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MEDIEVAL-RELIGION  November 2016

MEDIEVAL-RELIGION November 2016

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Subject:

FEAST - A Saint for the Day (November 17): St. Gregory the Thaumaturge (of Neocaesarea)

From:

John Dillon <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Thu, 17 Nov 2016 07:13:51 +0000

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medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture 
 
Gregory the Thaumaturge (d. ca. 273; also Gregory of Neocaesarea) was a well-to-do student named Theodore when in about the year 232 he and his younger brother St. Athenodorus of Pontus met Origen at Caesarea in Palestine.  Under the latter's influence they converted from paganism to Christianity and then studied under the new master for about five years.  In about 238 they returned to their native and almost entirely pagan Neocaesarea in Pontus (now Niksar in Turkey), where the young Theodore soon became Gregory its bishop and where over the course of the next thirty-five years he wrote treatises and letters, some of which have survived, and became famous for miracles.  Stories of the latter circulated widely over the next several centuries and were repeated or alluded to by other church fathers.  According to St. Gregory of Nyssa, the present Gregory is the first person known to have seen the Theotokos in a vision. 
 
Relics said to be Gregory's arrived in southern Calabria at some now unknown time in seemingly the early Middle Ages.  Guesses range from the sixth century (implausible) to the eighth (possible, but not every cult will have been brought by refugees from iconoclastic persecution) to the the eleventh, when the now Franciscan monastery of San Gregorio Taumaturgo at Stalettì (CZ) probably was founded.  Gregory is Stalettì's patron saint and his putative relics there, less a cranium that has been in Lisbon since the late sixteenth century, are kept in the rebuilt monastery church.  Here's a view of them: 
http://www.sangregoriotaumaturgo.it/index_file/image602.jpg 
 
Since at least the late twelfth century and probably well before that a column in Constantinople's Hagia Sophia has been thought miraculous by virtue of its containing relics of St. Gregory the Thaumaturge.  Anthony of Novgorod, who visited the Great Church in 1200, reports that it was covered with brass plates.  It still has some of these.  One has a circular hole allowing people in search of cures to touch the column at that point and then rotate their finger on it in the hope of obtaining relief: 
http://tinyurl.com/zq5eus2 
http://tinyurl.com/hkwgy8t  
 
17. November is Gregory the Thaumaturge's feast day in the earlier ninth-century Marble Calendar of Naples.  He is that day's saint of the day in the tenth-century Metaphrastic Menologion and has the day's initial entry in the originally tenth-century Synaxary of Constantinople.  Modern Byzantine-Rite churches likewise celebrate him on 17. November.  In the Roman Rite today is his feast day in Stalettì (CZ) in Calabria and his day of commemoration in the Roman Martyrology. 
 
 
Some period-pertinent images of St. Gregory the Thaumaturge of Neocaesarea (there is also a St. Gregory the Thaumaturge of the Kyivan Caves): 
 
a) as depicted (right margin, upper image) in a ninth-century copy of St. John Damascene's _Parallela sacra_ (Paris, BnF, ms. Grec 923, fol. 271r): 
http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b525013124/f545.item.zoom 
 
b) as depicted (at right; at left, St. Basil the Great) flanking the Theotokos on a tenth-century enameled cross from Constantinople in the British Museum in London: 
http://www.sangregoriotaumaturgo.it/index_file/image461.jpg 
 
c) as portrayed in relief (at right in the lower left-hand panel; at right in that panel, St. Jacob of Beth Lapat / James the Persian) on the reverse of the mid-tenth-century Harbaville Triptych in the Musée du Louvre in Paris: 
http://tinyurl.com/2f463kh 
 
d) 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. 188): 
http://digi.vatlib.it/view/MSS_Vat.gr.1613/0210 
http://tinyurl.com/3qvb8yn 
 
e) as depicted in the earlier eleventh-century mosaics (restored between 1953 and 1962) in the transept of the katholikon of the monastery of Hosios Loukas near Distomo in Phokis: 
http://tinyurl.com/33pgbpm 
http://tinyurl.com/ztsnoyw 
 
f) as depicted (lower register, second from right; after Sts. Gregory of Nazianzus and Gregory of Nyssa and before St. Gregory of Agrigento) in the earlier eleventh-century apse frescoes (ca. 1028 - ca. 1040) of the Panagia [ton] Chalkeon in Thessaloniki: 
http://tinyurl.com/b9abdkj 
An expandable, grayscale view of that portrait: 
http://tinyurl.com/bt6at35 
 
g) as depicted in a mid-eleventh-century mosaic in the cathedral of St. Sophia in Kyiv (bottom portion restored with oil painting in the nineteenth century): 
http://tinyurl.com/d7roozc 
 
h) as depicted in the recently restored late eleventh-century mosaics in the katholikon of the Daphni monastery in Chaidari (Attika regional authority): 
http://tinyurl.com/jco36t8 
Detail view (in different light): 
http://tinyurl.com/nlppfyx 
 
i) as depicted in a probably earlier twelfth-century Byzantine icon (it's also been dated to the fourteenth century) in the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg: 
http://www.wga.hu/art/m/master/zunk_y/01icon2.jpg 
 
j) as depicted (second from left in this panel) in the later thirteenth-century frescoes (betw. 1260 and 1263) in the altar area of the church of the Holy Apostles in the Patriarchate of Peć at 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/yjz6t7j 
 
k) as depicted in a later thirteenth-century fresco (betw. ca. 1263 and 1270 or slightly later) in the chapel of St. Symeon Nemanja in the monastery church of the Holy Trinity at Sopoćani (Raška dist.) in Serbia: 
http://tinyurl.com/c2b2xld 
 
l) as depicted (expandable grayscale image) in the late thirteenth-century frescoes (ca. 1295) by Eutychios and Michael Astrapas in the church of the Peribleptos (now Sv. Kliment Ohridski) in Ohrid: 
http://tinyurl.com/c5dsvgk 
 
m) as depicted in the earlier fourteenth-century frescoes (betw. ca. 1308 and ca. 1320) by Michael Astrapas and Eutychios in the church of St. Nicetas the Goth (Sv. Nikita) at Čučer in today's Čučer-Sandevo in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: 
http://tinyurl.com/hodzlzc 
 
n) as depicted in the earlier fourteenth-century mosaics (ca. 1312) in the parecclesion (now a museum) of the former church of the Pammakaristos (Fethiye camii) in Istanbul: 
http://www.flickr.com/photos/mozaikci/2859455595/ 
 
o) as depicted in the earlier fourteenth-century frescoes (ca. 1312-1321) in the altar area of the monastery church of the Theotokos at Gračanica in, depending on one's view of the matter, Serbia's province of Kosovo and Metohija or the Republic of Kosovo: 
http://tinyurl.com/cmuoduq 
Detail view: 
http://tinyurl.com/bsxlyww 
 
p) as depicted (at lower right) in the earlier fourteenth-century frescoes (betw. 1313 and 1318; conservation work in 1968) by Michael Astrapas and Eutychios in the altar area of the church of St. George in Staro Nagoričane in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: 
http://tinyurl.com/ja8grrg 
 
q) as depicted in the earlier fourteenth-century frescoes (betw. ca. 1313 and 1320) by Michael Astrapas and Eutychios in the King's Church (dedicated to Sts. Joachim and Anne) in the Studenica monastery near Kraljevo (Raška dist.) in Serbia: 
http://tinyurl.com/25n3lyt 
 
r) as depicted (at left in the panel at upper left) in an earlier fourteenth-century pictorial menologion from Thessaloniki (betw. 1322 and 1340; Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Gr. th. f. 1, fol. 17v): 
http://image.ox.ac.uk/images/bodleian/msgrthf1/17v.jpg  
 
s) as depicted (in the miracle of the two brothers and the lake that became a stream) in an earlier fourteenth-century copy of books 9-16 of Vincent of Beauvais' _Speculum historiale_ in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (ca. 1335; Paris, BnF, ms. Arsenal 5080, fol. 188v): 
http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b7100627v/f382.item.zoom 
 
t) as twice depicted in the earlier fourteenth-century frescoes (between 1335 and 1350) in the church of the Holy Ascension in the Visoki Dečani monastery near Peć in, depending upon one's view of the matter, either the Republic of Kosovo or Serbia's province of Kosovo and Metohija: 
1) in the altar area: 
http://tinyurl.com/6a4odzs 
2) in a November calendar portrait in the narthex: 
http://tinyurl.com/yl2cr76  
 
u) as depicted (in the miracle of the two brothers and the lake that became a stream) in a later-fourteenth-century copy of Vincent of Beauvais' _Speculum historiale_ in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (ca. 1370-1380; Paris, BnF, ms. Nouvelle acquisition française 15941, fol. 62v): 
http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b8449688c/f132.item.zoom 
 
v) as depicted (upper register at far right) in the late fourteenth-century frescoes (1389; restored in the early 1970s) in the monastery church of St. Andrew at Matka in Skopje's municipality of Karpoš: 
http://tinyurl.com/gl75dov 
 
w) as twice depicted (in the segment at left: as the student Theodore, listening along with his brother St. Athenodorus to their teacher Origen; in the segment at right: as bishop Gregory in the miracle of the two brothers and the lake that became a stream) in a later fifteenth-century copy of Vincent of Beauvais' _Speculum historiale_ in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (1463; Paris, BnF, ms. Français 51, fol. 27v): 
http://tinyurl.com/y9dzc3k 
 
Best, 
John Dillon 
 
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