Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding.

I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop...
It was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.


Thursday, 20 May 2010

St Peter of Morrone - Pope Celestine V


May 19th is also the feast day of St Peter of Morrone, who was briefly, in 1294, Pope Celestine V, and who died in 1296. The hermit Peter of the Morrone founded the Benedictine congregation of the Celestines. He became Pope as Celestine V in 1294 and abdicated within a year. His successor, Boniface VIII, imprisoned him in a castle in southern Lazio. Peter was canonized in 1313. This may have been in part, and not withstanding Peter's personal sanctity, part of the reaction against Boniface VIII following his death in 1303 at the height of his quarrel with Philip IV of France.There is more about Peter-Celestine here from Wikipedia and here from the Catholic Encyclopaedia.

Here is a view of the castle of Fumone (near Alatri and Ferentino) where after his abdication Peter resided as Boniface's "guest".
This is the Italia nell'Arte Medievale page (views expandable) on the church of Santa Maria di Collemaggio at L'Aquila in Abruzzo, said to have been begun at Peter's behest in 1287 and his resting place since 1327, when most of his remains were surreptitiously brought from Ferentino to L'Aquila (Peter's heart is said still to remain at Ferentino in its chiesa di Santa Chiara).
Peter's tomb in that church is here and his effigy reliquary in the tomb is shown here, and here, and here. Peter's skull exhibits a rectangular hole in the left forehead that has provoked some suspicion about the manner of Peter's end; there is another photograph here.

The views of Santa Maria di Collemaggio were taken before the terrific earthquake of April 6th 2009 in which the church was seriously damaged. There are four pages of recent views beginning
here.

Thanks perhaps to the power of the saint, his tomb survived undamaged.
In the weeks after the earthquake the present Pope visited L'Aquila on April 28th last year.
As the Zenit website said:
Benedict XVI next travelled to the Collemaggio Basilica in L'Aquila, where he prayed in front of the casket with the remains of Pope St. Celestine V. To emphasize his spiritual solidarity, the Pontiff left there the pallium which he received at the beginning of his pontificate.
One might be cynical and think that was a decent way of disposing of it, but then one might not...

The New Liturgical Movement website had these pictures - one of the rare occssions when you will see two Popes together in a photograph - note for pedants, not just those of cardinals who became Pope later- that does not count:









To mark the 800th anniversary of Peter's birth in 1209 Pope Benedict has proclaimed the Celestine Year from August 28th 2009 to August 29 2010.

Here is a view of a late thirteenth- or early fourteenth-century fountain, said to have been erected in Peter's honour, in Isernia in Molise (Isernia is one of the candidates for the distinction of being Peter's birthplace):

This page offers a greatly enlargeable view of
Peter's portrait (before 1375) formerly in the abbey of Santa Maria at Casaluce (CE) in Campania and now in the cappella di Santa Barbara in the Castel Nuovo in Naples:

Based again on John Dillon's posting on the Medieval Religion discussion group, with my own additions of the visit of the present Pope last year.

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