medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Today (19. October) is the feast day of:
1) Ptolemy and Lucius (d. ca. 155). P. and L. are martyrs of Rome under Antoninus Pius. St. Justin Martyr recalls their martyrdom in his _Apologia secunda_. They entered the historical martyrologies with Florus of Lyon, who had read about them in Rufinus' Latin version of Eusebius' _Historia ecclesiastica_ and who placed them under 23. August. Ado, followed by Usuard, transferred them to today, assigned them correctly to the persecution of Antoninus Pius, but added (whether from misunderstanding or from a now lost source) that they had been buried in Alexandria of Egypt.
2) Asterius of Ostia (d. 222, supposedly). According to the highly legendary _Passio Marii, Marthae et socc._ (BHL 5543), Asterius was a Roman priest who secretly buried the body of the martyred pope St. Callistus and who in consequence was drowned in the Tiber at Ostia upon the orders of the emperor Severus Alexander. By the late fourth century a basilica dedicated to A. existed at Ostia. In the twelfth century relics said to be those of A. were transferred, along with those said to be of other saints of Ostia, to their present home, Ostia's cathedral of St. Aurea. The latter church (which was until 1430 was also the resting place of St. Monica, mother of Augustine of Hippo) was rebuilt in the later fifteenth century. Here's a view:
Prior to its revision of 1969, A. appeared on the general Roman Calendar under 21. October.
3) Savinian and Potentian (d. 3d cent.?). S. (in Latin, Sabinianus) and P. are the fairly legendary protobishops of Sens, where they are said in an eleventh-century chronicle to have have been the subjects of an Inventio in 847 by the archbishop of Sens in the cemetery of that city's monastery of St.-Pierre-le-Vif. They are absent from the earliest manuscript of the (pseudo-)Hieronymian Martyrology but present in the ninth-century martyrologies of Wandelbert of Prüm, St. Ado of Vienne, and Usuard. Ado makes them missionaries sent from Rome by St. Peter, as they also are in their legendary Passio (BHL 7414, etc.); Usuard modifies this to their having been sent out by the Roman pontiff. The Passio, which gives them various companions, takes them from Sens to Troyes, where they are martyred two years apart but both on 31. December.
S. and P. were entered in the RM under 31. December until its revision of 2001, its new editors having preferred these saints' traditional feast day in Sens (and in many other dioceses, including that of Troyes).
A few views of the originally eleventh-century basilique Saint-Savinien at Sens:
A set of pages on the Savinian, Potentian and Modesta window (ca. 1215-1225) at the cathedral of Notre-Dame de Chartres begins here:
S. and P. in an early fifteenth-century (ca. 1414) breviary for the Use of Paris (Châteauroux, Bibliothèque municipale, ms. 2, fol. 374v):
4) Eusterius (d. 6th cent.). Today's less well known saint of the Regno was bishop of Salerno when he subscribed the acts of the synod of Constantinople of 536. He (or a successor of the same name name?) was still in office in 555. In records of the sixth century his name occurs as Asterius; in the eleventh century he is sanctus Austerius. His present name form represents what was common in archdiocesan liturgical texts of the sixteenth century. A church dedicated to E. is recorded for today's Salitto, a _frazione_ of Olevano sul Tusciano (SA) in southern Campania, from 968; he is now the co-titular of Salitto's chiesa di Santa Lucia e Sant'Eusterio. E. entered the RM under cardinal Baronio and left it in the revision of 2001.
5) Veranus of Cavaillon (d. very late 6th cent.). We know about V. (in French: Véran, Vérain, Vran, Vrain) primarily from various writings of St. Gregory of Tours, who knew him personally and who credited him (_Historia Francorum_, 9. 4. 41) with such powers that he was able to heal many merely by making the sign of the cross, as well as from the Acta of the council of Mâcon in 585, in which V. participated. Bishop of today's Cavaillon (Vaucluse) in Provence, he represented the Burgundian kingdom diplomatically on several occasions, baptized in 587 Childebert II of Austrasia's young son Theuderic, and was probably one of the bishops who in that year mediated the treaty of Andelot between the Burgundian king Guntram and Childebert. V. is last heard from in August of 589, as one of the bishops who signed a letter from Guntram concerning the abbey of the Holy Cross in Poitiers. A fragmentarily preserved writing against married priests is ascribed to him.
V. has two Vitae of legendary character (BHL 8536 and 8536b), conjecturally assigned to the ninth or to the late tenth or very early eleventh century. These make him a native of a place variously identified as today's Javols (Lozère) or as Cavaillon who was ordained priest by a bishop of Mende, who liberated the people of Cavaillon from a dragon whose lair was at Vaucluse, who then settled at Vaucluse as a hermit, and who later went to Rome on pilgrimage, stopping off at Milan on the way back (BHL 8536 has our first mention of that city's basilica di San Lorenzo), and who during this journey operated at Firenzuola d'Arda the miracle of the dead girl brought back to life which readers of these notices will remember from the account two days ago of Florentius of Orange.
Still according to the Vitae, on his return V. was chosen bishop of Cavaillon, where he later died on a 13. November and from which he was buried at Vaucluse. 13. November is V.'s traditional feast day in much of central and southern France (altered in places to 10., 11., or 12. November, partly through confusion with V.'s homonym of Vence and Lyon). His commemoration today in the RM accords with a feast day in the diocese of Orléans commemorating a translation of putative remains of V. (described as a head and an arm) into a collegiate church dedicated to him at today's Jargeau (Loiret) in 1154. An illustrated, French-language page on that much rebuilt, originally eleventh-century church (V. was not its first titular), now dedicated to St. Stephen, is here:
Three views of the originally eleventh-century chapelle Saint-Véran at Lacoste (Vaucluse):
The originally twelfth-century église Notre-Dame-et-Saint-Véran at Fontaine-de-Vaucluse (Vaucluse), a replacement for an earlier church of the same dedication first recorded from 979, is built over a late ninth-century crypt that uses Roman-period spolia and that contains an ancient sarcophagus traditionally said to have been that of V. (his putative relics there were removed to Cavaillon in 1311). I've been unable to locate views of the crypt (also known touristically as V.'s 'cell') but here are some views of the upper church:
http://tinyurl.com/ylyrzz2 [chapel, north side]
Francesco Petrarca lived at Vaucluse intermittently from 1337 to 1553; his _De vita solitaria_ is dedicated to a bishop of Cavaillon and part of chapter fourteen of its second book is an evocation of his predecessor V.'s "holy and solitary life" (_sanctam et solitariam vitam_) at Vaucluse, including V.'s erection there of a small church dedicated to the BVM.
Some expandable views of the exterior of the originally twelfth- and thirteenth-century ex-cathédrale Notre-Dame-et-Saint-Véran at Cavaillon:
A timeline of this church's building stages is here:
Some views of the originally late eleventh- or early twelfth century pieve di San Verano at Peccioli (PI) in Tuscany, whose titular is today's V., starting with an aerial shot where the church's nineteenth-century belltower is clearly visible in the upper right:
The porch of the seventeenth-century église Saint-Véran at tiny Saint-Véran (Hautes-Alpes) preserves from its "romanesque" predecessor a pair of stylophore lions:
V. as depicted the Mary Magdalen retable (ca. 1550) at Contes (Alpes-Maritimes):
6) Justus, Flavianus, and companions (?). The eleventh-century chronicle of the Benedictine abbey of Novalesa records the martyrdom of J., F., and other monks of a daughter house at Ulces or Ulcium (today's Oulx) in Piedmont's Val di Susa, slain -- it is said -- by invading Lombards. But in the later sixth century there was as yet no abbey at Novalesa and it is extraordinarily unlikely that there would have been at that time any monastic community at Ulces. Papebroch thought it more likely that these monks had been slain during one of the early tenth-century Muslim raids in this subalpine area. But the chronicler of Novalesa was well aware of those raids. Probably, J. and F. were the traditional saints of a small house that later became one of Novalesa's dependencies. When and under what conditions they really met their end is unknown.
In 1027 the then marquis of Turin had what were said to be J.'s remains brought from their recently "discovered" resting place at Oulx to today's Susa (TO), where he built a church to house them. This building was one component of the early eleventh-century "white mantle of churches" famously remarked on by the Franco-Burgundian historian Rodulfus Glaber and, indeed, R. was present in Susa for its dedication (_Hist_. 3. 7). This church is recorded under various dedications but in time it and the Benedictine abbey that adjoined it from 1029 onward came to be known as those of J. Later in the same century a collegiate church dedicated to J. was established at Oulx. J. is the patron saint of Susa and of other towns in the general vicinity. He and his companions have yet to grace the pages of the RM.
J.'s much rebuilt church at Susa became the latter's cathedral when the diocese of Susa was erected in 1772. An Italian-language account of it, with detail views (slightly expandable), is here:
The cathedral is attached at one point to a late Roman city gate, the Porta Savoia:
A page of expandable views:
6) Frideswide (d. 727, supposedly). F. (also Frithuswith; in in Latin, Frideswida) is the legendary first abbess of a monastery at Oxford that for most of the eleventh century was a secular canonry and that in about 1122 was converted to a house of canons regular. The earlier twelfth century is also when the surviving stories about her begin to be recorded. F. has a Vita in several versions (BHL 3162-3168) of which the earliest (Life A) makes her the daughter of a not previously attested sub-king Didanus (back-translated into Old English as Dida) who establishes at Oxford a church and women's monastery in honor of his deceased wife and who then at F.'s request places her in charge of it. Later F. is pursued by a king Algar and flees with two of her nuns to a place called Bentona (usually identified as today's Bampton) and settles in a wood called Binsey, where they build a small monastery and she operates miracles.
Still according to this form of the Vita, Algar is struck blind while attempting to enter Oxford (in a version known to William of Malmesbury, it is the unnamed A.'s emissaries who are struck blind; they are then cured at the intercession of the saint). F. returns to her monastery at Oxford and soon dies. Her _dies natalis_ is given as 19. October 727; she is said to have been buried in St Mary's Church at Oxford. Thus far the Vita (Life B gives some later history of the church). In 1180 F.'s putative remains, which had been the subject of a miraculous Inventio, were accorded an Elevatio in what was now the rebuilt church of St F. Numerous miraculous cures were subsequently attributed to her. Also in the twelfth century F. became Oxford's patron saint. The university formally adopted her as patron early in the fifteenth century.
In 1289 the aforementioned remains were placed in a new shrine that survived Cardinal Wolsey's closing of the monastery and his rebuilding of the church as the chapel of the college that became Christ Church. The shrine was desecrated in 1538, restored under Mary in what was now Christ Church Cathedral, and desecrated again in 1558. Pieces of it said to have been found in a well at Christ Church have been used to reconstruct the monument in what is now the cathedral's Latin Chapel. Views of the reconstructed shrine may be seen in this illustrated account of the building:
F. as depicted in a fourteenth-century window in the Latin Chapel of Christ Church Cathedral:
Two views of the twelfth- to fifteenth-century St Frideswide's Church at Frilsham (Berks):
Sherry Reames' Introduction to her TEAMS edition of the _Life of St. Frideswide_ in the Shorter South English Legendary is here:
and her edition begins here:
(last year's post lightly revised and with the addition of Veranus of Cavaillon)
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