medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Today (5. September) is the feast day of:
1) Acont(i)us, Nonnus, Herculanus, and Taurinus (?). A., N., H., and T. are recorded for today in the _Depositio Martyrum_ of the Chronographer of 354 as marytrs reposing at Portus. Other than that we know nothing about them. H. and T. are seemingly identical with the H. and T. who with St. Paul were the initial dedicatees of San Paolo fuori le Mura; in that case they will have been translated before 386 (the initial year of the basilica's construction) to a shrine at that site. The legendary Passiones of St. Aurea of Ostia (BHL 808-09, 811-12, 813 plus a very similar text in Greek) identify H. and T. as pagans converted while prisoners at Ostia, martyred there along with many others under an emperor Claudius (or, in the earlier BHL 1723, under Trebonianus Gallus), and buried secretly at Portus. Herewith a Latin-language translation of the Greek version of the Passio of St. Aurea of Ostia and an English-language translation of that Latin text:
The (pseudo-)Hieronymian Martyrology enters A. and N. under 25. July along with several others; it enters T. and H. (spelled as Heralianus) under today's date along with a different collection of others. In their martyrologies Ado and Usuard have H. alone on this date; Rabanus Maurus has T. as well as H., both under today.
2) Quintus of Capua (?). This less well known saint of the Regno (if indeed he is that) is the survivor in the new RM (2001) of a group entered for today in the (pseudo-)Hieronymian Martyrology and in the early medieval historical martyrologies as martyrs of Capua: Quintus, Arcontius, and Donatus. There is no evidence that Arcontius and Donatus ever had cults at Capua and the prevailing belief today is that they are really saints of other locales. Arcontius is thought to be a repetition under a different spelling of the Acontius martyred at Porto (see no. 1, above); Donatus could well be a doublet of the Apulian martyr of this name recorded by the (ps.-)HM for 1. September.
Q.'s status as a saint of Capua is also shaky. Child saints named Quartus and Quintus were depicted in the now lost late fifth- or early sixth-century apse mosaics of the church of St. Priscus at today's San Prisco (CE), an extramural survivor of old Capua. But saints so named are also recorded in the (ps.-)HM as martyrs of Rome on 10. May, buried at an unidentified cemetery of Centum Aulas on the Via Latina. They may very well have been Roman saints whose relics had been translated, in whole or in part, to the church at old Capua. We know nothing more about either Q. and there is certainly no reason to believe, as some lists of Capua's bishops would have it, that St. Quartus and St. Quintus were, respectively, the fourth and sixth bishops of that city.
3) Bertinus of Sithiu (d. late 7th or early 8th cent.). According to his legendary Vitae (BHL 1290, etc.), B. (also Bertin of St.-Omer, Bertinus van Artesië) was a monk of Luxeuil who in about the year 642 as a missionary helped found a monastery at a place called Sithiu near the the river Aa in Flanders and who became its second abbot. His sanctity was recognized shortly after his death; the abbey, which was soon named for him, flourished throughout the Middle Ages. Well known to students of the Carolingian period for its ninth-century Annals, it was rebuilt in the thirteenth century and is now a ruin. The town of St.-Omer (Pas-de-Calais) grew up next to it.
Here's B. in an early twelfth-century illuminated initial (Dijon, Bibliothèque municipale, ms. 642 [Vitae sanctorum], fol. 62r):
And here he is in a later twelfth-century illuminated initial in a sacramentary for the Use of St,-Bertin and St.-Omer (Bourges, Bibliothèque municipale, ms. 37, fol. 67r):
And here he is, his soul ascending to Heaven and then shown in glory, in a shutter fragment from a now dismembered mid-fifteenth-century altarpiece from his abbey at St.-Omer:
A view of an eleventh-century pectoral cross thought probably to have come from this abbey:
A view of a twelfth-century foot for a cross now at St.-Omer's Musée de l'Hôtel Sandelin but formerly belonging to the abbey of St.-Bertin:
An illustrated, English-language page on the abbey of St.-Bertin is here:
Other views of the abbey today:
Two early modern views of the abbey (pre-destruction) are reproduced here:
A few views of the mostly fifteenth-century Sint-Bertinuskerk in Poperinge (West-Vlaanderen), whose patron saint is B.:
4) Albert of Butrio (d. 1074). In the 1020s A. founded in southwestern Lombardy a hermitage that in time became the wealthy Benedictine abbey of Butrio (in 1158 it received the entire county of Pizzocorno) and is now the Eremo di Sant'Alberto at Ponte Nizza (PV). His tomb is in the abbey's church of Sant'Alberto, the successor to his original church of the BVM.
Here's A. as he's depicted in the restored late-medieval frescoes of the abbey's church of Sant'Antonio (the successor to Sant'Alberto as the abbey's principal church):
A page of views of the church of Sant'Antonio, of the twelfth-century cloister, and of the frescoes in Sant'Antonio:
Many views of the Eremo, its churches, and its cloister are here:
5) Gentile of Matelica (Bl.; d. ca. 1340?). G. (in Latin, Gentilis) was a Franciscan missionary in Egypt about whom there is little hard evidence, despite the stories told about him in his order. He is said to have been unable to learn Arabic but to have persevered in his work thanks to a miraculous dream vision, to have accompanied Marco Cornaro, the Venetian ambassador to Persia, from Egypt across Arabia to Persia, and in the course of that journey both to have performed a bilocation miracle and to have predicted to Cornaro when tending him during an illness that he would live to become doge. G. was further reported to have gone north from Persia to Trebizond, making many converts on the way. Cornaro, who was doge in 1365, is said to have seen to it that G. was buried in Venice's chiesa dei Frari. Miracles were reported at G.'s grave and a cult developed.
The early sixteenth-century Franciscan historian Mariano da Firenze's unsupported statement that G. had suffered martyrdom was repeated by subsequent Franciscan annalists including the influential Luke Wadding. The latter's death date for G., 5. September 1340, was used when G.'s cult was confirmed in 1795 and his feast was set for today. G. was dropped from the RM in its revision of 2001 but continues to be celebrated on this day by at least the Capuchins (and probably by the Franciscans in their entirety -- I lack easy access to a Franciscan Martyrology in which to pursue this).
Herewith some views of Venice's fourteenth-century church of the Frari (formally, Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari):
Today (5. September) was also once (and may yet be) the feast day of:
6) John the Good, abbot at Mljet (Bl.; d. later twelfth cent.). This less well known holy person of the Regno (also known as Bl. J. of Siponto) was an early member of the Pulsanese Benedictine community founded by St. John of Matera in the earlier twelfth century. This community remembered him both as the once moribund son of the royal governor of Siponto whom St. J., according to the latter's twelfth-century Vita (BHL 4411), had restored to life and as the eremitically inclined founder of the community's monastery on the Dalmatian coastal island that today is Mljet in Croatia (in Italian, Meleda; in Latin, Meleta). After his death J.'s body was brought to the community's mother house of Santa Maria di Pulsano on the Gargano peninsula in northern Apulia; the thirteenth-century Pulsanese martyrology (in BAV, Vat. lat. 5419) records his feast on this day.
J. has never graced the pages of the RM. It's possible that he's still venerated in the Order of Saint Benedict (which seems to include in its martyrology the blessed twelfth-century Pulsanese abbots Jordan and Joel) and/or in the archdiocese of Foggia-Bovino, which latter took charge of the remains of at least St. J. and of Bl. Jordan when the abbey at Pulsano was closed in the late fourteenth century and which even now celebrates Benedictine Beati absent from today's RM, and/or in the archdiocese of Manfredonia-Vieste-San Giovanni Rotondo and especially in its fairly recently reopened abbey at Pulsano. But in their current states the archdiocesan and abbatial websites concerned don't provide information on this point.
The Pulsanese Benedictines became the territorial lords of Mljet in 1151 by act of a local nobleman. J.'s initial monastery, dedicated to St. Michael, was replaced between 1187 and 1198 by one located on an islet in the island's own large lake and dedicated to the BVM (1198 is actually the date of the new church's consecration). Herewith some recent views of the monastery buildings:
(Quintus of Capua, Bertinus of Sithiu, and Albert of Butrio lightly revised from older posts)
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