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MEDIEVAL-RELIGION  August 2007

MEDIEVAL-RELIGION August 2007

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Subject:

saints of the day 28. August

From:

John Dillon <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Tue, 28 Aug 2007 23:23:37 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

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medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

Today (28. August) is the feast day of:

Hermes of Rome (ca. 304?).  H. is a martyr of the Via Salaria, recorded
under this date in the Depositio Martyrum of 354 and in the
(pseudo-)Hieronymian Martyrology, both of which say that he was laid to
rest in the cemetery of Basilla.  In 1932 and in 1940 fragments of the
original marble plaque of his epitaph by pope St. Damasus (Ferrua no.
48), previously known only from an incomplete copy in a manuscript
sylloge, were found in an underground chamber of this very cemetery.
This merely tells us that H. was a martyr who had come to Rome from
Greece and that he was long dead when the epitaph was written.  Like
Basilla, he was probably a victim of the Great Persecution.  In late
antiquity the legendary Passio of pope St. Alexander (BHL 266) made H.
a Roman city prefect converted by A. and martyred under Trajan (well
before the cemetery of Basilla came into use).

In the late fourth century H.'s gravesite was already monumental.  Two
centuries later, pope Pelagius I (579-90) erected a subterranean basilica
here.  That church is recorded in the pilgrim itineraries of the seventh
century and was restored in the eighth by pope Adrian I (772-95).  In
the early fourteenth century it was no longer in use.  Rediscovered in
the early seventeenth century, it forms part of what is now referred to
as the catacomb of Hermes.  An above-ground monastery serving the site
is recorded from various times through 1188.

Both this catacomb church and H.'s listings in early medieval
sacramentaries and martyrologies contributed to the diffusion of his cult
throughout western Europe.  Three places where he is especially venerated
are Ronse (Renaix) in Belgium's Oost-Vlaanderen province, Acquapendente
(VT) in Lazio, and the city of Salzburg in Austria.  Here are some views of
Ronse's collegiate church dedicated to H., whose claim to have relics of H. is
documented from 1160 onward:
http://www.carillon.org.au/usyd/renaix/
http://enkiri.com/europe/belgium/vlaanderen/ronse941.html
http://www.cornelissen.de/name/cor_bel2.htm
For a view of one of the putative H.'s resting places in that church, go to:
http://proculaine.ifrance.com/
then click on the button (dot) before "Belgique" and scroll down to the
second illustration.

Acquapendente's Basilica Cattedrale del Santo Sepolcro houses what are 
said to be relics of H., the city's patron.  The present building, originally 
of the eleventh and twelfth centuries with an eighteenth-century facade, was 
badly damaged in World War II and has since been rebuilt.  Herewith some 
exterior views (in the rear only the center apse is medieval):
http://tinyurl.com/ysd34t
http://tinyurl.com/ywcd3h
http://tinyurl.com/2hj9dz
and views of its tenth-/eleventh-century crypt, housing a Holy
Sepulchre:
http://www.provincia.viterbo.it/ivbook/picture/ivb_029.gif
http://tinyurl.com/2bgmk7
http://tinyurl.com/35dq8n
The capital at left here is in the crypt:
http://www.romeartlover.it/Francig4.jpg
detail view:
http://tinyurl.com/38d8we
Another capital in the crypt:
http://www.fabiopiferi.it/escur/Francigena/acq_mo3.jpg
An Italian-language account of this monumnet is here:
http://tinyurl.com/26nfww
 
Salzburg's Museum Carolino Augusteum houses this panel from an
altarpiece of 1449 by Conrad Laib showing H. in what is said to be a
Buergermeister's (mayor's) costume, appropriate in its way for a
supposed city prefect of ancient Rome:
http://www.aeiou.at/aeiou.history.data.jpg/001474.jpg
Detail view:
http://www.salzburg-city.com/history/got1.jpg

The village church of Warbeyen (Kreis Kleve) in Germany's Land
Nordrhein-Westfalen is dedicated to the BVM and to H. but is usually
referred to simply as Sankt Hermes.  Its choir and nave are from the
fourteenth and mid-sixteenth centuries respectively.  Here's a distance
view:
http://www.warbeyen.de/Kirche.jpg
Exterior, front (tower is modern):
http://tinyurl.com/f7pxs
Exterior, nave:
http://www.helmut-verhuelsdonk.de/warb2.jpg
Exterior, choir:
http://www.helmut-verhuelsdonk.de/warb4.jpg

Best,
John Dillon
(a last year's post revised)

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