medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

Today (21. November) is the feast day of:

1)  The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  This feast, celebrating an event not mentioned in the Bible but present in the infancy gospel of Pseudo-Matthew, is thought to be probably of Syrian origin.  In the Greek church it is first documented from the eleventh century; by the later twelfth century it was important enough in Constantinople that the law courts did not sit during it.  The feast spread to the Latin West in the later fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.  After some vicissitudes earlier in the sixteenth century it was definitively included in the Roman Calendar by Sixtus V in 1585.

Some depictions:

Mosaic, katholikon of the monastery of the BVM at Daphni in Attika (late eleventh-century):

Manuscript illumination (Paris, BnF, ms. Grec 1208, fol. 87v; twelfth-century), upper register:

Giotto, fresco in the Arena Chapel (Cappella dei Scrovegni), Padua (1303-1305):

Fresco (ca. 1312-1321) in the sanctuary of the monastery church of the Theotokos at Gračanica in, depending on one's view of the matter, Serbia's province of Kosovo and Metohija or the Republic of Kosovo:

Fresco (ca. 1313-1320) in the King's Church (dedicated to Sts. Joachim and Anne) in the Studenica monastery near Kraljevo (Raška dist.) in southern Serbia:
Detail (the Theotokos before Zechariah):

Mosaic, Chora Church, Istanbul (between 1315 and 1321), vault in the esonarthex:

Icon (fourteenth-century) formerly in the church of the Peribleptos at Ohrid, now in the Icon Gallery in the same comple:

Guariento di Arpo, Coronation of the Virgin Altarpiece (1344), now in the Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena, CA:

Manuscript illumination, Petites Heures de Jean de Berry (Paris, BnF, ms. Latin 18104; fourteenth-century), fol. 142v:

Manuscript illumination in a later fourteenth-century _Speculum humanae salvationis_ produced at Bologna (Paris, BnF, Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal, ms. Arsenal 593 [fols. 1-42], fol. 7r), at left:

Manuscript illumination, Breviary of Martin of Aragon (Paris, BnF, ms. Roth 2529; early fifteenth-century), fol. 312r:

Manuscript illumination, Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry (Chantilly, Musée Condé, ms. 65; early fifteenth-century), fol. 137r:

Manuscript illumination in a fifteenth-century _Speculum humanae salvationis_ produced at Basel (Paris, BnF, ms. Latin 512, fol. 6v), at left:

Three churches:

a)  Athens' originally eleventh- to thirteenth-century Kapnikarea Church, situated in the Plaka district, is dedicated to the Presentation of the Mother of God.  Three English-language accounts of this structure, two of them illustrated, are here:
Other exterior views:
Other interior views:

b)  The originally late twelfth- and earlier thirteenth-century church of the Theotokos at the Studenica monastery near Kraljevo (Raška dist.) in southern Serbia is, like the monastery itself, actually dedicated to her Presentation.  A page of exterior views:

c)  An English-language account and a parge of exterior views of the originally earlier fourteenth-century church of the Presentation of the Virgin in in Lipljan (Priština) in, depending on one's view of the matter, either the Republic of Kosovo or Serbia's province of Kosovo and Metohija:

2)  Rufus, disciple of the Apostles (d. 1st cent.).  This is the R. living at Rome to whom, as well as to to R.'s mother, St. Paul sends greetings at Romans 16:13.  He could be the R. named at Mark 15:21 as a son of Simon of Cyrene.

3)  Maurus of Parentium (d. probably late 3d or very early 4th cent.).  Though we know virtually nothing about him, M. (also Mavro of Poreč) is Istria's first historically attested bishop.  He is the local saint of Poreč in Croatia, where he is depicted, third from left, with a martyr's crown, in the apse mosaic of the mid-sixth-century Basilica Euphrasiana:
Cate Gunn's views on Medrelart of this basilica are here:

In the seventh century pope John IV, who was of Dalmatian origin, removed M.'s relics to Rome along with those of other Istrian and Dalmatian saints.  M. is said to be among the saints depicted in the Lateran Baptistery's Chapel of St. Venantius, though he is not one of the figures of its apse mosaic
as these are interpreted here:

Back in coastal Croatia, three views of what's left of a church dedicated to a St. M. at Vrbnik on the relatively nearby island of Krk:

4)  Agapius of Caesarea (d. 306).  We know about A. from Eusebius (_De martyribus Palaestinae_, 31. and 6. 3-8), who tells us that he had been arrested in the second year of Diocletianic persecution and that he had been kept in prison at Caesarea in Palestine for two years, was frequently tortured, and was on several occasions threatened with execution by being thrown to the beasts.  Finally A. was brought out into the amphitheater in the presence of the emperor Maximinus (Daia), refused an opportunity to apostasize, was exposed to a bear that mauled him and towards which he is said to have run, survived, and was drowned in the sea on the following day.

Some views of the rebuilt amphitheater at Caesarea:

5)  Gelasius I, pope (d. 496).  A native Roman of recent North African ancestry, G. had been a close associate of pope St. Felix III (II), for whom he wrote official documents, before succeeding to the papacy in 492.   G. continued his predecessor's policy of opposing the Christology of the patriarchs of Constantinople from Acacius onward, considered by western Chalcedonians to be monophysite.  In the course of this activity G. wrote his _De duabus naturis in Christo_ and other treatises as well the letter to the emperor Anastasius I for which is now best known and in which he affirmed the primacy of the ecclesiastical over the secular power.   At Rome he suppressed the Lupercalia.

Neither the so-called Gelasian Decree attempting to establish a canon of Holy Writ nor the Gelasian Sacramentary is now considered an artefact of G.'s papacy.  But their nomenclature bears witness to the once standard nature of these attributions.  Here's G. at left, with pope St. Gregory I at right, in the later ninth-century Sacramentary of Charles the Bald:

6)  Maurus of Cesena (d. earlier 10th cent.).  According his Vita by the eleventh-century St. Peter Damian (BHL 5771), M., a nephew of a pope (probably John X), was ordained priest, entered a monastery at Classe of which he became abbot, and was named by his uncle bishop of today's Cesena (FO) in the Romagna.  All of this will have occurred prior to the removal in 926 of the exarchate of Ravenna, to which Cesena belonged, from papal jurisdiction.  Peter presents M. both as pastorally and administratively active and as eremitically inclined, retreating nightly to pray on a nearby mountain where he erected a small cell that after M.'s death was converted into his burial church.

A monastery that arose on the site is said to be attested from 1042 and is certainly well documented from the twelfth century onward; rebuilt in the sixteenth century it is now Cesena's Santuario Santa Maria del Monte.  Parishes with churches dedicated to M. are recorded from the central Middle Ages in the dioceses of Rimini and Cesena.  Shortly before 1470 relics believed to be M.'s were removed for reasons of safety from their sarcophagus in the abbey church.  In 1470 some of these were translated to Cesena's cathedral, where they remain today.

Two Italian-language accounts of Cesena's originally fourteenth-century cathedral of San Giovanni Battista (now a co-cathedral of the diocese of Cesena-Sarsina):
Some views of this structure:

John Dillon
(last year's post revised and with the addition of Rufus, disciple of the Apostles)

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