medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Today, March 31 is the feast of:
Amos (8th century BCE) was a shepherd near Bethlehem who became one of the minor prophets. According to the Roman martyrology, he was killed by having an iron bar knocked through his head.
Acacius Agathangelos (d. c251) was bishop of Phrygian Antioch. His flock gave him the nickname "agathangelos" (good angel) because of all his good works. He was such a good influence that according to legend not a single Christian in his diocese denied his or her faith during the Decian persecution. Acacius himself was arrested, and according to what may be authentic acta engaged in a long and surprisingly benign discussion of faith with the Roman governor. At the end of it, the governor sent the transcript to Decius; Decius was impressed, too - he promoted the governor to a higher position, and pardoned Acacius. His cult is popular in the orthodox churches.
Balbina (4th century?) There was already a cemetery and a church in Rome named after Balbina in the fourth century. Balbina apparently endowed the church, and she herself was honoured there later as a saint. The author of a later vita made Balbina the daughter of Quirinus, reporting that they were both martyred in Rome.
Benjamin the Deacon (d. c421) was caught in the second wave of anti-Christian persecution in Persia. When Yezdigerd became king, he ended Shapur II's persecution, and there were twelve years of peace. But an overly zealous bishop then burned down an important fire temple and refused to rebuild it, so the bishop was executed and anti-Christian persecution started up again and continued for 40 years. Benjamin, a deacon, was flogged and imprisoned for a year for preaching Christianity during this time. He was released at the request of the eastern Roman emperor on the promise that he’d not preach – but then started preaching again. Arrested a second time, he was tortured by having reeds thrust under his nails and then was impaled on a knotty stake so it would take longer to reach a vital organ.
Renovatus, bishop of Merida (about 633) is chiefly memorable for his treatment of a gluttonous monk in his monastery at Cauliana, of which he was abbot. Indeed this is the only incident of his life recorded, and it is given at considerable length.
Agilolf/Agilulf/Agilolph of Köln (d. 752?) became bishop of Köln in 745 or 746. He is documented in a letter from pope St. Zachary as a participant in St. Boniface's synod of 747. In 1062 archbishop Anno II (St. Anno of Köln) translated from Malmédy the relics of a sainted abbot of Stavelot (Stablo)-Malmédy said to have been assassinated for having opposed the succession of Charles Martel (who had been born out of wedlock). The Passio s. Agilolfi and other eleventh-century writings equate these two saints. Henceforth Köln had a martyr-bishop. From the twelfth-century onward Köln has celebrated Agilolf on the date of this translation, July 9. Different dates have been given as his dies natalis. Today, the date used in late medieval expanded versions of Usuard, is Agilof's day of commemoration in the RM.
In Köln Agilolf's putative relics were housed in the church of Sankt Maria ad Gradus; it was from a lectionary of this church that A.'s Passio was printed in the Acta Sanctorum. The same church's Agilolph altar, created at Antwerp ca. 1520 and since disassembled, passed much later into the possession of the cathedral chapter of Köln. Here, courtesy of Chris Laning, is a view of a predella panel showing depicting sufferers seeking relief at Agilolf's late medieval shrine: http://www.flickr.com/photos/claning/90424753/
An expandable view of another panel from this altar is here: http://tinyurl.com/yto7lz
Stephen of Mar Saba (d. 794) was the nephew of St. John Damascene, who introduced the young boy to monastic life beginning at age 10. When he reached 24, Stephen served the community in a variety of ways, including guest master. After some time he asked permission to live a hermit's life. The answer from the abbot was yes and no: Stephen could follow his preferred lifestyle during the week, but on weekends he was to offer his skills as a counsellor. Stephen placed a note on the door of his cell: "Forgive me, Fathers, in the name of the Lord, but please do not disturb me except on Saturdays and Sundays. “Despite his calling to prayer and quiet, Stephen displayed uncanny skills with people and was a valued spiritual guide. When the hegumen died a miraculous light flooding Stephen's cell made it clear that he, who had been ordained priest, was to succeed him. As hegumen Stephen continued to live eremitically. A forerunner of St. Francis of Assisi, Stephan loved all of God's creation and was kind not only to people but also to many forms of animate nature, including earthworms which he would attempt to remove from places where people might tread on them. Leontius credits him with various miracles. Stephen died two years before Arabs massacred the monks of his community.
His biographer and disciple wrote about Stephen: "Whatever help, spiritual or material, he was asked to give, he gave. He received and honored all with the same kindness. He possessed nothing and lacked nothing. In total poverty he possessed all things."
Guido/Guy of Pomposa (d. 1046) According to his eleventh-century Vita by a monk of Pomposa, Guy was born c970, the first-born son of well-to-do parents near Ravenna who gave him a good education. Offered two possible brides, he chose neither and instead changed from rich garb to poor and slipped away to Rome, where he entered Holy Orders. He returned to Ravenna, lived for three years as a hermit, and then moved on to the great abbey of Pomposa in the Po Delta in Emilia, where he rose through all the important offices to become abbot. One of his monks there was the musicologist Guide of Arezzo. The Vita credits Guy with serving for 40 years as abbot, being an able administrator and with the operation of several miracles. He was a scholarly sort who encouraged biblical exegesis, and can also claim sanctity because in his later years he was unjustly persecuted by the bishop of Ravenna. At certain seasons of the year he was accustomed to withdraw to a cell about three miles from his abbey, where he lived in such unbroken abstinence and devotion that he seemed to be sustained by fasting and prayer. He had such a reputation for holiness that Emperor Henry III sent for him for advice. But Guido fell ill and died near Parma. Parma and Pomposa fought over who would get his remains, so the emperor settled their quarrel by taking them himself and depositing them in Speyer, where Guy became the patron saint. Today is his dies natalis.
Guy's tenure is regarded as the high point in the history of the abbey at Pomposa, founded in 523. In his time the abbey, which then was located on an island in the delta, was an independent state within the empire, controlling a large territory stretching back from the Adriatic between the Po and the Gauro and endowed with numerous dependencies elsewhere. He attracted so many disciples that they had to build another monastery. His abbey went into a decline in the later Middle Ages and was suppressed in 1663. In 1802 what was then left of it was secularized. In the late nineteenth century the abbey became an Italian national monument and in the 1920s restoration began on the surviving buildings. That work continues today.
The refectory has a view of Guy transforming water into wine right there at Pomposa: http://www.pomposa.com/frefettorio5.htm
And here is Guy again: http://www.pomposa.com/images/abbazia3.jpg
Jeanne of Toulouse (blessed) (d. 1286) Jeanne was a noblewoman affiliated with the Carmelite order, being introduced to it by St. Simon Stock. She remained in her parental home training upcoming Carmelite friars; thus she is considered the first Carmelite tertiary. When her body was translated in 1805, a manuscript prayer book was found beside her.
Daniel the Camaldolese (d. 1411) had a cult not formally approved. Daniel was a German merchant. In c1400, during a business trip to Venice, he became a Camaldolese monk and remained in a monastery on the isle of Murano. In 1411 he was shot in his cell in the monastery by robbers. A pilgrimage developed to his tomb.
Bonaventure of Forli (blessed) (d. 1491) Bonaventure Tornielli was a native of Forli (Italy) who became a Servite at the age of 37. He was an eloquent preacher who preached a major revival throughout the Papal States and the Kingdom of Naples. He was elected vicar general of the order in 1488.
We are all Dumbos, and life is full of Magic Feathers. To reject them makes our life thinner. – Allen (azlawyer)
To join the list, send the message: join medieval-religion YOUR NAME
to: [log in to unmask]
To send a message to the list, address it to:
[log in to unmask]
To leave the list, send the message: leave medieval-religion
to: [log in to unmask]
In order to report problems or to contact the list's owners, write to:
[log in to unmask]
For further information, visit our web site: