medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Today (3. March) is the feast day of:
1) Arthellais (Artellais; also forms with single 'l'; d. ca. 560, supposedly). Today's less well known saint from the Regno has an incident-laden, highly fictional Vita that survives in at least three versions of differing length (BHL 718-720). A high-born, youthful virgin forced to flee her native Constantinople for the safety of her uncle Narses'
Italy, she and her retinue of eunuch attendants have a series of adventures en route. After crossing the Adriatic and visiting the sanctuary of St. Michael on Monte Gargano where she makes a generous donation, A. arrives in Benevento, makes a major donation to its central church of the BVM, performs miracles, and in short order dies of an illness.
By the late eleventh century Benevento had a church of St. A. This still existed in 1370. At some point after that A.'s relics were moved to Benevento's medieval cathedral (a later version of the church of the BVM mentioned in the Vita), where in the eighteenth century they were said to repose below the main altar. With any luck they will have survived the terrible bombing of the cathedral by American warplanes on 12. September 1943. Today's saint of the day in the Diocese of Benevento is Kunigunde (no. 3, below). The Diocese's website
omits A. from its section on the diocesan _santi_.
2) Anselm of Nonantola (d. 803). Duke of Friuli and brother-in-law of the Lombard king Aistulf, A. became a cleric and with Aistulf's support founded, a couple of years after the Lombard conquest of Ravenna in ca. 750, a monastery in southern Emilia near Bologna along the main road from the Lombard capitals in the north. This later became the great abbey of (pope) St. Sylvester at Nonantola, whose reconstruction of its early history included an imagined papal donation of S.'s remains to abbot A.
A.'s abbatial tenure did include the creation of several dependencies; it was interrupted for the entirety of the reign of king Desiderius, when another abbot was appointed and A. lived in exile at Montecassino. A. was restored after Charlemagne's conquest of the Lombard kingdom in 774. He assisted in reconciling the count and the bishop of Brescia (both nephews of Desiderius) with their new overlord, the king of the Franks.
This panel from the famous sculptures of the main portal at the abbey church of Nonantola (MO) seems to show Aistulf endowing A. with the possession of the land on which his monastery would be built:
And this one shows the completed monastery with a founder's portrait of the now tonsured and beardless A. (looking a great deal like a more recent _duce_):
These images are from the Italia nell'Arte Medievale site on the abbey church:
3) Kunigunde of Luxemburg (d. 1033 or 1039). Daughter of count Siegfried I of Lützelburg (Luxemburg), K. was married in about the year 1000 to duke Henry III of Bavaria (the future emperor Henry II). In June 1002, six months after the death of his cousin Otto III, Henry had himself crowned king of the Germans at Mainz. A separate coronation of K. as queen took place in early August in the cathedral of Paderborn. In 1014 they were jointly crowned as emperor and empress by Benedict VIII. Most of K.'s official acts have to do with support for churches and monasteries. In 1017, the imperial couple used her dowry to found the diocese of Bamberg. After Henry's death in 1024 K. exercised a brief regency. In 1025, after the accession of Konrad II, she retired to the monastery of Kaufungen near Kassel and lived there until her death as a simple nun.
Here's a black-and-white view of a charter of Henry II from 1019 granting properties to the monastery at Kaufungen:
The monastery is gone but its church remains. Here's a view:
And an illustrated, German-language page on the monastery is here:
K.'s cult seems to have begun after Henry's canonization in 1146. She was canonized in 1200 by Innocent III and in 1201 her remains were translated to the cathedral of Bamberg. In 1513 the pair was translated within that church to the great tomb sculpted by Tilman Riemenschneider (K. at left):
Herewith two illustrated, German-language pages on the cathedral:
This is the 1000-year Jubilee of the Diocese of Bamberg. In order to prepare for major exhibitions that will open later this year, the diocesan museum is now closed to visitors. But here, from the Diocese's website, are panel carvings of the two founders:
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