St. Julian the Hospitaller was born into a wealthy family in the early 4th century. According to legend, he had been recently married and was very jealous. While hunting, Julian had a vision that he would murder his mother and father. 

While he was on his way home, his parents made an unexpected visit to Julian’s home. His wife gave them one of the best rooms. When Julian returned, he saw two figures in bed and assumed his wife was with a lover. In a jealous rage, he killed his father and mother. 

When he learned what he had done, Julian was so horrified that he swore he would spend the rest of his life doing good works to atone for his sin. He and his wife made a pilgrimage to a distant country, where he built a hospital. 

Julian’s hospital was near a river that people who were forced to travel by the Holy Crusades used to cross. Often, travelers drowned in the crossing, so Julian took on the responsibility of ferrying travelers across, and treating the sick. 

One night, thieves came to the hospital and killed Julian and his wife in the same way that Julian had killed his parents. Legend has it that “there were great miracles without end in that place and land.” 

St. Julian is considered the patron of ferrymen, innkeepers, and circus performers. 


Start your day with Always Forward, our award-winning e-newsletter. Get this smart, handpicked selection of the day’s top news, analysis, and opinion, delivered to your inbox. Sign up absolutely free today!