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FEAST - A Saint for the Day (October 17): St. Ignatius of Antioch


John Dillon <[log in to unmask]>


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


Mon, 17 Oct 2016 06:44:50 +0000





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medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

The apparently Syrian church father Ignatius (d. ca. 107; also Ignatius the God-bearer) became bishop of Antioch on the Orontes in about the year 69. Nothing specific is known about his episcopate, though -- and this is really in the realm of later belief -- in the earlier fourth century Eusebius of Caesarea reports that St. Peter and St. Paul, who had evangelized Antioch, had designated Ignatius as the future successor there to bishop St. Evodius and in the later fourth century Sts. John Chrysostom and Jerome report that Ignatius had been in contact with Apostles. At some point during the persecution of the emperor Trajan Ignatius was arrested and sent under guard to Rome. While _en route_ in Asia Minor he wrote his seven surviving epistles. The majority were composed at Smyrna (where Ignatius was welcomed by St. Polycarp), the remainder at Alexandria Troas. St. Polycarp is our earliest source for Ignatius' martyrdom; St. Irenaeus of Lyon and Origen tell us that Ignatius was exposed to the beasts.

By the late fourth century Antioch claimed to have Ignatius' relics. In the earlier fifth century the emperor Theodosius translated these to the former temple of the Tyche of Antioch, the building then becoming a Christian church dedicated to this saint. Relics said to be Ignatius' later came to Rome (where they were placed in the basilica di San Clemente) and to other places in the Latin west, where his major feast usually was celebrated on 1. February. That used also to be his feast day in the Roman Calendar, followed of course by the Roman Martyrology, the latter noting 20. December as his actual _dies natalis_. In the revised Roman Calendar of 1969 his feast now falls on 17. October, a day on which Ignatius' _dies natalis_ was celebrated in late antique Antioch. Byzantine-Rite churches usually keep Ignatius' principal feast on 20. December, the day on which it falls in the originally tenth-century Synaxary of Constantinople. That is also the day under which the Suffering of Ignatius from Syria is entered in the earlier ninth-century Marble Calendar of Naples.

Some period-pertinent images of St. Ignatius of Antioch:

a) as depicted (right margin, upper portrait) in a ninth-century copy of St. John Damascene's _Parallela sacra_ (Paris, BnF, ms. Grec 923, fol. 373r):


b) as depicted in a ninth- or early tenth-century mosaic in the north tympanum of the former cathedral of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul:

Whole image (grayscale):


Detail view (in color):


Context in the church:


c) as depicted in a tenth-century glazed ceramic icon of Byzantine origin in the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore:


d)  as depicted (martyrdom) in the late tenth- or very early eleventh-century so-called Menologion of Basil II (Città del Vaticano, BAV, Vat. gr. 1613, p. 258):



e) as depicted in an eleventh-century fresco in the cathedral of St. Sophia in Kyiv:


f) as depicted in an eleventh-century fresco in the church of Agios Nikolaos tis Stegis at Kakopetria (Nicosia prefecture) in the Republic of Cyprus:


g) as depicted (at right; at left, St. John Chrysostom; at center, St. Nicholas of Myra) in the early twelfth-century frescoes (1105/1106) in the altar area of the church of the Panagia Phorbiotissa at Asinou (Nicosia prefecture) in the Republic of Cyprus:


In better light (but truncated below):


h) as very probably depicted in the restored late twelfth-century apse frescoes (1192) in Deir Mar Musa al-Habashi (Monastery of St. Moses the Ethiopian) near Al-Nabk (Nebek; Rif-Dimashq governorate) in Syria:


Detail view:


i) as portrayed in relief (martyrdom) on the left pillar of the left portal of the late twelfth- or earlier thirteenth-century south porch (ca. 1194-1230) of the basilique cathédrale de Notre-Dame in Chartres:


j) as depicted (at left; at center, St. Gregory of Nazianzus; at right, St. John Chrysostom) in an earlier thirteenth-century fresco from the altar area of the church of St. George in Oropos (East Attica prefecture) now in the Byzantine and Christian Museum in Athens:


k) as depicted in a thirteenth-century January menaion seemingly from Cyprus (Paris, BnF, ms. Grec 1561, fol. 116r):



l) as depicted in a probably earlier thirteenth-century icon in the Holy Monastery of the God-trodden Mount Sinai in St. Catherine (South Sinai governorate), Egypt:


m) as depicted (martyrdom) in an historiated initial "C" in an earlier thirteenth-century copy of the _Magnum Legendarium Austriacum_ (betw. 1201 and 1245; Zwettl, Stiftsbibliothek, cod. 13, fol. 88v):


n) as four times depicted (martyrdom: lead weights, fire, flaying, lion) in a later thirteenth-century French-language legendary (Paris, BnF, ms. Nouvelle acquisition française 23686, fol. 130v):


o) as depicted (at right; at left, St. Sava of Serbia) in a later thirteenth-century fresco (betw. 1263 and 1270) in the nave of the monastery church of the Holy Trinity at Sopoćani (Raška dist.) in Serbia:


Detail view (Ignatius of Antioch):


p) as depicted (martyrdom) in a panel of the later thirteenth-century Martyrs Window (bay 40; ca. 1270-1280) in the Freiburger Münster in Freiburg im Breisgau:


q) as depicted (at right; at left, St. Dionysius the Areopagite) in the late thirteenth- or very early fourteenth-century frescoes  (ca. 1290-1305) attributed to Manuel Panselinos in the Protaton church on Mt. Athos:


r) as depicted 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:


Detail view:


s) as depicted (martyrdom) in an historiated initial "I" in a fourteenth-century copy, from the diocese of Girona, of a Catalan-language version of the _Legenda aurea_ (Paris, BnF, ms. Espagnol 44, fol. 59v [continue clicking on the image for increasingly higher resolution]):


t) 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:


Detail view:


u) as depicted in an earlier fourteenth-century mosaic (ca. 1312) in a cupola of the parecclesion (now a museum) of the former church of the Pammakaristos (Fethiye camii) in Istanbul:


Detail view (better light):


v) as depicted (bottom register at center, betw. St. John the Almsgiver and -- in the niche -- St. Peter of Alexandria) as depicted in the earlier fourteenth-century frescoes (betw. 1313 and 1318; conservation work in 1968) by Michael Astrapas and Eutychios in the church of St. George at Staro Nagoričane in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia:


w) as depicted in the earlier fourteenth-century frescoes (betw. ca. 1313 and ca. 1320) by Michael Astrapas and Eutychios in the altar area of the King's Church (dedicated to Sts. Joachim and Anne) at the Studenica monastery near Kraljevo (Raška dist.) in Serbia:


x) as depicted (lower left-hand panel, upper register; martyrdom) as depicted in an earlier fourteenth-century pictorial menologion from Thessaloniki (betw. 1322 and 1340; Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Gr. th. f. 1, fol. 21v):


y) as depicted (martyrdom) 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. 227v):


z) as twice depicted (martyrdom: lead weights, lion) 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. 123v):


aa) as depicted (at left; at right, St. Tarasius) in the earlier fourteenth-century frescoes (betw. 1335 and 1350) in the altar area of the church of the Holy Ascension at 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:


Detail view (Ignatius of Antioch):


bb) as depicted (at left; at right, St. Nicholas of Myra) in the earlier fourteenth-century frescoes (betw. 1335 and 1350) in the prothesis of the church of the Holy Ascension at 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:


cc) as depicted (martyrdom) in the mid- to later fourteenth-century Breviary of Charles V (betw. 1347 and 1380; Paris, BnF, ms. Latin 1052, fol. 336r):


dd) as depicted (at right; at left St. John the Evangelist, with whom Ignatius has a spurious correspondence in Latin) 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. 61r):


ee) as depicted (martyrdom: lead weights, lion) 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. 17r):


ff) as depicted (at left; being arrested) 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. 64v)



gg) as depicted (hearing the angels sing) in an early 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, fol. 52r):


hh) as depicted (martyrdom) in a mid-fifteenth-century copy of Giovanni Colonna's _Mare historiarum_ (betw. 1447 and 1455; Paris, BnF, ms. Latin 4915, fol. 194r, right-hand column at bottom):


ii) as depicted (at right; at left, St. James the Just, Brother of the Lord; at center, St. Nicholas of Myra) in a late fifteenth-century Novgorod School icon in the State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg: 


jj) as depicted in a late fifteenth-century breviary (after 1481) for the Use of Langres (Chaumont, Mediathèque de Chaumont, ms. 32, fol. 371v):


kk) as depicted in a late fifteenth-century panel painting (1486) of Florentine origin in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam:


ll) as depicted (bottom register at right, betw. St. John the Baptist and St. Michael the Archangel) by Sandro Botticelli in his late fifteenth-century San Barnaba altarpiece (ca. 1488) in the Galleria degli Uffizi in Florence:


Detail view (John the Baptist, Ignatius of Antioch, and Michael the Archangel):


mm) as depicted (left margin at top) in a hand-colored woodcut in the Beloit College copy of Hartmann Schedel's late fifteenth-century _Weltchronik_ (_Nuremberg Chronicle_; 1493) at fol. CXr:


nn) as depicted (at left; at right, St. Gregory of Nazianzus) in the restored mid-sixteenth-century frescoes (1544; attributed to Joseph Houris) in the St. Neophytus monastery at Tala (Paphos prefecture) in the Republic of Cyprus:


oo) as depicted in the mid-sixteenth-century frescoes (1545 and 1546) by Theofanis Strelitzas-Bathas (a.k.a. Theophanes the Cretan) in the katholikon of the Stavronikita monastery on Mt. Athos:



John Dillon


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