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MEDIEVAL-RELIGION  March 2011

MEDIEVAL-RELIGION March 2011

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Subject:

Feasts and Saints of the day - March 7

From:

Terri Morgan <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

medieval-religion - Scholarly discussions of medieval religious culture <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 6 Mar 2011 23:59:35 -0500

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text/plain

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medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

Today, March 7, is the feast day of:

Perpetua and Felicity (d. 203 ?) Perpetua and Felicity, those now famous
martyrs of Roman Africa, have an early dossier consisting of 1) a Passio
that exists in Latin and in Greek versions (BHL 6633; BHG 1482) whose
relation one to another is still a little controversial and 2) a = separate
set of Acta that exist in Latin only but in two versions of which the =
first has multiple forms: the A-Acta (form 1: BHL 6634; form 2: BHL 6635)
and = the B-Acta (BHL 6636). Neither the Passio nor the briefer Acta are
precisely dated, though the Passio, at least, is of the third century.
   Because the Passio is longer and, for a variety of reasons, more
interesting than the Acta, scholars have tended to act as though it were =
for historical purposes the primary text, more reliable than the Acta in =
cases of disagreement but capable of supplementation from that source when
it itself is silent. Thus modern summaries of the events in question follow
= the Passio in assigning the martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicity to the
early third century, late in the reign of Septimius Severus, and sometimes
do = not even bother to mention that the Acta instead place these events
under Valerian and Gallienus in the middle of that century. On the other
hand, they are perfectly willing to accept from the Acta the datum that the
= town - unnamed in the Passio - in which Perpetua, Felicity, and the others
= arrested with them was Thuburbo Minus (in the view of some, "Thuburbo" -
both = Maius and Minus - should really be spelled "Thuburdo").
   Be that as it may, it would appear from these texts that Perpetua and
Felicity and several male companions were executed in the amphitheatre = of
an unnamed city (presumed to be Carthage) where they were thrown to beasts =
and the survivors were finished off by the sword. The Passio highlights =
Perpetua by including and by placing in a prominent position what would seem
to = be an authentic and fairly lengthy first-person narrative of her
travails and = and visions.  From Perpetua's narrative it is clear that she
is is = relatively well born (probably of the decurial class). Perpetua
never mentions Felicity, who is both a slave and pregnant until just before
her = martyrdom, which latter in the Passio is recounted by the nameless
"editor" who = frames accounts by two of the victims within other matter of
his own = composition.
   These texts constitute perhaps the first instance of a martyr = narration
focusing on one or more victims who are women (Blandina of Lyon's =
martyrdom is earlier but the letter describing it preserved by Eusebius
could be = later than Perpetua and Felicity's Passio and Acta). And its
first-person = account by a woman victim is extraordinary.
   By the 430s, relics said to be those of Perpetua and Felicity were
venerated at Carthage's great Basilica Maiorum.  We have commemorative
sermons on them from St. Augustine, from an unnamed bishop of Carthage = in
the early fifth century, and from St. Quodvultdeus. Though their Passio
survives in only a very few medieval copies, their Acta were extremely
popular. Jacopo da Varazze's account in the Legenda aurea is based upon =
one of the Acta-texts. Hence in bishop Jacopo's telling Perpetua and =
Felicity face not the mad cow of the Passio but, instead and separately, a
lion
(Perpetua) and a leopard (Felicity).
   Herewith the originally sixth-century portraits of Perpetua and =
Felicity in the soffit of the triumphal arch of the Basilica Eufrasiana at =
Pore=E8
(Parenzo) in Croatia, restored during the period 1890-1900:
      Perpetua: http://nickerson.icomos.org/porec/u/ul.jpg
      Felicity: http://nickerson.icomos.org/porec/u/ub.jpg
   Expandable views of a late fourteenth-century portrait of Perpetua = and
Felicity and of an early fifteenth-century portrait of Felicity, both = from
illuminated French liturgical books, are here: http://tinyurl.com/ywhttb

Satyrus, Saturninus, Revocatus, and Secundinus (d. 203?).  Satyrus,
Saturninus, the slave Revocatus, and Secundinus  (the last also =
transmitted as Secundulus) were companions in martyrdom of Perpetua and
Felicity.
Satyrus, the group's cathechist, was the first to be arrested; his
comforting vision of their reception in heaven is a noteworthy part of = the
Passio of Perpetua and  Felicity. He, Saturninus, and Revocatus survived
exposure to beasts and were decapitated. We are not informed as to
Secundinus' end.  It is usually inferred from this silence that he died = in
prison. =20

Paul the Simple (d. c339) The Desert Father Paul is said to have been a
small farmer or herdsman who at age 60, after observing his wife commit
adultery abandoned his former life and wandered into the desert. After a
while he met St. Anthony of Egypt and through a combination of = persistence
and absolute obedience was accepted by the latter as Anthony's disciple. =
He ultimately attained such a degree of perfection that he was blessed with
visions and with the power of thaumaturgy.=20
  Stories about Paul treat him as extraordinarily literal-minded and as
capable of other foolish behaviors that are used to highlight spiritual
lessons.  In some respects, then, he is an early monastic version of the
Franciscans' Brother Juniper.  Some stories:=20
   Antony sensed that he was a simple sort of man, and told him that if = he
would abide by the instructions that he would give him he would be = saved.
He replied that he would do whatever he was asked. To test this promise =
Antony said to him as he stood outside the door of his cell: "Wait here and
= pray until I come back again". He then went inside and stayed there for a
day = and a night, from time to time watching Paul secretly through the
window.  = He saw that Paul prayed without ceasing, never moving at all,
just standing there in the heat of the day and the dew of the night, so
intent on what = he had been told that he did not move from the spot in the
slightest = degree.
When Antony came out the next day he took him in and began to teach him
about each sort of manual work customary in solitude. Work with the = hands
took care of the needs of the body, while the thoughts of the heart and =
the intention of the mind made room for what came from God. He told him to =
take food in the evening, but warned him never to satisfy his hunger =
completely, and to be particularly sparing in what he drank, for mental
fantasies = were encouraged just as much by too much water as bodily heat by
too much = wine.
And when he had fully instructed him how to conduct himself properly in =
all things he built a cell for him not far away, that is, at a distance of =
three miles, where he ordered him to carry on doing what he learned. He =
visited him from time to time, and was delighted to see that he was keeping
a = firm grasp on what he had been taught, persevering wholeheartedly in his
solitude.
   One day some senior brothers came to visit the holy Antony, men very
advanced in spirituality, and Paul happened to be visiting at the same =
time.
There was a long conversation on deep and mystical subjects, and much
discussion about the Prophets and the Saviour. "Did Christ come before = the
Prophets?" asked Paul out of the simplicity of his heart. Antony was =
rather embarrassed for him for asking such a stupid question. "Get away with
= you, say no more," he said, in the indulgent sort of tone of voice
reserved = for idiots. But Paul believed that everything Antony told him to
do was as = it were a command from God, and obeyed immediately. He went back
to his = cell and accepted this command and began to keep absolute silence,
allowing = not a word to pass his lips. When Antony realised this he
wondered why he was behaving like this, for he was quite unaware that he had
given Paul any command. He ordered him to speak, and tell him why he was
keeping = silent.
"You, father," said Paul, "told me to get away and say no more."
Antony was amazed that Paul was taking literally the words which he had
quite carelessly said "This man puts us all to shame," he said. "For we =
fail to hear what is spoken to us from heaven, whereas he observes whatever
= comes out of our mouth."
   Antony was determined to teach him a great deal about obedience, and =
was accustomed to give orders which seemed quite unreasonable and =
purposeless, in order to train his mind in the habit of obedience. He told
him once = to draw water from the well and pour it out on the ground, he
told him to unravel baskets and then weave them together again, to tear his
garment apart then sew it up again, then take it apart again. In all such =
practices, Antony bears witness that he remained totally receptive. He
learned not = to contradict in any of those unreasonable things that he was
commanded to = do, and so he was brought on by all these things and soon
arrived at a state = of perfection.
   Because of the abundance of his gifts, many people came from all = parts
to be cured by him. Antony feared that the attentions of such a large crowd
would overwhelm him, so he sent him deeper into the desert where it was =
not so easy for anyone to get to him, and Antony would thus be more able to
= deal with visitors. But if Antony himself could not cure anyone he would
then send him or her to Paul as being more abundantly supplied with healing
gifts. And Paul cured them.
   The simplicity of his faithfulness was great in the eyes of the Lord.
They say that once someone suffering from rabies was biting like a dog
everyone who was trying to come and see Paul. He was brought to Paul, = who
persisted in prayer that the demon troubling him should be put to = flight.
And after a while, when there did not seem to be anything happening, he = is
said to have cried out indignantly, like a small child, to the Lord: "If =
you don't cure him, I am not going to get anything to eat today!" And
immediately God granted him his request, as if he were a favourite = child.
The rabies was instantly cured.
   Paul (at right, going off into the wilderness; his wife and her lover =
at
left) as depicted in an earlier fourteenth-century (1326-1350) copy of a
French-language collection of saint's lives (Paris, BnF, ms. Fran=E7ais =
185, fol. 177v): http://tinyurl.com/yl9uofv

Drausius of Soissons (d. c576/674) Drausius was bishop of Soissons. He
strongly encouraged the monastic life in his diocese, even getting the
tyrannous Ebroin to build a convent near the city. Ebroin's usual style =
was pillaging monasteries and killing off bishops who disagreed with him. =
For this reason Drausius is invoked for help against the plots of enemies. =
It was believed that those who spent a night in intercession at the tomb of
Drausius would become invulnerable against all hostile machinations. In
1166, John of Salisbury reported that Robert de Montfort spent the night =
at the shrine in prayer before his encounter with Henry, Earl of Essex and
Thomas Becket is supposed to have visited his shrine before his final =
return to England.=20

Thomas Aquinas (d. 1274) This is the anniversary of Thomas' death. From =
his canonization in 1323 until the revision of the Roman calendar =
promulgated in 1969, today was his feast day in the Roman church. (It was
changed
modernly.) "His science, says Rainald, was not acquired by natural = talent,
but by the revelation and the infusion of the Holy Ghost, for he never = set
himself to write without having first prayed and wept. When he was in =
doubt, he had recourse to prayer, and with tears he returned, instructed and
enlightened in his uncertainty."

Jermyn (German) Gardiner (d. 1544) Jermyn was the secretary of Bishop
Stephen Gardiner of Winchester. He refused to swear the Oath of = Supremacy
(making Henry VIII Supreme Head of the Church in England) and was hanged =
at Tyburn.
=09
=09
happy reading,
Terri Morgan
--
"Nobility depends not on parentage or place of birth, but on breadth of
compassion and depth of loving kindness. If we would be noble, let us be
great-hearted."  - anon.   [log in to unmask]

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