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MEDIEVAL-RELIGION  March 2007

MEDIEVAL-RELIGION March 2007

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Subject:

saints of the day 12. March

From:

John Dillon <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Mon, 12 Mar 2007 00:28:29 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (113 lines)

medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

Today (12. March) is the feast day of:

1)  Theophanes the Confessor (d. 817 or 818).  The wealthy and ascetic T.
founded the monastery of Megas Agros ("Great Acre") at Mount Sigriane
on the southern side of the Propontis and ruled it as abbot.  A convinced
iconodule, he could not be persuaded -- even after two years of prison --
to endorse Leo V's policy of iconoclasm.  When he was very frail he was
exiled to Samothrace, where he died shortly after his arrival.  His fellow
sufferer St. Theodore the Studite wrote a panegyric on the translation of 
his relics (BHG 1792b).

T. is also the author of an important chronicle covering the years 285-813,
a continuation of that of George the Syncellus.  In the 870s this was
translated into Latin by Anastasius Bibliothecarius and thus became known
in the Latin West.

2)  Symeon the New Theologian (d. 1022).  A monk and abbot mostly in
Constantinople, the mystic S. was a disciple of St. Symeon the Studite and
a prolific writer who emphasized a personal experience of God.  His
controversial teachings led to a brief exile in 1009.

3)  Bernard of Carinola (d. early 12th cent.).  Today's less well known
saint of the Regno used to be known as Bernard of Capua, thanks to his
entry in the pre-2001 RM, which read: "Capuae sancti Bernardi, Episcopi
et Confessoris."  There is no evidence that he died anywhere other than
at Carinola, which has his presumed remains, and -- contrary to what the
RM's wording might suggest to incautious readers -- none that he was
ever bishop of Capua.  B. is first recorded with certainty in 1101.  We
know very little about him: his probably fourteenth-century Vita (BHL
1205) is largely uninformative, while the dates and other details of his
translation of St. Martin of Monte Masssico (one of the saints of
Gregory the Great's _Dialogues_) to his newly built cathedral at
Carinola in northern Campania (two versions: BHL 5602, 5604) are thought
to be inventions of the Cassinese historian and forger Peter the
Deacon.  We last hear of him in 1104 in a donation of Richard II of
Capua to Sant'Angelo in Formis.

The Vita does tell us that, before he became bishop of Carinola, B. was
Richard's chaplain at Capua when R.'s father Jordan (d. 1090) was
prince and, that when he did become bishop, Jordan's brother Jonathan
was governor of Carinola (presumably as count, though the Vita is not so
specific).  These dignitaries were of the family of Rainulf Drengot
sometimes referred to (esp. when differentiating them from the
Hautevilles) as the "Aversa Normans".  The bishops they appointed tended
to be Norman; it is supposed, therefore, that B. too was probably
a Norman.  He was remembered as the bishop who built Carinola's
cathedral and who brought the remains of St. Martin to it.
Inscriptional evidence suggests that the cathedral was begun in 1100 and
finished in 1108 or 1109; B.'s death is commonly put in the latter year.

Carinola's ex-cathedral (in 1818 the diocese was merged into that of
Sessa, now Sessa Aurunca) of Santa Maria and San Giovanni Battista was
built just off the Via Appia on land said to have been donated by
(count) Jonathan.  The site included a paleochristian funerary chapel,
which latter since at least the fourteenth century has been included
within the cathedral's fabric.  I've been unable to find any decent,
Web-accessible views of its decor or, for that matter, of that of the
cathedral itself, which has frescoes and reliefs from the twelfth
century (or late eleventh, if you accept Peter the Deacon's dating and
discount the later inscriptions).  A plan of the building (whose
history is complicated) and an expandable view of its Renaissance
pronaos, showing the three original portals (not entirely in their
medieval state), are here:
http://www.cesn.it/patrimonio_architet/campania/carinola.htm

When B.'s cult originated is unclear.  It is attested to at Capua in the
fourteenth century and in the fifteenth B.'s presumed remains at
Carinola were solemnly translated to a place of honor in his cathedral,
where they were laid to rest in the re-used late antique sarcophagus
shown (but not very well) in these two views:
http://tinyurl.com/yuahr3
http://tinyurl.com/2u8e2w
The fenestella in the sarcophagus was carved in 1760.  In 2003 a
medieval burying ground of undetermined extent, initially dated to ca.
1000-1400, was discovered in front of the (ex- )cathedral.  The presence
of the paleochristian funerary chapel suggests that there was also a
late antique necropolis in the immediate vicinity (perhaps this has been
established and I just haven't seen a report of it).

Though B. seems no longer to be listed in the RM, the diocese of Sessa
Aurunca continues to remember him on this day.  For his hagiographic
dossier, other source material, and further discussion, see Amalia
Galdi, _Santi, territori, poteri e uomini nella Campania medievale_
(Salerno: Laveglia, 2004; Schola Salernitana. Studi e Testi, no. 9),
esp. pp. 153-72 and 248-52.

Part of the tradition implies that before the construction of B.'s
cathedral the diocese was centered on nearby Ventaroli (CE), a _frazione_
of Carinola.  Two illustrated, Italian-language pages on the latter's
"romanesque" church of Santa Maria in Foroclaudio are here:
http://utenti.lycos.it/carnet/carinola/ventaroli.htm
http://www.cesn.it/patrimonio_architet/campania/ventaroli.htm
and a front view of this structure is here:
http://tinyurl.com/z9jk6

Best,
John Dillon
(Bernard of Carinola lightly revised from last year's post)

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