Maximus of Turin
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Saint Maximus of Turin
Image of Maximus from the Codice della Catena.
|Died||Between 408 and 423 AD|
|Venerated in||Catholic Church|
|Attributes||depicted as a bishop pointing at a roe|
Saint Maximus of Turin (Italian: San Massimo; date of birth unknown [380?] – death between 408 and 423, or 465) was a Christian bishop and theological writer. He is believed to have been a native of Rhaetia (modern day Northern Italy).
His name is in the Roman Martyrology on 25 June, and the city of Turin honors him as its patron saint. A life which, however, is entirely unreliable, was written after the 11th century, and is printed in the Acta Sanctorum, June, VII, 3rd ed., 44-46. It states that a cleric one day followed Maximus with an evil intention to a retired chapel where he often prayed. The cleric suddenly became so thirsty that he implored Maximus for help. A roe deer happened to pass which the saint caused to stop, so that the cleric could partake of its milk. This legend accounts for the fact that Maximus is represented in art as pointing at a roe deer.
Maximus is the author of numerous discourses, first edited by Bruno Bruni, and published by order of Pope Pius VI at the Propaganda in 1784 (reprinted in P.L., LVII). These discourses, delivered to the people by the saint, consist of one hundred and eighteen homilies, one hundred and sixteen sermons, and six treatises (tractatus). However, a new edition is published in the collection Corpus Christianorum Series Latina by Almut Mutzenbecher (n° XXIII, Turnhout 1962) which has accurately identified the corpus to be attributed to Maximus I of Turin. This is currently the best edition of Maximus' sermons (see this edition for more information on content and datation of each sermon).
According to the edition of Bruni,Homilies 1-63 are de tempore, i.e. on the seasons of the ecclesiastical year and on the feasts of Our Lord; 64-82, de sanctis, i.e. on the saints whose feast was commemorated on the day on which they were delivered; 83-118, de diversis, i.e. exegetical, dogmatical or moral. Sermons 1-55 are de tempore; 56-93, de sanctis; 93-116, de diversis. Three of the treatises are on baptism (but, now to be attributed to an anonym author of northern Italy, see Anonimo Veronese, Omelie mistagogiche e catechetiche, edizione critica e studio a cura di Giuseppe Sobrero, Rome, 1992), one against the Pagans, and one against the Jews. The last two are extant only in fragments, and their genuineness is doubtful. The sixth treatise, whose genuineness is also doubtful, contains short discourses on twenty-three topics taken from the Four Gospels. An appendix contains writings of uncertain authorship: thirty-one sermons, three homilies, and two long epistles addressed to a sick friend. Many writings, however, which Bruni ascribes to Maximus are of doubtful origin. The discourses are usually very brief, and couched in forcible, though at times over flowery language. Among the many facts of liturgy and history touched on in the discourses are: abstinence during Lent (hom. 44), no fasting or kneeling at prayers during paschal time (hom. 61), fasting on the Vigil of Pentecost (hom. 62), the synod of Milan in 389 at which Jovinianus was condemned (hom. 9), the impending barbarian invasion (hom. 86-92), the destruction of the Church of Milan by the barbarians (hom. 94), various pagan superstitions still prevalent at his time (hom. 16, 100-02), the supremacy of St. Peter (hom. 54, 70, 72, serm. 114).
- (in Italian) San Massimo di Torino
- Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. .
- Icon of St. Maximus of Turin
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