medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Today (2. April) is the feast day of:
1) Apphianus (d. 306). We know about A. (also Aphianus and Amphianus) from Eusebius' _De martyribus Palaestinae_ (4. 8, 4. 15). A Lycian from a wealthy family, he had converted to Christianity and studied at the then famous university of Berytus (today's Beirut). His family having rejected him on religious grounds, A. moved on to Caesarea in Palestine. He was living with Eusebius when, one day, he grabbed the local governor, Urbanus, by the hand as he was about to conduct an official sacrifice and attempted to prevent the performance of this act. This caused him to be beaten by an irate crowd, thrown in jail, and brought to trial on the following day after having been further thoroughly beaten. Convicted, he was executed by being thrown into the sea. A seismic disturbance witnessed by Eusebius later caused A.'s body to be washed up before the city gates. Today is his probable _dies natalis_.
2) Theodosia of Tyre (d. ca. 308). Eusebius' _De martyribus Palaestinae_ (7. 1-2) is our source for T. (also Theodora). She was a Christian virgin of Tyre, still in her eighteenth year and staying in Caesarea, who consoled Christian prisoners who were about to be martyred. For this she was brought before governor Urbanus (on whom see also the previous entry). When T. refused to sacrifice to the idols, the governor became outraged and ordered her to be violently tortured. T. survived these assaults and even managed at the end to stand up with a smile on her luminous visage. When she again refused to sacrifice she was thrown into the sea.
By the beginning of the ninth century T. had a Latin Passio (BHL 8090-91) derived from Eusebius but expanding on her torments. This furnished the data for her entries in the martyrologies of Florus, Ado, and Usuard, in which she was listed for today (one of the dates given in texts of Eusebius). The Passio itself and the (pseudo-)Hieronymian Martyrology give 3. April as her _dies natalis_.
3) Abundius of Como (d. perh. 468 or 469). A. (in Italian, Abbondio) was a bishop of Como who in 450/51 led a mission to the emperor in Constantinople on behalf of pope St. Leo I that was part of the run-up to the council of Chalcedon. He was buried in the late antique church of the Apostles that preceded the eleventh-century Benedictine abbey church dedicated to him. His cult in Como, where he is the principal patron saint, is attested from the ninth century onward. In his diocese A. is celebrated liturgically on 31. August. Today is his _dies natalis_ and his day of commemoration in the RM.
Here's an Italian-language page, with a plan, on Como's basilica Apostolorum:
A portion of an early medieval carved stone from that church (reconstructed from fragments, it shows a jeweled cross flanked by cypresses and olive trees):
Herewith three pages with expandable views of Como's basilica di Sant'Abbondio, consecrated by Urban II in 1095 and noteworthy for its fourteenth-century frescoes in the apse (these were restored in 2003):
More views of the facade and of its carvings:
More exterior views of the apse:
Inside, A.'s remains are kept in a large, lighted reliquary altar before the main apse:
A view of the altar for scale:
Detail view (A.'s reliquary):
Another view of the apse frescoes:
Two expandable views of individual scenes of the life of Christ in those apse frescoes:
Further detail views:
Yet more here (also some views of the Duomo):
The Benedictine abbey in Como to which this church belonged had many dependencies in northern Lombardy. Here's an illustrated page on a survivor of one of them, the originally fifteenth(?)-century chiesa di Sant'Abbondio in Vione (BS), whose quasi-"romanesque" tower is said to be actually later than the church itself:
An Italian-language sketch of the abbey's history (with good bibliography) is here:
Another town in which the abbey had holdings is Piazzalunga, now a _frazione_ of Ardenno (SO). Its Gesa Vegia ('Old Church') has a fifteenth-century fresco in which A. is the second of four saints to the left of the crucified Jesus:
4) Victor of Capua (d. 554). Today's less well known saint of the Regno succeeded St. Germanus of Capua as bishop of that city in 541. A Bible scholar of mathematical bent, he wrote on the paschal cycle, on the dimensions of Noah's ark, and on the hour of the Crucifixion, as well as commentaries in catena form on the Old Testament and on the New. He commissioned one of the principal early manuscripts of the Vulgate, the _codex Fuldensis_ (Fulda, Landesbibliothek, Codex Bonifatianus 1). This contains the Gospels in an originally Old Latin version of Tatian's _Diatessaron_ altered, on V.'s instructions, to show the Vulgate text. V.'s death on 2. April 554 is recorded in his epitaph (_CIL_ 10. 4503).
Image c on this page is taken from Fulda, Landesbibliothek, Codex Bonifatianus 1:
5) Nicetius of Lyon (d. 573). We know about N. (in French, Nizier) chiefly from the account of him in the _Vita patrum_ of his great nephew, St. Gregory of Tours (BHL 6089; ca. 586) as well as from references in other of G.'s writings. N. came from a priestly family (his father had declined an offer to be bishop of Geneva and an uncle was bishop of Lyon) and was trained for the church from an early age. Ordained priest at the age of forty in about 513, he became bishop of Lyon, succeeding his uncle Agricola, in 552/53. G., who had been a deacon under him, remembered N. as concerned for the quality of liturgical chant, charitable, chaste, and a forceful administrator. A miracle was reported at his burial in Lyon's church of the Apostles; others followed and in time the church became named for him.
Herewith some views of Lyon's église Saint-Nizier, rebuilt in the ninth century and again in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries:
6) Francis of Paola (d. 1507). Today's fairly well known saint of the Regno was born at Paola in Calabria's Cosenza Province. When he was twelve he spent a year at the Franciscan friary at San Marco (Sammarco), today's San Marco Argentano (CS), after which he joined his parents on a pilgrimage to Rome and to Assisi. With their permission F. then became a hermit at Paola. In time he attracted followers and founded a community of back-to-basics Franciscans. These became the Order of Minims, whose first Rule was approved in 1493 and whose second was approved in 1501. Well before then F. had attracted the attention of his king, Ferrando (Ferrante) I of mostly mainland Sicily, as well as that of the king of France, Louis XI, who called for him in 1483 when near death. F. spent the remainder of his life in France, dying at his hermitage on the royal estate at Plessis-les-Tours. He was canonized in 1519.
The friary at San Marco Argentano still exists and is still Franciscan: it and its church are known as the Convento e la Chiesa della Riforma because it was once a Reformed Franciscan house. It has been much reworked over the centuries but its church of St. Anthony of Padua, whose present austere exterior
conceals a more elaborate rococo interior, still retains elements of its original "gothic" form. Two of these (the windows in the apse) are visible in this view:
The church's thirteenth-century fresco of St. Anthony is shown on this Italian-language page on the complex:
(Apphianus, Theodosia of Tyre, Abundius of Como, Victor of Capua, and Francis of Paola lightly revised from last year's post)
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