medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Today (11. January) is the feast day of:
1) Hyginus, pope (d. ca. 142). H. is traditionally the eighth bishop of Rome after St. Peter. Eusebius and the _Liber Pontificalis_ give him a pontificate of four years; the mid-fourth-century Liberian Catalogue (not generally credited in this instance) gives him one of twelve. The _Liber Pontificalis_ says that he was a Greek from Athens and a former philosopher (not impossible in a contemporary of St. Justin Martyr). Evidence to support his later veneration as a martyr is lacking.
2) Leucius of Brindisi (?). Today's less well known saint of the Regno is the legendary protobishop of Brindisi (BR) on Apulia's Adriatic coast. His cult is first documented in the correspondence of pope St. Gregory the Great; other early medieval testimonies include an entry in the (pseudo-)Hieronymian Martyrology and a Vita (BHL 4894) widely distributed in the Beneventan cultural area but seemingly unknown to Paul the Deacon when he was writing his _De episcopis Mettensibus_ (after 765). This Vita has later revisions from Brindisi (BHL 4895; ninth[?]-century) and from Trani (BHL 4897; eleventh[?]-century). None of these accounts offers any reliable information about the historical L.
The remains believed to be those of L. underwent various translations from the seventh century to the eleventh. Apart from bits that went to Rome and vicinity at the request of Gregory the Great, they were in Brindisi until sometime after the Lombard sack of 674, when they was translated to Trani and housed under the city's then cathedral in the late antique hypogeum that bears L.'s name today. In probably the eighth century they were removed to Benevento; in the ninth an arm was returned to Brindisi. In the eleventh century, it seems, the diocese of Trani got half of L.'s body (or of what was then left of it) back from Benevento in return for a monetary payment.
Thanks to Gregory, we know that in the later sixth century there was a monastery dedicated to L. on the Via Flaminia outside of Rome; its church was still in use in the middle of the ninth century. In eleventh- and twelfth-century calendars from Rome L. appears with St. Euplus on 12. August.
L.'s cult is widespread in formerly Lombard areas of the Italian south and centre. A plan of Trani cathedral's fifth- to seventh-century hypogeum of St. Leucius (beneath the two crypts) is here:
Canosa di Puglia (BT) boasts the remains of a Byzantine basilica that was renamed in L.'s honor after that town's capture by the Lombards in the late seventh century; see (about halfway down the page):
and, for further detail,:
An aerial view of the site surrounded by olive groves:
Veroli (FR) in southern Lazio has a church that was dedicated to L. in 1079 and has since been rebuilt:
The cathedral of Atessa (CH) in southern Abruzzo is dedicated to L., who according to local legend slew a dragon that was terrorizing the population. A fossilized rib bone of some large prehistoric mammal is still on display in the cathedral in testimony of this feat. The building itself has a fourteenth-century facade (with later modifications):
In Campania, both San Leucio del Sannio (BN) and the silk-manufacturing town of Caserta - San Leucio (CE) took their name from churches of medieval origin dedicated to L. (locally also called San Lècio).
Aside from a version of L.'s Vita, from an Office printed in 1583 (its Vespers and Lauds hymns are in the _Analecta hymnica medii aevi_, vol. 43, pp. 220-21), from this arm reliquary of L.:
and from this representation of L. on the thirteenth-century, partly silver reliquary coffin of St. Theodore of Amasea:
Brindisi itself has little medieval to show of its sainted protobishop. Its eighteenth-century cathedral, dedicated to St. John the Baptist, sports atop its facade statues dating from 1957 depicting the local patron saints. L. is on the far left (the others are the soldier saint Theodore, Lawrence of Brindisi, and Giustino de Jacobis):
3) Typasius (?). T. (also Tipasius) is known to us solely through a late antique Passio (BHL 8354) preserved with the Passiones of other African saints in, as far as is known, a single manuscript of the fourteenth century (Paris, BnF, ms. Latin 5306). This makes him a veteran twice recalled to service in Mauretania during the Great Persecution: on the first occasion he upholds in colloquy with the emperor Maximian the superiority of the _militia Christi_ and predicts widespread victories for the empire if he is released from service; within forty days his predictions come true and he is honorably discharged. T. returns home, builds a monastery in the desert, and lives there for some years until he is forcibly recalled to service.
Interviewed by a senior Roman military official T. then asserts that, as he is a soldier of Christ, he cannot enter the Roman army and worship the idols of the Roman state. When his military belt, which he had kept after leaving Roman service [this was a symbol of honorable discharge], was against his wishes placed around him and secured it broke into pieces. T. was made a prisoner, operated a miracle that restored one of his captors to life, was thereafter well treated, but upon another refusal to make the required religious sacrifice was executed by decapitation on 11. January. Those who had instigated his persecution received divine punishment, not least Maximian, whose execution by Constantine constituted a public vindication of T.
Thus far T.'s Passio. Although some (including the distinguished medieval historian John France) accept without qualification the factuality of its basic narrative, it has since its publication in the late nineteenth century been widely regarded as at least largely fictional (for France, who does not even acknowledge in a footnote the body of scholarly comment running contrary to his position, see his "War and Sanctity: Saints' Lives as Sources for Early Medieval Warfare", _The Journal of Medieval Military History_ 3 , pp. 14-22, at pp. 15-16). An English-language translation of the Passio by David Woods is here:
To the bibliography given by Woods at the foot of that page add (among others), Maureen Tilley, _The Bible in Christian North Africa: The Donatist World_ (Fortress Press, 1997), pp. 49-50.
4) Honorata of Pavia (d. ca. 510?). What little is known about H. comes from St. Ennodius' Vita of his predecessor in the see of Pavia, St. Epiphanius of Pavia (BHL 2570). She was the latter's younger sister. As a young cleric he consecrated her a virgin and entrusted her education to St. Luminosa (another of Pavia's several late antique holy virgins). Thus far Ennodius. Epiphanius died in 498. Whether and how long H. outlived him and when her cult commenced are unknown. She was buried next to her brother in Pavia's church of St. Vincent (later of St. Vincent and St. Epiphanius). According to the thirteenth-century _Cronica brevis de sanctis episcopis Ticinensibus_, bishop St. Litifredus (r. 864-874) translated her remains from there to the church of the women's monastery of Santa Maria Vecchia, later known as Santa Maria delle Cacc[i]e. That house was suppressed in 1577. H.'s relics are probably now in Pavia's cathedral.
A small, much rebuilt, and certainly originally medieval church dedicated to H. at Mede (PV) in the Lomellina is said to retain elements of "romanesque" construction. In its present form the church is largely a nineteenth-century essay in the medievalizing style called Lombard Romanesque. Here's a view:
Her church at Mede (PV):
5) Theodosius the Cenobiarch (d. 529). We know about T. chiefly from two closely posthumous Bioi: one by his disciple Theodosius of Petra (BHG 1776) and the other by the monastic hagiographer Cyril of Scythopolis (BHG 1777). Born in a small town in Cappadocia he became a monk early in life. As a young man he visited Antioch and received the blessing of St. Symeon Stylites. At about the age of thirty T. traveled to Palestine, where he at first lived in a monastery in Jerusalem and then was a hermit in the desert for thirty years. In about 465 he founded near Bethlehem a cenobitic monastery that proved very popular and that had chapels for monks of different languages as well (of course) as a main church where the liturgy was celebrated in Greek.
In 494 patriarch Sallustius of Jerusalem put T. in charge of all the cenobitic monasteries in Palestine (hence the title by which he is known). An opponent both of Eutychianism and of monophysite views, he was briefly removed from that post by the monophysite-inclined emperor Anastasius (from whom he also received a large donative which he then distributed to the poor). T. is said to have been over one hundred years old at his death. His monastery survived the Arab conquest of Palestine and lasted until about 1400.
Here's a view of the oldest known portrait of T., in the lower portion (below St. Chariton the Confessor) of an eighth- or ninth-century triptych wing at the monastery of St. Catherine on Mount Sinai:
T. as depicted in the mid-eleventh-century mosaics of the Nea Moni on Chios:
T. as depicted in a thirteenth-century menaion from Cyprus (Paris, BnF, ms. Grec 1561, fol. 55v):
T. as depicted in the earlier fourteenth-century (betw. 1335 and 1350) frescoes of the south nave (parecclesion of St. Nicholas) in 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:
T. as depicted (at left; St. Anthony of Egypt at right) in the sixteenth-century frescoes (1502) by Dionisy and sons in the Virgin Nativity cathedral of the St. Ferapont Belozero (Ferapontov Belozersky) monastery at Ferapontovo in Russia's Vologda oblast:
6) Paulinus of Aquileia (d. 802). The well-educated Friulan P. was a priest and schoolmaster in the until recently Lombard-ruled kingdom of Italy when in 776 Charlemagne brought him to his court where his teaching of _grammatica_ (grammar in a broad sense) contributed to an improvement in writing skills in Frankish domains. But he was learned in theology as well and in 787 Charlemagne made him metropolitan of the see of Aquileia not at Grado (the latter being the seat in East Roman territory of another line of patriarchs of Aquileia), whose episcopal center was now Cividale.
P. wrote two books against Adoptionism and took a leading part in synods condemning forms of that doctrine. He had a role in the Christianization of Carinthia once Charlemagne had incorporated it into the duchy of Friuli and opposed coercive measures in that endeavor. A few poems by P. survive along with others of doubtful authenticity and yet others that have been ascribed to him but that certainly are not his.
Today is P.'s _dies natalis_. His friend Alcuin wrote a moving poem in his memory (ed. Dümmler, no. 17; at MGH, A. A., _Poetae latini aevi carolini_, I, 239). P.'s cult seems to have been either immediate or nearly so.
(last year's post lightly revised and with the addition of Honorata of Pavia)
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