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MEDIEVAL-RELIGION  July 2006

MEDIEVAL-RELIGION July 2006

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Subject:

saints of the day 3. July

From:

John Dillon <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Mon, 3 Jul 2006 14:14:01 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

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medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

Okay, so no one else is going to observe that in the Roman Calendar
today (3. July) is the feast of Thomas the Apostle ([Jude] Thomas
Didymus).  Prior to the Great Re-ordering of 1969 today's well known
saint of the Regno was celebrated on 21. December, as he may yet be in
other churches.  Fourth-century Christians believed that he evangelized
Edessa in Syria (today's Sanliurfa in Turkey).  For an English-language
version of the pilgrim Egeria's account of her visit to his major cult
site there, see:
http://www.ccel.org/m/mcclure/etheria/etheria.htm
(paras. <30> through <32>)

According to Origen (so Eusebius, _Hist. Eccl._ 3. 1), T. evangelized
Parthia.  According to the _Acts of Thomas_ (seemingly Syrian in origin)
and to the late antique tradition of the church of Edessa, T. was the
apostle of India and was martyred there.  Gregory of Tours, who had at
least one Syrian informant, knew this version of events.   

In 1258, so the story goes, the commander of a Venetian flotilla
operating in the Aegean on behalf of Manfred, king of Sicily, found T.'s
relics on Chios, whither they had been brought from Edessa by Christians
fleeing the Muslim capture and sack of that city.  (As the Crusader
county of Edessa had reverted to Muslim rule in 1144, the refugee monk
who was the Venetian commander's informant must have been
extraordinarily aged at the time.)  On 6. September of the same year,
the commander's ship landed in the Regno at the port of Ortona in
today's Chieti province of Abruzzo, where T.'s remains were solemnly
deposited in the local cathedral.  They have been here ever since, less
the piece of an elbow that was "returned" in 1953 to Cranganore (now
Kodungallur) in India.       

Ortona's originally thirteenth-century cathedral (now a co-cathedral of
the archdiocese of Lanciano - Ortona) is dedicated to T.  It underwent
major rebuilding in the Early Modern period.  During the battle of
Ortona in 1943 (20.-27. December, thus including T.'s own Big Day as it
was then fixed) it sustained major damage:
http://www.junobeach.org/e/2/img/PA-136308-pic-e.htm
Two thumbnail views showing the building in its current state:
http://www.regione.abruzzo.it/giubileo/images/ortona_santommaso.jpg
http://www.casasanfrancesco.com/foto/html_ingrandimenti/SanTommaso.html
and one of the main portal:
http://www.quitalia.it/images/33ortona5.jpg
The cathedral's own website is here:
http://www.tommasoapostolo.com/cattedrale/cattedrale.htm
And here's T.'s resting place:
http://www.jmanjackal.net/photos/2004/pil05.jpg
 

Herewith a few other visuals associated in one way or another with T.'s
veneration in the Middle Ages.

1. At Rome, the newly formed Trinitarians rebuilt in 1209 the ancient
church of San Tommaso in Formis, sited on an out-of-the way piece of
land next to an aquaduct.  Next to this they built a hospital.  From the
street one can see remnants of the hospital's ornamental portal:
http://www.romeartlover.it/Vasi52f5.jpg
http://tinyurl.com/lpb3d

The restored early thirteenth-century mosaic above the entrance:
http://tinyurl.com/ol5f8
, showing an enthroned Christ between two slaves, one white and one
black, is signed by Jacopo Cosmati the elder and by Cosma Cosmati, early
members of the famed family of mosaicists and stoneworkers.


2.  At Pistoia (PT) in Tuscany, the historiated pulpit (ca. 1250) by
Guido da Como in the church of San Bartolomeo in Pantano:
http://tinyurl.com/mphzn
has a panel depicting the Doubting (or, as it's called in italian, the
Incredulita') of St. Thomas:
http://tinyurl.com/padru


3.  At Castello-di-Rostino (Haute-Corse; in Corsican, Castellu di
Rustinu) in Corsica, the eleventh-century church of Saint-Thomas de
Pastoreccia (San Tumasgiu di Pastureccia):
http://www.enkiri.com/europe/france/corse/st_thomas021.html
http://www.viaggiaresempre.it/005CorsicaValleGoloSTommaso.jpg
received some noteworthy late fifteenth-century (ca. 1485) frescoing:
http://www.viaggiaresempre.it/006CorsicaValleGoloSTommaso.jpg
http://www.viaggiaresempre.it/007CorsicaValleGoloSTommaso.jpg 

Twenty-six buildings in this one _departement_ (plus one in the south of
the island) have been identified as containing significant frescoing of
the late fifteenth- or very early sixteenth century.  A map showing
their locations is here:
http://www.aroots.org/notebook/article79.html
A brief, French-language discussion (with one detail view) occurs at the
bottom of this page:
http://www.corse.culture.gouv.fr/monuments/actions_crmh/actions_crmh.htm
And a longer, also French-language discussion (with three detail views,
incl. one from St.-Thomas de Pastoreccia) is here:
http://www.aroots.org/notebook/article79.html

Best,
John Dillon

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