July 13, 2020

Saint Julian, Bishop of the Cenomani in Le Mans

St. Julia of Le Mans (Feast Day - July 13)

Saint Julian was elevated to the episcopal office by the Apostle Peter. Some believe that he is the same person as Simon the Leper (Mark 14:3), receiving the name Julian in Baptism. Others believe he was a Roman nobleman, or perhaps one of the Seventy Apostles.

The Apostle Peter sent Saint Julian to preach the gospel in Gaul. He arrived among the Cenomani tribe (who were in the region of the River Po in the north of present day Italy) and settled into a small hut out beyond a city (probably Cremona), and he began to preach among the Cenomani pagans. The idol-worshippers at first listened to him with distrust, but the preaching of the Saint was accompanied by great wonders. The capital city of the Cenomani was Civitas Cenomanorum (Le Mans), which was suffering from a shortage of drinking water. Julian thrust his staff into the ground and prayed. Water began to gush out of the ground. This miracle allowed him to preach freely within Le Mans.

By prayer Saint Julian also healed many of the sick among the Cenomani. Gradually, a great multitude of people began to flock to him, asking for help. In healing bodily infirmities, Saint Julian healed also their souls, enlightening those coming to him by the light of faith in Christ. His miracles included the resurrection of a dead man.

One time the holy bishop wanted to see the local prince. At the gate of the prince’s dwelling there sat a blind man whom Saint Julian pitied, and having prayed, gave him his sight. The prince came out towards the holy bishop, and having only just learned that he had worked this miracle, he fell down at the feet of the bishop, requesting Baptism. Having catechized the prince and his family, Saint Julian imposed on them a three-day fast, and then he baptized them. Following the example of the prince, the majority of his subjects also converted to Christ. The prince donated his own home to the bishop to build a temple in it, and he provided the church with means.

Saint Julian fervently concerned himself with the spiritual enlightenment of his flock, and he healed the sick as before. Deeply affected by the grief of parents, the holy bishop prayed that God would restore their dead children to life. That is why he is often depicted in icons with a child. His care for the poor, the widows and the orphans was exemplary.

The holy Bishop Julian remained long on his throne, teaching his flock the way to Heaven. He died in extreme old age. To the end of his days he preached about Christ and he completely eradicated idolatry among the Cenomani.

The Cathédrale St-Julien, in Le Mans, is dedicated to him. The feast of Saint Julian of Le Mans was celebrated in England because Henry II of England had been born in Le Mans. Having rested in a shrine at the Benedictine convent of Saint-Julian-du-Pré since the Middle Ages, his relics were burnt or scattered by the Huguenots in 1562. Saint Julian's head is still shown at the cathedral of Le Mans, where it has been shown since 1254.