medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Today (8. April) is the feast day of:
1) Dionysius of Corinth (d. later 2d cent.). Like yesterday's Hegesippus, D. is an ecclesiastical writer preserved fragmentarily by Eusebius. He was bishop of Corinth in about 170, having succeeded Primus, the bishop when Hegesippus sojourned in the Isthmian city. A collection of seven _Catholic Letters_ by D. to other churches was known to Eusebius as were also a couple of private letters from D.'s hand. According to D., they were written on request and, once they had begun to circulate, were also altered by others whom he calls "the devil's apostles". He would seem to have been referring to falsifications by ecclesiastical opponents (some of the letters opposed heresies) rather than to lapses by inattentive copyists. An extract from D.'s letter to pope St. Soter seems to be the first witness to the tradition that Sts. Peter and Paul died in Rome at the same time.
2) Dionysius of Alexandria (d. 265). The philosophically and literarily educated D., who had converted to Christianity as a young man, became head of the catechetical school in Alexandria in 232 and that city's bishop in 247. A disciple of Origen, he was capable of statements that caused others, especially in the West, to suspect his orthodoxy. D. (as represented by extracts from his letters quoted by Eusebius) is our chief source both for the anti-Christian mob violence in Alexandria in 249 and for the effects of the Decian persecution there in 250, which latter he survived by going into hiding. He returned in 251 and was exiled in 257 during the Valerianic persecution, returning only after that had been ended in 260 by Valerian's son and successor Gallienus. D.'s theological writings, in which he took a firm line against various heresies and in favor of a very watchful readmission of apostates, survive only in fragments.
3) Amantius of Como (d. ca. 448). A. is the traditional third bishop of Como, having succeeded St. Probinus (8. March) and having immediately preceded St. Abundius (2. April). And that is almost all we really know about him. The medieval verse catalogue of Como's sainted early bishops from which extracts were used for their feasts in what the seventeenth-century Bollandist Henschenius called "the ancient breviary of Como" says of A. that he was kind and fostering and that he chose Abundius as his successor. Abundius' very late Vita (BHL 15; preserved by Mombrizio in the fifteenth century and showing signs of humanist revision if indeed it were not entirely written then) elaborates by saying that Amantius and Abundius loved each other dearly and that they worked in close collaboration until Amantius' decease.
Early modern writers preserve a local tradition that has A. receive from pope St. Leo I relics of Sts. Peter and Paul that he used to to dedicate the basilica of that name that was Como's early medieval cathedral and that in the eleventh century was rebuilt as today's Sant'Abbondio. Traces of this early church were discovered in Sant'Abbondio during a nineteenth century restoration; some are marked in black in the church's modern floor:
In the absence of a clearer view of that, herewith two pages with expandable views of the basilica di Sant'Abbondio, consecrated by Urban II in 1095:
4) Redemptus of Ferentino (or of Ferento; d. later 5th cent.). We learn about R. from the _Dialogues_ of pope St. Gregory the Great (3. 38). R. was bishop of the _Ferentina civitas_, either today's Ferentino (FR) in southern Lazio or the former Ferento near Viterbo in northern Lazio. One day while visiting his churches he arranged to spend the night at the church of St. Eutychius the martyr (15. May) and prepared to sleep there next to the martyr's grave. Eutychius appeared to him, asked if he were awake and, when answered in the affirmative, predicted the coming end of the world: _Finis venit universae carnis_. When E. had said this three times he disappeared. R. arose and prayed. Soon there were portents in the sky and soon (obviously not immediately) the Lombard invasion fell upon Italy.
R.'s particular sanctity is not immediately evident from this account. He was dropped from the RM in its revision of 2001. The diocese of Frosinone-Veroli-Ferentino, unpersuaded by any argument that R.'s diocese was really in northern Lazio, still lists R. as one of its saints. I haven't been able to find a decent view of R.'s depiction in the apse of Ferentino's largely twelfth-century cathedral of Santi Giovanni e Paolo but here are some views of the church itself:
The Italia nell'Arte Medievale page on this church is good for detail views (and especially for views of the cathedral's cosmatesque floor):
5) Manegold of Obermarchtal (Bl.; d. 1204). After service in three parishes as a secular priest M. entered the Premonstratensian Order at Steingaden in today's Landkreis Weilheim-Schongau in Oberbayern. In 1191 he became the fourth provost of his order's house at Obermarchtal in what is now the Alb-Donau-Kreis in southern Baden-Württemberg. Austere in his personal behavior (he is said to have been exemplary in his adherence to the statutes) and solicitous for the welfare of the the sick and the poor, M. was also successful in defending the abbey's property against grasping lords of Obermarchtal. At his death, his house (until 1273 a double foundation) held twenty canons, twenty lay brothers, and forty canonesses.
The present Stiftskirche at Obermarchtal dates from the later seventeenth century. An engraving showing its predecessor of 1239 is here:
The "modernized" belltower with the onion dome became one of the two towers of today's church:
(last year's post lightly revised)
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