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MEDIEVAL-RELIGION  December 2008

MEDIEVAL-RELIGION December 2008

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Subject:

saints of the day 27. December

From:

John Dillon <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Fri, 26 Dec 2008 20:17:39 -0600

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medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

Today (27. December) is the feast day of:

John, apostle and evangelist (d. ca. 100, supposedly).  J., "the beloved disciple", was brother to the apostle James son of Zebedee (James the Great; now 25. July).  In the (pseudo-)Hieronymian Martyrology and in the Latin Calendar of Sinai (ca. 800) both are celebrated on this date.  In late antiquity and throughout the Middle Ages it was believed that John the Apostle, John the Evangelist, and John the Divine (John the Theologian), the author of the Apocalypse, were one and the same person.  Despite some modern doubts, this is still the position of the RM.  Similarly, all the Johannine writings other than 2. and 3. John were usually ascribed to this John.  Apart from a period of exile on Patmos (in legend, preceded by arrest and transportation to Rome for interrogation, as in the story of John before the Latin Gate), J.'s apostolate was said to have been conducted from Ephesus.

J.'s tomb at Ephesus was an important late antique and medieval Christian cult site.  Here are a few views of the remains of the Justinianic basilica that replaced an earlier chapel and that lasted until late in the fourteenth century:
http://www.guide-martine.com/images/stjhon.jpg
http://www.fenichel.com/Grave.htm
http://www.todayscatholicworld.com/st-john-tomb-ephesus-turkey.jpg
And one of a model of the basilica in an early state:
http://tinyurl.com/ubjrd

A few other visuals associated with J.:

1)   The Basilica di San Giovanni Evangelista at Ravenna (425-30; later additions).  Originally commissioned by Galla Placidia, this church was a casualty of USAmerican bombing in 1944 (by which time its mosaic decor had long since been lost).  What one sees is therefore very largely restoration work. 
Exterior views:
http://wr.racine.ra.it/racine/ravtur/giova2.htm
http://sabin.ro/gallery/ravenna/P5081843_pro
http://sabin.ro/gallery/ravenna/P5081841_pro
http://sabin.ro/gallery/ravenna/P5081844_pro
http://sabin.ro/gallery/ravenna/P5081845_pro
Forecourt portal:
http://sabin.ro/gallery/ravenna/P5081840_pro
Forecourt portal (detail):
http://wr.racine.ra.it/racine/ravtur/giova3.htm
Interior:
http://www.aboutromania.com/ravenna33.html

2)  Early eighth-century portrait of J. in the Lindisfarne Gospels (London, British Library, MS Cotton MS Nero D.IV; fol. 209v):
http://tinyurl.com/7s5lq9

3)  Eleventh-century portrait of J. (with his disciple, St. Prochorus) in a Gospels belonging to the Dionysiou monastery on Mt. Athos:
http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/ikon/athos9.gif
A late tenth-century version of this scene in another Gospel codex in the same monastery is reproduced here (image is expandable):
http://tinyurl.com/3dubt7
And here's another version (eleventh-century again) in a Gospels in the Special Collections of Glasgow University Library (MS Hunter 475 [olim V.7.2], fol. 274v):
http://special.lib.gla.ac.uk/exhibns/treasures/greek.html

4)  An illustrated, English-language page on the originally eleventh-century monastery of Sv. Ioan Bogoslov (St. John the Theologian) at Zemen in western Bulgaria:
http://www.bulgarianmonastery.com/zemen_monastery.html
and a page, with English-language text commencing a little more than halfway down the page, on its fourteenth-century frescoes:
http://www.pravoslavieto.com/manastiri/zemenski/index.htm

5)  A page on the late eleventh- or early twelfth-century church of St. John the Theologian in Athens:
http://tinyurl.com/2vd5hp
Other views:
http://tinyurl.com/7qrpnk
http://tinyurl.com/932y7a
http://tinyurl.com/96559u
http://tinyurl.com/9x2zgj

6)  Remains of the twelfth-century (with later alterations) church of San Giovanni Evangelista at Syracuse.  A rebuilding of an originally late antique church built over a fourth-century catacomb, this structure underwent various modifications prior to its collapse in the earthquake of 1693.
Italian-language site with plans and multiple views:
http://tinyurl.com/853yx
Distance view:
http://www.ibmsnet.it/siracusa/sanmarz.gif
Interior (multiple views, some showing early elements):
http://tinyurl.com/y6qllp
Remodeled crypt, capital with symbol of J. the Evangelist:
http://tinyurl.com/tuppn
Exterior views (some details of cloister):
http://tinyurl.com/y7lfdb

7)  The originally twelfth-century cathedral of San Giovanni Evangelista, Sansepolcro (AR), Tuscany (medievally, Borgo San Sepolcro), formerly the church of a Camaldolese abbey of the same dedication.
Multiple views (expandable):
http://tinyurl.com/y3yldt
Facade:
http://tinyurl.com/y2xxxy
Interior:
http://tinyurl.com/sfqp6

8)  Mid-twelfth-century (ca. 1147) portrait of J. on the surviving leaf of the Wedricus Gospels (Societé Archéologique et Historique, Avesnes-sur-Helpe [dép. du Nord], France):
http://tinyurl.com/8c9tpd

9)  Illustrated, Spanish-language pages on the mid-twelfth-century iglesia de San Juan Evangelista at Arroyo de la Encomienda (Valladolid):
http://tinyurl.com/6vbnst
http://www.1romanico.com/004/monumentor.asp?MONU=000839
http://www.1romanico.com/004/monumentoe.asp?monu=000839&ruta=
http://tinyurl.com/7nnpg2

10)  Full-page ms. portrait of J. in Vukan's Gospel (ca. 1200), one of the oldest Church Slavonic books from Serbia in Cyrillic (Saint-Petersburg, National Library of Russia; shelfmark: РНБ. F.п.I.82):
http://tinyurl.com/2rm64w

11)  Wall painting (thirteenth-century), Reformed Church, Csaroda (Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg), Hungary:
http://152.66.73.137/~horvi/csar-jan.jpg

12) The originally thirteenth(?)-century church of St. John the Theologian (Sv. Jovan Zlatoust; also a common way of referring to St. John Chrysostom) at Kaneo on Lake Ohrid in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, reworked, it would seem, in the fourteenth century and restored in the early 1960s:
http://viaterra.net/photos/yugo/macedonia/60-MK-Ohrid.jpg
http://tinyurl.com/7z2cts
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/3/3f/Jovanohrid.JPG
http://tinyurl.com/3cvm8h
http://tinyurl.com/2kwctu

13)  The thirteenth-/fifteenth-century ex-cathedral of Meißen in Saxony is dedicated to J. and to St. Donatus of Arezzo.  Two aerial views:
http://www.burgenperlen.de/images/albrechtsburg_luft.jpg
http://static.panoramio.com/photos/original/9300166.jpg
The west front collapsed after a lightning strike in 1413.  Most of it now is Neo-Gothic construction from the early twentieth century:
http://tinyurl.com/3ypv9d
Interior:
http://tinyurl.com/965ax2
http://www.a-richter.de/bilder/foto/meissen2.jpg
http://tinyurl.com/2jnyc4
http://tinyurl.com/2ka3bf
The four thirteenth-century statues (after 1267) seen dimly in the last view are of the founders of the diocese, Otto I and the empress Adelheid (St. Adelaide), and of the cathedral's dedicatees.  I could not find a good reproduction of J.'s statue on the free Web.
The protuberance emerging from the west front, seen better here:
http://tinyurl.com/yu64z2
, is the Fürstenkapelle erected starting in 1425.  Here's an expandable view of the entrance from the Fürstenkapelle into the nave, incorporating the formerly exterior thirteenth-century west portal:
http://tinyurl.com/2b7qa5

14)  The thirteenth-/fourteenth-century church of San Giovanni Evangelista in Rimini belonged to an Augustinian convent and is often referred to either as that of Sant'Agostino or as that of SS. Agostino e Giovanni Evangelista.  When it was reworked in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries the interior was plastered over and redecorated to contemporary taste.  An earthquake in 1916 revealed extensive early fourteenth-century frescoing on the triumphal arch, inside the apse, and in a chapel the belltower.  These included a Last Judgment now in the Museo della Città and, still in the apse, a cycle of scenes from the life of John the Evangelist.  Herewith views of the belltower and of the frescoes in the apse:
http://tinyurl.com/yjyply
http://tinyurl.com/yjcnnm

This Italian-language page on the church has expandable views including one of a very impressive Madonna:
http://www.comune.rimini.it/servizi/citta/monumenti/pagina15.html
A detail of the apse frescoes:
http://tinyurl.com/yxnghb
In the absence of any certain views of the cycle of John the Evangelist, herewith a page with expandable views of the Last Judgment:
http://tinyurl.com/y9r7j5
This youngish evangelist could easily be J.:
http://tinyurl.com/ykjrmb

15)  Mosaic portrait of J. by Cimabue (1302-1303), Pisa cathedral:
http://www.artinvest2000.com/sgiovanni.htm

16)  Wall painting (fourteenth-century), All Saints, Weston Longville (Norfolk):
http://www.paintedchurch.org/wlongvje.htm

17)  Vault fresco (late fourteenth-century), baptistery of Parma:
http://tinyurl.com/39n7ul

18)  Manuscript illumination of J. on Patmos (early fifteenth-century), Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry (Chantilly, Musée Condé, Ms. 65):
http://tinyurl.com/23h9ak

19)  Manuscript illumination of J. on Patmos in a French-language version of the Apocalypse (late fifteenth-century; Glasgow University Library Special Collections, MS Hunter 398):
http://www.lib.gla.ac.uk/friends/cards/view/patmos.html

20)  Limewood statue of J. (Tilman Riemenschneider; 1490-92), from the predella of the high altar of the St. Magdalenenkirche in Münnerstadt (Kr. Unterfranken) in Bavaria and now in the Bode-Museum in Berlin:
http://tinyurl.com/277uhu
http://tinyurl.com/ytvo26


The monastery of St. John the Theologian on Patmos, founded in 1088 and extensively rebuilt in the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, offers no visuals falling within the chronological boundaries of this list.  But both the historical section of the typikon of its founder, St. Christodulus, and the early history of the monastery that precedes it in this translation from Dumbarton Oaks make very interesting reading:
http://www.doaks.org/typikaPDF/typ033.pdf

Best,
John Dillon
(last year's post lightly revised)

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