medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Today (26. October) is the feast day of:
1) Lucian and Marcian (d. 250, supposedly). This pair of martyrs is attested by brief, closely related Passiones in Latin (BHL 5015) and in Syriac (BHO 572) that are thought to derive from a lost Greek original. This makes them magi who convert to Christianity, are baptized, and then preach their new faith. Arrested during the Decian persecution, they are tried before an official named Sabinus, refuse to apostasize, are convicted and sentenced to be burned alive, and complete their martyrdom on a pyre. Neither Passio indicates a locale either for their preaching or for their execution. The (pseudo-)Hieronymian martyrology enters them under today as martyrs of Nicomedia along with persons named Florus, Heraclides, Titus, and Florus. Given the general messiness of the (ps.-)HM, there is no reason to suppose (as has often been done) that these others were in fact companions of L. and M.
L., M., and their supposed companion Florus were entered by Florus of Lyon (who had clearly read a version of their Passio) in his martyrology as martyrs of Nicomedia who died on a pyre in the Decian persecution in the time of the proconsul Sabinus. Usuard elected not to enter them in his martyrology. A twelfth century breviary from Vic has an office for L. and M. indicating the presence there of relics believed to be theirs, while a thirteenth-century _Flos sanctorum ecclesiae Vicensis_ preserves a translation of their Passio into Catalan with a notation indicating that L. and M. were originally from Vic and that that was also the place of their martyrdom. The latter document adds that their relics were discovered in an Inventio of 1050.
L. and M. "venerated at Vic" are sometimes distinguished from L. and M. "of Nicomedia". The diocese of Vic maintains on its website a discreet silence about these supposedly local martyrs: on its page "Història [de la] diòcesi" in its state of 20. October 2009 the list of diocesan saints commences with yesterday's Bernat Calbó (a former Cistercian abbot who was bishop of Vic from 1233 to 1243):
2) Rusticus of Narbonne (d. ca. 461). What little we know about this early bishop of Narbonne comes from the letters of contemporaries, from a letter of his to St. Eucherius of Lyon, and from his own surviving inscriptions, which he dated according to the years of his episcopacy. The son and, on his mother's side, nephew of Gallo-Roman bishops, he studied in Rome and was elected bishop of Narbonne in about 427. From 441 to 445 he rebuilt his city's cathedral after it had been destroyed by fire. Ten years later he constructed an extramural basilica in honor of St. Felix of Gerona.
Arian Visigoths had settled in the vicinity in the second decade of the century; throughout his time in office R. had to deal with adherents of this other branch of Christianity. In 458 R. wrote to pope St. Leo I asking for advice on this and other matters; that letter does not survive but Leo's point-by-point response (_Ep_. 167) does. R.'s cult is attested from at least the sixth century onward (there's an earlier but undated private inscription from Narbonne appealing for his prayers). He entered the historical martyrologies with Usuard.
On R.'s inscriptions, see Henri-Irenée Marrou, "Le dossier épigraphique de l'éveque Rusticus de Narbonne," _Rivista di archeologia cristiana_, 3-4(1970), 331- 349.
3) Cedd (d. 664). We know about the Northumbrian C. principally from St. Bede's _Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum_. An elder brother of St. Ceadda (Chad), he was educated at Lindisfarne by Sts. Aidan and Finan. In 653 he was one of a group of missionaries to the Middle Angles. Within a year he was bishop of the East Saxons (the people who have given their name to Essex), one of whose kings he baptized and among whom he built monasteries at Tilbury and at Bradwell-on-Sea. He is said to have founded -- on a visit to Northumbria and with help from Lindisfarne -- the monastery at Lastingham in today's North Yorkshire. Towards the end of his life he had an important role as _interpres_ (in this case, 'negotiator') between the factions at the Synod of Whitby. C. died at Lastingham, was buried outside the church there, and was later translated to a tomb inside the church and near the high altar. Relics of C. were later venerated at Lichfield.
C.'s church at Bradwell-on-Sea (Essex) survives. An illustrated page on it is here:
The monastery at Lastingham was abandoned during the Danish raids of the ninth century. A new monastery was begun there in 1078 but soon was also abandoned. The crypt of its unfinished church (underneath the present St Mary, Lastingham)
is said to have been sited over what was thought to be C.'s resting place. An English-language account of the buildings there from C.'s day onward is here:
At North Ockendon (Essex) one may visit a well at which C. is reputed to have baptized early converts (one wonders how old this tradition really is):
The church in the background is the originally twelfth-/fifteenth-century parish church of St Mary Magdalene. An English-language description and some views:
4) Eata of Hexham (d. 685/86). We know about E. chiefly from St. Bede's _Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum_ and his prose Vita of St. Cuthbert (BHL 2021). An Englishman trained by St. Aidan at Lindisfarne, he was abbot of Melrose and later, seemingly in plurality, of Lindisfarne. In 678, in the carving up of what had been the diocese of Northumbria, E. was made bishop of Bernicia. After the erection in 681 of a separate diocese of Hexham E.'s seat was at Lindisfarne. In 685 or early 686 he and his disciple Cuthbert exchanged dioceses, with C. going to Lindisfarne and E. to Hexham, where he soon died.
E. is said to have been translated, at some point while the abbey at Hexham was still flourishing, to a shrine inside its church. His twelfth-century Vita (BHL 2356), written after the house at Hexham had been re-established as a priory of canons regular, recounts his appearance in a vision in 1113 to prevent the translation of his remains to York.
The originally eleventh- and twelfth-century church of St. Eata at Atcham (Salop) is said to be the only church in England dedicated to E. Its description in the guide to Shropshire by John Newman and Nikolaus Pevsner (not overlooking the fact that this was Ordericus Vitalis' baptismal church) begins here:
More views here:
5) Sigi(s)bald of Metz (d. 740 or 741). Little is known of this bishop of Metz. Paul the Deacon, writing seventy-five years after S.'s death, says that he was of royal blood, that he had very good relations with Pepin of Héristal, and that he founded the monasteries of Saint-Avold and Neuvillers. S. (in French, Sigebaud) was buried at Saint-Avold but was later translated in secret to the abbey of St. Symphorian near Metz. He was accorded an Elevatio there in 1107, with his relics placed on a shrine on the high altar and with his Vita (which draws heavily on Paul the Deacon) being written by a monk of that house (BHL 7709).
6) Alb(u)in of Büraburg (d. 786). We know about A. (also known by the English semantic equivalent Witta and by the latter's German forms Wizo and Wizzo) from the correspondence of St. Boniface and others and from the Vita of St. Lull (BHL 5066). He left England at the head of a group of missionaries to Germany at some point between 723 and 740 and in 741 was consecrated by Boniface as bishop of Büraburg in today's Fritzlar (Lkr. Schwalm-Eder-Kreis) in northern Hessen. Pope St. Zachary confirmed A. in this post in 743. By this time A. had already taken part, both in 742, in a church council convened by king Carloman and in the consecration of St. Willibald as bishop of Eichstätt. A. was Büraburg's only bishop. After his death the see was moved to Fritzlar; later it was incorporated into that of Mainz. A. was buried at Hersfeld.
7) Fulk of Piacenza and Pavia (d. 1229). F. (in Italian, Folco) was a member of a prominent family of Piacenza, the Scotti. In 1185, at the age of twenty, he joined the canons regular of that city's St. Euphemia. After study at Paris he returned to St. Euphemia and a few years later was appointed its provost. In 1208 F. became a cathedral canon at Piacenza; his appointment as archpriest followed swiftly. In 1210 he was elected bishop of Piacenza and in 1216 he exchanged that see for the bishopric of Pavia. He was buried in Pavia's cathedral, where he still reposes.
F. entered the RM in 1578 with a listing for today (his presumed _dies natalis_; the latter is now thought to have been 16. December). At Pavia he is celebrated on 21. May.
Herewith an illustrated, Italian-language page on Piacenza's originally late eleventh- and early twelfth-century chiesa di Sant'Eufemia:
The Italia nell'Arte Medievale page on this church is here (but the entire site is still off-line):
One may read more about F. in Giovanna Forzatti Golia, "Folco Scotti 'episcopus et rector communis Papie' (1216-1229)", in _Speciales fideles imperii. Pavia nell’età di Federico II_, a cura di Ettore Cau e Aldo A. Settia (Pavia: Antares, 1995), pp. 61-96.
(last year's post lightly revised)
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