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MEDIEVAL-RELIGION  April 2010

MEDIEVAL-RELIGION April 2010

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Subject:

saints of the day 23. April

From:

John Dillon <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

medieval-religion - Scholarly discussions of medieval religious culture <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 23 Apr 2010 09:40:05 -0500

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medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

Today (23. April) is the feast day of:

1)  George of Lydda (?).  We know nothing about the historical George.  Lydda (also Diospolis; later also Georgioupolis) in Palestine is now Lod in Israel.  G.'s cult seems to have arisen here at some time between the early fourth century and the early sixth.  For an account of what's known or may safely be inferred about its origins and early history, see David Woods' piece here (one need not accept the suggestion that G. was originally the Arian bishop of Alexandria murdered by an anti-Christian mob in 361):
http://www.ucc.ie/milmart/grgorig.html
The section of Woods' _Military Martyrs_ site to which that page belongs is particularly useful for its translations of various Eastern sources.  See:
http://www.ucc.ie/milmart/George.html

This page on Lod has a good survey on G.'s cult there over the centuries:
http://198.62.75.1/www1/ofm/mad/discussion/086discuss.html
And the section on Lod on this page (toward bottom) has an illustrated introduction to the sequence of churches on the site:
http://198.62.75.1/www1/ofm/sbf/escurs/TS/02_TSen.html


Some other evidences of G.'s cult in "the East":

a)  The originally early fourth century Rotunda or church of St. George in Thessaloniki, built by Galerius as part of the imperial palace complex, converted to a Christian church in the late fourth or early fifth century (at which time a still partly preserved mosaic program was executed in the interior of the drum), for many centuries a mosque (hence the minaret), and now a public monument.  Some views:
http://tinyurl.com/2588p3d
http://www.culture.gr/java/image?foto_id=10441&size=l1
http://tinyurl.com/2944lj5 
http://tinyurl.com/2a72n4g
http://tinyurl.com/26sb4ev
http://tinyurl.com/2892unm
A ground plan of this structure:
http://www.culture.gr/h/2/eh2562.jsp?obj_id=1812&mm_id=10442

b)  G. as depicted in an eleventh-century icon in the Vatopedi monastery on Mt. Athos:
http://warriorsofhistory.com/research/Byzantine/l9-1.jpg

c)  G. as depicted in an earlier twelfth-century (1130s-1140s) Novgorod School icon now in the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow:
http://tinyurl.com/2byzm9y

NB: Three pages of expandable views of many other twelfth- to sixteenth-century Russian icons of G. begin here:
http://tinyurl.com/2wcl5cc

d)  A multi-page site on the originally late twelfth-century Tracts/Pillars of St. George Monastery near Novi Pazar (Raška dist.) in southern Serbia:
http://tinyurl.com/269666t
Other views:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C4%90ur%C4%91evi_stupovi
http://www.kosovo.net/estupovi.html
http://www.stupovi.rs/mozilla.htm

e)  G.'s martyrdom as depicted in the later thirteenth-century (either ca. 1263-1270 or slightly later) frescoes of the chapel of St. George in the monastery church of the Holy Trinity at Sopoćani (Raška dist.) in southern Serbia:
http://tinyurl.com/ykdjchv
Dispersion of G.'s relics (same venue):
http://tinyurl.com/ygqs9s5

f)  G. as depicted in the later thirteenth-century (either ca. 1263-1270 or slightly later) frescoes of the chapel of chapel of St. Symeon Nemanja in the monastery church of the Holy Trinity at Sopoćani (Raška dist.) in southern Serbia:
http://tinyurl.com/yf8u46h
Detail:
http://tinyurl.com/ybxkrac

g)  G. as depicted in the later thirteenth-century frescoes of the church of the Peribleptos (now Sv. Climent) in Ohrid:
http://tinyurl.com/ybxvp6g
http://tinyurl.com/ydmzrub

h)  G. as depicted in the earlier fourteenth-century (ca. 1311-ca. 1322) frescoes of the church of St. Nicholas Orphanos in Thessaloniki:
http://tinyurl.com/y9rdgcc

i)  G. as depicted in the earlier fourteenth-century frescoes (betw. 1335-1350) of the chapel of St. George in the church of the Pantocrator at the Visoki Dečani monastery near Peć in, depending on one's view of recent events, the Republic of Kosovo or Serbia's Kosovo province (expandable images:
http://tinyurl.com/262ob2h 
http://tinyurl.com/2a2y9nh


Herewith a few visuals pertaining to G.'s cult in one part of "the West":

a)  An illustrated, English-language page on Rome's originally seventh-century church of San Giorgio al Velabro (the views shown expand several times):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Giorgio_al_Velabro
A better view of the interior:
http://tinyurl.com/46jkhe
The church's dedication to G. began in the eighth century, when pope St. Zachary brought to it from Cappadocia a relic believed be of G.  Here's a view of the purported relic of G.'s cranium venerated there now:
http://www.stgeorge.org.mt/images/july_2003/Picture1.jpg

b) the remains of the originally late eleventh-century chiesa di San Giorgio at Pontremoli (MS) in north-northwestern Tuscany:
http://portale.provincia.ms.it/wai/allegato.asp?ID=143571
http://www.panoramio.com/photo/10288014
http://www.lunigiana.net/pontremoli/images/foto/visita08.jpg
An "interior" view:
http://tinyurl.com/cctc7b
Appearances notwithstanding, that is not a statue of Silenus.  It's said to be of the fifteenth century and to represent St. Anthony abbot.

c)  The originally twelfth-century church of San Giorgio at Filattiera (MS) in north-northwestern Tuscany.
A brief English-language account with one expandable view:
http://www.terredilunigiana.com/eng/castles/castellosangiorgio.php
A somewhat more informative (but also brief) account in Italian is here:
http://tinyurl.com/4ahxmb
Other views (the first image is greatly expandable):
http://www.panoramio.com/photo/11261986
http://tinyurl.com/24xb7jl

d)  The twelfth-century pieve (parish church) of San Giorgio at Brancoli (LU) in northwestern Tuscany.  Six expandable views are here (after San Lorenzo in Corte):
http://www.ursea.it/gite/brancoleria/la_brancoleria.htm
More views here (also expandable):
http://tinyurl.com/28r4o5q
http://tinyurl.com/yj4tbva

e)  A couple of brief illustrated, Italian-language accounts of the later twelfth-century church of San Giorgio at Vigoleno (PC) in Emilia:
http://www.vigoleno.it/?page_id=6
http://www.vigolenoitaly.com/chiesa.html
A better view of the facade:
http://photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=4551456
Several expandable views, incl. G. and the dragon in the portal lunette and views of the interior:
http://tinyurl.com/36g9a3h

f)  G. is the patron saint of Campobasso (CB) in Molise.  Its much rebuilt but seemingly originally eleventh- or twelfth-century church dedicated to him is thought to be the city's oldest.  Herewith some views:
http://tinyurl.com/6o2pmh
http://www.enit.it/foto-ad/images/big/mol_0007.jpg
http://tinyurl.com/5hbj93
http://www.globopix.net/foto/molise/campobasso_IT05CB112.jpg
http://www.molisepsicologia.it/don/index_file/s.g3.jpg
An illustrated, Italian-language page on the church and on G.'s medieval veneration in Campobasso:
http://www.molisepsicologia.it/don/san_giorgio.htm

g)  About thirteen kilometers away from Campobasso is the originally thirteenth-century church of San Giorgio Martire at Petrella Tifernina (CB) in Molise, consecrated in 1221 and restored from 1900 to 1954.  Some exterior views:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/diodati/164475472/sizes/l/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/gengish/1496808200/sizes/l/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/diodati/164473178/sizes/l/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/12703120@N07/1346485070/sizes/o/
Interior views:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/gengish/1496971800/sizes/l/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/gengish/1496822154/sizes/l/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/gengish/1496839608/sizes/l/
The Italia nell'Arte Medievale page on this church is good for sculptural details, outside and in (or would be, should the site ever return):
http://tinyurl.com/yposam
An illustrated, scholarly, Italian-language site on this church begins here (click on "entra nel sito"):
http://www.sangiorgiomartire.it/default.htm
Ground plan (basic; the previous site has somewhat more detailed ones):
http://www.pagus.it/progetto/comuni/petrella/sgiorgio/pianta.htm

h)   G. is also the patron saint of Ferrara, whose mostly twelfth-and thirteenth-century cathedral is dedicated to him.  Some views:
http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duomo_di_Ferrara
http://www.mondimedievali.net/edifici/Emilia/ferrara.htm
A better view of the portal lunette sculpture of G. and the dragon:
http://tinyurl.com/27gmf2w

i)  Fresco (thirteenth-century) of G. and the Dragon, church of Santa Maria ad Cryptas, Fossa (AQ) in Abruzzo:
http://tinyurl.com/c2az54
NB: This church was severely damaged by the Aquila earthquake of 6. April 2009.  Two pages of expandable views of its wonderful frescoes begin here:
http://tinyurl.com/c4u6o7

j)  Views, with Italian-language discussion, of the originally early fourteenth-century (1315) oratorio di San Giorgio in Fidenza (PR) in Emilia-Romagna, deconsecrated in 1900 and now used as a hall for exhibitions:
http://fidenza.ponziettore.it/san_giorgio.html

k)  Panel painting (Vitale da Bologna; ca. 1350) of G. and the Dragon, Bologna, Pinacoteca nazionale:
http://www.ucc.ie/milmart/grgwstart22l.jpg

l)  Fresco (Master of 1388; later fourteenth-century) of G. and the Dragon, church of San Giorgio in Lemine, Almenno San Salvatore (BG), Lombardy:
http://tinyurl.com/2xkgeo

m)  Fresco (Altichiero da Zevio, The Beheading of St. George; ca. 1380, oratorio di San Giorgio, basilica del Santo, Padua:
http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/altichiero/beheading.jpg

n)  Fresco (variously ascribed to Pisanello or to his collaborator Gentile da Fabriano, The "Partenza di San Giorgio" [also known as "St. George and the Princess"]; late 1430s) in the Pellegrini Chapel, chiesa di Sant'Anastasia (o di San Pietro Martire), Verona:
http://rubens.anu.edu.au/htdocs/surveys/italren/renart/display00025.html
Numerous detail views are accessible from here:
http://www.artcyclopedia.com/commons/pisanello.html

o) Ceramic relief (Andrea della Robbia, variously called "St. George and the Dragon" or "St. George and the Princess", 1495), in the pieve di San Giorgio at Brancoli (LU) in Tuscany (the church is item d, above):
http://tinyurl.com/da94uh


Some depictions of G. from elsewhere in Europe:

a)  An earlier fifteenth-century (ca. 1420) panel painting of G. and the dragon in an altarpiece from Valencia now in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London:
http://tinyurl.com/yfgl2a4

b)  Two views of G. and the dragon from G.'s early sixteenth-century fresco cycle (paintings in this church dated inscriptionally to 1507) in the earlier fifteenth-century Nibe Kirke (Nordjyllands Amt) in northern Denmark:
http://tinyurl.com/274keqn
http://tinyurl.com/279c99g
The remainder of the cycle:
http://tinyurl.com/28h6v9n
http://tinyurl.com/28mdc7x


2)  Adalbert of Prague (d. 997).  A. (before his confirmation, Vojtěch) was a member of a princely house of Bohemia.  Destined for the church at an early age, he was educated at the cathedral school of Magdeburg, after which he returned to Bohemia and was ordained priest.  In 983 A. became bishop of Prague.  After five years of failed efforts to interest much of the population in Christianity he withdrew with papal permission to a monastery in Rome.  Returning to his diocese in 992, he undertook missionary activity in Hungary.  In 995 the massacre of his family on the orders of Bohemia's king Boleslas II occasioned another withdrawal to Rome.  This was followed by missionary activity in Prussia, where A., operating from Gniezno (Gnesen) in today's Poland, was killed by a pagan priest.

A.'s cult was immediate.  Otto III promoted it vigorously.  A. was canonized by pope Sylvester II in 999.  A Vita from 998/99, often referred to as A.'s Roman Life, exists in several versions (BHL 37, 37a, 37b) and seems to have originated at the imperial court in Aachen.  Early in the following century A. received another Vita (BHL 38) from St. Bruno of Querfurt.  Prior to the eleventh-century arrival in Rome of the relics of St. Bartholomew the Apostle the since rebuilt church now dedicated to him on the Tiber Island had been dedicated to A.  A. was initially buried at Gniezno but in 1039 his relics were translated to Prague, where they (or most of them) are today.  Gniezno has a set as well, kept in the silver coffin shown here:
http://tinyurl.com/yqbh4h

Gniezno's cathedral also has a pair of twelfth-century bronze doors (perhaps cast at Hildesheim) showing scenes from A.'s life and death:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gniezno_Doors


3)  George of Suelli (d. 11th cent. ?).  Sardinia's only early saint with a largely plausible Vita (BHL 3410; twelfth-century, as is also his Office), G. is said to have been the child of house slaves to a wealthy, childless, and celibate woman in the judicate of Cagliari.  His own mother had been sterile before G.'s birth, which latter an angel had miraculously foretold to her as she slept.  So when G. was born the whole household knew that he was something special and the mistress of the house (we have her name: Greca de Surapen) saw to it that he had a good education both in Latin and in Greek and gave him his freedom.  G. studied for the priesthood, lived ascetically, and at age twenty-two was named bishop of Suelli.  He was noted for many miracles, one being the silencing of noisy frogs.

The date of G.'s death is controversial: whereas this is traditionally given as 1117 (sometimes varied to 1112), details of the Vita suggest rather an early eleventh-century upbringing and a mid-eleventh-century episcopate.

Suelli's ex-cathedral of San Pietro, rebuilt and added to several times, retains much of its thirteenth-century facade:
http://www.immaginidellasardegna.it/chiese/galleria4/pages/3Suelli3.html
and (showing side buttresses):
http://www.immaginidellasardegna.it/chiese/galleria4/pages/3Suelli.html
An interior view, showing the fourteenth- or fifteenth-century chancel arch:
http://tinyurl.com/grba2
This chapel is of the same period:
http://www.parrocchie.it/suelli/cappella.html
A slide show with some other views is here (to navigate, click on the little blue arrows):
http://tinyurl.com/kl5nt
Attached to one side of San Pietro, and entered through it, is the Sanctuary of St. George of Suelli.  Constructed in the form of a Greek cross (Sardinia's early medieval church was essentially Greek, with latinization beginning only in the later eleventh century) and conjecturally originating in the late eleventh or early twelfth century, it rises over the spot where G. is said to have been buried.  In the aerial view shown here it is visible at the upper right:
http://www.simplo.it/ihm-ichnusa/locali/suelli.jpg

A different sort of monument associated with G. is the narrow, winding mountain pass near Taccu in the _comune_ of Osini (OG) known as the Scala di San Giorgio ('St. George's Stair').  According to his Vita, while on a pastoral visit in his diocese G. found his way blocked by a mountain.  Making the sign of the cross, he prayed and miraculously the mountain opened to allow passage through it.  This pass, beginning on one side as a really deep gorge, is said to be the place in question:
http://tinyurl.com/po2ye
http://tinyurl.com/r6ef4
http://tinyurl.com/paeb6
http://tinyurl.com/mnnty
http://tinyurl.com/mge59

G.'s cult was widely diffused in the archdiocese of Cagliari by the early thirteenth century.  It was confirmed by pope Paul V in 1609.

Best,
John Dillon
(last year's post revised)

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