medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

Today (23. April) is also the feast day of:

George of Suelli (d. 11th cent. ?).  Sardinia's only early saint with a
largely plausible Life (BHL 3410; twelfth-century, as is also his
surviving Office), G. is said to have been the child of house slaves to
a wealthy, childless, and celibate woman in the judicate of Cagliari.
His own mother had been sterile before G.'s birth, which latter an angel
had miraculously foretold to her as she slept.  So when G. was born the
whole household knew that he was something special and the mistress of
the house (we have her name: Greca de Surapen) saw to it that he had a
good education both in Latin and in Greek and gave him his freedom.  G.
studied for the priesthood, practiced an ascetic life, and at age 22 was
named bishop of Suelli (or of the Barbagia, the rural district in whose
eastern part Suelli is located).  He was noted for many miracles, one of
these being (shades of Lidanus of Sezze!) the silencing of noisy frogs.
The date of G.'s death is controversial: whereas this is traditionally
given as 1117 (sometimes varied to 1112), details of the Life suggest
rather an early eleventh-century ubpringing and a mid-eleventh-century

Suelli's ex-cathedral of San Pietro, rebuilt and added to several times,
retains much of its thirteenth-century facade:
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and (showing side buttresses):
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An interior view, showing the fourteenth- or fifteenth-century chancel 
This chapel is of the same period:
A slide show with some other views is here:

Attached to one side of San Pietro, and entered through it, is the
Sanctuary of St. George of Suelli.  Constructed in the form of a Greek 
cross (Sardinia's early medieval church was essentially Greek, with 
latinization beginning only in the later eleventh century) and 
conjecturally originating in the late eleventh or early twelfth-
century, it rises over the spot where G. is said to have been buried.  
In the aerial view shown here it is visible at the upper right:

A different sort of monument associated with G. is the narrow, winding 
mountain pass near Taccu (CA) known as the Scala di San Giorgio ('St.
George's Stair').  According to his Life, while on a pastoral visit in
his diocese G. found his way blocked by a mountain.  Making the sign of
the Cross, he prayed and miraculously the mountain opened to allow
passage through it.  This pass, beginning on one side as a really deep
gorge, is said to be the place in question: 

G.'s cult was widely diffused in the archdiocese of Cagliari by the
early thirteenth century and was confirmed by pope Paul V in 1609.

John Dillon
(last year's post, revised)

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