medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Today (5. November) is the feast day of:
1) Domninus of Caesarea (d. 307). We about D. from Eusebius' _De martyribus Palaestinae_, 7. A young, learned physician, he was a prominent victim of the Great Persecution at its outset. After several years of hard labor in the mines of Palestine he was executed by being burned alive. D. is entered under today in the (pseudo-)Hieronymian Martyrology. Prior to its revision of 2001 the RM commemorated with D. other martyrs of Palestine not known to have suffered with him: Sts. Theotimus (no. 2, below), Philotheus (no. 2, below), Sylvanus (commemorated on 4. May), and companions.
2) Theotimus, Philotheus, and Timotheus (d. ca. 307?). Th., P., and Ti. are martyrs whose feast today is recorded in Byzantine synaxaries. Reasons for the former association of the first two, who are not named in Eusebius' _De martyribus Palaestinae_, with Domninus of Caesarea are not clear. J.-M. Sauget (s.v. "Donnino, Teotimo, Filoteo, Silvano" in the _Bibliotheca Sanctorum_, vol.4, cols. 812-13) thinks that these may have been the three unnamed martyrs sentenced to death by pugilism at _mart. Pal._, 7. But Ti. may be the Ti. of Gaza whom the same Roman governor is said in _mart. Pal,_, 3 to have had tortured and then slowly burned to death.
3) Fibicius (d. early 6th cent.). F. is a very poorly documented bishop of Trier whose cult is first recorded, under today's date, in an eleventh-century calendar from St. Simeon at Trier. He is first said to have been the city's bishop in the originally late eleventh- or early twelfth-century _Gesta Treverorum_; this treats him as the immediate successor of Maximianus and the immediate predecessor of Abrunculus (d. ca. 526). Some identify him with the otherwise unrecorded bishop of Trier named Felicius who ordained St. Goar priest according to the latter's mid-eighth-century Vita by a monk of Prüm (BHL 3565). From at least the thirteenth century onward the abbey of St. Maximinus of Trier asserted that F. had been its abbot before his elevation to the episcopate.
4) Trofimena (d. before 838). Condemned to death for refusing to sacrifice at pagan altars, Trofimena fled her Sicilian parents but died at sea; her body, laid to rest in a sarcophagus of some sort, was guided by an angel to today's Minori (SA) on Campania's Amalfi Coast, where it was discovered on the shore by a woman doing her wash. Miracles indicated that this was something special. Ecclesiastical authorities were called, examination of the sarcophagus led to the discovery of an inscription on it giving in brief the story of this virgin martyr, a decision was made to bring her to the town, but her heavy yet rapidly moving sarcophagus, drawn by or perhaps drawing two white heifers that had been yoked to it for this task, came to a complete stop at the spot where later her church was built over it.
Thus far the details of our source document for the legend of this less well known saint of the Regno, the _Historia inventionis ac translationis sanctae Trophimenae_ (BHL 8316-8318), which goes on to recount various early translations through T.'s return from Benevento to Minori in 839 (she had been in Amalfi when prince Sicard of Benevento seized that town in 838 and removed her to his capital; his successor Radelchis I returned half of her putative remains via Salerno early in his reign). Usually thought to be of the early tenth century but sometimes dated to the late eleventh or early twelfth, this account has been praised for its narrative structure and stylistic elegance. Although some are less taken with the verses said to have been carved on the sarcophagus (in the text called a _sepulcrum_), these too have their moments, esp. the final lines:
Membra dedit Reginniculis, animamque Tonanti.
Hinc Christi inter odoriferas depascitur aulas.
("Her body she gave to the people of Minori and her soul to God.
Henceforth she is nourished in Christ's sweet-smelling halls.")
T. has been Minori's patron ever since. The city's ex-cathedral (from 987 to 1818 Minori had a diocese of its own) is dedicated to her and houses part of her remains. Half of what is believed to have been her corpse (divided longitudinally, apparently) was retained at Benevento when she was returned from there in 839. In the early modern period T. was equated with the Febronia venerated at Patti (ME) and some of the remains at Minori were transported to that Sicilian cathedral town to satisfy its desire for relics of its own similarly legendary saint.
T.'s eleventh- and twelfth-century "romanesque" church at Minori was rebuilt in baroque style during the later eighteenth century:
In the print from 1703 fuzzily shown at top center here:
the older structure (laid out along the space occupied by the current building's transepts) is marked as no. 1.
Two aerial photographs showing the present transepts are here (use the belltower to find the church):
A striking medieval survival in Minori is the twelfth-century belltower of the now-demolished church of the Annunziata, seen here rising up among the vineyards and lemon groves:
Its detailed inlay work can be better seen in these views:
At Minori T.'s main liturgical feast is today but she has others as well: her patronal feast on 13. July (formerly celebrated on 10. December in commemoration of Minori's fortunate escape from a Muslim raid) and, on or about 27. November, the celebration of the re-discovery in 1793 of her putative relics (now combined with a civic Holiday festival in which T. announces the coming of Christmas). Because of her identification with Febronia and/or with other saints named Trofima or the like, T. will be found in differing places and under differing headings in calendrically ordered books of the saints and in other works of reference. T. has yet to grace the pages of the RM.
The early medieval Amalfitan community in Salerno was centered on a street named the _vicus Trophimenae_. T.'s little church there, rebuilt in the twelfth century and again in the seventeenth, has recently been restored. Its parish, relocated in 1853 to the fourteenth(?)-century chiesa dell'Annunziata (itself rebuilt in eighteenth century), continues to bear witness to her as Santa Trofimena nella Santissima Annunziata.
For more on T., her legend, and her churches, see:
Giuseppe Arlotta, "Da Trofimena di Minori a Febronia di Patti: un culto dell'età moderna," in Réginald Grégoire, ed., _Febronia e Trofimena: Agiografia latina nel Mediterraneo altomedievale. Atti della Giornata di Studio, Patti, 18 luglio 1998_ (Cava de' Tirreni: Avagliano, 2000), pp. 71-138.
Riccardo Avallone, "La 'Historia S. Trophimenae' e il 'Chronicon Salernitanum'", _Critica letteraria_ 18 (1990), 757-74.
Dorotea Memoli Apicella, _Culti di origine greca a Salerno_ (Salerno: Laveglia, 2001).
Massimo Oldoni, "Agiografia longobarda tra secolo IX e X: la leggenda di Trofimena," _Studi medievali_, 3a serie, 12 (1971), 583-636.
5) Bertila (d. ca. 705). B. (also Bertilla, Bertilia; in French, Bertille) was the first abbess of Chelles, founded by her friend St. Bathild. According to her Vita (BHL 1287; earliest witness is of the tenth century), she was a native of the territory of Soissons, had at the time of her appointment been prioress of the abbey of Jouarre, served as abbess for forty-six years, sent nuns under her charge to help with the foundation of monasteries by Saxon kings in Britain, and exemplified numerous monastic virtues.
Some views, etc. of the abbaye Notre-Dame at Jouarre (Seine-et-Marne):
The abbey at Chelles (Seine-et-Marne) is no more. B.'s putative relics and those of St. Bathild are in Chelles' originally twelfth- or thirteenth-century église Saint-André, once the abbey's parish church for the adjoining town:
Views of a fibula and of a shoe from the packet of clothing associated with the relics of B. and of Bathild are shown on this page:
Also associated with the abbey are Chelles' adjacent churches of Saint-Georges (at left) and Sainte-Croix:
More views of the église Sainte-Croix:
6) Gerald of Béziers (d. 1123). G. (in French, Guiraud) was a canon regular who was prior at today's Cassan (Hérault) and who rebuilt the priory church there (consecrated in 1115). He became bishop of Béziers in 1122 and died on 5. November of the following year.
Expandable views of the château-abbaye de Cassan are here:
(last year's post revised and with the addition of Fibicius)
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