medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Today (31. October) is the feast day of:
1) Epimachus of Pelusium (?). We know about the Egyptian martyr E. from his late antique legendary _Acta_ preserved very fragmentarily in Coptic, from an early legendary Passio in Greek (BHG 593; there's also a tenth-century metaphrastic version, BHG 594), from a synaxary account in Arabic paralleling the Greek-language Passiones, and from various annalistic and liturgical sources dating from the sixth century to the thirteenth and written in all the languages mentioned thus far plus Ge'ez (a translation of the Arabic-language synaxary account) and Georgian (a liturgical hymn thought to have originated in late antique Palestine).
According to this tradition E. was a still fairly young weaver of Pelusium (BHG 594 makes him an hermit) who, caught up in a persecution that is usually not identified (the earlier tenth-century Annals of Sa'īd ibn al-Bitriq specify the persecution of Diocletian and Maximian), was brought before a Roman governor near Naucratis (Coptic sources) or at Alexandria (Greek sources), confessed his Christianity, overturned a table bearing idols set up to receive sacrifice, was imprisoned and tortured (his blood operating at least one cure), and either was decapitated or (so the Coptic synaxary of Alexandria attributed to the thirteenth-century Michael, bishop of Atrib and Malig) died from his mistreatment before he could be decapitated.
2) Quintinus of Vermand (d. late 3d cent., supposedly). Q. (Quintin, Quentin) is the martyr of today's Saint-Quentin (Aisne) in Picardy, where his cult is already recorded by St. Gregory of Tours in the sixth century. The earliest of his many legendary Passiones (BHL 6999-7012) is commonly dated to the eighth century. According to this account, Q. was cruelly tortured and then decapitated at _Agusta Veromandorum_ (i.e. Augusta Viromanduorum, a Roman-period predecessor of Saint-Quentin thought to underlie the modern city's outlying _canton_ of Vermand) on the orders of a Roman official under Maximian, Rictiovarus (the villain of numerous Passiones from northern Francia). Q.'s body was then secretly deposited in the river Somme, where it remained for about fifty-five years. Thus far this Passio.
Other accounts relate the miraculous recovery and burial of Q.'s still fleshy head and body, the translation of Q.'s remains over a century later to a basilica where their location was in time been forgotten, and their rediscovery by St. Eligius in the seventh century. One may read about the latter event in Jo Ann McNamara's English-language translation of Dado of Rouen's Life of St. Eligius (scroll down to II, 6):
And an illustrated, French-language summary of Q.'s legend is here:
Parenthesis: One thing Dado does not tell us is how St. Eligius (Éloi) advised Dagobert I on matters pertaining to the king's wardrobe (or perhaps he did but it's in one of the lacunae). For that, one has to go to the song "Le bon roi Dagobert":
Q.'s martyrdom as depicted in the Livre d'images de Madame Marie (ca. 1285-1290; Paris, BnF, ms. Nouvelle acquisition française 16251, fol. 82v):
Q.'s martyrdom as depicted in an illuminated, earlier fourteenth-century (second quarter) collection of French-language saint's lives (Paris, BnF, ms. Français 185, fol. 266r):
Q.'s martyrdom as depicted in a later fifteenth-century (1463) manuscript of Vincent de Beauvais' _Speculum historiale_ in its translation by Jean de Vignay (Paris, BnF, ms. Français 51, fol. 87r):
Q.'s cult spread widely in Francia. Its chief monument today is the twelfth- and (chiefly) thirteenth-century formerly collegiate church dedicated to him at Saint-Quentin:
Further views of its pavement labyrinth are here:
Views of Q.'s tomb and of his head and hand reliquaries (the latter in cases that no longer exist) are here:
For other views of these reliquaries, along with much other information on the church and the cult, see Ellen M. Shortell, "Dismembering Saint Quentin: Gothic Architecture and the Display of Relics", _Gesta_ 36 (1997), 32-47.
A view of Q.'s originally later twelfth-century church at Saint-Quentin-de-Chalais (Charente), Poitou-Charente:
Q.'s late twelfth-/fifteenth-century church at Tournai/Doornik in Belgian Hainaut can be seen just above center in this aerial view (the large church below it is the cathedral):
Q.'s thirteenth-/fourteenth-century church at Soumont-Saint-Quentin (Calvados), Normandy (replacing one consecrated in 1190):
Page of views of the originally late twelfth-century belltower:
A church dedicated to Q. is first attested at Mainz from 815. Here's an illustrated, German-language account of his present church there (1288-1330; extensive damage from Allied bombing in 1942; restoration completed, 1996):
3) Foillan (d. 655?). The Irishman F. (in French: Feuillen, Feuillien) was the brother of Sts. Fursey (16. January) and Ultan (4. September). We know about him from Fursey's seventh-century Vitae and from a series of Vitae of his own (BHL 3070-3077) whose earliest witnesses are of the tenth and eleventh centuries. According to these sources he went with Fursey to East Anglia in the 630s, helped found a monastery there at a place since identified as today's Burgh Castle (Norfolk), and took over its rule when after a few years Fursey left to become first a hermit and then a monastic founder in Francia.
During an invasion of East Anglia by the pagan king Penda of Mercia the brother's East Anglian monastery was sacked and F. and Ultan, who was now with him, also went to Francia. After residing briefly at a monastery at today's Péronne (Somme), where the now deceased Fursey was buried, they were assisted by Sts. Gertrude and Itta of Nivelles in founding a new monastery under F.'s direction at today's Fosses-la-Ville (prov. de Namur) in Belgium. Returning one day to Nivelles (the two monasteries were in close contact), he and three companions were taken and killed by bandits. Guided both by an angel and by a column of fire marking the spot, Ultan found where their corpses lay and brought them to Nivelles. Well-attended exsequies were held there for F., whose body was then brought back to Fosses by the bishop of Poitiers and by the mayor of the palace. Thus far the Vitae.
In 1125 a Premonstratensian abbey was established at the reputed spot of F.'s murder, today's Le Roeulx in Belgian Hainaut; one or more relics of F. were used to consecrate the altar of the abbey's church. The modern église Saint-Nicolas at Le Roeulx keeps on its altar of Saint-Feuillien a reliquary with a lower jaw said to have been F.'s:
In 1408 F.'s relics were briefly at Mons before being returned to Fosses minus a tibia and part of a hip. Some of the relics at Fosses survived the revolution and are kept in a modern châsse and a modern head reliquary at the église collégiale Saint-Feuillien at Fosses-la-Ville. The latter has a late tenth-century tower and an eleventh-century crypt. Illustrated French-language pages on this church and a views of its chevet are here:
4) Wolfgang of Regensburg (d. 994). The probably not nobly born W. was sent to school at Reichenau at the age of seven, studied at the cathedral school of Würzburg, and served in the cathedral school of Trier (where was also dean of the cathedral's clerics). In 964 he became a monk at Einsiedeln, where he taught in the abbey school. In 968 W. was ordained priest by St. Ulrich, in 971 he was a missionary in Hungary, and in 972 he became bishop of Regensburg. As bishop he founded the Benedictine abbey for women of Mittelmünster, attempted to convert the women's canonries of Obermünster and Neumünster to Benedictine houses as well, and was tutor to the children of Henry the Quarrelsome (including the future emperor St. Henry II).
W. died at today's Pupping in Oberösterreich. His body was returned to Regensburg, where it was interred in the crypt of the abbey church of St. Emmeram; miracles were reported at his grave. We have an early account of W. (before 1030) in the Bavarian history of Arnold of St. Emmeram and a Vita by Othlo of St. Emmeram (BHL 8990) written a few years after W.'s Elevatio by Leo IX in 1052. W.'s cult spread rapidly after this canonization. A pilgrimage church, first recorded from 1183, at what is now St. Wolfgang on the Wolfgangsee in Austria's Land Salzburg honors a place to which W. was said to have retired as an hermit late in life. Here's a page of views of that much rebuilt church's great St. Wolfgang Altarpiece (center completed, 1479; wings completed, 1481) by Michael Pacher:
Some views of the church:
Some illustrated, German-language pages on the originally earlier sixteenth-century St.-Wolfgangs-Kirche in Schneeberg (Lkr. Erzgebirgskreis) in Sachsen:
(Quintinus of Vermand revised from an earlier post)
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