medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Today (26. February) is the feast day of:
1) Dionysius of Augsburg (d. ca. 304, supposedly). D., who has yet to grace the pages of the RM, is the legendary protobishop of Augsburg, said to have been martyred under Diocletian. In the Conversion of St. Afra (BHL 108) he appears as her maternal uncle, ordained priest and later consecrated bishop by the missionary bishop Narcissus of Gerona and martyred after his niece. Today is the anniversary of the elevation, authorized by Alexander IV in 1258, of his supposed remains in Augsburg's church of St. Ulrich, the predecessor of today's originally late fifteenth-century Basilica of Sts. Ulrich and Afra. An illustrated, German-language account of this later church is here:
In 1351 the king of the Romans and future emperor Charles IV provided the church of Augsburg with a silver gilt reliquary for D.'s head bearing an inscription in leonine hexameters that the early Bollandist Henschen called as full of piety as it was devoid of cultivation and elegance. The following text is taken from the _Acta Sanctorum_; I would not vouch for the authenticity of the spellings _terrae_ and _praesul_:
M. C. Ter numerato cum L, vno simul anno,
Carolus est quartus regnans hoc nomine dictus,
Qui dedit ornatum, Sanctis petit hūc fore gratum,
Huic est inclusus terræ Dionysius huius
Præsul deuotus, vita quam nomine notus.
2) Alexander of Alexandria (d. 326 or 328). A. was elected bishop of Alexandria in 313, succeeding St. Achillas. Although he had to deal with other matters (e.g. the Meletian schism, left over from the days A.'s predecessor but one, St. Peter the Martyr, and another schism in which a point of differentiation was the correct timing of Easter), his tenure in office is memorable especially for his dealing with the priest Arius. A. convened a synod in Alexandria in 320 that condemned as heretical Arius' Christological teaching and followed this up both by doctrinal letters to individual bishops and by an encyclical cataloging Arius' errors. A. had a leading role in the condemnation of Arius at the First Council of Nicaea (the First Ecumenical Council) in 325. He was succeeded as bishop by his disciple St. Athanasius of Alexandria.
English-language translations of A.'s surviving correspondence are accessible from here:
A. (at center in this view; pope St. Sylvester at left) as depicted, in a representation of the First Ecumenical Council, 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. opposing Arius (the latter in blue) at the First Ecumenical Council 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. 130r):
3) Faustinianus of Bologna (d. 4th century, supposedly). F. is the traditional second bishop of Bologna. He has been tentatively identified with an Italian bishop named Faustinus (see unknown) said by St. Athanasius of Alexandria to have signed the synodal letter of the Council of Serdica/Sardica in 343. In the archdiocese of Bologna F. and several other sainted bishops are now celebrated liturgically on 28. September (the traditional feast day of the city's protobishop, St. Zama).
4) Porphyry of Gaza (d. 420). We know about P. from his Bios by Mark the Deacon (BHG 1570). This tells us that P. was a monk in Egypt and in Palestine who was ordained priest in Jerusalem and who later became bishop of Gaza. In the latter city he labored mightily in the face of persecution by local pagans, whose temples he ultimately was able to have destroyed by soldiers of the empress Eudoxia. He replaced the largest with a cruciform church paid for by E. and called in her honor the Eudoxiana.
An English-language translation of Mark's Bios of P. is here:
5) Victor of Arcis (d. 6th cent.?). V. (also Victor the Hermit, though that hardly distinguishes him from his homonym the hermit of Cambon; in French, Vittre or Vitre) is said to have been a priest who became an hermit at today's Arcis-sur-Aube (Aube), of which he is now the patron saint. His cult seems to be at least as old as the ninth century but we really have no information about him as a person before his not very reliable perhaps eleventh-century Vita (BHL 8654d; twelve lections). The latter records several miracles, starting with a story in which the saint receives a king of the Franks into his cell and by prayer obtains the conversion of water into wine for his guest. V. is the subject of sermons by St. Bernard of Clairvaux, who also wrote an Office for him.
The bishop or abbot in green in the upper left of this window at the church of St Mary Magdalene at Magdalen in Norfolk (a.k.a. Wiggenhall St Mary Magdalene) was identified by Charles E. Keyser in _Norfolk Archaeology_ 16 (1905-07), p. 315, as probably today's V. (but perhaps this is pope St. Victor I or bishop St. Victorius of Le Mans or some other similarly named episcopal saint):
The CVMA page on this window:
The CVMA's detail view of this V.:
The Norfolk Churches page on this building:
6) Adalbert and Ottokar of Tegernsee (Bl.; d. 8th cent.). The brothers A. and O. (also Otkar, Oatkar) are the traditional founders of what became the great imperial abbey at Tegernsee in southeastern Bavaria. Reliable information about the pair, said to have been counts respectively of Warngau and of Tegernsee, is not abundant. At the foundation A. (d. ca. 800-804) became the first abbot and O., who predeceased him, became a monk.
In 1445, during the reforming abbacy of Kaspar Ayndorffer, the founders' relics were translated from a chapel in the abbey church of St. Quirinus to a newly built sepulchre in the nave. In 1457 this monument received a) an inscription, since lost, attesting to A.'s and O.'s working of miracles and b) a cover showing the two founders in relief. That cover (with A. at left and O. at right) now adorns the church's west portal:
A. and O. have yet to grace the pages of the RM.
(last year's post lightly revised and with the addition of Alexander of Alexandria)
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