medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

Today (16. September) is the feast day of:

Cornelius (s. 253)  The Roman priest Cornelius was elected bishop of
Rome after a 14-month delay (caused by the Decian persecution).  He
spent his pontificate arguing over what to do with Christians who had
apostacized during the persecution but now wanted back into the
church.  C. argued in favor of a middle line, for which he was
condemned by both the laxists and the rigorists---the rigorist
Novatian even set himself up as the first antipope.  When persecution
flared up again in 253 C. was exiled and soon died, probably of

Cyprian of Carthage (d. 258)  Cyprian had a good career as
rhetorician and lawyer before converting to Christianity in c. 246;
in 248 he was elected bishop of Carthage.  C. went into hiding during
the Decian persecution---and much of his flock back in Carthage
apostasized.  The issue of what to do with the lapsed thus became a
central issue for Cyprian, too.  When Valerian's persecution began,
C. was arrested and exiled to a small town not far from Carthage; the
next year he was beheaded, after an imperial edict ordered that all
Christian clerics be executed.

Euphemia (d. c. 303)  A church at Chalcedon had been built in
Euphemia's honor by the early fifth century, but her tale is only
known from late sources.  She is supposed to have refused to attend a
festival in honor of Ares, so was tortured and finally thrown to a

Ninian (d. c. 432)  According to Aelred of Rievaulx' twelfth-century
vita, Ninian was the son of a Cumbrian Briton who studied at Rome and
became a bishop before returning to evangelize Britain.  He founded
the monastery of Candida Casa (Whithorn) and is credited with
missionary activity among the Picts.

Ludmila (d. 921)  Ludmila was a Slavic princess who married the duke
of Bohemia and joined him in converting to Christianity.  She raised
her grandson St. Wenceslas at first, but they were separated because
of fear that L. would use him to launch a pro-Christian coup.  L.
ended up strangled to death by her evil daughter-in-law.

Edith of Wilton (d. 984) Edith was a daughter of King Edgar of
England and Wulfrida.  She was sent to the convent of Wilton at a
young age and became a nun at age fifteen, steadfastly refusing all
efforts to get her to give up the conventual life.

A modern saint: John Massias (d. 1645)  The Spaniard John Massias (or
Macias) was orphaned at a young age and worked as a shepherd.  He
eventually went to Peru, where he worked on a ranch for a few years
before becoming a Dominican lay brother.  He won notoriety for his
ascetic life, miracles, and visions, and also ministered to the sick
and poor.  He was canonized in 1975.

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