medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Today (12. February) is the feast day of:
1) Eulalia of Barcelona (d. ca. 304, supposedly). E. is one of Barcelona's principal patron saints. Opinions are divided on whether she is a doublet of E. of Mérida (10. December) or else an altogether different person whose hagiographic dossier has from the seventh century onward been strongly colored by (contaminated by) elements of the legend of her much earlier attested homonym from Mérida. Not until after her invention and translation of 878 (recorded in BHL 2697) did her cult spread outside her northern Iberian homeland.
Barcelona's late thirteenth- to twentieth-century Catedral de la Santa Creu i Santa Eulŕlia is dedicated to E. in part. A brief, English-language account is here:
An illustrated, Spanish-language account:
A page of multiple views (expandable):
The cathedral's own illustrated, polyglot guide:
Further exterior views:
Various views of the interior:
E.'s sarcophagus in the crypt (1327-1339, by masters from Pisa and Siena):
2) Benedict of Aniane (d. 821). The monastic founder and Benedictine reformer B. was a Goth by birth name (Witiza, latinized as Euticius) and ancestry; his father was count of Maguelon(n)e, a town in Septimania that at the time of B.'s birth (ca. 750) had been retaken from Muslim rule only a dozen years earlier. He was brought up at the Frankish royal court under Pepin the Short and then Charlemagne. His inability to prevent the death by drowning of a brother while they were on campaign in Italy in 773/74 affected B. deeply, causing him to withdraw from the world and to enter religion at a monastery near Dijon. Finding that house's practices too lax, he became a hermit on inherited property at today's Aniane (Hérault), where after a while he founded a monastery. This house, which in 792 was expanded and raised to the dignity of a royal abbey, became a center of monastic reform first in Aquitaine and later in all Francia.
B. became Louis the Pious' spiritual advisor and in 815/16 moved to a new abbey Louis had built for him on the Inde near Aachen at today's Kornelimünster (now incorporated within Aachen proper). In the years immediately following he was heavily involved in the development both of a Rule for canons and of the imperial _Capitulare monasticum_ regulating monastic life within Louis' domains. Here's a portrait of Louis from ca. 825 (Cittŕ del Vaticano, BAV, ms. Reg. lat. 124, fol. 4v; Rabanus Maurus, _De laudibus Sanctae Crucis_):
B. has two Vitae: a brief one written not long after his death by a monk of the abbey on the Inde and a longer one by St. Ardo of Aniane, written in 822 and informed by its predecessor (BHL 1095 and 1096, respectively). The latter recounts several miracles of B.'s from his time at Aniane (saving the abbey from fire on two different occasions, driving off a swarm of locusts, protecting a brother from bandits by means of his blessing).
The abbey on the Inde, dedicated to the Holy Savior, became imperial after B.'s death. In 875 it received what was believed to be the head of pope St. Cornelius, after which it became known by the latter's name (hence Modern German 'Kornelimünster'). Its church, now a local parish church, has a complicated building history but with the obvious exception of its octagonal, early eighteenth-century Corneliuskapelle it is largely of the fourteenth to early sixteenth centuries. Here's a German-language building history with two plans:
3) Gemulus (d. early 11th cent.?). By decree of the Sacred Congregation of Rites in 1960, today is G.'s feast day but only so at Ganna, a locality of today's Valganna (VA), and Bosto, a section of Varese (VA), both in Lombardy.
According to his legend, G. (also Gemmulus, Hiemulus; in Italian, Gemolo, Gemmolo, Hiemolo) accompanied his uncle, a bishop from across the Alps, on a journey to Rome. One night, bandits stole the bishop's palfrey. G. and an unnamed companion pursued the bandits and were captured by them. When G. was asked by one of his captors whether he would give up his life for Christ, he answered that he would do so willingly. The bandit then decapitated G., who put his head back on his neck, mounted a horse, and rode back to to his uncle's party, where he would allow no one other than his uncle to help him dismount. The uncle/bishop buried G. right there and asked local shepherds to look after him. Miracles occurred overnight and before departing the bishop erected a church over the grave.
That, in essence, is the foundation legend of the monastery at Ganna, which occupied a site on a road between several Alpine passes and Milan and which shortly before November 1095 had come to exist around a church dedicated to G. In or about 1154 Ganna became a priory of the Cluniac abbey of Fruttuaria; in 1477 it was made commendatory and in 1566 its monastic function ceased altogether. Its present church dates from 1100-1125 and the adjacent belltower is said to be from 1175. Parts of its now pentagonal cloister are late medieval. A few views,
G.'s unnamed companion was later declared to have been named Himerius, to have been mortally wounded in the same encounter with the bandits, and to have been laid to rest in a sarcophagus at a church dedicated to St. Michael near Varese. Since at least 1417 he has been celebrated at Bosto, where the originally eleventh-century church of Sant'Imerio uses for its altar a carved sarcophagus (thirteenth-century) said to house his remains. In 1960 the Sacred Congregation of Rites granted H. a feast (at Bosco and Ganna only) on 4. February. Neither G. nor H. has ever graced the pages of the RM.
For two versions of G.'s legend, see Achille Ratti (later, Pius XI), "Bolla arcivescovile milanese a Moncalieri ed una leggenda inedita di S. Gemolo di Ganna", _Archivio Storico Lombardo_, ser. III, vol. 15 [Anno XXVIII] (1901), 5-36.
4) Humbelina (Bl.; d. ca. 1136). H. (in French, Hombeline or Ombeline) was a sister of St. Bernard of Clairvaux. According to what is said of her in the latter's Vitae, she was guided by him to a religious conversion and with the permission of her husband entered the Benedictine convent later called Jully-les-Nonnai(n)s at today's Jully (Yonne) in Bourgogne, a dependency of Molesme. The prioress there, whom H. eventually succeeded, was a sister-in-law of B.'s. H.'s cult was confirmed in 1703.
The priory at Jully was closed in 1406, was re-occupied in the sixteenth century, and ceased to operate in 1792. Its few surviving structures were in 2007 being restored as cultural patrimony. The page here, which has a link at the bottom to a .pdf version of the priory's cartulary as edited by Ernest Petit in 1881, has a view of these buildings before the restoration:
This page has a more recent view:
(Eulalia of Barcelona, Gemulus, and Benedict of Aniane lightly revised from last year's post)
To join the list, send the message: join medieval-religion YOUR NAME
to: [log in to unmask]
To send a message to the list, address it to:
[log in to unmask]
To leave the list, send the message: leave medieval-religion
to: [log in to unmask]
In order to report problems or to contact the list's owners, write to:
[log in to unmask]
For further information, visit our web site: