Golden Legend – Lives of Saint John and Saint Paul

Entry

Constance, the daughter of Constantine the emperor, had two provosts, that one was named John and that other Paul. It happed in that time that Gallican, which was duke and conductor of the host of the Romans, should go in battle against the barbarians which had taken Dacia and the country about, and he demanded that Constance, daughter of the emperor, should be given to him in marriage for a reward. The emperor would well, as for him, but he thought it might not be, because Constance, after that Saint Agnes had healed her, would never consent to be married, for she had avowed virginity; wherefore she would rather suffer death than incline thereto, but nevertheless the maid, that trusted in God, said to her father that, at his returning from the battle, if he had victory, might well be spoken of the marriage, and in hope thereof she desired to have two daughters of Gallican for to dwell with her, that by them she might know the better the manners of their father, and she delivered to him her two provosts John and Paul to go with him to battle, which was so done. Then this duke went to battle and was discomfited, and fled into a city of Tarsus, and anon the barbarians assieged him. Then said Saint John and Saint Paul: Make shine avow to God of heaven that thou shalt never wed wife, and thou shalt vanquish shine enemies better than thou hast ; and then he did after their counsel; and on the morn a youngling that bare a cross on his shoulder appeared to him and said: Take thy sword and come after me. When Gallican the duke had taken his sword he led him through all his enemies to the king, whom he slew, and all the host was so afeard that they yielded them all to him, whom then he subdued and made them subjects and tributaries to Rome. And when he went by his enemies, two knights appeared and confirmed him in the faith, and after, he became christian, and returned again to Rome, and was received with great honour. And then he prayed the emperor to pardon him of taking of his daughter, for he purposed never to have wife, but keep him continent and chaste, and that pleased well to the emperor. Then were his two daughters also converted, and he left his duchy and gave all to poor people, and himself served God, and did after many miracles, insomuch that devils and wicked spirits went out of the bodies of creatures by his simple regard and sight. And hereof the renomee and fame went from the east unto the west, and the people came from far for to see the great man how he was changed. For he washed the feet of poor men, and set them at the table, and gave them to eat, he served the sick men, and did the office of servitude much busily.

It happed that when Constantine was dead, an emperor, son of the great Constantine was emperor, all of the heresy of the Arians, and held the empire. He had two nephews, of whom that one was called Gallus, and that other Julian. This Gallus was so bad that he did do slay him. Then Julian doubting and being afeard entered into religion, and dissembled and seemed to be holy, and was made rector. He was a magician and counselled with fiends, of whom he had answer that he should yet be emperor, and so it happed afterward, for such needs came to Constantine that, he created Julian governor of his host and named him C├Žsar. He was a great battler and man of war. Then when Constantine was dead he became emperor. Then commanded he that Gallican, the duke, which was become so blessed man, should make sacrifice to the idols or else go out of the country, for the emperor durst not slay so great a man. Then he went to Alexandria, and there the miscreants made one to run him through with a sword, and so deserved he the crown of martyrdom. Then showed Julian the emperor the covetise of his heart, and he confirmed it by witness of the gospel saying: Our Lord Jesus said: who that renounceth not all that he hath may not be my disciple, and therefore when he heard that the blessed SS. John and Paul had the riches that Constance their lady had left to them, and they sustained the poor christian people of our Lord Jesu Christ, he demanded them that like as they had been with Constantine so would he that they should be with him. Then they said to him: When the glorious Constantine and Constant his son glorified them to be christian, we would well serve them, but sith that thou hast forsaken thy religion full of virtues, we be departed from thee, ne we will no more obey to thee. Julian then said to them: I had the estate of a clerk in the church, and if I would have abided I had had the most worshipful, but because it is vanity and folly to serve parishes and to be idle, I have set my heart in chivalry, and therefore I have made sacrifice to the gods, and they have given to me the empire; and thus ye that have been brought forth and nourished in palaces ought to be by my side, and if ye have me in despite, I shall do so much that I shall not be despised. Then answered they : We love better God than thee, and we doubt nothing thy menaces because that we will not anger our God. Then said Julian: If ye do not my will within ten days with your agreement, ye shall do it after against your will. The saints said to him: Think ye as though now the ten days were gone, and do this day that which thou purposes” to do then. To whom Julian: Ween ye that christian men shall make you martyrs? But if ye consent to me I shall punish you not as martyrs but as common enemies. Then John and Paul during these ten days emended to prayer and to alms, and after, on the tenth day, Terentian was sent to them, which said to them: Our lord Julian hath sent me to you, that ye should honour the image of Jove, which we to you, or else ye must die. Then they said to him: If Julian be thy lord have thou peace with him, we have none other Lord but Jesu Christ. When Julian heard these words he made their heads to be smitten off secretly, and to be buried in their house, and after, made to be said that they were sent into exile. Then anon after, the fiend entered into the son of Terentian and began to cry in that house that he was burnt of the devil When Terentian saw this he knowledged his trespass, and after became christian and put in writing the passion of these two holy saints, and his son was delivered of the devil. This was done in the year of grace four hundred and sixty-four.

Saint Gregory recordeth that a lady visited oft and gladly the church of these two saints; and when she came on a time, she found two monks in strange habit, and she supposed that they had been monks. She commanded to give them her alms, but whilst her dispenser approached to them, they approached to her and said: Thou visitest now us, but we shall visit thee at the day of judgment, and shall give that we may. And when they had so said, anon they vanished away. Then let us pray unto God that by their merits he give to us in this world his grace, and in that other his glory. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.