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E05321: Maximus of Turin composes two Latin sermons in Turin, northern Italy, between c. 390 and 408/423 in honour of the feast day of *Cyprian (bishop and martyr of Carthage, S00411).

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posted on 12.04.2018, 00:00 by frances
Maximus of Turin, Sermon 10

Sancti Cypriani festiuitatem, sicut omnibus notum est, hodie celebramus; et natali, sicut dicunt, iam inminente uindemiae natalem eius martyrii procuramus.

‘Today, as everyone knows, we are celebrating the feast of Saint Cyprian, and with the birth (as it is called) of the grape harvest which is already imminent, we compare the birth of his martyrdom.’

Maximus continues to liken the blood of the martyrs to the wine grapes produce when squeezed. Similarly, martyrdom is like a cup of wine: just as the heat of wine burns off noxious humours, martyrdom removes sin through suffering.


Maximus of Turin, Sermon 11

Maximus refers to the feast day (natalis) of Cyprian, which the community celebrated just days before. Martyrdom is again likened to wine, but this wine does not inebriate. Instead, it is sobering. He goes on to criticise the Jews for not accepting Christ, and crowning him with thorns.

Text: Mutzenbacher 1962. Translation: Ramsey 1989.
Summary: Frances Trzeciak.

History

Evidence ID

E05321

Saint Name

Cyprian, bishop and martyr of Carthage : S00411

Saint Name in Source

Cyprianus

Type of Evidence

Literary - Sermons/Homilies

Language

Latin

Evidence not before

390

Evidence not after

423

Activity not before

390

Activity not after

423

Place of Evidence - Region

Italy north of Rome with Corsica and Sardinia

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Turin

Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Turin Sardinia Sardinia Sardegna Sardinia

Major author/Major anonymous work

Maximus of Turin

Cult activities - Liturgical Activity

  • Sermon/homily

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult activities - Activities Accompanying Cult

  • Feasting (eating, drinking, dancing, singing, bathing)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Composing and translating saint-related texts

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Jews Ecclesiastics - bishops

Source

Maximus was bishop of late antique Turin, but the exact dates of his episcopate has been contested over the centuries. Gennadius of Marseille, writing in the late-fifth century, refers to a prominent bishop of Turin – called Maximus - who composed sermons on a variety of topics. According to Gennadius (De viris illustribus 41), this Maximus died in the reign of Honorius and the younger Theodosius, which would place Maximus’ death between 408 and 423. This was challenged in the early 17th century. Cardinal Baronius believed that the author of the sermons was the same Maximus who signed the acts of the Council of Milan in 451 and the Council of Rome in 465. He claimed that there was a mistake in Gennadius’ account: Maximus did not die, but instead ‘flourished’ (claruisse) between 408 and 423. Although this view was held until the end of the 19th century, it is now widely accepted that there were two bishops of Turin called Maximus, and that the author of the sermons did in fact die between 408 and 423. For a full overview of this argument, see Mutzenbecher’s preface to her critical edition of Maximus’ sermons. Mutzenbecher’s edition contains 119 sermons, of which 106 are viewed as authentic. 89 of these apparently constituted the collection available to Gennadius in Marseille at the end of the fifth century. These sermons were preached to the congregation in Turin on a variety of different topics. Many of them were preached to celebrate the feast day of a specific saint. Andreas Merkt has identified three main motivations guiding Maximus’ sermons on the saints. Firstly, he argues that Maximus preached on saints to provide examples for his congregation to follow. Secondly, that Maximus uses stories of martyrdom to communicate messages about the importance of Christ’s passion and the nature of the Eucharist to his congregation. Thirdly, Merkt argues that the saints Maximus focused on reflect his view on the ideal structure of the Church: he emphasises the primacy of Peter and Paul and the Roman church.

Bibliography

Edition: Mutzenbecher, A., Maximi episcopi Taurinensis Collectionem sermonum antiquam (Corpus Christianorum Series Latina 23; Turnhout: Brepols, 1962). Translation: Ramsey, B., The Sermons of Maximus of Turin (Ancient Christian Writers 50; Westminster MD: Newman Press, 1989). Further Reading: Lizzi, R., "Ambrose’s Contemporaries and the Christianisation of Northern Italy," Journal of Roman Studies 80 (1990), 156-173. Merkt, A., Maximus I. von Turin. Die Verkündigung eines Bischofs der frühen Reichskirche im zeitgeschichtliche liturgischen Kontext (Leiden:Brill, 1997).

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