medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Today (6. October) is the feast day of:
1) Fides of Agen (?). The cult of the Aquitanian virgin martyr F. (in French, Foy or Foi; in Spanish, Fe; in English, Faith) is first attested from the late sixth or very early seventh century, when she is entered for today in the (pseudo-)Hieronymian Martyrology. She enters the historical martyrologies with Florus of Lyon, whose _elogium_ doesn't specify the persecution in which she is thought to have perished. This defect is remedied in F.'s many Passiones (BHL 2928ff.), where she suffers at the hands of a Roman official named Datianus (the well traveled villain of Passiones of several major saints, including Vincent of Zaragoza and George of Lydda) under Diocletian or Maximian. BHL 2928 also makes her both juvenile and beautiful of face but more beautiful of mind and has her convert many to Christianity through her constancy before being executed by decapitation.
F.'s cult appears to have arisen at Agen (Lot-et-Garonne) in Aquitaine, where her relics were kept in a basilica dedicated to her. In the later ninth century part of her head was translated by theft to the abbey at Conques (Aveyron) in Midi-Pyrénées, which latter in the eleventh and twelfth centuries erected her well known pilgrimage church. An illustrated, English-language multi-page site on this structure begins here:
One in French (with many more views):
F. in the sculptures of the west tympanum (early twelfth-century):
A French-language page on F.'s reliquary statue at Conques:
Another view of that object:
Views, etc. of the later twelfth-century église Sainte-Foy at Sélestat (Bas-Rhin) in Alsace:
F.'s martyrdom as depicted in an earlier fourteenth-century illustrated collection of French-language saint's lives (Paris, BnF, ms. Français 183, fol. 85v):
F.'s martyrdom as depicted in a later fifteenth-century (1463) illustrated copy of Jean de Vignay's French-language translation of Vincent de Beauvais' _Speculum historiale_ (Paris, BnF, ms. Français 51, fol. 85v):
Views, etc. of the église Sainte-Foi (also Sainte-Foix) at Conches-en-Ouche (Eure) in Normandy, a sixteenth-century rebuilding of an originally thirteenth-century church:
2) Renatus of Sorrento (?). The cult of this less well known saint of the Regno is first attested from the seventh century, when the coastal Campanian town of Sorrento is recorded as having had a burial church dedicated to him. In the eighth-century sermons devoted to him (BHL 7179-7181) he is not yet a bishop. But he is so identified in his iconography (whose earliest representative is a fresco dated to the late tenth or eleventh century) and in his later medieval Office from Sorrento. An extramural Benedictine abbey dedicated to R. and affiliated to Montecassino existed at Sorrento from at least the late eighth century through the Middle Ages and beyond; its church, which was said to have been built over R.'s own oratory, was also the town's cathedral until 1602.
The monastery of course spread R.'s cult locally. The Grotta di San Biagio at today's Castellammare di Stabia (NA), where R.'s early fresco portrait is located, was one of its properties. The Angevin conquest of the kingdom in 1266 led to R.'s equation with the even more shadowy Renatus (Réné) of Angers, to considerably heightened prominence in Campania, and to a reported translation of R.'s relics from Sorrento to Angers by duke (king, if you share the Angevin view of the succession to Giovanna II) Réné in the earlier fifteenth century. Churches and chapels dedicated to R. are attested from Naples in the thirteenth century and from Vico Equense, Nola, Sarno, and Capua in the fourteenth. R. has yet to grace the pages of the RM. An altar is dedicated to him in Sorrento's originally fifteenth-century cathedral.
Here's a distance view of R.'s portrait (at right, with St. Benedict of Nursia and Montecassino at left) in the aforementioned Grotta di San Biagio:
There's a larger version in the illustrated, Italian-language account of the site here:
Another view of the Grotta:
3) Aldemar of Bucchianico (fl. ca. 1000). According to his brief, probably late eleventh-century Vita (BHL 251), this less well known saint of the Regno (also Aldemarius; also A. of Capua) was head of the nobly founded monastery of San Lorenzo at Capua, where he performed miracles; later he founded a monastery, dedicated to the BVM, at Bucchianico (CH) in Abruzzo. Within a generation after his death this house and others in today's Chieti province became dependencies of Montecassino; the latter perpetuated the view that A. had founded them as the abbey's emissary. A.'s Vita was transcribed by the Cassinese historian and forger Peter the Deacon at the end of his _Ortus et vita iustorum cenobii Casinensis_ (ca. 1136) and was reworked by him (BHL 252) in his part of the _Chronicon cassinense_. The latter account erroneously has A. die in around 1080.
A. has yet to grace pages of the RM. Remains said to be his are kept at an altar dedicated to him in Bucchianico's chiesa di Sant'Urbano (pope St. Urban I), a later eighteenth-century replacement for one of the same dedication attested from 1243.
4) Adalbero of Würzburg (d. 1090). Educated at the cathedral school of Würzburg, A. was the last of the male line of the counts of Lambach in what is now Oberösterreich. He became bishop of Würzburg in 1045. In consequence of his support of pope St. Gregory VII against the interests of Henry IV deposed in 1085 and driven out of his city. The anti-king Rudolf of Schwaben brought him back in 1086 but he was driven out again almost immediately. A. spent his last years at the Benedictine monastery he had founded in his ancestral castle at today's Lambach an der Traun. A monk of Lambach wrote his Vita (BHL 30) in about 1200.
A.'s cult was confirmed, at the level of Saint, for German and Austrian dioceses (and for the Benedictines of Lambach?) in 1883. For the remainder of the Roman Catholic Church he is a _beatus_.
A. completed, in about 1075, the first phase of construction of Würzburg's cathedral of St. Kilian. Two very different aerial views of this structure:
West front and north side, ca. 1900:
5) Bruno the Carthusian (d. 1101). Today's well known saint of the Regno was born at Köln, where he became a cathedral canon. From there he went on to Reims, where he taught theology and was made chancellor. Seeking a simpler life, B. and some companions founded in the Alps near Grenoble a hermitage that became the Grande Chartreuse, the mother house of the Carthusian Order. In 1090, he was summoned to Rome, didn't like the life there either, and in 1091 together with a few companions established a new hermitage deep in the woods of southern Calabria at a place called La Torre that had been given him by Roger I, count of Sicily.
This second foundation, dedicated to the Virgin and located 800 metres above sea level on the site of the present Santa Maria del Bosco near today's Serra San Bruno (VV), soon generated a third, the nearby Santo Stefano del Bosco (founded sometime during the period 1097-1099). B. remained at Santa Maria della Torre until his death in 1101. He was succeeded by Bl. Lanuin, one of the original companions in this settlement, who is said to be named together with B. in all the Norman charters and papal documents concerning their establishment. The entirety of this early legal documentation is of controversial authenticity.
In 1291 Santa Maria della Torre was abandoned in favor of Santo Stefano. The latter was handed over in the following year to the Cistercians and remained their property until 1513, when the Carthusians took possession of it. It still exists (though its primitive buildings are all gone), occupying its original site outside of Serra San Bruno. A recent view of the complex is here:
The abandoned building at left center is what remains of the structure rebuilt by the Carthusians in 1513 and destroyed by an earthquake in 1783 (the building's facade and the wall around the complex date from the seventeenth century). Bruno and Lanuin are said to have been buried there; presently they repose in the abbey church. Santo Stefano was suppressed early in the nineteenth century. It was re-opened after Italian unification and was largely rebuilt in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Most of what one sees in this view is thus quite recent.
A virtual exhibit of portraits of B. is here:
(matter from older posts very lightly revised)
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