medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Today (18. September) is the feast day of:
1) Oceanus (?). O. is a martyr of Nicomedia in Bithynia (today's İzmit in Turkey's Kocaeli province) entered under today both in the fourth-century Syriac Martyrology and in the rather later (pseudo-)Hieronymian Martyrology. Other than that, we know nothing about him. It is unfortunate that we do not know whether he were a priest, for if he were we could call him Father Ocean.
2) Ferreolus of Vienne (d. 250 or 251, supposedly). There are at least five French saints named Ferreolus (n French, Ferréol). This one's cult is attested in the fifth century by St. Sidonius Apollinaris, by St. Gregory of Tours, who reports that his contemporary bishop St. Mamertus of Vienne translated his remains, and by Venantius Fortunatus. He has a legendary _Passio_ (BHL 2911, 2912) that makes him a military tribune put to death in the Decian persecution. The eighth-century crypt of his former church in Vienne was rediscovered in 1859.
3) Eustorgius I, bp. of Milan (d. ca. 350). According to the testimony of Athanasius the Great, E. was a vigorous opponent of Arianism. His cult seems to have begun very shortly after his death; Ambrose already speaks of him as a confessor. The (pseudo-)Hieronymian Martyrology gives today as the date of his laying to rest. E.'s Vita (BHL 2776, 2777; many versions) is no earlier than the eleventh century, probably of the twelfth, and quite unreliable. A late sixth- or early seventh-century funerary inscription in verse (_CIL_, vol. 5.2, p. 621, no. 9; from Fontana's sylloge in lieu of the lost original) relates a miracle of his, indicating that by this time E. was already quite legendary: though his sepulchre was originally constructed for an emperor whose oxen could not move it, the saint was able to draw where he wished with the aid of two small heifers.
E.'s major monument is Milan's basilica di Sant'Eustorgio. Parts of the present building overlie the remains of a late antique basilican church, presumably the predecessor church of the same dedication cited in the _Versum de Mediolano civitate_ (MGH, Poetae, I, pp. 24-26), an early eighth-century poem in praise of the city of Milan. Seen here in an
, Sant'Eustorgio's central structure gets older as one moves from front to back. Today's facade is a nineteenth-century essay in Lombard Romanesque, the present nave (a replacement for the one badly damaged in
Friedrich Barbarossa's sack of 1162) was begun in the 1190s but is mostly of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, and the apse is of the eleventh century. The belltower is from the end of the thirteenth century. A modern plan:
A very nice panoramic tour is accessible here and may be viewed in high resolution:
(click on the next-to-lowest green dot in that mass of them in the center).
Right flank (chapels and south transept):
Apse and belltower:
Rear views (showing the later fifteenth-century Cappella Portinari):
Nave and right aisle from behind the new altar:
Thirteenth-century fresco (Madonna and Child):
Tomb of Stefano Visconti (d. 1327), lord of Milan:
The fifteenth-century marble altarpiece behind the new altar:
More fourteenth- and fifteenth-century decor:
Remains of a late antique church beneath the apse:
Located in the south transept is a third-century CE Roman sarcophagus. Presumably, this is E.'s sepulchre referred to in his early medieval funerary inscription mentioned above. The fourth column on the right-hand side of the nave bears a relief of E. and his heifers moving the sarcophagus (apparently with both angelic and human assistance); two
excellent photographs of this will be found in Hans Hofmann, _Die Heiligen Drei Könige_ (Bonn: Ludwig Röhrscheid, 1975; Rheinisches Archiv, no. 94), pp. 380-81. Views of the sarcophagus are here:
Here's a better view of the sainted bishop on the wall next to the sarcophagus:
There's no proof that he's meant to be E. but the location is suggestive.
An eighteenth-century inscription on the sarcophagus reads: SEPVLCRVM TRIVM MAGORVM ('Tomb of the Three Magi'):
In 1158 putative relics of these three were reported to have been found at Milan in a church outside the walls (as Sant'Eustorgio then was); in 1164 (when Milan was largely a very recent ruin) Friedrich Barbarossa had their relics transported from Sant'Eustorgio to Köln, where they are today. The absence of any good evidence that the Three Magi were venerated in Milan before 1158 led Hofmann (op. cit., pp. 73-95; the basic study of this matter) to conclude that Eustorgius' _Vita_, which ascribes to E. the translation of these three from Constantinople to Milan and whose oldest known witness is dated to the end of the twelfth century, was concocted in or shortly after 1158 in order to document the presence in Milan of these newly discovered relics.
4) Ferreolus of Limoges (d. late 6th cent.; perh. after 591). St, Gregory of Tours reports that as bishop Limoges F. calmed a riot that had broken out there in 579 and that he rebuilt the fire-destroyed basilica of St. Martin at today's Brive-la-Gaillarde (Corrèze). F. is also recorded as a participant in the council of Mācon in 583. A Vita of St. Aredius of Limoges (BHL 666; earliest witness is of the late ninth or early tenth century) has F. aid this abbot who died in 591 and says that he presided at the latter's funeral. But as the Bollandists have assigned this Vita the number of the Beast, perhaps it would be unwise to trust it.
Three views of a fourteenth-century head reliquary of F. from Limoges are here:
5) Richardis (d. ca. 895). Conjectured to have been a daughter of a count of Alsace, R. (in French, Richarde) married in about 860 a Pippinid named Charles who was a younger son of Louis the German and at the time count of the Breisgau. In 865 C. became king of Alemannia (Swabia and Raetia) and set about creating a capital for himself at Sélestat in Alsace. In about 880, using property of her own, R., who had become a patron of monasteries, founded nearby an abbey for women at today's Andlau (Bas-Rhin). On 12. February 881, having succeeded his brother Carloman in Italy and Bavaria, C. was crowned emperor (we know him as Charles III or, less neutrally, Charles the Fat) and R. received the title Augusta. R. used the occasion to have the abbey at Andlau placed under papal protection. After C.'s deposition in 887 (or perhaps a little before that -- see the next paragraph), R. withdrew to the abbey at Andlau, where she died and was buried.
The early tenth-century chronicle of Regino of Prüm reports that in 887, while he was yet emperor, C. accused R. of adultery with one of their _familiares_ who was now bishop of Vercelli, that R. proved not only that the accusation was untrue but that she had maintained her virginity through the twelve [sic] years of her marriage to the emperor, and that R. then withdrew to Andlau. This story remained alive throughout the Middle Ages and was supplemented by a legend that R. had vindicated herself by successfully undergoing an ordeal by fire in the form of walking across red-hot plowshares (the _locus classicus_ is in the twelfth-century _Kaiserchronik_).
In the 1030s and 1040s the abbess of Andlau was a cousin of bishop Bruno of Toul, an Alsatian better known to history as pope St. Leo IX. It was during this time that the abbey's church of Sts. Peter and Paul received the earlier part of its present crypt. In 1049 the newly consecrated pope performed an Elevatio of R., placing her in a new grave in this crypt. This was not simply an act of patriotic piety on the order of Pius II's canonization of St, Catherine of Siena or the canonization of Poles by John Paul II: Leo also transferred the abbey from papal protection to that of his family, the counts of Eg(u)isheim, and persuaded his younger relative Henry III to elevate it to the status of an imperial abbey. R., of course, was the abbey's saint.
Construction continued on the church during the latter half on the eleventh century and the earlier twelfth; surviving today (the church was rebuilt in the seventeenth century) are the lower portion of the West front with its wrap-around frieze:
(click on the links for detail views)
the main portal:
and the crypt:
In legend, R, sited the abbey on a place where she saw a she-bear digging a hole in the ground. The crypt has both a statue of the bear and and an opening in the pavement corresponding to the hole of the legend:
There's also a bear on the facade:
In around 1350 R. was placed in a new, raised tomb (a Hochgrab). Though the abbey is no more, the church is still a church and pilgrims are said still to come to R.'s resting place.
(Eustorgius I of Milan lightly revised from last year's post)
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