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medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

 Memmius (d. earlier 4th cent.; also Memius, Mimius; in Fench: Menge, Meinge, Memmie, Memie) is the fairly legendary protobishop of the Châlons that until 1998 was Châlons-sur-Marne and that since then has been Châlons-en-Champagne.  Entered under today in the (pseudo-)Hieronymian Martyrology, he comes first in his see's catalogue of bishops.  But the latter, trustworthy though it may be (it was so considered by no less a scholar than Louis Duchesne), is until the later eighth century no more than a series of names.  Flodoard of Reims makes Memmius a contemporary of St. Sixtus the protobishop of Reims (d. ca. 300).  Modern scholarship dates the erection of the diocese of Châlons to after 313.  Memmius' immediate successor St. Donatianus subscribed the acts of the Council of Serdica in 343.

In the sixth century St. Gregory of Tours reports (_In gloria confessorum_, 66) that he had often been at Memmius' tomb.  This was situated by a Roman road not far from the city proper.  There Memmius, already credited with the lifetime revival of someone who had died, augmented his reputation as a thaumaturge by operating post-mortem miracles (e.g. releasing poor people from fetters; curing one of Gregory's servants of a fever).

Memmius' originally perhaps seventh-century legendary Vita in many versions (BHL 5907-5910a, 5911b, 5912) presents him as a Roman of noble birth whom St. Peter (_aliter_, St. Clement I) consecrated bishop and sent out to evangelize Châlons.  His companions in this legendary effort are his sister St. Poma, his deacon St. Donatianus (the second bishop), and his subdeacon St. Domitianus.  En route, Domitianus dies; Memmius returns to Rome and informs Peter of this development.  Peter instructs Memmius to return to Domitianus' grave and there to take the border of a robe that he had given him and to place that on Domitianus' body.  Memmius does so and Domitianus is restored to life.  Once at Châlons, Memmius is at first refused admittance but after a year restores to life a recently drowned boy of noble birth.  This welcome wonder assures Memmius' acceptance at Châlons, where he performs further miracles, converts the entire city, dies on this day (5. August) after a pontificate of eighty years, and is buried in a village belonging to Châlons where healing miracles continue to occur at his tomb.  Thus far the Vita. 

The area around Memmius' tomb and the abbey of canons regular that later arose on the site became the village that now is Saint-Memmie (Marne); inventions of Memmius' remains there are recorded from 677 and again from the ninth century (BHL 5911, 5911c).  Memmius' putative relics are still at Saint-Memmie, housed in a modern effigy reliquary in a later nineteenth-century church dedicated to him, the chapelle Saint-Memmie.

Today (5. August) is Memmius' day of commemoration in the Roman Martyrology.


Some period pertinent images of St. Memmius:

a) as depicted in an earlier twelfth-century legendary from the abbey of Cîteaux (ca. 1101-1133; Dijon, Bibliothèque municipale, ms. 642, fol. 57r):
http://www.culture.gouv.fr/Wave/savimage/enlumine/irht6/IRHT_094827-p.jpg

b) as twice depicted in earlier thirteenth-century glass windows (betw. 1230 and 1237) in the choir of the cathédrale Saint-Étienne in Châlons-en-Champagne:
1) bay 200, panel A2:
http://therosewindow.com/pilot/Chalons-cath/w200-A2-whole.htm
2) bay 202, rosette (at center; some modern restoration):
http://www.cathedrale-chalons.culture.fr/vitraux/choeur/grand-tympan-baie202.jpg

c) as depicted (at center, restoring Domitianus to life; at left, St. Peter) in an earlier fourteenth-century copy of Vincent of Beauvais' _Speculum historiale_ in its French-language translation by Jean de Vignay (ca. 1335; Paris, BnF, ms. Arsenal 5080, fol. 76v):
http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b55000813g/f158.item.zoom

d) as depicted (at center, restoring Domitianus to life; at left, St. Peter) in a later fourteenth-century copy of part of Vincent of Beauvais' _Speculum historiale_ in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (ca. 1370-1380; Paris, BnF, ms. Nouvelle acquisition française 15940, fol. 166r): 
http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b8449693p/f300.item.zoom

e) as depicted (restoring Domitianus to life) in a late fourteenth-century copy of part of Vincent of Beauvais' _Speculum historiale_ in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (1396; Paris, BnF, ms. Français 313, fol. 76v):
http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b84557843/f158.item.zoom

Best,
John Dillon
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