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MEDIEVAL-RELIGION  September 2008

MEDIEVAL-RELIGION September 2008

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Subject:

saints of the day 21. September

From:

John Dillon <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Sun, 21 Sep 2008 14:15:05 -0500

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medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

Today (21. September) is the feast day of:

1)  Matthew, evangelist and apostle (d. 1st cent.).  Today's well known saint of the Regno, also known as Levi (compare Mt 9:9 with Mk 2:14 and Lk 5:27), occurs in all four of the New Testament lists of the Twelve Apostles.  Traditionally the author of the First Gospel, he is reported by Eusebius to have preached to the Hebrews.  A legend popular in the West in the central and later Middle Ages and enshrined in the _Legenda Aurea_ gives him various exploits in Ethiopia.  Among the places where M. is said to have died are Ethiopia, Persia, and Pontus.  Here's an English-language translation of his Vita in the _Legenda Aurea_:
http://tinyurl.com/3o8bcn
Highlights of M.'s time in Ethiopia are depicted on the twelfth-century St. Matthew capital found at Nazareth in 1908 and now mounted on a wall of the modern church of the Annunciation there.  Good views of its individual scenes will be found here:
http://picasaweb.google.com/JuliannaLees/NazarethCapitals#

M.'s later tenth-century Translatio (seemingly written by a monk of Salerno who had some knowledge of Brittany and who ascribed part of his composite work to an imagined Paulinus, bishop of Legio [today's Saint-Pol-de-Léon]) tells us that Breton sailors brought the apostle's body to Armorica in the time of Valentinian III (so in the fifth century) during the reign there of a king Solomon (seemingly inspired by the ninth-century duke/king of this name).  Solomon was murdered, whereupon Valentinian sent a mighty fleet to destroy the Breton kingdom.  Having achieved its ends, the Roman invasion force returned with M.'s remains.

Still according to the Translatio, these were then stolen and wound up in Lucania, where they were given a pious burial in a newly constructed church; over time the latter became ruinous.  In 954 the apostle's remains were discovered still reposing therein near Paestum in what was then the newly established principality of Salerno.  Housed briefly in the cathedral of today's Capaccio (SA), M.'s relics were soon moved to Salerno itself on the order of its prince (Gisulf I), and were reinterred in that city's then cathedral.  Thus far the Translatio.  As all in Campania know, Matthew has been in Salerno ever since.

Unless, of course, M. has been in Kyrgyzstan all along.  See:
http://www.mirabilis.ca/archives/000157.html
http://english.pravda.ru/main/2002/08/29/35577.html
and especially:
http://tinyurl.com/3xtysy

In 1076 the principality was conquered by Robert Guiscard and in the years that followed Salerno became in effect the capital of his now enlarged duchy of Apulia.  Amatus of Montecassino, writing at some point after 1080, tells a story in which M. appears in a vision to archbishop John III (d. 1057), then sleeping at the saint's tomb in the hopes of being cured of a painful illness, and declares to that pontiff both that he will be healed and that after the death of the pope (St. Leo IX) who was then vainly opposing them Normans would rule the land as God had ordained.  In 1085, under the auspices of archbishop Alfanus I and with Guiscard's active assistance, Salerno got a new cathedral (its present one), dedicated to M. and consecrated by the exiled pope St. Gregory VII.  Matthew (who could believe otherwise?) reposes here; so do Gregory and Alfanus.

At some point during Alfanus' episcopacy (1058-85) his friend abbot Desiderius II of Montecassino (ruled 1058-86; as pope in 1086-87 he's Bl. Victor III) commissioned for a Roman noble the reliquary of M. shown and discussed here:
http://tinyurl.com/35x3c7
Another view:
http://tinyurl.com/2g5a7m
The recipient's family donated it in 1080 to Sts. Cosmas and Damian in Rome.

Two aerial views of Salerno's cattedrale di San Matteo (much rebuilt in the seventeenth century):
http://tinyurl.com/3mqthg
http://tinyurl.com/3fwepo
Other views:
http://www.dartmouth.edu/~classics/rome2003/updates/week3_4/oct16.html
(That "Byzantine mosaic" is a modern fresco.)
and here:
http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cattedrale_di_Salerno
http://tinyurl.com/4q489u
There's a clickable plan here:
http://www.ingenioloci.it/smatteo/pianta.htm
A view of M.'s tomb in the baroque crypt is at no. 102 on that plan.  Here's another:
http://tinyurl.com/52uy56
The cathedral also houses this arm reliquary of M. (does anyone have better view of it?):
http://www.insalerno.com/imagessalerno/duomo3.jpg

The apse at the far end of the right aisle contains a mosaic (between 1258 and 1266) donated by Giovanni di Procida, grand chancellor of the Kingdom of Sicily.  The central figures are St. Michael the Archangel (above) and M. (below):
http://www.ingenioloci.it/smatteo/63.htm
In this detail, the donor can be descried below M. and to his right:
http://www.stupormundi.it/images/daprocidasMatteo.jpg

On the Translation of St. Matthew to Salerno, see Baudouin de Gaiffier, "Hagiographie salernitaine: la Translation de S. Matthieu," _Analecta Bollandiana_ 80 (1962), 82-110.  Among the poems of the aforementioned Alfanus I, better known in literary studies simply as Alfanus of Salerno, are several for the feast commemorating this event (6. May); in the edition of Lentini and Avagliano these are nos. 58-62.

Another medievally significant Matthaean site is Pisa's ex-chiesa di San Matteo, the much rebuilt church of a former Benedictine monastery for women now housing Pisa's Museo Nazionale di San Matteo, with rich collections devoted to central and later medieval ceramics, painting, and sculpture:
http://tinyurl.com/4mjxs8
An English-language account is here:
http://tinyurl.com/3snxde
The eleventh- and twelfth-century stonework of San Matteo is said to be the work of artisans from Apulia:
http://www.stilepisano.it/immagini4/pages/Pisa_foto_hires%20(11)_JPG.htm
http://tinyurl.com/534oyc
http://tinyurl.com/49mvon
http://tinyurl.com/48ue7z
http://tinyurl.com/3z2moc

Yet another such site is Genoa's originally early twelfth-century chiesa di San Matteo, greatly reworked in 1278 and with an adjacent cloister from the early fourteenth century:
http://www.irolli.it/chiesa_genova/19/chiesa-di-san-matteo.html
Facade view:
http://tinyurl.com/2jh3lx
Restored mosaic in portal lunette:
http://flickr.com/photos/cienne/111878146/
Interior:
http://tinyurl.com/43atpa
Cloister:
http://flickr.com/photos/enzod/2374342534/sizes/l/

A few portraits:

a)  M. in fresco (later thirteenth-century; by Cimabue) in the upper church of San Francesco, Assisi (in a vault field that collapsed as a result of the earthquake of 1997; restoration completed, 2007):
http://www.wga.hu/art/c/cimabue/assisi/matthe_1.jpg

b)  M. in fresco (early fourteenth-century; by Giotto) in the lower church of San Francesco, Assisi:
http://www.christusrex.org/www1/francis/ABI-matteo-l.jpg

c)  M. in stone (early fourteenth-century; by Tino da Camaino) at the abbey of the Santissima Trinità at Cava de' Tirreni (SA) in Campania:
http://tinyurl.com/4l7beo

d)  M. in panel paintings as Gospel author and as missionary in Ethiopia (ca. 1367; by Andrea Orcagna), now in the Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence:
http://tinyurl.com/3hvesk



2)  Pamphilus of Rome (?).  The extremely poorly documented P. is the titular saint of a large and very deep cemetery, usually closed to the public, on the Via Salaria vetus.  The cemetery is first mentioned in the seventh-century guidebooks for pilgrims to Rome.  P. himself first appears, celebrated on 21. September together with the soldier Paul, in the eighth- or ninth-century inscribed calendar, preserved at Rome's San Silvestro in Capite, of the male martyrs (there's a separate list of women martyrs) whose relics are said to repose within that church.  His first entry in the martyrologies is by Usuard (also under today's date) in the later ninth century.  We know nothing about him.  Here's a view of the inscription at San Silvestro in Capite:
http://tinyurl.com/5harwr

The cemetery of Pamphilus was rediscovered in part in 1865 but most of it remained unknown until 1920.  A double cubicle in it containing an altar was identified by the archaeologist Danilo Mazzoleni in 1990 on the basis of a graffito bearing P.'s name as our saint's martyrium.  Herewith some views of the cimitero di San Panfilo:
http://tinyurl.com/3efyjt
The third view on that page is of a sealed _cubiculum_ with the name Gorgonia painted (in Greek capitals) on the plaster seal.  There are more examples here (from various catacombs):
http://tinyurl.com/3j3x6z
Here's a view, said to be from the cemetery of Pamphilus, of a gallery of such sealed _cubicula_:
http://www.fpa.ysu.edu/~slsmith/ecbyzwebpage/catacomb.JPG
Here's another, also said to be from from P.'s cemetery, of a different arrangement of resting places:
http://www.owlnet.rice.edu/~huma103/8.GIF

Best,
John Dillon
(Matthew the apostle lightly revised from last year's post)

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