medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Today (23. January) is the feast day of:
1) Emerentiana (?). E. (whose name seems really to have been Emerentianes) is a martyr of the great cemetery on the Via Nomentana, where she is cited in the seventh-century pilgrim itineraries for Rome and where in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries fragments of her epitaph were found. A fifth-century addition to the pseudo-Ambrosian Passio of St. Agnes makes her A.'s foster sister, stoned to death by pagans at A.'s funeral and buried alongside her. When E. appears in the later sixth-century (ca. 560) procession of virgin martyrs in Ravenna's Sant'Apollinare Nuovo she is at some remove from A. According to a report in the Annals of Xanten, E.'s body was translated in 851 to Saxony. In 1123 an altar was dedicated to her at A.'s reputed place of execution in what now is Rome's Piazza Navona.
In 1615 remains said to be E.'s were intended to be enclosed along with those of the by then headless Agnes in a silver reliquary commissioned by Paul V and located in Rome's Sant'Agnese fuori le Mura. In 1621 this reliquary was placed under the same pope's newly commissioned altar for that church. When it was rediscovered early in the twentieth century it contained only the skeleton of one headless girl, generally assumed to be A.
In the (pseudo-)Hieronymian Martyrology E. appears under 16. September. Her feast today, two days after that of her supposed sister, is recorded in the historical martyrologies from Bede onward, in Young Gelasian sacramentaries, and in other early medieval liturgical sources. In the Mozarabic liturgy Agnes and E. are celebrated jointly on 20. January. E. is the patron saint of the city of Teruel in Aragón, where she is honored today with a Solemnity.
The British Museum's Royal Gold Cup (later fourteenth-century) depicts E.'s stoning:
More on this piece:
It is a bit depressing to find the British Museum misspelling E.'s name.
The rural church of Santa Emerenziana in Tuenno (TN) in Trentino - Alto Adige's Val di Non is an early sixteenth-century expansion of an originally eleventh- or twelfth-century building. Herewith some views of its "gothic" exterior:
and two views of details, one interior and one exterior:
Can anyone point to a reproduction of its fourteenth-century fresco of E. on her deathbed?
Two views of the originally later fifteenth-century (1472) chapelle Sainte-Émerance at La Pouëze (Maine-et-Loire) in Pays-de-la-Loire:
2) Severianus and Aquila (?). S. and A., husband and wife, are entered under today in the (pseudo-)Hieronymian Martyrology as martyrs of Neocaesarea in Mauretania. This information is repeated in the historical martyrologies of the Carolingian period with the detail that they were burned to death. As there is no other record of a Neocaesarea in Mauretania, other venues have been suggested, e.g. Neocaesarea in Pontus and Caesarea in Mauretania. Aquila is a name ordinarily borne by men; possibly A. was originally called something else (e.g. Acilia).
3) Clement of Ankara and Agathangelus (d. early 4th cent., supposedly). The cult of these saints is first attested in a fifth-century sermon dubiously ascribed to St. Proclus of Constantinople. According to his legendary pre-metaphrastic Passio (BHG 352-352d), C. was a native of Ankara (anciently, Ancyra) who was orphaned early, who as a child showed a strong inclination to asceticism and to acts of charity, who entered the clergy while still very young, and who at the age of twenty became Ankara's bishop. He was arrested in Diocletian's persecution, was jailed in Ankara for a while, became famous for enduring harsh torments, and was then sent to Rome, where though still a prisoner he continued to attract attention for his constancy under duress and managed to make many converts.
A. was one of C.'s converts at Rome. He became so devoted to C. that he smuggled himself aboard a ship that was to take C. to the emperor Maximian in Nicomedia. From there the pair was taken from place to place for many years, enduring trials and torture and ending up in Ankara, where A. was executed by decapitation on a 5. November and where C., whom the local Christians had freed so he could celebrate the Theophany with them, was arrested again and along with the deacons Christopher and Chariton suffered the same fate on a Sunday, 23. January. C. was laid to rest in the sepulchre already occupied by A. Thus far C.'s Passio.
C. and A. are the subject of a sermon by the late ninth-/early tenth-century emperor Leo VI (BHG 354) and of a later tenth-century expanded Passio by Symeon Metaphrastes (BHG 353). In Constantinople they had a martyrial church on the left bank of the Bosporus and were venerated as well in the church of St. Irene (for views, see <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hagia_Irene>) and in a palace chapel built in C.'s honor by the emperor Basil I and housing what was believed to be C.'s head. In 907 the metropolitan of Ankara sent other relics of C. to patriarch Euthymius of Constantinople, who in turn deposited these in the monastery in the city's Psamathia section.
Byzantine synaxaries give C. and A. a joint feast under today. In the Greek church A. has also been celebrated on 5. November. The earlier ninth-century Marble Calendar of Naples' entry for today names A. alone.
C.'s martyrdom 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:
The caption names C. and A., the honorands of today's feast, but the scene (one of several illustrating the January calendar) seems rather to depict C.'s execution along with the two deacons.
C. (at left) and A. as depicted in a thirteenth-century menaion from Cyprus (Paris, BnF, ms. Grec 1561, fol. 95r):
4) Amasius of Teano (d. ca. 356, supposedly). Today's less well known saint of the Regno is said in his two untrustworthy Vitae (BHL 354, 355) to have been a priest who fled Arian persecution in the East under Constans I and who arrived in Rome in the pontificate of Julius I (337-52). Sent to preach at Sora, he was forced out by the Arian party there and proceeded to Teanum Sidicinum, today's Teano (CE) in Campania. There he was elected bishop and died peacefully. A. is the second of Teano's three largely legendary early bishops, following St. Paris and preceding St. Urban. He is also the patron saint of Piedimonte San Germano (FR) in southern Lazio.
In Teano's rebuilt cathedral of San Clemente the present parapet (a replacement for the original, which was badly damaged by a fire in 1608) of the ambo is composed of panels taken from a fourteenth-century funerary monument decorated with images of, among others, Paris, Amasius, and Urban. Two views of it are here:
5) Ildefonsus (d. 667). The church father I. (also Hildefonsus, Hildefunsus, Hildephonsus) has brief Vitae by his seventh- and eighth-century successors in the see of Toledo St. Julian of Toledo (BHL 3917, 3918) and Cixila (Cixilla; BHL 3919). These present him as a well-educated scion of a prominent Visigothic family who contrary to the latter's wishes entered religion at Toledo's monastery of Cosmas and Damian (a.k.a. the Agali monastery), where thanks to his natural gifts and exemplary conduct he rose to be abbot. In that capacity he is said to have promoted strict fidelity to the Benedictine Rule. Abbot I. is attested as a participant in the eighth and ninth councils of Toledo.
I. was still only a deacon when he was elected archbishop of Toledo in 657. The Vitae present him as eloquent and tireless in his attempts to improve public morals. Of his surviving writings the best known are his _De virginitate Sanctae Mariae_, written fairly early in his career, and the _De viris illustribus_ dealing with the lives and works of fourteen writers of whom seven were archbishops of Toledo. A new edition of the corpus, edited by Valeriano Yarza Urquiola (theological writings) and Carmen Codoñer Merino (_De viris illustribus_), appeared in 2007 as volume 114A of the Corpus Christianorum's Series latina.
A witness to the _De virginitate Sanctae Mariae_ noteworthy for its illuminations is the Parma Ildefonsus (Parma, Biblioteca Palatina, ms. Parm. 1650), produced at Cluny in about 1100. Small-scale reproductions of its pages are available for viewing here:
Meyer Schapiro's 1964 study of this codex, _The Parma Ildefonsus: A Romanesque Illuminated Manuscript from Cluny, and Related Works_, is available as an e-book to subscribers to the ACLS (American Council of Learned Societies) Humanities E-Book program.
I. reports in the _De virginitate Sanctae Mariae_ that while he was praying before the tomb of Toledo's St. Leocadia the latter arose before him and praised him for his devotion to the BVM (whom I. credited with the operation of this miracle). This text, which was widely copied in Spain and in southern France from the tenth to thirteenth centuries, was used at for liturgical readings on the feast of the Annunciation. The French poet Gautier de Coinci, who had a relic of L. that he believed had formerly belonged to I., included the apparition in his earlier thirteenth-century _Miracles de Nostre Dame_. Here's the scene as depicted in an earlier fourteenth-century (ca. 1330-1340) copy of that text (Paris, BnF, ms. Nouvelle acquisition française 24541, fol. 21r):
For those with access to JSTOR, David Raizman's article "A Rediscovered Illuminated Manuscript of St. Ildefonsus's _De Virginitate Beatae Mariae_ in the Biblioteca Nacional in Madrid", _Gesta_ 26 (1987), 37-46, has on p. 41 a black-and-white image of that manuscript's illumination of I. cutting a piece of L.'s veil while the saint sits upright in her open tomb (the ms., which Raizman assigns to the early thirteenth century, is Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional, MS 21546).
Toledo was taken by Muslims in 711. In 1260 I.'s putative remains, supposed to have been brought north to prevent their desecration, were the subject of an Inventio at Zamora (accounts: BHL 3923, 3924). These are now housed in Zamora's originally eleventh-century iglesia arciprestal de San Pedro y San Ildefonso, some views of which are here:
In June 2007 these relics were brought temporarily to Toledo for a celebration of the fourteenth centenary of I.'s birth. Herewith a number of brief videos of I.'s reliquary chest being paraded through the city, brought into the cathedral of Toledo, and venerated there:
6) Maimbodus of Domnipetra (d. 9th cent.?). M. (in French, Maimboeuf) is a poorly documented saint of Besançon and vicinity. According to his brief, undated Passio (BHL 5176) he was a young and very pious Irishman of wealth, social standing, and physical beauty who, coming to the view that these attributes were an impediment to his soul's salvation, left his parents, dressed meanly, and crossed over to the European mainland, where he traveled from one pilgrimage site to another, mortifying his flesh, vivifying his spirit, and resisting diabolic temptation.
After having visited the shrines of saints in different parts of Lotharingia M. stayed as the guest of a nobleman in Burgundy who offered him numerous gifts including a pair of very fine gloves. M. accepted only the gloves. At a place called Domnipetra he was set upon and murdered by robbers who had inferred from the gloves that he had money. As he was dying M. pardoned his killers.
M. was buried in Domnipetra's church of St. Peter. Miracles occurred at his grave and a martyr cult arose. After some passage of time, and at the request of a count Adso in whose territory Domnipetra lay, Berengar, archbishop of Besançon (from which Domnipetra is said to have been eight miles distant, thus seemingly ruling out various localities now called Dampierre as the site of M.'s murder) translated the saint to Montbéliard, where his relics continued to effect miracles. Thus far the Passio. M.'s date of death is inferred from those of Berengar's episcopacy (895-918).
In the Passio M. is said to have dressed as an Irishman. Since the Passio elsewhere underscores differences between appearance and reality, it might be worth considering that his name as transmitted is Frankish (cf. the seventh-century St. Maimbodus or Magnobodus of Angers and the eighth-century St. Meginbodus of the Buraburg). Accounts of Irish missionaries in Francia sometimes include M. among their number. But the Passio, which is our sole source for who he was, presents him merely as an ascetic pilgrim.
(last year's post revised and with the additions of Clement of Ankara and Agathangelus and Ildefonsus)
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