medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Today (19. June) is the feast day of:
1) Gervasius and Protasius (?). G. and P. are the names assigned to the two tall, male skeletons whose remains St. Ambrose of Milan, acting in 386 upon what he called a presentiment (to St. Augustine of Hippo and to Paulinus of Milan, it was a revelation), found in buried in that city's cemetery near the church of Sts. Nabor and Felix. Certainly it was providential, as A. now had two martyrs with whose remains he could sanctify his new cathedral, then still under construction. G.'s and P.'s translation to their new resting place, next to the one A. had destined for himself, took place on 19. June. Here they are now, with A. between them, in the crypt of Milan's Basilica di Sant'Ambrogio:
The bishop of Milan was quick to share with others not only news of his good fortune but also relics by which the cult of G. and P. could be and was extended to other churches. Thus bishop St. Severus of Naples received from A. relics of the two saints which he then placed in the basilica he had built in Naples' catacombs. Thus too, presumably, the originally late fourth-century Roman basilica now generally known as San Vitale had by the year 412 come to include G. and P. in its dedication. Their cult spread rapidly in the Latin West: among its early devotees were Sts. Martin of Tours, Paulinus of Nola, and Gaudentius of Brescia. G. and P. are entered for today in the early sixth-century Calendar of Carthage. Here they are, at left, in the sixth-century mosaics of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna:
G. and P. have a Passio (BHL 3514, etc.) whose earliest form is thought to be of the late fifth or early sixth century. This pretends to have been written by Ambrose himself and makes them twin brothers, gives them as parents Sts. Vitalis and Valeria, has them give away their inheritance to the poor once their parents have been martyred, and places their suffering under Nero. In it G. dies under the lash and P. is decapitated. In Eastern-rite churches G. and P. are celebrated on 14. October, their traditional _dies natalis_.
G. and P. flank Christ in the heavily restored, originally thirteenth-century apse mosaic in Milan's basilica di Sant'Ambrogio:
G. and P. feeding the poor as depicted in an earlier fourteenth-century copy (1348) of the _Legenda aurea_ in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (Paris, BnF, ms. Français 241, fol. 140r):
The martyrdom of G. and P. as depicted in an earlier fourteenth-century (ca. 1325-1350) collection of French-language saint's Lives (Paris, BnF, ms. Français 185, fol. 233v):
The martyrdom of G. and P. (along with that of Sts. Nazarius and Celsus) as depicted in an October calendar scene in the earlier fourteenth-century frescoes (betw. 1335 and 1350) in the narthex of the church of the Pantocrator at the Visoki Deèani monastery near Peæ in, depending on one's view of the matter, either the Republic of Kosovo or Serbia's province of Kosovo and Metohija:
G. and P. as depicted in the earlier fourteenth-century frescoes (betw. 1335 and 1350) in the nave of the church of the Pantocrator at the Visoki Deèani monastery near Peæ in, depending on one's view of the matter, either the Republic of Kosovo or Serbia's province of Kosovo and Metohija:
G. and P. as depicted in the late fourteenth-century frescoes (later 1380s?) of the church of the Holy Ascension at the Ravanica monastery near Æuprija in central Serbia:
G. and P. as depicted (at left; at right, St. Opportuna) in the early fifteenth-century (ca. 1410) Hours of René d'Anjou (London, British Library, MS Egerton 1070, fol. 89v):
A page of expandable views of G. and P. as depicted, with varying dress and hair styles, in several late medieval missals and breviaries:
Some views of the originally eleventh- to sixteenth-century église Saint-Gervais in Falaise (Calvados), rebuilt after heavy damage in World War II:
An illustrated, French-language page on the originally eleventh- to sixteenth-century église paroissiale de Saint-Gervais in Pontpoint (Oise):
Illustrated, English-language and French-language pages on, and other views of, the originally twelfth- to sixteenth-century église Saint-Gervais-Saint-Protais in Gisors (Eure):
Paris' église Saint-Gervais-Saint-Protais, begun in 1494, is a mostly sixteenth-century church with a neoclassical facade. Some views:
2) Nazarius of Koper (?). N. is the legendary protobishop of the Slovenian port of Koper, perhaps better known to some by its Italian name of Capodistria. He was the subject of a poorly dated Inventio (probably in the fourteenth century), spent the period from 1380 to 1422 in Genoa as war booty, was returned in the latter year, and was buried in what became the cathedral's high altar. The tradition that makes N. a bishop is rendered problematic by the modern understanding that the diocese of Justinopolis/Capodistria/Koper is no older than the year 1177. N. has yet to grace the pages of the RM. The chances are excellent that he is really his homonym of Milan outfitted with a new, localizing identity.
Herewith an English-language account of Koper's originally twelfth-century cathedral dedicated to the BVM and commonly referred to in the international tourist industry as that of N.:
Some expandable views of the interior, including two of N.'s fourteenth-century sarcophagus, are here:
3) Deodatus of the Vosges (d. late 7th cent.). Said in his rather legendary tenth-century Vita by Humbert of Moyenmoutier (BHL 2131) to have been a bishop of Nevers who became a solitary, D. (Deodat, Dieudonné; also D. of Nevers) later founded the monasteries of Ebersheimmunster near Strasbourg and Juncturae (Jointures) in the Vosges. The latter took his name; its town is today's Saint-Dié (Vosges). Saint-Dié became a house of canons regular and an abbey _nullius_ towards the end of the tenth century. Its largely thirteenth-century church, which became a cathedral in 1777 and which was very badly damaged in World War II, has an eighteenth-century facade and a fifteenth-/early sixteenth-century cloister. A few views of this now rebuilt monument:
4) Lambertus of Zaragoza (?). L. is a very poorly documented saint whose previously unrecorded tomb was found in Zaragoza's iglesia (now: basilica) de Santa Engracia in 1389 along with those of the ancient Martyrs of Zaragoza (16. April). The late antique and early medieval sources for those saints are silent about him and his Frankish name suggests a rather later cult. Who he was and when he lived are unknown. Most of the skeletal remains said to be L.'s were lost when his tomb was destroyed in an explosion in the crypt of Santa Engracia during a French siege in 1808; the remaining fragment is in a reliquary and is not known to have been sampled for isotope dating.
Because of the proximity of his tomb to those of attested martyrs, L. too is traditionally accounted a martyr. The aforementioned bone fragment (a piece of jaw) is said to have to have emitted blood when it was touched by the future pope Adrian VI, who served in Spain during the years 1515-1522 (a native of Utrecht, his awareness of that city's St. Lambert may have sparked an interest in today's L.). L. is represented as a cephalophore on Santa Engracia's early sixteenth-century ornamental portal (1512-1519) and in his legendary lections in Zaragoza's breviary of 1573. This latter text (BHL 4673), thought to be of early modern origin, makes L. a martyr under Diocletian.
In these views of Santa Engracia's portal, L.'s statue stands atop an anta at right:
5) Bruno (Boniface) of Querfurt (d. 1009). B. was a canon of the cathedral of Magdeburg and a court chaplain of Otto III who while in Italy in 997 met up with St. Romuald of Ravenna (no. 6, below), entered the Order of Saint Benedict, and took the name Boniface. After Otto's death in 1002 B. returned to Germany and soon undertook missionary activity among the Slavs. In 1004 he received the pallium as a missionary archbishop. In March 1009 he and eighteen companions were martyred by Prussians in today's Poland. B. is the author of one of the great saint's Lives of the eleventh century, his Vita of St. Adalbert of Prague (BHL 38), and of the semi-autobiographical _Vita quinque fratrum_ dealing with the Camaldolese martyrs of 1003 (BHL 1147).
6) Romuald of Ravenna (d. 1027). R. entered the Order of St. Benedict at Ravenna's Sant'Apollinare Nuovo after having been implicated in his father's killing of a relative. Not finding his fellow Benedictines ascetic enough for his taste, he became an hermit in the Venetian lagoon and within a few years gathered a small group of adherents some of whom were very prominent people. The little community so formed moved around through various places in the Veneto, formed connections with Montecassino, settled in Rome, and wound up promoting missions to the Slavs in the early years of the eleventh century. R. went on to found a number of Benedictine hermitages in central Italy. In the next generation he was thought of by people at some of these as the spiritual father of their nascent Camaldolese Benedictine community. Our chief source for him is his Vita by St. Peter Damian (BHL 7324).
One of R.'s foundations was the abbey of Santa Maria di Sitria, begun as a hermitage in 1014 and expanded into an abbey in about 1020. It's located in Isola Fossara, a _frazione_ of today's very rural commune of Scheggia e Pascelupo in Umbria's Perugia province, close to the latter's border with the Marche's Ancona province. A distance view of the remaining structures is here:
A less appealing closer view:
An illustrated account from Thais in both English and Italian:
R. died at another of his foundations, the abbey of San Salvatore at Val di Castro, near Fabriano (AN) in the Marche. Views of this monastery, which was rebuilt in the thirteenth century and of course has since been modified, are here:
An Italian-language account from Thais with views of the apses of the abbey church:
And a longer Italian-language account, with perhaps more interesting views:
In December 1480 Camaldolese monks of Sant'Apollinare in Classe secretly removed R.'s skeleton (said to have been rediscovered in 1477) from the then decaying abbey at Val di Castro. But they brought it only as far as Jesi in today's Ancona province before being discovered. This last burst of travel of a very wandering saint ('peripatetic' might suggest attainments he is unlikely to have possessed) ended in February 1481, when R. was brought back up the Esino valley from Jesi to Fabriano and his remains were installed there in the church of the Benedictine abbey of San Biagio (to which the monastery at Val di Castro had belonged since 1427). Some views of this church, since rebuilt and renamed as Santi Biagio e Romualdo, are here:
The last view on that page is of R.'s present resting place in the church's crypt.
R. as depicted by Beato Angelico in his Crucifixion and Saints (early 1440s) in the the Chapter Room of what is now the Museo nazionale di San Marco in Florence:
The composition as a whole:
TAN: R. is the patron saint of Bonarcado (OR) in Sardinia, whose chiesa parrocchiale di Santa Maria was originally the abbey church of an early twelfth-century Camaldolese foundation and is sometimes also called the chiesa di San Romualdo after the name of the parish it serves. Herewith a few illustrated, Italian-language accounts of this church, which was consecrated in 1146/47 and was rebuilt in the thirteenth and seventeenth centuries, and of the adjacent cruciform santuario di Nostra Signora di Bonarcado/Bonacattu, a perhaps seventh-century structure built over the remains of a Roman-period bath and re-worked in the thirteenth century along with the larger church:
Plans of both churches; section of the larger one:
Individual views of the larger church:
An illustrated, Italian-language account of the santuario:
Individual views of the santuario:
7) Juliana Falconieri (d. 1341, perhaps). J., who was related to one of the founders of the Servites, founded a community of women religious in Florence whose rule was later extended to Servite nuns in general. Though she had a cult in her order by the later fifteenth century, she herself is very poorly documented (fabricated documents were used in her canonization trial, concluded in 1737). It is not even clear that she was a Falconieri. Today is her traditional _dies natalis_.
(last year's post revised and with the addition of Lambertus of Zaragoza)
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