medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Today (30. March 2008) is the feast day of:
1) Secundus of Asti (d. 119, supposedly). S. has long been the principal patron saint of Asti (AT) in Piedmont. According to his legendary Passio (BHL 7562, -63, -64), he was a Roman officer of high station who at Asti learned the rudiments of faith from the also legendary Calocerus (Calogero), a north Italian saint venerated especially at Brescia, and who received baptism at Tortona from its saint Marcianus, who according to the same legend was martyred under Hadrian. S., who while hastening to be at M.'s side had with angelic assistance miraculously crossed the Po in his horse-drawn conveyance, dared to bury M. For this crime he was arrested and taken to Asti, where he was tortured, decapitated, and buried by angels before an admiring crowd of pagans.
S.'s cult at Asti is recorded from the ninth century onward. His principal dedication there is the originally ninth-/tenth-century chiesa collegiata di San Secondo next to the Municipio. Rebuilt from the thirteenth century to the fifteenth, it is an essentially "gothic" structure but the upper part of the facade is Renaissance and the main portal is of the early eighteenth century. Two illustrated, Italian-language accounts (with expandable views) are here:
Another dedication to S. is the originally late eleventh- or early twelfth-century pieve di San Secondo at nearby Cortazzone (AT). Various views, etc. are here:
(that last has two pages; for the second, click on 'la scheda' in the menu at the top)
(click on camera icon for slide show)
2) Regulus of Arles (d. 4th cent.?). R. (in French, also Rieul) is the legendary protobishop of Senlis who in his earliest Vitae (the legendary BHL 7106 and its expansion, the even more legendary BHL 7107) is said to have been one of the first-century (supposedly) companions of St. Dionysius in evangelizing France and to have been bishop of Arles before becoming bishop of Senlis. BHL 7107 purveys a miracle story whereby king Clovis (d. 511), who had come to Senlis to venerate R., demanded a relic of him, and received a tooth removed from R.'s body. But the king straightway became very confused and could not find his way home. So he returned and was cured after relinquishing the tooth and endowing a church to be built at Senlis. Later Vitae made R. a martyr and a cephalophore.
The earliest evidences of R.'s cult are BHL 7106, which gives today as his _dies natalis_, and his entry for today in Usuard's martyrology (both ninth-century). The RM, preferring one legendary datum to others, records R. simply as bishop of Arles.
R.'s church at Senlis was rebuilt in the eleventh century but has not survived. Here's a view of a later twelfth-century carving from it now in the Louvre:
An illustrated, french-language page on R.'s twelfth-/fourteenth-century church at Brenouille (Oise) in Picardy:
3) John Climacus (d. early 7th cent.). According to his biographer Daniel, J. was a monk of Sinai who after nineteen years of communal life spent the next forty as a hermit on Mt. Sinai, after which time he was elected abbot of his monastery. He is famous for his ascetic treatise, _The Ladder of Divine Ascent_ or _The Ladder of Paradise_, from whose title and controlling image his appellation Climacus is derived ('klimax' is Greek for 'ladder'). Herewith some icons illustrating J.'s concept:
St. Catherine monastery, Sinai (twelfth-century):
Pantokrator monastery, Mt. Athos (sixteenth-century):
The Russian Museum, St. Petersburg (sixteenth-century):
4) Zosimus of Syracuse (d. ca. 662). Z. is a Greek saint of Sicily; his Bios is preserved only in a medieval Latin translation (BHL 9026) whose most accessible text is a version from the thirteenth-century _sanctorale_ of the chapter library of Bovino (FG) in Apulia, polished up and published by Ottavio Gaetani SJ in his _Vitae sanctorum siculorum_ and reprinted thence in the _Acta Sanctorum_. Z. is said to have entered Syracuse's monastery of St. Lucy at the age of seven and in time to have become its abbot. After a lengthy abbacy he was named bishop of Syracuse at some time in the 640s and served in that post for thirteen years. Z.'s Vita credits him with acts of charity to the poor, with a special devotion to the BVM, and with an aversion to Jews.
Z. is also credited with restoring Syracuse's ancient temple of Athena/Minerva and with making that structure the city's new cathedral. This illustrated, Italian-language account has views of the ancient columns with Doric capitals embedded in the fabric of the present building:
That building houses a fifteenth-century painting of Z. that local sources (but not the Grove) attribute to the highly talented Antonello da Messina. Mediocre reproductions of it will be found in this Italian-language account of Z.:
and (slightly larger) on the Santi Beati site at:
For more on Z.'s Vita, see Mario Re, "La Vita di s. Zosimo vescovo di Siracusa: qualche osservazione", _Rivista di Studi Bizantini e Neoellenici_ 37 (2000), 29-42.
5) Osburh (d. ca. 1018). O. (also Osburgh; in Latin and often in English, Osburga) was the first abbess of a monastery at Coventry founded by the future king Cnut. Beyond that we know nothing about her. Her shrine there became famous for miracles and in 1410 a feast was decreed in her honor.
6) Clinus (d. earlier 11th cent.). Today's less well known saint of the Regno (all right, today's utterly obscure saint of the Regno) has been in the RM since its early days under cardinal Baronio, who entered him on the basis of a communication from Flaminio Filonardi, bishop of Aquino in what is now southern Lazio. Neither the early Bollandists nor Filippo Ferrari when he was compiling his _Catalogus sanctorum Italiae_ could find Filonardi's communication. Ferrari, though, did find some evidences of C. (also Clinius) in the diocesan records of Aquino. From these he put together a notice according to which C., who had subscribed an act of donation in 1030, was a Greek monk at, and subsequently abbot of, the monastery of San Pietro della Foresta between Pontecorvo and today's Esperia (FR), both also now in southern Lazio, in the early decades of the eleventh century.
Still according to Ferrari, who called C. Cassinese on the grounds that his monastery had later passed into the possession of Montecassino, C. died prior to 1050, was noted for lifetime miracles as well as for posthumous ones, and was translated at some point to the church of the BVM at Rocca Guillermo. Rocca Guillermo is now Esperia Superiore in the aforementioned Esperia (FR); C., who has given his name to another locality in the town, Cappella San Clinio, is Esperia's principal patron saint. Its church of the BVM is now the somewhat rebuilt Santa Maria Maggiore (to distinguish it from the seventeenth-century Santa Maria delle Grazie in the _borgo_ below) e San Filippo Neri. Here's a view of that church:
Does anyone have a view to share of its wooden cult statue of C.?
And here's a view of Esperia's Corale Polifonica "San Clino Abate" with the remains of the town's originally early twelfth-century castle in the background (the castle is said to have been called Rocca Guillermo after its first builder, a Norman duke of Gaeta, Guillermus Blosseville):
7) Joachim of Fiore (Bl.; d. 1201/02). This holy person from the Regno is well known to many medievalists at least. Here's a brief, English-language account of him by Marjorie Reeves:
Some expandable views of the abbazia Florense at today's San Giovanni in Fiore (CS) in Calabria:
A view of the remains of J.'s first monastery at Fiore, the "Jure Vetere":
Some expandable views of illuminations of J.'s _Liber figurarum_:
(Secundus of Asti, John Climacus, Zosimus of Syracuse, and Joachim of Fiore reprised or lightly revised from last year's post)
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