medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

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

1)  Aemilian of the Cowl (d. 574).  We know about A. (in Spanish, Millán de la Cogolla; in the Latin of the Bollandists, Aemilianus Cucullatus conf. in Tarracone) from his brief Vita by St. Braulio of Zaragoza (BHL 100), written some sixty years after A.'s death but drawing on the reminiscences of several who had known him.  According to this account, at the age of twenty the shepherd A. (one of his attributes is a shepherd's pipe) was called by God to a life of contemplation and penitence.  After a period of attachment to the hermit St. Felix, he lived in various places first as a solitary and then as an ascetic priest in his native town of Berceo.  There his charity to the poor caused other clerics to slander him to the local bishop, who in turn removed A. from office.

A. then retired to the countryside in the district of today's La Rioja now known from a Spanish form of his appellation _Cucullatus_ as la Cogolla, where he spent the remainder of his life as a hermit.  Disciples whom he had attracted (all denizens of the 'hood, one supposes) buried him and instituted his cult.  In short order a monastery arose over his grave; this in time became the great monastic center of San Millán de la Cogolla with its two monasteries, the original de Suso and the later de Yuso ('above' and 'below').

San Millán de la Cogolla was visited by many pilgrims to Compostela.  Here are some views of older portions of its Monasterio de Suso:
A.'s twelfth-century cenotaph:
At nearby Berceo the thirteenth-century Spanish poet Gonzalo de Berceo composed among many other works a Spanish-language _Vida de San Millán de la Cogolla_ in honor of his fellow townsman and (in the view of some) of the monastery that preserved A.'s name.

The first and third views here are of ivory panels from A.'s eleventh-century reliquary (these panels now in the Muso Arqueológico in Madrid), showing scenes from his life:
The second of those shows A. between Sts. Asellus and Hesperius.  Two other panels:
A page on reconstructions of this reliquary and that of St. Felix:
M.'s reliquary reconstructed:

2)  Cunibert of Köln (d. 663?).  C.  (Kunibert, Gumpert) was a member of the Frankish nobility who served kings Dagobert I and (St.) Sigibert III in various capacities and who under the former was named archbishop of Köln.  During Sigibert's minority he was regent of Austrasia.  His ecclesiastical activities are not well known, though several unreliable Vitae ascribe various foundations to him.  One foundation that may well have been his was the extramural monastery at Köln that later bore his name.  Here's an illustrated, German-language account of the latter's originally thirteenth-century church, the present greatly rebuilt Basilika Sankt Kunibert (restoration completed, 1993):
Other views:
This church's later thirteenth-century baptismal font:

An illustrated page on the earlier fourteenth-century (ca. 1330-1340) St. Kunibert window in Köln's cathedral of St. Peter and the BVM:

3)  Lebuin of Deventer (d. ca. 775).  According to his seemingly later ninth-century Vita antiqua (BHL 4812), L. (also Libuinus, Libinus, Lieven, Liévin) was an Anglo-Saxon Benedictine who under the direction of St. Gregory of Utrecht evangelized among the Frisians of today's Gelderland and Overijssel.  An initial success was nullified when Saxons overran the area.  L. persevered and died at a small church he had constructed in Saxon territory at a place that became today's Deventer.  His cult is attested from the ninth century onward, primarily in the Netherlands but also in Westphalia.  An English-language translation of L.'s Vita antiqua, courtesy of Paul Halsall's _Internet Medieval Sourcebook_, is here:

L.'s chief monument today is the originally mid-fifteenth- to early sixteenth-century Lebuinuskerk (Grote Kerk; tower from 1612) of Deventer (Overijssel).  A Dutch-language account is here:
Some views:
L. in fresco in this church:

4)  Benedict of Benevento and companions (d. 1003).  Today's largely less well known saint of the Regno, B. is well known in Poland and in Polish communities abroad.  A cathedral canon of Benevento, he was ordained priest at the age of eighteen.  Regretting an act of simony, he traded in this relatively cushy life for a monastic one, first at Naples and later at Montecassino.  In 1001 B. had joined Romuald of Ravenna's community at Fonte Avellana, whence in response to a request from Otto III he was sent in that year along with John of Classe (J. of Cervia) to evangelize Slavs in Pomerania.  Two years later, at Kazimierz (near Gniezno), these two missionaries together with their novices Matthew and Isaac and their servant Christian were murdered by robbers intent on stealing a gift of silver they were carrying to the pope as a present from Boleslaw the Brave.

The Five Brothers, as these martyrs were called, were promptly declared saints.   Their cult was confirmed in 1508.  They have Vitae (BHL 1147, 1148) by B.'s friend St. Bruno of Querfurt and by Cosmas of Prague (whither their relics were removed from Gniezno in 1039).  The former, an exceptionally moving document, was edited in MGH SS 15.2 (1888) by Reinhard Kade.  It has a much better critical edition by Hedwigis Karwasinska, _Vita Quinque Fratrum Eremitarum. Epistola Brunonis ad Henricum regem_, Monumenta Poloniae Historica, Series nova, IV, 3 (Warszawa, 1973).  Following p. 738 in the edition in the MGH, available online at:
, is a color reproduction of the opening page of Kade's base text for it.

5)  Diego of Alcalá (d. 1463).  The Andalusian D. (in Latin and sometimes also in English, Didacus) is said to have spent some years as a young hermit before becoming a Franciscan lay brother at Arizafe near Córdoba.  In 1441 he was sent as a missionary to the Canary Islands, then in the process of being conquered for Spain.  D.'s defense of natives against conquistador interests caused him repeated difficulties and in 1449 he requested a transfer back to Spain.  In 1450, having traveled to Rome for the canonization of St. Bernardino of Siena, he was in living in his Order's convent of Santa Maria in Capitolio (in Araceli) when a pestilence struck that house, sickening virtually all its inhabitants.  D. worked prodigiously to tend his brethren.  After his return to Spain he lived in various convents, dying on this day at Alcalá de Henares.

D. was canonized 1588, at which time his feast day was set at 13. November.  That is still the day of his feast at Alcalá and was also his day of commemoration in the RM prior to the latter's revision of 2001.

John Dillon
(last year's post lightly revised)

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