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.


Saturday, 17 October 2015

St Ignatius of Antioch


Today is the feast day in the Novus Ordo of St Ignatius of Antioch (d. circa 107). 

This post is basically one produced last February 1st to mark the feast day as it was from the twelfth century until 1969 by John Dillon on the Medieval religion discussion group.

The apparently Syrian church father Ignatius (also Ignatius the God-bearer) became bishop of Antioch on the Orontes in about the year 69. Nothing specific is known about his episcopate, though -- and this is really in the realm of later belief -- in earlier the fourth century Eusebius reports that St. Peter and St. Paul, who had evangelized Antioch, had designated Ignatius as the future successor there to bishop St. Evodius and in the later fourth century Sts. John Chrysostom and Jerome report that Ignatius had been in contact with Apostles. 

At some point during the persecution of the Emperor Trajan Ignatius was arrested and sent under guard to Rome. While en route in Asia Minor he wrote his seven surviving epistles. The majority were composed at Smyrna (where Ignatius was welcomed by St. Polycarp), the remainder at Alexandria Troas. 

These have been preserved as an example of very early Christian theology. Important topics addressed in these letters include ecclesiology, the sacraments, and the role of bishops. This is outlined in the illustrated online account of him here.

St. Polycarp is our earliest source for Ignatius' martyrdom; St. Irenaeus of Lyon and Origen tell us that Ignatius was exposed to the beasts.

By the late fourth century Antioch claimed to have Ignatius' relics. In the earlier fifth century the emperor Theodosius translated these to the former temple of the Tyche of Antioch, the building then becoming a Christian church dedicated to this saint. Relics said to be Ignatius' later came to Rome (where they were placed in the Basilica di San Clemente) and to other places in the Latin west, where Ignatius' major feast usually was celebrated on February 1st. That used also to be the day of his commemoration in the Roman Martyrology, with a note in the laterculus identifying 20. December as his actual dies natalis. The revised Roman Martyrology of 2001 prefers October 17th, Ignatius' attested dies natalis in late antique Antioch. Orthodox and other eastern-rite churches usually celebrate Ignatius' principal feast on December 20th, the day on which it falls in the Synaxary of Constantinople. That is also the day under which the Suffering of Ignatius from Syria is entered in the earlier ninth-century Marble Calendar of Naples.

Some medieval images of Ignatius of Antioch:

a) Ignatius of Antioch as depicted in a ninth- or early tenth-century mosaic in the north tympanum of the former cathedral of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul:
Context in the church:

b) Ignatius of Antioch as depicted in a tenth-century glazed ceramic icon of Byzantine origin now in the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore:

 https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/18/Byzantine_-_Saint_Ignatius_of_Antioch_-_Walters_4820867.jpg

c) Ignatius of Antioch's martyrdom and the Translation of Ignatius' relics to Antioch as depicted in the late tenth- or very early eleventh-century so-called Menologion of Basil II (Città del Vaticano, BAV, Vat. gr. 1613, pp. 258, 355):
Martyrdom:

 https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/ba/Ignatius_of_Antioch.jpg
Translation of relics:

 http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-GfP7bJChoas/VMpEpcrGhLI/AAAAAAAAszg/iryd6XjSbGo/s1600/Ignatius_of_Antioch_(Menologion_of_Basil_II).jpg

d) Ignatius of Antioch as depicted in an eleventh-century fresco in the cathedral of St. Sophia in Kyiv:

e) Ignatius of Antioch as depicted in an eleventh-century fresco in the church of Agios Nikolaos tis Stegis at Kakopetria (Nicosia prefecture) in the Republic of Cyprus:

 http://previews.agefotostock.com/previewimage/bajaage/87a94c294303ef3bc60b5c0417cabd3d/xz1-1185090.jpg

f) Ignatius of Antioch (at right; at left, St. John Chrysostom; at center, St. Nicholas of Myra) as depicted in the early twelfth-century frescoes (1105/1106) in the altar area of the church of the Panagia Phorbiotissa at Asinou (Nicosia prefecture) in the Republic of Cyprus:
In better light (but truncated below):

g) Ignatius of Antioch (very probably) as depicted in the restored late twelfth-century apse frescoes (1192) in Deir Mar Musa al-Habashi (Monastery of St. Moses the Ethiopian) near Al-Nabk (Nebek; Rif-Dimashq governorate) in Syria:
Detail view:

h) Ignatius of Antioch's martyrdom as portrayed in a late twelfth- or earlier thirteenth-century sculpture on the left pillar of the left portal of the south porch (ca. 1194-1230) of the basilique cathédrale de Notre-Dame in Chartres:



i) Ignatius of Antioch (at left; at center, St. Gregory of Nazianzus; at right, St. John Chrysostom) as depicted in an earlier thirteenth-century fresco from the altar area of the church of St. George in Oropos (East Attica prefecture), now in the Byzantine and Christian Museum in Athens:

j) Ignatius of Antioch as depicted in a thirteenth-century January menaion seemingly from Cyprus (Paris, BnF, ms. Grec 1561, fol. 116r):

k) Ignatius of Antioch (at right; at left, St. Sava of Serbia) as depicted in a later thirteenth-century fresco (between 1263 and 1270) in the nave of the monastery church of the Holy Trinity at Sopoćani (Raška dist.) in Serbia:
Detail view (Ignatius of Antioch):

l) Ignatius of Antioch as depicted in the late thirteenth-century frescoes (c. 1295) by Eutychios and Michael Astrapas in the church of the Peribleptos (now Sv. Kliment Ohridski) in Ohrid:

m) Ignatius of Antioch (at right; at left, St. Dionysius the Areopagite) as depicted in the late thirteenth- or very early fourteenth-century frescoes, attributed to Manuel Panselinos, in the Protaton church on Mt. Athos:

n) Ignatius of Antioch as depicted in the earlier fourteenth-century frescoes (between c. 1308 and c. 1320) by Michael Astrapas and Eutychios in the church of St. Nicetas the Goth (Sv. Nikita) at Čučer in today's Čučer-Sandevo in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia:

o) Ignatius of Antioch as depicted in an earlier fourteenth-century mosaic (c. 1312) in a cupola of the parecclesion (now a museum) of the former church of the Pammakaristos (Fethiye camii) in Istanbul:
Detail view (better light):

 http://pemptousia.com/files/2013/12/Ignatie-Pammakaristos-Istanbul-s14-IN.jpg

p) Ignatius of Antioch (bottom register at center, betw. St. John the Almsgiver and -- in the niche -- St. Peter of Alexandria) as depicted in the earlier fourteenth-century frescoes (between 1313 and 1318; conservation work in 1968) by Michael Astrapas and Eutychios in the church of St. George at Staro Nagoričane in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia:

q) Ignatius of Antioch as depicted in the earlier fourteenth-century frescoes (between c. 1313 and c. 1320) by Michael Astrapas and Eutychios in the altar area of the King's Church (dedicated to Sts. Joachim and Anne) at the Studenica monastery near Kraljevo (Raška dist.) in Serbia:

r) Ignatius of Antioch's martyrdom (lower left-hand panel, upper register) as depicted in an earlier fourteenth-century set of miniatures from Thessaloniki (betw. 1322 and 1340) for the Great Feasts (Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Gr. th. f. 1, fol. 21v):

s) Ignatius of Antioch's martyrdom as depicted in an earlier fourteenth-century (second quarter) collection of French-language saint's lives (BnF, ms. Français 185, fol. 227v):

t) Ignatius of Antioch's martyrdom as depicted in an earlier fourteenth-century copy (ca. 1335) of Vincent of Beauvais' Speculum historiale in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (Paris, BnF, ms. Arsenal 5080, fol. 123v):

u) Ignatius of Antioch (at left; at right, St. Tarasius) as depicted in the earlier fourteenth-century frescoes (between 1335 and 1350) in the altar area of the church of the Holy Ascension at the Visoki Dečani monastery near Peć in, depending upon one's view of the matter, either the Republic of Kosovo or Serbia's province of Kosovo and Metohija:
Detail view (Ignatius of Antioch):

v) Ignatius of Antioch (at left; at right, St. Nicholas of Myra) as depicted in the earlier fourteenth-century frescoes (between 1335 and 1350) in the prothesis of the church of the Holy Ascension at the Visoki Dečani monastery near Peć in, depending upon one's view of the matter, either the Republic of Kosovo or Serbia's province of Kosovo and Metohija:

w) Ignatius of Antioch (at right; at left St. John the Evangelist, with whom Ignatius has a spurious correspondence in Latin) as depicted in an earlier fourteenth-century copy (1348), from the workshop of Richard and Jeanne de Montbaston, of the Legenda aurea in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (Paris, BnF, ms. Français 241, fol. 61r):

 

x) Ignatius of Antioch as depicted in a late fifteenth-century breviary (after 1481) for the Use of Langres (Chaumont, Bibliothèque municipale, ms. 32, fol. 371v):

y) Ignatius of Antioch as depicted in a late fifteenth-century panel painting (1486) of Florentine origin, now in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam:


https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a3/Anoniem_-_De_heilige_Ignatius_van_Antiochi%C3%AB.jpg

z) Ignatius of Antioch (bottom register at right, between St. John the Baptist and St. Michael the Archangel) as depicted by Sandro Botticelli in his San Barnaba altarpiece (ca. 1488) in the Galleria degli Uffizi in Florence:

 http://www.wga.hu/art/b/botticel/3barnaba/10barnab.jpg

Detail view (John the Baptist, Ignatius of Antioch, and Michael the Archangel):

 http://www.wga.hu/art/b/botticel/3barnaba/11barnab.jpg


aa) Ignatius of Antioch (at right; at left St. James the Just, Brother of the Lord; at center, St. Nicholas of Myra) as depicted in a late fifteenth-century Novgorod School icon now in the State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg:

bb) Ignatius of Antioch (at left; at right, St. Gregory of Nazianzus) as depicted in the restored earlier sixteenth-century frescoes (1544; attributed to Joseph Houris) in the St. Neophytus monastery at Tala (Paphos prefecture) in the Republic of Cyprus:

cc) Ignatius of Antioch as depicted in the earlier sixteenth-century frescoes (1545 and 1546) by Theofanis Strelitzas-Bathas (a.k.a. Theophanes the Cretan) in the katholikon of the Stavronikita monastery on Mt. Athos:






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