medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Today (22. August) is the feast day of:
1) Symphorian of Autun (?). S. is a martyr of Autun with a legendary Passio presumed originally to have been written shortly after the erection of his martyrial basilica there in about 450 (BHL 7967-7969). This has him suffer under emperor Aurelian, who as emperor issued no persecutorial edicts but who in 257 had a command in Gaul when the Valerianic persecution was under way. An alternative hypothesis is that -- despite the opening words _Sub Aureliano principe_ -- the emperor in question is meant to be Marcus Aurelius, who did persecute. In Usuard, whose elogium of S. follows the Passio, the emperor _is_ Aurelius. Perhaps the most memorable aspect of the Passio is S.'s mother atop the city wall encouraging S., as he is led out to be executed, to be faithful to the end.
S.'s cult spread in late antiquity to other places in Gaul, e.g. Tours (where his cult was already established in St. Gregory of Tours' day), Bourges (where in the sixth century there was a basilica dedicated to him), and in Burgundy (the very early eighth-century _Missale Gothicum_ [Vat. reg. lat. 317], of Burgundian origin, has a Mass for him). The monastery serving his church at Autun lasted until the French Revolution; its church survived until 1806. Some relics said to be of S. are kept in the église Saint-Symphorien at Nuits-Saint-Georges (Côte-d'Or) in Bourgogne:
Others are kept in an originally twelfth-century châsse in the église Saint-Symphorien at Saint-Symphorien (now part of the city of Mons) in Belgium:
Here's S. as depicted in an earlier twelfth-century Vitae sanctorum (Dijon, Bibliothèque municipale, ms. 641, fol. 10v):
In his martyrology Usuard entered Timothy of Rome (no. 2, below) before S. In later medieval liturgical books the two are sometimes paired, e.g. in the breviary for the Use of Paris of ca. 1414 in which this illumination occurs (Châteauroux, Bibliothèque municipale, ms. 2, fol. 294r):
Some views of the originally ninth-century église Saint-Symphorien at Azay-le-Rideau (Indre-et-Loire):
Some views of the originally twelfth-century église Saint-Symphorien at Biozat (Allier) in Auvergne:
Some views of the originally twelfth-century église Saint-Symphorien at Saint-Symphorien-de-Broue (Charente-Maritime) in Saintonge:
Some views of the former priory of S. at Saint-Symphorien-en-Saosnois (Sarthe), attested in the twelfth century as an oratory and from 1229 the church of a priory there:
Some views of the early fifteenth-century église collégiale Saint-Symphorien at Saint-Symphorien-sur-Coise (Rhône):
A view of the sixteenth-century église Saint-Symphorien at Neuville aux Bois (Loiret):
2) Timothy of Rome (303?). T. is a Roman martyr of the Via Ostiensis recorded for this day in the _Depositio martyrum_ of the Chronographer of 354, the early sixth-century Calendar of Carthage, the (pseudo-)Hieronymian Martyrology, and the Gelasian and Gregorian sacramentaries. The _Fasti Vindobonenses priores_ and _Fasti Vindobonenses posteriores_ (both probably compiled after the middle of the sixth century and giving dates of death for some martyrs) have him dying on 23. May 306 or on 23. August 303, respectively. Assuming -- and this is a big assumption -- that these years are close to accurate, 303 is the more likely. Seventh-century itineraries for pilgrims to Rome record his resting place near San Paolo fuori le Mura.
The _Acta_ of pope St. Sylvester have a brief account of a Roman martyr T. who had come from Antioch during the Great Persecution, who after lengthy imprisonment and severe torture had been decapitated, and whose body Sylvester recovered in the pontificate of St. Miltiades/Melchiades (311-314). This account informed Usuard's elogium of today's T. and served as the basis for two relatively quite late Passiones of T. (BHL 8302b, 8302h).
3) Augusta of Serravalle (?). The cult of this poorly documented saint is attested from 1234 onward at Serravalle, one of the municipalities in the Trevisan Alps that after Italian unification in the nineteenth century were joined together to form what is now Vittorio Veneto (TV). Her putative relics were discovered in 1450 during the rebuilding of Serravalle's little church dedicated to her.
Our sole detailed source for A.'s life and passion (for she is said to be a martyr) is her early modern Passio penned by Minuccio Minucci (1551-1604), a native of Serravalle who became secretary to Clement VIII and finally archbishop of Zadar (Zara; 1596-1604). This legendary account makes her the daughter of a pagan Germanic chieftain ruling from a palace on a height in the vicinity of Serravalle; when he discovers that she has converted to Christianity, she refuses to apostasize and he has her decapitated. Some years later, A.'s body is found on that very height and, Serravalle now being Christian, a church is erected there in her honor. At the time of the Passio's telling that early structure has left no visible remains. Minuccio's aition provides a cachet of antiquity for the saint of the historically attested church that was rebuilt in the early 1450s and that occupies a site near the top of a hill at Serravalle above the east bank of the Meschio.
A.'s church, consecrated on 12. April 1452 and restructured in the 1630s, preserves a fifteenth-century portion (now a chapel) housing an altar containing her tomb and supporting a fifteenth-century altarpiece with sculptures attributed to Giovanni Antonio da Marcador:
Here's a not very good view of A.'s fifteenth-century tomb (attributed to the same artist):
and an only slightly better view of her representation on it:
Figure 4 here (near the bottom of the page) has views of other sculptures on the tomb:
Figures 12 through 16 here (again near the bottom of the page) show details of this chapel's fifteenth-century frescoing (attributed to Giovanni Antonio da Meschio):
Exterior views of the church:
More views of the Santuario di Santa Augusta are here:
The pathway leading up to the Santuario is number 5 on this map:
Here's a distance view of that pathway with its seven seventeenth-century chapels:
A.'s cult was confirmed in 1754. She was dropped from the RM in its revision of 2001. At Serravalle her feast is observed today (her traditional _dies natalis_).
4) Timothy of Monticchio (Bl.; d. 1504). Today's less well known holy person of the Regno, the Franciscan mystic and visionary T. (in Italian, Timoteo) was born in the Abruzzese town of Monticchio, now a _frazione_ of L'Aquila (AQ). He is presumed to have studied and to have made his profession at his order's nearby convent of San Giuliano. Ordained priest, he was sent to the convent of San Bernardino at Campli (TE), where he served for many years as novice master, where he spent much time in prayer and fasting, and where he is said to have been visited in visions by the BVM and by St. Francis of Assisi. At least two books copied for his use in teaching survive at the Biblioteca Nazionale in Naples (St. Bonaventure's _Legenda maior_ of St. Francis and _Summa confessorum_).
In his youth T. will probably have seen fairly often the wonderful processional cross of Monticchio fashioned by Nicola da Guardiagrele in 1436 and now a treasure of the archdiocese of L'Aquila. Herewith three views of the cross itself and one of its ornate base:
For other views of this piece and for much more by and on this Abruzzese master, see now the very large exhibition catalog edited by Sante Guido, _Nicola da Guardiagrele. Orafo tra Medioevo e Rinascimento: le opere, i restauri_ (Todi: Tau, 2008; xxv, 638 p.).
The convento di San Bernardino outside of inhabited Campli was founded by St. John of Capestrano in 1449 and was named for its most famous resident, St. Bernardino of Siena. It is now abandoned. An illustrated, Italian-language account of it is here:
Three pages of views (left-click to expand) begin here:
T. will also have known the originally early fourteenth-century chiesa di San Francesco in Campli proper:
What's left of adjacent ex-convent now houses Campli's Museo archeologico. Herewith two views of the windows of the former chapter room:
T. finished his life as a contemplative at his order's convent of Sant'Angelo d'Ocre at Ocre (AQ). His cult was immediate. Beatification came in 1870. He now reposes in the convent church's cappella di San Michele Arcangelo. Here's a view of the chapel (my guess is that T.'s remains are either in the altar or beneath it -- does anyone on the list know for sure?):
Ocre (AQ) was almost at the epicenter of last April's devastating earthquake in the Aquilano. Herewith some pre-earthquake views of the convento:
The three post-earthquake views that begin here perhaps convey a better impression of the site:
(last year's post lightly revised and with the addition of Timothy of Monticchio)
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