medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Today (30. January) is the feast day of:
1) Martina (?). M. is said to have been a virgin martyr of Rome. Our earliest notice of her comes from the _Liber Pontificalis_, which reports that Honorius I (625-638) dedicated to this saint a church in the Roman Forum. A Roman festal listing from 740 shows that she was celebrated then. Hadrian I (772-795) is reported to have made offerings at M.'s altar. In the ninth century there was an oratory dedicated to her at the tenth milestone on the Via Ostiensis.
M. has a legendary Passio (BHL 5587 and subsequent versions) which clearly had a Greek forerunner and whose content is so close to that of the Greek Passio of the Roman virgin martyr Tatiana (BHG 263; seventh- or early eighth-century) that some have called it an adaptation of the latter. In this confection, M. is a deaconess whose resistance to the attempts of emperor Alexander Severus (222-35) to get her to sacrifice to the idols leads on two occasions to the destruction of a pagan cult statue and to the death of pagan priests. She is subjected to a variety of tortures and is finally decapitated.
Ado's martyrology includes an abbreviated version of this story. In the later thirteenth century a Reichenau-connected official of the Teutonic Knights, Hugo von Langenstein, used the Passio as his base for a ca. 30,000-line poem in German on M., the _Martina_.
In the eleventh century remains thought to be those of M. were unearthed at her church in the Forum. In 1634 these were rediscovered in that building's ruinous crypt, whereupon Urban VIII commissioned the building there of a replacement church, today's Santi Luca e Martina. The latter's basic plan is that of a Greek cross; one wonders if its predecessor were not also so shaped. It was Urban too who fixed 30. January as M.'s feast day. In Ado and in Usuard she is a saint of 1. January.
M. through prayer bringing down an idol and M.'s martyrdom as depicted in a later fifteenth-century (1463) copy of Vincent de Beauvais' _Speculum historiale_ in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (Paris, BnF, ms. Français 51, fol. 11v):
2) Gregory of Spoleto (d. ca. 305, supposedly). Venerated at Spoleto as a local martyr since late antiquity, G. has a legendary Passio (BHL 3677; thought to be not later than the sixth century) that remains unpublished except in the form of its adaptation for a Passion of St. George preserved in Paris, BnF, ms. Latin 3789. According to this story, G. was a priest whose success at proselytizing led to his denunciation, arrest, interrogation, torture, and execution under Diocletian. He was buried on 23. December near a stone bridge outside the city wall by a pious woman named Abundantia.
Unknown to earlier martyrologies, G. was entered first by Ado and then by Usuard under today's date and with a synopsis of his Passio. That Passio also underlies a perhaps tenth-century hymn in G.'s honor, seemingly of Spoletan origin, that circulated in the hymnary once known as the _Hymnarius Severinianus_ and in at least one other collection from central Italy.
G.'s present church in Spoleto, San Gregorio Maggiore, was begun in 1099 and was consecrated in 1146. Three English-language accounts:
The Italia nell'Arte Medievale page on this church:
Remains of what may have been the church's late antique predecessor were discovered in September 2006:
In the tenth century remains believed to be G.'s were translated to Köln. Here he is (at right) in an early fourteenth-century window in that city's cathedral (English-language and German-language pages):
G. was in the RM under 24. December until its revision of 2001, when he was dropped altogether, perhaps because of the persistent suspicion that his cult at Spoleto is merely a local variant of that of some other saint (the chief candidates being George of Lydda and, far less plausibly, Gregory of Lilybaeum). The archdiocese of Spoleto-Norcia, whose own website does not include G. in its listing of diocesan Saints and Blesseds, now celebrates him on 30. January.
3) Bathild (d. ca. 680). According to her late seventh-century Vita (BHL 905), the highly born Englishwoman B. (also Balthild, Bathildis, Balthildis, etc.) was as a girl sold into slavery at the Neustrian court, where, probably in 648 or 649, she married Clovis II. Humble and charitable as queen, she founded the monasteries of Chelles (where her Vita is thought to have been written) and Corbie. At Clovis' death she became regent for her eldest son, the future Clothar III. At some point after he reached adulthood in about 669 B. retired to her convent at Chelles in today's Seine-et-Marne.
There, according to her Vita, she lived as a simple nun until her death. Dado of Rouen's contemporary Vita of St. Eligius (BHL 2474), which associates B. with a miracle having to do with his burial, has B. at Chelles still wearing royal insignia of gold. Stephen of Ripon's early eighth-century Vita of St. Wilfrid (BHL 8889) depicts B. as haughty and scheming during her regency. According to Stephen, she was involved in the assassination of several churchmen. B. was buried at Chelles, where in 833 she was accorded a formal Elevatio. Her relics are said to have survived the Revolution and, less bits that have gone elsewhere, to repose now in the originally twelfth- to fifteenth-century église Saint-André at Chelles, exterior views of which are here:
A very brief, French-language account with several interior views:
B.'s reliquary châsse:
Saint-André was once the abbey's parish church for the adjoining town. Also associated with the abbey are Chelles' adjacent churches of Saint-Georges (at left) and Sainte-Croix, seen here before and after restoration:
More views of the restored église Sainte-Croix:
The Musée Alfred Bonno at Chelles possesses several objects from a packet of clothing associated with B.'s bodily relics, most notably a front of a tunic embroidered so as to depict various jewels:
Views of a fibula and of a shoe said to have come from the same packet of clothing are shown on this page:
In 1999 the gold seal matrix of an Englishwoman who is reasonably thought to have been B. was found in a field near Norwich. It is now in the Norwich Castle Museum. Here are two views:
Another view of the latter side:
B. (at left; the Purification of the Virgin at right) in an early fifteenth-century (ca. 1410) Hours of René d'Anjou (an Horae BVM for the Use of Paris; London, British Library, MS Egerton 1070, fol. 87r):
B. founding the abbey of Corbie as depicted in a later fifteenth-century (ca. 1470) copy of the _Legenda aurea_ in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay as continued by Jean Golein (Mâcon, Bibliothèque municipale, ms. 3, fol. 145r):
B. taking the habit as depicted in a later fifteenth-century (1451-1475) copy of Vincent de Beauvais' _Speculum historiale_ in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (Paris, Bnf, ms. Français 310, fol. 334r):
4) Aldegund (d. 684). We know about the monastic founder and visionary A. (also Aldegundis, Adelgundis, Aldegonde) chiefly from her earliest Vitae (BHL 244, 245), of which the former is dated by Anne-Marie Helvétius to the years 715-718. According to these closely related accounts, A. and her sister St. Waldetrude (Waldetrusis, Waltraud, Waudru; the founder of the monastery whose town became Mons in Belgium) were members of a Frankish high noble family of royal descent. Preferring to become a bride of Christ than to marry in the fashion her parents had desired, A. became a nun at the recently founded monastery of Nivelles. There she experienced visions that she communicated to its abbot Subnius and that form an important part of her early hagiography.
In about the year 661 A. founded a double monastery at a place on the Sambre called in Latin Malbodium, today's Maubeuge (Nord) in French Hainaut. There she spent the remainder of her wealth in works of charity, continued to receive visions, exercised monastic virtues, and operated miracles. A. was buried at a nearby estate that formerly was hers; her niece and successor as abbess Aldetrude brought her body back to Maubeuge. As A. is thought to have died of a cancer, she has become a patron of those so afflicted.
A.'s abbey was suppressed towards the end of the eighteenth century. Relics believed to be hers survive in Maubeuge's église Saint-Pierre (et) Saint-Paul. A brief, French-language account of them and of their medieval and modern containers is here:
Some views of the originally late fourteenth-century tower (1380) of the Sint Aldegondiskerk at Alken (Limburg) in Belgium:
By the central Middle Ages A.'s cult had spread from its center in Hainaut into the German Rheinland. Herewith some views of the originally twelfth-century tower of A.'s church in the Rheindorf section of Leverkusen:
Several pages on A.'s originally late medieval church at Emmerich (Lkr. Kleve) begin here (follow the menu at the bottom of the page; there's a ground plan at 'Der Innnenraum'):
It's always a pleasure to return at least notionally to Kleve and especially to Emmerich.
5) Adelelmus of Burgos (d. ca. 1097). According to his Vita by Rodulfus, a monk of Chaise-Dieu (longer version, BHL 71; shorter version, BHL 72), A. (in French, Alleaume or Aleaume; in Spanish, Adeleleme, Elesmes, Lesmes, etc.) was born to a noble family at today's Loudun (Vienne) who, seeing that their child he was religiously inclined, educated him both for a military career and, should he prove unsuited for the former, for an ecclesiastical one. At the time of his parents' death he was a knight; having claimed his inheritance, he sold off the family property and used the proceeds to found an hospice and to engage in other acts of charity.
When a knight whom A. had reproached for various vaults angrily reproached him in turn acting like a religious without actually being one A. took him seriously, decided to give up the world, and began by undertaking a pilgrimage to Rome. He had not gotten very far when he met St. Robert of Chaise-Dieu at today's Issoire (Puy-de-Dôme) and was encouraged by his example to become a monk.
A. continued to Rome but upon his return entered Chaise-Dieu and made his profession there. In time he was elected abbot. His reputation for holiness and the miracles he operated brought him to the attention of Constance of Burgundy, the wife of Alfonso VI of Castile. She invited A. to Spain to spread the faith, he agreed, and once he was in Burgos he assisted Alfonso in the reconquest of Toledo, most notably through his miraculous crossing of the Tagos on a mule without getting the least bit wet and ahead of a Christian army that had become prey to hesitance and dissension.
Alfonso founded and endowed a monastic hospice at Burgos and put A. in charge of it. There, after further miracles, A. died. He was laid to rest on this day in the monastery's church of St. John. Thus far A.'s Vita. Its claim that A. had been abbot of Chaise-Dieu is not supported from other sources. In 1480 A.'s relics were translated to a newly built church in Burgos dedicated to him. Herewith some views of that pile (which latter was substantially modified in the sixteenth century):
A.'s present tomb:
(last year's post revised and with the addition of Adelelmus of Burgos)
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