medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Today, March 11, is the feast day of:
Gorgo, martyr (date unknown) At Tours, on this day is celebrated the
festival of S. Gorgo the martyr, whose body, found at Rome, on the Appian
Way, near that of S. Cecilia, was transported to the great monastery of
Tours in 847, and on the way worked many miracles of healing.
Pionius (d. c250/251) was a priest of Smyrna martyred during the Decian
persecution. According to Eusebius, he was vigorous in defending his faith
and his community. He had nails driven through him and then - like St.
Polycarp of Smyrna in the previous century - was burned alive. The surviving
Acta (BHG 1546) on which Eusebius probably based his account include other
parallels between the two martyrs. Eusebius blunders in making Pionius one
of Polycarp's own companions in martyrdom.
In the fourth century a fictional Bios of St. Polycarp (BHG 1561)
appeared with Pionius as its pretended author. This became very popular and
added to Pionius' posthumous renown. Pionius appears in the
(pseudo-)Hieronymian Martyrology under several dates, one being today. On
the basis of a misreading of another entry in the (ps.-)HM, Florus of Lyon
placed Pionius on February 1. That is where he remained until the latest
version (2001) of the RM, whose choice of today for his commemoration
reflects the earlier ninth-century use of Naples as indicated by its Marble
Pionius' trial, imprisonment, and martyrdom as depicted in a (1463) copy
of Vincent de Beauvais' Speculum historiale in its French-language version
by Jean de Vignay (Paris, BnF, ms. Français 50, fol. 386r):
Alberta (d. c286) was a native of Agen in Gaul, sister of St. Faith. She was
a virgin martyr, one of the first victims of Diocletian's persecution.
Constantine (c576) He was a king of Cornwall, son of Padarn, not the more
famous Emperor Constantine. Today's Constantine, says legend, and was
married to a Breton princess. When she died, he abdicated his throne and
became a monk at Rahan (Ireland). There he performed menial tasks, was
eventually ordained, and went as a missionary to Scotland, where he preached
in Galloway and became abbot of a monastery at Govan. When Consantine was an
old man, pirates attacked him and cut off his right arm. Having called his
brethren about him, and blessed them, he gently bled to death. He is
regarded as the first martyr of Scotland.
Euthymius of Sardis (d. c829) Euthymius was a monk and bishop of Sardis
(Asia Minor). He was a defender of icons, for which he was exiled for 29
years… after which he was cast into a noisome dungeon, and by the emperors’
orders, was brought out and stretched on the ground, with his hands and feet
attached to posts, at the utmost distention possible, and then was cut and
lashed with cow-hide scourges, till he died.
Oengus/Angus the Culdee (d. early 9th century) was a monk of Clonenagh
(Laois) who later became a disciple of St. Maelruain at the abbey at
Tallaght (Dublin), joining the Celi De monastic reform movement. At the
latter community, O. is supposed to have concealed his scholarly abilities
so he could be assigned menial work; he was uncovered, though, because he
secretly coached a poor student. Later tradition reports that he eventually
became abbot and bishop of Tallaght. Certainly he was famous enough to rate
mention in three annals, which list his death in 819, 824, or 830. He is the
author of the Irish martyrology that bears his name.
"He is said to have sung a hundred and fifty psalms every day, fifty of
which he recited standing up to his neck in water, in winter and summer; and
three hundred times a day he adored God on his bended knees."
Eulogius of Córdoba/-of Toledo (d. 859) and other martyrs of Cordoba
(c822-864) A learned priest in Muslim-ruled Córdoba, he was imprisoned for a
time when Muslim persecution of Christians began, and when released became a
great encourager of the "martyr movement" of Cordoba, as Christians publicly
denounced Islam and got themselves executed for it. He was elected
archbishop of Toledo, but before he was consecrated he helped a Moorish
convert to Christianity escape when she was accused of apostasy. But the
woman was caught, and all who had helped her were arrested. When Eulogius
was tried, he attempted to convert the kadi. He was then beheaded. He wrote
an account of the martyrs, and also an Apologia that defended their willful
courting of death. Some of the martyrs' remains were translated to Paris in
the early 860s.
Peter the Spaniard, hermit (date uncertain) His parents having insisted on
his marriage, he yielded with great repugnance. The marriage ceremony took
place, and when the banquet was over, he retired to the bridal chamber,
where he saw the fair young girl who had given him her hand lying asleep on
the bed. She looked so pure and innocent in her slumber that he gazed on her
with reverence, and kneeling at her feet, prayed long and earnestly; and
then stealing away, left the house, and fled the country.
Christopher/Cristofero Maccassoli (d. 1485) was a Milanese noble who became
a Franciscan. He founded a friary at Vigevano (near Milan) and became a
spiritual advisor of such renown that thousands came to him for help. His
cult was confirmed in 1890.
John Larke, Jermyn Gardiner and John Ireland (1544) - martyred under Henry
VIII, but John Heywood, who had been condemned with them, recanted shortly
before the time of execution, and was thus saved from martyrdom.
Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in
school. ~Albert Einstein
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