medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Today (21. February) is the feast day of:
1) Eustathius of Antioch (d. prob. before 337). E. (also Eustatius) was a native of Side in Pamphylia who was bishop of Beroia in Syria (today's Aleppo/Halab) before becoming bishop of Antioch on the Orontes in about 324. In 325 he played a major role in the condemnation of Arianism at the First Council of Nicaea. Arians and other opponents in his diocese effected his removal as bishop not long afterwards. E. went into exile; where and when he died is unknown.
E.'s only work to survive more than fragmentarily is an essay on the Witch of Endor, the _De Engastrimytho contra Origenem_ (ed. Albert Jahn, _Texte und Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der altchristlichen Literatur_, II, 4). R. P. C. Hanson discusses its theology in his _The Search for the Christian Doctrine of God: The Arian Controversy, 318-381_ (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1988), pp. 214-17. There's an English-language translation in Rowan A. Greer and Margaret M. Mitchell, tr., _The "Belly-Myther" of Endor: Interpretations of 1 Kingdoms 28 in the Early Church_ (Leiden: Brill, 2007).
In Georgian tradition E. was sent by the emperor to assist king St. Mirian in the evangelization of that country and in the establishment of its church.
E.'s portrait appears in fresco (ca. 1320; since defaced) in church of the Theotokos, Gračanica monastery, at Gračanica in, depending on one's view of recent events, either Serbia's Kosovo and Metohija province or else the Republic of Kosovo:
2) Germanus and Randoaldus (d. ca. 675). G. and R. are the saints of the now largely vanished abbey of Moutier-Grandval (in German, Münster-Granfel or Münster-Grandfelden) at today's Moutier in the Bernese Jura. What we know of them comes from G.'s Vita (BHL 3467) written at the behest of the abbots of Lure, Luxeuil, and Grandval by the priest Bobolenus. According to Bobolenus, who had received information from named monks who had known G., the latter came from a senatorial family of Trier and had been educated by that city's bishop St. Modoardus. One of G.'s brothers became a high official under kings Dagobert I and Sigebert. G. desired an eremitical way of life and joined St. Arnulph of Metz at the latter's monastery on the Horenberg where he received the tonsure and stayed for a while before passing on to the future Remiremont.
G., who soon brought his younger brother Numerianus (thought to be the N. who succeeded Modoardus in the see of Trier) to Remiremont, began while there to attract disciples drawn by his lifestyle of fasts, prayer vigils, and hard labor. In time G. and his companions passed on to Luxeuil, where they were received by abbot St. Waldebert, who had G. ordained priest. When Waldebert was asked by a high noble who in the Vita is called Gundonius (this is Gundoin, the first duke of Alsace) to found a monastery on land he would donate in the diocese of Basel, G. was chosen to be its first abbot. R., who would become the monastery's first prior, accompanied G. to the site (Grandval).
Things went well at first at Grandval and G. was put in charge of two other monasteries as well. But a successor of Gundonius whom Bobolenus calls both Bonifacius and Cathicus (really two people; C., who is better known as Adalrich or Eticho, seems to have been the one who is meant) began to harrass the monks and clearly intended to make their territory his own. In a parley at today's Courtételle (canton Jura) G. reproved him and for his pains was then murdered, along with R., by Cathicus' soldiers. After a few days of searching monks found the bodies of their abbot and their prior and brought that of G. back to Grandval, where a healing miracle soon confirmed his sanctity.
Thus far G.'s Vita. In this text R. is not yet considered a saint and the disposition of his remains is not mentioned. The monastery at Grandval had a chequered history in the Middle Ages and was closed for good in 1534, when in consequence of the Reformation in Basel its community (who were then canons regular) moved to Delémont in today's canton Jura. The église paroissiale Saint-Marcel there (until 1792 these canons' church) houses what are said to be relics of both G. and R.:
In the same city, the Musée jurassien d'art et d'histoire houses a wooden crozier ornamented in a Merovingian fashion in cloisonné enamel, with filaments of gold and silver, that came from Grandval and that traditionally is known as G.'s crozier (as well it might have been, the ornamentation being of course later). Herewith some views of this object, said to be the world's oldest surviving crozier:
A French-language discussion of these and other relics or putative relics of G. and R. is here:
The earlier ninth-century Moutier-Grandval Bible (London, British Library, MS. Add. 10546), a product of Tours, was also brought to Delémont, where it is said to have been found by children in 1821 or 1822. An illustrated, French-language account of this manuscript is here:
and some expandable images of pages in it will be found at the foot of this page:
An expandable image of another of its full-page illuminations is here:
On the outskirts of Moutier, the eleventh-century chapelle de Chalière(s) is reasonably thought to be a survivor of the abbey. Some views of its frescoes (brought to light in a restoration in the 1930s):
In the fifteenth century Bobolenus' Vita of G. was versified in Latin elegiac distichs by Sebastian Brant of _Narrenschiff_ fame. In what was once Tegernsee's copy of one of the two editions of Brant's _Varia Carmina_ that appeared in 1498 his _Vita divi Germani abbatis Grandivallensis atque martyris insignis_ begins here:
3) Peter Damian (d. 1072). A native of Ravenna, P. was cared for in his youth by an older brother, Damian, who sponsored his education and whose name P. added to his own in recognition of this service. He studied liberal arts and canon law and was teaching rhetoric, probably at Ravenna, when in 1035 he underwent a conversion of sorts and entered monastic life at the priory of the Holy Cross at Fonte Avellana in today's Marche. He became prior there in 1043.
Through his extensive writings and important personal contacts P. became a leading figure of monastic reform and of church reform more generally. In 1057 he was named cardinal bishop of Ostia. As a papal advisor he undertook numerous legations in Italy. He died at Faenza while returning to Rome from one such mission to Ravenna. He has an early Vita (BHL 6706) by his successor at Fonte Avellana, St. John of Lodi. Here's a view of P. at rest in Faenza's cathedral:
Here are a couple of views of the late tenth-/eleventh-century crypt at the monastery at Fonte Avellana (a remnant of the monastery's first church; P. would have celebrated Mass in this space):
The Italian-language tour of which that page is a part starts here (note the construction of the scriptorium to admit quantities of light):
Some views of the Hermitage of St. Barnabas at Gamogna (FI) in Tuscany, founded by P. in 1053:
page of views of the site:
The _Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy_ has an interesting discussion of of P. as a philosopher:
The "Abbot Didier of Monte Cassino" mentioned towards the end of Section One is the famous Desiderius II (d. 1087; as pope, Bl. Victor III).
Dante devotes the latter part of Canto XXI of the _Paradiso_ to an autobiographical speech by P. condemning the luxury of prelates. Here's a text (from _La Commedia secondo l'antica vulgata_, ed. Giorgio Petrocchi):
And here are some illustrations accompanying the passage in two illuminated manuscripts of the _Commedia_:
a) Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS. Holkham misc. 48 (later fourteenth-century), p. 139:
b) London, British Library, MS. Yates Thompson 36 (ca. 1450), f. 167:
(Eustathius of Antioch and Peter Damian lightly revised from last year's post)
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