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MEDIEVAL-RELIGION  September 2008

MEDIEVAL-RELIGION September 2008

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Subject:

saints of the day 1. September

From:

John Dillon <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Mon, 1 Sep 2008 14:53:05 -0500

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text/plain

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medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

Today (1. September) is the feast day of:

1)  Priscus of Capua (?).  This less well known saint of the Regno is recorded for the today in the (pseudo-)Hieronymian Martyrology, in the Gelasian Sacramentary, and in various other early medieval sources.  A saint of this name was depicted in the late fifth- or early sixth-century portrait mosaics of Campanian saints that once adorned the church thought to have been dedicated to our P. at what is now San Prisco (CE), between Capua and Caserta.  Ado, followed by Usuard, makes P. one of Christ's disciples.  The fourteenth-century Venetian hagiographer Pietro de Natalibus identifies him as the owner of the house in which the Last Supper took place.  

P.'s perhaps tenth-century Cassinese Vita (BHL 6927) makes P. a bishop expelled from Africa during a pro-Arian persecution of the later fourth century.  According to this account, P. settled at Capua, destroyed the temple of Diana on the site of the later Sant'Angelo in Formis, and was martyred for his pains.  The even more legendary eleventh- or twelfth-century _Passio sancti Castrensis_ (BHL 1644) includes a P. among the dozen bishops who fled Vandal persecution in Africa and settled down in various parts of Campania.  Until its revision of 2001, the RM distinguished the P. of the (ps.-)HM from P. the exiled African bishop, entering both under today's date.

Who P. really may have been is unknown.  Delehaye's guess (_Comm. perpet. in Mart. Hieron._, ad loc.), in which others have concurred, was that the church at today's San Prisco had been dedicated to Priscus of Nocera (16. September) and that the (ps.-)HM's entry for our P. was an error deriving from a false assumption about the church's dedicatee.

The aforementioned church had become ruinous when it was massively rebuilt in the eighteenth century.  Now known as the Chiesa arcipretale di San Prisco, it has a facade and belltower said to have been designed under the direction of the distinguished architect Luigi Vanvitelli (d. 1773).  An exterior view is here:
http://utenti.quipo.it/casertaoltrelareggia/Schede/2000_2001/Scheda_84.htm
and an illustrated page on its late antique Cappella di Santa Matrona (a survivor, with noteworthy mosaics, from the old church) is here:
http://www.sanprisco.net/archeologia/sacello/sacello.htm


2)  Terentianus of Todi (?).  T. is the legendary protobishop of today's Todi (PG) in Umbria.  He has an originally sixth-century Passio in several versions (BHL 8000-8003) that has him martyred under the emperor Hadrian along with one Flaccus, a priest of the idols (_sacerdos idolorum_) whom T. had converted.  According both to the Passio and to the (pseudo-)Hieronymian Martyrology, T. died at Todi on this day.  The Passio further notes that T. and F. were buried at the eighth milestone from Todi in a rocky place called Colonia.

A cemetery has existed since pre-Roman times in a karstic area about a dozen kilometers northeast of Todi in today's Gualdo Cattaneo (PG).  An originally eleventh-century church, dedicated to Sts. Terentianus and Flaccus but now generally referred to simply as San Terenziano, was built over a cave here in which relics believed to be those of T. and F. were preserved in simple sarcophagi of local travertine (now located in the lower church).  Two glass balsamaries from the third or fourth century, found in the 1980s in the immediate vicinity of the earlier resting places, suggest the antiquity of a cult on this site.  Flaccus' absence from the (ps.-)HM, coupled with the legendary character of the Passio, has kept him out of at least recent editions of the RM.

Here's an exterior view of T.'s (and F.'s) church at San Terenziano di Gualdo Cattaneo (upper portion rebuilt in the thirteenth century):
http://tinyurl.com/3yj2lx

In 1260 relics said to be those of T. were brought from Todi to today's Capranica (VT) in northern Lazio, where they are housed in the originally thirteenth-/fourteenth-century church of San Terenziano al Monte.  A chapel at today's Cavriago (RE) in Emilia-Romagna dedicated to Sts. Eusebius and Terentianus is documented from the late tenth century; by the thirteenth century this had expanded and was being referred to simply as _S. Terencianus_.  Its eighteenth-century successor is also a chiesa di San Terenziano and its dedicatee is now understood to be our T.  T. is the patron saint of both Capranica and Cavriago.


3)  Victor of Le Mans (d. 490).  According to the two early episcopal Gesta of Le Mans, V. became bishop there in 450, participated in councils at Angers (453) and at Tours (461), and died on this day in 490.  St. Gregory of Tours records in his _De gloria confessorum_ (cap. 56) that V. was greatly venerated in G.'s own time and that he was famous for having obtained the cessation of a fire that was devastating his city.  V. has a legendary Vita (BHL 8600, etc.) that connects him with other saints of his region (Liborius, Martin of Tours) and that adds nothing to our knowledge of him.


4)  Constantius of Aquino (d. during the years 561-73).  This less well known saint of the Regno was a bishop of today's Aquino (FR) in southern Lazio, the birthplace of the Roman satirist Juvenal and later the seat of the county into whose comital family St. Thomas Aquinas was born.  C. is mentioned twice by St. Gregory the Great (_Dial._ 2. 16; 3. 8): in the second of these passages he is said to have foretold that he would have but two successors in his see, a prophecy soon effectuated -- according to Greg -- by a Lombard sack followed by pestilence.  His legendary Vita (ca. 1125) by the Cassinese scholar and forger Peter the Deacon is lost.  C. is Aquino's patron saint and a co-dedicatee of its present Basilica Cattedrale San Tommaso [d'Aquino] e San Costanzo.

In the absence of any available view of a medieval building or building part dedicated to C., herewith two views of Aquino's twelfth-century church of Santa Maria della Libera:
http://www.nuovipanorami.it/italia/lazio/aquino.html 


5)  Giles, abbot in Occitania (d. 7th cent.?).  G. (in Latin, Egidius; in French, Gilles) is the saint of abbey that gave its name to today's Saint-Gilles-du-Gard (Gard) between Arles and Nīmes and located near the mouths of the Rhone.  He has a seemingly originally ninth- or tenth-century Vita (BHL 93, etc.) that makes him a Christian of Athens who early attained fame as a healer (his first two recorded miracles are curing someone of snakebite and curing someone else of demonic possession), who fleeing this fame took ship and wound up in southern Gaul, and who there became a hermit and later founded a monastery (which he prudently persuaded a pope to make exempt) where he died and was buried.

Rounding out this Vita's fairly standard projection of an early founder are incidents linking G. anachronistically (by modern standards) to various figures of symbolic standing: Saints Caesarius of Arles and Privatus of Mende, a Gothic king Flavius (? Liuva I), and a king Charles who medievally was interpreted as Charlemagne.  These anchor the abbey in the region's ecclesiastical history and, through the king-tales, present a claim for a history of royal patronage from rulers of the region's two secular powers: the (Visi)Gothic and the Frankish kingdoms.  The abbey is gone, but its late eleventh- to thirteenth-century church is not.  Herewith illustrated, English-language and French-language accounts of the building:
http://tinyurl.com/yqt3kw
http://viatolosana.free.fr/pat/vt_pat02_stgilles.php
Five pages of views, mostly of sculptural details, begin here:
http://www.art-roman.net/stgilles/stgilles.htm 

G.'s cult, presumably spread at first by pilgrims, extended far and wide in the Latin West.  Considered a protector of those suffering from fever, fear, or mental illness, he ultimately became one of the late medieval Fourteen Holy Helpers.  Expandable views of scenes from his Vita as depicted in stone and in glass at the cathedral of Chartres are accessible from here:
http://tinyurl.com/63yxf5
and expandable views of various manuscript illuminations of him are accessible from here:
http://tinyurl.com/5oed6x

Best,
John Dillon
(Priscus of Capua, Terentianus of Todi, and Constantius of Aquino revised from last year's post)

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