medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Today, March 29 is the feast of:
Barachisius and Jonas (d. 327) Barachisius and Jonas were monks at Bethasa in Persia. They were arrested during Shah Sapur II's persecution of Christians after their visits to other Christians in prison. Serious efforts were made to get them to recant, including torture and each being told that the other had apostatised. Finally they were killed off rather nastily: melted lead was poured down the nostrils of Jonas, and red-hot plates were placed under his arms, and he was hung up by one foot in his dungeon till he fainted. His hands and feet were cut off, his tongue torn out, and he was pressed to death in a grape-crusher. Barachisius was treated with equal barbarity. Sharp splinters of reed were thrust into his flesh, all over his body, so that he resembled a porcupine, and he was then rolled on the ground to drive the spikes in, finally having hot pitch poured down his throat.
Mark of Arethusa (d. 364) Mark was from Lebenon and was made bishop of Arethusa (today's ar-Rastan in Syria's governorate of Homs) by Constantine the Great. Gregory of Nazianzus relates his heroism in the face of anti-Christian violence at Arethusa stirred up by the emperor Julian in 361. The aged Mark, who had torn down a pagan temple and who had been effective in making Christian converts was ordered by Julian to replace the temple. He refused and left the city briefly (out of prudence, not fear, says Gregory) but returned when some of his followers were arrested in his place. He was seized, dragged through the streets, and tortured by being covered in honey and placed in a cage in the midday sun so he would be covered with wasps and gnats. His steadfastness then and later shamed the magistrates, who allowed him to survive and petitioned Julian to pardon him. Today he is considered a confessor (as he has been traditionally in Orthodox churches). An alternate version of his end has him being dragged through the streets by his hair, flogged, and turned over to the town's schoolboys, who stabbed him (perhaps to death) with their iron styluses.
Armogast, Archinimus, and Satyrus (d. after 460) are Catholic martyrs in Vandal Africa under king Geiseric. We know about them from Victor of Vita's Historia persecutionis Africanae provinciae. Armogast and Satyrus were royal officials, Armogast in the household of Geiseric and Satyrus in that of the king's oldest son, Huneric. The third martyr's name, according to Victor, was Mascula; he was head of a troupe of mimes and it is his occupation, archimimus, which underlies the name used in martyrologies. When Geiseric returned from his invasion of Italy in 457, he became more stringent against catholic Christians. Armogast was tortured with cords bound round his forehead and legs, compressing the flesh painfully. But he looked up to heaven, made the sign of the cross, and the cords broke like a spider's web. Then he was suspended by one foot, with his head downwards but again proved healthy. His master wished to cut off his head, but his hand was arrested by an Arian priest named Jucundus, who said, "If thou strikest off his head, the Romans will honour him as a martyr; therefore make him languish to death in other ways" so he was banished to the mines, then forced to tend cattle (the better to humiliate him publicly); Archinimes was reprieved only seconds before his execution; Saturus was stripped of his possessions and forced to live as a beggar. Florus of Lyon entered these saints under December 4; Ado moved them to today's date.
Gundleus/Gwynllyw and Gwladys (6th century) Legend tells that Gundleus was a Welsh chieftain. He wanted to marry a woman named Gwladys (Gladys), and when her father (St. Brychan) refused he carried her off and did so anyway. The two gleefully took to banditry - until their first child, St. Cadoc, convinced them to convert to a religious life. The two ended up as hermits.
Diemoda/Diemut, virgin (c1130) A friend of the celebrated recluse, Herluka of Epfach, she in turn lived as a solitary, in a cell adjoining an abbey church; she passed her time as a scribe: in the monastery library of Wessobrunn until its secularization, there were over fifty volumes copied by her.
Guillaume Tempier (d. 1197) The canon regular Guillaume was abbot of Saint-Hilaire at Poitiers before becoming that city's bishop in 1184. His resolute defense of the temporals of his diocese caused him to suffer severe harassment (described in a document of 1185 as persecution); in 1191, when he compelled homage from a lord who owed it to him, he was described as “Guillaume the strong". His cult seems to have been more or less immediate. In 1175, when he was still abbot, he laid the first stone of the then new church of the abbey of Sainte-Croix at today's Angles-sur-l'Anglin (Vienne). The abbey is gone but part of the church remains.
Berthold of Mount Carmel (d. earlier 13th cent.) Berthold was a native of Limoges (Lombardy) who studied in Paris and became a priest. He went crusading, and while in Antioch had a vision of Jesus, angry at the evildoing Christian soldiers. So he became a reformer, joining a group of western hermits who had settled on Mt. Carmel; his brother Aymeric (Latin patriarch of Jerusalem) soon appointed Berthold superior of the community. The sketch of Carmelite history known as the Letter of Cyril (first attested after 1378) makes him the first prior general. Fifteenth-century Carmelites viewed him as the fourth prior general. In recent centuries he was identified with the Calabrian priest and monk said by the late twelfth-century traveller Johannes Phocas to have established in c1177 a small monastic community in the ruins of an older monastery on the mountain. Berthold began to receive an official cultus in the later sixteenth century. No longer celebrated liturgically, he is commemorated on this day in the RM and (presumably) in the Carmelite Martyrology.
Ludolf of Ratzeburg (d. 1250) Ludolf was a Premonstratensian who in 1236 became bishop of Ratzeburg. He converted his cathedral chapter to Premonstratensian observance and also founded a Benedictine convent. His opposition to claims on diocesan property by Albert, duke of Lauenburg, proved inconvenient to the duke, who had him imprisoned for a lengthy period, and probably lethally for Ludolf, who is said to have been mistreated and who died at Wismar shortly after his release and banishment. The Premonstratensian abbey of St. Johann at Hamborn is said to have a relic of him. He was canonized in the 14th century.
We are all Dumbos, and life is full of Magic Feathers. To reject them makes our life thinner. – Allen (azlawyer)
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