medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Today (13. April) is the feast day of:
1) Carpus, Papylus, Agathonice, and companions (d. ca. 160?). Known collectively as the Martyrs of Pergamum, this is a group of saints whose martyrdom, according to Eusebius (_H. E._, 4. 15. 48), took place there not too long after that of St. Polycarp at Smyrna. Since E.'s dating of the latter event (ca. 166) is about eleven years later than the dating implied in the _Martyrium s. Polycarpi_, that already gives us two possible dates for the martyrdom of C. et socc.: ca. 160 and ca. 171. One branch of their Passio, which exists in several forms (BHG 293-295; BHL 1622m), has them suffer under Decius (so ca. 250), a datum rendered suspect not only by Eusebius' dating but also by the fact that this branch belongs to a larger group of similarly phrased Passiones of saints of different places all said to have been martyred under the same Roman proconsul, otherwise unknown.
These martyrs are listed for today in both the later fourth-century Syriac Martyrology and the (pseudo-)Hieronymian Martyrology, which here seem to be drawing on a common source. Not surprisingly, in these and other texts the names of the martyrs vary. In BHL 1622m, for example, P. is called Pamphilus. C. is called a bishop, but his see is variable in the tradition; P. is said to have been a deacon. But these indications of their status could be no more than inferences from the position of their names in the list. When C. et socc. show up in the Carolingian martyrologies P. has become Papirius and all are joined by one Justin (both changes derive from Rufinus' translation of Eusebius into Latin), whom these martyrologies then identify as St. Justin Martyr.
The so-called Menologium of Basil II (Città del Vaticano, BAV, cod. Vat. Gr. 1613) has at fol. 112 a miniature depicting the passion of the Martyrs of Pergamum. In the absence of a good view of that miniature, herewith a page with (after the Greek) a brief, English-language account of this lavishly illustrated book:
and views of some of its other illuminations, viz.
Sts. Cosmas and Damian:
Presentation in the Temple:
Two soldier-saints and an angel (who are they?):
2) Ursus of Ravenna (d. ca. 426). U. was bishop of Ravenna for twenty-six years. He is thought to have been of Sicilian origin and to have been responsible for Ravenna's fifth-century veneration of Sicilian saints. In 402 the imperial capital in the West was moved from Milan to Ravenna. Around this time U. transferred his seat from Classe to Ravenna proper and embarked upon a major building program, constructing a new episcopal basilica (replaced in the eighteenth century) and an adjacent baptistery. The latter is now known, after the name of the bishop who completed its decor, as the Neonian Baptistry. Herewith a few views of its exterior (the first also shows the basilica's tenth-century cylindrical belltower):
U. is one of the bishops portrayed in mosaic (sixth-century) in the spaces flanking the apse windows of Ravenna's Sant'Apollinare in Classe, shown in truncation here:.
Here's a detail view of U.'s portrait:
In the south apse of the Basilica Eufrasiana at Poreč in Croatia is a mid-sixth-century mosaic of Christ crowning two figures interpreted as bishops of Ravenna. The bishop on the left has often been thought to be U. Two detail views of this worthy:
3) Hermenigild of Seville (d. 585). H. was a son of Leovigild, an Arian king of the Goths of Spain. In 579 he rebelled against his father and established his own rule in the southern part of the kingdom. A few years later, with the aid of St. Leander of Seville, he converted to to Catholicism. In 583 Leovigild overcame H. militarily and in 584 he exiled the former rebel to Valencia (one can think of worse places, but then again this was Valencia _before_ the Moors). In the following year H. was assassinated there. Gregory the Great's view (_Dialogi_ 3. 31) that H. was a martyr for the faith has not convinced everyone. But it was enough to place H. in the Carolingian martyrologies, where he appears under today's date. Sixtus V confirmed H.'s cult for Spain in 1585; Urban VIII extended this to the Roman church as a whole.
The Capilla de San Hermenegildo in Seville's cathedral was founded by cardinal Juan de Cervantes (d. 1453). It houses the cardinal's very fine late Gothic tomb (late 1450s) by the originally Breton sculptor Lorenzo Mercadante:
4) Martin I, pope (d. 655). M. was an Umbrian from Todi who became a lector and then a deacon at Rome. He served as papal apocrisarius in Constantinople under pope Theodore I (642-49) and like that pontiff he was a dedicated opponent of the imperially promoted doctrine of monothelitism. On 5. July 649 M. became pope without imperial approval. He swiftly convened a synod of Western bishops and of exiled theologians from the East that condemned both monothelite teaching and emperor Constans II's edict that attempted to silence opposition to the doctrine. M. sent a letter to Constans informing him of these actions and asking him to repudiate the heresy that, in M.'s diplomatic way of putting things, C. had adopted on the bad advice of various patriarchs.
C.'s response was to appoint a court officer, Olympius, as his new exarch in Italy with instructions to seize Martin and to bring him to Constantinople. But O., probably with M.'s assistance, decided instead to become a rebel and overthrow C.. The failure of O.'s plan proved fatal for M., who in 653, though now severely ill, was forcibly removed from the Lateran basilica by a new exarch and taken to Constantinople, where he was tried and convicted not for his doctrinal stand but rather as one of O.'s co-conspirators. After a public flogging, M. languished for three months in prison and was then sent to the Crimea, where, on 16. September 655, he died of cold, starvation, and other abuse.
M. is considered a martyr. Formerly in the Roman Calendar under 12. November (the supposed date of the translation of his relics to Rome's San Martino ai Monti), he is now celebrated today in accordance with the practice of the Greek church.
During M.'s pontificate the presbytery of Rome's Santa Maria Antiqua was redecorated. Herewith two views of mural paintings surviving from that campaign:
5) Caradoc of Wales (d. 1124). We know about the hermit C. (also Caradog; also C. of Llandaff) from a Vita collected by John of Tynemouth (BHL 1561) that is thought to derive from the lost _Vita sancti Karadoci_ of Gerald of Wales (d. ca. 1223). According to this account, he was born in Brecon, served as a musician at the court of prince Rhys ap Tewdr, and left the latter's service for that of a greater Lord after the prince had threatened harm to him over the loss of a valued greyhound. C. is said then to have lived eremitically in various places in Wales and to have been buried at his request in the cathedral of St Davids. His supposedly incorrupt body was honored with a shrine there. Here's a line drawing of what's left of it:
Despite the efforts of Gerald of Wales, C. seems never to have been papally canonized (a letter of Innocent III ordering an inquiry into C.'s sanctity survives to show that the matter was taken seriously). The RM characterizes him as _sanctus_.
6) Ida of Louvain (Bl.; d. ca. 1290). According to her anonymous Vita drafted from the notes of her confessor Hugo (BHL 4145), at the age of eighteen the spiritually inclined I. announced to her father, a wealthy and not at all spiritually inclined merchant of Leuven (Louvain), her intention to become a nun. Paternal consent was not forthcoming. I. seems to have spent much of her life at home, where she received the Stigmata Christi and operated miracles. Ultimately she entered the Cistercian abbey of Roosendael (Val des Roses) near Mechelen (Malines), where she spent her time in prayer, contemplation, manual labor (including the copying of books in Latin, a language she did not ordinarily understand), and ecstatic experiences. I. developed a special attachment to the Eucharist and received permission from the Holy Father to take communion daily.
I. died on this day in a year given by her Vita as 1300. Modern scholarship sometimes places her death about a decade earlier.
7) Albertino of Montone (Bl.; d. 1294). The Umbrian A. was a monk of Sitria (a dependency of Fonte Avellana) who became prior general of the Camaldulensians. He is said to have arranged a peace between factions in Gubbio and to have declined election as bishop of Osimo. A. died at Fonte Avellana, where his grave became a pilgrimage destination. Here's a view of his fifteenth-century portrait whose original hangs in the scriptorium at Fonte Avellana:
A. was beatified by Pius VI. Locally, he's considered a saint, as in this Italian-language page on him from MedioEvo in Umbria (showing a Renaissance statue of A. in terracotta):
(NB: This page seems to load better in IE than in Firefox. With the latter, one may have to go to the Medioevo in Umbria site [http://www.medioevoinumbria.it/] and, in the search box at upper right ["Cerca nel sito"], enter: Albertino da Montone)
The abbey of Santa Maria di Sitria was begun as a hermitage in 1014 and was expanded into an abbey in about 1020. It is situated in Isola Fossara, a _frazione_ of today's very rural commune of Scheggia e Pascelupo in Umbria's Perugia province, close to the latter's border with the Marche's Ancona province. A distance view of the remaining structures is here:
and a less appealing closer view is here:
An illustrated account from Thais in both English and Italian is here:
(last year's post lightly revised and with the addition of Caradoc of Wales)
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