medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

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

Agatha (?)  There is good evidence of Agatha's early cult, although 
nothing is known of her historical existence.  Her Acta tell that A. 
was a wealthy (beautiful) young woman, a consecrated virgin.  Various 
versions tell that she was born in either Palermo of Catania.  A 
consul fell in lust with her, and used an imperial edict against 
Christians to try to have his wicked way with her.  Didn't work.  So 
he had her put in a brothel.  That didn't work either.  Then she was 
tortured, described in disturbingly sexually-charged accounts that 
end with hacking off her breasts.

Avitus of Vienne (d. c. 525)  Avitus a native of the Auvergne.  He 
succeeded his father as bishop of Vienne in 490.  A. is known for his 
successful missionary work among both non-Christians and Arian 
Christians; he was also famous in his time for his learning and 

Bertulf (d. c. 705)  Bertulf was born to a non-Christian family 
somewhere in "Germany," but moved to Flanders at a young age.  He 
became a Christian and steward to a count.  The count was so 
impressed by B. that he made him heir to estates at Renty.  After the 
count's death, B. founded a monastery at Renty and retired there 
himself.  B's relics are famous.  They were put in an iron casket in 
Ghent, and for centuries it was believed that when danger threatened, 
the dead abbot would knock against the side of the shrine in warning. 
He doesn't do so any more, because the Huguenots scattered his bones 
in 1578.

Adelheid of Vilich (d. c. 1015)  Adelheid was the daughter of Count 
Megengose of Guelder.  Dad founded the convents of Vilich on the 
Rhine and St. Mary's in Cologne.  A. served as abbess of both.  She 
made her nuns learn Latin, did a great deal to help the poor, and was 
regularly consulted by the archbishop of Cologne.  Her cult was 
confirmed in 1966. 

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