. Peter wrought many cures at Rome.
(b) Cloths Laid upon the Bodies of Dead Saints. — Cloths were laid upon the face of Miletius of Antioch on the occasion of his funeral at Constantinople, in 381, and distributed among the people as prophylactics. Handkerchiefs and garments in use were cast upon relics, in order to invest them with remedial properties, and even threads which had been frayed from a handkerchief that had been used to cover the face of Nicetius, bishop of Lyons, on the day of his death, when laid upon an altar, cured an epileptic who prayed before it.
(c) The Candles or Lamps which Illuminated the Tomb of a Saint.
(d) The Dust which Gathered upon the Tomb, e.g. of St. Hilary of Poitiers, was the means of cleansing two lepers, of bestowing sight upon a blind person, and soundness of limb upon two persons with withered hands.
Dust from the tomb of martyrs in Lyons, when gathered in a spirit of faith, cured the infirm.
(e) Water with which the Tomb was Washed. — Several persons at Tours were cured of dysentery by the water with which St. Martin's tomb was washed in preparation for Easter.
(f) The Fabric and Furniture of the Church which field the Relics. — A boy suffering from the effects of a poisoned dart was cured upon kissing the threshold of St. Martin's basilica. Sidonius Apollinaris tells a friend that he lost the sense of his debility when prostrate upon the threshold of the Vatican basilica at Rome.
(2) Raising the Dead. — A presbyter at Calama, in Africa, laid out as dead, revived when a tunic which had been taken to a memoria containing relics of St. Stephen was placed on his body. A wagon-wheel went over a child and killed him, his mother took him to the same memoria, "and he not only came to life again, but even appeared unhurt" (Augustine, De Civitate Dei 22:8, § 12).
(3) Deliverance, Protection, Succor. — This belief came into existence along with that in their curative properties, and has been quite as prevalent and deep-seated. The Romans regarded the relies of St. Peter and St. Paul as safeguards to their city. When a band of rebellious monks, belonging to the monastery of St. Sabas, in Palestine, were on their way to attack the monastery, they were seized with blindness, and unable to reach their destination. This deliverance of the abbot and his party was attributed to the presence of the relics of St. Sabas. In the time of Gregory of Tours, the population of several districts of Gaul were visited with a plague of an infectious character, and among them the province of Prima Germania. The town of Rheims, however, escaped by virtue of the pall or covering of St. Remignis's tomb, which was carried in procession, accompanied by crosses and candles, round the town. The belief in the miraculous virtues of relics led to the practice of carrying them, as the Jews their ark, into battle. The Frankish princes required their army chaplaimus to carry them at the head of their forces; Chilperic had them carried before him when he entered Paris, and an Eastern king, according to a story repeated by Gregory of Tours, went so far as to insert the thumb of St. Surgius in his own right hand, and was able, by raising his arm, to conquer his enemies. Besides this public use of relics, many individuals were. accustomed to carry them about their persons for their own protection, especially when travelling.
2. Miracles of Power, consisting of
(1) Those Wrought in Attestation of the Righteousness of the Innocent and the Guilt of the Wrong-doer. —Gregory of Tours relates that a priest who had taken refuge in the Church of St. Martin 'at Tours, and was there put into chains, was proved to be innocent by the fact that his chains fell off him, and could not be made to remain on him when replaced. On the other hand, a priest who had falsely asserted his innocence before the tomb of St. Maximin, in Treves, fell down dead.
(2) Those Wrought in Punishment of Such as Treated Relics with Contempt. — For example, when the relics of St. Babylas, bishop of Antioch, had been removed at the emperor Julian's command from Daphne, where their presence was supposed to render dumb the oracles of Apollo, the temple of that god caught fire, and not races of it were left (A.D. 354).
III. Wonders Wrought by the Eucharist. — It is a noteworthy fact that the miracles alleged to have been affected by the eucharist were wrought by it not only as a sacrament, but as that of the Catholic faith, in contradistinction to the rite, and in condemnation of the doctrines, of a heretical creed.
1. Miracles of Beneficence.
(1) — Exorcism and Healing. — A girl possessed of an evil spirit, upon receiving the eucharist from St. Austregisile of Bourges, in 624, at once ceased to shout and rave; and a singer in a church choir, having been exhausted and in a prostrate condition from a conflict with daemons, revived upon receiving it from Sulpicius, bishop of the same see, in 644.
(2) Deliverance, Protection, Succor. — During the reign of Justinian it was customary to distribute among the young children of Christian parents such fragments of the eucharistic bread as remained after communion. By accident a Jewish child, mingling with his Christian companions, received and ate one of these fragments. The father of the boy, a glass-blower by trade, was so enraged that he shut his son into his furnace, in order not only to kill him, but to destroy all traces of him. The child, however, was saved, and the miracle resulted in the conversion of the mother, who was baptized, together with her child.
2. Miracles of Power, wrought
(1) In Condemnation of Immorality. — Gregory of Tours relates that as a deacon, a man of unholy life, was one day carrying the eucharist into a church, the bread flew out of his hands and placed itself on the altar.
(2) In Condemnation of Heresy. — Certain members of the Donatist sect, in token of their contempt for the Catholics, once ordered the eucharistic bread to be given to their dogs. Upon eating it the dogs went mad and bit their masters. A woman receiving some of the eucharistic bread of the Macedonians, to her alarm found that it had turned into stone.
Similar miracles were also wrought by holy baptism. For example, as related by Augustine, the cure of a surgeon afflicted with the gout, and of an actor having paralysis.
IV. Wonders Wrought by Pictures and Images.
1. Miracles of Beneficence. — A picture of the Virgin Mary at Sozopolis, in Pisidia, was wont to shed, at the point where the hand of the Virgin was represented, a sweet-smelling ointment. The fact has been asserted, it is claimed, by many witnesses. An image of our Lord on the cross, which stood near the great gate of the imperial palace at Constantinople, was supposed to possess miraculous virtues, and, in fact, was believed to have wrought a cure of hemorrhage similar to that mentioned in the gospels.
The victories which Heraclius won over the Persians were attributed to the fact of his carrying at the head of his legions images of our Lord and the Virgin Mary; and the repulse of a Saracen army before the walls of Nicnea, A.D. 718, to the possession by that city of images of the saints.
2. Miracles of Power. — A Jew stole a picture of our Lord from a church, and in token of his contempt and hatred for the person it represented transfixed it with a dart. Forthwith blood began to flow from the picture, and in such quantity that the Jew was covered from head to foot. Thereupon he resolved to burn it, but the blood it had shed enabled its rightful owners to trace and bring condign punishment upon the thief.
Images of the cross, as representatives of the true cross, on the same theory, came to be regarded as possessing the same miraculous powers.
V. Wonders Wrought by Celestial Visitants. — Whatever miracles were attributed to living saints were also attributed to those beings supposed to possess the holy qualities, the angelic visitants. For example, St. Cuthbert., bishop of Lindisfarne, in 687, was cured of weakness in his knee by an angel who appeared to him on horseback; and a nun in a convent at Fautvilly, in Normandy, of an ulcer in her throat, after the hand of some invisible personage had been placed in support of her head, and a vision had been subsequently accorded to her of one clothed in the white robes of a virgin.
VI. Wonders Wrought Apart from Human or Angelic Agency. — Of this class of wonders, those which are best attested are least marvellous, while those which are most miraculous rest on manifestly insufficient testimony. Many of them might be looked upon as special providences, others as extraordinary coincidences; but at the time of their recurrence they were all looked upon as interpositions of Providence, intended to supply the needs or confound the enemies of the faithful. Of these we note
1. Miraculous Occurrences.
(1) Miracles of Beneficence. — A body of Catholics living in Typasa, in Mauritania, A.D. 484, for the crime of holding assemblies and refusing to communicate with a heretical bishop, had their right hands amputated, and their tongues cut out by the roots, by order of Hunneric, the Arian king of the Vandals. But on the third day after this occurrence they were able to speak as before. At least three of the narrators of this miracle AEneas of Gaza, a rhetorician and philosopher, the emperor Justinian, and count Marcellinus, his former chancellor were witnesses of the mutilation inflicted, and of the capacity of some of these martyrs to articulate woho were living in their time. Marcellinus adds that one of the confessors having been born dumb, spoke for the first time after the excision of his tongue. Procopius states that two out of their number lost their supernatural power of speech through having lapsed into evil living. No contemporary authority gives the number of the confessors, but in an old menology it was stated as sixty.
When the emperor Marcus Aurelius was waging war against the Quadri, his troops suffered greatly on one occasion from thirst, owing to the intense heat. Among his soldiers were many Christians. Those who belonged to the Melitene legion fell on their knees in prayer; a shower of rain fell, refreshing and invigorating the Roman army, but terrifying and dispersing the enemy, to whom it had been a storm of thunder.and lightning. The account is sometimes given without any mention of the prayers of the Christians, and again the miracle is attributed to the prayers of the emperor. Individuals are mentioned as having been miraculously protected. We may mention Theotimus, bishop of Tomi, A.D. 400, who became invisible to his pursuers; St. Martin of Tours, the arm of whose assailant fell powerless; Armogastus, a young Catholic in Theodoric's service, whose limbs were freed from their bonds on his signing the cross and invoking Christ.
(2) Miracles of Powers. — As an example of a primitive miracle, which rests upon ample testimony, we note the fiery eruption on the rebuilding of the Temple of Jerusalem. The emperor Julian had given orders for the rebuilding of the Temple, having intrusted the superintendence of the work to his lieutenant, and himself issued invitations to the Jews of all countries to assemble at Jerusalem and aid him in accomplishing his purpose. Of the marvellous manner in which the work was interrupted and the emperor's designs thwarted, we learn the particulars from several writers. A whirlwind arose, scattering heaps of lime and sand in every direction; a storm of thunder and lightning fell, melting in its violence the implements of the workmen; an earthquake followed, casting up the foundation of the old Temple, filling in the new excavations, and causing the fall of buildings, especially the public porticoes, beneath which the terrified multitude had sought shelter. When the workmen resumed their labors balls of fire burst out beneath their feet, not once only, but as often as they attempted to continue the undertaking. The fiery mass traversed the streets, repelling from the doors of a church, even with the loss of life or limb, those who had fled to it for safety. This miracle has the support of contemporary writers, Gregory Nazianzen (Orat. 5:4), and Ammianus Marcellinus (Hist. 23:1); and of later historians, Rufinus (Hist. 1:37), Socrates (3:20), Sozomen (5:22), Theodoret (Hist. Eccles. 3:20). See also Warburton, Julian; Gibbon, Decline and Fall, c. 23; Newman, On Miracles, 175; Migne, Dict. des Mir. 2:1115.
2. Miraculous Appearances. — Gibbon (c. 15) declares that "it is impossible to overlook the clear traces of visions and inspirations which may be found in the early fathers." The purport of visions was sometimes to allay the fears, to solve the doubts, to direct the steps of those who were in trouble or difficulty, sometimes to forewarn of approaching calamities. They were not restricted in their coming to any particular sort of persons, but appeared to all. We may classify them into
(1) Apparitions of Beings.
(a) Angels. — The appearances of the archangel Michael were numerous, both in the East and the West. An angel appeared to St. Theuderius, directing him where to erect his monastery, two angels to Furseius, A.D. 650, admonishing him, as abbot of a monastery, that monksshould pay less attention to the mortification of the body, and more to the cultivation of an humble, contented, and charitable disposition.
(b) Daemons. — The evil one appeared to St. Anthony in the guise of a woman, then of a black child; as a monk with loaves in his hands, when the saint was fasting; as a spirit calling himself the power of God, and, lastly, avowing himself to be Satan.
(c) Departed Spirits. — St. Stephen appeared, A.D. 420, to Pulcheria, sister of Theodosius II, informing her of the safe arrival of his relics (right hand) from Jerusalem. St. Ambrose, on the night, being Easter eve, on which he was laid out for burial, appeared to the newly baptized infants, varying the manner of his appearance, but to the parents of the children remaining invisible, even when pointed out. Again, on the day of his death, he appeared to saints in the East, praying with them and laying his hands on them, while in Florence he was frequently seen after his death, praying before the altar of the church he had built in that city.
(d) Living Saints. — A child who had fallen into a well was found sitting upon the surface of the water. His account was that St. Julian Sabas, who at the time was entertained by the mother of the child, had appeared to him and borne him up. A similar story is given in the life of Theodosius of Palestine.
(2) Visions of Purgatory, Hell, and Heaven. — A vision the martyr Perpetua had of her brother, in whose behalf she had been led to pray, first as suffering and in a place of darkness, and then as comforted and surrounded with light, has been supposed to refer to a state of purgatory. As indicative of the punishment of the wicked, an abbot in Auvergne had a vision of a stream of fire, and of men immersed in it, bitterly bemoaning their sufferings. These had lost their footing when crossing a narrow bridge which spanned the stream, and were men who had been careless in the discharge of their spiritual duties. After this vision the abbot became stricter in the regulation of his monastery. Visions of heaven were accorded among others to St. Furseius and to Salvius, bishop of the Albigenses, as a place paved with gold and silver, and illuminated by a cloud shining beyond the light of sun or moon.
(3) Apparitions of Crosses.
(a) In the Air. — Constantine, when marching against Maxentius, A.D. 311, and in doubt' to what deity he should apply for succor against an enemy whose forces outnumbered his own, saw, in company with his whole army, a luminous cross in the sky above the mid-day sun, with this inscription, "In this conquer." The same night our Lord appeared to Constantine in a vision, showed him a cross, and bade him fashion a standard after the pattern of it as a means of victory in his contest against Maxentius. This is the account given by Eusebius in his Life of Constantine (1:28-32), but not till twenty-six years after the occurrence, and which he professes to have heard from the emperor himself, who affirmed his statement with an oath. Socrates, Philostorgius, Gelasius, and Nicephorus speak of the phenomenon as seen in the sky; Sozomen and Rufinus in a dream, although on the authority of Eusebius they also mention the apparition in the sky. On the feast of Pentecost, May 7, 351, a cross appeared in the sky at Jerusalem, stretching from Mount Calvary to Mount Olivet, and shining with a brilliancy equal to that of the sun's rays. The apparition lasted for several hours; the whole city beheld it, and all, residents and visitors, Christians and unbelievers, alike joined in the acknowledgment that "the faith of the Christians did not rest upon the persuasive discourses of human wisdom, but upon the sensible proofs of divine intervention." Of this phenomenon Cyril, then patriarch of Jerusalem, wrote an account to the emperor Constantius, who at the time was fighting against Maxentius in Pannonia, where also, according to Philostorgius (Hist. Eccles. 3:26), it was seen by the contending armies, to the confusion of the pagan and the encouragement of the Christian host. Several other appearances of like character are mentioned.
(b) On the Garments of Men. — We read that when the emperor Julian was entering Illyricum the vines appeared laden with unripe grapes, although the vintage had taken place, and that dew falling from them on the garments of the emperor and his companions left upon them the imprint of crosses; a phenomenon which by some was supposed to portend that the emperor should perish prematurely, like unripe grapes, The appearance of the luminous cross in the sky, on the occasion of Julian's attempt to rebuild the Temple, was accompanied by the appearance on the bodies and garments of men of crosses which were luminous at night, in some instances of a dark color, and would not wash out.
(c) On Animals. — When the emperor Julian was inspecting the entrails of an animal he was offering in sacrifice, he beheld in them the figure of a cross encircled by a crown. St. Placidas, when hunting a stag, beheld amid its horns a luminous cross and the figure of the Crucified, and heard a voice saying, "Why persecutest thou me, Placidas? Behold, I am here on account of thee. I am Christ whom thou, ignorant of, dost worship." St. Minulphus also saw a cross amid a stag's horns, Besides the foregoing there are many ether marvels mentioned in ancient writings, but illustrations of the leading classes have been given. For the credibility of such accounts SEE MIRACLES, ECCLESIASTICAL.
For additional information see Acta Sanctorumn; Acta SS. Benedict.; Newman, On Miracles; Fleury, Histoire Eccles.; Butler, Lives of the Saints; Gregory the Great, Dialogues; Augustine, De Civitate Dei; Gregory of Tours, De Gloria Martyrum; Migne, Dict. des Mir. and Patrol. Lt.; Sulpicius Severus, Life of St. Martin of Tours; the various Apologies of the fathers, with many of their other writings; and the Ecclesiastical Histories of Eusebius, Socrate, S Sozomen, Philostorgius, Rufinus, and Theodoret, as well as many of the later writers on the same subject.