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Maximianus of Ravenna

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Maximianus of Ravenna (499 - February 22, 556; feast day formerly February 21) was bishop of Ravenna.

Born in the Istrian city of Pula (Croatia), Maximianus was consecrated bishop of Ravenna in 546 by Pope Vigilius in Patras, Greece. Maximianus was a forty-eight year old deacon from Pola when he became the twenty-sixth bishop of Ravenna. According to the ninth-century Ravennate priest Andreas Agnellus, Maximianus' flock initially refused his leadership, because he was selected by the emperor Justinian and was not their initial candidate. He completed the basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna, and also built Sant'Apollinare in Classe and several other churches.

Maximianus devoted himself to the revision of liturgical books and to the emendation of the Latin text of the Bible, and commissioned a large number of illuminated manuscripts. For the high altar in Ravenna he had a hanging made of the most costly cloth, which was embroidered with a portrayal of the entire life of Jesus. In another hanging he had portraits of all his predecessors embroidered on gold ground.

Maximian's most remarkable episcopal furnishing is the Throne of Maximianus, the cathedra of the bishop which was constructed entirely of ivory panels. It was probably carved in Constantinople and shipped to Ravenna. It consists of decorative floral panels framing various figured panels, including one with the complex monogram of the bishop.

In a 6th-century mosaic at Ravenna, Saint Maximianus (named above the figure) is shown leading a procession with Emperor Justinian. The saint holds a cross and wears a chasuble and stole.

Gallery

References

Andreas Agnellus of Ravenna. The Book of Pontiffs of Ravenna, trans. Deliyannis Mauskopf. Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 2004.

Further Reading

Otto von Simson. Sacred Fortress: Byzantine Art and Statecraft in Ravenna. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1987.

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