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MEDIEVAL-RELIGION  September 2006

MEDIEVAL-RELIGION September 2006

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Subject:

Re: Saints of the day 16. September

From:

John Dillon <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Sat, 16 Sep 2006 20:23:16 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

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text/plain (134 lines)

medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

On Saturday, September 16, 2006, at 4:41 am, John Briggs wrote:

> Euphemia  <SNIP>
> In the Hereford Calendar, a Feast with three lessons.

Euphemia (d. 303 or 304).  E. was a virgin martyr of Chalcedon in
Bithynia (today's Kadikoy in Turkey) during the Great Persecution.  In
his _Sermon 11_ (_Ecphrasis on the Holy Martyr Euphemia_), the
late-fourth/early fifth-century Asterius of Amasea describes a set of
wall paintings of her martyrdom in the narthex of what must have been
her martyr's church at Chalcedon.  According to this, after undergoing
torture in prison she was burned alive.  Later accounts, starting with
her mid-fifth-century Passio (BHG 619) add further tortures (being
broken on a wheel; exposure to lions) that were to furnish some of her
better known iconographic attributes.

The Council of Chalcedon (451), held in that city's church dedicated to
her, gave E.'s cult considerable prominence in both East and West.  Her
church on the Appian Way outside of Rome, restored by pope Donus
(676-78), was probably an early expression thereof.  E. leads the
procession of virgin martyrs in the nave mosaics of Ravenna's
Sant'Apollinare Nuovo (dedicated, 504):
http://www.donschaffer.com/images/Italy/RavennaApollinare.jpg
http://tinyurl.com/ltw5g
and figures as well among the female saints of the sixth-century apse
mosaic of the Basilica Eufrasiana at Porec (Italian: Parenzo) in Croatia:
http://nickerson.icomos.org/porec/u/ui.jpg

Still in the upper Adriatic, the patriarchal basilica of Sant'Eufemia at
today's Grado (GO) in Friuli - Venezia Giulia was dedicated to E. in
579.  Herewith some views of this monument:
http://www.timonalavia.it/fain/basilica.htm
http://www.italiantourism.com/fotoenit/prew_2100000077458.jpg
http://www.isontino.com/grado/chiesa.jpg
http://www.isontino.com/grado/basii.jpg
There's a very good interior view on this page (eighth row from top):
http://homepage.mac.com/paduan/PhotoAlbum26.html
And a not very good view of the basilica's famous mosaic floor:
http://www.coopmosaico.it/e%20restoration/12grado.htm
 
In the seventh century, probably, E.'s remains were removed from
Chalcedon to Constantinople, where they were housed in a martyr's church
(martyrion) dedicated to her next to the Hippodrome.  An illustrated,
English-language discussion of that church is here:
http://tinyurl.com/obm4a
The iconoclast emperor Constantine V (Copronymus to his enemies) is said
to have removed E.'s relics (supposedly an incorrupt body) from her
church by the Hippodrome and to have flung them into the sea, whence
they were alleged to have been recovered by fishermen and taken to the
island of Lemnos.  In 796, to mark a change in imperial policy, the
empress Irene returned the relics (now dry bones) to E.'s martyrion at
Constantinople, which latter she also restored.
Here's a fragment of a thirteenth- to fourteenth-century icon of E.
found during the excavation of the martyrion in 1942 and now in the
Istanbul Archeological Museum:
http://www.wegm.com/istarchmus/slides/28%20St%20Euphemia.jpg 

But were those bones really the relics of the magalomartyr E.?  Her
marble sarcophagus was also said to have been miraculously transported
across the sea and to have arrived on 13. August 800 at today's Rovinj
(Italian: Rovigno) in Croatia, where she has been especially venerated
ever since.  Herewith two views of E.'s tomb (incorporating a late
antique sarcophagus whose stone is thought to have come from Aquileia)
in Rovinj's imposing eighteenth-century church dedicated to her:
http://www.gradrovinj.com/zupa/de/foto_hr.asp
http://digilander.iol.it/arup/arcafemi.jpg
Next to the church's side door is a fourteenth-century relief of E.
holding a predecessor church:
http://www.istra.com/Rovinj/slike/sl02.jpg
In 1379 a Genoese fleet sacked Rovinj (then a possession of Venice) and
took E.'s relics home with it.  They were returned in 1401.  E. is in
now housed an effigy reliquary in her tomb (the missing arm is said to
have been eaten by lions):
http://digilander.iol.it/arupinum/relFemi.htm

Note the 'Femi' in that last URL: this is a short form for 'Eufemia' in
several languages, including Italian, where 'Santa Femi' parallels
'Santa Rini' (St. Irene; this aphesis is probably better known in the
modern name for Thera, 'Santorini' of volcanic fame).  One such 'Santa
Femi' must have been the original dedicatee of the church around which
grew up the medieval town of the same name in Abruzzo's Pescara
province, now Sant'Eufemia (PE).  Herewith a few other instances of E.'s
cult in medieval Italy and elsewhere:
  
The orginally late ninth- or early tenth-century church of Santa Eufemia
at Specchia (LE) on Apulia's Salentine Peninsula was a ruin before it
was rebuilt in the 1970s and very early 1980s.  Some expandable
before-and-after views (in this instance, after-and-before):
http://www.specchia.it/santa-eufemia.asp
An exterior view of the restored polygonal apse:
http://tinyurl.com/rvzj8

Some views of the eleventh-century church of Sant'Eufemia at Erba (CO)
in Lombardy:
http://stefanoripa.altervista.org/MIEFOT9.jpg
http://stefanoripa.altervista.org/seufemia.jpg

Some views of the twelfth-century church of Santa Eufemia at Spoleto
(PG), sometimes said to have the only "women's galleries" (in Italian,
'matronei') in Umbria:
http://www.artstudio.it/spoleto/it_203.html
http://tinyurl.com/j9dvv

Views (some expandable) of the twelfth-century church of Santa Eufemia
de Cozuelos (Cozollos)at Olmos de Ojeda in Spain's Palencia province:
http://tinyurl.com/f3s4l

E. in the fourteenth-century frescoes of the monastery church of the
Theotokos at Gracanica in Serbia's Kosovo province:
http://tinyurl.com/k7vtg
detail:
http://tinyurl.com/g6rou

A view of the twelfth- to fifteenth-century Chiesa di Sant'Eufemia at
Verona (VN) in the Veneto:
http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/p/m/118c59/

Best,
John Dillon

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