medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
In Latin Rite churches, today (11. April) is Holy Saturday this year. 11. April is also the feast day of:
1) Domnius of Salona (d. ca. 304). D. (also Domnio; in Croatian, Duje) is entered for today, without companions, in the later fourth-century Syriac Martyrology. The _Chronicle of 395_ says that he and Felix suffered at Salona (the late antique capital of Dalmatia; today's Solin in Croatia) under Diocletian and Maximian. Some manuscripts of the (pseudo-)Hieronymian Martyrology, which also lists D. for today and identifies him as a bishop, misinterpret an abbreviation and convert the numbered milestone of his reported place of sepulture into a number of soldiers said to be his companions in martyrdom. Usuard followed the (ps.-)HM in placing D. on this date and in giving him unnamed soldier-companions.
Late antique inscriptions from Salona give D.'s _dies natalis_ as 10. April. One of these was inscribed on the tomb of D.'s nephew, bishop Primus, at Solin's necropolis of Manastrine. It is thus quite likely that D. too found interment there and that the fifth-century basilica at this location that housed the tombs of a number of Salona's early bishops was D.'s martyrion. Here's a view of an open tomb that from its position in this structure has been identified as his:
An illustrated, English language page on early Christian Salona is here:
In the very early seventh century Salona was taken over by Slavs. A few decades later D.'s relics were translated to the nearby Roman town of Spalatum, today's Split, where they were used to consecrate the new cathedral utilizing the emperor Diocletian's mausoleum inside what had been his palace. Herewith some views of Split's Katedral Sv. Duje, including its thirteenth-century pulpit and its twelfth- to sixteenth-century belltower:
By this time and perhaps as early as the fourth century a Passio of D. had come into existence. We know it in later texts, chiefly BHL 2269, Thomas the Archdeacon's thirteenth-century version incorporated into his _Historia Salonitanorum atque Spalatinorum pontificum_. This has a number of small details that ring true and that lend credence to others, such as D.'s being of Syrian and Greek extraction and his execution in the amphitheatre of Salona, shown here:
But it also includes an assertion of apostolic foundation for the church of Salona through D.'s allegedly having been sent from Antioch to Salona by St. Peter. When, and under what circumstances, this claim arose is controversial. An argument by Vadim B. Prozorov ("The Passion of St. Domnius: the Tradition of Apostolic Succession in Dalmatia") in favor of the sixth century and including a survey of the various positions appeared in _Scrinium_ 2 (2006).
In this view of the seventh-century apse mosaic of the Chapel of St. Venantius (or of Sts. Venantius and Domnius) erected by pope John IV (a Dalmatian) at the Lateran Baptistry, D. is the second figure from the right:
Detail (D. at left):
A thirteenth- or fourteenth-century image of D. from Split is shown at left here:
2) Isaac of Spoleto (d. 6th cent.). According to the _Dialogues_ of Gregory the Great (3. 14), I. (also I. the Syrian, I. of Monteluco) was a Syrian who, late in the fifth century, arrived one day at Spoleto, entered a church, and stayed there praying for three days. A custodian, angered by I.'s obvious unwillingness to leave the premises, called him a fraud and beat him. When the custodian immediately succumbed to diabolic possession, he was cured by his charitable victim (or perhaps he just calmed down a bit and regained his composure). Locals, hearing of this miracle, offered land and money to the holy man that he might build a monastery in the vicinity.
I., whose absolute dedication to the ideal of monastic poverty Gregory emphasizes, refused all these offers and, going out into adjacent uninhabited territory, built for himself a hovel in which he lived as a hermit. In time, adherents collected around him, forming a monastic community which recognized I. as its leader. I. continued to live very austerely; he also performed several miracles by which he confounded people who wished to take advantage of him.
Although Gregory gives us no reason to conclude that I.'s hermitage must have been located on the nearby height of Monteluco, a later Benedictine monastery there claimed him as its founder and honored his presumed remains at its church of Santa Giulia. Papenbroeck's _Praefatio_ to the account of I. in the _Acta Sanctorum_ managed to poke all sorts of holes in the versions of this story known to him. Nonetheless, today's RM continues to commemorate I. as the founder of the monastery at Monteluco.
In 1143 a church in Spoleto proper that had been built over the remains of an ancient temple and adjacent space in what had been the city's Roman-period forum was dedicated to saints Ansanus and Isaac. Its crypt (now called that of saint Isaac), which seems to be of eleventh-century origin and whose floor consists of paving stones from the forum, contained a twelfth-century sarcophagus enclosing I.'s presumed remains said to have been translated from Santa Giulia. The sarcophagus is now located in a museum in Cardinal Albornoz' great fortress above the city (1359-1370); the crypt, which survived when the original church was first reworked in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and then replaced by the present Sant'Ansano at the end of the eighteenth, houses a copy.
A view of Sant'Ansano's Cripta di Sant'Isacco is here:
A different view will be found on this page, which also lists the subjects (insofar as these are identifiable) of the recently restored late eleventh- and/or early twelfth-century frescoes which adorn the crypt:
I.'s sarcophagus is visible (just not very well) at right here:
3) Barsanuphius of Gaza (d. ca. 540). This less well known saint of the Regno is generally referred to simply as Barsanuphius, there usually being little pragmatic need to distinguish him from his homonym (and fellow Egyptian), B. the companion in martyrdom of St. Dabamon. He spent many years as a solitary near a monastery at Gaza, speaking only with a monk named Seridos who became his disciple, functioned as his secretary and messenger, and under B.'s direction supervised the life of the monastery. As B.'s reputation for sanctity grew, others sought his guidance. This he dispensed in the form of written responsa. To dispel doubt in his physical existence he on one occasion came out of seclusion and washed the feet of monks. A collection of over eight hundred letters of advice from B. and from his fellow solitary St. John of Gaza survives.
As far as we know, B. did not receive a cult at his grave. A late twelfth- or very early thirteenth-century Translation account (BHL 1000) from today's Oria (BR) in southern Apulia has B.'s remains brought from Palestine to Oria (long a largely Greek-speaking place) in perhaps the mid-ninth century, lost sight of after a Muslim conquest of the town (there were several of these from the later ninth century into the eleventh), rediscovered there in 1170, and then deposited in Oria's principal church (in whose eighteenth-century successor, now a cathedral, they reside today). B., known locally as San Barsanofio, is Oria's patron saint. His principal feast there falls on 30. August and commemorates his two translations. In Orthodox calendars B. is commemorated on 6. February.
In the absence of views of B.'s putative relics at Oria (an arm is particularly venerated), herewith an illustrated page by Giuseppe Dalfino on the originally ninth(?)-century church Santa Maria di Gallana at Oria:
4) Guthlac (d. 715). G. was a Mercian warrior who underwent a religious conversion, spent two years at the monastery at Repton in today's Derbyshire, and then became a hermit in the East Anglian fens before establishing himself at Croyland, now spelled as Crowland, in Lincolnshire. His sister St. Pega opened his grave a year after his death, found his body to be incorrupt, and placed it in a memorial chapel. The latter was soon honored by Æthelbald, king of the Mercians, who before he was king is said to have spent time with G. at Croyland and who clearly had a special devotion to him. Croyland Abbey grew up on the site. In the eighth century G. received a Vita by Felix of Croyland (BHL 3723).
The early thirteenth-century Guthlac Roll in the British Library (Harley Roll, Y.6) commemorates G. pictorially. Here's an expandable view of its depiction of G., aided by St. Bartholomew, preparing to defend himself against demons intent on carrying him off to Hell:
A detail from one of this manuscript's roundels, showing Pega and G., and reproductions of two further roundels are here:
An expandable view of the opening of Felix' Vita of G. (London, B.L., Cotton MS Nero C VII, f.29v) is here:
An expandable view of the thirteenth-century Crowland Gradual's decorated initial and music for G.'s feast is here:
5) Stanislas of Cracow (d. 1079). C. was a canon of Cracow cathedral who became bishop there in 1072. He fell afoul of king Boleslas II, whom he is said to have reproached repeatedly for various cruelties and for infidelity in marriage. His assassination was blamed on B., who in one account is reported to have murdered S. himself. S. was canonized by Innocent IV in 1253. He is one of Poland's patron saints.
Here, from his chapel in the lower church of St. Francis at Assisi, is an earlier fourteenth-century depiction of S.'s martyrdom (expandable view):
and here's an earlier sixteenth-century depiction, from the National Museum in Poznań:
6) Landuin (Bl.; d. 1116?). Another less well known holy person of the Regno, L. (also Lanuin; in Italian, Lanuino) was one of St. Bruno the Carthusian's early companions at what became the Grand Chartreuse and was that community's prior designate when he accompanied B. to Rome in 1090 at the behest of Urban II. When in 1091 Bruno established a new hermitage deep in the woods of southern Calabria at a place called La Torre that had been given him by Roger I, count of Sicily, L. was back at the first Carthusian settlement. In 1099 L. was at La Torre to consult with Bruno and in 1101, after Bruno's death, he became master of the entire Carthusian community. L. stayed at La Torre; if the highly suspect early Carthusian documents are to be credited, he performed important missions as Paschal II's representative in Roger I's Calabrian and insular Sicilian domains.
The late twelfth-century martyrology of the Carthusian house of Santo Stefano del Bosco outside of today's Serra San Bruno (VV) in Calabria records L.'s death on this day in the year 1116 and styles him _beatus_. Modern historians tend to place his some five years later. L.'s cult was confirmed in 1893.
(last year's posts combined and lightly revised)
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: