Julian the Hospitaller

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Saint Julian the Hospitaller
Saint Julian, from a fresco by Domenico Ghirlandaio
Bornperhaps 7 AD
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church
Feast 12 February
Attributes 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 travelers; 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
Patronage Boatmen, carnival workers, childless people, circus workers, clowns, ferrymen, fiddlers, fiddle players, hospitallers, hotel-keepers, hunters, innkeepers, jugglers, knights, murderers, pilgrims, shepherds, to obtain lodging while traveling, travelers, wandering musicians, St. Julian's; Macerata

Julian the Hospitaller is a Roman Catholic saint.


The earliest known reference to Julian dates to the late twelfth century. [1]


There are three main theories of his origin:

Le Mans Prefecture and commune in Pays de la Loire, France

Le Mans is a city in France on the Sarthe River. Traditionally the capital of the province of Maine, it is now the capital of the Sarthe department and the seat of the Roman Catholic diocese of Le Mans. Le Mans is a part of the Pays de la Loire region.

Ath Municipality in French Community, Belgium

Ath is a Belgian municipality located in the Walloon province of Hainaut. The Ath municipality includes the old communes of Lanquesaint, Irchonwelz, Ormeignies, Bouvignies, Ostiches, Rebaix, Maffle, Arbre, Houtaing, Ligne, Mainvault, Moulbaix, Villers-Notre-Dame, Villers-Saint-Amand, Ghislenghien, Isières, Meslin-l'Evêque, and Gibecq.

Naples Comune in Campania, Italy

Naples is the regional capital of Campania and the third-largest municipality in Italy after Rome and Milan. In 2017, around 967,069 people lived within the city's administrative limits while its province-level municipality has a population of 3,115,320 residents. Its continuously built-up metropolitan area is the second or third largest metropolitan area in Italy and one of the most densely populated cities in Europe.

The location of the hospitals built by him is also debated between the banks of the River Gardon in Provence and an island near the River Potenza heading to Macerata.

Gardon river in southern France

The Gardon or Gard is a river in southern France. It is the namesake of the department of Gard. Several of its tributaries are also called Gardon.

Provence Historical province in Provence-Alpes-Côte dAzur, France

Provence is a geographical region and historical province of southeastern France, which extends from the left bank of the lower Rhône to the west to the Italian border to the east, and is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the south. It largely corresponds with the modern administrative region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur and includes the departments of Var, Bouches-du-Rhône, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, as well as parts of Alpes-Maritimes and Vaucluse. The largest city of the region is Marseille.

Potenza (river) river in Marche, Italy

The Potenza is a river in the province of Macerata in the Marche region of Italy. The source of the river is in the territory of Fiuminata. The source is located at an elevation of 800 metres (2,600 ft) on Monte Pennino. The river flows northeast through the communes of Pioraco, Castelraimondo, San Severino Marche, Macerata, Montelupone, Recanati and Potenza Picena. The river flows into the Adriatic Sea at Porto Recanati, after a course of some 95 kilometres (59 mi).

He was known as the patron of the cities of Ghent and Macerata. The Paternoster (Our Father prayer) of St. Julian can be found as early as 1353 in Boccaccio's Decameron , and is still passed on by word of mouth throughout some places in Italy. The account is included the 13th-century Leggenda Aurea of Genoan Giacomo da Varazze, a Dominican priest. Beautiful stained glass depicting St. Julian by an unknown artist in the Cathedral of Chartres also dates back to the 13th century. Early fresco paintings of him are found in the Cathedral of Trento (14th century) and the Palazzo Comunale di Assisi.

Ghent Municipality in Flemish Community, Belgium

Ghent is a city and a municipality in the Flemish Region of Belgium. It is the capital and largest city of the East Flanders province, and the second largest municipality in Belgium, after Antwerp. The city originally started as a settlement at the confluence of the Rivers Scheldt and Leie and in the Late Middle Ages became one of the largest and richest cities of northern Europe, with some 50,000 people in 1300. It is a port and university city.

Macerata Comune in Marche, Italy

Macerata is a city and comune in central Italy, the county seat of the province of Macerata in the Marche region. It has a population of about 41,564.

Lords Prayer Christian prayer

The Lord's Prayer, also called the Our Father, is a venerated Christian prayer which, according to the New Testament, Jesus taught as the way to pray:

Golden Legend

Saint Julian. Taddeo Gaddi, 14th century. Saint Julian Taddeo Gaddi.JPG
Saint Julian. Taddeo Gaddi, 14th century.

According to Giacomo, on the night Julian was born, his father, a man of noble blood, saw pagan witches secretly lay a curse on the boy that would make him kill both his parents. His father wanted to get rid of the child, but his mother did not let him do so. As the boy grew into a handsome young man, his mother would often burst into tears because of the sin her son was destined to commit. When he finally found out the reason for her tears, he swore he "would never commit such a sin" and "with great belief in Christ went off full of courage" as far away from his parents as he could. Some versions say that it was his mother who told him at the age of 10, while others say it was a stag he met in the forest while hunting (a situation used in depicting St. Julian in statues and pictures). After fifty days of walking he finally reached Galicia where he married a "good woman", said to be a wealthy widow.

Galicia (Spain) Autonomous community of Spain

Galicia is an autonomous community of Spain and historic nationality under Spanish law. Located in the northwest Iberian Peninsula, it includes the provinces of A Coruña, Lugo, Ourense and Pontevedra.

Twenty years later, his parents decided to go look for their now thirty-year-old son. When they arrived, they visited the altar of St. James, and "as soon as they came out of the church they met a woman sitting on a chair outside, whom the pilgrims greeted and asked, for Jesus' love, whether she would host them for the night as they were tired." She let them in and told them that her husband, Julian, was out hunting. (This is why he is also known as the patron of hunters.) The mother and father were overjoyed to have found their son, as was Julian's wife. "She took care of them well and had them rest in her and Julian's bed." But the enemy went off seeking Julian and told him: 'I have sour news for you. While you are here, hunting, your wife is in bed embracing another man. There they are right now, still sleeping.'"

James, son of Zebedee One of the Twelve Apostles

James, son of Zebedee, also known as Saint James the Greater, was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. James is described as one of the first disciples to join Jesus. The Synoptic Gospels state that James and John were with their father by the seashore when Jesus called them to follow him. Saint James is the patron saint of Spain and, according to tradition, his remains are held in Santiago de Compostela in Galicia.

De Verazze continues: "And Julian felt deep sadness and his face drew into a frown. He rode back home, went to his bed and found a man and a woman sleeping in it. He drew his sword and killed them both. He was about to take off and never again set foot in that land, but as he was leaving he saw his wife sitting among the other women. She told him: 'There are your mother and father resting in your room.' And so Julian knew, and fell into a rage. 'The shrewd enemy lied to me when he said my wife was betraying me', and while kissing their wounds he cried 'Better had I never been born, for I am cursed in soul and body.' And his good wife comforted him and said 'Have faith in Christ Almighty, a stream of life and mercy.' They had no children... Gold and silver they had a lot... And after seeking redemption in Rome, Julian built seven hospitals and twenty-five houses. And the poor started flowing to him, to Jesus' Almighty's love."

Quattrino of Macerata depicting Saint Julian Quattrino Macerata.jpg
Quattrino of Macerata depicting Saint Julian

De Verazze continues: "The enemy conspired again to ruin Julian—disguised as a weak pilgrim, he was let in by Julian with the others. At midnight he woke up and made a mess of the house." The following morning Julian saw the damage and swore never to let in anyone else in his home. He was so furious he had everyone leave. "And Jesus went to him, again as a pilgrim, seeking rest. He asked humbly, in the name of God, for shelter. But Julian answered with contempt: 'I shall not let you in. Go away, for the other night I had my home so vandalized that I shall never let you in.' And Christ told him 'Hold my walking-stick, please.' Julian, embarrassed, went to take the stick, and it stuck to his hands. And Julian recognized him at once and said 'He tricked me, the enemy who does not want me to be your faithful servant. But I shall embrace you, I do not care about him; and for your love I shall give shelter to whoever needs.' He knelt and Jesus forgave him, and Julian asked, full of repentance, forgiveness for his wife and parents. Some versions skip the second mistake and tell of an angel visiting Julian and announcing to him that he is forgiven.

Statue of Saint Julian in the church of Saint-Julien (Puy-de-Dome, France). St-Julien Chapelle statue 0707.jpg
Statue of Saint Julian in the church of Saint-Julien (Puy-de-Dôme, France).
Statue at the Church of St Julian the Hospitaller in Wellow, Somerset. Statue, The Church of St Julian the Hospitaller, Wellow - geograph.org.uk - 1288959.jpg
Statue at the Church of St Julian the Hospitaller in Wellow, Somerset.

Veneration in Malta

Devotion to St. Julian started in the Maltese Islands in the 15th century after the discovery of his relics in the city of Macerata. It was introduced by the noble family of De Astis, high-ranking in Malta at the time, who had strong connections with the Bishop of Macerata. Three churches were built in his honor before the arrival of the Knights: in Tabija, towards Mdina; in Luqa; and in Senglea (Isla). This last one had a storage room for hunters, and served to popularize this devotion through the sailors arriving at the Three Cities. In the 16th century there existed a hospital, Ospedale di San Giuliano, in the Citadel in Gozo, showing a wide devotion to the saint. Being an order of hospitaliers, the Knights of St. John helped widen further this devotion. In 1539 they rebuilt the church in Senglea and in 1590 built another church in the parish of Birkirkara, a section that since then was called St. Julian's. In 1891 the church was made a parish, the only one ever dedicated to the saint in Malta.


St. Julian was invoked as the patron of hospitality by travelers on a journey and far from home pray hoping to find safe lodging. [1]

Julian the Hospitaller in literature and music

The Life of Saint Julian Hospitaller, (translated by Tony Devaney Morinelli). Earliest text: "La Vie de saint Julien" [3]


See also

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  1. 1 2 "The Life of St. Julian the Hospitaller: Introduction", Saints' Lives in Middle English Collections, (E. Gordon Whatley, Anne B. Thompson, and Robert K. Upchurch, eds.) 2004 ISBN   1-58044-089-4
  2. Bernardi, Eduardo (2018). The Chronicles of Julian, The Hospitaller. New Zealand: Higuma Limited, NZ. pp. Books1–5. ISBN   978-0-473-43697-1.
  3. Fordham.edu
  4. A Short Walk Through Ashfield's Past. Ashfield History, accessed 23/10/10.