medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Today (6. February) is the feast day of:
1) Silvanus of Emesa (d. ca. 311) and companions. According to Eusebius (_H. E._ 9. 6), the elderly S. had been bishop for forty years when he was martyred along with other Christians by being exposed to wild beasts at Emesa (today's Homs in Syria) during the persecution of Maximian. His named companions are St. Luke the deacon and St. Mocius the lector.
2) Vedastus (d. ca. 540). According to Alcuin, whose brief Vita of V. (Vaast, Waast; BHL 8508) one may read in English translation here:
, V. tutored Clovis in the elements of the faith prior to the king's baptism by St. Remigius of Reims. He worked miracles and was advanced by R. to the see of Arras. Here's a fourteenth-century manuscript illumination from a _Vies de saints_ showing V.'s consecration as bishop (Paris, BnF, ms. Français 185, fol. 201v):
V.'s putative relics are kept in Arras' cathédrale Notre-Dame-et-Saint-Vaast. He is the principal patron of the diocese of Arras.
Some views of the mariners' chapel at Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue (Manche), a reworked survivor of an eleventh-century church dedicated to V.:
In the ninth-century martyrologies of Florus, Ado, and Usuard, V. shares his elogium with another Frankish missionary in Flanders, Amandus of Maastricht (no. 3, below). Many medieval Uses give them a joint feast either on this day or, in fewer instances, tomorrow.
3) Amandus of Maastricht (d. ca. 676). As is also the case with Vedastus, A. is in his largely fictional Vitae subordinated to a figure of central authority in west Francia (V. to St. Remigius of Reims, A. to king Dagobert I). Numerous monasteries, mostly in today's Belgium, claimed foundation by him. For an analysis of these claims, see Walter Mohr, _Studien zur Klosterreform des Grafen Arnulf I. von Flandern: Tradition und Wirklichkeit in der Geschichte der Amandus-Klöster_ (Leuven: Leuven University Press, 1992).
V.'s hagiographic tradition begins with a brief Vita by Alcuin. A.'s as presented in the _Acta Sanctorum_ begins with one traditionally ascribed to a less familiar figure, his alleged disciple Baudemund, abbot of St. Peter's at G(h)ent/Gand, one of several major houses A. is said to have founded. Episodically rich (such as the youthful, terrified, but quick-thinking A.'s driving away with the sign of the cross a huge, threatening, and clearly diabolic serpent), its late seventh- or early eighth-century author is unknown. This so-called Vita prima (BHL 332), which was re-edited in 1910 by Bruno Krusch in the MGH (SRM 5), was preceded by a Vita antiqua fragments of which have been discovered in an eighth-century manuscript. A.'s Vita was reworked by other talented writers (Milo, the author of A.'s verse Vita; Heriger of Lobbes; Philip of Harvengt). Parts of his dossier can thus be a real pleasure to read.
A. is said to have died at Elnon (near Tournai). The abbey there, which also claimed to have been his foundation and which came in time to be named Saint-Amand, had what were said to be his remains. A fictitious testament of A. made it clear that these were not to leave Elnon. A.'s reliquary shrine conjecturally from Elnon is now in the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore (whose transcription of its identifying inscription seems to have been made by someone ignorant of basic Latin grammar):
For an extended account of this object see see Marvin Chauncey Ross, "The Reliquary of St. Amandus", _The Art Bulletin_ 18 (1936), 186-197.
A twelfth-century illumination with scenes from A.'s Vita (Valenciennes, Bibliothèque de Valenciennes, ms. 500):
Another (also twelfth-century) showing A. dictating his will (Valenciennes, Bibliothèque de Valenciennes, ms. 501):
A fourteenth-century illumination of A. and the serpent (for which latter Philip of Harvengt uses the term _draco_):
Here's a view of the originally thirteenth-century manorial chapel dedicated to A. at East Hendred, Berkshire (restored in 1687):
Also dedicated to A. is the twelfth- to fifteenth-century église de Saint Amand at Saint-Amand-sur-Fion (Marne). Herewith an illustrated, French-language account of different phases of its construction:
Other exterior views:
Interior view of the choir (at bottom of this page):
4) Brynolf Algotsson (d. 1317). B., a son of a noble of Västergötland who served as its lawspeaker (_lagman_), was educated at the cathedral school of Skara and at the university of Paris, where he studied theology and canon law. He was dean of the cathedral chapter at Linköping when he was named bishop of Skara in 1278. As bishop he codified the statutes of his diocese. B. was a liturgical poet of note: among the products of his pen are the prosimetric Offices of St. Eskil and of St. Helen (Elin) of Skövde.
A canonization process was held for B. in Skara and Vadstena in 1417 by the then bishop of Skara; its acts and a Vita of B. (BHL 1477) were published in 1492 in a renewed attempt by Skara to secure papal authorization for his cult, which latter seems not to antedate the fifteenth century. Never formally canonized, B. is entered in the RM as a Saint. For details and more information on B.'s cult, see Anders Fröjmark, "The Canonization Process of Brynolf Algotsson," in Gábor Klaniczay, ed., _Procès de canonisation au Moyen Âge: aspects juridiques et religieux = Medieval Canonization Processes: Legal and Religious Aspects_ (Roma: Ecole française de Rome, 2004; Collection de l'Ecole française de Rome, vol. 340), pp. 87-100.
Some visuals pertaining to B. are here:
And a little music from the Skara Missal (as sung by Gemma) is the last item here:
5) Angelo of Furci (Bl.; d. 1327). According to tradition (which is all we have for A.'s early life), today's less well known holy person from the Regno was born at today's Furci (CH) in Abruzzo. As a youth he was schooled at the then Benedictine abbey of St. Michael the Archangel (Sant'Angelo) at nearby Cornaclano in what's now Fresagrandinaria (CH), where an uncle was the abbot. After the uncle's death, A. returned home. His father dying not long afterwards, A. again entered a religious house, this time that of the Augustinians at Vasto, the chief coastal town of the area. There he made his profession, furthered his studies, and was ordained priest. For the relative locations of these places, see the map here:
A page of expandable views of the remains of the monastery at Cornaclano is here:
Probably fairly early in his career A. was sent to Paris, where he will have studied under Giles of Rome. After a period as lector at an unidentified convent in Italy he was posted to his order's _studium_ at Naples, where he served as professor of theology and where, in or shortly before 1291, he was elected prior provincial. A. retired in ill health at the age of eighty-one and, already viewed as a living saint, died shortly afterward on this day at the Neapolitan convent popularly known as Sant'Agostino alla Zecca (the royal mint and the convent's main entrance were both on the same small square).
A. had a popular cult in Naples and later also at Furci, whither his remains were translated in 1808. He was beatified in 1888. A church outside of Furci was dedicated to him in 1968; in 1990 his relics were translated to it and in 1993 this became the church of a new sanctuary named for him.
(Silvanus of Emesa, Vedastus, Amandus of Maastricht, and Angelo of Furci lightly revised from last year's post)
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