medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Today (13. August) is the feast day of:
1) Cassian of Imola (??). Our first testimony to this martyr's existence is Prudentius' _Peristephanon_, 9, in which the early fifth-century poet recounts his visit to C.'s shrine at Forum Cornelii (today's Imola in the Romagna) and describes the picture there of the saint's martyrdom. According to this account, C. was a teacher who endured a slow and painful martyrdom at the hands of his non-Christian students who stabbed him repeatedly with their styluses. Later legend made C. the apostle of Sabiona in the Tirol, subsequently exiled to his place of martyrdom. C.'s cult spread widely in north central Italy. St. Peter Chrysologus, Ravenna's first bishop (d. 450), had a special devotion to this regional martyr. Imola's first cathedral is said to have been built over C.'s tomb; it and its successors have always been dedicated to him.
Perhaps the best known of the many other medieval dedications to C. is the originally eleventh-century church of San Cassiano in Pennino at Predappio (FC) in the Romagna:
This church's fame, such as it is, derives from Benito Mussolini's reposing here in his family's tomb in the adjacent burial ground.
Also worth a look are A) the thirteenth-century former Benedictine priory church of San Cassiano in Valbagnola in an outlying section of Fabriano (AN) in the Marche:
B) the originally eleventh(?)-century abbey church of San Cassiano at Narni (TR) in Umbria, radically rebuilt in the early fourteenth century shortly before the construction of the present fortification wall:
C) the twelfth-century Pieve dei Santi Cassiano e Giovanni at Settimo (PI) in Tuscany, also known as a church of Santi Ippolito e Cassiano or simply San Cassiano (many views towards the foot of the page):
and D) -- just for fun -- the recently restored remnant of the church of San Cassiano at Trescore Balneario (BG) in Lombardy, first documented from 1105:
2) Cassian of Todi (d. 304, supposedly). C. has a relatively late, highly legendary Passio (BHL 1637) that makes him an early bishop of today's Todi (PG) in Umbria who, imprisoned during the Great Persecution, refused to apostasize and was finally martyred. His medieval cult, centered upon the diocese of Todi, is first documented from the twelfth century. Both the coincidence of his feast day with that of the much better known Cassian of Imola and the reappearance in his Passio of details drawn from Prudentius' account of that saint have led to the supposition (paralleled in the case of the recently noticed Cassian of Benevento) that this C. is in origin C. of Imola re-imagined at Todi as a local bishop.
In 1198 altars to C. and to Todi's St. Fortunatus were consecrated in an oratory dedicated to them in a former Roman-period cistern near the predecessor of today's Tempio di San Fortunato at Todi. In 1301 their putative relics were translated to the latter church, then newly built, and deposited under its main altar. In the later Middle Ages Todi also had a separate chapel dedicated to C. This was not the oratory in the former cistern, in which other altars were dedicated in 1242 and 1263, and which at some point came to be thought of as the prison in which C. had been immured after his arrest. Here's a view of the entrance to the oratory (the so-called _carcere di San Cassiano_):
Since 1596 C. has resided in the crypt of San Fortunato. Links to views of that church were given two days ago in the Saints of the Day notice of Digna of Todi (11. August). Here are a few other views showing San Fortunato's location near the highest point on the hill of Todi:
(Cassian of Imola revised from earlier posts)
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