medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

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

1)  Adrian (and Eubulus?; d. 309).  A. and E. are martyrs of Caesarea in Palestine.   According to Eusebius (_History of the Martyrs of Palestine_, 11. 29-31), they had come from Manganaea to aid their fellow Christians.  Caesarea's last victims of the Great Persecution, they were sentenced to suffer _ad bestias_.  A., whose _dies natalis_ is today, was thrown to a lion and later put to death with a sword (whether untouched by the lion or horribly mutilated, Eusebius fails to say).  Still according to Eusebius, E. was martyred two days later.

Both A. and E. are listed for today in the (pseudo-)Hieronymian Martyrology.  Not having access at the moment to the latest version of the RM, I can't say whether E. is still celebrated today (rather than on 7. March).  According to the very unofficial _Íkumenisches Heiligenlexikon_ (, he is.  But several diocesan websites show for today a commemoration of Adrian only.

2)  Ciaran the elder (d. ca. 530?).  C. (also Kieran).  In legend (which is really all we have), C. either was already active as a missionary in Ireland before the arrival of St. Patrick or else was one of the twelve bishops whom P. consecrated in Ireland to assist him in his work.   He is said to have been born in Ossory and to have retired to a hermitage, where he lived in the company of a boar, a fox, a badger, a wolf, a hind, and a fawn.  This Peaceable Kingdom furnished the _dramatis personae_ for various instructive stories transmitted in C.'s Vitae.  In time, C. attracted human followers to his retreat, which then developed into the monastery of Saighir (Seir Kieran).

Some views of the remains of the round tower at Seir Keiran (Offaly) are here:

3)  Piran (d. 6th cent., supposedly).  P. (also Peran, Perran) is the patron saint of Cornwall.  His cult is first attested from 960.  The Domesday Book records a large minster dedicated to him at Perranzabuloe in Penhallow, staffed by canons.  This came into the possession of Exeter Cathedral, for whom P.'s surviving Vita seems to have been written in the thirteenth century.  His relics there were the object of pilgrimage as late as 1558.  Since the Vita was calqued on that of Ciaran the elder (no. 2, above), we really know very little about the historical P. 

Some views of P.'s originally ca. 1100 church at Perranzabuloe will be found on this page:
An earlier oratory to P. was uncovered here in the late eighteenth century but has since disappeared. This Celtic cross remains to testify to the site's antiquity (unless, of course, it's been moved from somewhere else):
Another Cornish dedication to P. is the modern church of St(s. Michael and) Piran at Perranuthnoe, with various carved stones from a twelfth-century predecessor:

John Dillon

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