medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

Today (12. September) is the feast day of:

1)  Cronides, Leontius, and Serapion (d. early 4th cent.).  The (pseudo-)Hieronymian Martyrology enters under this date Cyrinus, Serapion, and Leontius, martyred at Alexandria.  A Greek synaxary notice for this trio says that for refusing under Maximian to sacrifice to the idols they were executed by being thrown into the sea.  Various synaxary entries place them on different days from 11. through 15. September; all call C. Cronides rather than Cyrinus.  Prior to its revision of 2001 the RM commemorated on this date Hieronides, Leontius, Serapion, Selesius, Vaierian and Strato(n).  The last named is a martyr of Bithynia commemorated on the same day.  Later manuscripts of the (ps.-)HM add that C., L., and S. were brothers, probably by analogy with other cults of literal or metaphorical brothers.

2)  Autonomus (d. early 4th cent., supposedly).  A. had a cult in Bithynia dating from after the time of Justin I (518-27), when, if one can trust the later reworking (BGG 198) of his now lost Passio, a church built over his grave in the reign of Constantine I was dedicated to him.  That account makes him a native of Italy (the term used is _Italia_, which in Middle Byzantine usage ordinarily means southern Italy; if we could be sure that this detail were not in the original A. would be a supposed saint of the Regno) and who became a bishop there.  A. is said to have fled to Bithynia during Diocletian's persecution and to have settled in a place near Nicomedia called Soreoi, where he made converts and created one of them bishop.  From there he is said to have preached in Asia Minor and Anatolia, to have returned to Soreoi, and, while he celebrated Mass on this day, to have been slain by pagans from a nearby town outraged at his converts' destruction of their idols.

Opinions about the relaibility of this story, in which all of A.'s gesta are supposed to have occurred prior to the reign of Constantine the Great, have varied widely.  It has been suggested that many of the difficulties disappear if we suppose A. to have been a Novatianist bishop whose cult, purged by time of its heretical associations, was later adopted by orthodox Christians in the area.  The cult was certainly in existence by the early seventh century, when in 602 the deposed emperor Maurice sought refuge at A.'s shrine in coastal Bithynia and when the Bios of St. Theodore the Syceote (shortly after 613) has its protagonist visit both the church and a monastery serving it.  In 787 the monastery's abbot took part in the Second Council of Nicaea.  The monastery's site was discovered in 1984 at today's Tepeköy in Turkey's Zonguldak province.

3)  Silvinus of Verona (d. ca. 550?).  S. was an early bishop of Verona, preserved in memory through that see's _series episcoporum_ and celebrated locally on this day since at least the later Middle Ages.  He entered the RM before Baronio took charge of it and continued to be listed therein until its latest revision of 2001.  An _elogium_ for S. first printed in the sixteenth century from Veronese diocesan sources tells us that he was especially active in preaching the faith, gaining in the process a large number of converts, that he gave generously to the poor, and that he was so given to prayer and fasting that these seemed to be his regular enjoyments.  It also tells us that he was buried in Verona's church of St. Stephen.  Even that last datum is suspect, as it may depend on nothing more than a confusion of S. with Verona's St. Salvinus (another early bishop), who is known to have been buried in what is now Santo Stefano.

Verona's chiesa di Santo Stefano is a largely twelfth-century church, with a tenth-century apse and crypt (employing eighth-century columns and capitals) and with perimeter walls surviving from a fifth- or sixth-century predecessor of the same dedication.  An illustrated, Italian-language account of it is here:
A view showing a portion of the early outer walls:
A view of the ambulatory in the apse:

4)  Guy of Anderlecht (d. early 11th cent.?).  In 1112 Odard, bishop of Cambrai formally elevated within the collegiate church of Sts. Peter and Paul at Anderlecht in Brabant the remains of G. (also Guido, Guidon, Wido, Wye, Winand), a local holy person for whom no documentation exists prior to this event.  At some unknown time between then and the writing in the fourteenth century of our earliest surviving liturgical manuscripts from Anderlecht a Vita (BHL 8870, 8871) was written for G.

According to this account (which exists in several versions), G. was the very pious and very charitable son of poor rustics.  Wishing to devote his life to God, he left home and traveled to Laeken (now a part of Brussels), where he became a model sacristan at a church dedicated to the BVM and where he spent his free time in prayer and penance.  Eager to have more money to distribute to the needy, G. was persuaded to join a seafaring merchant venture.  But immediately the ship had put out into the Senne it sank with all its cargo, G.'s valiant efforts to prevent disaster notwithstanding.  Whereupon G. gave up being a merchant and returned to his life as a sacristan.

Some time later G. undertook a pilgrimage first to Rome and then to the Holy Land.  Returning to Brabant in a time of pestilence he fell ill at Anderlecht and died there on this day in some unspecified year.  On the evening before his death a divine light in the form of a dove appeared over G. and a voice was heard to command that the beloved man of God come to receive the crown of eternal happiness.  The canons of that place took G.'s body to their church and buried it.  Miracles ever since attested to the presence there of a saint.
One of these miracles involved the finding, years later, of G.'s apparently unmarked and since neglected grave.  When this happened, Gerard the bishop of Cambrai (Gerard II, 1076-92) ordered that the saint's remains be translated to a place of honor within the church.  More miracles ensued and in 1112 the Elevatio took place.  Thus far the Vita, whose largely fictional character appears to have eluded not a few modern authors of notices of G.
G.'s church, on the other hand, is pretty well established.  Now the église collégiale Saints-Pierre-(et-Paul)-et-Guidon at Anderlecht, it is known popularly simply as Saint-Guidon and in that form has given its name to Anderlecht's central station on the Brussels métro.  Its mostly later fourteenth- to early sixteenth-century superstructure (tower completed in 1898) rises above a crypt of the late eleventh or early twelfth century.  Some exterior views:
Base of the tower (earlier sixteenth-century):
Some interior views are accessible from here (go directly to the menu at the foot of the page and use the menu there):

Here's G. in a late fifteenth- or earlier sixteenth-century Book of Hours (Syracuse, NY, Syracuse University Library, ms. 7, fol. 206r):

In Brussels (and perhaps in the archdiocese of Malines-Bruxelles generally) G.'s feast occurs on 11. September.  The date of (ca.) 1012 often given for G.'s death is an early modern conjecture.

John Dillon
(Silvinus of Verona and Guy of Anderlecht lightly revised from last year's post)

To join the list, send the message: join medieval-religion YOUR NAME
to: [log in to unmask]
To send a message to the list, address it to:
[log in to unmask]
To leave the list, send the message: leave medieval-religion
to: [log in to unmask]
In order to report problems or to contact the list's owners, write to:
[log in to unmask]
For further information, visit our web site: