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MEDIEVAL-RELIGION  June 2016

MEDIEVAL-RELIGION June 2016

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Subject:

FEAST - A Saint for the Day (June 12): St. Onuphrius the Great

From:

John Dillon <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Sun, 12 Jun 2016 08:00:58 +0000

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medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture 
 
Later accretions apart, what has traditionally been believed about the Egyptian hermit Onuphrius (d. 4th cent., seemingly; Onouphrios, Onnofrius, Eunufrius, Nofer, Nofrio, Onofre, Humphrey, etc.) comes solely from his Bios (BHG 1378, 1379, etc.) by a Paphnutius traditionally thought to be St. Paphnutius the Ascetic. 
 
Paphnutius claims to have encountered Onophrius in the desert and to have heard from him a relation of his life prior to their meeting. This account, furnished in response to questions from Paphnutius, makes Onuphrius a monk from a very severe monastery near Egyptian Thebes who was moved to imitate the life of St. John the Baptist in the wilderness and who, enduring many temptations, had lived to old age as a solitary, covering his body only with his own hair plus a wrapping of leaves sewn together about his loins. An angel furnished him daily with modest food and with a measure of water; once a month a date palm at his hermitage vouchsafed a fruit which he would consume together with locally gathered herbs. Once a week he received the Eucharist from an angel. According to Onuphrius, such heavenly support was made available to all self-denying solitaries in the desert and the desire for human company was satisfied through the joy of celestial visions. In Paphnutius' presence an evening meal appeared miraculously before them. On the following day Paphnutius learned from Onuphrius that he had been divinely appointed to bury the saint, now on the point of death. Once Onuphrius had died, Paphnutius laid him to rest in a rocky cleft and the hermitage and the palm tree both collapsed. Thus far the Bios. 
 
Paphnutius' Bios of Onuphrius is clearly an exemplary tale of spiritual development and the abandonment of worldly concerns. Whether its subject ever had an actual existence and whether there had been oral tradition about him prior to Paphnutius are unknown. The Bios was translated into many tongues, with Onuphrius becoming a very popular saint in parts of the West as well as in the East. In time his legend acquired details transferred from St. Jerome's Vita of St. Paul the Hermit (Paul of Thebes), e.g. the arrival of two lions to dig the saint's grave. 
 
In the originally tenth-century Synaxary of Constantinople Onuphrius has the first entry under today.  12 June is also his feast day in modern Byzantine-rite churches and his day of commemoration in the Roman Martyrology. 
 
 
Some period-pertinent images of St. Onuphrius the Great: 
 
a) as depicted (at far left, followed by Sts. Thomas the Apostle and Basil the Great) in the eleventh-century frescoes of the Yılanlı Kilise (Church of the Serpent) at Göreme in Turkey's Nevşehir province: 
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3183/2415718490_e8ed566c40_b.jpg 
http://romeonrome.com/files/2007/07/20.StOnofrio.jpg 
 
b) as depicted in a worn eleventh-century fresco in the cathedral of St. Sophia in Kyiv: 
http://tinyurl.com/qg6avjz 
 
c) as depicted (at far left) as depicted in a probably eleventh-century fresco in the Grotta dei Santi in Pignataro Maggiore (CE) near Calvi Risorta (CE) in northern Campania: 
https://www.flickr.com/photos/14747125@N08/8402336041 
Detail view (Onuphrius): 
http://www.cattedrale-calvirisorta.com/imgrSanti/27.jpg 
 
d) as depicted in the late twelfth-century mosaics of the cattedrale di Santa Maria Nuova in Monreale: 
http://tinyurl.com/3bfdomj 
 
e) as depicted (at right; at left, St. Margaret of Antioch) in a late twelfth-century fresco (not long after ca. 1180) in the rupestrian chiesa di Santa Maria in Grotta in Rongolise, a _frazione_ of Sessa Aurunca (CE) in northern Campania (view greatly expandable): 
https://www.flickr.com/photos/14747125@N08/7986394314 
 
f) as depicted (receiving communion from heaven) in the late twelfth-century frescoes (1192; cleaned and restored, late 1960s and early 1970s) in the church of the Panagia tou Arakou at Lagoudera (Nicosia prefecture) in the Republic of Cyprus: 
http://tinyurl.com/o37wwo4 
 
g) as depicted (second from left) in a late twelfth- or early thirteenth-century fresco in the bema of the Palaia Enkleistra ("Old Hermitage") in the St. Neophytus monastery near Tala (Paphos prefecture) in the Republic of Cyprus: 
http://tinyurl.com/7ncsx62 
 
h) as depicted (at right) as depicted in the earlier thirteenth-century frescoes (1230s) in the narthex of the church of the Holy Ascension in the Mileševa monastery near Prijepolje (Zlatibor dist.) in Serbia: 
http://www.srpskoblago.org/Archives/Mileseva/Details/w2-s1s2/large/l1-2.jpg 
Detail view (Onuphrius): 
http://www.srpskoblago.org/Archives/Mileseva/Details/w2-s1s2/large/l1-1-7.jpg 
 
i) as depicted in a probably earlier thirteenth-century fresco in the abbey church of Santa Maria delle (or di) Cerrate in Squinzano (LE) in southern Apulia: 
http://tinyurl.com/7h2qe7n 
 
j) as depicted (at rear, lower left, next to St. Christopher of Lycia) as depicted in a later thirteenth-century fresco (ca. 1264) on the interior of the west wall of the oratorio di San Pellegrino in Bominaco, a locality of Caporciano (AQ) in Abruzzo (image greatly expandable): 
http://tinyurl.com/ofl39ac 
Detail view (Onuphrius): 
http://tinyurl.com/q6bplod 
 
k) as depicted in a later thirteenth-century fresco (1271) in the monastery church of St. Nicholas at Manastir (Prilep municipality) in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: 
http://tinyurl.com/orumrbh 
 
l) as depicted by the Oropa Master in an earlier fourteenth-century vault fresco in the old basilica of the santuario di Oropa in Oropa, a _frazione_ of Biella: 
http://www.stilearte.it/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/foto-2-onofrio.jpg 
 
m) as depicted (panel at lower right) in an earlier fourteenth-century pictorial menologion from Thessaloniki (betw. 1322 and 1340; Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Gr. th. f. 1, fol. 43r): 
http://image.ox.ac.uk/images/bodleian/msgrthf1/43r.jpg 
 
n) as depicted (receiving communion from heaven) in the earlier fourteenth-century frescoes (1330s) in the nave of the church of the Hodegetria in the Patriarchate of Peć at Peć in, depending on one's view of the matter, either Serbia's province of Kosovo and Metohija or the Republic of Kosovo: 
http://tinyurl.com/ybfj8gk 
 
o) as depicted (second from left) by Puccio di Simone in a probably mid-fourteenth-century polyptych of the Madonna and saints (ca. 1346-1358) in the Galleria dell'Accademia in Florence: 
http://tinyurl.com/q3cp9ro 
 
p) as depicted (scenes) by the Grupo de Iravals in a later fourteenth-century detached predella in the museum of the catedral basílica metropolitana de Barcelona (which latter prefers to call this object a frontal): 
https://www.flickr.com/photos/monestirspuntcat/4888604966/ 
Detail view (receiving communion from heaven): 
http://tinyurl.com/hco57bn 
 
q) as depicted (at far left) by Giovanni Bonsi in his late fourteenth-century Polyptych of the Madonna, Christ Child, and Four Saints (1371) in the Pinacoteca Vaticana: 
http://images.zeno.org/Kunstwerke/I/big/77j066a.jpg 
 
r) as depicted in the later fourteenth-century frescoes (either betw. 1371 and 1389 or ca. 1397-1398; cleaned and conserved, 1960) on the north wall of the church of the Presentation of the Theotokos in the Nova Pavlica monastery in Pavlica (Raška dist.) in Serbia: 
http://tinyurl.com/2cd9m5d 
 
s) as depicted in a later fourteenth-century fresco (ca. 1372) in the church of St. Michael the Archangel in the Varoš monastery in Prilep in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: 
http://tinyurl.com/q3x3yn6 
 
t) as depicted (at left; at right, St. Ephraem the Syrian) in the late fourteenth-century frescoes (1389; restored in 1971 and 1972) of the monastery church of St. Andrew at Matka in the Karpoš municipality (part of Skopje) in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: 
http://tinyurl.com/hqbwyjp 
 
u) as depicted in the late fourteenth-century frescoes (1390s) of the monastery church of St. Nicholas at Ramaća, a locality of Stragari (Šumadija dist.) in central Serbia: 
http://www.monumentaserbica.com/mushushu/images/78.jpg 
 
v) as depicted (at left; at right, St. Mary Magdalene) by the Master of the Beffi Triptych in an earlier fourteenth-century panel painting (ca. 1420-1440) in the Museo Civico in Sulmona (AQ) in Abruzzo: 
http://foto.inabruzzo.it/provincia%20l'Aquila/R-Z/Sulmona%20museo%20civico/image16.html 
Detail view (Onuphrius): 
http://foto.inabruzzo.it/provincia%20l'Aquila/R-Z/Sulmona%20museo%20civico/image59.html 
 
w) as depicted (at far right) by Beato Angelico in his earlier fifteenth-century Compagnia di San Francesco Altarpiece (ca. 1429) in Florence's Museo Nazionale di San Marco: 
http://www.wga.hu/art/a/angelico/12/01compag.jpg 
 
x) as depicted (receiving communion from heaven) in a fifteenth-century fresco in the chiesa di Santa Maria Maggiore in Assisi: 
https://casalvecchioedintorni.files.wordpress.com/2008/09/sany0508.jpg 
 
y) as depicted in a fifteenth-century fresco in the baptistery adjoining the basilica di San Pietro at Agliate (MI) in Lombardy: 
Ca. 1988-1990: 
http://www.mondimedievali.net/edifici/lombardia/agliate13.jpg 
More recently (after cleaning): 
http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/VljiWlGITk6RMaKO-pnMDQ 
 
z) as depicted (receiving communion from heaven) by a fifteenth-century Umbrian master working in the upper church of the monastero (del Sacro Speco) di San Benedetto in Subiaco (RO) in Lazio: 
http://tinyurl.com/omc24ge 
 
aa) as depicted in a fifteenth-century fresco in the rupestrian chiesa di Santa Croce ai Lagnoni in Andria (BT) in northern Apulia: 
http://andriarte.it/SantaCroce/immagini/transettodx-SantOnofrio-CD.jpg 
 
bb) as depicted (earthly burial and his soul's ascent to Heaven) in a fifteenth-century fresco in the lower church of the eremo di Sant'Onofrio in La Costa, a rural _frazione_ of Spoleto: 
http://tinyurl.com/qjdt7xx 
Detail views: 
http://tinyurl.com/q2kbuw5 
http://tinyurl.com/ndbsy7b 
 
cc) as depicted in three further fifteenth-century images in the lower church of the eremo di Sant'Onofrio in La Costa, a rural _frazione_ of Spoleto: 
1) receiving communion from heaven: 
http://tinyurl.com/p9a7hz8  
2) full-length image: 
http://tinyurl.com/nkgec45 
3) full-length image (detail view): 
http://tinyurl.com/ntpz7g8 
 
dd) as depicted (at far left, with St. Jerome, the BVM, and Christ on the Cross) in a later fifteenth-century fresco in the upper church of the eremo di Sant'Onofrio in La Costa, a rural _frazione_ of Spoleto: 
http://tinyurl.com/pdagdb6 
 
ee) as depicted (receiving communion from heaven) in a later fifteenth-century glass window in the Kapelle der Ravensburger Handelsgesellschaft in the Evangelische Stadtkirche in Ravensburg (Land Baden-Württemberg): 
http://tinyurl.com/orejmum 
 
ff) as depicted (receiving communion from heaven) by the Master of the Darmstadt Passion in a later fifteenth-century panel painting (ca. 1460) in the Kunsthaus Zürich: 
http://tinyurl.com/o49e7kg 
 
gg) as depicted (receiving communion from heaven) in a hand-painted later fifteenth-century woodcut from Augsburg (ca. 1460-1470) in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York: 
http://www.metmuseum.org/collection/the-collection-online/search/337952 
 
hh) as depicted (at right) in a later fifteenth-century fresco (1478) in the chiesa di Santa Brigida at Santa Brigida (BG) in Lombardy's Valle Brembana: 
http://www.valbrembanaweb.com/santa-brigida/images/religione-affreschi-interni.jpg 
Detail views: 
http://www.centromusicaantica.it/images/292_S-ONOFRIO-7.jpg 
http://www.duepassinelmistero.com/B-06.jpg 
 
ii) as depicted in a panel from a late fifteenth-century glass window (1481) designed by Bartolomeo Caporali for the then newly commissioned cappella di Sant'Onofrio in the cathedral of Perugia and now in the Tesoro del Sacro Convento at Assisi: 
http://tinyurl.com/75czs62 
An expandable black-and-white composite view of the entire window: 
http://tinyurl.com/nrksbxh 
 
jj) as depicted (at lower left) by Luca Signorelli in his late fifteenth-century Sant'Onofrio Altarpiece (1484) created for the cappella di Sant'Onofrio in Perugia's cathedral and now in the Museo Capitolare di San Lorenzo in Perugia: 
http://tinyurl.com/m75v3u 
 
kk) as depicted (at left) by Bartolomeo Montagna in his late fifteenth-century Madonna under a Pergola with St. John the Baptist and St. Onuphrius (1488-1489; a panel painting remounted on canvas) in Vicenza's Pinacoteca Civica: 
http://tinyurl.com/o45llb8 
 
ll) as depicted by Carlo Crivelli in a detached predella panel (1493; from his late fifteenth-century Altarpiece of San Francesco in Fabriano) in the Museo nazionale di Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome: 
http://tinyurl.com/q6dfsw6 
 
mm) as portrayed in a late fifteenth- or very early sixteenth-century polychrome and gilt wooden statue by Giovanni Zabellana sold at auction in March 2007 by San Marco Casa d'Aste: 
http://www.artvalue.com/image.aspx?PHOTO_ID=1514124 
 
nn) as portrayed by Alejo de Vahía in a late fifteenth- or early sixteenth-century polychromed wooden statue in the Museo Nacional de Escultura in Valladolid: 
http://tinyurl.com/zssbaco 
https://www.flickr.com/photos/iabcs-elperdido/8702961331 
Detail views: 
https://parnasodelsoneto.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/276-14-san-onofre.jpg 
http://s3-media1.fl.yelpcdn.com/bphoto/lPaq0vjiFTAEreb1eBDQ-w/o.jpg 
 
oo) as depicted by Albrecht Dürer in an early sixteenth-century panel painting (ca. 1505) in the Kunsthalle Bremen: 
http://tinyurl.com/qyuvaws 
 
pp) as depicted (at right, flanking the BVM and Christ Child; at left, St. Flavian of Ricina) by Lorenzo Lotto in an early sixteenth-century panel painting (1508) in the Galleria Borghese in Rome: 
http://tinyurl.com/zgmb93k 
 
qq) as depicted (at left; at right, St. Mary of Egypt) in the early sixteenth-century Almugavar Hours (ca. 1510-1520; Baltimore, Walters Art Museum, ms. W. 420, fol. 254v): 
http://thedigitalwalters.org/Data/WaltersManuscripts/W420/data/W.420/sap/W420_000512_sap.jpg 
 
rr) as depicted by Floriano Ferramola and workshop in an early sixteenth-century fresco (ca. 1513-1524) in the oratorio di Santa Maria in Solario in the former monastery of San Salvatore and Santa Giulia in Brescia: 
http://www.michele-aquaron.com/admin/upload/Image1Brescia%20bis.jpg 
 
ss) as portrayed by Damian Forment in an early sixteenth-century polychrome alabaster statue (ca. 1520) in the Museo de Zaragoza: 
http://tinyurl.com/pj6eb7c 
http://tinyurl.com/qjvve32 
 
Best, 
John Dillon 
 
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