Nazarius (saint)

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St. Nazarius on horseback, fresco in the Abbazia dei Santi Nazario e Celso , Piedmont, Italy

Nazarius was a Roman soldier who converted to Christianity and worked with his pupil Celsus in Gaul and Italy . Emidius (also Emygdius, Italian: Emidio d'Ascoli), the later bishop of the Italian city of Ascoli Piceno and saint (feast day August 5), is said to have converted to Christianity through the sermons of Nazarius and Celsus. As a result of the Diocletian persecution of Christians , both died a martyr in Milan around 304 . He is venerated as a saint in the Orthodox , Armenian and Roman Catholic Churches .

The feast day of St. Nazarius is July 28th, in the Armenian Church the 7th, in the Orthodox Churches the 14th October. The discovery and transfer of the bones is commemorated on June 12th. His attribute is the sword .

Finding the bones and early worship

The biographer and secretary of St. Ambrose , the deacon Paulinus of Milan , reports in his Vita sancti Ambrosii as an eyewitness about the discovery and transfer of the bones of the martyrs Nazarius and Celsus . According to Paulinus, this took place soon after the death of Emperor Theodosius I in 395, about 90 years after the martyrdom:

“Ambrose had the body of the holy martyr Nazarius, who was buried in a garden outside the city, lifted and transferred to the Basilica of the Apostles, which is near the Porta Romana. But we saw such fresh blood in the grave where the martyr lay, as if it had been shed on the same day. His head, too, which the nefarious had chopped off, was so whole and intact with hair and beard, as if it […] appeared to have been washed and combed. We also felt a fragrance that surpassed the sweetness of all fragrances (vita 33). "

The bones were recovered and placed on a stretcher. The bones of the martyr Celsus were found in the same garden through the prayer of the bishop and the advice of the guardians of this site. The bones of Nazarius were then transferred to the Basilica of the Apostles, which was also called Basilica Romana, and St. Nazarius was later made a co-patron (i.e. the Basilica dei Santi Apostoli e Nazaro Maggiore, commonly also Basilica di San Nazaro in Brolo). Paulinus no longer mentions the bones of the martyr Celsus explicitly. The reliquary of San Nazaro , a silver reliquary from the 4th century, was found in said basilica .

The veneration of the saint was widespread from late antiquity and various churches in Italy ( Rome , Nola , Brescia , Ravenna ), Constantinople , North Africa and France claimed to have relics of the martyr. The western French port city of Saint-Nazaire and other cities in France and Canada are named after the saint .

Translation according to Lorsch and worship in southwest Germany

When Pope Paul I - threatened by the Lombards in the 8th century - asked the Franks for help, Bishop Chrodegang von Metz asked the Pope "Bodies of holy martyrs" so that monastery churches could consecrate their patronage.

“With regard to Rudgang's (Chrodegang) devotion and services to the Roman Church, the apostolic priest consented and sent him the (bones of) Saint. Nazarius, Nabor and Gorgonius by Willihar, the Bishop of Sedunum ( Sion , Sion - Canton Wallis ), who were then transferred to Gorzia ( Gorze Abbey ) on May 15, 764. "

One year after the founding of the Lorsch Monastery, on July 11th, 764, the pilgrimage from the Wasgenwald ( Palatinate Forest ) to the Lorsch Monastery took place with great sympathy from the nobility and the people : the Counts Cancor (from the Upper Rhinegau ) and Warin (vom Ladengau) the treasure of the holy body on their own shoulders in the midst of a large crowd "to the place provided by heaven". The presence of the relics of St. Nazarius quickly led to smaller and larger donations to the Lorsch Monastery, mostly with the phrase "forever to the holy martyr Nazarius", the new patron saint of the abbey. When the first abbot, Gundeland, died in December 788, more than 1,400 donations had been made to the St. Nazarius monastery, which were recorded in the Lorsch Codex . From the Dutch North Sea ( Hattem ) more or less along the Rhine to Switzerland ( Chur ) donations and goods traditions were made to Nazarius. The first documented mention of the locality goes back to many of these donations. The monastery benefited enormously from this development.

As a result, the Nazarius cult spread particularly in the area of Bergstrasse , where the martyr was probably the most important saint of all in the late 8th century and a number of Nazarius churches arose (see Nazarius Church ). Beginning in the 12th century, however, the veneration of the saint declined somewhat. Today, for example, in Ober-Roden , a district of Rödermark in Hesse, the Catholic Church is dedicated to St. Nazarius and the local coat of arms shows his sword.

In connection with the introduction of the Reformation in the Electoral Palatinate in 1566, the Lorsch Nazarius relics were lost; presumably they were sold. According to other sources, the relics only disappeared during the Thirty Years War when the Swedes destroyed the monastery . On the occasion of the 1200th anniversary of the founding of the Lorsch Monastery and thus the first documentary mention of Lorsch, the Catholic parish of St. Nazarius Lorsch celebrated the anniversary with the installation of a new reliquary altar. A certified relic from the skull of St. Nazarius had been received from Milan , which was placed in this altar.


Web links

Commons : Heiliger Nazarius  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Gotteslob , Catholic prayer and hymn book, edition for the Diocese of Trier. P. 994
  2. ^ A b Ernst Dassmann : Ambrosius of Milan. Life and work. Stuttgart 2004. p. 155. E. Dassmann quotes here from the Vita santi Ambrosii
  3. ^ Minst, Karl Josef [transl.], Lorscher Codex: German; Document book of the former prince abbey Lorsch (Volume 1): Chronicon. Documents nos. 1 - 166, with notes that report the history of the monastery from 764 - 1175 and with additions up to 1181 - Lorsch, 1966.
  4. ^ Minst, Karl Josef [transl.], Lorscher Codex: German; Document book of the former prince abbey Lorsch (Volume 1): Chronicon. Documents nos. 1 - 166, with notes that report the history of the monastery from 764 - 1175 and with additions up to 1181 - Lorsch, 1966.
  5. Minst, Karl Josef [transl.]: Lorscher Codex (Volume 4), documents 2000 ff. In: Heidelberger historical stocks - digital. Heidelberg University Library, p. 15 , accessed on November 18, 2016 .
  6. ^ Heinrich Büttner: A memorial for the foundation of the Lorsch Monastery 1200 years ago. In: Contributions to the history of the Lorsch monastery. History sheets district Bergstrasse, special volume 4. 2nd edition 1980. Ed .: Heimat- und Kulturverein Lorsch in connection with the AG of the history- and Heimatvereine in the district Bergstrasse. P. 28.
  7. Julia Becker: Handschuhsheim as a village from the Carolingian era and its first mention in the Lorsch Codex. In: Christoph Mauntel, Carla Meyer, Achim Wendt (eds.): Heidelberg in the Middle Ages and Renaissance. A search for clues in ten walks. Jan Thorbecke, Ostfildern 2014, ISBN 978-3-7995-0520-8 , pp. 20–37, here pp. 27 f.
  8. Valentin Alois Franz Falk - History of the former Lorsch Monastery on Bergstrasse: based on the sources and with special emphasis on the activities of the monastery in the field of art and science , Mainz 1866, p. 109.
  9. accessed on November 6, 2019.
  10. Laurissa Jubilans | Festschrift for the 1200th anniversary of Lorsch, published by the municipality of Lorsch, supplement, probably 1964
  11. accessed on November 6, 2019.