have been raised soon after her death, and assumed to glory by a singular privilege, before the general resurrection of the dead; it first began to be celebrated about the beginning of the fifth century. When represented in her assumption, she is generally drawn ascending through the air with the half moon or crescent, the eastern emblem of chastity, at her feet, and with stars in a circle round her head, her entire body being surrounded by the glory or aureole, and frequently with attendant angels. As this is one of the principal festivals of the Roman Church, there is no doubt that in former days many Churches in England were named in its honour, and it seems to have been a very usual dedication of chantries both of our Cathedrals and smaller parish Churches, but either their dedications have been changed, or, what is more probable, have been merged into the more general one of the Blessed Virgin, for we have only found three Churches so dedicated; Gressinghall in Norfolk, Shareshill in Staffordshire, and Etchingham, Sussex 8.

S. Aubyn, B., A.D. 549, was born of an ancient and noble English family established in Bretagne. He very early gave evidence of fervent piety, and retired to the monastery of Cincillac, near Angers, from whence he was called, by the united voice of

& Etchingham is always stated as being dedicated in honour of SS. Mary and Nicholas, but the Archæological Journal (vol. vii. p. 267.) gives an inscription from a brass there, proving the dedication to be

"in bonore dei et assu'pc'o'is Beate Marie et s'c'i pich't."

the clergy and people, to the bishopric of Angers, over which he presided with great piety, humility, and wisdom, till his death, at the age of eighty-one. He is commemorated in the French calendar on March 1st, and Churches in Plymouth and Devonport are named in his honour.

S. Augustine of Canterbury. See Calendar, May 26. S. Augustine of Hippo. See Calendar, August 28.

S. Austell, is honoured in a large and flourishing town in Cornwall, which, with its Church, is named after him. He was commemorated Dec. 27th.

S. Barbara, V. M., c. 303, is one of the most popular of the early saints, and very generally met with in the paintings and illuminations of the Middle Ages. Her legend exists, slightly varied, in both the Eastern and Western Churches, and even the Mahometans have one not very dissimilar to it. The one most generally received makes her the daughter of an Egyptian nobleman, Dioscorus, who, being very much attached to her, shut her up in a high tower, to prevent her being asked of him in marriage. Here her solitude inducing much study and meditation, she was led to the conviction of the falsity of the gods worshipped by her parents; and the fame of the celebrated father of the Church, Origen, reaching her even in her loneliness, she sent secretly to him for further instruction. Being unable to go to her himself, he wrote to her by one of his disciples, who converted her, and by whom she was baptized. Her causing three windows to be made in a tower, and telling her father it was in reference to the Trinity, first apprized him of her conversion, and he was so enraged, that he pursued her with his drawn sword to the top of the tower, where Angels hid her from his view, and carried her to a distance. He afterwards discovered her, and gave her up to the authorities as a Christian, and for refusing to sacrifice to the gods, she was scourged and tortured, and afterwards beheaded by her father, who was immediately after consumed by fire from heaven. There are very numerous representations of this celebrated saint; in general the tower, in various forms, is her characteristic attribute;

Library. it generally has three windows: or three towers sometimes occupy the back-ground of the picture. Sometimes she leans upon a tower as a pedestal ; often she holds it in her hand, and sometimes has it suspended round her neck. Frequently in one of the windows is seen the chalice and host, either in reference to her having had the Sacrament admi.

[ocr errors]

from a MS, in the Bodleian

nistered to her in her solitude by Angels, or from the belief that her votaries would not die without receiving the Sacrament, she being invoked against sudden death. Sometimes she carries the chalice and wafer ; more rarely she has a feather in her hand, one of the legends being, that when she was scourged Angels changed the rods into feathers. Sometimes she has the sword in one hand and a book, or as a martyr, a palm-branch, in the other. Representations of her treading upon her father Dioscorus, as in our cut, are rare. She is generally sumptuously dressed, and crowned, as symbolical of the crown of martyrdom. She also occupied among female saints the same position as S. George among the other sex, and was regarded as the patroness of knights and chivalry; in later times she became the patroness of fire-arms and gunpowder: from these causes we often meet with her on suits of armour and field-pieces; and in later paintings she has cannon at her feet.

She is commemorated in the Church of Rome on Dec. 4th; the only Church named in her honour in England, is Ashton-under-Hill, Gloucestershire.

S. Barnabas. See Calendar, June 11, p. 80.
S. Bartholomew. See Calendar, August 24, p. 100.

S. Basil the Great, B.D., A. D. 379, one of the four great doctors of the Eastern Church, was born at Cæsarea, A.D. 328, and was brother to S. Gregory of Nyssa. After studying several years at

« ElőzőTovább »