medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
And St. Žorlįkr (Thorlac) of Skįlholt, Iceland, one of the last locally canonized saints in 1198.
'Porlak' of the translation of Vauchez is a misreading of the letter Ž. Described in his life as a
holy bishop, and immediately popular throughout Iceland (he was their first saint).
From: medieval-religion - Scholarly discussions of medieval religious culture on behalf of Terri Morgan
Sent: Wed 7/20/2011 03:16
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Subject: [M-R] Feasts and Saints of the Day: July 20
medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Today, July 20, is the feast of:
Arild (?) A virgin martyr of unknown date, martyred in Kingston-by-Thornbury (Gloucestershire). She's a classic account of a Christian virgin resisting the blandishments of a foul pagan tyrant, who then gets mad a kills her. After 1066, Arild's relics were moved to Gloucester Abbey, where her shrine was famous for its many miracles.
Marina / Margaret of Antioch (?) is known through her very legendary Greek Passio (extant in some form by 494), its Latin translations (witnesses from the eighth century onward), in which though initially also Marina she comes to be called Margaret (the name under which she commonly appears in the non-Greek West), and later texts depending upon these. Said to have been the daughter of a pagan priest at Pisidian Antioch and to have been raised as a Christian by her nurse after the early death of her mother, she was according to this legend tending her nurse's sheep outside of the city when during the Great Persecution she was observed by the Roman prefect Olybrius. The latter promptly fell in lust with her and attempted to make her his wife or at least his concubine; when she resolutely rebuffed his advances he put her to torture in various ways, she is miraculously healed after each one, and finally had her decapitated. In the Passio the devil participates in Marina's torments in the form of a large serpent that threatens to devour her; Marina rids herself of this peril by making the sign of the cross. In later versions of the legend the serpent becomes Leviathan and does swallow her, whereupon she makes the sign of the cross (or a cross that she is carrying grows greater), her monstrous tormentor is rent asunder, and she emerges from the belly of the beast. In the later Middle Ages this episode became the foundation of her widespread construction as a helper of pregnant women. In the European Middle Ages, if the weather had been good before, the harvest began on St. Margaret's day.
Like the also very legendary (and also very popular) St. Christopher, Marina remains in the RM despite suspicions that her existence has always been fictional. She is one of the 14 Holy Helpers. Her feast was suppressed in 1969.
A famous 12th-century poem ells of St. Margaret's loss of her mother Sarazine and the abandonment by her father Theodocius at an early age. It recounts how she was guarding her sheep one day when Olybrius, Roman prefect of Antioch, came riding past and fell in love with her. When she refused his advances, he had her thrown in prison, where she was swallowed by a dragon but escaped safely. Olybrius eventually had her beheaded for refusing to sacrifice to idols. At the end of the poem her father comes to collect her body which is then reassembled and buried by angels. The saint now performs similar miracles, the poem ends, for all who pray and believe her. The text was often included in Books of Hours from the thirteenth century onwards, but it also circulated as a separate text. The safe escape of St. Margaret from the dragon's belly was an obvious symbol of childbirth and so manuscripts of the text were made for use by women about to give birth. Margaret Paston, for example, refers to a St Margaret ring when she is pregnant.
Wilgefortis, Liberata, Liberatrix, Eutropia (Liturgies) / Uncumber (England) / Ohnkummer, Gehulf, Kummerniss (Germany) / Regenfledis, Onkommera (Flanders) / Livrade (France), (no date) - Quoth Butler: 'Her story is a curiosity of hagiology and is hardly worth including in a collection of lives of the saints but for the fact that it has the unenviable distinction of being one of the most obviously false and preposterous of the pseudo-pious romances by which simple Christians have been deceived or regaled'. Basically, she miraculously grew a beard and moustache as a way of avoiding marriage and remaining a virgin. Her name is derived from "virgo fortis". It has been suggested that the legend originated as an attempt to explain a representation of the crucifixion in which Jesus was wearing a tunic instead of a loincloth - some over-imaginative viewer thought it must be an image of a woman being crucified. She is no longer venerated. Apparently the cult originated in 14th-century Flanders.
"She was the daughter of a non-Christian king of Portugal; one of seven twin sisters. Her father desired to marry her to the king of Sicily, but [insert name here] had taken a vow of perpetual virginity. She therefore prayed, and a beard, moustache and whiskers, sprouting on her face overnight, indisposed the prince of Sicily to accept her hand. Her father, in a rage, had her crucified as well as all her brothers and sisters when he found that they'd all converted to Christianity."
Aaron (Orthodox Church) (c16th century bce) Brother of Moses and first Jewish high priest.
Elijah (also Orthodox) (9th century bce) The prophet. Although the Catholic Church does not usually think in terms of Old Testament saints, there is great veneration for the prophet Elijah among the Calced Carmelites.
For those who are unfamiliar with the distinction, the Calced Carmelites are the original Carmelites, tracing their origin to hermits found on Mount Carmel by the crusaders, who in turn claimed descent from the disciples of the prophet Elijah. The reformed or Discalced (barefoot) Carmelites were founded by St Teresa of Įvila and St John of the Cross. If you visit a house of Discalced Carmelites, you will very likely find pictures or statues of these two saints; but if you visit a Calced house, you will find a picture of the prophet Elijah; an easy way to know which kind of Carmelite you are dealing with, without needing to ask.
Joseph Barsabas (1st century) Joseph, called Barsabas, or the Son of Sabas, who received the surname of the Just, was one of the two persons chosen by the assembled Church as worthy to fill the placed from which Judas, by transgression, fell [Acts i.23]. The lot, however, fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the Twelve Apostles.
Frumentius of Ethiopia (d. after c357) We know about him from Rufinus of Aquileia's continuation of Eusebius and from St. Athanasius of Alexandria's Apologia ad Constantium. According to Rufinus, Frumentius and Edesius (Rufinus' source) were boys from Tyre who while traveling with their tutor on the Red Sea had landed on the eastern coast of Ethiopia and were there enslaved. They were brought to the royal court at Axum where they performed scribal and secretarial duties. When a new king (Ezana, Aeizanas, etc.) succeeded to the throne at an early age they were allowed to leave. Edesius returned to Tyre, while Frumentius, who had already been proselytizing among the Axumites, went to Alexandria, reported on his activities to bishop Athanasius, was consecrated bishop by the latter, and returned to Axum. We last hear of him in a letter from Constantius II to the rulers of Axum, preserved by Athanasius and asking that Frumentius be sent to Alexandria (whence Athansius had recently been driven into exile) to be coached in Arian doctrine which he would then impart to his flock. Later coins of king Ezana's reign display the cross and are thus thought to testify to Frumentius' missionary success.
Paphnutius the Buffalo (d. c400) One of the great desert saints, Paphnutius lived in a cell at Scetis (Egypt), never leaving except to attend mass. He figures prominently in John Cassian's Conferences.
Aurelius of Carthage (d. between the years 427-30) was a deacon at Carthage in 388 and had become its bishop by 391/92. Augustine was his friend and wrote very highly of Aurelius' charity and zeal. When he complained to Augustine that he had to deal with many degenerate monks who were simply lazy under the pretence of contemplation, Augustine wrote a treatise On the Work of Monks. Aurelius was a tireless opponent of the Donatists and of Pelagius and his adherents. The early sixth-century Calendar of Carthage gives today as the feast of his laying to rest.
Lucan / Lugano of Säben/Sabiona (d. earlier fifth century, traditionally) is a poorly documented early bishop of Säben/Sabiona, today's Klausen/Chiusa in the South Tirol. His cult seems to have to have been especially popular in the region in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, when new churches were dedicated to him at Passo di San Lugano, at Villapiccola near Auronzo, and at Belluno. Probably in 1307 Lucan's presumed relics were translated from his traditional resting place at Taibon to Belluno's cathedral.
Flavian (d. 512) and Elias (d. 518) Flavian was a Syrian monk, and became patriarch of Antioch in 498. Elias was an Arabian. He lived first as a monk in the desert west of the Nile and later in Palestine and was elected patriarch of Jerusalem in 494. Both were zealous opponents of monophysitism and both played a prominent role at the synod of Sidon in 512, called to denounce the Council of Chalcedon - instead, the council ended up siding with the pro-Chalcedonian Flavian and Elias. The emperor, Anastasius I, was not amused. Flavian spent the rest of his life exiled in Petra (Arabia). Elias was exiled to Aila on the Red Sea after he got into trouble by refusing communion to the new patriarch who was then intruded into Flavian's position.
Vulmar / Wulmer / Wulmar / Ulmar of Samer (d. late 7th/early 8th century) is the founder of the monastery of St-Vulmaire at Samer in Picardy. According to his Vita, he was born in Boulogne, had married a woman (Osterhilda) promised in her childhood to someone else, and was forced to give her up. He then entered religion at the monastery of Haumont in Hainault and later lived as a hermit in Flanders before founding on his own land the double monastery named for him. He was a noted miracle worker; his relics were at Mont-Blandin in Ghent until they were destroyed in the sixteenth century. His cult started immediately following his death.
Ansegis / Ansegisus (d. 833) was born in c788 and became a monk of Fontenelle. Charlemagne promoted him to several abbacies, and he became a royal advisor in the service of both Charlemagne and Louis the Pious. He was also a noted canonist, and wrote a collection of capitularies that became part of the imperial law code. His final office was as abbot of Fontenelle from 823 until his death. He made his monastery famous for its library and scriptorium. He compiled the Legiloquus liber - a collection in 4 books of Carolingian capitularies (often excerpted and abbreviated or truncated). His collection was often copied along w/the Capitularia of the pseudonymous Benedict the Levite. Numerous mss containing it can be found all over Europe.
Paul of St. Zoilus (d. 851) In a reenactment of early martyrdom stories, Paul was a deacon of Cordoba who ministered to Christians imprisoned by the Muslim authorities during the martyr movement. He was then beheaded.
Bernhard of Hildesheim (Blessed) (d. 1154) was a scion of Lower Saxon nobility. He had been master of Hildesheim's cathedral school and prior of its cathedral before bishop in 1130. He is credited with persuading Innocent II to canonize St. Godehard of Hildesheim and starting in 1133 he built Hildesheim's basilica dedicated to that saint. Bernard became blind some ten years before his death but continued for the first nine of these to serve as bishop.
Girolami Miani / Jerome Emiliani, founder of the Somaschi (1537) - when imprisoned after fighting in the mountains near Treviso, this soldier gave up his worldly ways, escaped from prison, and devoted the rest of his life to helping teach children; in fact, some claim he was the first to introduce the practice of teaching Christian doctrine to children by means of a set catechism drawn up in the form of questions and answers.
Gregory Lopez (d. 1596) Not an "official" saint, although efforts to canonize him began in 1752 and his cult is very popular in Mexico. He was a page at the court of Philip II. But in 1562 he went to Mexico, where he became a hermit, living among the natives in the area of modern Mexico City.
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad. - Anon
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