medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Today (24. August) is the feast day of:
1) Bartholomew, apostle (d. 1st cent.). Today's well known saint of the Regno is so named in the synoptic gospels and is usually identified with the Nathanael of John 1:45-50 and 21:2. He is said to have preached in places vaguely called 'India', in Lycaonia and other parts of Asia Minor, and, finally, in Armenia. Accounts of his martyrdom vary. In the East he was often said to have been crucified; Rabanus Maurus, Ado, and Usuard have him decapitated; Isidore of Seville and Bede have him flayed alive. B.'s iconography in the later medieval West often shows him holding a flaying knife; tanners and leather workers took him for their patron.
After fifth- and early sixth-century translations in Asia, B.'s alleged remains were brought to Lipari in the Aeolian Islands north of Sicily in about 580, an event narrated by St. Gregory of Tours in his _In gloria martyrum_ (cap. 33). In or about 838 what were said to be these were brought to Salerno just ahead of the Muslim seizure of Lipari and from there they soon went on to the city of Benevento, capital of the principality of the same name. At some point in the eleventh century, it would seem, relics of B. said to have come from Benevento arrived in Rome and were housed in Otto III's church on Tiber Island dedicated to Sts. Adalbert (of Prague) and Paulinus (of Nola). There they are said to remain (less pieces that have gone elsewhere), in the church that quickly began to be called after B. An Italian-language account of today's San Bartolomeo all'Isola is here:
Inside, amidst more recent splendors, is a medieval wellhead carved out of a Roman column drum. See views no. 16-20 here:
Marjorie Greene has some interior views of this church at:
Imperial veneration of B. also manifested itself north of the Alps, where a chapel dedicated to him was erected in 1017 in the residence at Paderborn and adjacent to the cathedral. Two expandable views are here:
Exterior view (apse):
In the late eleventh century (a big century for B., apparently) the Norman-led reconquest of Sicily got to the Aeolian Islands and a Benedictine abbey dedicated to B. was installed on Lipari. Its cloister was later incorporated into Lipari (ME)'s early modern cathedral of San Bartolomeo:
In 1239 construction began on a church, dedicated to B., for the imperial residence at Frankfurt am Main. Popularly known as the Kaiserdom ('Dom' in the sense of 'large, impressive church'), it was not completed until the early fifteenth century. Views, etc. follow:
Brief history (English-language and German-language):
Brief histories (German-language; illustrated; the first has expandable images):
Exterior view (early twentieth-century; roof lines of surrounding buildings lower):
Exterior view (1944; roof lines of surrounding buildings even lower):
In the meantime, the archdiocese of Benevento asserted its claim to its continued possession of B.'s relics by building next to the cathedral a church dedicated to him (said to have been begun in 1112). In the 1240s these relics were part of the Beneventan cathedral treasure housed temporarily at the abbey of the Most Holy Trinity at today's Cava de' Tirreni (SA) in Campania; in recognition of this service the abbey was permitted to retain part of the skull. The remainder of relics were back in Benevento when B.'s church there was finally consecrated in 1338. Presumably, this marble statue of B. by Nicola da Monteforte (earlier fourteenth-century) will have been part of that church's decor:
The statue is now in Benevento's cathedral, as is also the archdiocesan set of remains believed to be those of B., translated by Benedict XIII in 1729 from B.'s by then earthquake-ruined adjacent church.
2) Tolomeus of Nepi (?). T. is also known as Ptolomaeus and as Ptolemaeus. He and a companion named Romanus are the patron saints of Nepi (VT) in northern Lazio. They have a legendary Passio in various versions (BHL 6984-6987; oldest witness said to be of the eleventh century) that makes T. the bishop of a place near Nepi and R. his disciple and bishop of Nepi itself, has them martyred on this day under an emperor Claudius, and reports that their bodies were laid to rest by a beata Sabinilla in a crypt where other martyrs already lay.
Early modern scholars identified the Claudius of the Passio with the emperor of that name whom we commonly call Nero; more recently, scholars infer from the Passio's statement that Claudius was returning (to Rome) from Aquileia that the emperor in question is meant to be the third-century Claudius II "Gothicus", who is known to have had a headquarters there. But whether any of this really dates T. and R. is another matter: Claudius is the emperor in not a few Passiones of saints from papal territory (e.g. Marius and Martha, Prisca of Rome, Valentine of Rome, Caesarius of Terracina) and in all such cases his name, like those of pagan priests and persecuting officials in these tales, appears to have been supplied chiefly from a desire to impart some verisimilitude to the story.
An extramural _ecclesia Sancti Tolomei_ is attested for Nepi from 1178. Its precise location is unknown but the chances are excellent that it occupied more or less the same site as did a church of the same dedication documented from 1494, demolished in 1540, and replaced in the early seventeenth century by the present chiesa di San Tolomeo at the entrance to Nepi's catacombs, now known (after the figure in the Passio) as those of Santa Savinilla. When the Passio specifies that T.'s body was buried in the crypt's entrance and that R.'s was placed at an interior location it doubtless signifies resting places in this cemetery. A plan of these catacombs and several views of them (including one of their entrance through the church) are here:
And here's a view of a passage in the catacombs with humans for scale:
In view of the forms _Tolomei_ and _Tholomaeo_ that recur in the church's medieval documentation (to say nothing of the initial letters TOL of T.'s name as it appears in the medieval portion of an inscription in the catacombs) it is difficult to put much faith in the accuracy of the classicizing spelling _Ptolomaeus_ used repeatedly in the edition of the Passio printed in the _Acta Sanctorum_. The spelling is of course significant, as _Tolom(a)eus_ is a medievally attested aphetic form of _Bart(h)olom(a)eus_ (cf. the Dominican Tolomeo "Ptolemy" of Lucca). Both his name and the day of T.'s martyrdom as reported in the Passio suggest very strongly that this cult, not attested prior to the eleventh century, may have replaced one of St. Bartholomew.
Cardinal Baronio, otherwise so hospitable to the local saints of Italy, chose not to admit T. and R. to the RM. They entered it only in 1762, with individual elogia decreed by the Sacred Congregation of Rites, when their cult was confirmed at the behest of the then cardinal bishop of Nepi and Sutri. They left the RM as part of of its revision of 2001. T. and R. are celebrated liturgically at Nepi, T. today and R. tomorrow.
While we're here, some views of the later eleventh- or twelfth-century crypt of Nepi's cathedral:
3) Audoenus of Rouen (d. 684). A. (Ouen, Owen, Ewin, Audoin, Adoeno; also known by his _cognomen_ Dado) came from the new nobility of Merovingian Gaul and was educated at the palace school in Paris. A palace official under Chlotar II and Dagobert I, he was named bishop of Rouen in 640 while still a laymen and after some theological study was consecrated in 641. He was on terms of friendship with Sts. Eligius of Noyon, Desiderius of Cahors, and Wandregisilus of Fontenelle. A. founded or co-founded several monasteries, staffing them with monks from Luxeuil. He also remained influential at court. A. died on this day in the vicinity of Paris after returning from a diplomatic mission to Pepin of Héristal and was buried in the monastery at Rouen that he had reformed and that later was named for him.
Jo Ann McNamara's translation of A.'s (D.'s) Vita of St. Eligius of Noyon is here:
Some views of Rouen's église abbatiale de Saint-Ouen, begun in 1318 and not completed for more than two centuries.
Exterior (the facade, including the towers, is nineteenth-century):
A.'s cult spread fairly widely in western Europe. Herewith brief accounts, in English and in Italian, of the chiesa di Sant'Adoeno in Bisceglie (BAT) in Apulia, founded in 1074:
A brief, English-language account of the late twelfth- / early thirteenth-century St Audoen's Church in Dublin:
Some views (the tower is seventeenth-century; the structure with clerestory windows in one of these views is the adjacent nineteenth-century Roman Catholic church of the same dedication):
A brief, English-language account of the originally thirteenth-century St Owen's Church at Bromham (Beds) is at bottom here:
A fuller account will be found on this page:
(last year's post revised)
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