medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Today (22. January) is the feast day of:
1) Vincent of Zaragoza (d. 304?). A popular martyr of early Christian Iberia, V. was a deacon at Zaragoza (a.k.a. Saragossa) who did a lot of preaching for his bishop, Valerius. The latter (in some accounts) had a speech impediment. At the outbreak of the Diocletianic persecution they were both arrested and hauled off to Valencia, where they were imprisoned pending a hearing. When that hearing came, Vincent did most of the talking and spoke so ably that the presiding magistrate concluded that the really dangerous one was the deacon, not the bishop. Consequently, Valerius was exiled but Vincent remained in prison, where he underwent a series of tortures before being executed.
Early witnesses to V.'s cult include St. Paulinus of Nola, Prudentius, and St. Augustine of Hippo (who eulogized V. annually on this day and from whom we have no fewer than six sermons celebrating him). V.'s Passio in its standard form (BHL 8631) was in existence by the middle of the sixth century. A briefer text (BHL 8638) may be close in content to a Passio that circulated in the fifth century. On V.'s early medieval cult in general, with editions of major texts, see Victor Saxer, _Saint Vincent diacre et martyr: Culte et légendes avant l'An Mil_ (Bruxelles: Société des Bollandistes, 2002; Subsidia Hagiographica, vol. 83).
An English-language page and a multi-page Italian-language site on the remains of the essentially eighth- to twelfth-century abbey of San Vincenzo al Volturno in Castel San Vincenzo (IS) in Molise:
Female saints in the ninth-century crypt church:
Brief English-language and Italian-language accounts of the originally very late tenth-/early eleventh-century (consecrated, 1107) basilica di San Vincenzo in Galliano in Cantù (CO) in Lombardy:
Some other views:
This church is notable for its early eleventh-century frescoes. Views of four of these -- the last is from the church's cycle of scenes from V.'s Passio -- are available by left-clicking here:
Other views of the church, its frescoes, and its associated battistero di San Giovanni are here:
An illustrated, Spanish-language page on the originally eleventh-century church of San Vicente in Cardona (Barcelona), with expandable images:
A similar page on the originally twelfth-century basilica of San Vicente in Ávila de los Caballeros:
More views of the basilica of San Vicente in Ávila:
For the ex-cathedral of San Vicente at Roda de Isábena, see no. 3) below.
Some illustrated pages on the originally twelfth- to fifteenth-century cathédrale Saint-Vincent-de-Saragosse in Saint-Malo (Ille-et-Vilaine), a cathedral of the diocese of Rennes:
The church of Saint-Germain-des-Prés in Paris is a successor to a Merovingian basilica dedicated to the Holy Cross and to V. It is said to have been founded in the sixth century by Childebert I, who gave it V.'s stole (and perhaps his dalmatic as well). Herewith some views of the thirteenth-century window of V. from Saint-Germain-des-Prés, now in the Metropolitan Museum, New York:
V.'s martyrdom as depicted in the late thirteenth-century (ca. 1285-1290) Livre d'images de Madame Marie (Paris, BnF, ms. Nouvelle acquisition française 16251, fol. 78r):
V. preaching and V.'s martyrdom as depicted in an earlier fourteenth-century (ca. 1326-1350) copy of a collection of French-language saint's lives (Paris, BnF, ms. Français 185, fol. 101v):
Note that in these paintings we seem to have evidence of that rare figure in church annals, the mitred deacon. In the first of these, the figure robed in blue is thought to depict V.'s actual bishop, the confessor St. Valerius of Zaragoza (no. 3, below).
V.'s martyrdom as depicted in an earlier fourteenth-century (1348) copy of the _Legenda aurea_ in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (Paris, BnF, ms. Français 241, fol. 46v):
V.'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. 83v):
V.'s martyrdom as depicted in a late fifteenth-century (ca. 1480-1490) copy of the _Legenda aurea_ in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (Paris, BnF, ms. Français 244, fol. 54v):
A multi-page, German language site (the menu below the first paragraph consists of hotlinks; subordinate pages are illustrated) of the originally earlier fifteenth- to earlier sixteenth-century Münster St. Vinzenz in Bern (the Berner Münster):
Two illustrated, English-language pages on the same church:
Views of the originally fifteenth-century (restored, 1909-1911) Pfarr- und Wallfahrtskirche Hl. Vinzenz in Heiligenblut (Kärnten), a replacement for a predecessor first attested from the later thirteenth century:
Until the latest revision of the Roman Calendar, V. had a joint feast there with:
2) Anastasius the Persian (d. 628). According to his Passio (see next paragraph for references), A., whose Persian name is said to have been Magundat, was a soldier in the army of Khusrow (Chosroes) II when the latter seized the Holy Cross and brought it back to Persia. Impressed with power of this relic and with the observed behavior of many Christians, A. left the army and converted to Christianity. After a period as a monk in Jerusalem he returned to Persia as a missionary and was soon arrested. He had to endure the martyrdom of some seventy companions before he himself was executed.
A.'s cult was widespread in both East and West. For his Greek dossier (BHG 84, etc.), see Bernard Flusin, _Saint Anastase le Perse et l'histoire de la Palestine au début du VIIe siècle_ (Paris: CNRS, 1992; 2 vols.). For his Latin cult (texts: BHL 408, etc.), see Carmella Vircillo Franklin, _The Latin Dossier of Anastasius the Persian: Hagiographic Translations and Transformations_ (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 2004; its Studies and Texts, vol. 147). A noteworthy early example in the West is furnished by St. Bede the Venerable, who had access to a Passio of A. and who in 725 summarized it in his _Chronica maiora_.
This portrait in fresco in the diaconicon of the originally eleventh-/twelfth-century and now ruinous chiesetta di Sant'Anastasio in Fossato Jonico, a _frazione_ of Montebello Jonico (RC) in extreme southwestern Calabria, has been identified as one of A.:
The church is said elsewhere by the same author to have been dedicated to the Resurrection (in Greek, Anastasis). If so, its association with A. may be recent only. But the iconography fits.
This and another fresco were discovered over ten years ago. I have no idea how old the photograph is. As of late last year nothing concrete had been done to protect the ruin.
Rome's originally twelfth-century church of Santi Vincenzo ed Anastasio alle Tre Fontane is said to hold relics of A. It succeeded an earlier seventh-century dedication to A. alone, Sanctus Anastasius ad Aquam Salviam. A couple of views:
Some views of the originally later twelfth-century cripta di Sant'Anastasio at Asti (AT) in Piedmont, the lower portion of a replacement for an earlier eighth-century predecessor of the same dedication:
There are views of sculptural details at the foot of this illustrated, Italian-language page:
A.'s martyrdom (lower register; St. Timothy above) as depicted in the earlier fourteenth-century (betw. 1335 and 1350) frescoes of the narthex in the 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:
A. (at right; St. Timothy at left) as depicted in a thirteenth-century menaion from Cyprus (Paris, BnF, ms. Grec 1561, fol. 89v):
Some views of V. and A.'s church in Ascoli Piceno (AP) in the Marche, an early fourteenth-century rebuilding of a predecessor:
3) Valerius of Zaragoza (d. early 4th cent.). Vincent of Zaragoza's bishop, he survived to take part in a synod at Elvira. This V. (San Valero) has a cult in his own right, on which see Saxer (cit.) and Bruno W. Häuptli in the Bautz _Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon_ at:
Zaragoza celebrates V. on 29. January. Relics said to be those of V. repose in the mostly eleventh- and twelfth-century ex-cathedral of San Vicente at Roda de Isábena (Huesca) in Aragon, consecrated in 1067 and modified in the eighteenth century. Views of this church are here:
And a brief, illustrated English-language history of the building and an account of its recent restoration are here:
A view of the originally thirteenth-century ermita de San Valero in Velilla de Cinca (Huesca) in Aragon:
In the first of the two illuminations shown here from an earlier fourteenth-century (ca. 1326-1350) copy of a collection of French-language saint's lives (Paris, BnF, ms. Français 185, fol. 101v), the blue-robed figure at the far left is thought to depict V., while the red-robed (and mitred!) figure standing before him is his deacon, the martyr St. Vincent of Zaragoza (no. 1, above):
V.'s head reliquary given by Benedict XIII (Pedro de Luna) in 1397 to the cathedral of Zaragoza:
4) Dominic of Sora (d. 1032). Today's less well known saint of the Regno is one of Italy's fairly numerous crop of monastic reformers from the late tenth and early eleventh centuries. Said to have been born in Foligno, he made his profession at that Umbrian city's monastery of St. Sylvester. D. was active primarily in central Italy, founding monasteries in today's Lazio, Abruzzo, and Molise. His last foundation, the monastery of Santa Maria between today's Isola del Liri (FR) and Sora (FR) in southern Lazio, was renamed to include D. by Paschal II in 1104 and is generally referred to as that of San Domenico at Sora.
D. was buried in the abbey's church (today's parish church of San Domenico Abate). And there he has remained, with the exception of a brief interlude from 1799 to 1810, when he was a guest of Santa Restituta in Sora. The church was badly damaged by an earthquake in 1915 and has undergone a radical interior restoration (less radical, though, in the crypt, which is where D.'s remains are). Some views of it are here:
Exterior views with a little contemporary context absent from, or barely apparent in, the foregoing close-ups. In the first of these, the abbey (Cistercian since 1222) is at the lower right:
D.'s tomb in the crypt:
D.'s stone relic-chest in the tomb:
A brief video on the restoration of this church is accessible at the foot of this page:
The abbey's abbatial cross and and a ring displayed with it are traditionally said to be those of D.:
A thirteenth-century portrait of D. in the frescoes of the santuario della Santissima Trinità at Vallepietra (RM) in Lazio:
Revered as a protector against snakebite, D. is famously celebrated in the Abruzzese town of Cocullo (AQ) at a popular festival that takes place in early May, the Festa dei Serpari. Whereas this celebration is not attested medievally, the church at Cocullo (Santa Maria delle Grazie) from which D.'s statue is brought out for the celebrations is said to be originally of the twelfth or thirteenth century. Herewith a few exterior views:
Detail views of the church, oddly captioned as 'San panfilo', are here (left-click only):
This church was seriously damaged in last April's terrible earthquake in the Aquilano, as was also Cocullo's early modern church of San Domenico Abate. Both of these (the town's only active churches) were closed last year, though it was hoped that Santa Maria delle Grazie could be reopened by this past Christmas. Does anyone know how repairs there have progressed?
On D. (and on his complicated hagiographic dossier), see especially John Howe, _Church Reform and Social Change in Eleventh-century Italy: Dominic of Sora and his Patrons_ (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1997).
(last year's post revised)
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