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MEDIEVAL-RELIGION  July 2016

MEDIEVAL-RELIGION July 2016

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Subject:

FEAST - Two Saints for the Day (July 28): Sts. Nazarius and Celsus

From:

John Dillon <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Thu, 28 Jul 2016 07:17:45 +0000

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medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture 
 
Nazarius and Celsus are the names given to two persons whose remains were discovered by St. Ambrose of Milan outside of that city shortly after the death of the emperor Theodosius I, whose passing on 17. January 395 is therefore a reasonable _terminus ante_ for their lifetimes; legendarily, they died under Nero (d. 68; persecution began in 64).  Ambrose proclaimed them as martyrs.  Our sole source for this Invention, Ambrose's biographer Paulinus of Milan, says that Nazarius' body was so incorrupt at the time of its discovery that it appeared as though it had just been prepared for burial (a sceptic, then, could argue that Nazarius might even have outlived Theodosius).  Nazarius was translated to the basilica of the Apostles in Milan (later re-named in his honor and now Milan's San Nazaro in Brolo).  Celsus, whose Inventio followed shortly upon that of Nazarius, stayed in his nearby grave; in the tenth century a monastery dedicated to him was founded at the site.  Ambrose is known to have sent a relic of Nazarius to St. Paulinus of Nola.  To judge from attested late antique dedications, other relics of this saint traveled widely within the Christian world. 
 
According to Paulinus of Milan it had proved impossible to determine when Nazarius and Celsus had been martyred or indeed anything at all about their lives.  Finding such a deplorable state of ignorance unsatisfactory, someone in about the middle of the fifth century provided them with a legendary Passio that subsequently took numerous forms both in Latin (BHL 6039-6050) and in Greek (BHG 1323-1324).  In Bl. Jacopo da Varazze's widely read account (BHL 6049), Nazarius was the son at Rome of an observant Jew and of a high-born Roman woman who had embraced Christianity.  Baptized by St. Linus, he evangelized in northern Italy and at Milan met Sts. Gervasius and Protasius.  He next journeyed to Trier, having acquired at Cimiez the youth Celsus as his companion.  The two were arrested in Trier, were brought before the emperor Nero, and were placed in prison.  Acting as agents of divine retribution, wild animals rampaged through Nero's orchard, killing some of its workers, wounding Nero in the foot, and forcing him to flee to his palace.  Nero then had Nazarius and Celsus beaten and brought before him.  After Nazarius' subsequent destruction of an idol, Nero ordered his and Celsus' drowning at sea.  When they were saved through a miracle of walking on calm water while the ship from which they had been thrown was subjected to a violent storm, Nero's frightened minions repented and brought the two back on board.  Nazarius and Celsus calmed the storm and arrived in Genoa, where Nazarius preached before both went on to Milan.  Celsus remained there while Nazarius went to Rome to see his father, who, prompted by a vision of St. Peter, was now Christian.  Nazarius returned to Milan; he and Celsus were martyred there outside the Porta Romana.  Jacopo's version concludes with their finding by Ambrose and with the healing miracles that followed. 
 
Nazarius and Celsus are named in the Ambrosian Canon of the Mass.  In the Ambrosian Rite today (28. July) is their feast day.  This is also their feast day in Roman-rite churches of the archdiocese of Milan and their day of commemoration in the Roman Martyrology.  In churches using the Byzantine Rite they are celebrated together with Sts. Gervasius and Protasius on 14. October, just as they were in the originally tenth-century Synaxary of Constantinople and in the also tenth-century Metaphrastic Menologion. 
 
 
Some period-pertinent images of Sts. Nazarius and Celsus: 
 
a) Nazarius and Celsus as depicted in remounted tenth- or eleventh-century frescoes, from the former sacello dei Santi Nazzaro e Celso in Verona, in that city's Museo degli Affreschi di Verona: 
http://tinyurl.com/zxlfzay 
Detail view (Celsus): 
http://www.veja.it/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/celsus-celsiu.1024.jpg 
 
b) Nazarius and Celsus as depicted (Nazarius at center, Celsus at far left; martyrdom; the two already slain are Gervasius and Protasius) as depicted in the late tenth- or very early eleventh-century so-called Menologion of Basil II (Città del Vaticano, BAV, cod. Vat. gr. 1613, p. 114): 
http://tinyurl.com/nbxe7at 
 
c) Nazarius and Celsus as depicted (martyrdom) in a late thirteenth-century copy of French origin of the _Legenda aurea_ (San Marino, CA, Huntington Library, ms. HM 3027, fol. 86r): 
http://tinyurl.com/27p35bt 
 
d) Nazarius as depicted (martydom) in an earlier fourteenth-century copy of the _Legenda aurea_ in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (ca. 1326-1350; Paris, BnF, ms. Français 185, fol. 235v): 
http://tinyurl.com/2ahlfhw 
 
e) Nazarius and Celsus as twice depicted in an earlier fourteenth-century copy of Vincent of Beauvais' _Speculum historiale_ in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (ca. 1335; Paris, BnF, ms. Arsenal 5080, fols. 79r and 79v, respectively): 
1) in the panel at left, before the emperor Nero (fol. 79r; the panels at center and at right depict Nero's punishment by an onslaught of wild animals): 
http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b55000813g/f163.item.zoom 
2) martyrdom (fol. 79v): 
http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b55000813g/f164.item.zoom 
 
f) Nazarius and Celsus as depicted in the earlier fourteenth-century frescoes (betw. 1335 and 1350) of the nave in the church of the Holy Ascension at the Visoki Dečani monastery near Peć in, depending on one's view of the matter, either the Republic of Kosovo or Serbia's province of Kosovo and Metohija: 
Nazarius: 
http://tinyurl.com/24c6amw 
Celsus: 
http://tinyurl.com/27qn2cg 
 
g) Nazarius and Celsus as depicted (martyrdom, along with that of Sts. Gervasius and Protasius) in an October calendar composition in the earlier fourteenth-century frescoes (betw. 1335 and 1350) of the narthex in the church of the Holy Ascension at the Visoki Dečani monastery near Peć in, depending on one's view of the matter, either the Republic of Kosovo or Serbia's province of Kosovo and Metohija: 
http://tinyurl.com/yedgwfv 
 
h) Nazarius as depicted (being baptized by St. Linus) in a mid-fourteenth-century copy, from the workshop of Richard and Jeanne de Montbaston, of the _Legenda aurea_ in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (1348; Paris, BnF, ms. Français 241, fol. 177r): 
http://tinyurl.com/mpav34 
 
i) as depicted (in the panel at left, before the emperor Nero; the panel at right depicts Nero's punishment by an onslaught of wild animals) in a later fourteenth-century copy of part of Vincent of Beauvais' _Speculum historiale_ in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (ca. 1370-1380; Paris, BnF, ms. Nouvelle acquisition française 15940, fol. 166r): 
http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b8449693p/f304.item.zoom 
 
j) Nazarius and Celsus as depicted as in the late fourteenth-century frescoes (later 1380s?) of the church of the Holy Ascension at the Ravanica monastery near Ćuprija in central Serbia: 
Nazarius: 
http://tinyurl.com/25eohaa 
Celsus: 
http://tinyurl.com/2bbye47 
 
k) Nazarius as depicted (at right, preaching) in a late fourteenth- or early fifteenth-century copy of the _Legenda aurea_ in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (Rennes, Bibliothèque de Rennes Métropole, ms. 266, fol. 184v): 
http://tinyurl.com/zbcw5t8 
 
l) Nazarius and Celsus as depicted (Nazarius twice) in an earlier fifteenth-century copy of the _Legenda aurea_ in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay followed by the _Festes nouvelles_ attributed to Jean Golein (ca. 1401-1425; Paris, BnF, ms. Français 242, fols. 144r): 
1) Nazarius, preaching (fol. 152r): 
http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b8426005j/f319.item.zoom 
2) Nazarius and Celsus, martyrdom (fol. 307r): 
http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b8426005j/f631.item.zoom 
 
m) Nazarius and Celsus as depicted (martyrdom) in an early fifteenth-century copy of the _Elsässische Legenda aurea_ (1419; Heidelberg, Universitätsbibliothek, Cod. Pal. germ. 144, fol. 38r): 
http://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/cpg144/0091 
 
n) Nazarius and Celsus as depicted in the earlier fifteenth-century Breviary of Marie de Savoie (ca. 1430; Chambéry, Bibliothèque municipale, ms. 4, fol. 546r): 
http://www.culture.gouv.fr/Wave/savimage/enlumine/irht1/IRHT_035672-p.jpg 
 
o) Nazarius as depicted (martyrdom) by the court workshop of Frederick III in a mid-fifteenth-century copy of the _Legenda aurea_ (1446-1447; Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, cod. 326, fol. 140v): 
http://tarvos.imareal.oeaw.ac.at/server/images/7006859.JPG 
 
p) Nazarius (with a donor) and Celsus as depicted by Giovanni de Campo in the later fifteenth-century apse frescoes (1461) in the chiesa dei Santi Nazzaro e Celso at Sologno, a _frazione_ of Caltignaga (NO) in Piedmont: 
Nazarius: 
http://tinyurl.com/3alvev4 
Celsus: 
http://tinyurl.com/38wgtce 
 
q) Nazarius as depicted (at left; at right, St. Bernardino of Siena) by associates of Giovanni de Campo in a later fifteenth-century fresco (ca. 1461) in the chiesa dei Santi Nazzaro e Celso at Sologno, a _frazione_ of Caltignaga (NO) in Piedmont : 
http://tinyurl.com/36qnwj5 
 
r) Nazarius as depicted (on horseback as depicted) in a late fifteenth-century fresco (1480) in the abbazia dei Santi Nazario e Celso at San Nazzaro Sesia (NO) in Piedmont: 
http://tinyurl.com/2crtbfz 
 
s) Nazarius and Celsus as depicted (walking on the sea) in a late fifteenth-century Roman breviary (after 1482; Clermont-Ferrand, Bibliothèque du patrimoine, ms. 69, fol. 486r): 
http://www.culture.gouv.fr/Wave/savimage/enlumine/irht4/IRHT_081347-p.jpg 
 
t) Nazarius and Celsus as twice depicted by Paolo da Caylina the Younger in earlier sixteenth-century paintings (?ca. 1518-1520 or ?ca. 1528-1530) on a pair of organ shutters in Brescia's chiesa dei Santi Nazaro e Celso: 
1) their beating: 
http://tinyurl.com/htw2paw 
2: their martyrdom: 
http://tinyurl.com/zxq2lmq 
 
Best, 
John Dillon 
 
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