medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Today (12. January) is the feast day of:
1) Tatiana of Rome (?). T. first appears in our sources either in the _Itinerarium Malmesburiense_ (one of the earlier seventh-century guidebooks for pilgrims at Rome) or else in her legendary Martyrion (BHG 1699), if that really were written quite so early. The former lists her as resting in a church at an otherwise unrecorded _mons Nola_. To judge from later catalogues of Rome's churches this would appear to have been on the Quirinal in the vicinity of Santa Susanna. The Martyrion (BHG 1699) makes T. a martyr under Alexander Severus (not known to have persecuted Christians), gives her a passion full of hagiographic commonplaces, and has her buried by the otherwise unknown bishop Rhetorius and all the Roman senate (which latter in Alexander's reign will have been overwhelmingly not Christian).
From this text descend a seemingly tenth-century metaphrastic version (BHG 1699b) and an abridgment in the earlier eleventh-century Imperial Menologium of Michael IV (BHG 1699d). There is also a Latin translation of the original Martyrion (or Passio antiqua) whose first witness is of the tenth or eleventh century (BHL 7879) and whose manuscripts are all of Roman origin. T.'s church in Rome is last heard from in the fourteenth century when it was merely a chapel staffed by a single priest. T. entered the RM under cardinal Baronio, who included her on the basis of Orthodox liturgical texts, and left it with the revision of 2001. Orthodox churches have traditionally celebrated her today.
2) Tigrius and Eutropius (?, d. 404). We know about T. and E. chiefly from Sozomen, _Historia ecclesiastica_, 8. 24. During the riot that occurred in Constantinople in 404 when St. Chrysostom had been deposed as bishop and was being sent into exile the cathedral and the adjacent senatorial palace were destroyed by fire. Chrysostom's adherents and those of his imperially intruded successor Arsacius blamed each other for this disaster. The city prefect had a group of John's adherents who refused to acknowledge Arsacius arrested and jailed; he then had the young lector E. very severely tortured in a failed attempt to make him name those who had fired the church. As a result of his maltreatment E. died in prison shortly thereafter.
About the same time, says Sozomen, the prefect had the priest Tigrius, a non-Greek by birth and a eunuch and an ex-slave, scourged and severely racked. Palladius (_Dialogus de vita S. Joannis Chrysostomi_, 20) records that T. was exiled to Mesopotamia. How long he survived is unknown.
T. and E. are not recorded in Byzantine synaxaries. Baronio entered them in the RM.
3) Caesaria (d. 525?). C. was a sister of St. Caesarius of Arles. The little that is known about her comes from a letter from him to her, from his Vita (BHL 1508-1509), and from St. Venantius Fortunatus' Vita of St. Radegund (BHL 7048). Probably from the moment of his assumption of the see of Arles in 502 Caesarius intended to found in that city a women's monastery headed by his sister. According to her brother's Vita, C., who one has to assume was always a partner in this project, became a nun at Marseille in order to familiarize herself with monastic life and to learn what she would teach. When the monastery was finally ready in 512 C. was called to direct it, using a rule that Caesarius (again very possibly with advice from C.) had written for this institution.
C. commissioned her brother's Vita. She had numerous disciples and ruled her house until her death a little over ten years later. Her successor was a niece also named Caesaria, from whom St. Radegund in Poitiers received the rule used by C.'s strictly cloistered community. Though Venantius Fortunatus (_Carmina_, 8. 4) praises C. as a saint worthy of the company of Paulina, Agnes, Basilissa, and Eugenia and though St. Gregory of Tours (_Historia Francorum_, 9. 40) calls Caesariius _sanctus_ and C. _beata_, her medieval cult appears to have been very limited.
4) Benedict Biscop (d. 689). The Northumbrian Biscop Baducing was born into a noble family of Anglian stock. In 653, when the twenty-five-year-old B. was in the service of king Oswiu of Northumbria, he undertook a pilgrimage to Rome, traveling part of the way with St. Wilfrid (whom he had met in Canterbury at the court of the king of Kent). At Rome he stayed at St. Gregory the Great's monastery of St. Andrew on the Caelian. Though he returned to Northumbria for a few years, the monastic life apparently appealed to him and in the later 660s he entered religion at Lérins in southeasternmost Gaul near its border with Italy. B. was again in Rome when pope St. Vitalian appointed him to accompany Sts. Theodore of Tarsus/Canterbury and Hadrian of Nisida/Canterbury on their journey to Kent.
When B. took the name Benedict is not known, though a good guess would be that this happened at the time of his monastic profession at Lérins. For the remainder of his life he was a major force in the establishment of Benedictine monasticism in the English kingdoms, exploiting his noble connections and using his own personal wealth in the furtherance of this course. Briefly preceding Hadrian as abbot of Sts. Peter and Paul at Canterbury, he is best known for his Northumbrian foundations of St Peter's at Wearmouth (now Monkwearmouth in the city of Sunderland) and St Paul's at Jarrow. B. endowed these with sturdy buildings of stone (for which he reintroduced locally, if not into England as a whole, the craft of making glass windows) and with liturgical and other books acquired during further visits to Rome.
In the first of these later journeys B. obtained from pope St. Agatho a privilege restricting episcopal power over his monks and granting them the right to elect their own abbots. He also obtained the services of the precentor of St. Peter's at Rome, John the Arch-Chanter, installing him at Jarrow where he instructed the monks in singing and in the feasts of the liturgical year. In 688 B. appointed his long-time coadjutor St. Ceolfrith (who had done the actual work of establishing the house at Jarrow) to succeed him as abbot of this dual community, whose most famous product was surely their student St. Bede the Venerable. Bede's sermon (no. 17) on B. testifies to the latter's early cult.
Both houses fell victim to Viking raids in the late eighth century and to the Danes less than a century later. They were re-founded in the later eleventh century, becoming cells of Durham Priory in 1083. The two sites are the UK's joint nominee for World Heritage recognition from UNESCO in 2010. Herewith a brief consideration of each.
a) Saint Peter's, Monkwearmouth, has been much rebuilt. Restored in 1875, this church retains Saxon construction in its tower and in part of its west wall. Some views:
A distance view:
But the surround was not always so parklike:
b) Saint Paul's, Jarrow, is a nineteenth-century church built over the foundations of what was once the abbey's main building and incorporating, as its chancel, an originally free-standing Saxon chapel whose foundations are said to go back to B.'s day. To the south of the church are remains of eleventh-century monastic buildings. Pages on the site from English Heritage and from Bede's World are here:
An aerial view (the waters of Tyne at left):
Remnants of Saxon construction are still visible in this part of the church:
Fragments of seventh- or eighth-century glass were discovered in the 1970s where they had fallen when, in the late eleventh or twelfth century, most of the window openings were enlarged and the windows replaced. Some of these, including one irregularly shaped bright yellow piece, have been set into a modern glass matrix in the round window shown here:
A reconstructed colored glass window at the Jarrow Museum uses more of the fragments found at the site:
A little context (and another view of the reconstruction):
A copy of the church's foundation stone with its inscription dating this event to 23. April 685, under king Ecgfrith and abbot Ceolfrith:
The original is set into the chancel arch:
A view of two cross fragments at St. Paul's:
For much, much more, see Rosemary Cramp et al., _Wearmouth and Jarrow Monastic Sites_ (2vv.; Swindon: English Heritage, 2005-2006).
5) Ailred of Rievaulx (d. 1167). We know about diplomat, abbot, theologian, hagiographer, and historian A. (also Ćlred, Ethelred) chiefly from his own writings and from a Vita by his secretary and medical attendant, Walter Daniel (BHL 2644as). He was born in Hexham to a priestly family of Northumbria, was educated there and possibly at Durham, and was a courtier of David I, king of Scots, before entering the Cistercian abbey of Rievaulx in the early or mid 1130s. In 1143 A. became the first abbot of Revesby in Lincolnshire. In 1147 he was elected abbot of Rievaulx. His writings (the major ones at least; also the letter on the Nun of Watton) are too well known to require a summary here.
A. was buried at Rievaulx and enjoyed a medieval cultus there (the abbey church was enlarged in the 1220s to accommodate his shrine) and at other houses of the Cistercian Order. The latter listed him among its saints at its general chapter of 1250 and in 1476 approved his liturgical commemoration. Never canonized papally, he is venerated as a saint by his order, by others in the Benedictine family, and in churches of the Anglican Communion. A. entered the RM in 2001 and is there called Saint.
Some views of the remains of Rievaulx Abbey (Helmsley, North Yorks):
6) Martin of the Holy Cross (d. 1203). The principal source for the relatively well documented Augustinian canon and scriptural exegete M. (also M. of León, esp. in Spain [where he's usually Martino rather than Martín]) is his earlier thirteenth-century Vita by Lucas the future bishop of Túy (BHL 5600), a fellow canon of the shrine of San Isidoro in León. M. lost his mother when he was an infant. His father then entered the monastery of San Marcello at León, where M. was raised, made his profession, and entered lower orders. When M. had been elevated to the subdiaconate he undertook a lengthy series of pilgrimages to the Holy Land and elsewhere in Christendom, including Paris, where it his thought from his writings that he studied at the university.
Returning to León, M. was ordained priest at San Marcello. When that house was secularized he moved to what is now the Real Colegiata de San Isidoro in the same city. In 1185 he began his _magnum opus_, the apologetic _Concordia Veteris et Novi Testamenti_, replete with scriptural citations and influenced both by St. Isidore of Seville and by Peter Lombard. Also surviving from M.'s pen are commentaries on several Epistles and on the Apocalypse. M. had a special devotion to the Eucharist and to the Holy Cross, attempted in his writings to prove for Jewish audiences Christ's fulfilment of messianic prophecies, and was credited with several seemingly miraculous cures of people who were seriously ill. His cult was immediate.
In 1513 M.'s remains were translated to a chapel dedicated to him in the church (now formally a basilica) of the Colegiata de San Isidoro. His right hand, found to be incorrupt, was later preserved separately in a silver reliquary. In the sixteenth century the diocese of León celebrated M.'s feast with an Office that included readings from his Vita. In 1959 the Sacred Congregation of Rites authorized M.'s cult for the colegiata de San Isidoro; in 1964 it extended this authorization to the entire diocese of León, where his feast is now an obligatory Memorial.
In 2001 M. entered the RM with the designation Saint. In 2002, in an unfortunate case of the left hand (or perhaps only a minor digit thereof) not keeping up with the right, the _New Catholic Encyclopedia_, 2d ed. (Detroit and Washington: Thomson/Gale and Catholic University of America) told readers of its brief entry on M. that "His cult, authorized in 1632, was later suppressed and Martin has fallen into obscurity." In 2003 the diocese of León celebrated a Holy Year commemorating the 800th anniversary of M.'s death.
The Real Colegiata de San Isidoro de León's Archivo Capitular preserves M.'s manuscripts. Here's a view of one of the _Concordia_ (the Archivo's Códice 61) showing a miniature depicting St. Isidore:
Two views of an similar illumination of M. in the same codex:
An English-language page on, and some views of, the originally eleventh-century Basílica de San Isidoro in Leon:
(last year's post revised and with the additions of Tigrius and Eutropius, Caesaria, and Martin of the Holy Cross)
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