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medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

Today (14. March) is the feast day of:

1)  Alexander of Pydna (d. early 4th cent., supposedly).  According to Greek synaxary accounts, A. was a priest at Pydna in what is now the Pieria Prefecture in northern Greece who was successful in gaining many converts for Christianity and who in the persecution of Galerius (Diocletian's colleague who ruled from Thessalonica) was severely tortured and finally executed by decapitation.  He has a brief, legendary Passio (BHL 280; earliest witness is of the late ninth or early tenth century) that consists primarily of his response to an interrogration by Galerius and of a scene in which the emperor sees four men wearing white stoles bear A.'s soul to heaven, after which he accedes to a request that A.'s body be taken to Thessalonica for Christian burial.  The emperor Nicephorus Phocas (963-969) is said to have presented A.'s skull to the recently founded Great Lavra on Athos.


2)  Lazarus of Milan (d. mid-5th cent.).  L. is traditionally the seventeenth bishop of Milan.  St. Ennodius of Pavia has an epigram on him (_Carmina_, ed. Hartel, 2. 83) that tells us that L. could with a severe look repress sinners but to the innocent show a serene countenance.  Medieval catalogues of Milan's bishops say that he ruled for eleven years, that he died on this day, and that he was buried in the the basilica of the Holy Apostles (now San Nazaro Maggiore, a.k.a. San Nazaro in Brolo).  In the Ambrosian Rite his feast is moved forward to 11. February to avoid its occurrence during Lent.

The Italia nell'Arte Medievale page on Milan's San Nazaro Maggiore is here:
http://tinyurl.com/3729bn


3)  Leobinus (d. after 552).   In the eleventh-century episcopal catalogue of Chartres L. (also Leubinus, Lubinus; in French, Lubin or Loubin) is the sixteenth bishop.  According to his seemingly ninth-century Vita (BHL 4847), he was a Gallo-Roman native of Poitou who had a monastic education, became a disciple of St. Avitus of Perche, was captured by Franks who tortured him, returned to Avitus and stayed with him until the latter's death, then was ordained deacon, became head of a monastery, and finally bishop of Chartres.  He signed the Acta of the synods of Orléans in 549 and Paris in 552.  Today is his _dies natalis_.  The ninth-century crypt beneath Chartres' cathedral is named for him; there's a plan and a partial view here:
http://home.eckerd.edu/~oberhot/visitor-normandy.htm  
More views, plus views of the cathedral's St. Lubin Window and of the his representation in stone on the cathedral's south porch (all expandable), are here:
http://tinyurl.com/2fp7eo
The fourth item on this page is an expandable view of a fourteenth-century pilgrim's badge from Chartres showing L.:
http://peregrinations.kenyon.edu/photobank/page5.html

L.'s cult spread fairly widely in France but is centered on Chartres and the Perche.  Here are a couple of views of his eleventh-/sixteenth-century church at Suèvres (Loir-et-Cher):
http://sisuevrescour.free.fr/images/stlubin.JPG
http://tinyurl.com/258gox
and some expandable views of his twelfth-/sixteenth-century church at Saint-Lubin-des-Joncherets (Eure-et-Loir):
http://www.vacanceo.com/albums_photos/fiche-album_11805.php
and a view of his twelfth-sixteenth-century church at Arrou (Eure-et-Loir):
http://tinyurl.com/28ec2h
and one of his twelfth-/seventeenth-century church at Brou (Eure-et-Loir), where he is said to have been abbot:
http://tinyurl.com/ywe3od


4)  Matilda of Saxony (d. prob. 968).  The offspring of Saxon and of Danish-Frisian nobility, the pious M. received at the convent at Herford an upbringing suitable for her class and then was married to Henry, son the Duke of Saxony.  In 919 H. became king of the Germans and M. became queen.  She was the mother of emperor Otto I.  Of M.'s many foundations, the one for which she is best remembered is the convent of St. Servatius and St. Dionysius at Quedlinburg in today's Sachsen-Anhalt.  This was founded by the royal pair on the castle hill; its original church was the castle's chapel.  A new church was built in the late tenth and early eleventh centuries, was rebuilt in the early twelfth century, and was later expanded.  M. and H. repose in its crypt.

The convent lasted until 1802.  The church, which underwent a brief period as secularized national shrine during the Third Reich, survives as the Stiftskirche St. Servatius, otherwise known as the Quedlinburger Dom.  A couple of distance views are here:
http://tinyurl.com/yoxuej
http://www.quedlinburg-tourismus.de/images/schloss_1.jpg
Some illustrated pages on this UNESCO World Heritage site:
http://tinyurl.com/36er8u
http://tinyurl.com/2mmbla
http://tinyurl.com/2yc7mb
A view of M.'s sarcophagus is here:
http://www.othersideorg.de/qlb/html/kunst2.htm
That's from a virtual tour of the crypt that starts here (to proceed from page to page, click on "weiter"):
http://www.othersideorg.de/qlb/navipanos/kunst.htm

M.'s Vitae (BHL 5683, 5684) are available in English in Sean Gilsdorf, tr., _Queenship and Sanctity: The Lives of Mathilda and the Epitaph of Adelheid_ (Washington: Catholic University of America Press, 2004).


5)  Pauline of Thuringia (Bl.; d. 1107).  In the early years of the twelfth century the recently widowed P., a member of the Saxon nobility, established in the Thüringer Wald a double monastery whose women were herself and a few comrades and whose men were monks of the Benedictine abbey of Hirsau near Calw in today's Baden-Württemberg.  About a year after founding this institution P. undertook a journey to Hirsau but died en route at Münsterschwarzach in Bavaria.  From 1112 to 1132 an impressive church was built at P.'s monastery and in 1122 her remains were translated to it from Münsterschwarzach.  The monastery, which had been dedicated to the BVM, became known as Paulinzelle (Pauline's Cell) and was for a while very wealthy.  A monk of Hirsau, one Sigeboto, wrote P.'s Vita (BHL 6651; in MGH Scriptores, 30.2).

The monastery church, built on the model of the one at Hirsau, was consecrated in 1124.  The monastery became all male in the fourteenth century and was closed in 1536.  Much of the church's fabric was removed in the years that followed but enough survived into the early nineteenth century to stir hearts already touched by German Romanticism.  Partial restoration began in the middle of that century.  Today the church, located at what is now Paulinzella (Kr. Rudolstadt) in Thüringen, is an important monument of Germany's medieval past.  An English-language account of it is here:
http://tinyurl.com/yua6oh
and better views of what's left are here:
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kloster_Paulinzella
and here (click on "Bildergalerie"):
http://www.paulinzella.net/
An aerial view:
http://tinyurl.com/dx7r2y

Best,
John Dillon
(Lazarus of Milan, Leobinus, Matilda of Saxony, and Pauline of Thuringia lightly revised from last year's post).

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