medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Today (14. March) is the feast day of:
1) Alexander of Pydna (d. early 4th cent., supposedly). According to Greek synaxary accounts, A. was a priest at Pydna in what is now the Pieria Prefecture in northern Greece who was successful in gaining many converts for Christianity and who in the persecution of Galerius (Diocletian's colleague who ruled from Thessalonica) was severely tortured and finally executed by decapitation. He has a brief, legendary Passio (BHL 280; earliest witness is of the late ninth or early tenth century) that consists primarily of his response to an interrogation by Galerius and of a scene in which the emperor sees four men wearing white stoles bear A.'s soul to heaven, after which he accedes to a request that A.'s body be taken to Thessalonica for Christian burial. The emperor Nicephorus Phocas (963-969) is said to have presented A.'s skull to the recently founded Great Lavra on Mount Athos.
2) Lazarus of Milan (d. mid-5th cent.). L. is traditionally the seventeenth bishop of Milan. St. Ennodius of Pavia has an epigram on him (_Carmina_, ed. Hartel, 2. 83) that tells us that L. could with a severe look repress sinners but show a serene countenance to the innocent. Medieval catalogues of Milan's bishops say that he ruled for eleven years, that he died on this day, and that he was buried in the the basilica of the Holy Apostles (now San Nazaro Maggiore, a.k.a. San Nazaro in Brolo). In the Ambrosian Rite his feast is kept on 11. February to avoid its occurrence during Lent.
English-language pages (the second one better illustrated) on Milan's originally fourth-century, much rebuilt and expanded San Nazaro Maggiore:
An illustrated, Italian-language page on the same church:
A ground plan:
Further exterior views:
Further interior views:
Further views, exterior and interior:
The Italia nell'Arte Medievale page on Milan's San Nazaro Maggiore is here (or would be, were the site not off-line again):
3) Leobinus (d. after 552). In the eleventh-century episcopal catalogue of Chartres L. (also Leubinus, Lubinus; in French, Lubin or Loubin) is the sixteenth bishop. According to his seemingly ninth-century Vita (BHL 4847), he was a Gallo-Roman native of Poitou who had a monastic education, became a disciple of St. Avitus of the Perche, was captured by Franks who tortured him, returned to Avitus and stayed with him until the latter's death, then was ordained deacon, became head of a monastery, and finally bishop of Chartres. He signed the Acta of the synods of Orléans in 549 and Paris in 552. Today is his _dies natalis_. The ninth-century crypt beneath Chartres' cathedral is named for him; a plan and a partial view are here:
More views, plus views of the cathedral's St. Lubin window and of the his representation in stone on the cathedral's south porch (all expandable), are here:
Gordon Plumb's views of the St. Lubin window:
The fourth item on this page is an expandable view of a fourteenth-century pilgrim's badge from Chartres portraying L.:
L.'s cult spread fairly widely in France but is centered on Chartres and the Perche. Here are a couple of views of his eleventh-/sixteenth-century church at Suèvres (Loir-et-Cher):
and some expandable views of his twelfth-/sixteenth-century church at Saint-Lubin-des-Joncherets (Eure-et-Loir):
and a view of his twelfth-/sixteenth-century church at Arrou (Eure-et-Loir):
and one of his twelfth-/seventeenth-century church at Brou (Eure-et-Loir), where he is said to have been abbot:
4) Matilda of Saxony (d. prob. 968). The offspring of Saxon and of Danish-Frisian nobility, the pious M. received at the convent at Herford an upbringing suitable for her class and then was married to Henry, son the Duke of Saxony. In 919 H. became king of the Germans and M. became queen. She was the mother of emperor Otto I. Of M.'s many foundations, the one for which she is best remembered is the convent of St. Servatius and St. Dionysius at Quedlinburg in today's Sachsen-Anhalt. This was founded by the royal pair on the castle hill; its original church was the castle's chapel. A new church was built in the late tenth and early eleventh centuries, was rebuilt in the early twelfth century, and was later expanded. M. and H. repose in its crypt.
The convent lasted until 1802. The church, which underwent a brief period as secularized national shrine during the Third Reich, survives as the Stiftskirche St. Servatius, otherwise known as the Quedlinburger Dom. A couple of distance views are here:
Some illustrated pages on this UNESCO World Heritage site:
A view of M.'s sarcophagus is here:
That's from a virtual tour of the crypt that starts here (to proceed from page to page, click on "weiter"):
In 961 M. founded a women's monastery at today's Nordhausen (Lkr. Nordhausen) in Thüringen. This house received a relic of the Holy Cross in about 1040 and was converted to a canonry in 1220. Its mostly twelfth- to fifteenth-century church is now Nordhausen's Pfarrkirche zum Heiligen Kreuz, better known as the Nordhäuser Dom. Two illustrated, German-language pages on this church:
The church has an informative website of its own at:
Clicking on "Ansichten" under "Das Bauwerk" in the menu at left on that site's home page brings up a gallery of individual views. Click on those for explanatory pages (auf Deutsch, natürlich) or at least for expanded images.
Two pages of views of this church's late fourteenth-century choir stalls:
M. on a stall end:
M.'s Vitae (BHL 5683, 5684) are available in English in Sean Gilsdorf, tr., _Queenship and Sanctity: The Lives of Mathilda and the Epitaph of Adelheid_ (Washington: Catholic University of America Press, 2004).
5) Pauline of Thuringia (Bl.; d. 1107). In the early years of the twelfth century the recently widowed P., a member of the Saxon nobility, established in the Thüringer Wald a double monastery whose women were herself and a few comrades and whose men were monks of the Benedictine abbey of Hirsau near Calw in today's Baden-Württemberg. About a year after founding this institution P. undertook a journey to Hirsau but died en route at Münsterschwarzach in Bavaria. From 1112 to 1132 an impressive church was built at P.'s monastery and in 1122 her remains were translated to it from Münsterschwarzach. The monastery, which had been dedicated to the BVM, became known as Paulinzelle (Pauline's Cell) and was for a while very wealthy. A monk of Hirsau, one Sigeboto, wrote P.'s Vita (BHL 6651; in MGH Scriptores, 30.2).
The monastery church, built on the model of the one at Hirsau, was consecrated in 1124. The monastery became all male in the fourteenth century and was closed in 1536. Much of the church's fabric was removed in the years that followed but enough survived into the early nineteenth century to stir hearts already touched by German Romanticism. Partial restoration began in the middle of that century. Today the church, located at what is now Paulinzella (Lkr. Rudolstadt) in Thüringen, is an important monument of Germany's medieval past. An English-language account of it is here:
and better views of what's left are here:
and here (click on "Bildergalerie" in the menu at left):
and starting here (expandable):
6) Eva of Liège (Bl.; d. 1265). We know about E. chiefly from references to her in the Vita of her friend St. Juliana of Liège (BHL 4521). She appears to have come from a wealthy family and was persuaded by the somewhat older J. to become a recluse at the church of St. Martin in Liège (whence she is also known as E. of Saint-Martin). J. visited her there regularly and it was with her that J. took refuge when in 1246 she was forced for the first time to leave the monastery of Mont-Cornillon where she was prioress. E. and J. shared a strong devotion to the Eucharist and promoted at Liège, with only temporary effect, the institution of a feast honoring the Body of Christ. When in 1264 Urban IV, a former archdeacon of Liège, extended the previously local feast of Corpus Christi to the entire Roman church, he sent to E. (J. being already deceased) a bull announcing this development.
E. seems to have been in her early sixties when she died in the following year. Her cult was immediate; it was approved papally, at the level of Beata, in 1902. E. entered the RM in its revision of 2001.
The église (now basilique) collégiale Saint-Martin at Liège was entirely rebuilt during the years 1506-1542. A page of views and some other views:
(last year's post revised and with the addition of Eva of Liège)
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