medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Today (8. August) is the feast day of:
1) Cyriacus, Largus, and Smaragdus (?). C., L., and S. are martyrs of the Via Ostiensis, entered under today in the _Depositio martyrum_ of the Chronographer of 354. C. was early confused with the C. of 16. March, seemingly a Greek saint. When he, L., and S. became characters in the legendary _Passio sancti Marcelli_ (BHL 5234, 5235; C. as a deacon, L. and S. as his housemates in life and companions in death), their martyrdom, supposedly occurring under Maximian during the Great Persecution, was in this story said to have taken place on that earlier date. But the author of the Passio, aware too of their celebration on this day in August, implicitly converted the latter into a translation feast commemorating what the Passio describes as their solemn reburial by pope St. Marcellus I. In St. Ado and in Usuard their martyrdom is recorded on both days. Prior to 2001 the RM had opted for the March date made traditional by the Passio.
An expandable view of the martyrdom of C., L., and S. as depicted in a late thirteenth-century copy of French origin of the _Legenda aurea_ (San Marino, CA, Huntington Library, ms. HM 3027, fol. 97r):
To distinguish him from one or more of the numerous other saints of this name, C. is also known as Cyriac of Rome. Thanks to an episode the Passio, he became known as someone to invoke in cases of demonic possession. Venerated singly, C. enjoyed considerable popularity in northern Europe from the Ottonian period onward and became one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers of the later Middle Ages.
Devotion to C. has been especially strong in Germany. In the tenth century a relic believed to be his was brought to today's Gernrode (Lkr. Quedlinburg) in Sachsen-Anhalt and there deposited in a newly built monastic church for women that had been dedicated to St. Mary and St. Peter. In time the church became known instead as that of C. (who, after all, was present -- at least in part -- in the confessio). Herewith views of Gernrode's Stiftskirche St. Cyriakus (west portions rebuilt in the twelfth century):
This church contains a Holy Sepulcher (later eleventh-/early twelfth-century), described here:
There is also a mid-twelfth-century baptismal font:
Other dedications to C.:
1. Pfarrkirche St. Cyriakus (twelfth-/thirteenth-century; rebuilt,seventeenth century), Marburg-Bauerbach, Hessen:
2. Paroissiale (ancienne abbatiale) Saint-Cyriaque (twelfth-/eighteenth-century), Altorf (Bas-Rhin), Alsace:
3. St. Cyriakus Propstei-Kirche (1250-1490; later additions and modifications), Duderstadt, Niedersachsen:
4. St. Cyriakus Kirche (mostly fifteenth-century), Weeze (Kreis Kleve), Nordrhein-Westfalen:
2) Secundus, Carpophorus, Victorinus, and Severianus (?). S., C., V., and S. are Roman martyrs entered under today in the _Depositio martyrum_ of the Chronographer of 354. The (pseudo-)Hieronymian Martyrology also enters them under today and adds that they were buried at Alba at the fifteenth milestone on the Via Appia. That datum accords with the location of the Catacombe di San Senatore at today's Albano Laziale (RM) in Lazio. An Italian-language page on that complex is here:
and a multi-page, illustrated, Italian-language site on the complex begins here:
The complex contains a number of frescoes of late antique and early medieval date, mostly in very poor condition. The first one shown in this page has been dated to the late fifth century and depicts six figures flanking a seated Christ (those at either end are interpreted as donors; the other flanking figures are thought to represent S., C., V., and S.):
In the legendary Passio of St. Sebastian (BHL 7543) S., C., V., and S. are military martyrs under Diocletian, buried in the cemetery of Sts. Marcellinus and Peter on the Via Labicana. With a change in feast day from 8. August to 8. November, they thus became one of the two groups of saints known severally and jointly as the Four Crowned Martyrs and were so commemorated under 8. November in the RM until its revision of 2001.
Up in Lombardy, a poorly documented group of saints named Carpophorus, Exanthus, Cassius, Severus, Secundus, and Licinius appears legendarily in the originally early medieval Passio of St. Fidelis of Como as fellow soldiers martyred under Maximian in various places; the same saints also appear at the beginning of the Passio of St. Alexander of Bergamo as well as in some later witnesses of the (pseudo-)Hieronymian Martyrology where they are entered under 7. August as martyrs of Milan. Whereas each of these could be in origin a very poorly documented north Italian saint, there is a strong suspicion (shared, e.g., by Lanzoni and by Delehaye) that the group as such is fictitious and that it arose from local veneration of relics, some of which may have come from afar. In this view, the northern Carpophorus, Severus, and Secundus are likely to have been today's C., S., and S. celebrated one day earlier in Lombardy.
Herewith the Italia nell'Arte Medievale page on Como's originally eleventh- and twelfth-century basilica di San Carpoforo:
3) Eusebius of Milan (d. prob. 462). According to his epitaph by his friend St. Ennodius (_Carmen_ 84), E. was a Greek of Eastern origin. He is first attested as bishop of Milan in 449, when he took part at Rome in an anti-Eutychian synod convened by pope St. Leo I. E. had to endure the Hunnic capture and sack of Milan under Attila in 452; a speech by an unknown prelate on the occasion of his re-building of that city's cathedral is transmitted among the works of St. Maximus of Turin. Ennodius highlights E.'s sympathy for poor and rich alike [TAN: the special theme of next year's International Medieval Congress at Leeds is 'Poor...Rich'].
E. was buried in Milan's basilica di San Lorenzo. The oldest catalogues of Milan's bishops have him laid to rest on this day. Later ones use 9. August instead and the early fourteenth-century _Liber notitiae sanctorum Mediolani_ records him under 12. August, the date also used for E. in the RM prior to the latter's revision of 2001.
4) Aemilianus of Cyzicus (d. after 815). A. succeeded to the see of Cyzicus in the late eighth century. An iconophile, he was exiled after having opposed the emperor Leo III at the latter's synod of 815, where the patriarch St. Nicephorus I was deposed and iconolatry was condemned. The year of his death is unknown.
5) Altmann of Passau (d. 1091). According to his earlier twelfth-century Vita (BHL 313), A. came from a noble family of Westphalia and was educated at the cathedral school at Paderborn, which latter he then headed for many years before becoming Henry III's royal chaplain at Aachen. His contacts with the royal family led to his being named bishop of Passau in 1065. In that see, which then included much of Austria, he showed his Reform inclinations by founding (or by converting from other forms of joint life) communities of Canons Regular and by being Gregory VII's leading supporter among the German bishops during the Investiture Controversy In 1078 A. was forced to leave Passau. He returned in 1081, only to be deposed in 1085 by the imperial party's bishops, who installed at Passau a succession of (anti)bishops in his stead. A. spent the remainder of his life in the eastern part of his diocese, under the protection of Leopold II of Austria.
A. was laid to rest at one of his foundations, the monastery of Canons Regular at Göttweig. Somewhat ironically for a great promoter of Canons Regular, within a few years of his death this house was converted into a Benedictine abbey. A.'s Vita, which was written there, presents him both as a defender of church interests against rapacious lords lay and ecclesiastical and as a thaumaturge. A.'s cult is also attested for Heilgenkreuz in the twelfth century, for Lilienfeld in the thirteenth, and for Melk by at least the end of the Middle Ages. His cult is said to have been confirmed, presumably for the Benedictines and the Augustinians, by Boniface VIII (1300) and by Alexander VI (1496). In the late nineteenth century it was extended to the dioceses of Linz and Passau. A., recognized as a Saint, entered the RM only in the the 2004 edition of its revision of 2001.
A. as depicted in a later twelfth-century copy from Göttweig of Origen's _Expositio symboli_, showing him as founder (Göttweig, Stiftsbibliothek, Cod. 97 rot / 27 schwarz, fol. 1r):
A partial view of A.'s tomb in the crypt of the abbey church:
A view of A.'s head reliquary at Göttweig:
6) Famianus (d. 1150). F. is the patron saint of Gallese (VT) in northern Lazio. According to his Vitae, all of which seem to be Early Modern, he was a native of Köln who at a fairly early age undertook a series of pilgrimages that took him to Rome in 1108, to other parts of Italy, and to Compostela. While in Spain he is said to have been ordained priest and to have lived as an hermit at the not-yet-Cistercian abbey of Oseira in Galicia. The date of F.'s return to Italy is unknown. He is reported to have died on this day at Gallese, where by the late thirteenth century there was a full-blown pilgrimage cult in his honor with a church that is said to have replaced an oratory at his wonder-working grave.
An illustrated, Italian-language account of Tuscia's basilica di San Famiano:
Other views (expandable), including one of F.'s eighteenth-century sarcophagus in the crypt:
7) Dominic of Caleruega (d. 1221). D. is also known as D. of Osma (where he had been a Canon Regular). The founder of the Order of Preachers, he was canonized in 1234. Herewith two views of his tomb in Bologna's basilica di San Domenico:
Several detail views are here:
Kept behind the tomb is D.'s head reliquary executed in 1383 by the Bolognese goldsmith Jacopo Roseto:
A detail view of the central portion:
A twentieth-century reliquary containing what is said to be a portion of D.'s cranium that had been kept at his convent of San Sisto in Rome:
An expandable view of Honorius III blessing D. and the brethren as depicted in a late thirteenth-century copy of French origin of the _Legenda aurea_ (San Marino, CA, Huntington Library, ms. HM 3027, fol. 91v):
A page of expandable views of earlier fourteenth-century depictions of D.:
D. as depicted in an earlier fourteenth-century (ca. 1326-1350) collection of French-language saint's Lives (Paris, BnF, ms. Français 185, fol. 240v):
D. as depicted in a mid-fourteenth-century (1348) copy of the _Legenda aurea_ in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (Paris, BnF, ms. Français 241, fol. 188v):
D. and fellow Dominicans (some represented punningly as black-and-white dogs, _Dominici canes_) as depicted in a later fourteenth-century fresco (The Way of Salvation; ca. 1365-1368) by Andrea da Firenze (Andrea di Bonaiuto) in the Cappella Spagnuolo in Florence's basilica di Santa Maria Novella:
D. as depicted in a later fifteenth-century glass window Holy Trinity Church, Long Melford (Suffolk; photo by Gordon Plumb):
8) William of Castellammare di Stabia (Bl.; d. 1364). Our information about this Franciscan missionary and less well known holy person of the Regno comes from early historians of his order. He is said to have been arrested at Gaza for publicly defaming the Prophet, to have declined suggestions that he apostasize, and to have been executed by being sawn in two, with his breviary then burned along with his corpse.
(an older post revised and with the additions of Eusebius of Milan and Bl. William of Castellammare di Stabia)
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