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MEDIEVAL-RELIGION  December 2008

MEDIEVAL-RELIGION December 2008

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Subject:

saints of the day 24. December

From:

John Dillon <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Wed, 24 Dec 2008 17:28:45 -0600

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medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

Today (24. December) is also the feast day of:

1)  Delphinus of Bordeaux (d. ca. 402).  We know about bishop D. chiefly from the _Chronicon_ of Sulpicius Severus (2. 28-49) and from the letters of St. Paulinus of Nola (_Epp._ 14, 19, 20, 29, 35); he is also mentioned in the correspondence of St. Ambrose of Milan and in the _Epitoma chronicorum_ of St. Prosper of Aquitaine.  To judge from surviving early fifth-century inscriptions, Bordeaux seems to have become almost entirely Christian in his time.  One of those D. baptized was the adult St. Paulinus of Nola.  D. was instrumental in suppressing Priscillianists in his diocese.

In 404 Paulinus of Nola, surveying preeminent saints of various regions, referred to D. as Aquitaine's saint _par excellence_, on a par with Vincent in Iberia, Martin in Gaul, and Ambrose of Ferentino in Latium.  In the diocese of Bordeaux D. is now celebrated on 30. December.

A locality in the Bordeaux suburb of Villenave-d'Ornon (Gironde) is named Saint-Delphin but its church is no longer medieval.  To assuage that surely grievous disappointment, herewith an illustrated, French-language account of Villenave-d'Ornon's originally eleventh-century église Saint-Martin:
http://tinyurl.com/79euaq          


2)  Tarsilla (d. 6th cent.).  We know about T. (also Trasilla, Tharsilla, Tarsilia) from writings of her nephew, pope St. Gregory the Great (_Dial._, 4. 17. 3; _Homiliae in Evang._, 38. 15).  She was one of his father's three sisters who had renounced the world (the other two being St. Aemiliana, who like T. remained true to her vows, and Gordiana, who did not) and lived at home in a private monastery.  T. lived a very ascetically, prostrating herself so often that at her death her elbows and knees were severely calloused.  Shortly before Christmas one year her ancestor pope St. Felix III announced to her in a vision her immediate decease.  T.'s actual _dies natalis_ is unknown.  An eleventh-century martyrology of Santa Maria in Trastevere records her feast on 23. December.  Sixteenth-century expanded editions of Usuard, followed in this particular by the RM, enter her under today.


3)  Irmina of Trier (d. ca. 708).  I. (also Ermina; also "of Oeren") was a member of the Frankish nobility and a great patron of St. Willibrord, to whom she gave (among other things) the villa where he founded the monastery at Echternach.  Her Vita (BHL 4471, 4472) was written in 1104 by Echternach's abbot Theofrid.  In the first years of the eighth century, after the death of her husband, I. became abbess of the monastery of Oeren (Öhren) at Trier.  From the eleventh century onward she was entered medievally under today's date in calendars of the (arch)diocese of Trier, which is where she still is in the RM.  The archdiocese of Luxembourg and the diocese of Trier now celebrate I. on 3. January.  At Rosport in Luxembourg she is honored with a Solemn High Mass on the Sunday immediately following 3. January.


4)  Erkenbert (Bl.; d. 1132).  We know about E. (also Eckenbert, Erkanbert) from his closely posthumous Vita (BHL 2383).  A prosperous lay official in the diocese of Worms, of which his father had been the chief fiscal officer, he founded in 1119 a house of canons regular in today's Frankenthal (Rheinland-Pfalz).  When a provost who had been brought in from Springiersbach resigned in 1123 because of E.'s continued insistence on having the final say, E. separated from his wife (Bl. Richlindis; 26. December), who had founded a nearby Augustinian house for women, and both moved into their respective establishments, directing them from within.  At first a lay provost, E. was after some space of time ordained priest.  He lived very ascetically and mortified his flesh with a quadripartite chain bound around him in the form of a cross.

E. had two sons, both of whom died young, one a deacon and the other a subdeacon.  He outlived them both, ruling his foundation at Frankenthal (dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene) and three daughter houses, dying on this day at the age of fifty-three, and leaving behind a reputation for gentleness and humility.

E.'s church at Frankenthal was consecrated in 1125.  It was expanded in 1142, two years after the house's elevation to abbatial status, was rebuilt after a major fire in 1171.  It was burned again in 1689, was partly rebuilt, and was badly damaged by Allied bombing in 1943.  Herewith a few views of what's left:
http://tinyurl.com/9bwq6c
http://tinyurl.com/7lkmk6
http://tinyurl.com/7j6ems
http://tinyurl.com/76xgpa
The adjacent, originally early nineteenth-century Zwölf-Apostel-Kirche stands where the abbey church's transept and choir had been.  The base of its tower is a remnant of the abbey church:
http://tinyurl.com/8zz62c

The mid-twelfth-century illuminated Bible that the British Library calls the Worms Bible (Mss. Harley 2803-2804) and considers possibly to have originated in the abbey of St. Mary Magdalene at Frankenthal (which latter certainly later owned it) is called in German -- in the Pfalz, at least -- the Frankenthaler Bibel.  This page on it from the BL's offers numerous expandable views of individual pages below the legthy catalogue description and bibliography:
http://tinyurl.com/9ajf83     

Best (and greetings of the season),
John Dillon
(Irmina of Trier lightly revised from an older post)

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