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MEDIEVAL-RELIGION  January 2002

MEDIEVAL-RELIGION January 2002

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Subject:

Re: saints of the day 15. January

From:

"John B. Wickstrom" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Mon, 14 Jan 2002 18:42:52 -0500

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text/plain

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medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

As for Maurus, I agree that he was likely Benedict's successor at Subiaco.
In Gregory's Life of Benedict, where Maurus is introduced, he is the first
named of Benedict's disciples and functions in Gregory as an example of how
Benedict formed a monk from childhood to young adulthood (largely in showing
how to act and think in a series of presented situations rather than by
formal teachings). Maurus does not again appear in Gregory's Life of
Benedict after the latter Subiaco to found Monte Cassino, which suggests he
was left behind to rule Subiaco.
 As for a reputation for healing, that theme appeared only with the much
later Life of Maurus, forged in France during the late Carolingian period
(like so many Carolingian lives of early saints). It purported to show how
Maurus was ordered by Benedict to go to Gaul, where he introduced Benedict's
rule of life to France. His cult was  later championed at Monte Cassino as a
part of the imaginary 12th century "revival" there, created by the forged
documents of the extraordinary Peter the Deacon.
jw

-----Original Message-----
From: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
[mailto:[log in to unmask]]On Behalf Of Phyllis Jestice
Sent: Monday, January 14, 2002 8:19 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [M-R] saints of the day 15. January


medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

Today (15. January) is the feast day of:

Ephysius (d. c. 303)  The Sardinian Ephysius is said to have been a
persecutor of Christians who was converted to Christianity, and then killed
during the great persecution.

Makarios the Great (d. c. 390)  Makarios was one of the fathers of Egyptian
monasticism.  Born in c. 300 in Upper Egypt, at a young age Makarios
retreated to an eremitical life.  When he began to attract attention and
disciples, Makarios fled to the desert, where he lived for the following
sixty years.  People marvelled at his miracles and thousands of monks
sought him out.

Alexandros (d. 430)  The missionary and monk Alexandros founded a monastery
in Constantinople in c. 420 that was noted for its asceticism, and
especially for its ceaseless round of liturgical prayer (which won the
monks their name of Akoimeten, "the sleepless").  Forced by critics to
leave Constantinople, Alexandros founded a new monastery in Gomon on the
Black Sea.

Johannes Kalybites (d. 450) According to legend, Johannes was the son of a
rich family, born in Constantinople in c. 420.  At the age of 12 he
secretly left his family and entered a monastery in the city.  After a few
years Johannes returned, but his appearance was so changed that nobody
recognized him.  Johannes lived as a beggar on his family's property.  He
was only recognized shortly before his death.  (This seems to be a common
theme in Constantinopolitan hagiography.)  His relics later went to Rome,
where they are still kept in the church of S. Giovanni Calabita.

Ite (d. c. 570)  Ite (Ita) is the most important female saint in Ireland
after Brigid.  According to tradition, She was of royal birth from the clan
of Deisi.  She became a nun and founded the monastery of Killeedy (Ceall
Ide) in Co. Limerick, the name of which means "Cell of Ite."  Ite is known
as the "foster-mother of the saints of Ireland"; in hagiography, she is
said especially to have fostered Brendan of Clonfert, although this is
chronologically unlikely.  Tales of Ite depict her as an important
spiritual leader not only for her community of nuns but for both lay and
religious visitors.  One of the most lovely medieval Irish poems, written
in c. 900 but attributed to the saint herself, tells how in response to her
longing for closer contact with God Jesus himself came to Ite as a baby for
her to foster.

Maurus of Subiaco (d. 6th cent.)  Maurus was the companion and favored
disciple of Benedict of Nursia.  He was given by his father to Benedict for
his education.  According to tradition, it was Maurus who brought the
Benedictine Rule to the kingdom of the Franks, but despite various legends,
it seems certain that Maurus succeeded Benedict as abbot of Subiaco.
Already during his lifetime, Maurus is suppposed to have possessed
extraordinary powers of healing, and his patronage today includes a long
list of illnesses, including rheumatism, headaches, colds, and paralysis.

Ceolwulf (d. 764 (or 760?))  Ceolwulf, born in c. 700, became king of
Northumbria in 729.  He abdicated in 737 and became a monk at Lindisfarne.
Bede praises his piety.

Romedius (11th cent.?)  Another problematic popular German saint.
According to legend, Romedius was an Austrian nobleman.  After a pilgrimage
to Rome, he gave away his possessions and became a hermit in Nonstal near
Sanzeno (in the diocese of Trient).  It's not clear when he lived---most
likely the eleventh century, but perhaps the 4th or the 7th, and perhaps he
never existed at all.  The church of S. Romedio near Sanzeno is still a
popular pilgrimage site.  In 1907 the cult won formal approval.  Romedius
is sometimes depicted in art riding a bear (after the bear had eaten the
hermit's horse).


A note: I confess that I'm getting a real kick out of Schauber and
Schindler's Bildlexikon der Heiligen, which is the saints' encyclopedia I
depend on most for these daily columns (an impressive range of saints,
mostly accurate, and with truly astonishing pictures, even if I don't
always translate Carmelite titles, etc. correctly).  The German emphasis
provides an angle that seems neglected in most of the works on medieval
sainthood I've read---how often does one run across people like Romedius?
But it's occurred to me that, if I continue this column a second year, it
would be enjoyable to find a French encyclopedia of saints to work with.
Can anyone recommend a good one?

Dr. Phyllis G. Jestice
[log in to unmask]

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