medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Today (25. April) is the feast day of:
1) Mark the Evangelist (d. ca. 64, supposedly). The gospel that bears his name was already attributed to to M. early in the second century by Papias, who derived his information from John the Presbyter (Eusebius, _H. E._, 3. 39. 15; cf. 2. 15). Eusebius (_ibid_., 2. 16, 24) also knew a tradition, not vouched for by Clement of Alexandria, that M. founded the church of Alexandria in Egypt and was its first bishop. Jerome (_De viris illustribus_, 8) says that M. died there. Eusebius (_H. E._, 2. 24) in saying that St. An(n)ianus became M.'s first successor in the Alexandrian see in the eighth year of Nero (63/64) gives an approximate date for M.'s death. According to the legendary fourth- or fifth-century _Acts of Mark_ (_Martyrium Marci_), this occurred by martyrdom at Alexandria on a return visit two years after A. became M.'s successor there.
By the end of the fourth century M. had a tomb at Alexandria that was the object of pilgrimage. By then too he had an important basilica at Constantinople, erected by Theodosius the Great. The emperor Romanus I restored it in the first half of the tenth century.
In the late eighth century the Friulans Paul the Deacon and Paulinus of Aquileia gave voice to the belief that M. had been the apostle of the upper Adriatic. In 829 the Venetian doge Giustiniano Particiaco left money in his will for the erection in his city a church to house M.'s remains (apparently not including M..'s head, believed in Alexandria to have been found in the seventh century by the Coptic pope St. Benjamin I and which Alexandrians claim still to have). The narrative portion (BHL 5284) of the tenth-century Translation of St. Mark to Venice provides a nicely detailed story of how those remains got there from Alexandria. That early church (consecrated in 832) is long gone. Its late eleventh-century replacement was in the thirteenth century adorned with spolia from Constantinople, including perhaps pieces from M.'s Theodosian basilica there.
A few views of full-page depictions of M. from various gospel books:
Rossano Gospels (Byzantine; sixth-century; also known as the Codex Purpureus of Rossano), Rossano (CS), diocesan museum (this is said to be the oldest surviving portrait of an evangelist in the history of manuscript illumination):
Lindisfarne Gospels (Northumbria, late seventh- or early eighth-century), London, BL, Cotton MS Nero D. IV:
Lichfield Gospels (Gospels of St Chad; eighth-century), Lichfield, cathedral library:
Soissons Gospels (early ninth-century), Paris, BN, ms. lat. 8850:
Landévennec Gospels (Brittany; ninth-century), Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Auct. D. 2. 16:
For some context for that last, see:
Armenian Gospels (Trebizond Gospel; eleventh-century), Venice, San Lazzaro, Mekhitarist Library, MS 1400/108:
Greek Gospels (Sicily or mainland southern Italy; twelfth-century), Glasgow University Library, MS Hunter 475 (V.7.2):
Venice, Basilica di San Marco:
Translation of M. to the basilica:
Some views of the originally eleventh-century chiesa di San Marco at Rossano (CS) in Calabria:
Rather appallingly, those apses have been tinted fairly recently to appear lighter in color. See the third view here:
A few views of the modern copy of Donatello's statue of M. (1411-1413) for the church of Orsanmichele in Florence on display in the appropriate niche:
Portraits of M. by Beato Angelico in the Museo Nazionale di San Marco in Florence:
The Martyrdom of St. Mark (ca. 1433):
Detail (St. Mark), Crucifixion and Saints (ca. 1441-42):
Same, entire composition:
2) An(n)ianus (d. 1st. cent., supposedly). A. is the fairly legendary first bishop of Alexandria after St. Mark, whom, according to Eusebius (see above), he succeeded in 63 or 64. The _Acts of Mark_ (_Martyrium Marci_) relate how M., freshly arrived at Alexandria, took to the cobbler A. his sandal whose strap had just broken. During the repair, A. accidentally injured his hand with an awl. M. caused the wound to heal forthwith, whereupon A. gave M. the hospitality of his own home. From there M. preached the gospel in Alexandria and there he converted A. and his family along with many others. Still according to this account, M. later decided to move on to the Libyan Pentapolis but before he left Alexandria he established A. as its bishop.
Here's a view a relief (1478) by Pietro Lombardo, in the portal lunette of Venice's church of San Tomŕ (the cobblers' church), of M. healing A.:
Here's a view of a relief (ca. 1481) by Tullio Lombardo, in Venice's church of Santi Giovanni e Paolo (San Zanipolo), of M. baptizing A.:
3) Clarentius (d. early 7th cent.). We know from the _Chronicon_ of St. Ado of Vienne that in A.'s time C. was thought to have been that city's twenty-ninth bishop. His successor, St. Sindulfus of Vienne, is recorded as having been present at a council in 626. Ado's martyrology enters C. under today's date. For reasons that are not clear, Baronio in entering him in the RM moved his commemoration to 26. April. Today's RM (2001, rev. 2004) restores the commemoration to the earlier date.
4) Ermin of Lobbes (d. 737). We know about E. (Erminus, Erminius, Ermenus, etc.) from his late tenth-century Vita formerly ascribed to his immediate successor Anso of Lobbes (BHL 2614 and 2614a) as well as from matter in the also late tenth-century _Gesta abbatum Lobiensium_ of Folcuin of Lobbes (Folcuin of Saint-Bertin). According to these accounts, he was abbot-bishop St. Ursmar's chosen succesor, being consecrated bishop (an office that both permitted Lobbes to conduct missions and that reduced external interference) in 711 and installed as abbot following U.'s death in 718. He was noted for his extensive missionary activities and for numerous miracles. Today is his _does natalis_.
The sole architectural survivor of the abbey at Lobbes in what is now Belgian Hainaut is its much rebuilt but originally ninth-century église collégiale Saint-Ursmer (also Saint-Ursmarus; parts of the crypt are said to be older; the tower is eleventh-century). Herewith a few views:
5) Franca of Piacenza (d. 1218). We know about the Benedictine abbess and Cistercian founding abbess F. (also Francesca [da] Vitalta, after the comital family to which she is said to have belonged) from a brief, allegedly shortly post-mortem account by a prior Lanfranc of the Cistercian house of Santa Maria di Ponte Trebbia (a.k.a. Santa Maria di Quartazzo) and from an earlier thirteenth-century Vita by a Cistercian priest from Milan, Bertramus Reoldus, deriving from information he learned while in exile in Piacenza (BHL 3092 and 3093, respectively). The first of these, in a report of two visions received by Cistercian from Ponte Trebbia's mother house of Chiaravallle della Colomba, tells us that F. had entered a monastery at Piacenza, that from there she had founded a new house which after a false start elsewhere was established in the wilderness at a place called Locus sanctus, and that on her death she had been received as a saint in Heaven.
Lanfranc adds that the pope had decreed that F. be honored as a saint on earth. Father Bertramus' account tells us additionally that F. belonged to the aforementioned comital house, that she had been oblated at the age of seven in the Benedictine monastery of St. Syrus in Piacenza, that she there became abbess but provoked dissent through attempts to enforce stricter observance of the Rule, that she became a Cistercian at Rapallo and together with another noble (Carenzia Visconti) founded her Cistercian house of Locus sanctus, that she was famous for miracles (many of which are described), that after her death her body was translated twice, winding up in Piacenza, and that other Cistercian houses descended from hers.
Bertramus' Vita would appear to have been destined for a canonization campaign. In Piacenza, the tradition was that F.'s cult had been confirmed by Gregory X (said to have been a relative of the aforementioned Carenzia Visconti, who succeeded F. as abbess of Locus sanctus). In the mid-sixteenth century F. became the titular of a new church in Piacenza; in the early seventeenth century Paul V recognized her cult for the diocese of Piacenza at the level of Saint, the title she also bears in the RM.
(Mark the Evangelist and An[n]ianus lightly revised from last year's post)
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