medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Today (10. October) is the feast day of:
1a) Gereon and companions, martyrs of Köln;
1b) Cassius and Florentius, martyrs of Bonn;
1c) Victor and Mallosus, martyrs of Xanten (all d. ca. 304, supposedly). These are saints of Germania Inferior with cults that were already well attested in the sixth century and with churches originating in the central Middle Ages that (at least at Köln and at Xanten) replaced late antique martyria located in or next to early Christian cemeteries. The tale grew up that they were all members of the Theban Legion, leading to their customary representation as soldier-saints. Though the three towns did indeed house Roman garrisons, civilians of course lived there as well. Whether these saints' later memory as soldiers is factually correct is unknown.
Gereon has a wonderful church in Köln not far from the cathedral. An aerial view:
The Sacred Destinations page:
A virtual tour:
(NB: the individual sections are more than one page deep. Clicking at lower right -- also sometimes on the images themselves -- will bring up more.)
According to the late-eleventh or very early twelfth-century _Vita sancti Annonis archiepiscopi Coloniensis_, St. Helena had founded this church. Here's a view of the mural painting in the Confessio with G. at left and H. at right (holding a representation of the church's Dekagon, completed in 1227):
G. and companions, panel painting (ca. 1440) by Stefan Lochner on his Dreikönigsaltar in the cathedral of Köln:
G., detail of a painting (ca. 1480) of Sts. Anne, Christopher, G., and Peter by the Master of the Assumption, now in the Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Köln:
An illustrated, German-language account of the Münster at Bonn (dedicated to Cassius and Florentius):
A virtual tour:
(Click on "Virtuellen Rundgang starten").
Xanten's present cathedral of St. Victor was begun in 1190. Most of it is of the later thirteenth to early sixteenth centuries. A couple of illustrated sites on it are here:
A single exterior view:
A different exterior view and five interior ones (all expandable):
A view of V.'s shrine (said to date from 1128 or 1129) is here:
A few views of the earlier sixteenth-century main altar in which the shrine is housed:
2) Cerbonius (d. ca. 575). We know about C. from St. Gregory the Great's _Dialogi_, 3. 11. According to Greg, C. was a bishop of Populonia -- now part of today's Piombino (LI) in Tuscany -- who during Justinian's war of reconquest in Italy harbored East Roman troops in an area controlled by the Gothic king Totila. The latter worthy condemned C. to execution by wild beasts and when that failed in the way in which it often does in these stories (in this case, a ravenous bear humbled itself before the man of God and no other animal dared approach) he exiled C. to the nearby island of Elba. C. died on Elba; when his body was being returned to Populonia for buria, a squall that raged on both sides of the boat but not on it (few will fail to observe the parallel with the Israelites' crossing of the Red Sea as they returned from exile to the Promised Land).
Employing a familiar form of a trope common in Italian hagiography ("the saint who has come to us from afar"), the legendary eleventh-century Vitae of St. Regulus venerated at Lucca (BHL 7102) and of C. himself (BHL 728, 1729) make C. an exile from the Vandal kingdom in Africa.
Populonia's medieval successor as the bishop's seat, Massa Marittima, was a thriving town in the central Middle Ages and a backwater for centuries thereafter. This turn of Fortune's wheel (together with the fact that the town was sufficiently far way from population centers to discourage large-scale looting and reclaiming) preserved the cathedral of San Cerbone and some of its more striking appointments intact into the modern period, when the town began to grow again. Today San Cerbone is a co-cathedral of the diocese of Massa Marittima - Piombino. Its Arca di San Cerbone/Cerbonio (Tomb of Saint Cerbonius) of 1324 is a sculptural highlight. Herewith some illustrated accounts (English-language; German-language) of this church:
Exterior views, etc.:
Interior, Arca di San Cerbone (di San Cerbonio):
3) Paulinus of York (d. 644). P. was one of the Roman monks sent in 601 to support St. Augustine of Canterbury's mission in what now is England. The principal source for him is St. Bede the Venerable's _Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum_ (2. 9–20; 3. 14). P.'s activities are unknown before before 625 (following Bede's reckoning), when he was consecrated bishop by archbishop St. Justus of Canterbury and traveled to Northumbria in the company of Æthelburh, the Christian royal from Kent who was betrothed to the then still pagan Northumbrian king Eadwine. In less than two years P. converted E.'s pagan high priest and then E. himself, whom he baptized (the early ninth-century _Historia Brittonum_ has a Briton named Rhun do this) at York on Easter day, 627.
P. established his seat at York, erecting there a stone church dedicated to St. Peter whose remains, if any, have thus far eluded archaeological discovery. He evangelized throughout the kingdom (one of his converts was St. Hild) and in its southern dependency of Lindsey, where at Lincoln he erected a stone church at what is thought to have been the site of the now demolished church of St Paul in the Bail. P. also consecrated St. Justus' replacement as archbishop, St. Honorius of Canterbury. Eadwine's death in battle in 633 was followed by a pagan reaction and the end of P.'s northern mission. P. and Æthelburh returned to Kent, where P. was given the vacant see of Rochester. He received the pallium from pope Honorius I but never returned to the North.
4) John of Bridlington (d. 1379). The Oxford-educated Yorkshireman J. (also John Thwing or Thwenge, after the village of his birth) was a canon regular at Bridlington Priory in the coastal section of his native Yorkshire Wolds, where he rose to be cellarer and then prior. He was recognized locally for his holiness and after his death miracles were reported at his tomb. His first Vita (BHL 4355) was written before his canonization in 1401. There is also an early account in Middle English, the _Verse Life of John of Bridlington_. A rhymed Latin poem of perhaps contemporary political import, the _Vaticinium Roberti Bridlington_, circulated under J.'s name and could conceivably be his (George Rigg thought so in _Speculum_ 63 ; Michael Curley in the _ODNB_ seems less willing to entertain the possibility).
The figure at left (holding a fish) in these two panels of the fourteenth-century rood screen at St Andrew, Hempstead (Norfolk) is labeled as J.:
A few views of the mostly fifteenth-century priory church of St Mary, Bridlington (East Riding of Yorkshire), a.k.a. Bridlington Priory (of whose buildings it is a survivor), restored in the nineteenth century:
The priory's originally twelfth-century former gatehouse, the Bayle Gate:
(Gereon and companions, Cassius and Florentius, Victor and Mallosus, and Cerbonius revised from older posts)
To join the list, send the message: join medieval-religion YOUR NAME
to: [log in to unmask]
To send a message to the list, address it to:
[log in to unmask]
To leave the list, send the message: leave medieval-religion
to: [log in to unmask]
In order to report problems or to contact the list's owners, write to:
[log in to unmask]
For further information, visit our web site: