medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Today (23. March) is the feast day of:
Victorianus, Frumentius, and companions (d. ca. 484). We have Florus of Lyon to thank for this grouping, which consists of five martyrs put to death for the most part separately during king Huneric's persecution of Catholics in Vandal Africa and for whom the sole source is Victor of Vita's _Historia persecutionis Africanae provinciae_. V. was a prominent and extremely wealthy citizen of Hadrumetum (now Sousse) and. at the time of his martyrdom, proconsul of Carthage. Huneric, who trusted V. and respected his abilities, promised to place him above all others (in government service, presumably) if only he would convert to the Arian persuasion. Victor (3. 27) provides a stirring though surely imaginary expression of V.'s refusal but claims that V.'s torture was so long and so varied that it was beyond human capacity to relate.
Frumentius is presumably the first of a pair of merchants of this name, both of the same town. Victor tells us (3. 41) that their martyrdom was glorious. The companions are the other Frumentius and two unnamed brothers from Aqua Regia (said to have been in Africa Byzacena, the province south of Africa Proconsularis), whose martyrdom by various means in the city of Tambeae Victor describes (3. 28) in order to highlight the miracle that their corpses showed no signs of abuse.
Florus placed the commemoration of these martyrs on 26. July; Ado moved them to today. V. has a modern cult (originating with the arrival of relics in 1753) at Canneto in today's Adelfia (BA) in Apulia.
2) Merbod of Bregenz (Blessed; d. 1120). According to legend (not documented medievally), M. (also Merboth) was a brother of the hermit saints Diedo and Ilga who became a Benedictine monk at Mehrerau in today's Austrian province of Vorarlberg and later curate of the church at Alberschwende, generally thought to be today's Andelsbuch (Vorarlberg). He was murdered by some of his parishioners, seemingly unhappy that he had just cured a child by the laying on of hands. His cult, said to be attested since the thirteenth century but never officially confirmed, is believed to have been immediate. M.'s death was recorded for this day in his monastery's necrology. The early modern chapel of St. Wendelin at Andelsbuch's locality of Bersbuch is reported to have replaced a medieval chapel erected on the site of his murder and to house a statue of him. Here's an exterior view:
3) Otto, venerated at Ariano Irpino (d. ca. 1127, supposedly). Today's less well known saint of the Regno has a sketchy and unreliable later medieval Vita (BHL 6391) consisting of lections for his Office at Ariano. This says he was a soldier of Roman origin who, taken prisoner and put in chains, was released through the intercession of St. Leonard (of Noblac) and became a hermit at what's now Ariano Irpino (AV) in Campania, dying on this day. O.'s dates and his frequent ascription to the Roman family of Frangipane are guesswork. In 1452, when king Alfonso I requested their return, his relics were at Benevento, whither they were said to have been removed for safekeeping during a period of Saracen raids (so probably late ninth century, well before the time that O. is now thought to have existed). Later in that century Ariano's cathedral of the BVM was rebuilt and O.'s relics were placed in a chapel at the end of the right aisle. That is where they are today.
O. is the principal patron of Ariano Irpino and a patron of the diocese of Ariano Irpino - Lacedonia. There are enough émigré Arianesi in two towns in Piedmont, Alpignano and Pienezza (both in Torino province), that he was celebrated up there last weekend with a mass at which the bishop of Ariano Irpino - Lacedonia officiated.
Most of the present facade of Ariano's cathedral dates from 1500 and the years immediately following, still within the chronological parameters of this list. The statue over the entrance on the right, set up in 1502, is of O. In the absence of a good close-up, these thumbnail-sized distance views will have to do:
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