medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

Today (11. April) is the feast day of:

Barsanuphius (d. c. 550)  The Egyptian Barsanuphius was a monk at 
Gaza, then went to be a hermit.  Many people came to him for 
spiritual advice: he refused to speak to them, but wrote them notes 
that were delivered by his secretary.  About 850 of his letters are 
extant (a large number probably not by B), and they are an impressive 
source for the spiritual life of the sixth century.

Guthlac (d. 714)  Guthlac was a Mercian noble.  He did a lot of 
raiding along the Welsh border, but after nine successful years he 
gave up the pillaging life to become a monk at Repton.  G. took to 
extreme asceticism, and soon left the relative ease of monastic life 
to become a hermit on the island of Crowland in the Fens.

Stanislas of Cracow (d. 1079)  Stanislas was a native of Szczepanow 
(Poland), born to a knightly family.  He became a canon of Cracow 
Cathedral and was appointed bishop in 1072.  Unfortunately, he got on 
the wrong side of King Boleslas II.  The traditional account tells 
that S. tried to get the king to clean up his immoral behavior, going 
so far as to excommunicate Boleslas.  The king ordered his guards to 
kill S.  But S. took refuge in a chapel, the guards refused to kill 
him there, so the king did it himself.  Gregory VII then put the 
whole country under and interdict.  S. was canonized in 1253, and 
he's now the patron saint of Poland.

Celsus (d. 1129)  Celsus (Ceallach mac Aedha) became archbishop of 
Armagh in 1105---his family had provided archbishops by hereditary 
right for eight generations.  An inauspicious beginning, but C. 
turned out to be a zealous reformer.  He worked on clerical 
discipline, most notably presiding (with a papal legate) over the 
Synod of Rath Bresail in 1111.  C. worked with St. Malachy, 
eventually naming M. as his successor. 

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