medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Today (24. October) is the feast day of:
1) Felix and companions (d. 303, supposedly). This is the commemoration that prior to its removal from the RM in the latter's revision of 2001 was known as that of Felix, an African bishop (medievally: a bishop); Adauctus and Januarius, presbyters; and Fortunatus and Septimius, lectors. These less well known saints of the Regno, not to be confused with the Roman Felix and Adauctus of 30. August (though of course that Felix, thanks to a translation in 1673, is now also a saint of the Regno), are the principal patrons of Venosa (PZ) in Basilicata (where, however, the town fathers now prefer their co-patron St. Roch / San Rocco, 16. August being much more congenial for a festival than 24. October) and co-patrons of the diocese of Melfi - Rapolla - Venosa. Venosa's medieval cathedral, pulled down in 1470, was dedicated to F.
F. and companions are the subjects of a set of legendary Passiones (BHL 2893s-2895d) that make F. a bishop of the African town of T(h)ibiuca (variously spelled, incl. Tubzac and Tubzoc) who at the outset there of the Great Persecution refused to surrender his church's Christian books and who was sent on to Carthage. There, in the earliest accounts, the fifty-six-year-old bishop was tried, convicted and, on 15. July (in some texts, thanks to a confusion already alluded to, on 30. August), duly executed. By the ninth century, when F. appears in the martyrologies of Ado (under 30. August) and Usuard (under today), he had acquired his companions and all are said to have been tortured in Africa and in Sicily before they are put to death.
Later Passiones have all put to death in southern Italy, either at Nola (where they also had a cult) or at Venosa (in whose Passiones the companions are named Januarius, Fortunatianus, and Septiminus).
2) Proclus of Constantinople (d. 446). P. was a highly placed churchman, a gifted orator, and a committed controversialist. Of the surviving writings that are certainly his, the best known is Homily 1, the first of five homilies advancing the doctrine of Mary as Theotokos. Delivered, probably in 430, in the presence of the patriarch Nestorius, who vigorously opposed the use of this epithet, it was appended to the Acts of the Council of Ephesus in 431, which condemned Nestorius and embraced both the epithet and the christological understanding advanced by P. When he composed this elaborate sermon P., who had already twice sought election as archbishop of Constantinople, was officially bishop of Cyzicus, a post to which he had been named in 426 but was unable to take up due to opposition there. In 434, on his fourth try, he was elected archbishop of Constantinople.
As archbishop, P. continued to produce magnificent sermons. Additionally, and especially in his _Tome to the Armenians_ (435), he advanced orthodox christology against the views of the not-yet-condemned Theodore of Mopsuestia (d. 428/29). P. is traditionally credited with the liturgical introduction of the Trisagion (the associated miracle story is worth looking up). In 438 he officiated at the translation of the body of the exiled St. John Chrysostom from Comana in Pontus to Constantinople and its interment in that city's church of the Holy Apostles. Later Byzantine tradition made P. one of Chrysostom's disciples; contemporary evidence suggests otherwise. Eastern Orthodox churches celebrate him on 20. November.
In Orthodox art P. is usually represented as a bearded, elderly man. Here he is (less elderly than in other depictions) in the early fourteenth-century frescoes in the altar area of the monastery church of the Theotokos at Gračanica in, depending on one's view of the matter, Serbia's province of Kosovo and Metohija or the Republic of Kosovo:
An important study of P., with texts and English-language translations of Homilies 1 through 5, is Nicholas Constas, _Proclus of Constantinople and the Cult of the Virgin in Late Antiquity_ (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2003).
3) Arethas of Najran and 340 companions (d. 523). Arethas was the leading noble of Nagrana (today's Najran in southernmost Saudi Arabia) when the king of the Himyarite realm to which the city belonged converted to Judaism and attempted to enforce his religious choice either upon his entire populace or at least upon the populace in those portions of the kingdom in which influence from neighboring and now Christian Abyssinia was strongest. A. refused and was decapitated on this day for resisting. According to our principal sources for this event, later sixth-century accounts by bishops Simeon of Bet Arsam and Sergius (or Georgius) of Resafa (BHO 99-106), he was followed by three hundred and forty others, including his six daughters and his wife Ruma.
A. et socc. have a Greek-language Passio in several versions (BHG 166, 166b-166z) that in the tenth century was expanded by Symeon Metaphrastes (BHG 167). In the Latin West, A. is entered under today in the earlier ninth-century Marble Calendar of Naples. Also from Naples and ascribed to its duke-bishop Athanasius (d. 898; as bishop, Athanasius II) is a fragment of a Latin version of these saints' Passio.
Here's the martyrdom of A. and his companions as depicted in the October calendar of the fourteenth-century (1335-1350) frescoes in the church of the Holy Ascension at the Visoki Dečani monastery near Peć in, depending on one's view of the matter, either the Republic of Kosovo or Serbia's province of Kosovo and Metohija:
4) Ebregisil of Köln (d. before 594). This saint's geographic specification is not supererogatory: there is also an E. of Meaux. Today's E. (also Evergis[i]lus, Eberigisil, Everigisil), Köln's first known bishop with a Frankish name, is thought to be the bishop of that city whom St. Gregory of Tours says was called by Childebert II in 590 to re-establish order in the monastery of the Holy Cross at Poitiers. The later ninth-century list of Köln's bishops places him in the later sixth century.
By the later eleventh century E. had become a legendary figure closely associated with yesterday's St. Severinus of Köln. He has a series of Passiones (BHL 2368, etc.) in which he is a Severinus' disciple and successor, is in his old age cured of a serious affliction of the head at the tombs of St. Gereon and companions, goes to today's Tongeren/Tongres in Belgium to suppress heresy, and is there killed on this day by a robber who shoots him with an arrow, with his body later being brought back to Köln by bishop St. Bruno I (d. 965) and placed in Köln's church of St. Cecilia. Relics believed to be E.'s now rest in a modern shrine in the nearby church of St. Peter:
The former parish church of the monastery of St. Cecilia, Köln's Pfarrkirche und Kunst-Station St. Peter has been present in one form or another since at least the twelfth century. In its present form it is a late "gothic" church (built 1513-1525) with a later twelfth-century (1170) tower and with modifications made in its rebuilding in the 1950s after the destruction of World War II and in a "cleansing" of 1997-2000, which converted a large part of it into a space for artistic display or performance. Herewith some illustrated, German language pages on this church:
Five pages showing an installation in the Kunst-Station begin here:
5) Maglorius (d. 605?). M. (in French, Magloire) is a legendary bishop of Dol with an originally late ninth- or early tenth-century Vita that exists in several versions with eleventh-century witnesses (BHL 5139-5143). This has him born in south Wales and makes him a disciple of St. Samson of Dol who becomes abbot on an island thought to be Sark and, later, archbishop (sic) of Dol. Relics believed to be his were according to the Vita's author translated in about the middle of the ninth century to a monastery at today's Léhon (Côtes-d'Armor) in Brittany. Another Translation account (BHL 5147; twelfth-century) documents their removal, with those of other saints, to Paris in the early tenth century. Modern scholarship tends to the view that M.'s episcopacy is an invention of Dol, the diocese in which Léhon is situated.
In 1108 monks of the former community at Léhon returned there and rebuilt the monastery. In 1281 this became a priory of the Parisian abbey of Saint-Magloire where M.'s putative relics were housed. This priory church has gone through several rebuildings. Here's a view from ca. 1860:
Some recent views:
More views here, starting about a quarter of the way down the page (near the bottom are some views of the thirteenth-century refectory):
That page has a view of the nineteenth-century case holding the putative relics of M. and of other saints that were once in Paris. Two more views:
The museum in the former priory (later an abbey) houses a fourteenth-century statue of M.:
And here's M. in an early fifteenth-century breviary for the Use of Paris (Châteauroux, Bibliothèque municipale, ms. 2, f. 379v):
6) Fromundus of Coutances (d. late 7th or early 8th cent.). The historical F. is documented only by an inscription on an altar table found in 1693 in the church of Saint-Père at Le Ham near Valognes (Manche) and now preserved with other carved stones of medieval provenance in the basement of the city library of Valognes. According to this inscription, bishop Frodomundus, ruler of the city of Coutances, dedicated the altar to the BVM in the church of what other parts of the inscription (which latter, having also run down the now lost legs of the altar, is only fragmentarily preserved) indicate was a women's monastery founded in the sixth year of king Theodoric (i.e. Theuderic III, king of Neustria in 673 and again in 675-91).
F.'s cult is recorded, under the name form Fromundus, from the twelfth century onward at the abbey of Cerisy in today's Cerisy-la-Forêt (near Coutances but medievally in the diocese of Bayeux), among whose dependencies was a church at today's Saint-Fromond (Manche); at the priory of Saint-Lo in Rouen; and, seemingly through a confusion with St. Fremundus, at the abbey of Fécamp (Seine-Maritime). At Cerisy F. was celebrated with the common of a bishop; at Rouen and Fécamp he was celebrated with the common of a martyr.
F.'s architectural monument is the église paroissiale (variously styled 'abbatiale' or 'priorale') at the aforementioned Saint-Fromond. This is a mostly later fifteenth-century structure, replacing a "romanesque" one documented from 1251; most of its dilapidated nave having been removed in the 1760s, what one sees now are primarily the transepts, crossing, and choir of the late medieval church (at the first link, both views of the church are expandable):
(last year's page revised and with the addition of Arethas of Najran and companions and Fromundus of Coutances)
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