A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths

Caesarius of Arles Day: Report – merovingian world

Saint Césaire d’Arles (St Caesarius of Arles, Caesarius Arelatensis, St Caesarius of Chalon, Cabillonensis) (c469- 542). Feast Day commemorating the death of the Bishop and Church Father who was born in Chalon-sur-Saône north of Lyon and was the foremost ecclesiastic of his generation in Merovingian Gaul, being greatly influenced by St Augustine of Hippo, Julianus Pomerius and John Cassian. He is considered to be of the last generation of church leaders of Gaul that worked to introduce large-scale ascetic elements into the Western Christian tradition. A popular preacher of great fervour and enduring influence, he found his pastoral duties as the popularly-elected Bishop of Arles very difficult. His concern for the poor and sick was famous throughout and beyond Gaul, as he regularly provided ransom for prisoners and aided the sick and the poor. Preaching had become part of the standard church service in Gaul and Caesarius encouraged it for educating morality, urging his clergy to preach as often as possible in church and outside, to the willing and to the dissenting. He died in Arles on 27 August 542. Venerated in the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches. Image: merovingianworld.com.

St Máel Rubai (Maol Rubha,Malruibhe, Rufus, Apostle of the Picts) (642-722). Roman Catholic Feast Day in Scotland for noble Irish Christian monk who founded the monastery at Apor Crossan (Applecross), one of the best known early-Christian monasteries in what is now Scotland. In 671, he had sailed from Ireland to Scotland with a group of monks and for two years travelled around Argyll, founding some of the many churches still dedicated to him before settling at Applecross, then in Pictish territory in the west of Ross opposite the islands of Skye and Raasay. The Gaelic name of Applecross means Sanctuary and derives from an area of virgin ground originally marked by crosses, a fragment of one of which has survived. The monastery became a major Christian centre, significant in the spread of both Christianity and the Gaelic culture amongst the Picts of northern Scotland until the Ninth-Century Norse raids. Rubai made many missionary journeys: westward to the islands Skye and Lewis; eastward to Farr, Forres and Keith; and northward to Loch Shin and Durness. He died at Applecross on 21 April 722 and was after St Columba the most popular saint of north-west Scotland, having at least twenty-one churches dedicated to him. in Keith, Moray (Cèith Mhaol Rubha) he is referred to as St Rufus and the St Rufus Church is dedicated to him. In other parts of Scotland, his name was variously rendered as Maree, the name of a Loch with an island (Eilean Maree) dedicated to him with a holy well, or Summereve (St Maol Rubha). Dingwall and Tain, in Easter Ross, both held fairs celebrating the saint but in the Seventeenth Century the Presbytery of Dingwall was disturbed by reports of several rituals, evidently of pagan origin, such as the sacrificing of bulls on the island in Loch Maree, as a debased memory of Máel Rubai that had become mixed with an ancient pre-Christian cult of the god Mourie (Maree). Venerated in Roman Catholic, Scottish Episcopal Churches. In the calendar of saints of the Scottish Episcopal Church he is honoured on 20 April. Feast Day in Ireland 21 April, the date of his death. Image: scottishorigenes.com.

Feast of The Seven Joys of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Mary, the Mother of Jesus). A popular devotion to events in the life of the Virgin Mary, arising from a trope of Medieval devotional literature and art, where they were frequently depicted. The seven joys are usually listed as: The Annunciation; The Nativity of Jesus; The Adoration of the Magi; The Resurrection of Christ; The Ascension of Christ to Heaven; The Pentecost or Descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and Mary; and The Coronation of the Virgin in Heaven. Alternative choices were made and might include the Visitation and the Finding in the Temple, as in the Franciscan Crown form of Rosary that uses the Seven Joys but omits the Ascension and Pentecost. Depiction in art of the Assumption of Mary may replace or combine it with the Coronation, especially from the Fifteenth Century on and by the Seventeenth Century it was the norm. As with other sets of scenes, the different practical implications of depictions in different media such as painting, ivory miniature carving, liturgical drama and music led to different conventions, as well as other factors such as geography and the influence of different religious orders. There is a matching set of seven Sorrows of the Virgin: The Prophecy of Simeon; The Flight into Egypt; The Loss of the Child Jesus in the Temple of Jerusalem; Mary’s meeting Jesus on the Via Dolorosa (not found in the New Testament); The Crucifixion of Jesus on Mount Calvary; Jesus is Taken Down from the Cross; and The Burial of Jesus by Joseph of Arimathea. Both sets influence the selection of scenes in depictions of the Life of the Virgin. Originally, there were five joys, increased to seven, nine or fifteen in Medieval literature, although seven remained the most common number and others are rarely found in art. The five joys of Mary are mentioned in the Fourteenth Century poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight as a source of Gawain’s strength and the devotion was especially popular in pre-Reformation England. The French writer Antoine de la Sale completed a satire called Les Quinze Joies de Mariage (The Fifteen Joys of Marriage) around 1462, partly imitating the popular litany Les Quinze Joies de Notre Dame (The Fifteen Joys of Our Lady). Image: slideshare.net.