medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Today (13. June) is the feast day of:
1) Felicula (?). Felicula is a poorly attested Roman martyr of the Via Ardeatina associated legendarily with St. Petronilla, a rather better attested martyr laid to rest in the same general area. Her Passio (BHL 2856) is part of the larger narration of the Passio of Sts. Nereus and Achilleus. It makes her Petronilla's foster-sister, arrested as a Christian, and has her spurn a high-ranking official (already rejected by P.) in order to preserve her virginity. In the Passio F., who of course also refuses to make pagan sacrifice, is then starved, undergoes torture, is executed by suffocation, and is buried at the seventh milestone from the city on the aforementioned Roman road.
2) Triphyllius (d. 4th cent.). According to his Bios, T. (also Triphylius) was a native of New Rome who while still young was taken by his mother to Jerusalem and who was brought up there. The earlier fifth-century church historian Sozomen, who had studied at the famous law school of Beirut, tells us that T. too studied law at Beirut. His education completed, T. moved on to Cyprus, where he is said to have become a disciple of St. Spyridon the Wonderworker and where in time he rose to be bishop of Ledrai (the ancient forerunner of medieval and modern Lefcosia/Nicosia). An excellent speaker, he was of the orthodox party at the Council of Sardica/Serdica.
Saint Jerome (_De viris illustribus_, 92) knew a commentary on the Song of Songs ascribed to T.; he was further aware of many other works reportedly ascribed to T. that he had not seen. If the Cretan T. of Jerome, _Ep._ 70 is identical with our T., then Jerome thought highly of that commentary. None of T.'s writings, the Songs commentary included, has survived. A metrical _Bios kai thaumata_ of St. Spyridon incorrectly ascribed to T. was circulating by the year 600; it too has not survived. The early twelfth-century traveler hegumen Daniel of Kiev saw on Cyprus relics venerated as those of T.
3) Cetheus, also known as Peregrinus (d. ca. 600, supposedly). According to his Passio (BHL 1730 in different versions; the text in the _Acta Sanctorum_ is a composite), this less well known saint of the Regno was bishop of Amiternum in what is now Abruzzo at the time of the Lombard takeover. He defended a Lombard accused of having attempted to betray the town to the Romans, was judged complicitous by another Lombard who had seized power, and was executed by being drowned in the river Pescara. C.'s body, the stone with which he had been drowned still tied to his neck, washed up at what in the texts would appear to be today's Zadar, across the Adriatic in Croatia, but is more likely to have been Aternum, the Roman-period predecessor of today's city of Pescara (PE) at the mouth of the homonymous river.
There the local bishop inferred from C.'s angelic countenance that he was a martyr, instituted a cult in his honor, and -- since C.'s real name was unknown --, called him Peregrinus ('Foreigner'). C. (in Italian, Cetteo) is Pescara's patron saint. That city's twentieth-century cathedral (consecrated in 1933) is dedicated to him. In 1977 relics of C. were translated to it from Chieti (CH), the capital of the province to which the southern part of Pescara once belonged.
In or prior to 1263 the Passio's central story was attached to the cult of a St. Peregrinus said to have come from Syria. This P. was the titular of an oratory at his reputed resting place on the grounds of the Benedictine abbey of Bominaco (formerly Momenaco) not far from L'Aquila (AQ) in the interior of Abruzzo and, perhaps not coincidentally in view of the present contents of the Passio, not far from where Roman-period Amiternum had been. In that year (1263) its abbot Theodinus rebuilt the oratory and presumably commissioned the first of the series of later thirteenth-century frescoes for which it is now famous; these include scenes from C.'s/P.'s Passio. The abbey was largely destroyed in the early fifteenth century. Its principal remains are the oratory of San Pellegrino and the church of Santa Maria Assunta. A brief sketch in English is here (the last two views are of the oratory):
The now defunct Abruzzo-Romanico site's excellent, Italian-language page, with expandable views, on these two buildings is available from the Internet Archive at:
The Italia nell'Arte Medievale page on Bominaco has a few exterior views of the oratory (set your browser to find <L'oratorio di San Pellegrino>):
Four pages of expandable views of details from the oratory, mostly of the recent restored frescoes, are here:
4) Psalmodius (d. early 7th cent., perhaps). P. (also Psalmet) is recorded as a saint of the diocese of Limoges since at least the later twelfth century. In the sixteenth century it was believed that he was an Irish missionary and disciple of St. Brendan, that his body had been found in the woods near today's Eymoutiers (Haute-Vienne) in the Limousin, and that it had then been deposited in that town's collégiale Saint-Etienne. The latter preserves P.'s putative relics. Some views of this largely fifteenth-century church and of its stained glass windows (the latter "restored" in 1872):
Several expandable views are here:
A French-language account of the windows:
The windows (views):
5) Rambert (d. ca. 680). According to his mid-ninth-century Passio (BHL 7058), R. (in Latin, Ragnebertus), a devout layman, was a highly placed noble at the court of Neustria. The mayor of the palace Ebroin, the villain of this piece, falsely accused R. of attempting to murder him. This got R. exiled to the Jura rather than executed outright, as Ebroin had been hoping. The pious R. retreated to the wilderness, constructed a tiny oratory, and lived there as an hermit until he was murdered by agents of Ebroin. R. was buried in a nearby monastery, miracles were reported at his tomb, and a martyr cult arose. Thus far the Passio.
R.'s cult is attested at today's Saint-Rambert-en-Bugey (Ain) as early as the seventh century. His relics are kept there in an eighteenth-century châsse (with some twelfth-century textiles) in the parish church. In the eleventh century R.'s cult had spread to the abbey on the Île-Barbe at Lyon; the abbey is gone but the place is still called Saint-Rambert-l'Île-Barbe, just as its priory at today's Saint-Just Saint-Rambert (Loire) has left its name there. Expandable views of the latter's eleventh-/twelfth-century église Saint-Rambert (also called the église Saint-André) are here:
For more on medieval devotion to R., see Anne Baud et al., _Saint-Rambert: un culte régional depuis l’époque mérovingienne. Histoire et archéologie_ (Paris: CNRS, 1995; Monographie du CRA, no. 14).
6) Aventinus of Saint-Aventin (d. late 8th or early 9th cent., supposedly). A. is the saint of the originally earlier eleventh-century church dedicated to him in the homonymous Pyrenean village in the _département_ of Haute-Garonne. Our written sources for him are all considerably post-medieval and derive -- apart from a nineteenth-century collection of miracle stories whose antiquity is dubious -- from interpretations of the iconography of the earlier twelfth-century sculpture on the exterior of the aforementioned church. The basic story is that A. was an hermit-preacher of the Larboust valley who was slain by Saracens (thus the dating given above); his concealed resting place was miraculously discovered with the aid of a bull that pointed out the exact spot and the church was then built to receive the saint's remains.
The church, which is on a secondary pilgrimage route between France and Spain, was restored in the later nineteenth century. An illustrated account of it in French, Spanish, and English is here:
Distance views of the church:
Closer exterior views:
Two tiny views of the interior:
The church's earlier twelfth-century monumental portal is on the south side:
The tympanum (Christ in majesty and the four evangelists) and other sculptures:
A portal capital showing Christ with a female saint, interpreted as St. Mary Magdalen in the _Noli me tangere_ scene (since the two figures are actually touching, one might think rather Mary of Bethany, though the angel above probably works against that):
A portal capital showing A.'s martyrdom (yet another cephalophore!):
A mounted relief (seemingly from some lost work by the sculptor of the tympanum) showing the miraculous discovery of A.'s body:
Outside the village of Saint-Aventin is a rebuilt chapel reputed to mark the spot where A. was killed and dubiously said to be originally of the eleventh century:
A distance view dating from the later nineteenth or early twentieth century:
7) Anthony of Padua (d. 1231). A. belonged to a noble family of Lisbon, whence he is also known as A. of Lisbon. An Augustinian canon at that city's monastery of St. Vincent, he studied in Lisbon and in Coimbra and was ordained priest before transferring in about 1220 to the Franciscans. Upon entering his new order A. took the the saint's name by which he is known (previously he had been called Fernando or something similar). An exceptionally effective preacher, A. was first sent as a missionary to Morocco but soon returned to Europe on account of poor health. He preached against heresy in Milan and in southern France and in 1227 was appointed provincial for much of northern Italy, with his seat in Padua. Soon A. was also serving as lector for the Franciscans at Bologna.
Worn out by his efforts, A. resigned his offices in 1230. In 1231, shortly before his death at the age of thirty-six, he was preaching to great crowds at Padua. A.'s cult was immediate. He was canonized in 1232 (the approximate date of his first Vita, BHL 587) and was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1946.
The polyglot home page of Padua's Basilica del Santo (i.e. of A.) is here (the virtual tour is informative but the illustrations are a bit on the small side):
The Italia nell'Arte Medievale page on this church:
The Basilica del Santo keeps in its treasury both a display reliquary from 1436 housing what is said to be a portion of A.'s tongue, which latter is reported to have been discovered to be incorrupt at the time of the saint's translation of 1263:
and this silver gilt reliquary from 1434-1436 displaying what is said to be A.'s lower jaw and housing in its lower portion what is said to be cartilage from his larynx:
A. (at right; at left, St. Francis of Assisi) as depicted in the late thirteenth-century Livre d'images de Madame Marie (ca. 1285-1290; Paris, BnF, ms. Nouvelle acquisition française 16251, fol. 94v):
A. is at far right in this set of panels from a polyptych of 1354 by Paolo Veneziano, now in the Musée du Louvre, Paris:
A. (at left, with St. John the Baptist and a donor) as depicted in this later fourteenth-century panel painting by Tommaso del Mazza in the collections of the Musée du Petit Palais, Avignon:
A. as depicted in a panel painting (1450s) by Benozzo Gozzoli in Rome's Santa Maria in Aracoeli:
In Padua near the Basilica del Santo is the Scoletta del Santo (a.k.a. the Scuola del Santo), built in the very early 1500s for the Confraternity of St. Anthony:
The building's assembly room (the Sala Priorale) was frescoed from 1509 to about 1530 with scenes, by the young Titian (in 1510/1511) and others, of A.'s life and miracles. An illustrated, Italian-language account of this room and its decor:
An illustrated, Italian-language account (views not expandable) of the frescoes:
A page of expandable views, of rather uneven quality, of some of the frescoes:
Expandable views of Titian's three frescoes in this room are here (towards the bottom):
(last year's post revised and with the addition of Aventinus of Saint-Aventin)
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