medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Today (28. March) is the feast day of:
1) Castor (??). This C. (there is another, martyred at Nicomedia, who is commemorated on 16. March) is listed in the (pseudo-) Hieronymian Martyrology for today and again for 27. April. Whereas the latter entry is thought to have been a slip, it is always possible that it was really today's entry that was erroneous. We are not informed as to the date or the particular circumstances of C.'s martyrdom, other than that it took place at Tarsus..
2) Sixtus III, pope (d. 440). A native of Rome, S. succeeded pope St. Celestine I on 31. July 432. Working with the emperor Theodosius II, he was successful in reconciling the churches of Antioch and Alexandria, which had been at odds thanks to St. Cyril of Alexandria's belief that the Antiochenes were really Nestorian. Earlier claimed by Pelagians as a sympathizer, S. made sure to distance himself Pelagianism and, in 439, refused to permit the exiled Julian of Eclanum to return to his see in what's now Irpinia. He founded the first monastery recorded for Rome and built in that city two important structures that, however altered, are still with us today: the Lateran Baptistery and Santa Maria Maggiore. S.'s _dies natalis_ is 19. August, the day of his feast in the diocese of Rome. His general commemoration today follows his placement in the martyrologies of Ado and of Usuard.
Some exterior views of the Lateran Baptistery (note the porphyry columns and other spolia):
A Quicktime virtual tour of the interior of Santa Maria Maggiore:
Two of the mosaics:
3) Stephen Harding (d. 1134). The Anglo-Saxon Harding was a monk of Sherborne in Dorset who in the later eleventh century moved to the Continent, where he studied in France and took the name Stephen. After a pilgrimage to Rome he entered the abbey of Molesme in about 1085. Strict as life at Molesme was, it was not strict enough for S., who joined a secession that in 1098 founded the abbey of Cîteaux. In 1109 he was elected abbot here and through the arrangements he made with his house's first four daughters had a formative role in the creation of the Cistercian order. Those houses (La Ferté , Pontigny, Clairvaux, and Morimond) all were male, but in the early 1120s S. had a major role in the establishment of the first Cistercian house for women, the convent at Tart near Cîteaux. In 1133 he resigned his office for reasons of ill health. S. was canonized in 1623.
Here's S. (at left), presenting a church to the BVM:
And here's a page from S.'s Bible (Dijon, Bibliothèque Municipale, Mss. 12–15), whose text of the Old Testament was emended after consultation with Hebrew scholars:
4) Conus of Naso (Bl.; d. 1236). C. (also Cono, which can be a form of Conon) was abbot of the Greek-rite monastery at today's Naso (ME) in northern Sicily. His Vita, published by the pioneering student of Sicilian hagiography, Ottavio Gaetani S.J. (d. 1620), in vol. 2 of his _Vitae sanctorum siculorum_, is thought to be derived from a lost Greek original retained at Naso until the sixteenth century. This tells us that C. made his profession at the Greek monastery of St. Philip at Fragalà, where he had Sts. Sylvester of Troina and Lawrence of Frazzanò as spiritual guides, and notes his operation of various miracles.
Considered a saint at Naso and at San Cono (CT), a town founded in the early modern period for agricultural workers originally from Naso, C. is a Blessed in the eyes of the Roman church. His cult was confirmed for Naso in 1630, with Double feasts in June (principal feast) and in September (translation). Today is C.'s day of commemoration in the new RM (2001, rev. 2005).
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