medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

Today (5. February) is the feast day of:

Agatha (d. c. 250?)  Agatha was a young Christian woman, martyred in
Catania (Sicily).  A very strong cult developed at a very early age;
already by c. 500 a church in Rome was dedicated to Agatha.  The legend of
Agatha tells that the governor of Catania wanted to marry her, but she
refused on the grounds that she was already promised to Christ.  The
rejected suitor had Agatha put into a whorehouse---but nobody robbed her of
her virginity.  So she was thrown into prison, where her tortures included
chopping off her breasts.  Agatha miraculously healed overnight, whereupon
she was tortured to death.  A year later, Mt. Etna erupted and sent a
stream of lava into Catania---but the inhabitants stopped the lava in its
tracks by bringing out Agatha's veil.  Agatha's veil is still honored as a
precious relic in Catania.  And in light of the legend, it isn't surprising
that Agatha is invoked against the dangers of fire.

Ingenuin of Saben (Sabiona) (d. c. 605)  Ingenuin was the first bishop of
Saben in Sudtirol about whom we have certain evidence.  According to
legend, he was driven from his see by the Arian Lombards, but later
mediated peace between the Lombards and the Franks.

Indractus (d. c. 700?)  The legend of Indractus tells that he was an Irish
prince who undertook a pilgrimage to Rome.  On his return journey he was
killed by pagan Saxons near Glastonbury, along with his sister and other

Modestus of Carinthia (d. 772)  Bishop Virgil of Salzburg sent Modestus as
a missionary to Carinthia (south Austria).  He was consecrated as a
chorbischof (? I don't know how to translate this; suffragan bishop?) and
established a center at Virunum that gradually developed into Maria Saal.
For two decades Modestus and companions evangelized the area, winning it
for a second time to Christianity.

Albuin of Saben-Brixen (d. 1005 or 1006)  Albuin, born in c. 930, became
bishop of Saben in 975.  He transferred his center in 990 to the nearby
Brixen.  He was a friend of several kings and emperors, from whom he won
impressive gifts for his church.  Since the 13th cent. Albuin has been
venerated as the third patron of the diocese of Brixen, along with Ingenuin
and Hartmann.

Dr. Phyllis G. Jestice
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