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May 11, 2011 / jmeuropeana

Ice Saints – Mamertus, Pancras, Servatius, Boniface of Tarsus

On the 11th of May –

it is the first day of the The Ice Saints (“IJsheiligen”), a period from 11th to 15th of May that was considered to be the last possible dates that nachtvorst could occur. In public memory it is also thought that there is a higher than normal chance that it will freeze at night i that period, which is nonsense. Just goes to show what a well-chosen name can do…
And the name was created when we were still under the Julian calendar – under the current Georgian calendar the equivalent period would be 23-26 May 🙂
I remember camping on these dates in Switzerland one time, and we were sooo cold; but then again that could have had something to do with the fact that we were 1500m up.

The Ice Saints are recognized in Flemish, Dutch, Hungarian, German, Austrian, Polish and Swiss folklore. In Flanders and Holland the saints are St. Mamertus, St. Pancras, St. Servatius and St. Boniface of Tarsus.

St. Mamertus was the archbisshop of Vienne and died in 475
Siège des archevêques de Vienne (Isère)
Notice chronologico-historique sur les archevêques de Vienne : d'après des documents paléographiques inédits / par C.-U.-J. Chevalier,...

St. Pancras of Rome converted to christianity at a very young age, and was beheaded for this reason at age 14 in the year 304. Now the name ‘St. Pancras’ is best known as a railway station of London.
Pancrasweek, St Pancras VADS Collection: Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi (CVMA)
St Pancras Station and Hotel, Camden Town, London

St. Servatius (Sint Servaas, d. 384) is best known for founding the cathedral that bears his name in the city of Maastricht.
But there are othe St. Servatius churches, such as the one in Heide in Belgium that contains these beautiful modern stained glass windows:
An interpretation of his looks from the year 1400, so more than 1000 years after his death:
Servatius, heilige

Boniface of Tarsus was a ‘lower saint’, deemed less important by the church – perhaps because he was a slave? He was killed after professing himself to be a Christian when he came into a town where prosecutions were going on. Perhaps not the wisest of moves, but undeniably brave.
Stuttgarter Passionale — Pars hiemalis (erster Band) — --- — Initiale T (emporibus diocletiani), darin Martyrium des heiligen Bonifatius, Folio 57verso
Martyrium von zwei jungen Männern im Vordergrund, das des Hl.Bonifatius von Tarsus wahrscheinlich links, mittig das des Hl. Vincentius von Valencia(von Saragossa), des Hl.Primus und des Hl.Felicianus, das von vier Männern, rechts Martyrium des Hl.Petrus, Hl.Marcellinus und des Hl.Hisennius.


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