Ademar of Chabannes and his insertions into Bede’s Expositio Actuum Apostolorum.
Daniel F. Callahan
The historical origins of St. Martial and his cult are very different from what is presented in the Aurelian Vita. He seems, at least according to Gregory of Tours in both The History of the Franks and The Book of the Glory of the Confessors, to have been a mid-third-century missionary who along with others such as St. Denis, St. Trophime and St. Sernin had been sent by the pope to Gaul. Martial converted Limoges, became its first bishop and was eventually buried there.
During the Merovingian period the cult grew, with many pilgrims visiting his remains. In the early ninth century a Vita (BHL 5551) was written which demonstrated the Carolingian preoccupation with St. Peter and made Martial a close disciple of the first pope. The clerics who resided at the tomb adopted the Benedictine Rule toward the middle of this century, and the house in the ensuing period became an important center for learning and the recipient of many gifts of land in various sections of southern France.
It was not until the 1020’s, however, in conjunction with the building of a new basilica church that the monks began to push to its logical conclusion the material contained in the Aurelian Vita, namely that St. Martial was not simply a disciple of St. Peter or even of Christ, but that he merited the title of apostle. By the latter part of the decade the impresario for this campaign was Ademar of Chabannes. He was a professed monk of Saint-Cybard of Angoulême but one who had lived for a number of years at Saint-Martial where several of his uncles had been monks of prominence. It was Ademar who left behind much of the information on the development of the campaign in many manuscripts now found primarily in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris but also in libraries in Berlin, Rome, Leyden and Princeton, New Jersey.
Daniel F. Callahan. “Ademar of Chabannes and his insertions into Bede’s Expositio Actuum Apostolorum“. Analecta Bollandiana, 111 (1993), p. 385-400
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