Christianity

13th century seal matrix match to British Library Stone Priory seal

Experts at the British Library have matched a bronze seal matrix, dating to the 13th century, with a 19th century sulphur cast of a seal belonging to the Augustinian canons of Stone Priory in Staffordshire. The matrix was discovered recently in a Surrey field. (photos)

Vatican publication claims Shakespeare was Catholic

The new film Anonymous, which debates the authorship of Shakespeare's plays, has opened a new controversary: the playwright's religion. L'Osservatore Romano reports that references in several plays prove that the Bard was Roman Catholic.

December 25 as Christmas

Scholar Andrew McGowan offers a paper on the Dating of Christmas on the Academia.edu website. Originally published as How December 25th Became Christmas, a 2002 edition of Bible Review, the paper is available in PDF format.

7th century Christian prayer box found in Jerusalem

The archaeological dig at the "Givati parking lot" in Jerusalem has yielded an extremely rare Byzantine prayer box dating to the 6th or 7th centuries. The small box is made from stone and is decorated with a cross. (photos)

"Crisis in the Byzantine Empire" may have brought about the First Crusade

Everyone knows that the First Crusade began with a call from Pope Urban II to free Jerusalem from the Muslims. That is, everyone but British historian Peter Frankopan, whose new book, The First Crusade: the Call from the East, offers a different explanation.

St. John's Bible completed

Nearly thirteen years ago, calligrapher Donald Jackson began an epic project to create a hand-written Bible, commissioned by St. John’s University in Minnesota. Now, with a final "Amen," the Bible has been completed. Michael Inbar of Today.com has the story. (video)

Why red and green at Christmas?

As the Christmas season draws near, the colors red and green can be found everywhere, but who decided that these two colors should be associated with Christmas? Cambridge research scientist Dr Spike Bucklow believes he knows.

Knight learns lesson in 14th century ghost story

On the blog Puremedievalry, Sirthopas, a graduate student at Trinity College in Dublin, has posted a 14th century ghost story - in Middle English. Fortunately, he also includes his translation.

Sing to the Hand!

Students of music in the Middle Ages would have learned their notes in a different manner than their modern counterparts. They would have learned the Guidonian Hand, a mthod in which "a map of notes  was arranged on the hand."

Remains of fifteen Anglo-Saxons given Christian burial

Last year, fifteen skeletons dating to Angelo Saxon times were discovered during a construction project at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Bicester, England. Recently the remains were re-interred in a church memorial garden. (video)

Location of 13th century seal puzzles experts

A large medieval seal dating to the 13th or 14th century has been discovered in a field in Surrey, England. The mystery of the seal is that it is believed to have originated at Stone Priory in north Staffordshire. (photo)

Churches in Sudan shed light on saints and pilgrims

A series of well-preserved medieval churches in central Sudan are giving researchers new information into the world of medieval pilgrimages and veneration. Inscriptions at one site show that pilgrims came from as far away as Catalonia.

Early Christian cemetery found in Ireland

A pre-Viking burial site dating to the 600s has been found near Dublin, Ireland. The site was discovered during construction for a power company project.

Norman involvement in 11th century Spain

In his 2007 dissertation for the University of Nottingham, Norman and Anglo-Norman Participation in the Iberian Reconquista c.1018 – c.1248, Lucas Villegas-Aristizabal considers the contribution of the Normans, especially Crusaders, in the Christianizing of the Iberian Peninsula.

2011 Fall Icon Workshop

Saint John Chrysostom Byzantine Catholic Church (Houston, Texas) is sponsoring an Icon-Writing (painting) Studio at any level of experience, for adults and accompanied children over 10, on Friday, November 4, 2011 through Sunday, November 6, 2011.

Crusader sword pommel: "one of the most significant relics of the Middle Ages ever discovered in Scotland"

A metal detectorist has discovered the pommel of a 13th century sword in a farmer's field in Selkirkshire, Scotland. Experts believe the bronze pommel belonged to a Norman noble involved in the Last Crusade.

Face of beheaded Archbishop of Canterbury revealed

Experts have reconstructed the face of Simon of Sudbury, the Archbishop of Canterbury who was beheaded in a peasant revolt in 1381.

First phase of St. Peter's Colonade restoration revealed

Rome Reports has released a sort video on YouTube showcasing the newly renovated left Colonnade at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.

Reliquary holding relics of saint found in Perperikon

Archaeologist Nikolay Ovcharov recently discovered a 5th century bronze reliquary containg a cross which held two fibers, either hair or textile, believed to have belonged to a saint.

Papers sought for "The Crusades and Visual Culture"

Elizabeth Lapina of Durham University in Great Britain reports that she is seeking papers and proposals for the upcoming publication, The Crusades and Visual Culture. The submission deadline is December 1, 2011.

[DRA] Stairway to Heaven

You find yourself looking through an art anthology or wandering through a museum. Here is wonderful documentation for your new purse, a gorgeous picture of a gentleman making shoes and... a guy on a grill? Who is he? And why is there a cute dragon at that lady's feet? And.. oh my, why does that man have his head under his arm? We will answer these questions and more at Stairway to Heaven.

Tale of a 15th century Spanish "conversa"

In an article for the Jerusalem Post, professor of Jewish history and dean at the Schechter Institute, Renee Levine Melamme tells the story of a family of 15th century "crypto-Jews" tried by the Spanish Inquisition in Ciudad Real.

Previously unknown medieval archbishopric discovered in Bulgaria

Bulgarian archaeologist Nikolay Ovcharov has discovered two archbishop's seals during excavations of the city of Perperikon, a crucial urban center during the Middle Ages and the Byzantine and Bulgarian Empires. The two lead seals belonged to Constantine, Archbishop of Archidos.

New Welsh Pilgrim's Way inaugurated by 127 mile walk

The new Pilgrim's Way walking path in Wales was christened recently when 80 walkers began the 127-mile (204km), 12-day trek from Basingwerk Abbey in Holywell, Flintshire to Bardsey Island in Gwynedd. (slideshow)

Saint Philip's tomb discovered in Turkey

Archaeologists working in Pamukkale, Turkey believe they have found the tomb of St. Philip the Apostle. Pamukkale is the modern name of the ancient city of Hierapolis where Philip was killed.

Pilgrimage for the modern penitent

Walking to Compostella is so 1482! Today, pilgrims reach Santiago de Compostela by bicycle, bus, and even airplane. This is one of many ways that the famed Pilgrim route has adapted to the modern world.

Fresco of St. Paul found in Naples catacombs

A 6th century fresco of St. Paul has been discovered in the Catacombs of San Gennaro in Naples during restoration work according to L'Osservatore, the official Vatican newspaper. (photo)

33rd Annual Medieval and Renaissance Forum call for papers

On April 20-21, 2012, Plymouth State University in central New Hampshire, will host the 33rd Annual Medieval and Renaissance Forum. The Forum is now accepting abstracts for papers to be presented at the conference.

Vatican documents online

A large selection of documents held by the Vatican have been released online at the Documenta Catholica Omnia. All material is in Latin.

16th century automaton replicates "prayer and trance"

Tradition says that a 16th century mechanical monk, now owned by the Smithsonian Institution, was created by Juanelo Turriano for Spanish Emperor Charles V. The monk walks, prays, and kisses a wooden cross. (photo and video)