medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Today (2. November) is the feast of All Souls, famously promoted by St. Odilo of Cluny in 998. It is also the feast day of:
1) Victorinus of Poetovio (?). V. is also known as V. of Ptuj and, no longer very correctly other than in German, as V. of Pettau. The little that we know of him comes chiefly from his own surviving writings and from his notice in St. Jerome, _De viris illustribus_, 74. According to Jerome, V. was bishop of Poetovio (then an important legionary town in late Roman Pannonia Superior and now the city of Ptuj in Slovenia) and the author of commentaries on the Apocalypse and on various books of the Old Testament as well as of dogmatic and other writings. J. observes that V.'s Latin was not as good as his Greek.
V.'s commentary on the Apocalypse has survived, though in the Middle Ages it was usually read in one of several versions of a major re-working by Jerome, who suppressed V.'s chiliastic interpretation of this text and inserted other matter in its place. Also surviving are a fragment on chronology and a brief treatise on the creation of the world. All of these writings are in Latin.
Also according to Jerome, V. died a martyr. Ado and Usuard, who enter V. in their martyrologies under today's date (this is thought to have been originally a feast commemorating a late antique translation of V.'s relics to Lauriacum in Noricum Ripense, now Lorch in the city of Enns in Oberösterreich), assign V.'s suffering to the Diocletianic persecution. As the commentary on the Apocalypse is now generally thought to have been written under Gallienus in 258-260, and as that commentary was not his earliest work, some modern scholars are reluctant to accept a date of death for V. as late as ca. 304. Martine Dulaey, V.'s editor in the series Sources Chrétiennes, suggests a persecution under Numerian in 283-284.
2) Justus of Trieste (d. ca. 304, supposedly). According to his very legendary Passio (BHL 4604), J. (in Italian: Giusto) was a Christian of Aquileia, devoted to acts of penitence and of almsgiving and executed during the Great Persecution by being thrown into the upper Adriatic with lead weights affixed to his hands and feet. His body is said to have been washed up at Trieste, where a priest who had been alerted by a vision discovered it and, together with the faithful of that city, buried it in a safe place.
This J. _may_ be one of the several martyrs of this name listed without geographic specification in the (pseudo-)Hieronymian Martyrology under various dates in November. But his cult is almost exclusively Tergestine and seemingly not attested documentarily before the tenth century. At some time between the ninth century and the early eleventh a basilica dedicated to him arose next to Trieste's then cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption. In the late twelfth century that cathedral, which had been rebuilt, received an apse mosaic in which J. is prominently figured on one side. At or shortly after the end of the thirteenth century the two churches were combined into the present cathedral dedicated to J. and a large belltower was added.
An illustrated, English-language account of Trieste's cathedral of San Giusto:
Roman funerary stelae next to the main entrance:
J.'s statue on the belltower:
J. at left (St. Servulus of Trieste at right) in the mosaic of the right apse:
An early twentieth-century appreciation of this church is here:
Kobarid (Primorska) in Slovenia's Julian Alps is close enough to Trieste to make it very likely that the cerkev Svetega Justa in its locality of Koseč honors the same saint. An illustrated, English-language account begins about halfway down this page:
3) Carterius, Styriacus, Tobias, Eudoxius, Agapius, and companions (d. ca. 320, supposedly). C. _et socc._ are said in relatively late Greek calendar and synaxary accounts to have been soldiers who suffered martyrdom by fire at Sebasteia in Armenia Minor (now Sivas in Turkey) during the persecution of Licinius. Earlier narrative sources for them are lacking. Given the possibility (some would say, likelihood) that the Licinian persecution as reported by Eusebius and as imagined in various Passiones is in origin a propagandistic distortion promoted by Constantine against his former imperial colleague, one may be more hesitant than were the editors of the RM in 2001 to accept the historicity of this account.
4) Acindynus, Pegasius, Aphthonius, Elpidephorus, Anempodistus, and many companions (d. ca. 350). This group of martyrs is the subject of a legendary, seemingly seventh-century Greek-language Passio (two early versions, BHG 21 and 22; a tenth-century elaboration by Symeon Metaphrastes, BHG 23; there's also a Latin translation, BHL 25m) that makes them courtiers and others in Persia executed in various ways under Shapur II with their relics later translated to Constantinople.
The suffering of Acindynus and companions 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) Marcianus of Cyrus (d. late 4th cent.?). We know about the Syrian hermit M. from an account by his fifth-century fellow townsman Theodoret of Cyrus (_Historia ecclesiastica_, cap. 3). He is said to have belonged to one of Cyrus' (Cyrrhus') leading families, to have given up the promise of a brilliant career in favor of a life of meditation, reading Holy Writ, and fasting conducted in a tiny cell that, however, was not so remote as to preclude his attracting disciples, one of whom later was bishop of Apamea, as well as a visit from five bishops who sought instruction from him and received it in the form of an expression of abject humility and incapacity. Theodoret gives the impression that M.'s cult was immediate.
6) George of Vienne (d. later 7th cent.). G. was bishop of Vienne at some point in the later seventh century. Different reconstructions of Vienne's episcopal _fasti_ having him dying either between 664 and 680 or else in 699. In 1239 it was said of G. that he had been buried in Vienne's monastery church of St. Peter; he is said to have been accorded an Elevatio in 1251. G.'s feast on this day is recorded in late medieval expanded versions of Usuard's martyrology.
Herewith two French-language pages on the ex-église Saint-Pierre in Vienne, now home to an archaeological museum:
7) Malachy of Armagh (d. 1148). We know about this Irish Benedictine reformer and prelate (in Latin, Malachias) chiefly from his Vita by St. Bernard of Clairvaux (BHL 5188), from other writings of the same saint, and from various annalistic and documentary sources. His Irish name was Máel Máedoc Ua Morgair and he trained at Armagh at a time when the Irish church was not yet Roman. Thus it does not altogether surprise that he was ordained deacon and then priest by the archbishop of Armagh at uncanonically young ages. M. became the latter's vicar and distinguished himself by promoting the liturgy of the hours and the sacraments of confession, confirmation, and holy matrimony, all of which if we are to believe Bernard had fallen into desuetude at Armagh. M. next went to Lismore, where he learned Roman practices under a bishop who had been trained at Winchester.
In 1123 the bishop of Lismore died and M. went to Bangor as head of its monastery, which he struggled to return from a state of secularization to one of conventual discipline. In 1124 the archbishop of Armagh who had ordained him promoted M. to the see of Connor; three years later he retreated to Munster in the face of a raid by an Irish king from the north. In 1132 M. was consecrated bishop for Armagh; over the next several years he worked to break the hereditary hold of a secularized clergy on Armagh's insignia and temporalities. In 1136, having succeeded in this effort, he resigned the see and assumed instead that of Down. In 1139 M. traveled to Rome to request pallia for Armagh and Cashel, stopping off _en route_ at Clairvaux, where he won the friendship of St. Bernard.
Unsuccessful in obtaining the pallia, M. was sent back by Innocent II as native legate for Ireland to convene a synod that would request the pallia more formally. On his return journey M. was again at Clairvaux. At some point during this trip he also visited the Augustinian canons at Arrouaise near Arras and made a copy of their rule and of a document outlining some of their practices. Over the next several years M. was influential in introducing Cistercian monasticism into Ireland and canons regular into its cathedral chapters. In 1148 he made a return trip to Rome for the pallia, now properly requested by a local synod, but died at Clairvaux before he could get there. In 1149 the Irish monastic author at Regensburg of the _Visio Tnugdali_ placed M. in heaven along with St. Patrick. M. was entombed at Clairvaux; his canonization, promoted by the Cistercians, came in 1190.
The église Saint-Bernard at Ville-sous-la-Ferté (Aube; near Clairvaux) preserves this relic of M.:
Some illustrated, English-language pages on Mellifont Abbey (County Louth), Ireland's first Cistercian abbey, founded in 1142:
(Justus of Trieste revised from last year's post)
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