medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

Today (18. June) is also the feast day of:

Calogerus of Sicily (8th cent.?).  According to his synaxary notice in
Vaticanus graecus 2046 (a twelfth- or thirteenth-century liturgical
manuscript of Sicilian origin, possibly from Favara in the vicinity of
Lentini), C. left Africa for Sicily in order to escape Islamic
persecution.  According to the same source and to a generally accepted
emendation in the ninth-to-eleventh-century canon in his honor by one
Sergius, C. had come from Carthage.  He arrived in the western part of
the island and settled down to life as a hermit in a cave (in Vat. gr.
2046 located on a Mt. Kronion), where he defeated demons and performed
miraculous cures.  His cult, initially Greek but by the later Middle
Ages also Latin (with new biographic data including, tellingly, C.'s
going to Rome and obtaining papal permission to be a hermit in Sicily),
was widespread in Sicily in the later Middle Ages and became even more
so in the early modern period.  Since 'Calogerus' (literally 'nice old
man') was a medieval Greek expression for a monk or hermit, it's
possible that both C.'s baptismal name and his name in religion are
unknown.  A comparandum in this respect would be Caltabellotta's St.
Peregrinus ('Foreigner') of Triocala, who also defeated a demon and
lived eremitically in a cave.

Caltabellotta is in Agrigento province.  So too is a major locus of C.'s
cult: Sciacca, whose nearby Monte Giummare features caves with volcanic
hot springs long used as places of healing (the so-called Stufe di San
Calogero) and is today frequently identified with Mt. Kronion.  There is
now a huge basilica and Franciscan monastery on the site:
But this sanctuary is not attested to before the sixteenth century.  In
fact none of Sicily's numerous churches in C.'s honor is medieval in
appearance, though this one in Agrigento proper, first documented in
1540 and clearly much rebuilt (with another reconstruction on the way):
is said to have traces of thirteenth- or fourteenth-century construction
in its west wall.

The abbey church of St. Philip of Agira at Agira (EN), a Benedictine
site honoring a famous Greek saint of Sicily, has what originally was a
polyptych of the Madonna and Christ Child with C. on one side and St.
Benedict on the other:
A more modern representation of C. showing his latinization is this cult
statue at Frazzano' (ME):
Medieval and early modern Frazzano' was closely connected with the
nearby Greek abbey of St. Philip at Fragala'.  It was at the latter that
Sergius' liturgical verse in C.'s honor was discovered in the
seventeenth century by Ottavio Gaetani.  For a long time all we had of
Sergius' work were extracts printed by Papebroch in the _Acta
Sanctorum_.  But a transcript prepared for Gaetani survives and from it
Carmelo Capizzi edited the Greek text in Volume One (and only?) of
Father Francesco Terrizzi SJ's _S. Calogero.  Pagine d'archivio_
(Sciacca: Basilica S. Calogero, 1987- ; Istituto superiore di scienze
umane e religose Ignatianum, no. 13), pp. 43-61.  The notice of C. in
Vat. gr. 2046 is edited and discussed, with generous bibliographic
references, by Andrea Luzzi, _Studi sul Sinassario di Costantinopoli_
(Roma: Dipartimento di filologia greca e latina, Sezione
bizantino-neoellenica, Universita' di Roma "La Sapienza", 1995; Testi e
studi bizantino-neoellenici, no. 8), pp. 103-16.  The author of the
Wikipedia article on C. either has not read Luzzi or thinks him not
worth mentioning.

John Dillon

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