« Alumnate Alvar of Cordova Alypius, Saint »

Alvar of Cordova

ALVAR OF CORDOVA (called also Paul Alvar): Spanish Christian champion against the Mohammedans; b. about 800; d. about 861. His ancestors appear to have been Jews, and his family was wealthy. He lived, highly esteemed, upon an inherited estate near Cordova, where he was educated with his lifelong friend Eulogius by the abbot Speraindeo (d. before 852), author of a work against Islam and of a glorification of two Christian brothers who suffered martyrdom under Abd al-Rahman II. From this teacher Alvar and his fellow pupil imbibed a feeling of hatred toward the Mohammedans. Spanish Christians at the time were filled with a fanatical longing for martyrdom and found an easy way to the attainment of their desire by publicly reviling Mohammed, which was forbidden under the penalty of death. Alvar encouraged such proceedings, while Eulogius, after some hesitation, became the soul of the movement. In Alvar’s chief work, the Indiculus luminosus (854), he undertakes to prove that Mohammed was a precursor of Antichrist and that it was therefore permissible to revile him. That he did not himself seek a martyr’s death is explained by the often-repeated assertion of Eulogius, that only such should sacrifice themselves as were ripe for eternal life through personal holiness. The movement died out after Eulogius had suffered (859), and Alvar then wrote his friend’s life in a strain of extravagant glorification. His last and most mature work was a Confessio, imitated (but not slavishly) from the Oratio pro correptione vitæ of Isidore of Seville; in mystico-contemplative form it expresses deep contrition and the longing for salvation. A few of Alvar’s Latin poems have been preserved, and a Liber scintillarum, a sort of Christian ethics in the form of a collection of quotations from Biblical and ecclesiastical writers, is ascribed to him with probability by a Gothic manuscript of Madrid (cf. MPL, xc. 94-95). His works are in MPL, cxv., cxxi.

Bibliography: W. von Baudissin, Eulogius und Alvar, Leipsic, 1872.

« Alumnate Alvar of Cordova Alypius, Saint »
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