medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Today (22. July) is the feast day of:
1) Mary Magdalen/Magdalene (i.e. of Magdala; d. 1st cent.). A Mary so identified appears several times in the New Testament as one of the women about Jesus. Jesus had cast seven devils out of her (Luke 8:2; Mark 16:9), she was among the Galilean women who are recorded by name as having observed the Crucifixion (Matthew 27:56; Mark 15:40; John 19:25), she was one of the women who went to Jesus' tomb to anoint him (Matthew 28:1-3; Mark 16:1-3; Luke 24:1), and it was she who first saw the risen Jesus (Mark 16:9; John 20:11-18). This Mary being thus a person of some importance in the Gospel narratives, some from at least St. Gregory the Great onward have attempted give her a fuller presentation by identifying her with others, notably Mary of Bethany (Luke 10:38-42; John 11) and the unnamed penitent sinner who washed Jesus' feet (Luke 7:36-50). This triune M. was the subject of a liturgically influential sermon attributed to St. Odo of Cluny (BHL 5439-41).
M.'s veneration in the West is at least as old as Bede's martyrology (ca. 720). She came to be viewed as an hermit saint and as a prophet as well as as the reformed penitent familiar from modern constructions of her. A good avenue of approach, with important basic bibliography, is Sherry Reames' introduction to her TEAMS edition of John Mirk's _Sermon on St Mary Magdalen_:
In the East and also in the early medieval West it was believed that M. accompanied the Theotokos to Ephesus, died there, and was there entombed. From the seventh century onward we have notices of a church over her sepulture near the entrance to the cave of the Seven Sleepers. The emperor Leo VI (886-912) translated her putative relics from Ephesus to Constantinople, where they were venerated in the then newly built monastery of St. Lazarus (whose putative relics Leo had also translated from Ephesus). In the Latin West a legend emerged in the tenth century whereby M. had traveled to Provence, had participated in its evangelization, and had died there. In the following century the Cluniac abbey of Vézelay in Burgundy claimed to have M.'s remains, translated from Provence centuries earlier.
In 1058 pope Stephen IX, who as a former papal legate in Constantinople is likely to have been aware of the presence there of relics believed to be M.'s, issued a bull confirming the authenticity of those at Vézelay (not far from his native Lorraine). In the late eleventh and early twelfth centuries the great pilgrimage church dedicated to her was constructed there and there, in 1267, St. Louis IX and other French royals witnessed a translation of her relics. But in 1279 Charles I of Sicily, who was also count of Provence and who had been present at Vézelay for the ceremonies of 1267, oversaw in a church near Aix dedicated to a saint Maximinus the Invention both of that saint's relics and of what were proclaimed to be the true relics of M.
In 1289, under Charles II of Sicily and Provence, the church where these relics were discovered, situated near a grotto called La Sainte-Baume, began to be replaced with an impressive new structure seemingly dedicated both to Maximinus and to M., consecrated in 1316 (when the crypt had been finished), and left unfinished in 1532. See the first of the translated "Letters of Charles II, King of Naples [_sic_; correctly, "of Sicily"], concerning the Church and Monastery of Saint-Maximin in Provence, 1295" at:
<http://tinyurl.com/25z93gf>. The church is commonly referred to simply as that of St. Mary Magdalene. The town, named for the adjacent abbey, is now Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume (Var).
Illustrated sites on the basilique Sainte-Madeleine, Vézelay (Yonne):
A relic of M. in the crypt at Vézelay:
A page of views of the basilique Sainte-Marie-Madeleine at Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume is here (NB: this is not a hot link; you will have to cut and paste):
Other views of this church (exterior):
Other views of this church (interior):
Other views of this church (crypt; originally, an above-ground oratory):
M.'s reliquary in the crypt:
The reliquary's copy in the upper church:
Some depictions of M.:
a) M. as depicted in detail views of the mid-twelfth-century (ca. 1145-1155) Passion of Christ window in Chartres cathedral:
b) The early thirteenth-century (ca. 1205-1215) Mary Magdalen window in the cathedral of Chartres:
http://tinyurl.com/3hn6k2z [views by Gordon Plumb]
c) M. (at right) as depicted in a mid-thirteenth-century (ca. 1250-1260) window of the west choir in Naumburg cathedral:
d) An expandable view of M. before the Risen Christ (the _Noli me tangere_ scene) as depicted in a late thirteenth-century copy of French origin of Jacopo da Varazze's _Legenda aurea_ (San Marino, CA, Huntington Library, ms. HM 3027, fol. 78v):
e) Expandable views of paintings by Giotto and assistants from the earlier (first quarter) fourteenth-century Mary Magdalen cycle in the cappella della Maddalena of the Basilica Inferiore at Assisi:
f) M. as depicted with another Mary, observing Jesus' burial, in an earlier fourteenth-century fresco (betw. 1335 and 1350) in the sanctuary of the church of the Holy Ascension at the Visoki Deèani monastery near Peæ in, depending on one's view of the matter, either the Republic of Kosovo or Serbia's province of Kosovo and Metohija:
g) Jesus appearing to M. before the angel-guarded tomb and M. attempting to touch the risen Jesus, as depicted in earlier fourteenth-century vault frescoes (betw. 1335 and 1350) over the altar of the church of the Holy Ascension at the Visoki Deèani monastery near Peæ in, depending on one's view of the matter, either the Republic of Kosovo or Serbia's province of Kosovo and Metohija:
h) Lukas Moser's Magdalenenaltar (1432) in the St. Maria Magdalena Kirche at Tiefenbronn (Lkr. Enzkreis) in Baden-Württemberg:
While we're here, some views of the church (ca. 1400):
i) M.'s cycle in the mid-fifteenth-century frescoes of the chapelle Saint-Érige at Auron, Saint-Étienne-de-Tinée (Alpes-Maritimes):
j) An expandable view of Donatello's M. in the Museo dell'Opera del duomo, Florence (ca. 1457):
k) Scenes from M.'s legend (ca. 1463) as painted by Giacomo d'Ivrea in the apse of the originally thirteenth-century chiesa di Sainte-Marie-Magdeleine de Villa at Gressan in Italy's Val d'Aosta:
While we're here, a couple of exterior views of the church (whose facade was painted by the same artist):
l) M. as depicted in the recently restored fifteenth-century frescoes of the oratorio di San Bernardo at Briona (NO) in Piedmont:
Some other medieval churches now dedicated to M. (whether all were so dedicated medievally is another matter: the early documentation for the second of these refers to it only by location):
a) The originally eleventh-/late twelfth-century église Sainte-Madeleine at Villefagnan (Charente):
b) The originally mostly twelfth-century église Sainte-Madeleine at Châteaudun (Eure-et-Loir):
This church's notice at the Mérimée site:
c) The originally twelfth- or very early thirteenth-century (first documented, 1205) chiesa di Santa Maria Maddalena at Chiaramonti (SS) in Sardinia (all views expandable):
d) The originally twelfth-/late thirteenth-century église Sainte-Marie-Magdeleine at Aigueperse (Rhône):
e) The originally thirteenth-/early fourteenth-century chapelle de la Madeleine in Brussels:
2) Plato of Ancyra (?). We first hear of the megalomartyr P. from his entry under today in the fourth-century Syriac Martyrology and in a fifth-century narration attributed to a Nilus whom scholars used to identify as St. Nilus the elder (N. of Sinai; d. 430) in which a young man is said to have recognized P. in a vision thanks to his previously having seen a portrait of this saint. The _De situ terrae sanctae_ of Theodosius (ca. 530) records P.'s resting place at Ancyra (today's Ankara). Not long afterwards there must have been a translation of his relics to Constantinople, as Procopius tells us that the emperor Justinian erected a church to him there. P. has lengthy metaphrastic Passio (BHG 1549-52) that makes him a martyr of the Great Persecution.
In Orthodox churches P. has traditionally been celebrated on 18. November. The (pseudo-)Hieronymian Martyrology and the ninth-century martyrologies of Florus, Ado, and Usuard all use today's date for him.
P.'s martyrdom as depicted in the earlier fourteenth-century frescoes (betw. 1335 and 1350) in the church of the Holy Ascension at the Visoki Deèani monastery near Peæ in, depending on one's view of the matter, either the Republic of Kosovo or Serbia's province of Kosovo and Metohija:
3) Cyril and Andrew of Antioch and companions (d. early 4th cent.?). C. follows Timaeus/Timos in the lists of early bishops of Antioch on the Orontes and so, on the traditionally accepted dating, will have succeeded to that see in the early to mid 280s. He and A. occur together in the list of Antiochene martyrs given in a fourth-century sermon _De martyribus_ once attributed to Eusebius of Caesarea and surviving only in Latin. They also are entered under today in the (pseudo-)Hieronymian Martyrology, where they are followed by others whose names as given (these may be textually corrupt and/or originally extraneous to the entry in question) are not otherwise recorded as martyrs of Antioch. The RM treats this latter group generically as companions of C. and A.
4) Wandregisil (d. 668). W. (also Wando; in French, Wandrille) is the founder of the abbey of Fontenelle (now that of Saint-Wandrille) in today's St.-Wandrille-Rancon (Seine-Maritime) in Normandy. His Vitae (BHL 8804, 8805, 8806b) seem to begin in the eighth century; these make him a relative of Pepin of Landen and a high official at the Frankish court who left for a monastic life and who had traveled across the Alps to Bobbio before returning to Francia and founding his own monastery there in 649.
W.'s Fontenelle was destroyed by Northmen ca. 858. The abbey was re-established about a century later. Its medieval buildings were badly damaged in the sixteenth-century wars of religion. Herewith some views of the remaining structures:
Refectory (three expandable views):
Abbey church of Saint-Pierre:
The abbey's own site:
5) Walter of Lodi (d. 1223/24). According to his Vita (BHL 8795m) by his cousin BonGiovanni, W.'s childless parents vowed that if they were blessed with a son they would dedicate him to the service of God. After W. (in Italian, Gualtero, Gualtiero) was born, the parents fulfilled this vow by raising him in a way suitable for a future religious life and by seeing to it that he became a Hospitaller at the age of fifteen. He then served in various hospitals in Lombardy.
In 1206 the city fathers of his native Lodi granted W. land for the construction of what would become its Ospitale della Misericordia. During the remainder of his not overly long life (he is thought to have died at about the age of forty), W. oversaw the growth of this institution and founded other hospitals in Lombardy which he administered as dependencies. He was noted for miracles in his lifetime; after his death his burial place in the church of the Misericordia (destroyed in 1856) became the locus of a cult.
In the fifteenth century W.'s relics were translated to the high altar of Lodi's cathedral. After these had been relocated several times within that building, what remained of them were laid to rest in 1960 in the nineteenth-century church of San Gualtero near the site of the former Misericordia.
Lodi's cathedral of San Bassiano uses this marble sarcophagus as its main altar:
From the left, the figures represent St. Peter, St. Bassianus (19. January; Lodi's principal patron), and perhaps W.
A page of views of the cathedral is here:
For BonGiovanni's Vita of W., see Alessandro Caretta, "Una nuova edizione della 'Vita' di s. Gualtiero da Lodi," _Archivio storico lodigiano_ 108 (1989), 101-40.
(last year's post lightly revised and with the addition of Cyril and Andrew of Antioch and companions)
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