medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

Stephen I (d. 257), a native of Rome, was a priest there when he succeeded pope St. Lucius in 254.  He is known primarily for his latitudinarian view on the validity of baptisms performed by heretics or schismatics, in which he was opposed by St. Cyprian of Carthage and others.  According to St. Augustine of Hippo, Stephen threatened to excommunicate those who disagreed with him on this matter (this included the entire church of church of Carthage, which had gone on record three times as stipulating that, to be admitted to the church, persons so baptized had to be re-baptized by someone in good standing) but relented in the interest of church unity.

The Valerianic persecution began in the year of Stephen's death.  Whereas there is no evidence that Stephen died other than as a confessor (he's absent, for example, from the _Depositio martyrum_ of the Chronographer of 354), a perhaps originally sixth-century Passio (BHL 7845-7847) has him martyred after being arrested while celebrating Mass.  One would think that it was his reputation as a martyr that placed him on so many medieval liturgical calendars.  Still, the earlier ninth-century Marble Calendar of Naples enters him under 2. August without employing either of its customary designations of a martyrial commemoration.  In a relatively late-appearing legend, Stephen baptized the convert St. Mellonius / Mallonius and sent him north to evangelize in Rouen.

Today (2. August) is Stephen's day of commemoration in the Roman Martyrology.

Some period-pertinent images of St. Stephen I, pope:

a) as depicted (illumination in left-hand column; martyrdom) in a late thirteenth-century copy of French origin of the _Legenda aurea_ (San Marino, CA, Huntington Library, ms. HM 3027, fol. 90r):

b) as depicted (panel at right; at left, the Maccabean Martyrs) in an earlier fourteenth-century copy of the _Legenda Aurea_ in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (betw. 1326 and 1350; Paris, BnF, ms. Français 185, fol. 239r):

c) as depicted (martyrdom) in the mid- to later fourteenth-century Breviary of Charles V (betw. 1347 and 1380; Paris, BnF, ms. Latin 1052, fol. 441v):

d) as depicted (with a martyr's palm) in a later fourteenth-century Roman missal of north Italian origin (ca. 1370; Avignon, Bibliothèque-Médiathèque Municipale Ceccano, ms. 136, fol. 258v)

e) as depicted (at right in the illumination in the left-hand column, sending St. Mellonius / Mallonius to evangelize in Rouen) in a later-fourteenth-century copy of Vincent of Beauvais' _Speculum historiale_ in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (ca. 1370-1380; Paris, BnF, ms. Nouvelle acquisition française 15941, fol. 60v):

f) as depicted (left-hand column; in an historiated initial "E") in a fourteenth-century copy, from the diocese of Girona, of a Catalan-language version of the _Legenda aurea_ (Paris, BnF, ms. Espagnol 44, fol. 156v [continue clicking on the image for increasingly higher resolution]):

g) as depicted in the earlier fifteenth-century Châteauroux Breviary (ca. 1414; Châteauroux, Bibliothèque municipale, ms. 2, fol. 260r):

h) as depicted (in the scene at left; wearing the papal tiara and baptizing St. Mellonius / Mallonius) in a later fifteenth-century copy from Bruges of the _Legenda aurea_ in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay followed by the _Festes nouvelles_ attributed to Jean Golein (ca. 1460-1470; Mâcon, Médiathèque municipale, ms. 3, fol. 210r):

i) as depicted (upper register at right; wearing the papal tiara and sending St. Mellonius / Mallonius to evangelize in Rouen) in a later fifteenth-century copy of Vincent of Beauvais' _Speculum historiale_ in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (1463; Paris, BnF, ms. Français 51, fol. 25r):

j) as depicted a later fifteenth-century Roman breviary (betw. 1476 and 1500; Clermont-Ferrand, Bibliothèque du patrimoine, ms. 69, fol. 493v):

k) as depicted by the Master of the Modena Book of Hours in a late fifteenth-century Dominican missal from Lombardy (ca. 1490-1500; Den Haag, Museum Meermanno, cod. 10 A 16, fol. 206r):

l)  as depicted (right margin, second from top) in a hand-colored woodcut in the Beloit College copy of Hartmann Schedel's late fifteenth-century _Weltchronik_ (_Nuremberg Chronicle_; 1493) at fol. CXXv:

John Dillon
To join the list, send the message: subscribe 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: unsubscribe 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: