medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Today (18. November) is the feast day of:
1) The dedication of the basilicas of St. Peter and St. Paul. This modern feast, occurring on the anniversary of the consecration of the present basilica of St. Peter on the Vatican in 1626, commemorates both that event and the consecration, on 10. December 1854, of the rebuilt basilica of St. Paul outside the Walls. As the feast's _elogium_ in the MR refers to the predecessors erected, respectively, by Constantine the Great in the second quarter of the fourth century and by Theodosius the Great, Valentinian II, and Arcadius in the last quarter of that century, a few visuals pertaining to those structures are certainly in order.
(Old) St. Peter:
Plan, imagined view, and section:
Nave section, fresco (very similar to a drawing in Giacomo Grimaldi's album of 1619)
(Old) St. Paul outside the Walls:
Exterior view (eighteenth-century) and view of recently re-discovered tomb said to be that of St. Paul:
Interior view (Piranesi, 1749):
Another interior view (G. P. Pannini, 1750):
2) Romanus of Antioch (d. 304). We know about R. from Eusebius (_De martyribus Palaestinae_, 2) and from Prudentius (_Peristephanon_, 10). He was a deacon of Caesarea in Palestine whose attempts early in the Diocletianic persecution to dissuade would-be apostasizers from sacrificing to the deities of the Roman state led to his arrest, scourging, trial, and conviction. Sentenced to be burned alive, he was saved by a providential rainstorm and continued to speak out. He is said to have continued speaking after his tongue had been removed and ultimately to have been strangled to death.
3) Patroclus of Bourges (d. ca. 576). Our sole source for the historical P. (also P. of Berry, P. of Néris) is the account of him given by St. Gregory of Tours at _Vita patrum_, 9. According to G., P. was a free-born, non-noble native of the territory of Bourges who excelled at his studies, who spent some time in the service of one of king Childebert's counselors, and who after the death of his father rebuffed his mother's suggestion that he marry and instead entered the clergy of Bourges. P.'s constant fasting and other ascetic behavior caused him to avoid the common table for clerics there; faced with an ultimatum from his archdeacon that he either join the others or leave the group, P. withdrew and founded a church and school at what is now Néris-les Bains (Allier). But the press of visitors proved distracting and P. retired to the forest of Colombier, spending the remainder of his days as an hermit there.
P. has a Vita (BHL 6519) in the massive, mostly unpublished, very early thirteenth-century _Liber revelationum_ of Peter of Cornwall (Petrus de Cornubia). According to the _Bibliotheca Hagiographica Latina Manuscripta_ (BHLms), it is to be found in Peter's account of St. Patrick's Purgatory.
A church associated with P. has existed at Colombier (Allier) in Bourbonnais since at least the later eleventh century, when his putative remains were translated into it in the time of bishop Richard of Bourges (1071-1092). The present church (a former prieurale) is largely thirteenth-century (the choir is fifteenth-century) and, though sometimes referred to as the église (Saint-Pierre-et-) Saint Patrocle, is said to be dedicated to St. Peter, with the parish being named after P. It houses in a modern display case a twelfth- or thirteenth-century leaden châsse containing a putative relic or relics of P. Nearby is a spring named after P. and said traditionally to have arisen at a spot where the saint, when constructing his oratory, threw a hammer. Illustrated English-language and French-language pages on the site, which in at least the Early Modern period was a pilgrimage venue of regional significance, are here:
Another view of the church:
Many views, interior as well as exterior, are here (click on 'Enter the Database'; in the list of 'Churches', scroll down to 'Colombier'):
4) Romacharius (d. later 6th cent.). We know about R. (in French, Romacaire, Romphaire, Rumphaire) from a brief mention in St. Gregory of Tours' _Historia Francorum_ (8. 31) as the bishop of Coutances who came to Rouen to officiate at the funeral of the murdered bishop Praetextatus. Thought to have been the immediate successor of Coutances' bishop St. Laud (St. Lô), he enjoyed from the eleventh century onward a cult along with the latter at L.'s priory in Rouen as well as later at Angers and at Coutances itself. R. has a brief Vita (BHL 7294), first attested from a breviary of Coutances printed in 1601 but thought to have been composed in about 1499. This makes him an Englishman who while traveling to Aquitaine was driven by storm to today's Barfleur (Manche), who became an associate of St. Laud, and who evangelized at Barfleur and vicinity. Greven's expanded Usuard of 1515 enters R. under today.
In 1470 relics traditionally believed to be those of R. and of Sts. Laud and Fromundus that had been removed from the priory at Rouen and had now been returned were newly enshrined there. At that time R.'s relics consisted of a skull with a jaw and some teeth as well as some rib bones with flesh attached, other bones, and parts of the stomach and intestines (the state[s] of the soft-tissue parts are not described; presumably, whatever bits adhered to those rib bones were quite desiccated). See Léonce de Glanville, _Histoire du Prieuré de Saint-Lô de Rouen_ (Rouen: Espérance Cagniard, 1890-91), I, 258-59. The modern church dedicated to R. (a replacement for a medieval one of the same dedication) at Saint-Romphaire (Manche; near Saint-Lô) displays this putative relic of R.:
The mostly eighteenth-century église paroissiale Saint-Pierre at Gatteville-le-Phare (Manche; near Barfleur) is a replacement for one dedicated to R. and attested from 1236 onward. Its eleventh-century tower is a survivor from the previous church and is called the Tour Saint-Romphaire. A few views of the church and the tower (in the first view, the top of the tower is visible behind the roof of the church):
The church houses several fifteenth- and early sixteenth-century statues, variously described. This one has been said to represent R. (his somewhat similar modern statue in the église Saint-Nicolas at Barfleur has him holding a book in his left hand and a pastoral staff in his right):
5) Odo of Cluny (d. 942). O. was born to a couple from the West Frankish nobility. He grew up at the courts of Fulk II, count of Anjou, and of William II (The Pious), duke of Aquitaine. His biographer John of Salerno (BHL 6292-6297) tells us that at the age of nineteen O. became a canon of St. Martin at Tours and that he subsequently studied at Paris under Remigius of Auxerre. After the Norman sack of the church at Tours (Martinopolis) in 903, O. entered the monastery of Baume. In 924 he became abbot of Cluny and spent the remainder of his life as an increasingly influential Benedictine reformer and promoter of lay piety. Perhaps the best known of his writings are the _Vita s. Geraldi Aurelianensis_ and the long poem _Occupatio_.
The Institut für Frühmittelalterforschung at the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster maintains both a portal dedicated to Cluny:
and an ongoing bibliography of Cluny studies:
Some views, etc. of what remains of Cluny III (well after O.'s time, of course):
(last year's post very lightly revised and with the additions of Patroclus of Troyes and Romacharius)
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