medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Today (12. December) is the feast day of:
1) Epimachus and Alexander (d. 250 or 251). We know about E. and A. from St. Dionysius of Alexandria's report on the martyrs of his city as quoted by Eusebius (_H. E._ 6. 41-42; these two at 6. 41. 15). They were held in prison for a considerable period of time, during which they were tortured in a variety of ways. Their end came when they were doused with quicklime. E. and A. entered the historical martyrologies with Florus of Lyon, who gave all the Alexandrian martyrs of this persecution a single, lengthy entry under 20. February. St. Ado of Vienne broke that elogium up, entering individuals and small groups under different days. It is down to Ado that this pair is commemorated today. Their feast day in the synaxary of Constantinople is 6. July.
2) Spyridon the Wonderworker (d. 4th cent.). S. was bishop of Trimithous on Cyprus. He is reported as having signed, perhaps three years after its conclusion, the acts of the Council of Serdica (342/43). Late in the same century it was already believed that he had been a shepherd and that he continued in that role even after assuming his episcopate. S. seems to have fathered a daughter before entering religion. Rufinus of Aquileia (d. 410) records two miracles attributed to him (one involving sheep of the actual rather than the metaphorical kind). S. has two seventh-century Bioi, one by Theodore of Paphos (BHG 1647; completed by 665) and the other possibly by Leontios of Neapolis (BHG 1648a). Both are said to draw on a lost poem by S.'s pupil Triphyllios. Known for his miracles, S. is a patron of shepherds and of seafarers.
By the ninth century S.'s cult had reached the West, where he is listed for 14. December in the Marble Calendar of Naples and in the martyrologies of Florus of Lyon, Ado, and Usuard.
In BHG 1647 S.'s remains are said to be still on Cyprus. But an incorrupt body believed to be his is said to have been removed to Constantinople at some point in the seventh century and to have been taken to Corfu in the later fifteenth century. Corfu's late sixteenth-century cathedral is dedicated to S., who as that island's patron saint has in the early modern period saved his people from pestilence, famine, and Turkish conquest.
In his cathedral on Corfu C. ordinarily reposes in the nineteenth-century reliquary shown here:
But four times a year (today not being one of them) he is carried in public procession as the island's protector. On those occasions he travels in this modified sedan chair:
Here are views of S. being carried in procession:
Here's S. as depicted in the fourteenth-century frescoes of the monastery of Sv. Ioan Bogoslov (St. John the Theologian) at Zemen in western Bulgaria:
While we're here, a page on the monastery itself:
and one, with English-language text commencing a little more than halfway down the page, on its frescoes:
Views of the originally thirteenth-century fortified church of Ag. Spyridon in the village of Kardamyli in Lefktra (Messenia prefecture) in the southern Peloponnese (in the first, it's at right in the middle distance):
3) Corentin of Quimper (d. 5th cent.). C. (in some places also Cury) is a Celtic saint honored in Brittany as the founding bishop of the see of Corisopitum (later, Cornouaille; now the see of Quimper-et-Léon) and in Cornwall as the patron saint of Cury on the Lizard peninsula. He has an unreliable, probably thirteenth-century Vita (different versions; BHL 1953z, 1954). Legendarily, as a hermit before becoming bishop he sustained himself on a fish from which he could cut a portion daily with no diminution of the fish's size. In 1890 a wall painting was found at the church of Breage in Cornwall (Cury's mother church) depicting C. as a bishop and with a fish beside him.
Quimper's mostly thirteenth-/fifteenth-century cathedral (the tower spires are nineteenth-century) is dedicated to C. Herewith some views:
Multiple (all expandable):
More views are on pp. 8 and (in two places) 7 of this blog:
Chapels of medieval origin dedicated to C. occur at places in Brittany adjacent to holy springs identified with locales from his Vita. Here's a page on the one at Trénivel (Finistère):
Here's a page of views on St Corentin, Cury (some images expandable, including those with the broken thumbnails):
Views of wall paintings in Breage Church (C. not shown):
4) Israel of Le Dorat (d. 1014). We know about canon regular I. from his closely contemporary Vita (BHL 4496). He was singing master at the abbey of Le Dorat (Haute-Vienne) in the Limousin and for a while also taught in the cathedral school of Limoges, where he was ordained priest. I. was remembered for his great charity in caring for fellow canons stricken with a serious illness that ravaged the abbey in 989 and 990. In the year 1000 Pope Sylvester II (Gerbert of Aurillac) made him prior of the newly re-organized canons at Saint-Junien (Haute-Vienne). In 1013 I. returned to Le Dorat following a disastrous fire there. When he died in the following year he was buried in the abbey's cemetery.
In the early twelfth century miracles were reported at I.'s grave and at that of the somewhat later Theodore of Le Dorat (d. 1070). The remains of both were translated to the crypt of the abbey church of St. Peter in 1130 but appear not to have been venerated liturgically until the seventeenth century, when their joint tomb was moved to one of the chapels in the choir. Here's a not awfully good view of it:
The building housing that tomb, though, is certainly worth a look. Herewith some views of the originally twelfth-century collégiale Saint-Pierre at Le Dorat, fortified in the fifteenth century and especially notable for its gigantic, Mozarabic-influenced west portal:
Exterior and interior:
Finally, a few views of the originally late eleventh- to fourteenth-century collégiale Saint-Junien at Saint-Junien, replacing an earlier church that I. is said to have in part rebuilt:
A French-language description of this edifice is here:
(Spyridon and Corentin lightly revised from last year's post)
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