medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Today (2. March) is the feast day of:
1) Troadius (d. 250 or 251). According to St. Gregory of Nyssa's Bios of St. Gregory the Thaumaturge (G. of Neocaesarea), when during the Decian persecution that saint was in hiding at some distance from Neocaesarea in Pontus, he announced one day that a young Christian of noble birth named T. had been arrested in that city, brought before the governor, condemned to death, and executed. This astounded G.'s audience. A deacon then went into Neocaesarea and returned bearing confirmation of G.'s revelation. Thus far Gregory of Nyssa.
Byzantine synaxaries record T. under today's date as a martyr under Decius but do not specify his city.
2) Quintus the Thaumaturge (d. ca. 283). Our sources for Q. (also Q. the Confessor, Q. of Phrygia) are at least partly legendary Byzantine synaxary accounts, one of which (BHG 2377) is in the so-called Menologion of Basil II. Born in Phrygia of Christian parents, he is said to have migrated to Aeolis and there to have devoted himself to serving the poor. At (Aeolic) Cyme the Roman governor tried to make him sacrifice to the idols but stopped, either because Q. through his prayers had cured him of demonic possession or because an earthquake destroyed the temple and its statues. Not long afterward, another magistrate had Q. arrested and tortured. He too gave up when Q. was instantly healed of his injuries. Thus enabled to continue his ministry, Q. died in peace a few years later. His suffering is said to have occurred in the reign of Aurelian (270-75).
The synaxaries record Q. today and on 2. July. In the menaea his feast occurs in early May. Q. has yet to grace the pages of the RM. He is commemorated today in some but by no means all Orthodox churches.
3) Ceadda (d. 672?). C. (Chad) was a disciple of St. Aidan at Lindisfarne. After study in Ireland he returned to his native Northumbria, where he assisted his brother St. Cedd in the latter's foundation of the monastery of Lastingham (in today's North Yorkshire) and succeeded him as abbot in 664. In the same year C. was consecrated bishop of Northumbria in place of the absent St. Wilfrid. Two of the bishops who consecrated him were not in communion with Rome. When in 669 St. Theodore of Tarsus and of Canterbury arrived from Rome, he ordered C. to resign. C. did so but, after being consecrated anew, was soon appointed bishop of the Mercians, establishing himself at Lichfield.
C. was noted for his humility and his piety. When in about 700 Lichfield's cathedral of St. Peter was first built, C.'s remains were brought to it. There they stayed, with internal translations as the church was rebuilt in the late eleventh and twelfth centuries and again in the late twelfth and thirteenth centuries. In the reign of Henry VIII his shrine was destroyed and his relics were dispersed. Four bones alleged to be C.'s surfaced in 1837 and were later placed in Birmingham's Roman Catholic cathedral dedicated to him. After testing in 1995, it was announced that at least three belonged to someone who had lived in the seventh century.
In 2003, excavations beneath Lichfield Cathedral revealed remains of its early eighth-century predecessor, including a sunken chamber thought to have been the site of C.'s first shrine. Recovered were three fragments of a carved limestone panel depicting an angel, some of whose red polychromy was still visible. According to Rosemary Cramp, the panel had been part of a casket:
Here's an illustrated page on the the Lichfield Gospels (a.k.a. St Chad Gospels), an eighth-century Gospel Book that, apart from a period of forcible alienation beginning in 1646 and ending in 1672 or 1673, has been in the possession of Lichfield Cathedral since at least the eleventh century:
Two expandable views of St Chad's at Longford (Derbyshire), an originally twelfth-century church with modifications from the early fourteenth century to sixteenth, a fifteenth-century tower, and some Victorian restoration:
4) Charles the Good (Bl.; d. 1127). C. was a son of St. Knud the King (of Denmark; 10. July) and of Adela of Flanders. An infant at the time of his father's assassination in 1086, he was raised at the court of Flanders, where he succeeded as count in 1119. Personally devout, he made benefactions to churches and abbeys and protected some of these from depredations by assertive lords. C. also had a reputation as a protector of the poor. He was murdered while at prayer in his castle chapel of St. Donatianus at Bruges/Brugge. Proclaimed a martyr who had been slain while performing a religious duty, he enjoys a cult that was confirmed papally at the level of Beatus by Leo XIII in 1882.
C.'s murder as depicted in a later fourteenth-century (ca. 1375-1380) copy of the _Grandes chroniques de France_ (Paris, BnF, ms. Franšais 2813, fol. 206v):
5) Luke Casalius (Luca Casali; d. earlier 12th cent. ?). Hard on the heels of yesterday's Leo Luke of Corleone and not long after Luke of Messina (27. February) comes yet another Luke venerated in Sicily, this time at two towns in today's Enna province, Nicosia and Agira. Today's Luke has a Vita (BHL 4979) redacted from now lost manuscripts at Nicosia by Ottavio Gaetani SJ (d. 1620). This account tells us that L. was born at Nicosia and that he was educated in early childhood by the _praefectus_ (head) of the monastery of St. Philip at Agira who was then staying in a Nicosia suburb. When L. was ten, this person brought him to the monastery, where he became a monk and later was ordained priest.
Having exhibited all sorts of exemplary behavior, L. in time was elected _praefectus_ but declined, only to relent when his monks got the pope to persuade him to accept. His conduct in office was praiseworthy, though he went blind while administering his charge.
L.'s blindness led to a miracle. On the way back to Agira from a visit to his family in Nicosia the monks who were his companions convinced him that a crowd of townspeople was following in the hope of hearing a sermon. L. obligingly preached to a landscape devoid of people (other than the saint and his companions), whereupon the rocks that lay about the place responded with a chorus of 'Amen', thus proving his sanctity to the astonished tricksters. L. died at the monastery in Agira and was buried there; upon the urging of the people of Agira, the pope entered him in the number of the saints. The people of Nicosia, wishing to honor one of their own, dedicated a church to him on the spot where the rocks had responded to his preaching. Thus far L.'s Vita.
L.'s cult blossomed in 1575, when he freed Nicosia from a plague (presumably the same one from whose ravages Corleone was spared that year through the intercession of St. Leo Luke). Nicosia made him its patron and celebrated his feast at public expense. Toward the end of the sixteenth century, L.'s presumed remains, along with those of Philip of Agira and of other saints, were discovered in a hidden resting place in the abbey. With the exception of a relic granted to Nicosia, they remain there today. Agira's originally twelfth-century church of the Most Holy Savior (Santissimo Salvatore) houses a mitre and the head of a pastoral staff traditionally believed to have been L.'s. Shown in the last illustration on this page:
, they are probably those of a fourteenth-century abbot. In what seems to have been L.'s time this house was a priory of St. Mary of the Latins (Santa Maria Latina) in Jerusalem. In the later twelfth century it became the center of that abbey's operations and from that time forward its heads were styled abbot.
Agira's SS. Salvatore also preserves a torah ark (aron) from the 1450s, rescued from a ruinous former synagogue in the same town:
Two views of the abbey church at Agira (largely rebuilt in the later eighteenth and early ninettenth centuries):
(matter from last year's post revised and with the additions of Troadius and Charles the Good)
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