medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Today (3. November) is the feast day of:
1) Germanus, Theophilus, and Cyrillus (?). This group of martyrs of Caesarea in Cappadocia is part of the common fund of early saints shared by the fourth-century Syriac Martyrology and the (pseudo-)Hieronymian Martyrology, in both of which they are entered for today. Nothing further is known about them. Their entry in the (ps.-)HM adds the names of others who may have crept in from other commemorations. Florus of Lyon appears to have had a copy that was particularly messy at this point: he omitted Cyrillus but added a Caesarius (presumably in origin C. of Terracina, celebrated on 1. November) and a Vitalis (presumably in origin V. of tomorrow's pair of Vitalis and Agricola). Ado and Usuard retained the group as named by Florus and specified that they suffered in the Decian persecution.
2) Papulus (?). P. (in French, Papoul) is a poorly documented saint of the vicinity of Toulouse, where his cult is first attested from 817. He has two legendary Vitae, one of the thirteenth century (BHL 6453) and one of the early fourteenth (BHL 6454, 6455; by the famous Dominican Bernard Gui): these make him an Antiochene who follows St. Peter to Rome, is sent with St. Saturninus of Toulouse to evangelize in an area recognizable as the early medieval Visigothic kingdom, who during S.'s apostolate in Spain is martyred by decapitation at a place not very distant from Toulouse, who then partakes of the grand French tradition of cephalophory by picking up his head and putting it down at a nearby fountain. Buried there, he became the saint of an abbey named for him. Thus far P.'s Vitae.
Illustrated French-language and Spanish-language pages on the abbaye de Saint-Papoul at Lauragais near Castelnaudary (Aude), which from 1317 until 1801 was also the seat of a diocese:
3) Sylvia of Rome (d. ca. 591?). S. was the mother of pope St. Gregory the Great; the very little we know about her comes from his writings. Widowed by 573, when G. turned his parents' house on the Caelian into his monastery of St. Andrew, she spent her final years in semi-monastic retreat in a little house on the Aventine (tradition places it in the vicinity of San Saba).
4) Joannicius (d. 846). J. is an iconophile saint from the period of Byzantine second iconoclasm. He has two contemporary Bioi (BHG 935 and 936) and a later one attributed to Symeon Metaphrastes (BHG 937). According to these sources he was Bithynian who in his youth ahd been a shepherd and later was a soldier who toook part in campaigns against the Bulgars. In about 795, at the age of forty, he left the world and entered the first of several monasteries he would inhabit on Mount Olympus in Bithynia. In about 806 he made his profession and received the tonsure. J. would at times interrupt his monastic existence by becoming for a while a wandering hermit; miracles are ascribed to him and he is said to have had the gift of prophecy. Among the dignitaries who are reported to have visit him are St. Theodore the Stoudite and the patriarch St. Methodius.
Here's J. as depicted in the earlier fourteenth-century (1335-1350) frescoes in the narthex of 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:
5) Berardus, bp. of the Marsi (d. 1130). Today's less well known saint of the Regno was a scion of a leading comital family in Abruzzo that furnished not only several bishops of the Marsi but also at least two abbots of Montecassino as well as Atto, bp. of Chieti and his somewhat famous brother Transmundus, abt. of San Clemente di Casauria and bp. of Valva. B. studied at Montecassino during the abbacy of his kinsman Oderisius I and was called to Rome by Paschal II, under whom he filled various offices. One of these, an ecclesiastical governorship with the rank of count, led to his being briefly held prisoner in a well at Palestrina by a local lord who felt threatened by him. Paschal made him bishop of the Marsi (today's diocese of Avezzano) in about 1110. He has a Vita by his former associate John of Segni (BHL 1176) and several collections of Miracula (BHL 1176b-h). He was canonized in 1802.
B.'s cathedral was the now ruined and seemingly then already isolated Santa Sabina in the former _civitas Marsorum/Marsicana_, today's San Benedetto dei Marsi (AQ) in Abruzzo, shown and discussed (in Italian) here:
In 1580 the episcopal seat of the diocese of the Marsi was transferred provisionally to the newly rebuilt church of Santa Maria delle Grazie at Pescina (AQ), an arrangement made permanent, with royal consent, in 1630. B.'s relics were transferred hither in 1631. An illustrated Italian-language page on this church is here:
Some exterior views (in the first one, the church is at center):
Inside, B.'s relics are in the reliquary bust at the center of the rear wall of this chapel (also the final resting place of other bishops of the Marsi):
This church too was badly damaged by the earthquake of 1915. Restored in the 1930s, it was damaged again by Allied bombing World War II. Much of what one sees is therefore restoration work.
(Berardus, bp. of the Marsi lightly revised from an older post)
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