medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Today (9. December) is the feast day of:
1) Leocadia (?). L. is the traditional patron saint of Toledo, where her cult is first attested from the seventh century in the form of references to her basilica there and to her veneration by St. Ildefonsus (d. 607) as recorded in the latter's later seventh-century Vita by St. Julian of Toledo. Whereas the basilica is recorded as dedicated to L. the confessor, she is usually considered a martyr. Her legendary Passio (BHL 4848, etc.; first witness is of the tenth century) makes her a slave arrested during the Great Persecution who while in prison hears of the suffering of St. Eulalia and who then resolves to undergo martyrdom. The sadistic persecutor Decianus accommodates her wish. Thus far L.'s Passio.
In the ninth century relics believed to be L.'s were translated from Toledo to Oviedo, where Alfonso II of Asturias (A. the Chaste) built a church to house them and, in its upper portion, the precious Sudarium of Oviedo. The structure, now known as the Cámara Santa, is annexed to Oviedo's cathedral. An exterior view:
The Cripta de Santa Leocadia:
L.'s relics were later taken out of Spain and were not returned until the later sixteenth century. She is in the ninth-century historical martyrologies and was venerated medievally in France as well as in Iberia.
An illustrated, French-language page (most views expandable) of the originally twelfth-century église Sainte-Léocadie at Vic-la-Gardiole (Hérault).
A view of the apse of the iglesia (ermita) del Cristo de la Vega at Toledo, a survivor of a twelfth-century rebuilding (1166) of L.'s Visigothic period basilica there:
Views, etc. of the originally thirteenth-century iglesia de Santa Leocadia at Toledo:
2) Syrus of Pavia (d. later 4th cent.). By all accounts, none of which is either very early or particularly credible, S. was the first bishop of Pavia. The traditional third bishop, St. Inventius/Eventius, is attested from the end of the fourth century. If I./E. really was the third bishop, then his predecessor but one was presumably in office sometime earlier in the second half of that century. A tomb in Pavia's chiesa dei Santi Gervasio e Protasio, where remains believed to have been those of S. are known to have reposed for centuries prior to their translation to the cathedral, is inscribed SVRVS EPC, i.e. Syrus episcopus:
It is thought that S. was laid to rest in this since much rebuilt church and that the inscription (whose EPC portion seems to be a later addition) goes back to a time when he was not yet considered considered a saint.
The first we hear of _saint_ S. is in a Vita (BHL 7976) dated to the eighth or the ninth century, whose purpose is pretty clearly to claim apostolic foundation for the diocese of Pavia and to establish that the latter was really the original bishopric for the large swath of northern Italy that historically belonged to the archdiocese of Milan. This is done by making S. a disciple of St. Hermagoras of Aquileia (supposedly consecrated by the apostle Mark) and the apostle not only of Pavia but also of Verona, Brescia, Lodi, and Milan itself, the legendary foundation of whose church by the apostle Barnabas seems to be a response to such posturing. A later medieval Vita and a separate translation account provide other, sometimes contradictory details but reaffirm the antiquity of Pavia's diocese vis-a-vis that of Milan (of which Pavia was a suffragan from at least the early eighth century onward).
Milan adopted S. as a saint of the archdiocese and spread his cult throughout its territory. Further afield, the S. venerated at Padua as an early bishop seems in origin to have been today's S., the protobishop of Pavia. Opinions differ on whether that is also the case with the supposedly fourth-century St. Syrus of Genoa.
Here's a not awfully good view of a relief of S. preserved from the twelfth-century facade of Pavia's chiesa dei Santi Gervasio e Protasio that preceded its present eighteenth-century one:
Vincenzo Foppa's portrait of S. (Pavia; ca. 1455), now in the Minneapolis Institute of Arts:
Some dedications to S.:
The originally eleventh-/twelfth-century pieve di San Siro at Cemmo (BS) in Lombardy's Vallecamonica, largely rebuilt in 1912:
The originally eleventh-century church of Santi Siro e Libera at Verona:
The originally twelfth(?)-century chiesetta di San Siro at Capriate San Gervasio (BG; entry repositioned in 1722) in Lombardy, a contender for the "saints of the day" Ugliest Church Award, small church division:
On S.'s early Vita, see Nicholas Everett, "The earliest recension of the Life of S. Sirus of Pavia (Vat. Lat. 5771)", _Studi Medievali__ 3a serie, 43 (2002), 857-958.
(Syrus of Pavia revised from last year's post)
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