medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Today (15. November) is the feast day of:
1) Felix of Nola (d. 484). According to his funerary inscription (_CIL_ X, 1344), today's less well known saint of the Regno became bishop of today's Nola (NA) in Campania in 473. Apart from that datum and the date of his death, furnished by the same inscription, we really know nothing about him.
The St. Felix whom St. Paulinus of Nola (d. 431) celebrated annually in his verse and in whose honor the basilica di San Felice at Cimitile (outside of Nola) is dedicated is a saint of the mid-third century who according to some accounts declined to be named bishop. The two were repeatedly confused, leading to our F.'s being given a quite legendary Passio (BHL 2869) in which he is said to have been Nola's first bishop and to have been put to death for his faith under the emperor Valerian (253-60). Versions of this tale entered the Carolingian martyrologies. In those of Florus and of Ado F. was entered under today's date, as he also has been in succeeding versions of the RM.
The other St. Felix associated with Nola, F. the priest, is celebrated on 14. January.
2) Maclovius (d. earlier 7th cent.?). M. (Machutes, Machutus, Maclovius; in French, Maclou, Malo; in Breton, Malou) is the eponym of today's Saint-Malo in Brittany. He has three legendary Vitae of the later ninth century: one by a deacon Bili writing for a bishop of St. Malo (i.e. of the diocese of Alet) who ruled in the years 866-72 (BHL 5116, 5116a, 5116b) and two anonymous ones of different length (shorter: BHL 5117; longer: BHL 5118, 5118a, 5118b). These make M. a Welshman from Gwent who received a monastic education, who made sea journeys with St. Brendan and by himself, and who established a monastery on an island near Alet that came to be named for him, evangelized in the vicinity, and served as the local bishop (the anonymous Vitae have him consecrated while still in Britain).
In one tradition, dissension later caused M. to move to Saintes in Aquitaine. The locale of his death varies. Translations of relics believed to be his were important both in establishing the cult as we know it at Saint-Malo and in spreading it in northwestern France, England, and the Low Countries. Herewith views, etc. of some of M.'s later cult sites.
The originally eleventh-century église Saint-Maclou in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine (Yvelines):
The largely twelfth-century église Saint-Malo at Mouen in Tilly-sur-Seulles (Calvados):
Illustrated, French-language account:
The cathédrale Saint-Maclou at Pontoise in today's agglomération Cergy-Pontoise (Val-d'Oise) is originally of the twelfth century. Enlarged in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, it became a cathedral with the erection of the diocese of Pontoise in 1966.
View of the facade:
View of the chevet:
The église Saint-Maclou in Rouen (1437-1521; tower over the crossing, 1868):
Aerial view (segment enlargeable):
A relatively recent English-language book on this church:
The originally late fifteenth-century église Saint-Malo at Dinan (Côtes-d'Armor):
Several expandable views here:
3) Sidonius of Normandy (d. ca. 689). S. (in French, Sidoine, Saëns) is the eponym of today's Saint-Saëns (Seine-Maritime) in Normandy. Ninth-century Vitae of other saints refer to him as being of Irish origin, a view maintained in his own tenth(?)- and twelfth-century Vitae (BHL 7700, 7701) and consistent with medieval latinizations of the Irish personal name Setna. S. is said to have arrived at the monastery of Jumičges, where he became a disciple of its founder St. Philibert. Later he founded a monastery, still in the diocese of Rouen, that took his name. Destroyed by the Northmen, it seems not to have occupied the site of the later priory of Saint-Saëns that was a dependency of Fontenelle.
A thirteenth-century arm reliquary of S. from the later priory named for him is shown and discussed here (view expandable):
4) Marinus and Anianus (d. 697, supposedly). M. and A. are Bavarian saints whose veneration is first documented by an entry in the early eleventh-century Sacramentary of Henry II for a feast today of M., bishop and martyr. In 1142 both first appear as patrons of the Benedictine abbey at Rott am Inn and from 1373 onward they are documented as patrons of a monastery in today's Irschenberg (Landkreis Miesbach), also in Oberbayern.
M. and his supposed nephew A. have a mildly complicated dossier of legendary accounts (BHL 5531-5535) that make them Irish missionaries sent from Rome by pope Eugenius I (654-657), who had made M. a bishop and A. a deacon. According to this story, they settled in separate locations on the Irschenberg and lived there as hermits for forty years. "Vandals" entering the area in the reign of the emperor Leontius 695-698) seized M. in his cave and burned him alive when he declined to show them the way to settled areas. A. died peacefully on the same day, after receiving the Eucharist; a golden dove few from his mouth. Fifty years later their remains were the subjects of a miraculous Inventio followed by a joint Elevatio performed by an otherwise unrecorded bishop Tolusius. So the texts tell us.
It is quite likely that M. and A. are identical with Sts. Marinus and Declanus of Freising (1. December; both also said to have been Irish and one with a name that actually _is_ Irish). In what is sometimes taken to have been an expansion of their cult, a Marinus bishop and confessor is entered for today in calendars of the diocese of Trier from the fourteenth century onward.
5) Fintan of Rheinau (d. 878 or 879). The Irishman F. (also Findan) is known chiefly from his tenth-century Vita (BHL 2892) written at Rheinau in today's canton Zürich by another Irishman (it has whole sentences of Irish embedded in its Latin text). A native of Leinster, he was captured by Northmen and traded through several owners until he was bought by one who was returning to his native land. During a stopover in the Orkneys F. effectuated his escape and after several days, having discovered that he was on an uninhabited island, swam with God's aid to a place where he was succored by a bishop who had studied in Ireland and had some knowledge of the Irish tongue. F. stayed with his host for two years and then, having received the bishop's permission, went on pilgrimage to Rome by way of Tours, other parts of Francia, Alemannia, and Lombardy.
Still according to his Vita, F. returned to Alemannia and entered the monastery at Rheinau (traditionally founded in 778), where he lived in a cell as a recluse for the remainder of his life and was honored after his death as a patron. F. has a tenth- or eleventh-century Office from Rheinau (in Zürich, Zentralbibliothek, Ms. Rh. 103); remains believed to be his were enshrined there in 1446.
Here's the opening of the _Vita sancti Findani confessoris_ in a later tenth- or early eleventh-century portion of St. Gallen, Kantonsbibliothek Vadiana, VadSlg Ms. 317:
The last image on this page is an expandable view of a full page illumination, with F. at right, in a Rheinau manuscript of ca. 1200 (Zürich, Zentralbibliothek, Ms. Rh. 14):
The two images above have to do with the abbey church of 1114. That church, which lasted until the early eighteenth century, is visible in the early modern sketch shown in the first image on this page:
TAN: A recent aerial view of Rheinau:
6) Albertus Magnus (d. 1280). The Swabian A. had been studying at Padua when in 1223 Bl. Jordan of Saxony accepted him into the Dominican Order. He completed his novitiate at Köln and then served as a lector in various houses in his order's German-speaking province. From 1243 to 1248 A. studied and then taught at Paris. He returned to Köln in 1248 as head of his order's university there. In 1254 A. was elected provincial of the aforementioned province and for the remainder of his life, though there were times when he was able to teach, he served primarily as an ecclesiastical administrator.
A. was a prolific author from early in his career until about ten years before his death. Like his student Thomas Aquinas, he wrote commentaries on the Bible in addition to a corpus of philosophical works that helped to define the medieval Christian reception of Aristotle. A. was beatified in 1622 and canonized in 1931.
A.'s sarcophagus in Köln's Dominican church of Sankt Andreas:
A. as depicted in the opening initial of a late thirteenth-century copy of his _De mineralibus_ (Paris, BnF, ms. Latin 6514, fol. 1r):
Tommaso da Modena's portrait of A. (1351/52) in the chapter room of San Niccolň at Treviso:
A. (lower register, center right) among other physicians in a later fifteenth-century (ca. 1471) copy of Giovanni Cadamosto, _Libro de componere herbe et fructi_ (Paris, BnF, ms. Italien 1108, fol. 7v):
(last year's post lightly revised and with the addition of Findan of Rheinau)
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