medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Today (19. February) is the feast day of:
1) Quodvultdeus (d. ca. 450). Today's first saint of the Regno was a disciple of St. Augustine of Hippo who at some point in the 430s became bishop of Carthage. When, after the Vandal seizure of that city in 439, he had declined to renounce Catholicism, he and many of his clergy were ejected and sent abroad in what Victor of Vita says were unseaworthy vessels. Having arrived safely at Naples, Q. settled in as an exile in Campania, writing sermons and other works and warning all of the barbarian peril. If he is the author, as people now tend to think, of the _Liber promissionum et praedictorum Dei_, he was living in Naples during the papacy of St. Leo I (440-51). Q.'s date of death and place of burial are unknown.
Until relatively recently most of Q.'s writings were ascribed either to St. Augustine or to St. Prosper of Aquitaine. Here, ascribed to the former, is the beginning of his _De quattuor virtutibus caritatis_ in an eleventh-century manuscript in in the collections of the Free Library of Philadelphia (ms. Lewis E 20):
2) Mansuetus of Milan (fl. 679-680). M. is traditionally the fortieth bishop of Milan. In 679 he held a synod of the bishops in his province and then sent on its behalf a letter to the emperor Constantine IV opposing the imperially promulgated monothelete doctrine (according to Paul the Deacon, the letter was actually written by Damian the future bishop of Pavia). In March of the following year he participated in a council at Rome convened by pope St. Agatho that took a similar stance and then subscribed this council's acts. Both texts survive among the documents of the Second Council of Constantinople (the Sixth Ecumenical Council; Nov. 680 - Sept. 681). M. is not recorded as having been present at this council, whose attendance was relatively low.
The date of M.'s death is unknown. The late thirteenth-century catalogue of archbishops of Milan preserved in the so-called _Beroldus novus_ gives him an episcopacy of nine years, records today as his day of death, and says that he was buried in the basilica di Sant'Ambrogio. Neither that catalogue nor the early fifteenth-century one by Antonio Confalonieri in the so-called _Liber primicerii_ identifies M. as a saint; he is first so recorded from Milan in about 1576.
But perhaps he had an early cult that fell into desuetude before the start of our catalogues. Mirella Ferrari has recently argued (_Aevum_ 82 , 281-291) that a saint identified inscriptionally as MA NV and figured in a tondo on one of the side panels (the one facing the left aisle) of the ninth-century Golden Altar in Sant'Ambrogio in a position corresponding to that of Milan's bishop St. Simplicianus (SI PL) in the panel on the other side is meant to be M. and not, as usually thought, the city's very early bishop St. Maternus. The _other_ panel (the one facing the right aisle) is shown here, with Simplicianus' tondo at bottom:
In the Ambrosian Rite, which does not commemorate saints during Lent, M.'s feast is kept on 2. September.
3) Barbatus of Benevento (d. 682?). Today's second saint of the Regno is the legendary apostle of the Lombards of the duchy of Benevento, whose warrior class is presented in his ninth-century Vita not as Arian but but rather as pagan. After a brief mention of B.'s miracles, this Vita (BHL 973; later re-workings) focuses on his saving of the city of Benevento, of which he is said to have been bishop, from assault by Constans II (this would have been in 663) and on his subsequent suppression of a snake cult favored by Lombard nobles. The date of B.'s death is guesswork based on matter in the Vita. Tenth-century frescoes depicting scenes from B.'s episcopacy survive in his former chapel in Benevento's cathedral (it's now part of the crypt housing the diocesan museum).
In 1124, during a rebuilding of the cathedral, relics said to be B.'s were found under the main altar. Later in the same century, king William I (1154-66) gave B.'s relics along with those of many other saints to the abbey of Montevergine near today's Mercogliano (AV) in Campania. The archdiocese of Benevento also claims to have relics of B. Montevergine's set is kept in the abbey church's cripta di San Guglielmo (of Vercelli).
In 1015 a now-vanished monastery dedicated to B. was founded at today's Pollutri (CH) in southern Abruzzo. Shown here is one of its original possessions, the church of Santa Lucia at Pollutri's _frazione_ of Civita:
First mentioned from 1074 is a church dedicated to B. at today's Roccaravindola, a _frazione_ of Montaquila (IS) in Molise, now a ruin. Here's a view:
A plan of this church and an Italian-language discussion are at no. 3 on this page:
In 1115 a monastery of Benedictine nuns was established in Oria (BR) in southern Puglia and dedicated to B. One of its former possessions is today's masseria di San Barbato near Francavilla Fontana (BR) in the upper Salento.
A church dedicated to B. is attested at today's Casalattico (FR) in southern Lazio from 1305. Hiding behind this more recent facade is its successor of 1517, Casalattico's present parish church:
From these other views it's not clear how much of the church of 1517 is left:
B. is Casalattico's patron saint. He is also the patron saint of Cicciano (NA) in Campania, where his early sixteenth-century church was rebuilt in the eighteenth century and is now the chiesa dell'Immacolata Concezione.
A much rebuilt survivor from the Benevento of B.'s day is its ex-chiesa di Sant'Ilario a Port'Aurea, so named from its proximity to a gate in the (now vanished) city wall once called the Porta Aurea but known today as the Arch of Trajan. Herewith two illustrated, Italian-language pages on this originally sixth- or seventh-century structure:
More views (including an interior one from 2009) are here:
4) Proclus of Bisignano (d. ca. 970). Today's third saint of the Regno was a disciple of his fellow Greek-speaking Calabrian, St. Nilus of Rossano. According to the latter's eleventh-century Bios (BHG 1370), Nilus chose the learned and very holy P. to be the second hegumen of the little monastery dedicated to St. Hadrian that he had founded on one of his properties. P. was buried at the monastery and received a cult both there and in his native Bisignano.
Though P.'s remains were lost when the monastery was sacked by Muslim raiders in 978/79, the monastery itself was later rebuilt and prospered. Its twelfth-century church of Sant'Adriano survives at today's San Demetrio Corone (CS) in Calabria. An illustrated, Italian-language site on this monument is here:
and the Italia nell'Arte Medievale page on it is here (or would be, were the entire site not off-line yet again):
5) Boniface of Brussels (Bl.; d. 1260). The theologian B. (also B. of Lausanne), a native of Brussels, studied at the university of Paris and then taught there from 1222 to 1229. A student strike caused him to move to Köln, where he continued to teach theology until 1231. In that year he became prince bishop of Lausanne, where his reforming zeal and defense of the rights of his church gained him the enmity both of local nobles and of the emperor Frederick II, whose agents attempted to kill him. Wounded physically and considering his position in Lausanne to be hopeless, B. withdrew from his see in 1239 and became a chaplain to Cistercian nuns at the abbey of La Cambre at Ixelles near Brussels. In 1245 he was one of the bishops who at the first Council of Lyon excommunicated Frederick and declared him deposed.
B. died at La Cambre. His cult was confirmed for the Cistercian order in 1702 and he is venerated in greater Brussels as a local saint.
Some views of the originally fourteenth-century ex-abbey church (now a _paroissiale_) of Notre-Dame at La Cambre, seen among later buildings:
6) Conrad of Noto (or of Piacenza; d. 1351). C. (in Italian, Corrado; in modern Sicilian, Currau [a trisyllable]) was young nobleman from northern Italy who in order to facilitate a hunt started a fire that got out of control and that burned several villages. After someone else had been convicted for this offense and been sentenced to die, C. confessed and spent much of his own money in reparations. Parting from his family, he became a wandering hermit who after spending some time in Malta settled down at Noto in southeastern Sicily. At first C. lived in the city proper, where for a while he was joined by Bl. William of Scicli. In the last few years of his life he withdrew to a grotto outside of town. C.'s sanctity was apparent to the Netinese even before his death and an early Vita (in Sicilian, so no BHL number) appeared very shortly afterward.
Inferring from the Vita of 1351 that C. had been a Franciscan tertiary, Sicilian Franciscans claimed him as one of their own. He is so presented in the seemingly later fifteenth-century _Vita di lo beato Corrado_ of Andriotta Rapi, a poem in 410 four-line stanzas that fleshes out the earlier account with details that have since found their way into standard notices of C.
C.'s remains were given a formal recognition in 1485, at which time they were declared to be incorrupt. He was beatified in 1515 with a cult limited to the diocese of Syracuse (extended in 1544, with the title of saint, to all Sicily) and including permission for the formal exhibition of his remains in a silver coffin. Views of the latter are here:
In 1625 Urban VIII confirmed C.'s cult for the Franciscans with a Mass and Office. In the seventeenth century C. was identified as a member of the Piacenzan noble family of the Confalonieri (whence he is now often called Corrado Confalonieri). The patron saint of the city of Noto and of the diocese of the same name, C. is celebrated liturgically today in the ecclesiastical region of Sicily and in the diocese of Piacenza-Bobbio.
In 1990 the remains traditionally identified as C.'s were publicly exhibited during the septicentenary celebration of his birth. An illustrated account is here:
In early modern Maltese hagiography and folklore C. is known as San Kerrew. He is thought to have lived on Gozo, in a cave at today's Qala. In 1937 a skeleton alleged to be his was unearthed there and placed in the crypt of the local church. There's an English-language summary of some of C.'s legendary Maltese exploits towards the bottom of the page here:
(last year's post revised)
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