Vitale e Agricola: Il culto dei protomartiri di Bologna attraverso i secoli nel XVI centenario della traslazioneed. by Gina Fasoli (review)
- The Catholic Historical Review
- The Catholic University of America Press
- Volume 82, Number 4, October 1996
- pp. 683-684
- View Citation
- Additional Information
book reviews683 sion that there was enough diversity in the thought and practice of that time to suggest a focus on "des christianismes dans l'histoire" f. 232), rather than simply to allow historical diversity to stand on its own merits. Acknowledging that there was no existing ritual for the dying, the author rightly connects communion to the dying and penance in extremis, affirming here too the positive development that was taking place at that time f. 122). Viaticum as a kind of reconcUiation for the dying did not need to be a formal ritual for it to be a significant aspect of the transition which placed more and more emphasis on the need of the Christian than on the canonical aspects of Christian penance. Care for the dying provided one more occasion to emphasize the demands of Christian mercy. Allan Fitzgerald, O.S.A. Villanova University Vitale e Agrícola: Il culto deiprotomartiri di Bologna attraverso i secoli nel XVIcentenario della traslazione. Edited by Gina Fasoli. (Bologna: Edizioni Dehoniane Bologna. 1993. Pp. viii, 267. Lire 80,000.) This remarkable misceUaneous work is the last contribution of the late Gina Fasoli to her field of medieval studies and religious studies on Bologna. The occasion of the sixteenth centenary ofthe inventio and translatio of the relics of the only two Bolognese martyrs,Vitalis and Agrícola,has prompted a range ofindividual papers that make the present volume the latest up-dated work on the matter. The matter is, principally, hagiographie: the cult of the martyrs, and the history ofthe finding oftheir bodies in aJewish cemetery ofthe fourth century. This subject matter had been the exposition of pertinent articles in the Bibliotheca Sanctorum: "Vitale e Agrícola" by G. D. Gordini and "Vitale,Valeria ed Ursicino "by G. Lucchesi (Vol. XII,respectively,coll. 1225-1228 and 1229-1231).All the writings of the volume are of some special value.Yet, for the capital matter, which rests on hagiography and hagiographie literary sources, three contributions deserve particular mention: P Serra Zanetti's philologico-historical evaluation of the outstanding written witness of St. Ambrose: "Ambrogio, Esortazione allaVerginità 1-10: una proposta di lettura"(pp. 3-20); Alba Maria OrseUi's "Vitale e Agrícola: modelli di santità per la Chiesa bolognese" (pp. 21-25) and Giampaolo Ropa's "Momenti e questioni del culto tardoantico e médiévale dei martiriVitale e Agrícola" (pp. 27-46). It is known that the only real source ofthe inventio is Ambrose's Exhortado Virginitatis edited in the years 393-394. The facts, however, witnessed by the Saint, with the bishop of Bologna (Eusebius, or rather Eustatius), go back to the year 392. Ambrose brought relics of the Bolognese martyrs to Florence for the consecration of the basilica of St. Lawrence, and then took some back home in Milan. Ambrose's text is indeed his sermon for the consecration in which he mentions the relics of St. Agrícola, who had 684book reviews been crucified. Relics of St.Vitaks, the servant ofAgrícola, must have been taken to Milan. These relics are precisely relevant for the cult of the same martyr in Ravenna and Rome. St. Vitalis of Ravenna, to whom the famous most beautiful basilica is dedicated, as independent military officer of Milan (not of Bologna), is evidently a forged personality, created by the Ravennate sixth-century legend falsely attributed to Ambrose (BHL, I, p. 524, n. 3514). This Passio S. Vitalis and Passio SS. Gervasii etProtasii claiming to be a Milanese text makes Ravenna independent from Bologna. But at the beginning, in the fifth century, the Ravennate original cult of the Bolognese martyr must have been brought from Milan to Ravenna by the Imperial court; Honorius, GaUa Placidia, St. Peter Chrysologus . Pope Innocent I (401-417) had been exiled in Ravenna for a long period (Kelly, Popes, pp. 37-38); back in Rome he dedicated to the Saints of MilanRavenna (Gervasius, Protasius, andVitalis) the Titulus Vestinae (LP, Duchesne, I, 220-224; R. Krautheimer, Corpus, IV, 299-316, [Citta delVaticano 1976]). This information must be added to the present volume which ties itself exclusively to the Bologna-Florence-Milan relationship. Somewhere a supplement is needed. Giovanni Montanari...