medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Today (19. December) is the feast day of:
1) Anastasius I, pope (d. 401). A native of Rome, A. succeeded pope St. Siricius in late November 399. His brief pontificate is remembered chiefly for his actions in the Origenist controversy, in which he 1) convened a synod that condemned Origen's positions that had already been condemned in Alexandria and 2) wrote to St. Simplician of Milan in an attempt to obtain the north Italian bishops' co-operation in this regard, the Latin translation of Origen's _Per¨¬ Arch¨n_ having been written by the north Italian Rufinus of Aquileia, but 3) took no action against Rufinus himself. A. also declined to authorize the church of Carthage to accept Donatist clergy into its ranks.
2) Berard of Teramo (d. 1123). Today's less well known saint of the Regno is said to have belonged to the family of the counts of Pagliara (in the vicinity of the Gran Sasso). After entering monastic life at Montecassino B. became abbot of the not yet Cistercian monastery of San Giovanni in Venere near Chieti in today's Abruzzo. Supposedly against his will, late in 1115 he was elected bishop of Teramo (TE; also in Abruzzo). In that office he displayed great piety, charity, and simplicity of spirit. His Vita (BHL 1175) is attributed to an early thirteenth-century successor; perhaps not surprisingly, it also lauds B.'s administrative ability and reforming zeal. B. has yet to grace the pages of the RM.
Teramo's late antique to early twelfth-century cathedral (therefore B.'s cathedral church) was destroyed by fire at the end of 1155 or the beginning of 1156. Known today as the church of Sant'Anna and outfitted with a very plain modern facade, it has few remains above ground but is functional beneath. Three views follow:
Its successor, begun in 1158, is dedicated to the BVM and to B. His relics are retained there. Increasingly brief Italian-language accounts of this building, which was restored in the early 1930s, are here (several also illustrated):
(The view there is of Sant'Antonio.)
B.'s church is in two main parts, one from the twelfth century and the other, attached to the former at a slight angle, from the thirteenth. Here's a plan:
There are two facades, both of which are composites evidencing different periods of construction.
A view of the older facade (on Piazza Martiri della Libert¨¤):
A view showing the newer facade (on Piazza Orsini):
The figure in the niche on the viewer's right represents B.:
The Italia nell'Arte Medievale page on this building is here:
Ten pages of views here, interior as well as exterior, showing sculptural details, wall painting, and works of art (the latter including a very important earlier fifteenth-century altar frontal in silver by Nicola da Guardiagrele and a noteworthy altarpiece from slightly earlier in the same century by Jacobello da Fiore):
A view of the altar frontal ('paliotto'):
An Italian-language account of the frontal:
Another, with expandable views at the bottom:
The interior emerged in September 2007 from an extensive campaign of restoration that had gone on for about three years. Herewith a relatively recent view from before the work started:
Views from the period of restoration:
The restorer's presentation of the completed work (with other views):
Finally, some views of the abbey church of San Giovanni in Venere at Fossacesia (CH):
The Italia nell'Arte Medievale page:
An English-language account of the abbey is here:
3) Urban V, pope (Bl.; d. 1370). The nobly born Guillaume de Grimoard was a well educated Benedictine who had made his profession at St.-Victor in Marseille and who had been abbot first of St.-Germain at Auxerre and then of St.-Victor as well papal legate in Italy intermittently during the ten years prior to his election as pope in 1362, succeeding Innocent VI. U. cut the rate of tithes in half, supported students through bursaries and the foundation of colleges, and sponsored many building projects, especially in Rome, to which he returned in 1367. Many of the Eternal City's churches were in great disrepair and the basilica of St. John in the Lateran had to be largely rebuilt after succumbing to a fire in 1360.
The move to Rome was motivated both by a desire on U.'s part to effect a reunion with the Greek church and by his perception that Rome, rather than Avignon, was a better stage from which to promote the crusade against the Turks that he had proclaimed in 1363. The latter was not a success, while the Greek policy yielded the personal conversion, in Rome, of the emperor John V but not any greater Eastern adherence to Latin Christianity. Disappointing many Italians and also St. Bridget of Sweden, U. returned to Avignon in 1370 and died within a few months of his return. He was buried in Avignon and was moved two years later to the abbey church of St.-Victor in Marseille. U. was beatified in 1870.
A _bolognino_ (coin of the papal state) issued by U.:
A gold florin issued by U.:
The ciborium in St. John Lateran, sculpted by Giovanni di Stefano and erected in 1370:
U.'s _gisant_ from Avignon, now in Paris' Mus¨¦e du Petit Palais:
U. as depicted in a panel painting of ca. 1375 by Simone dei Crocifissi (Simone de Filippo), now in the Pinacoteca Nazionale in Bologna:
(Berard of Teramo lightly revised from last year's post)
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