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MEDIEVAL-RELIGION  June 2007

MEDIEVAL-RELIGION June 2007

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Subject:

saints of the day 18. June

From:

John Dillon <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

medieval-religion - Scholarly discussions of medieval religious culture <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 18 Jun 2007 22:18:01 -0500

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medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

Today (18. June) is the feast day of:

1)  Mark and Marcellian (??).   M. and M. are Roman martyrs whose celebration on this date is recorded in the (pseudo-)Hieronymian Martyrology, in the seventh-century itineraries for pilgrims to Rome, in the Gelasian and Gregorian sacramentaries, and in the historical martyrologies from at least Florus onward.  The location of their sepulture is problematic.  According to the (ps.-)HM they were buried in the cemetery of Balbina on the Via Ardeatina.  The seventh-centuries itineraries say that their resting places lay beneath the church in which pope St. Damasus was buried and at some remove from that in which pope St. Mark reposed.  As the latter is known to have been in the cemetery of Balbina, the prevailing view is that M. and M. lay rather in some other cemetery in the same general vicinity.  For another possible location, see the next paragraph.

In the legendary Passio of St. Sebastian (BHL 7543) M. and M. are young brothers whose determination not to sacrifice to the idols overcomes the contrary entreaties of their parents and of friends, who in turn become Christian.  The whole lot is baptized by the priest St. Polycarp.  M. and M. are comforted by St. Sebastian and are made deacons by pope St. Gaius, who also ordains their father (St. Tertullinus) priest.  The brothers suffer a painful martyrdom together and are buried at the sandpits (_ad arenas_) on the Via Appia.

Here's a view of Polycarp baptizing M. and M. -- only one of whom is now visible -- in the frescoes by Giovanni Baleison (signed and dated, 1484) of the Cappella di San Sebastiano at Celle Macra (CN) in Piedmont:
http://tinyurl.com/2q2qzx

2)  Autbert of Avranches (d. 725).   A. (in French, Aubert) is the bishop of Avranches to whom the Archangel Michael is said to have appeared on 16. October in or around the year 708 and to have instructed, both then and in subsequent appearances, to erect a church in his (M.'s)  honor on a seaside elevation called Mons Tumba ('Mount Tomb') and now known the world over as Mont-St-Michel.  A. is further said to have proceeded to obtain relics of M. from his sanctuary on the Gargano peninsula of Apulia and within a year to have founded a monastic church on the site in question.  The core of the story is found in the perhaps mid-ninth-century _Apparitio Michaelis in Monte Tumba_ (BHL 5951, etc.), was repeated in A.'s own Vita (BHL 858), and became very widely known thanks to its adoption by Jacopo da Varazze in the _Legenda Aurea_.

In 1012 A.'s putative remains were discovered at Mont-St-Michel and most were then placed in a shrine and given a formal elevation at the monastery church.  The skull, though, was sent to Avranches.  Here are two views of it in its present reliquary at Avranches' église St-Gervais:
http://tinyurl.com/33hasd
http://www.cwb.matrix.com.br/sensus/images/cranio.jpg 
And here's a fourteenth-century illumination, in a copy of Jean de Vignay's translation of the _Legenda Aurea_ (Paris, BN, ms. Français 241, f. 260), of Michael appearing to A.:
http://tinyurl.com/2vdl7x

3)  Calogerus of Sicily (8th cent.?).  C. is a very popular saint of Sicily honored also in southern Calabria.  According to his synaxary notice in Vaticanus graecus 2046 (a twelfth- or thirteenth-century liturgical manuscript of Sicilian origin), he left Africa for Sicily in order to escape Islamic persecution.  According both to the same source and to an emended text in the ninth-to-eleventh-century canon in his honor by one Sergius, C. had come from Carthage.  He arrived in the western part of the island and settled down to life as a hermit in a cave (in Vat. gr. 2046 located on a Mt. Kronion), where he defeated demons and performed miraculous cures.  His cult, initially Greek but in the later Middle Ages also Latin (with new biographic data tellingly including C.'s going to Rome and obtaining papal permission to be a hermit in Sicily), was widespread in Sicily in the later Middle Ages.

Since 'Calogerus' (literally 'nice old man') was a medieval Greek expression for a monk or hermit, it's possible that both C.'s baptismal name and his name in religion are unknown.  A comparandum in this respect would be Caltabellotta's St. Peregrinus ('Foreigner') of Triocala, who also defeated a demon and lived eremitically in a cave.

Caltabellotta is in Agrigento province.  So too is a major locus of C.'s cult: Sciacca, whose nearby Monte Giummare features caves with volcanic hot springs long used as places of healing (the so-called Stufe di San Calogero) and is today frequently identified with Mt. Kronion.  There is now a huge basilica and Franciscan monastery on the site:
http://www.foto-sicilia.it/go-foto.cfm?id=32199
But this sanctuary is not attested to before the sixteenth century.  In fact, none of Sicily's numerous churches in C.'s honor is medieval in appearance, though this one in Agrigento proper, first documented in 1540 and clearly much rebuilt,
http://www.agrigentotour.com/ag/centro/zoom.asp?img=panor14
http://tinyurl.com/rmqvn
is said to have traces of thirteenth- or fourteenth-century construction in its west wall.

The abbey church of St. Philip of Agira at Agira (EN), a Benedictine site honoring a famous Greek saint of Sicily, has a
triptych (the remnant of a polyptych) of the Madonna and Christ Child with C. on one side and St. Benedict on the other:
http://digilander.libero.it/agira1/Trittico.jpg
 
Sergius' liturgical verse in C.'s honor was discovered in the seventeenth century by Ottavio Gaetani at the once Greek abbey of St. Philip at Fragalà.  For a long time all we had of Sergius' work were extracts printed by Papebroch in the _Acta Sanctorum_.  But a transcript prepared for Gaetani survives and from it Carmelo Capizzi edited the Greek text in Volume One (and only?) of Father Francesco Terrizzi SJ's _S. Calogero.  Pagine d'archivio_ (Sciacca: Basilica S. Calogero, 1987- ; Istituto superiore di scienze umane e religose Ignatianum, no. 13), pp. 43-61.  The notice of C. in Vat. gr. 2046 is edited and discussed, with generous bibliographic references, by Andrea Luzzi, _Studi sul Sinassario di Costantinopoli_ (Roma: Dipartimento di filologia greca e latina, Sezione bizantino-neoellenica, Universita' di Roma "La Sapienza", 1995; Testi e studi bizantino-neoellenici, no. 8), pp. 103-16.

4)  Elisabeth of Schönau (d. 1164).  E. entered the Benedictine double monastery of Schönau on the western edge the Taunus in today's Hessen at the age of twelve.  At the age of twenty-three she began to experience the visions for which she is famous and at the age of twenty-seven she became abbess.  Her brother Ekbert (Egbert), who had been a canon at Bonn, joined the Benedictines and moved to the men's monastery at Schönau, where he oversaw the presentation of his sister's visions in the form of three written journals.  E. received many visitors, herself visited Hildegard of Bingen, and carried on a correspondence of which twenty-two letters have survived.  She died at the age of thirty-five; her cult was immediate.

Most of the older structures of Kloster Schönau fell victim to a fire in the early eighteenth century.  Here's a view of the place now, showing the fifteenth-century choir of the monastery church:
http://www.loreley.de/vgnastaetten/strueth/schoenau.htm

Best,
John Dillon
(Calogerus of Sicily revised from last year's post)

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