medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Today (15. April) is the feast day of:
1) Maro of Mons Aureus (?). M. is a poorly documented saint of Picenum (essentially today's Marche south of the valley of the Esino) recorded for today in the (pseudo-)Hieronymian Martyrology as having suffered at an unidentified _Mons Aureus_ ('Golden Hill/Mountain', a not uncommon toponym in the ancient Latin-speaking world). He was venerated medievally in Picenum and in the Sabina to its west (the latter is now chiefly Lazio's province of Rieti) both as Maro and as Marotus. In the martyrologies from Florus of Lyon until the revision of the RM in 2001 M. was commemorated today not individually but rather as the first of a made-up group of three martyrs (M., Eutyches, and Victorinus) recorded individually in the (ps.-)HM from various towns in Italy but transformed on the basis of the legendary Passio of Sts. Nereus and Achilleus (BHL 6062, 6063) into Romans who suffered under Domitian towards the end of the first century.
As Marotus M. gave his name to today's San Maroto di Pievebovigliana (MC) in the Marche. Herewith the Italia nell'Arte Medievale page on its originally early medieval church now known as San Giusto:
Others views of the church, views of its frescoes, and a ground plan are here:
2a) Paternus of Vannes (Paterne; 5th cent.)
2b) Paternus of Wales (Padarn; 6th cent.?)
Our knowledge of these two saints, both commemorated today, derives from a single Vita (BHL 6480) seemingly written around 1120 at Llanbadarn Fawr near Aberystwyth, the site of the Welsh saint's major cult center. This is an account of the Welsh saint calqued upon one of his Breton homonym into which had flowed details relating to a third saint of this name, Paternus of Avranches (see below). Being both late and composite, it doesn't tell us much that's reliable about either P. The Breton one is the traditional first bishop of Vannes (Morbihan) and one of Brittany's seven founding saints. He seems to have been the P. who subscribed to the acts of a later fifth-century synod at Vannes. In 1964 pope Paul VI declared him patron of Vannes and moved his feast from the then traditional 21. April to today (P.'s _dies natalis_ in the Vita). Neither of these Paterni is currently listed in the RM.
An English-language version of the Vita s. Padarni is here:
An English-language introduction to the church of St Padarn, Llanbadarn Fawr, Aberystwyth, is here:
A view of a tympanum at this curch:
2c) Paternus of Avranches (d. ca. 565). In the RM for today; consideration in "saints of the day" deferred until tomorrow (16. April).
4) Ortarius of Landelles (d. late 6th, 7th, or 8th cent.?). O. (in French, Ortaire) is the patron saint of today's Landelles-et-Coupigny (Calvados) in Normandy. According to his brief and rather late Vita (BHL 6351; a few lections for an Office), after an early childhood in which he was acculturated to the church he entered a monastery at Landelles at the age of twelve. As a monk he was humble, attentive, and given to fasts and vigils. He would secretly hide some his own portion of food and later distribute this to the needy, whose nakedness he often clothed with the vestment he was wearing. He stoutly resisted diabolic temptation, even when the Enemy beat him physically or appeared to him in frightening, monstrous shapes. A divine premonition alerted O. to the imminent death of his abbot; hastening to the latter's cell, O. had the joy of seeing the abbot's soul received by an angelic choir.
At the age of fifty O. himself was elected abbot and, against his wishes, was compelled to serve in the capacity. He had a special devotion to the BVM, in whose honor he erected an oratory, converted many to Christianity, and was renowned for miracles. Today is O.'s _dies natalis_. He was buried in the aforementioned oratory, where many (especially sufferers from gout) found healing through him. Thus far the Vita. O.'s various datings are pure guesswork and rely on an assumption that his converts were previously pagan. In the eighteenth century a church at Landelles dedicated to him contained an empty tomb, said to have been despoiled by Huguenots and bearing this French-language inscription: _cy gist le corps de monsieur S. Ortaire_. Late medieval calendars from Bayeux and Landelles record him for today.
5) Huna of Hunawihr (d. 7th cent.). H. (Hunna, Hune) is the very legendary saint of today's Hunawihr (Haut-Rhin) in Upper Alsace. We first hear of her in the probably eleventh-century Vita (BHL 2131, 2132) of St. Deodatus, bp. of Nevers, the founder of the monastery (later, canonry) of Saint-Dié at today's Saint-Dié-des-Vosges (Vosges). Here we are told that Huno, a member of the higher nobility of the kingdom of Burgundy, founded Hunawihr (Hunaweier) and resided there with his wife Huna, erecting a church which he gave to his friend Deodatus. According to BHL 2131, at the time of its writing Huno along with his holy wife (_cum conjuge sancta_) were shown buried in the church and miracles proved that both were in heaven. Apart from the Vita, Hunawihr is variously said to be first recorded either from 1114, when it is listed as a possession of the canons of Saint-Dié, or from 1279.
Later medieval legend, dispensing with Huno, tells that the noble Huna, neglected as a child, associated with the servants in her castle and even did the washing with them. She is further said to have been married to a brutal husband when she came of age, to have entered a convent to preserve her virginity, and to have spent her life humbly assisting the sisters in their work. In 1520 the duke of Württemberg (to whom Hunawihr then belonged), the bishop of Basel, and the canons of Saint-Dié got the latter's former provost, now Leo X, to permit a formal Elevatio of H.'s relics at Hunawihr (again, no mention of Huno), thus effectively canonizing her. Huna is absent from the RM.
An illustrated, French-language introduction to Hunawihr's fortified, late medieval église Ste-Hune is here:
And an English-language one, focusing on its mural paintings, is here:
Other views of the church:
6) Nidgar (Nidker) of Augsburg (d. after 829). N. is documented as bishop of Augsburg in 822 and in 829. His _dies natalis_ is either today (so a funerary inscription) or else 27. September (the Necrology of Augsburg's monastery of St. Ulrich). His relics in Sts. Ulrich and Afra in Augsburg are said to have been the subject of a formal Elevatio in 1064 and to have been venerated in the All Saints' Chapel there until well into the seventeenth century. The Roman Catholic site Kirchensite.de cautiously calls him "Seliger (Heiliger)", i.e. "Blessed (Saint)". N. seems never to have graced the pages of the RM.
N. is credited with laying the first stone of the then monastic church of St. Magnus (St. Mang) in Füssen in today's Landkreis Ostallgäu in southwestern Bavaria. Most of the present (parish) church dates from the early modern period:
But the crypt (an expansion of two pre-existing structures) goes back in part to N.'s time. Here's a view:
Augsburg's present Basilika St. Ulrich und Afra is a late fifteenth-century building with baroque overlay. Some distance views (those at the second location are expandable):
and an illustrated, German-language page with expandable interior and exterior views is here:
(last year's post lightly revised)
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