medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Today (5. October) is the feast day of:
1) Placidus, Eutychius, and companions (?). P., E., _et socc._ are recorded for today in the (pseudo-)Hieronymian Martyrology as martyrs of Sicily. We know nothing about them. By the late eleventh or very early twelfth century they had become the basis for a belief that St. Placidus the disciple of St. Benedict had been sent sent to Sicily and had suffered martyrdom there (see no. 3, below). Secondary patrons of the archdiocese of Messina - Lipari - S. Lucia del Mela, they are celebrated today in the ecclesiastical region of Sicily.
2) The Martyrs of Trier (d. ca. 304, supposedly). In 1072 the long-closed crypt beneath the church of St. Paulinus in Trier was opened and thirteen sarcophagi other than those of P. were found therein. Those reposing in them were identified as saints: twelve citizens of Trier (of whom one was the consul Palmatius and seven others were senators) and one Thyrsus, the leader of a unit of the Theban Legion that had met its end at Trier. These identities were confirmed by the reported discovery in the crypt of a lead tablet bearing the names of most of the victims. Whereas the discovery passed quickly into the liturgy, hagiography, and civic history of Trier, the aforementioned tablet seems to have been lost sight of almost immediately. In their later eleventh-century notices these saints perished in a persecution conducted under Maximian by a Roman governor named Rictiovarus (the villain of earlier Passiones from northern Francia).
For reasons that are not clear, cardinal Baronio when editing the early RM divided these putative martyrs into two groups, one celebrated today and the other on twelve December. The revision of the RM in 2001 commemorates all of them today. In Trier they are celebrated on 4. October as St. Jovianus and companions.
3) Maurus and Placidus, disciples of St. Benedict (d. 6th cent.); P.'s companions in martyrdom (d. 6th cent., supposedly). Medievally, this feast focussed on the P. who appears twice in St. Gregory the Great's _Dialogues_, once when as a little boy he is said to have accompanied B. when the latter by prayer obtained sources of water for three of his monasteries that had been built in a very rocky part of Subiaco and once when, in a fairly well known story, he is rescued from drowning by M., who walks across the lake to save him. There is no indication in Gregory's text that P. is a saint.
Starting in the ninth century P. begins to appear in Cassinese liturgies as a confessor along with M. Abbot Desiderius II (as pope, Bl. Victor III; d. 1087) in his epitaph at Montecassino for the tomb of that abbey's St. Apollinaris (one of whose miracles was that he went by foot across the river Liri in flood without so much as getting his sandals wet) seems to treat P. and M. as interchangeable when, addressing A., he says, _Petrum, Placidum quoque sic imitatus..._ ("Having thus imitated Peter and Placidus too... ").
At the end of the eleventh century or the beginning of the twelfth, the abbey's chronicler Leo Marsicanus (later, Leo of Ostia) recorded the existence of an opinion according to which St. Benedict had sent P. to Sicily where he was martyred. The basis for this will have been the entry under today in the (pseudo-)Hieronymian Martyrology for the otherwise unrecorded Placidus, Eutychius, and companions, martyrs of Sicily (no. 1, above).
In the earlier twelfth century the Cassinese historian and forger Peter the Deacon wrote no fewer than three separate Vitae of P. (none under his own name and two with invented authors) elaborating this opinion into a detailed biographical account whereby P. and others of his family were martyred at Messina. This exercise in flummery, seemingly intended both to match on behalf of the abbey Odo of Glanfeuil's very legendary Vita of M. (who as abbot of Glanfeuil is in the RM under 15. January) and to reinforce Cassinese claims to specific landed properties, became the standard treatment of M. for the rest of the Middle Ages and well beyond. From at least the later twelfth century onward P. was celebrated on this day first at Montecassino and later more widely. The companions remained in the RM until its revision of 2001.
A twelfth-century full-page illumination from a manuscript of the Rule of St. Benedict showing Benedict explaining the Rule to M. (Cambrai, Bibliothèque municipale, ms. 829, fol. 54v):
In this not awfully good view of a fresco in the Sacro Speco at Subiaco St. Benedict is at left and M. and P. are at center and at the right, respectively:
Detail (better quality):
A fresco (ca. 1280-1300) of St. Benedict with M. and P. from Rome's Sant'Agnese fuori le Mura, now in the Musei Vaticani:
Here's a view of Filippo Lippi's portrait (ca. 1440-45) of M. at St. Benedict's bidding saving P. from drowning:
A black-and-white view of a fresco (dated 1478) at Subiaco of the Madonna between M. and P.:
4) Meinolf of Paderborn (d. 857?). M. (also Meinulf; in Latin, Meinulfus, Meinulphus, etc.) was the founder of the monastery at Böddeken in today's Büren (Lkr. Paderborn) in Nordrhein-Westfalen, whence he is also known as M. of Böddeken. His legendary, perhaps eleventh-century Vita by one Sigeward (BHL 5881) makes him nobly born, has Charlemagne stand in for his deceased father at his baptism, has him enter the clergy of Paderborn under its ninth-century bishop St. Badurad, become the latter's close associate and probable successor, and later found the monastery at a spot identified for him by a vision of a herd of does, gives today as his _dies natalis_, has his sanctity confirmed by post-mortem miracles, and ends with his Elevatio by Paderborn's bishop Biso (887-909).
The traditional founding date of the monastery (836 or 837) derives from this Vita. From its outset through its collapse in the fourteenth century it was a house for women, most of whom seem to have been nobles. In 1409 it was taken over by canons regular from Zwolle in The Netherlands. These commissioned a new, more stylish Vita of M. (BHL 5883; based on its predecessor) by the ecclesiastical historian Gobelinus Person (d. 1421), undertook a rebuilding of the monastery that lasted from 1434 until 1487, and converted their house into an important locus of monastic reform with connections extending into France and Switzerland.
The monastery was secularized in 1803. Here's a romanticizing nineteenth-century view:
Some views of what's left of the older buildings on the site:
The "romanesque" west tower and the ruined fifteenth-century choir:
Two views of the originally earlier thirteenth-century (ca. 1220) Alte Pfarrkirche Sankt Meinolf in Dörenhagen, an _Ortsteil_ of Borchen (Lkr. Paderborn):
5) Froilan (d. early 10th cent.). According to his brief, seemingly closely posthumous Vita (BHL 3180), F. was born at Lugo, evangelized in Galicia and Léon after their _reconquista_, and labored to restore Benedictine monasticism in those territories before becoming bishop of Léon late in life. Relics believed to be his are in Léon's cathedral.
One of the places where F. is said to have founded a monastery is at the site of the originally twelfth-century Cisctercian abbey of Santa María de Moreruela, a daughter of Clairvaux situated some thirty-five kilometers north of Zamora. A multi-page, illustrated site on the ruins of that house (which latter really have nothing to do with F.) begins here:
6) Raymond of Capua (Bl.; d. 1399). Today's less well known holy person of the Regno was born around 1330 at Capua. A member of the noble family of the delle Vigne, he entered the Order of Friars Preacher while a student of canon law at Bologna; after a lengthy _cursus honorum_ he became its Master in 1380. In that capacity he vigorously supported the Roman obedience as against that of Avignon and promoted within his order a return to primitive observance of the Dominican rule. R. was Catherine of Siena's confessor from 1374 to 1380 and her hagiographer from 1385 to 1395, when he completed his _Legenda sancte Catherine Senensis_ (BHL 1702).
Much earlier, in 1365-66, R. wrote the Legend of another Dominican, Bl. Agnes of Montepulciano (BHL 155); this has been edited by Silvia Nocentini as Raimondo da Capua, _Legenda beate Agnetis de Monte Policiano_ (Firenze: SISMEL, Edizioni del Galluzzo, 2001). Nocentini has also attempted to ascribe to R. the authorship of the sequence _Vernans rosa_ (“Una sequenza inedita di Raimondo da Capua,” _Medioevo e Rinascimento_ 12 [= n.s., 9] , 205-21). But this founders on the likely earlier date of a mutilated Turin manuscript (Bobbiese F. I. 4; not discussed by Nocentini) containing the piece's initial lines.
R. died at Nürnburg while working to reform his order's German province. His body was later transferred to Naples and was interred there at San Domenico Maggiore. R. was beatified by Leo XIII in 1899.
(last year's post revised)
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