medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Today (27. August) is the feast day of:
1) Rufus of Capua (?). Today's less well known saint of the Regno is entered for today in the (pseudo-)Hieronymian Martyrology as follows: _in Capua natale Rufi_ (some witnesses have _in Campania_ instead). Other early liturgical sources from the Gelasian Sacramentary onward list him for today; as is their wont, he appears in these and in many calendars without geographic specification, as he also did in the now lost mosaics of the late fifth-/early sixth-century church of St. Priscus at today's San Prisco (CE) in Campania, an extramural survivor from Old Capua. The historical martyrologies from Bede onward identify him with increasing amounts of detail as the patrician Rufus whose daughter is said by Agnellus of Ravenna to have been cured by St. Apollinaris of that city. In this tradition, which dates him to the Neronian persecution, R. is regularly said to have suffered martyrdom at Capua.
An alternative tradition, present in all but the first of the Capuan calendars published by Michele Monaco in his _Sanctuarium Capuanum_ of 1630 and reflected as well in the thirteenth-century legendary of Bovino, makes R. a bishop of Capua who suffered under Diocletian and/or Maximian and gives him a companion in martyrdom, Carponius (_aliter_ Carpophorus). One version of their acta (BHL 7378) may be read in the _Acta Sanctorum_. Prior to its revision of 2001 the RM distinguished this pair from the earlier R. in a separate entry also under 27. August.
Capua's church of Santi Rufo e Carponio (as it is now called) is said to be documented as already existing in 1053. Later in the eleventh century it passed to the Benedictines of Montecassino, who made modifications and who added the present belltower. In 1641 reliquary niches were carved into the interior of its main apse; worked over again in the eighteenth century, the building has recently been restored in a way that permits more of its medieval fabric to be seen. The columns of its nave are spolia. A brief Italian-language description with a few thumbnail views is here:
Expandable views of the interior are here, including one of a fragment of this church's twelfth-century pavement in _opus sectile_ and several showing frescoes dated to the same century:
Two views of the originally late eleventh- or early twelfth-century church of San Rufo at Piedimonte di Casolla (CE) in Campania, first documented from 1113:
R. is the patron saint of the town of San Rufo (SA) in southern Campania's Vallo di Diano, thought to be a thirteenth-century foundation.
2) Phanourios the Newly Revealed (?). P. (in English occasionally latinized to Fanurius) is a saint whose cult appears to have its roots in the fourteenth century when, according to his earliest miracle account (preserved in the sixteenth-century Vat. Gr. 1190), a fourteenth-century Cretan priest, stopping off at Rhodes while on a mission to recover colleagues captured by Muslims and held in Asia Minor, received assistance from P., then locally venerated there. The priest brought P.'s cult back to Crete, where it has flourished ever since and whither it has spread throughout the Greek Orthodox church and into other Orthodox churches as well. A chapel in the city of Rhodes dedicated to P. and said to have been built in 1426 contains frescoed representations of his miracles in what are thought to have been part of the chapel's original decor.
P. is unrecorded prior to this discovery. Modern accounts make him a megalomartyr (which, if correct, would date P. to somewhere in the period from the first century through to the late fourth). As his iconographic tradition closely resembles one of St. George of Lydda, the prevailing scholarly view is that P. is in origin that saint and that an icon of G. identified by his cult name Phanerotis ('The Revealer') was misread as one of the previously unknown Phanourios. The latter name too is similar to Greek words for 'become visible' and 'reveal'. It will thus surprise few to learn that P. has long been especially venerated as a revealer of lost property (e.g. farm animals or household objects). P. has yet to grace the pages of the RM. Today is his feast day in Orthodox churches.
An interior view of P.'s chapel in Rhodes:
A mid-fifteenth-century icon of P. at Patmos by the painter Angelos is shown here:
3) Monica (d. 387). The mother of tomorrow's St. Augustine of Hippo needs no introduction to this list. Herewith views of her death scene at Ostia as imagined by Benozzo Gozzoli in his fresco cycle on A. (1464/65) in the church of Sant'Agostino at San Gimignano (SI) in Tuscany:
Other depictions of M. in these frescoes will be found in the reproductions here:
M. spent most of the Middle Ages at Ostia, residing in the church of Sant'Aurea. See:
4) Licerius (d. 540?). According to his first Vita (BHL 4916; earliest witness is of the tenth century), L. (also Glycerius; in French, Lizier, Licar, Licer, Glycère, etc.) was a Spanish disciple of St. Faustus of Riez who became bishop of Couserans in Aquitaine, who was noted for his generosity to the poor and for various miracles, and who by his prayers saved the town from a Visigothic attack. His relics, said to have been re-discovered in the ninth century (if that report is correct, then the Vita's silence on this point may make it older), were translated in the eleventh century to a new cathedral dedicated to him (consecrated, 1117) in what is now the town of Saint-Lizier (Ariège). Herewith some views of that church and of its cloister:
The present cathedral of Notre-Dame at Saint-Lizier keeps this sixteenth-century reliquary bust of L.:
5) Caesarius of Arles (d. 542). We know about the late antique churchman C. from his numerous sermons, from his letters, from his theological treatises and monastic writings, and from a two-book Vita (BHL 1508-1509) written by friends shortly after his death. A Gallo-Roman aristocrat, he trained early at Lérins and there either acquired or sharpened the predilections for an ascetic lifestyle and a Christianity of some intellectual rigor that he exemplified throughout his life and that, once he had become metropolitan bishop of Arles early in the sixth century, he attempted for forty years with mixed success to promote among his suffragans and among members of his lay flock.
C. enjoyed better relations with the Ostrogothic court at Ravenna than he often did with his fellow aristocrats and senior clergy in and around Arles. When the Ostrogoths ceded Provence to the Burgundians in about 532 the papal vicariate in Gaul that he had attempted to exercise since receiving it in 513 became largely a dead letter. C. is said to have been the first metropolitan in the West to receive a pallium from the pope.
C.'s cult was immediate. It was furthered by the prominence of the women's monastery he together with his sister Caesaria had established at Arles and by the rule he had written for it, adopted by queen St. Radegund in the mid-sixth century for her own community near Poitiers. Formally dedicated to St. John, the monastery was for most of its existence known as that of St. C. Originally built in the Alyscamps, it was moved in 524 to a site near the city wall and adjoining a fourth-century basilica that may once have served as the city's cathedral. An illustrated, French-language account of the basilica's excavation is here:
and a small site devoted to it is here:
Most of what's left of C.'s monastery is early modern. But its originally twelfth-century former chapel of Saint-Jean (much rebuilt in the thirteenth century with modifications in the fourteenth and seventeenth centuries), survives as the église Saint-Blaise:
Some of C.'s possessions survive. Shown on this page, in addition to C.'s inscribed funerary plaque, are two pallia and shoes said to have been his:
Here's a view of a belt buckle from C.'s grave:
C.'s tomb was restored in 883. Here's a view of a surviving fragment of the inscription placed on it then:
Two views of a twelfth-century statuette representing C., kept in the église abbatiale Saint-Césaire at Maurs (Cantal) in Auvergne:
Of course, not every relic or other object named for C. bears directly upon him. These re-assembled skull fragments for example (called the crâne de Saint-Césaire):
are actually from the skull of a Neanderthal who had been dubbed "Pierrette" when it was found in a dig at Saint-Césaire (Charente-Maritime) in 1979.
(last year's post lightly revised and with the addition of Phanourios the Newly Revealed)
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: