medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Today (21. April) is the feast day of:
1) Apollonius of Rome (d. 185). We know about A. principally from Eusebius, who preserves large chunks of the early acts of A.'s martyrdom, and from two chapters in St. Jerome's _De viris illustribus_. Additionally, he has a Passio that survives in versions in Armenian (BHO 79) and in Greek (BHG 149). A. was well known in Rome as a learned philosopher when he was denounced by a disaffected slave as a Christian. After a hearings by a sympathetic magistrate and by a board of Roman senators, he was tried before the full senate and convicted. According to Jerome, A. 1) was himself a senator and 2) defended himself by reading before the senate an "outstanding work on the Christian faith". A. was executed by decapitation; his Greek-language Passio adds that he was tortured first.
Medievally, A. was confused with the Apollo of Alexandria who appears several times in the New Testament and with the A. of the martyrs Apollonius and Valentine listed in the (pseudo-)Hieronymian Martyrology for 18. April. The new (2001) RM moved A.'s commemoration to today.
2) Anastasius of the Sinai (d. shortly after 700). A. was abbot of a monastery in Sinai and the author of a medievally popular introduction (_Hodegos_, 'Guide') to Catholic doctrine, written against monophysites, monothelites, and Jews. Another doctrinal text, edited recently in the Corpus Christianorum series graeca as _Anastasii Sinaitae Quaestiones et responsiones_, is generally considered an eighth- or ninth-century compilation containing very little that is actually from the pen of A.
3) Máel Ruba (d. 722). The Irishman M. (in Old Irish also Máel Rubai; in Scottish: Maol Rubha, Mael Rubha, and many pronunciation spellings) whose Celtic name forms are often spelled as one word, as they are also in the Latin Malrubius and Maelrubius, entered religion at the monastery of Bangor. In about 671, at the age of twenty-nine, he crossed over to northwestern Scotland and established a monastery on the peninsula later called Applecross (originally apor Crosan) from which he proceeded to evangelize the region's Picts and where, according to the Irish annals that are our sources for him, he died at the age of eighty one.
Later Scottish tradition makes M. a martyr, probably by transference from the similarly named St. Rufus of Capua (also celebrated on 27. August, M.'s feast day in later medieval Scotland). In his lections in the late fifteenth-/early sixteenth-century Aberdeen Breviary (printed 1507), M. is called Ruphus as well as Malrubius and the day's celebration is his and not that of R. of Capua:
To judge from surviving toponyms, including that of Loch Maree, M. was medievally a very popular saint in northern Scotland. Here's an English-language page, with several expandable views, on St Maelrubha's Chapel, Kilmory, Craignish, Argyll and Bute (perh. originally ca. 1200):
And here's an English-language page, with one expandable view, on St Maelrubha's Chapel, Arisaig, in the Highland Council area (sixteenth-century at the latest):
4) Wolbodo (d. 1021). W. (in French, Wolbodon) came from the nobility of Flanders. He was educated at the cathedral school of Utrecht and later became its head. Bishop Adalbold II (1010-26) made A. cathedral prior. He went on from there to become bishop of Liège (Lüttich) in 1018. As bishop, W. had differences with the emperor who nominated him (Henry II). His brief pontificate is memorable primarily for the impetus he gave to reformed monasticism in his diocese. W. enjoyed a popular cult from shortly after his death until well into the early modern period.
W. commissioned a noted early eleventh-century psalter now named for him (Brussels, Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique, cod. 9188-89). I couldn't quickly find an illustration on the Web, but the locations of several in printed books are given here:
5) Anselm of Aosta (d. 1109). A. (also A. of Bec, A. of Canterbury). Born at Aosta in the extreme northwest of today's Italy, A. studied in Burgundy. Drawn by the reputation of its abbot Lanfranc, he then moved on to the abbey of Le Bec in Normandy. A. was already an important theologian at the time of his election there as abbot in 1078 (his enthronement took place early in the following year). While abbot, A. followed Lanfranc to Canterbury. He succeeded him as archbishop on 1093. Difficulties with king William II over church/state relationships caused A. to spend the late 1090s on the continent, where he found time to add to his substantial body of writing. Recalled by Henry I in 1100, he went into a second exile in 1103 and returned only in 1106 after Henry had renounced lay investiture, taxation of the church, and confiscation of its property.
A. was buried in Canterbury cathedral. His Vita by his much younger associate Eadmer (BHL 525, etc.) is deservedly famous; the same author's Miracula of A. (BHL 534) provides early attestation of his cult. St. Thomas Becket failed in an attempt to have A. canonized. Henry VII was more successful in 1492, getting pope Alexander VI to authorize his cult for England. In 1690, in the wake of England's Glorious Revolution, A. was added to the general Roman Calendar. In 1720, at the request of the Stuart pretender James III, he was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church.
Canterbury cathedral has changed somewhat since A.'s pontificate. He oversaw the building of the crypt:
as well as work on the choir (dedicated in 1130; rebuilt in part after the fire of 1174):
For a discussion, with photographs, of the modifications in these areas after the fire of 1174 see M. F. Hearn, "Canterbury Cathedral and the Cult of Becket", _The Art Bulletin_ 76 (1994), 19-52. Peter Draper lodged criticisms of that article in his "Interpretations of the Rebuilding of Canterbury Cathedral, 1174-1186: Archaeological and Historical Evidence", _The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians_ 56 (1997), 184-203, following which there was an exchange of letters by both parties in "Letters", _The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians_ 57 (1998), 238-240. All of this is available in JSTOR (for those with access to JSTOR).
Here's a late eleventh-century illuminated initial (at the beginning of A.'s _Monologion_) depicting A. as archbishop:
Views of of pages from a later twelfth-century manuscript of A.'s _De casu diaboli_ (Free Library of Philadelphia, MS Lewis E 5.; olim Phillipps 4374) are here:
Some views of St. Anselm's Chapel in Canterbury cathedral:
Aosta's collegiate church of Sant'Orso was built from 994 to 1025 over a paleochristian predecessor and rebuilt in the later Middle Ages. It retains a few eleventh-century frescoes such as the one shown here:
Sant'Orso also has a famous tower, whose lower portions date from the twelfth century:
Other "romanesque" towers may be seen at Aosta's cathedral of San Giovanni Battista:
The abbey of Le Bec, at today's Le Bec-Hellouin (Eure), was rebuilt in the early modern period. A medieval survivor there is the fifteenth-century Tour Saint-Nicolas, shown here in various views:
6) Bartholomew of Cervere (Bl.; d. 1466). B. (also B. de Cerveriis, B. Cerveri, B. de Cerverio), a scion of a baronial family that took its name from today's Cervere (CN) in Piedmont, was born at nearby Savigliano where he entered the local Dominican convent at an early age. A bright student, he was sent to Turin for his professional studies, simultaneously obtaining his doctorate and being admitted to the theological faculty in 1452. B. was twice elected prior of the convent of San Domenico at Savigliano and was also Inquisitor General for Piedmont and Liguria. The latter position made him a target for Cathars unhappy at being repressed. Five of these attacked and killed him on his way to Cervere, thus fulfilling a prophecy B. had recently made to his confessor to the effect that that though he was called "of Cervere" he had never been there but now he was going there as an inquisitor and there he would die.
B.'s two traveling companions survived the attack, one unharmed and the other gravely wounded. Four months later B.'s body, which had been lying in the church at Cervere, was brought back to Savigliano and buried, not without miracles, at his convent there. Not long afterward a memorial chapel was erected at the place of his assassination. In 1803 Savigliano's convent of San Domenico was secularized and B. remains were ceremoniously re-interred in the parish church at Cervere (which latter now has a modern successor). B. was beatified in 1863. Files of his cause and of that of his successor at Savigliano, Bl. Aymon (Aimone) Taparelli, form part of the collection of modern canonization/beatification documents at the Erzbischöfliche Akademische Bibliothek in Paderborn.
In the Order of Friars Preacher B. is celebrated on 3. February with two other martyred Dominican priests of the same region and period, Bl. Pietro di Ruffia and Bl. Antonio Pavoni. Shortly after his death he was represented pictorially in Dominican churches in Piedmont, e.g. in a now lost painting of 1473 by Giorgio Turcotto at San Domenico in Alba (CN). Linked to below are smallish reproductions of frescoes of B. and of Antonio Pavoni put up on the Santi Beati site without indication of source:
Can anyone say where the originals are located?
Here's a rear view of the just-mentioned, originally late thirteenth-/fourteenth-century chiesa di San Domenico at Alba:
A good view of the interior is the penultimate image on this page:
(last year's post lightly revised and with the addition of Máel Ruba)
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