medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Today (26. November) is the feast day of:
1) Siricius, pope (d. 399). S, was a native of Rome who had been a deacon under popes Liberius and St. Damasus I. He succeeded the latter by unanimous election in December 384. The antipope Ursinus, who had unsuccessfully contested Damasus' election and who had been relegated to Köln, put himself forward again. But Valentinian II, who had no use for Ursinus, confirmed S.'s position in an imperial rescript of February385 that also granted generous funds for the rebuilding of St. Paul's outside the Walls (consecrated by S. in 390). S. continued Damasus' policy of exercising primatial influence on other churches and is the first pope known to have issued decretals. St. Paulinus of Nola did not care for him. In the mid-390s S. incurred the wrath of St. Jerome by favoring people whom J. had come to detest.
S. was buried in the cemetery of Priscilla, where he received a cult attested in the seventh-century _Itinerarium Salisburgense_ and in the (pseudo-)Hieronymian Martyrology.
2) Alypius the Stylite (d. earlier seventh century). We know about A. (also A. of Paphlagonia and Stylianos of Pahplagonia; also Alympius) from an early Bios (BHG 65) from which descend his Bios by Symeon Metphrastes (BHG 64), his panegyric by Neophytus the Recluse (BHG 66), and his post-metaphrastic Bios by Anthony the Monk (BHG 66d). He was born at Adrianopolis in Paphlagonia (not to be confused with the more famous Adrianople in Thrace); a premonitory dream involving torches had announced his sanctity to his mother. He was educated in the church. At the age of thirty he became an hermit; two years later he mounted a column outside the city, where he remained (it is said) for fifty-three years, attracting disciples and resisting diabolic temptation. When paralysis of his lower limbs prevented him from standing he was brought down and spent another fourteen years stretched out at the column's base.
During his years as an hermit A. is said to have effected the miraculous cure of a sick child that had been brought to his cell. He is now a patron saint of children and in recent centuries has often been depicted holding a young child in his arms. Medievally, A. was ordinarily depicted as a stylite. It was as a stylite that he defeated a demon that had taken the form of that seldom-appearing-in-our-sources mythical beast, a tauroleon (a mixture of a bull and a lion). Here's a view of the tauroleon from the mid-twelfth-century mosaic floor of Santa Maria del Patir outside of Rossano (CS) in Calabria:
A. at upper left (St. Mercurius at lower right) 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:
3) Conrad of Konstanz (d. 975). The highly born C.'s two Vitae (BHL 1917, 1917b; 1918) are late and not very informative about their historical subject, a locally educated canon of Konstanz who became its bishop in 934, who also had connections with the monastery of Sankt Gallen, and who made several pilgrimages both to Rome and to the Holy Land. C. seems to have been remembered chiefly as an important bishop who founded several churches and a hospital in or just outside his city. His sanctity was affirmed by an incident in which during his celebration of a Mass he drank consecrated wine from a chalice into which a spider (thought of course to be poisonous) had just fallen. Though C. also drank in the spider, neither he nor the arachnid (later seen to emerge from C.'s open mouth) suffered any injury.
Bishop Ulrich I of Konstanz (ruled, 1111-1127) promoted C.'s candidacy for sainthood, which latter was aided materially by C.'s _Vita prior_ written ca. 1120 by O(u)descalchus, a monk of Sts. Ulrich and Afra at Augsburg who later became that community's abbot. C. was canonized in 1123 during Lateran I. He is one of his diocese's patron saints. In this frontispiece for Konstanz' _Missale Constantiense_ of 1505 (printed at Augsburg) he is shown at left with the spider on top of the chalice:
One of the churches whose foundation is ascribed to C. is the round chapel dedicated to the Ottonian patron saint Maurice and located just off the then cathedral, just as the round chapel of St. Andrew was located just off old St. Peter's in Rome. C. is said to have begun work on it in 940, shortly after his return from his second pilgrimage to Jerusalem, where he will have seen another round church, that of the Holy Sepulchre. C. himself was interred by its outer wall. The chapel was rebuilt around 1300. In the view shown here it's the circular structure at right (the building in the center is the ex-cathedral, today's Konstanzer Münster):
The Mauritiusrotunde, as it's called, houses this version of the Holy Sepulchre from ca. 1260:
4) Bellinus (d. 1147). We know about B. chiefly from his late thirteenth- or early fourteenth-century Vita by Bonagiunta, bp. of Adria (BHL 1086) and from archival documentation transmitted with that Vita. A supporter of bishop Sinibaldus (consecrated by Paschal II) against the latter's imperially-backed and papally deposed predecessor Peter, he succeeded to the see of Padua between 10. October 1126 and 10. December 1128 and governed in accordance with ideals of the reform papacy. B.'s attempts to recover church properties alienated during the earlier struggle and his insistence on control of the churches in his diocese brought him into conflict with leading families of the area and led to his assassination in the woods of today's Fratta Polesine (RO), also in the Veneto.
Within a little more than a century B. had an active cult both at Padua and at Adria, which latter took him as its principal patron. Though B. seems never to have been papally canonized, he is in the RM and is recognized papally as the (principal) patron saint of the diocese of Rovigo-Adria. Since probably the thirteenth century his remains have rested in a succession of churches at what is now San Bellino (RO).
5) Silvestro Guzzolini (d. 1267). S. was born at Osimo (accented on the first syllable) in today's Ancona province of the Marche. After studying law at Bologna and theology at Padua he became a cathedral canon in his native city, where he distinguished himself by a fondness for preaching. In 1227, at about the age of fifty, he gave this up and established a small hermitage at the cave of Grottafucile in the same general area of the Marche. S. and the disciples he attracted adopted the Benedictine Rule; in 1230 they moved to a more capacious location on Monte Fano near Fabriano (also in today's Ancona province). The monastery S. established there in 1231 became the mother house of the Silvestrine family of Benedictines (papally approved in 1248). At S.'s death in 1267 it had a dozen houses (some very small) in the Marche, in Umbria, and at Rome.
S.'s cult was confirmed in 1598 by virtue of its inclusion in the RM. The first monastery dedicated to him was San Silvestro at Nepi in today's Lazio (1602). Paul V, designating him Saint, granted his order a Mass and Office. In 1890 these were extended to the entire Roman church. S. is a co-patron of the city of Fabriano. He was buried at Monte Fano and his relics are still there.
Starting in 1265 S.'s establishment at Grottafucile was expanded into a small monastery, now ruinous. An illustrated, Italian-language account of it is here:
and some more views are here:
The monastery on Monte Fano was greatly expanded in the early modern period. Medieval construction survives in its Oratorio di San Benedetto and in the walls of its refectory. Views of both are here:
6) Delphine of Pui Michel (Bl.; d. 1360). The Provençale D. (also D. of Provence, D. of Signe; Pui Michel also spelled Puimichel and Puy-Michael) was orphaned early and was raised by nuns. At the age of sixteen she married St. Elzéar, count of Sabran in Provence, whom she is said in her canonization documents to have persuaded to live with her in celibacy. In 1309 E.'s father died and in 1310 he traveled to mostly mainland Sicily (_vulgo_, kingdom of Naples) to take up his inheritance of the county of Ariano. In the years that he followed held important positions at the Neapolitan court and took part in the defense of the kingdom against the emperor Henry VII. In 1316 E. and D., who had joined him in Naples, became Franciscan tertiaries and undertook in a more formal way than previously a life of penitence, prayer, and charity.
After E.'s death in 1323 D. returned to Provence, where she lived as a recluse at Cabrières d'Aigues (Vaucluse). She died at Apt, in whose former cathedral of Sainte-Anne both she and E. have reposed since 1791. Unlike Elzear, who was canonized in 1369, D. never achieved papal recognition as a saint. She is said to have been beatified by Innocent XII, a scion of the nobility of the Regno. The treasury of the ex-cathédrale Sainte-Anne at Apt preserves a Book of Hours that had been D.'s. Here's a view of one of its illuminated pages:
The église paroissiale Saint-Martin at Ansouis (Vaucluse) has relics of E. and D. kept in the busts shown here:
At Ansouis the saintly pair is celebrated jointly on 28. September. Here are some views of last year's _fête_:
Ansouis is the town surrounding one of E.'s castles; D. lived there briefly. Herewith some views of the exterior of its originally fourteenth(?)-century église Saint-Martin next to the much rebuilt _château_, starting with the facade and then moving around to the side facing the _parvis_:
A view of the interior:
Ansouis' église Saint-Martin was used for interior scenes at the village church in Claude Berri's 1986 film, _Manon des Sources_ (English-language title: _Manon of the Spring_). For that film, the exterior of the church was furnished by the originally twelfth-century église Saint-Barthélémy at Vaugines (also in Vaucluse):
(last year's post revised)
To join the list, send the message: join medieval-religion YOUR NAME
to: [log in to unmask]
To send a message to the list, address it to:
[log in to unmask]
To leave the list, send the message: leave medieval-religion
to: [log in to unmask]
In order to report problems or to contact the list's owners, write to:
[log in to unmask]
For further information, visit our web site: