medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Today (7. June) is the feast day of:
1) Paul I, bp. of Constantinople (d. in or shortly after 351). P. had the misfortune of being the Orthodox bishop of Constantinople during a period of Arian ascendancy among the imperial family. Exiled twice and restored both times, he was exiled again in 350 after the death of his latest protector, the emperor Constans I. P. died a few years later in Armenia, supposedly strangled by Arians.
2) Colmán of Dromore (d. earlier 6th cent.?). C. (also Coloman) is the fairly legendary first bishop of Dromore (Druim Mor) in County Down, Northern Ireland, whose monastery also claimed him as its founder. His Vitae (BHL 1878, 1879) are late and unreliable. C. is entered for today in several early Irish and Scottish calendars.
Today's cathedral of Dromore was built on the site of the ancient monastery that regarded C. as its founder. A cross surviving in fragments from that house was re-erected near the cathedral in 1887. Here's a description:
3) Daniel of Skete (or of Sketis; d. ca. 576). We know about the Egyptian desert father D. from a brief account in chapter 42 of the _Lives of the Eastern Saints_ by his younger contemporary the Syriac-writing monophysite John of Ephesus and by smallish narrative anecdotes in Greek (BHG 2101 a-c, 2102a, 2102 c-f, 2128), Coptic, Ethiopic, and other languages in which D. illustrates one or another aspect of holiness and piety and which in some cases have been collected and edited to create texts that because of their length are conventionally called Lives. Hegumen of the famous monastery of Skete (Sketis) in today's Wadi Natrun, he is said by John to have been harrassed by officialdom attempting to impose Chalcedonian orthodoxy on his community, which latter, like others in the area, still adhered to the views of the deposed fifth-century patriarch Dioscorus of Alexandria.
D. had a reputation for being able to perceive hidden sanctity in others; several of the anecdotes attached to his name have to do with holy fools. Recorded in medieval Byzantine and Coptic synaxaries and celebrated today in Orthodox churches, he has yet to grace the pages of the RM.
D. as depicted in the earlier eleventh-century mosaics (restored between 1953 and 1962) in the katholikon of Hosios Loukas near Distomo in Phokis:
Two recent collections of stories about D. are Britt Dahlman, ed. and tr., _Saint Daniel of Sketis: A Group of Hagiographic Texts_ (Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2007; Studia Byzantina Upsaliensis, 10) and Tim Vivian, tr., _Witness to Holiness: Abba Daniel of Sectis. Translations of the Greek, Coptic, Ethiopic, Syriac, Armenian, Latin, Old Church Slavonic, and Arabic Accounts_ (Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications; Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2008; Cistercian Studies Series, No. 219).
4) Vulflagius (d. ca. 643, supposedly). V. (in French: Wulphy, Wulfy, Vulphis; in English sometimes Wulphlag) is a saint of Ponthieu and of the Pas-de-Calais. According to his undated Vita (BHL 8737m; survives in a seventeenth-century transcription), he was born near today's Rue (Somme), married, had daughters, accepted his town's choice to be come its priest and agreed to live separately from his wife, could not bear the separation and made clandestine visits to his wife, became extremely penitent over this behavior, undertook a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and on his return became a hermit in a secluded location where he offered moral counsel to those who sought him out and where he also performed healing miracles.
A tradition of the nearby abbey of Centula / St. Riquier identified the site of V.'s hermitage as today's Regnière-Écluse (Somme) and connected a translation of his remains from there to the abbey with the translation to the abbey of those of its founder (d. ca. 645). Early modern acceptance of this story as historically accurate, together with an inference that V. had predeceased St. Riquier by a couple of years, has led to the widely reproduced date of death for V. noted above.
Relics said to be those of V. will have been at Rue in the twelfth century, when the predecessor of that town's early nineteenth-century église Saint-Wulphy was built, and were certainly there in the early sixteenth century, when a surviving inventory of its treasury was drawn up. One (a jaw bone) survived the destruction of the church's reliquaries in 1783, underwent a formal recognition in 1835, and is now preserved in the modern church. A relic believed to be V.'s was presumably once housed in the originally late fifteenth-century église paroissiale Saint-Wulphy at Montreuil-sur-Mer (Pas-de-Calais). A view and a brief, French-language account of that church are here:
Since an unknown time the same town's originally twelfth-century but much rebuilt église abbatiale Saint-Saulve has kept relics believed to be those of V. Here's the romanes.com page on that church, whose portal is of the later fifteenth century:
Another view of the portal (greatly expandable):
While we're looking at later "Gothic", herewith a brief, French-language account of the late fifteenth- and early sixteenth-century chapelle Saint-Esprit at Rue, which when built was attached to that town's église Saint-Wulphy:
V. has yet to grace the pages of the RM. He has been equated conjecturally with the sixth-century St. Vulfilaicus of Trier, the last notice of whose relics is from the later tenth century and one of whose many name-forms in French is Wulphy.
5) Erkanbert (d. 830). E. (also Herkumbert) is thought to have come from the vicinity of Würzburg. He was one of Charlemagne's missionaries among the Saxons. Primarily active along the middle Weser, E. was the first bishop of Minden (a see that ceased to exist in 1648; its territory is now part of the diocese of Osnabrück). Here he is at far right on the recently restored Golden Altarpiece (1220) of Minden's ex-cathedral of Sts. Gorgonius and Peter:
That view is from this German-language page on the altarpiece:
Here's another such page:
Another view of the saints from this altar during its restoration:
E. has yet to the pages of the RM.
6) Deocar (Bl.; d. ca. 832). D. (also Deochar, Deokar, Dietger) was an hermit in today's Herrrieden (Lkr. Ansbach) in Bavaria, where he established a Benedictine monastery, served as its abbot, and became an imperial counselor and emissary (_missus_). In 819 he took part in the translation of the remains of St. Boniface to Mainz; in 829 he participated in the Synod of Mainz. D. was laid to rest in his monastery's church, whose originally eleventh-century successor dedicated to St. Vitus and to D. is now a parish church. Here are some views of it:
A not very good view of D.'s shrine therein (1482; restored, 1882):
Within a century of D.'s death his monastery passed into the possession of the bishop of Eichstätt and D. became a saint of the diocese. The monastery was converted into a canonry in 888. Here's D. as depicted in the Pontifical of bishop Gundekar II (1057–1075):
The diocese of of Eichstätt now considers D. a beatus. He has an annual commemoration on this day at Herrieden.
In 1316 some of D.'s relics went to Nürnberg, where they were displayed in a chapel dedicated to him in the church of St. Lawrence (Lorenzkirche). Since the nineteenth century those relics have been in Eichstätt, but the Lorenzkirche in Nürnberg retains its early fifteenth-century Deocarusraltar. Here's a panel of it showing D. leading the visually impaired in prayer at St. Boniface's shrine:
A view of the altar as a whole:
That's D. in his sarcophagus at bottom center. A German-language description of this piece is here:
D. is a patron of the blind and of those with diseases of the eye. He is also Herrieden's patron saint and the third patron of Nürnberg (after Sts. Sebaldus and Lawrence). D. has yet to grace the pages of the RM.
7) Peter, Walabonsus, Sabinian, Wistremund, Habentius and Jeremiah (d. 851). Our source for these martyrs of Muslim-ruled Córdoba (in Spanish: Pedro, Walabonso, Sabiniano, Wistremundo, Havencio or Abencio, Jeremías) is the _Memoriale sanctorum_ of St. Eulogius of Toledo. P., a priest from Écija, and Wa., a deacon from a place variously identified as Elche or as Niebla or as Peñaflor, were serving at the convent of Cuteclara outside of Córdoba. S. and Wi. were monks of St Zoilus at Armelata; Wi. too hailed from Écija. H. was a monk of St. Christopher in Córdoba and the very elderly J. was a founder of the monastery of Tábanos, to which the recently martyred St. Isaac of Córdoba (3. June) had belonged. After I.'s public execution for defaming the Prophet, P. and companions presented themselves to the cadi and associated themselves with the professions of I. and of the intervening martyr St. Sanctius (Sancho; 5. June).
After their convictions P., Wa., S., Wi., and H. were executed by decapitation. Sentenced to the same fate, J. received a preliminary scourging, a punishment that he did not survive.
One of the places where Wa. is thought to have hailed from is Niebla in Andalusia's Huelva province, where he is the patron saint. Wa. and his also martyred sister Maria (the Maria of Flora and Maria; 24. Nov.) are the patron saints of the local diocese. Herewith some views of Niebla's thirteenth- to early sixteenth-century iglesia de Santa María de la Granada, built into what had been a mosque and retaining -- with modifications -- the latter's eleventh-century minaret tower. A virtual visit is here:
Other views (or same but larger):
While we're here, a virtual tour and a few views of what's left of Niebla's iglesia de San Martín, a former mosque that was converted into a synagogue before becoming a Christian church in the fourteenth century:
Other views (or same but larger):
8) Robert of Newminster (d. 1159). The Paris-educated R. is said to have been born at Craven in today's North Yorkshire. In the early 1130s he joined the group of Cistercians who were soon to establish Fountains Abbey. In 1137 he was chosen to head the latter's daughter house, Newminster, founded the following year at Morpeth in Northumberland. Reginald of Durham tells us that R. was on good terms with St. Godric of Finchale. Like Godric, R. has never been papally canonized. Said in his Vitae (the fragmentary BHL 7270d, the later BHL 7270e and 7270f, and the still later metrical BHL 7270g) to have been otherworldly and austere, he nonetheless managed to found three Cistercian houses from Newminster. Miracles were reported at his tomb.
M.'s cult has been kept alive by the Cistercian Order and by the Roman Catholic diocese of Hexham and Newcastle, whose parishes at Morpeth and at Fenham in Newcastle are named for him. Unlike Godric, he has an entry in the RM.
After the Dissolution Newminster Abbey was used by its owners as a source of building stone; it is now a ruin. Here's a view of some re-erected cloister arcades:
The English-language page that view was taken from:
Another page on Newminster, with an expandable view of the remains of the chapter house door:
(last year's post revised and with the addition of Daniel of Skete)
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