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MEDIEVAL-RELIGION  April 2009

MEDIEVAL-RELIGION April 2009

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Subject:

saints of the day 10. April

From:

John Dillon <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

medieval-religion - Scholarly discussions of medieval religious culture <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 9 Apr 2009 23:19:46 -0500

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text/plain

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medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

Today (10. April) is Good Friday this year.  It is also the feast day of:

1)  Apollonius of Alexandria (?).  A martyr of this name and place is listed for today in the Syriac Martyrology of ca. 362.  In the (pseudo-)Hieronymian Martyrology's listing of him for the same day he is said to be priest and to him are added the names of five others, all of which are (to modern scholars, at least) obvious repetitions or anticipations of names also occurring in adjacent entries.  That, though, was not so evident to Usuard (unless he did recognize the repetitions as repetitions but failed to infer from them that this entry was textually troubled), who gave A. five unnamed companions, or to Baronio, who followed suit in the RM.  The latter's edition of 2001 commemorates A. alone.  We know nothing about him beyond what has been said above.


2)  Bede the younger (d. later ninth century).  This B., not to be confused with either of the seventh-century Northumbrian Sts. Bede, is said in his fourteenth-century Vita (BHL 1077-1079) to have been taken into Charlemagne's service as a boy after the Frankish capture and official Christianization of his North German homeland, to have been educated as Christian, to have excelled at his studies, and to have been ordained priest, in which office he performed admirably while at court for for about fifteen years.  Then, desiring to enter monastic life, he is said to have sought and received permission to leave the emperor's service and to have entered the monastery of the BVM at today's Gavello (RO) in the southern Veneto.  There he is said to have stayed for some forty years as a humble penitent, living very ascetically and occasionally giving proof of his sanctity through the operation of a miracle.  Today is his _dies natalis_. 

Further miracles are said to have taken place B.'s grave.  He certainly had a cult by 1233, the year in which his relics were translated from the now decayed monastery of Gavello to the also Benedictine house of St. Benignus at Genoa (in the last century they were further translated to Subiaco), which is where B.'s Vita in the form in which we now have it was later written.  In the early modern period monks of St. Benignus claimed that the relics they venerated under B.'s name were those of St. Bede the Venerable (25. May).  Papebroch's attempt to explain the identity of these two saints' names involved the conjecture, accepted by Gian Domenico Gordini in his notice of today's B. in the _Bibliotheca Sanctorum_, that this saint came from the homeland of the early medieval Angles, i.e. later medieval and modern Schleswig.    


3)  Macarius the Armenian (d. 1012),  According to his first Vita (BHL 5100), M. (also Macharius, Macaire) was an archbishop of Antioch in Armenia (i.e. Antioch in Pisidia, a now uninhabited place whose successor is Yalvaç in Turkey's Isparta province), who arrived on day at the abbey of St. Bavo in G(h)ent/Gand and who sought and received admission to that community.  After a while he wished to return to his homeland.   Having received permission to do so, M. set off, only to be prevented from traveling very far by a sudden swelling of the feet.  M. was returned to the monastery, where he was miraculously cured with the assistance of Bavo and of other saints and where he was soon carried off by a pestilence after having correctly predicted that his death would be the last in this local outbreak.  Postmortem miracles (mostly healing miracles) were attributed to him.

In 1067 M. was canonized through a formal Elevatio that formed part of the festivities surrounding the consecration of his abbey's new church.  At some point between then and 1073 he received a new Vita (BHL 5101) that provided in addition to a reworked section on M.'s miracles an abundance of biographical details that somehow had not been available to the author of M.'s earlier Vita (written, like this one, for an abbot of St. Bavo).  M.'s cult, fostered medievally by the abbey, became popular in Hainaut and Flanders during an outbreak of plague there in 1615, at which time relics of M. were widely disseminated and new dedications to him were made.  His principal relics repose in a seventeenth-century chasse at St. Bavo.

Here's a view of the remains of a Byzantine church at Pisidian Antioch:
http://tinyurl.com/4zqpbc

Today's cathedral of G(h)ent/Gand was re-dedicated to St. Bavo only in 1540; it was not the church of M.'s abbey.  But its crypt is a survivor from the present building's predecessor begun in 1038 (when the church was dedicated to St. John) and thus brings one back visually to the time of M.'s early cult.  Several views of that crypt are here:
http://tinyurl.com/56m69g
M.'s Elevatio of 1067 was conducted by bishop Baldwin I of Tournai (d. 1068), on whom see this page from the cathedral of Tournai (with views of the recently re-examined relics of its St. Eleutherius):
http://tinyurl.com/32zwkg
Herewith some views of the Sint-Machariuskerk in Laarne (Oost-Vlanderen), a late Gothic structure rebuilt in stages between 1585 and the middle of the seventeenth century but showing a basic design that's essentially late medieval:
http://tinyurl.com/4883er

        
4)  Fulbert of Chartres (d. 1028).  Fulbert's origins are obscure, though there are good reasons for thinking that he came from northern France and not (as Mabillon supposed) from Italy.  He _may_ have studied under Gerbert at Reims.  In 1004 he was a deacon at Chartres and by then he was probably master of its cathedral school.  In 1006 he became bishop of Chartres.  F., whose later life is known principally through his letters and poems (two sermons and a number of hymns also survive), was an active churchman and royal councillor.  He started the building of Chartres' present cathedral after its predecessor had been destroyed by fire in 1020; part of the crypt dates from his pontificate.

F. was buried in the abbey (now parish) church of Saint-Père at Chartres.  This church was rebuilt in the late twelfth and thirteenth centuries:
http://www.francebalade.com/chartres/chartstpierre10.jpg
http://www.francebalade.com/chartres/chartstpierre14.jpg
but its tower is said to go back to the tenth century:
http://www.francebalade.com/chartres/chartstpierre12.jpg
F. was considered saintly in his own lifetime; in the twelfth century he was depicted with a halo.  His cult was confirmed in 1855 for Poitiers and in 1861 for Chartres.

This illumination by André of Saint-Mesmin de Mici (Chartres, Bibliothèque municipale, ms. nouv. acq. 4, fol. 94r) for F.'s memorial inserted in the cathedral martyrology is variously thought to depict him delivering a sermon either at his new cathedral or at Saint-Père:
http://tinyurl.com/c76zb3
In this image of what is said to be a page of a manuscript (a formulation that could lead one to think that it's not an image of a reproduction), the illumination has been remarkably restored:
http://cathedrale.chartres.free.fr/ig01.htm
With its abbreviations expanded, the legend reads:
Pauit oues Domini pastor uenerabilis annos
Qvinque qvater mensesque decem cum mensibus octo

Did you know that Fulbert of Chartres ringtones are available?  Here's how you can get yours:
http://www.lyricsandsongs.com/song/659017.html


5)  Engelbert of Admont (Bl.; d. 1331).  When he was about seventeen years old E. entered the great Benedictine abbey of Admont in his native Steiermark.  After a few years he was sent to Prague to study the trivial arts.  After two years there he proceeded to Padua, where for nine years he studied philosophy and theology before returning to his monastery.  Elected abbot when he was in his late forties, he ruled for thirty years before resigning for reasons of ill health and old age.  He died a few years later.  Today and 12. May are the two contenders for his _dies natalis_.

E. was a very learned man and a very prolific writer.  Today his chief work is generally considered to be the _De ortu et progressu, statu et fine Romani imperii_, a treatise of Christian political theory using Aristotelian arguments to justify the (Western) Empire.  Frequently copied in the Middle Ages was his treatise of Marian theology _De gratiis et virtutibus Beatae Mariae Virginis_.  In all he wrote about forty separate works, mostly theological and political in nature but including a treatise on music, the _De musica_.

Best,
John Dillon
(last year's post lightly revised)

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