medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Today (18. June) is the feast day of:
1) Mark and Marcellian (?). M. and M. are Roman martyrs whose celebration on this date is recorded in the seventh-century itineraries for pilgrims to Rome, in the Gelasian and Gregorian sacramentaries, in the (pseudo-)Hieronymian Martyrology, and in the historical martyrologies from at least Florus of Lyon onward. The location of their sepulture is problematic. According to the (ps.-)HM they were buried in the cemetery of Balbina on the Via Ardeatina. The seventh-centuries itineraries say that their resting places lay beneath the church in which pope St. Damasus was buried and at some remove from that in which pope St. Mark reposed. As the latter is known to have been in the cemetery of Balbina, the prevailing view is that M. and M. lay in some other cemetery in the same general vicinity. For another possible location, see the end of the next paragraph.
In the legendary Passio of St. Sebastian (BHL 7543) M. and M. are young brothers whose determination not to sacrifice to the idols overcomes the contrary entreaties of their parents and of friends, who in turn become Christian. The whole lot is baptized by the priest St. Polycarp. M. and M. are comforted by St. Sebastian and are made deacons by pope St. Gaius, who also ordains their father (St. Tertullinus) priest. The brothers suffer a painful martyrdom together and are buried at the sandpits (_ad arenas_) on the Via Appia.
M. and M. as depicted in an earlier fifteenth-century (ca. 1414) breviary for the Use of Paris (Châteauroux, Bibliothèque municipale, ms. 2, fol. 195v):
M. and M. rejecting the entreaties of their families and the martyrdom of M. and M. as depicted in two illuminations in a later fifteenth-century copy (1463) of Vincent of Beauvais' _Speculum historiale_ in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (Paris, BnF, ms. Français 51, fols. 46r and 49v, respectively):
Polycarp baptizing M. and M. -- only one of whom is now visible -- as depicted in Giovanni Baleison late fifteenth-century frescoes (signed and dated, 1484) in the cappella di San Sebastiano at Celle Macra (CN) in Piedmont:
M. and M. in prison as depicted in a late fifteenth-century Roman breviary (after 1482; Clermont-Ferrand, Bibliothèque municipale, ms. 69, fol. 46v) of M. and M. in prison:
2) Leontius of Tripolis (?). As is also true for other Eastern martyrs of note, L.'s cult is attested well before the appearance of his hagiography. The latter begins with two early sixth-century sermons by Severus of Antioch, who tells us that his informant was an old man of Tripolis (today's Tripoli in northern Lebanon) whom he encountered in the year 488. According to Severus, L. was an upright resident of Tripolis who during a persecution turned himself in voluntarily and who behaved charitably and fearlessly as he was awaiting execution.
Other traditions make L. a soldier martyred either under Diocletian with a companion, the monk Publius (so a Georgian-language Passio [the pre-Byzantine liturgical calendar from Palestine preserved in a Georgian-language version in the tenth-century _Codex sinaiticus_ 34 records P.'s commemoration after L.'s under today's date] and L.'s Syriac-language Passio BHO 563) or -- and this version seems no older than the ninth century -- under Vespasian with military companions named Hypatius and Theodulus (BHG 986-987d; H. and T. are commonly commemorated along with L. in Byzantine synaxaries).
L.'s martyrial church at Tripoli, where his relics worked wonders, was already famous in 417, when St. Melania the Younger visited it. Severus of Antioch was baptized there. At Antioch itself (A. on the Orontes, of course) during the Circus riots of 507 a mob of Greens raided the local synagogue and converted it into a Christian church dedicated to L. Other late antique dedications to him are recorded from Constantinople to Arabia. The ruins of the centrally planned church dedicated to Sergius, Bacchus, and Leontius at Bosra in Syria in 512/13 are still visible. Herewith a plan and some black-and-white views:
Some views in color, starting with the presbytery:
An English-language page on, and some views of, the originally late eleventh-/twelfth-century monastery church of St. Leontius (incorporating earlier smaller churches) at Vodoča in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, destroyed in the thirteenth century and rebuilt in the later twentieth:
3) Cyriacus and Paula of Themetra (d. 303, supposedly). According to their brief, legendary Passio BHL 2066t (preserved in a tenth-century _sanctorale_ of Spanish origin now in the BNE in Madrid), C. (various spellings incl. Syriacus; also occasionally given a feminine name form Siriaca _vel sim._) and P. (sometimes in the masculine name form Paulus) were a Christian brother and sister residing at _civitas Urcitana_ (probably ancient Urusi in Africa Proconsularis, today's Sougda in Tunisia) when the Great Persecution reached first Carthage and then its hinterland. Denounced to the governor and then brought before him, they asserted their faith, were tortured, refused to apostasize, and were condemned. Marched without food or water to a coastal town called Tremeta, C. and P. were stoned to death between two palm trees; two attempts to incinerate their corpses were miraculously brought to nought. Thus far their Passio.
Baudouin de Gaiffier, who edited this Passio in _AB_ 60 (1942), quite reasonably identified Tremeta with the phonetically very similar African municipality of Themetra, known to him only through the first-century inscription _CIL_, V, 4919 but since identified archeologically with today's Chott Meriem or Chott Meriam on the Gulf of Hammamet in Tunisia, whose third-century baths were adorned with a spectacular mosaic of the god Oceanus now in the Musée de Sousse. A misread abbreviation for Themetra probably underlies the Thomi and Thomi given as the locale of C.'s and P.'s martyrdom under 18. and 20. June in the (pseudo-)Hieronymian Martyrology (C. by himself also has entries under 16. and 21. June as a martyr _In Af(f)frica_).
The cult of C. and P. survived in Spain, most notably at Málaga, where Usuard (who had been in Spain in 868) localized them in the second edition of his Martyrology. After the Reconquista (which in the case of Málaga occurred only in 1487) their cult was renewed in that city and construction began in 1505 on its since much rebuilt iglesia de los Santos Martires. C. and P. have been Málaga's patron saints ever since. Elsewhere in Spain they appear under today as martyrs of Cartagena (probably a misunderstanding of the Passio's _Cartago_ in the Calendar of Córdoba from 961) and without localization in various Mozarabic calendars. The tenth-century manuscript containing their Passio had previously belonged to the cathedral of Toledo. In Catalunya C. and P. appear in a fourteenth-century breviary for the Use of Vic and in the Girona breviary of 1457.
A very different Passio of C. and P. (BHL 2067), published in the seventeenth century by Juan Tamayo de Salazar as a work of some antiquity, makes them martyrs at Málaga. It has not been found in manuscript and is suspected of being Tamayo's own creation.
4) Amandus of Bordeaux (d. ca. 431). Most of what we know of A. comes from the letters of his pupil in the faith, St. Paulinus of Nola; there is also a little bit about him in Fortunatus' Vita of St. Severinus of Bordeaux (MGH, SRM vol. 7, pp. 219-24 ) and in St. Gregory of Tours' account of the same worthy (_In gloria confessorum_, 44). A. was raised from boyhood for the church, was ordained priest by bishop St. Delphinus of Bordeaux, and succeeded the latter in that see in the very early years of the fifth century. Prompted, it is said, by a divinely sent vision, he soon resigned that office in favor of the aforementioned St. Severinus, succeeding again to the see a few years later after Severinus' death.
Long considered the builder of Bordeaux's original church of St. Severinus (in French, Seurin), since at least 1247 A. was venerated in its successor as a city patron along with S.; his relics are said to be there still. Herewith an illustrated, English-language account of the basilique Saint-Seurin, whose oldest portion is a tenth- or eleventh-century century crypt (an enlargement of a baptistery from ca. 400 that had been remodeled in the sixth century):
Two views of the modern facade (A.'s statue at left) and of the twelfth(?)-century tower:
Behind that facade is the church's later medieval west portal:
A good set of expandable views of mostly medieval features:
5) Equitius of Telese (?). Today's less well known saint of the Regno is a supposed deacon of today's Telese (BV) in one part of Campania venerated medievally only at today's San Martino Valle Caudina (AV) in another part of the same Italian region.
Our very limited evidence for E.'s actual human existence comes from one of two twelfth-century inscriptions reportedly discovered in 1712 in the ruins of San Martino's earthquake-destroyed (and previously abandoned) church of San Palerio. According to these texts, this was the resting place of the bodies of the holy Palerius bishop of Telese and of his colleague, the deacon Equitius, revealed by P. (in a vision, presumably) in 1164 to a notary named Marandus, who then built on his property a rural church honoring them and who in 1167 got the bishop of Avellino to consecrate the church and to grant a forty days' indulgence to those who visited it on the anniversary of this consecration.
Human remains presumed from their location to be of those the two saints were also discovered on the site and were soon pronounced authentic by a synod of the diocese of Benevento presided over by a cardinal who later became pope Benedict XIII. In 1795 the saints' cult was confirmed for the dioceses of Benevento and of Telese-Cerreto, with P.'s feast fixed for 16. June (the anniversary of the Inventio of 1712) and E.'s for today. P. and E. have yet to grace the pages of the RM. In 2000 the archbishop of Amalfi - Cava de' Tirreni dedicated a chapel to them in their present church at San Martino Valle Caudina (there's another in the town's principal church of San Giovanni Battista).
6) Calogerus of Sicily (d. 8th cent.?). C. is a very popular saint of Sicily honored also in southern Calabria. According to his synaxary notice in BAV, Vaticanus graecus 2046 (a twelfth- or thirteenth-century liturgical manuscript of Sicilian origin), he left Africa for Sicily in order to escape Islamic persecution. According both to the same source and to an emended text in the ninth-to-eleventh-century canon in his honor by one Sergius, C. had come from specifically Carthage. He arrived in the western part of the island and settled down to life as a hermit in a cave (in Vat. gr. 2046 located on a Mt. Kronion), where he defeated demons and performed miraculous cures. C.'s cult, initially Greek but later also Latin (with new biographic data tellingly including C.'s going to Rome and obtaining papal permission to be a hermit in Sicily), was widespread in Sicily in the later Middle Ages.
Since 'Calogerus' (literally 'nice old man') was a medieval Greek expression for a monk or hermit, it's possible that both C.'s baptismal name and his name in religion are unknown. A comparandum in this respect from the same regon would be Caltabellotta's St. Peregrinus ('Foreigner') of Triocala, who also defeated a demon and lived eremitically in a cave.
Caltabellotta is in Agrigento province. So too is a major locus of C.'s cult: Sciacca, whose nearby Monte Giummare features caves with volcanic hot springs long used as places of healing (the so-called Stufe di San Calogero) and is today frequently identified with Mt. Kronion. There is now a huge basilica and Franciscan monastery on the site, called:
The monastery's present basilica/santuario di San Calogero was begun in 1530 and was completed only in 1644. Its nearby grotta di San Calogero contains a majolica tile portrait of the saint dated 1545 (still within the upper time limit for this list, though just barely):
The basilica has relics believed to be C.'s:
None of Sicily's numerous churches in C.'s honor is medieval in appearance, though this one in Agrigento proper, first documented from 1540 and clearly much rebuilt,
is said to have traces of thirteenth- or fourteenth-century construction in its west wall.
The abbey church of St. Philip of Agira at Agira (EN), a Benedictine site honoring a famous Greek saint of Sicily, has a triptych (the remnant of a polyptych) of the Madonna and Christ Child with C. on one side and St. Benedict on the other:
Sergius' liturgical verse in C.'s honor was discovered in the seventeenth century by Ottavio Gaetani at the once Greek abbey of St. Philip at Fragalà. For a long time all we had of Sergius' work were extracts printed by Papebroch in the _Acta Sanctorum_. But a transcript prepared for Gaetani survives and from it Carmelo Capizzi edited the Greek text in Volume One (and only?) of Father Francesco Terrizzi SJ's _S. Calogero. Pagine d'archivio_ (Sciacca: Basilica S. Calogero, 1987- ; Istituto superiore di scienze umane e religose Ignatianum, no. 13), pp. 43-61. The notice of C. in Vat. gr. 2046 is edited and discussed, with generous bibliographic references, by Andrea Luzzi, _Studi sul Sinassario di Costantinopoli_ (Roma: Dipartimento di filologia greca e latina, Sezione bizantino-neoellenica, Università di Roma "La Sapienza", 1995; Testi e studi bizantino-neoellenici, no. 8), pp. 103-16.
7) Elisabeth of Schönau (d. 1164). At the age of twelve E. entered the Benedictine double monastery of Schönau in today's Strüth (Lkr. Rhein-Lahn-Kreis) on the western edge the Taunus in Rheinland-Pfalz. At the age of twenty-three she began to experience the visions for which she is famous and at the age of twenty-seven she became abbess. Her brother Ekbert (Egbert), who had been a canon at Bonn, joined the Benedictines and moved to the men's monastery at Schönau, where he oversaw the presentation of his sister's visions in the form of three written journals. E. received many visitors, herself visited Hildegard of Bingen, and carried on a correspondence of which twenty-two letters have survived. She died at the age of thirty-five; her cult was immediate.
Most of the older structures of Kloster Schönau fell victim to a fire in the early eighteenth century. Here are exterior and interior views of the monastery church of St. Florian, showing its fifteenth-century choir:
(last year's post revised and with the additions of Cyriacus and Paula of Themetra and Equitius of Telese)
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