medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Today (25. January) is or, in one case, once was the feast day of:
1) The Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle. This celebration is said to appear first in the so-called _Missale Gothicum_ (Città del Vaticano, BAV, cod. Vat. reg. lat. 317), a Gallican liturgical book from the eighth century. Saul/Paul being too well known to require an introduction on this list, herewith some visuals:
Mosaic of Paul from the Vatican collections:
(This is at:
Does anyone know in which of the Musei Vaticani the mosaic is to be found?)
P.'s conversion as depicted in the earlier twelfth-century Admont Bible (Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Cod. ser. nov. 2702, fol. 199v):
P.'s conversion as depicted in the later thirteenth-century (ca. 1285-1290) Livre d'images de Madame Maries (Paris, BnF, ms. Nouvelle acquisition française 16251, fol. 61v):
P.'s conversion as depicted in an earlier fifteenth-century (ca. 1410-1412) copy of Marco Polo's _Le devisement du monde_ (Paris, BnF, ms. Français 2810, fol. 131v):
P.'s conversion as depicted in an earlier fifteenth-century (ca. 1430) illumination by Beato Angelico (Florence, Museo nazionale di San Marco, Missale 558, fol. 21r):
P.'s conversion in a later fifteenth-century (ca. 1470) copy of a French-language version of the _Legenda aurea_ (London, British Library, Ms. Yates Thompson 49, vol. 1, fol. 44r; view expandable):
Expandable views of other depictions of P.'s conversion in manuscript illuminations from the twelfth century to the sixteenth are here:
2) Ananias of Damascus (d. 1st cent.). A. is the Christian of Damascus who healed St. Paul of his physical blindness and who baptized him (Acts 9:10-18). Byzantine tradition considers A. to have been one of the Seventy or Seventy-Two disciples (in Orthodox churches, apostles), the first bishop of Damascus, and the evangelist of Eleutheropolis in Palestine, beaten and then stoned to death on 1. October 70.
A. curing Paul's blindness as depicted in a twelfth-century bible from Chartres (Troyes, Médiathèque de l'agglomération troyenne, ms. 2391, fol. 214v; image expandable):
A.'s martyrdom as depicted in the earlier fourteenth-century (betw. 1335 and 1350) frescoes in the narthex of 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. baptizing Paul in a panel of the Retable of St. Paul (late fourteenth-/very early fifteenth-century) at the cathedral museum, Mdina, Malta:
A view of the retable as a whole:
A. baptizing Paul (upper register) 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 50, fol. 242r):
In today's Damascus one may visit a chapel located in a structure alleged to have been A.'s house:
3) Agileus (?). A. (also Ageleus, Agilegius, Galeus) is a martyr of Carthage about whom nothing is known. According St. Possidius' catalogue of the writings of St. Augustine of Hippo, Augustine delivered a sermon in A.'s honor at his extramural basilica near the sea. The latter's importance, and thus that of its titular, for the church of Carthage can be seen from the facts that king Gunthamund returned it to the Catholics in 487, that it was there that king Hilderic in 523 restored the freedom of the Catholic church and had a Catholic bishop ordained for the city, and that in 525 a synod of sixty bishops was held there. In 601 pope St. Gregory the Great received from the bishop of Carthage the 'blessing' of A. (generally interpreted to mean a relic of him).
The earlier sixth-century Calendar of Carthage records A. under today; the (pseudo-)Hieronymian Martyrology records him both under 24. January and under today. The Latin Calendar of Sinai (before ca. 800; seemingly of African origin) enters him under 19. October. Prior to its revision of 2001 the RM commemorated A. on 15. October.
4) Artemas of Pozzuoli (?). Today's less well known saint of the Regno is a child martyr of ancient Puteoli, today's Pozzuoli (NA) in Campania. He was figured in the now lost cupola mosaics of the late fifth-/early sixth-century church of St. Priscus at today's San Prisco (CE) in Campania, an extramural survivor of (Old) Capua. The cathedral at Pozzuoli has a display reliquary of what are said to be A.'s ashes.
In the tenth century the talented Neapolitan hagiographer Peter the Subdeacon produced at the request of bishop Stephen of Pozzuoli (956-62) a Passio of A. (BHL 0717) that makes him an adept older pupil of a pagan schoolmaster who put him in charge of teaching letters to other students. The young A. used this opportunity to inculcate as well basic mysteries of the Christian faith so effectively that his pagan charges eagerly told other students -- also pagan -- what they had been learning. These in turn went to the schoolmaster and threatened to report him to the provincial magistrate unless he put a stop to A.'s teaching. The schoolmaster then had some of these students stab A. to death with their styluses.
Peter, who tells a nice story, also gives today as A.'s _dies natalis_. He refers to the schoolmaster at times by the latinized Greek word 'cathigeta' ('head of a school'), which latter some have printed with a majuscule 'C' and which others incautiously have taken to be the schoolmaster's actual name. For his _Passio s. Artemae_ see Edoardo D'Angelo, ed., Pietro Suddiacono napoletano, _L'opera agiografica_ (Tavarnuzze: SISMEL; Edizioni del Galluzzo, 2002), pp. LXXXI-LXXXII and 42-49).
5) Juventinus and Maximinus (d. 363, probably). J. and M. are that rare thing, martyrs under Julian the Apostate whose martyrdom then is not likely to be fictional. According to their brief, Passio-like account at Theodoret, _Historia ecclesiastica_, 3. 15, they were distinguished soldiers who at a military banquet strongly protested Julian's policies of repressing the Christian church and of restoring the pagan state cults. For this they were arrested and were brought before Julian himself; he attempted to convince them to withdraw their statements. When they refused they were convicted of dishonoring the emperor and were executed at Antioch, whose Christians interpreted their actions as a defense of the faith and consequently gave them honorable burial. Thus far Theodoret. J. and M. are also the subject of an Encomium by St. John Chrysostom (BHG 975) in which they are described as presenting their severed heads to Christ.
In Chrysostom's time J. and M. were celebrated shortly after the feast of yesterday's St. Babylas; that they are commemorated today in the RM is the result of sixteenth-century use of a text of Chrysostom with a variant reading placing their feast on the day immediately following B.'s. Syriac calendars from the eighth century and slightly later enter them under 29. January. Byzantine synaxaries and modern Orthodox calendars commemorate J. and M. on 9. October.
J. and M. as depicted in the earlier fourteenth century (betw. ca. 1312 and 1321/1322) frescoes of the nave in the monastery church of the Theotokos at Gračanica in, depending on one's view of the matter, either Serbia's province of Kosovo and Metohija or the Republic of Kosovo:
6) Proiectus of Cavour (d. 5th or 6th cent.). The now extinct cult of P. (in Italian, Proietto) at today's Cavour (TO) in Piedmont is attested from several centuries starting in the eleventh, when he was celebrated on this day -- probably because this is the feast day of the similarly named saint noticed at 7), below. In the early nineteenth century his late antique tombstone was found along the road leading from Cavour to Campiglione; this described P. as _Sanctus_ and confirmed local tradition that he had been a bishop but gave his _dies natalis_ as 19. October. Excavations in 1905 in the former abbey of Santa Maria at Cavour produced a small leaden reliquary containing relics of a saint of this name who may well have been this local one rather than one of his better known homonyms.
7) Praeiectus of Clermont and Amarinus of Doroangus (d. 676). A native of Auvergne, P. (also Proiectus; in French, Project, Prix, Pry, Priest, etc.) is said in his late seventh-century Vita (BHL 6916) to have been educated at the abbey of St. Austremonius at Issoire and to have been a confidant of St. Genesius whom, after a few briefly serving others, he succeeded as bishop of today's Clermont-Ferrand in 666. He founded numerous monasteries, one of which used land that the count of Marseille had expected to inherit. When the count slandered P., the latter defended himself successfully before Childeric II, who then had the count arrested and executed. On a later journey to the court P. was the victim of a revenge slaying at today's Volvic (Puy-de-Dôme). A. (in French, Amarin or Marin), the abbot of a monastery at a place called Doroangus (today's Saint-Amarin [Haut-Rhin]), was traveling with P. and shared his fate.
P.'s cult was immediate. Relics of him were distributed to various places in today's France at different times from 765 onward. Here's a page on the partly twelfth-century abbey church dedicated to him at Volvic:
Other views of this church:
Views of the originally twelfth-century église Saint-Prix-et-Saint-Blaise at Auvernaux (Essonne):
A view of the originally thirteenth-century église Saint-Prix at Saint-Prix (Val-d'Oise):
8) Henry Suso (Bl.; d. 1366). The Rhineland mystic S. belonged to the German noble family of the lords of Berg. His Latin surname 'Suso' and its German equivalent 'Seuse' both reflect a decision to honor rather his mother, a von Seusen of Überlingen on Lake Constance. At the age of thirteen he entered the Order of Preachers at Konstanz, where at the age of eighteen he received his first mystical experience. Sent to the order's Studium Generale at Köln, H. studied under Meister Eckhart, in accordance with some of whose teachings he wrote his polemical _Buch der Wahrheit_ and his manual of meditation _Büchlein der ewigen Weisheit_ (later expanded in its Latin version _Horologium Sapientiae_). After defending his orthodoxy to his superiors, he returned to the upper Rhine and later was transferred to Ulm, where he spent the remainder of his life.
A popular preacher and personally very ascetic, S. practiced mortification of the flesh into his middle years. His poetically charged writings in German and in Latin were translated widely. S. was beatified in 1831. Today is his _dies natalis_. Dominicans celebrate him liturgically on the Roman Calendar's nearest feria, 23. January. His Vita is variously said to have been written by S. in the third person or by his spiritual advisee Elsbeth Stägel, a nun at Töss. An English-language translation of it is here:
A late fifteenth-century illuminated copy the Vita (Einsiedeln, Stiftsbibliothek, cod. 710 ) is accessible here (it's the last item on the page; the male and female Dominicans in the illuminations are sometimes said to be depictions of S. and of Elsbeth Stägel):
The Suso-Haus (also Susohaus) in Überlingen, a museum and cultural center devoted to S., occupies one of the city's oldest originally medieval dwellings. A renovation is planned for this year. Herewith a German-language account and some views:
(last year's post revised and with the additions of Agileus and Juventinus and Maximinus)
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