medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Today (29. November) is the feast day of:
1) Demetrius and Blasius (d. 1st cent., supposedly). In 1193 the bodies of these previously unknown saints were discovered beneath the crypt of the cathedral at Veroli in today's Lazio, then in the papal state just north of its border with the kingdom of Sicily. Whereas it might at that that time have been possible to think of D. and B. as late antique Christians venerated as saints, their true identity was revealed in 1209, when the body of the disciple St. Mary Salome (24. April) was miraculously discovered in or near the same town. Clearly, D. and B. were this saint's companions who had accompanied her to Italy shortly before her death.
In some versions of the story D. and B. are said to have been martyrs. Their relics are kept in the crypt of Veroli's Basilica di Santa Salome, an early fifteenth-century replacement (with significant early modern additions) for a church dedicated to S. that had been badly damaged in the earthquake of 1350.
About two kilometers outside of Veroli is the chiesetta della Madonna degli Angeli, built on the spot where according to tradition Salome (accompanied of course by D. and B.) met the first pagan she was to convert to Christianity, a young man named Maurus who afterwards buried her. This church has frescoes attributed to Antoniazzo Romano (1430-ca. 1508) depicting the principal figures of the legend.
D. and B. left the RM in its revision of 2001. Some spoilsports wish us to believe that the loculi in which D. and B. are said to have been found originally contained relics believed to have been those of identically named and widely popular Eastern saints.
2) Saturninus of Carthage (d. 200?). This S. (also S. the Old) is a Roman martyr of the cemetery of Thraso, recorded under this date in the _Depositio martyrum_ of the Chronographer of 354. His verse epitaph by pope St. Damasus I (Ferrua no. 46) tells us that he was a Carthaginian who became a Roman citizen by shedding his blood under savage persecution by an official named Gratianus. A Roman prefect of that name is attested for the year 200, leading some to suppose that S. was a victim of the persecution of Septimius Severus. As that persecution seems to have left Rome largely unscathed (though it created famous martyrs in Roman Africa), other scholars think it more likely that S. perished under either Decius or Valerian.
S.'s unreliable Acta in the legendary and synthesizing Passio of pope St. Marcellus (BHL 5234) make him an aged Christian prisoner of exemplary patience and fortitude condemned with many others to transport pozzolana for the building of the Baths of Diocletian in about the year 304, give him a colleague in the form of one of Marcellus' deacons, the otherwise unrecorded Sisinnius, have the two of them convert many fellow prisoners before their own execution by decapitation on this day, and record their burial by Thraso (another of the Passio's _dramatis personae_) on a property of his along the Via Salaria nova.
S. is entered for today in the (pseudo-)Hieronymian Martyrology, in the Gelasian and Gregorian sacramentaries, and -- on the reasonable view that its S. of today is not our S.'s homonym of Toulouse -- in the earlier ninth-century Marble Calendar of Naples. He was accompanied by Sisinnius in the historical martyrologies from Bede onward (these drew on the aforementioned Passio) and also in the RM until its revision of 2001. S. had a late antique basilica at his grave that was several times rebuilt in the early Middle Ages; ruins of it could still be seen early in the seventeenth century. Relics believed to be those of S. were for centuries kept in Santi Giovanni e Paolo al Celio; in 1987 these were translated to S.'s twentieth-century church not far from the cemetery of Thraso. Views of this translation are here:
And here's a view of those relics' resting place under the church's main altar:
3) Saturninus of Toulouse (d. later 3d cent., supposedly). S. (also Sernin, Cernin, etc.) has an originally early fifth-century Passio (BHL 7495-96) that has him arrive at Toulouse in 250 and, as its bishop, suffer martyrdom (year and day unspecified) by being tied to a bull whom he had refused to sacrifice and then being dragged to death by this animal (which irate pagans had enraged by wounding and had then allowed to run free with S. in tow). Other early witnesses to his cult are Sts. Sidonius Apollinaris, Caesarius of Arles (who includes S. in the claim, promoted by Arles, of Petrine discipleship for early bishops of Gaul), and Gregory of Tours. S.'s cult spread widely both in Gaul and in Iberia (where he has a Mozarabic Mass). In the central and later Middle Ages S. acquired even greater prominence from Toulouse's being on a major pilgrimage route to Compostela.
A few visuals pertaining to S., starting with the eleventh- and twelfth-century basilique de Saint-Sernin at Toulouse:
3/4 view from front:
Early thirteenth-century reliquary showing S. and the bull:
The so-called sarcophagus (actually, a reliquary altar) with images of S.'s martyrdom in the eleventh-century church of the abbey of Saint-Hilaire near Limoux (Aude):
S.'s martyrdom as realized in stone on one of the very late eleventh-century capitals in the cloister (consecrated, 1100) of the abbey of Saint-Pierre at Moissac:
Other views of this capital, all of whose sides are devoted to S., are at no. 55 on this Sacred Destinations page:
A French-language account of this capital, with good detail views, is here:
S.'s martyrdom as realized in stone (ca. 1195-1230) on left pillar of left portal of the south face of the cathedral of Notre Dame, Chartres:
S.'s martyrdom as realized in the lower register of the very late thirteenth-/very early fourteenth- century (before 1306) tympanum of the main portal of the iglesia de San Saturnino in Artajona (Navarra):
S.'s martyrdom as depicted in an earlier fourteenth-century (1348) copy of the _Legenda aurea_ in the version by Jean de Vignay (Paris: BnF, ms. Français 241, fol. 319r):
S.'s martyrdom as depicted in a late fifteenth-century (ca. 1480-1490) copy of the _Legenda aurea_ in the version by Jean de Vignay (Paris: BnF, ms. Français 245, fol. 193r):
A page of expandable views of the originally twelfth-century église Saint-Saturnin at Mayac (Dordogne):
An illustrated, Spanish-language page (views expandable) on the originally twelfth(?)-century iglesia de San Saturnino in La Orden (Burgos):
A well-illustrated (views expandable) French-language blog page on the originally twelfth- to fifteenth- century église Saint-Saturnin at Saint-Saturnin (Puy de Dôme):
Two pages of views of this church begin here:
More views (expandable):
An illustrated, French-language account of the originally twelfth- to fifteenth-century église Saint-Sernin (Saint-Saturnin) at Brassempouy (Landes):
A page of expandable views of the originally thirteenth-century iglesia de San Saturnino at Santana de la Peña (Palencia):
More views (also expandable) in the bottom register here:
Views of the originally late thirteenth-century iglesia de San Saturnino in the former French third of Pamplona (Navarra), where S. is one of the city's patron saints:
An illustrated, Spanish-language page on the fortification walls of Artajona (Navarra) and on the adjacent, originally late thirteenth-century iglesia de San Saturnino:
Interior views (mostly having to do with the restoration of 2006-2009):
A page of views and two single views of the originally thirteenth- and fourteenth-century église Saint-Saturnin at Nissan-lez-Ensérun (Hérault):
Some views of the originally fifteenth-century église collégiale Saint-Sernin at Saint-Sernin-sur-Rance (Aveyron):
There's a better view of the chevet in the penultimate image in this Picasa album:
4) Illuminata (d. 303, supposedly). The veneration of one or more saints of this name is first documented from the eleventh century in the territory of Todi in Umbria (1037) and at Limosano in Molise (1066). She could be 1) her Greek-language counterpart, the also historically very poorly attested St. Photina (in Slavic tongues, Svetlana), in Latin and Italo-Romance dress, 2) an originally obscure saint of local origin, or 3) both (assuming a plurality of Italian saints Illuminata).
The I. venerated at Todi has a legendary Passio (different versions: BHL 4267, 4267b, 4267c) that makes her a convert to Christianity at Ravenna who during the Great Persecution is denounced by her father and arrested, who is liberated by an angel and travels to Umbria along the Via Salaria, performing miracles on the way, and who after being reunited with her now Christian parents is arrested again at today's Massa Martana (PG), where the local prefect has them all executed on this day. They are then buried at a place some two miles from the town, with an arm of I. later being deposited in a monastery at Todi.
Here are two illustrated, Italian-language accounts of the originally eleventh- or twelfth-century chiesa di Santa Illuminata, a survivor of what prior to its becoming a dependency of the cathedral of Todi had been a Camaldolese monastery at I.'s putative grave site in Massa Martana's rural locality of Collarezzo (near Torrececcona):
A different view and an English-language description occur a little more than halfway down this page:
In 1491 Augustinians took over and completely rebuilt what seems to have been an early fourteenth-century church dedicated to I. at today's Montefalco (PG). Montefalco's Museo Comunale di San Francesco houses this fifteenth-century painting (attributed to Antoniazzo Romano) of St. Catherine of Alexandria between Sts. Vincent and Anthony of Padua that the Augustinians appear to have adapted for use in said church, converting Anthony of Padua to Nicholas of Tolentino and Catherine to Illuminata:
5) Radbod of Utrecht (d. 917). The Frankish noble R. (in Dutch, Radboud) was descended on his mother's side from Radbod (d. 719), a pagan king of the Frisians. He was educated at the cathedral school at Köln, where a maternal uncle was archbishop, and later at the court of Charles the Bald. In 899 he became bishop of Utrecht; incursions by Northmen soon caused him to remove his seat to Deventer. As bishop he lived very austerely, succored the poor, and wrote at least some of the prose and verse literary works (saint's lives, sermons, hymns, etc.) ascribed to him. R.'s immediate successor erected an altar over his grave at Deventer; his Vita by a canon of Utrecht (BHL 7046) followed within the same century.
A sarcophagus discovered in 1960 or 1961 during restoration work at the Lebuinuskerk (Grote Kerk) in Deventer is said to have contained fragments of three crania, one of which has been attributed to R. Lees meer:
While we're here, a heavily illustrated, Dutch-language page on said church:
A black-and-white view of R. as represented in fresco in the originally fifteenth-century Broerenkerk at Zwolle (Ov) in The Netherlands:
While we're here, a page of views of that church:
(last year's post revised)
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