medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Today (8. March) is the feast day of:
1) Pontius of Carthage (d. later 3d cent.). All we know of P. comes from his own, highly influential Vita of St. Cyprian of Carthage (d. 258) and, assuming that he had a source of information other than that Vita, from St. Jerome, _De viris illustribus_, 68. P. was a deacon of Carthage who shared Cyprian's "exile" during the Decian persecution. The ninth-century martyrologists Ado and Usuard entered him under today's date.
2) Probinus (d. ca. 420). P. (also Provinus) is the traditional second bishop of Como, having in this reckoning succeeded St. Felix and preceded St. Amantius. And that is all we really know about him. The medieval verse catalogue of Como's sainted early bishops from which extracts were used for their feastdays in what the seventeenth-century Bollandist Henschenius called "the ancient breviary of Como" (_antiquum Breviarium Comense_; specimens in the _Acta Sanctorum_ under St. Amantius of Como and St. Abundius of Como) credits P. with quelling enemies but unfortunately fails to elaborate:
Positus in primordio est Felix pontificio,
Post quem sedandis hostibus sanctus Probinus claruit.
Early modern accounts filled the biographical void by saying that P. had been a disciple of St. Ambrose of Milan, that the latter had sent him to Como along with St. Felix, that as bishop he preached and was exemplarily pious, and that he proved his sanctity through miracles.
In 1118 a head believed to be P.'s was translated to Como's church of St. Anthony from the then extramural one of Sts. Gervase and Protase (whose founding local tradition ascribes to P., thus explaining the presence of his relics there and not with other early bishops in Sant'Abbondio, the successor to Como's ancient basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul). P.'s new home changed its name and became today's San Provino, a late eleventh-century church with a twelfth-century belltower. An illustrated, Italian-language account of this building begins here:
A better view of the facade (restored in 1972):
Most of P.'s skull remains in San Provino, where it has been accorded formal recognition intermittently from 1504 onward. A piece of the cranium has long -- since 1096, on one view -- been in the possession of the collegiate church of San Giovanni Battista in Agno (canton Ticino) in today's Switzerland. P. is a co-patron of Agno, which holds a festival in his honor in the second week of March.
3) Felix of East Anglia (F. of Dunwich, F. of Burgundy; d. 647 or 648). The Burgundian Felix was ordained priest in his homeland before undertaking missionary work in England. In 630 or 631 archbishop St. Honorius of Canterbury made him bishop of the East Angles, where the royalty was only recently Christian. F. established his see at a place called Dommoc (perhaps Dunwich, perhaps Felixstowe). According to Bede -- to whom we owe all our knowledge of the historical F. --, he helped king Sigeberht establish a school for boys. F.'s feast today is recorded in pre-Conquest calendars. Ramsey Abbey (founded in the tenth century) claimed to possess his relics.
4) Theophylact of Nicomedia (d. 845). We know about T. (also T. of Constantinople) chiefly from a fairly full Bios written in about 870 (BHG 2451) and from a shorter Bios with somewhat different content written in the late ninth or early tenth century (BHG 2452). A native of Asia Minor, he studied in Constantinople under the future patriarch St. Tarasius, who then sent him along with St. Michael of Synada to a monastery that he had founded. There the ascetic T. proved to be an exemplary monk and is said to have been rewarded with the gift of thaumaturgy. In about 800, Tarasius then being patriarch, T. became bishop of Nicomedia.
As bishop, T. was a paragon of pastoral care, preaching against iconoclastic views, succoring the poor and the lame, and establishing from his funds a hospital with a staff of doctors and attendants in which he himself worked as an attendant one day a week. After the iconoclast emperor Leo V had come to power in 813 T. became the leading spokesman of the iconophile resistance, with the result that he was banished late in 814 or very early in 815 to a fortress in Caria, where he spent the remainder of his life in an exile of varying severity. His body was returned to Nicomedia for burial in about 846.
5) Litifredus (d. 874). The earlier of Pavia's two bishops of this name, L. (also Litefredus, Liutfredus) was in office from 864 until his death. He presided at the translation of St. Honorata, sister of bishop St. Epiphanius, from the latter's church (dedicated to St. Vincent and to E.) to that of the women's monastery of Santa Maria Vecchia, suppressed in 1577. L.'s relics are now kept in Pavia's cathedral in the cappella del Sacro Cuore.
6) Veremundus of Irache (d. late 11th cent.). V. (in Spanish, Veremundo, Vermundo, Bermundo, Bermudo) succeeded an uncle as abbot of the monastery of the BVM at today's Ayegui (Navarra). He first appears in office in an inscription from 1056. A counselor of Sancho Garcés IV (d. 1076) and of Sancho Ramírez (d. 1094), kings of Navarre, he oversaw significant increases in the abbey's influence and in its wealth. V.'s cult arose not long after his death and spread rapidly within the kingdom. His hagiography, on the other hand, is said to begin only with Irache's lectionary of 1547. In 1583 V.'s remains (since distributed all across Navarra) were translated to a new, historiated chest in the abbey church. Before that he had been buried next to the main altar in the apse.
Expandable views of the abbey's twelfth-/thirteenth-century church of Santa María la Real are here:
V.'s relics, still in their later sixteenth-century reliquary chest, are now kept on the altar of Our Lady of the Rosary in the parish church (parroquia) of San Emeterio y Celedonio at Dicastillo (Navarra):
(Probinus, Felix of East Anglia, Litifredus, and Veremundus of Irache lightly revised from last year's post)
To join the list, send the message: join medieval-religion YOUR NAME
to: [log in to unmask]
To send a message to the list, address it to:
[log in to unmask]
To leave the list, send the message: leave medieval-religion
to: [log in to unmask]
In order to report problems or to contact the list's owners, write to:
[log in to unmask]
For further information, visit our web site: