medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Today (1. February) is the feast day of:
1) Tryphon the martyr (d. 250 or 251, supposedly). Nothing is known of the historical T. (also T. of Lampsacus). His legendary Passiones in Greek (late antique: BHG 1856; metaphrastic, BHG 1857) make him a gooseherd of the Lampsacus near Apamea in Phrygia who from his childhood had the gift of healing humans and their farm animals, whose fame caused him to be brought before the emperor Gordian III, who cured Gordian's daughter of demonic possession, who while still a young man was martyred at Nicaea in the Decian persecution, and who was buried in his native village where his body was reported to work miracles.
In the sixth century Justinian erected a church in T.'s honor in Constantinople; in the eighth and ninth centuries (at least) there was a monastery dedicated to him on Cape Akritas near Chalcedon; he has a formal eulogy by emperor Leo VI (d. 912). Justinian's reconquests seem to have brought T.'s cult to the West, where it is attested from about 600 at Sufetula in Byzacena (now Sbe´tla in Tunisia) and where at some point in the early Middle Ages was erected his titular church in Rome (first attested from what seems to be the mid-tenth century, rebuilt in 1006, Augustinian in 1287, and demolished either in the earlier sixteenth century or in about 1750). Also from the early Middle Ages come the first of a series of romance-like Latin versions of T.'s Passio (BHL 8336-8340d): these gave him a companion in martyrdom, the centurion Respicius, whose putative relics were said to repose along with those of T. in the latter's church in Rome.
Another of Justinian's reconquests in the West was in coastal Illyricum, parts of which had been occupied by forces of the Gothic kingdom in Italy. One such place, which now received a(n East) Roman fortress, was today's Kotor in Montenegro, where T. is the patron saint and where remains of a ninth(?)-century church have been discovered underneath his present, originally twelfth-century cathedral. Herewith some semi-popular, English-language accounts of this structure (consecrated in 1166, rebuilt in part after an earthquake in 1667, and restored relatively recently):
A plan and various views of T.'s cathedral in Kotor are here:
An aerial view (bottom center):
West front (mostly baroque):
Rose window (note the grape vines; beyond any broader Christian significance, these are appropriate to T. in his role, especially prominent in the Balkans, as a patron of viticulture):
Apse views (exterior):
Two detail views from before the restoration:
The ciborium (said to be from 1362), with reliefs of scenes from T.'s Passio:
Fragment of mural painting in the sanctuary (fourteenth-century):
Altarpiece (later fifteenth-century; T. in center of third row from bottom):
Several expandable views showing some of the altarpiece in better color are here:
Elsewhere in Kotor, here's T., holding the city, as figured (later fifteenth-century) at left in the Sea Gate (or West Gate; the figure at the right, identified in tourist literature as St. Bernard, would seem rather to be St. Bernardino of Siena, canonized in 1450):
Across the Adriatic, T. has been venerated in farming towns in southern Italy since at least the central Middle Ages. A major witness to his pre-metaphrastic Greek Passio is the eleventh-century Vaticanus graecus 1608, an Italo-Greek manuscript formerly at Grottaferrata. The agricultural aspect of his cult (in which he is wodely viewed as a protector of crops and of harvested grain) can also be seen in the prayer to him against insect pests preserved in the eleventh-century glagolitic _Euchologium Sinaiticum_, an early example too of the radiation of T.'s cult in Slavic-speaking lands.
Back in Asia Minor, T. at some point became the patron saint of Nicaea. When in 1204 the latter became the capital of the Lascarid-ruled Byzantine empire in exile T. as venerated there received new prominence. Theodore II Ducas Lascaris (ruled, 1254-1258), who was born in Nicaea, was especially devoted to T., whom he credited with saving his life during a campaign against the Bulgarians. He erected a new church to T., wrote an encomium in his honor (BHG 1858d) in which the saint illustrates Theodore's regular depreciation of the empire's great nobility (the gooseherd T. is noble by nature), and placed T. and his lilies on imperial coinage (at Nicaea, T.'s body, said to have been translated from Apamea, was thought to cause lilies miraculously to bloom unseasonably on this day). Here's one of Theodore's coins featuring T.:
Returning to the Adriatic, herewith some views of Vittore Carpaccio's very early sixteenth-century painting for the church of Venice's Slavic community, San Giorgio degli Schiavoni, of the child T. curing emperor Gordian's daughter:
2) Severus of Ravenna (d. after 342). S. is the first bishop of Ravenna of whom we have any knowledge apart from questionable local tradition. He took part in the council of Serdica/Sardica (342/43), to whose canons and letters his name appears as a signatory. Both the (pseudo-)Hieronymian Martyrology and S.'s ninth-century biographers give his _dies natalis_ as 1. February. His burial chamber in a house (perhaps that of his family) at Classe became a memorial chapel. In the later sixth century a funerary basilica was erected next to this in the remains of the previous structure and S.'s relics were translated into this new church. What's left of that structure has been the subject of intermittent archeological excavation. An aerial view of the site is here:
An illustrated, Italian-language report on the campaign of 2006 is here:
And another is here:
S. also appears as one of the four bishops (and as one of the pair of these specifically called _sanctus_) in the apse mosaics of Sant'Apollinare in Classe at Ravenna. A partial reproduction of this portrait graces the announcement here:
Skira's own announcement of the associated catalog
has a detail view:
At Ravenna, 2006 was the Year of San Severo.
By the ninth century a legend had developed about S. Reflected in the _Libellus pontificum_ of Agnellus of Ravenna (shortly after 831) and in S.'s Vita by one Luitolf (BHL 7681; shortly after 856), this included both a funerary miracle involving his recently deceased daughter Innocentia and his not so recently deceased wife Vincentia and a bilocation miracle in which while present at Mass in Ravenna S. was also at Modena for the passing of his friend, the recently celebrated St. Geminian.
According to Luitolf, S.'s remains were translated to Mainz in 842. Later they went on to Erfurt, where the late thirteenth-century Severikirche became a center of his cult. In the view shown here, the Severikirche is on the right:
More exterior views:
This brief, German-language account of the church includes a view of the nave:
An expandable view of a remnant of S.'s fourteenth-century shrine in the Severikirche is here:
This shows S. between his wife and his daughter (both of whom were also regarded as saints).
3) Brigid of Kildare (d. ca. 524; also Brigid of Ireland). A great figure of legend and the subject of many Vitae, B. was the founding abbess of the double monastery (principally a house for women) at Cill Dara, today's Kildare. The Matrix' page on the monastery is here:
The early thirteenth-century cathedral of Kildare (Church of Ireland; restored in the nineteenth century) is dedicated to B. Some views:
Irish missionaries and other Irish emigrants brought B.'s cult to the Continent. Here are some views of the restored eighth-/tenth-century chapelle Sainte-Brigide at Fosses-la-Ville (Namur) in Belgium:
In Italy B.'s cult is closely associated with her ninth-century countryman bishop St. Donatus of Fiesole, who in 850 granted to the monastery of Bobbio (founded by St. Columban) an existing church at Piacenza dedicated to her with the stipulation that it be used to provide hospitality to Irish travelers and to whom is ascribed a metrical Vita of B. written for a Continental audience (BHL 1458-1459). The latter's account of B.'s hanging her cloak on a sunbeam to dry is shown here in one of its four surviving witnesses of Tuscan provenance, Florence, Biblioteca Laurenziana, Mugellanus (de Nemore) 13, fol. 78:
(Severus of Ravenna and Brigid of Kildare lightly revised from last year's post)
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