Byzantine Hagiography: Texts, Themes & Projects
An introduction to the current Byzantine hagiographical studies and projects
In recent years Byzantine hagiography has attracted renewed interest of the international community of Byzantine scholars and not only thanks to studies dedicated to this subject and critical editions of individual texts, but also because hagiography has been the main focus of numerous major research projects: databases, new repertories, a new version of the Bibliotheca Hagiographica Graeca and some very useful handbooks dedicated to this literary genre during the Byzantine Empire. These researches have analysed Byzantine hagiography in relation to the hagiographic writings composed in neighbouring areas, the West, the Syriac and Arabic Middle East, the Southern Slavs, etc. but also the relations between the hagiographical texts and other literary genres.
This volume introduces the current developments of hagiographical studies and on-going projects on the subject, and investigates a variety of texts and authors from the Patristic period to the end of Byzantium.
Antonio Rigo is Professor of Byzantine Philology and Christianity at Ca' Foscari - University of Venice. His research focuses on religious life in Byzantium, with special emphasis on ascetical and mystical literature, heresiology, and theology during the Paleologan period.
The present critical edition of the Martyrdom of Cyriacus and Julitta is based on the MS of the Vаtican Library, Syriac 161 (its facsimile reproduction was issued by the Bibliotheca Apostolica Vаticana together with Brighаm Young University) and on the text of the Martyrdom edited by P. Bedjan (Acta Martyrum et Sanctorum III). The latter was collated with the relevant part of the MS of the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts, Saint-Petersburg (Diettrich d). The edition is accompanied by a thorough philological analysis of the text. The target audience of the edition are scholars specialized in the Syriac literature (in particular, Syriac hagiography and apocrypha) as well as those interested in studying Syriac language and textual criticism.
Memorial to Sevir Chernetsov, outstandinf africcan and Ethiopic scholar
This article discusses one of the most peculiar elements of the Diocletianic tradition in Coptic hagiographical texts which is unattested in any other historical sources — namely, the special connection between Diocletian and his favourite god, Apollo. It appears that the authors of Coptic texts used for re-creating the historical setting of the events of the Great Persecution not only the material provided in the works of Christian historiographers, such as Eusebius, Lactantius and John Malalas, but also homiletic and hymnographic material found in other sources. The descriptions of the Diocletian’s connection with Apollo in the Coptic texts contradict the historical evidence (Diocletian’s tutelary deity was Zeus, not Apollo); however, they evince their authors’ knowledge of the references to the cult of Apollo at Antioch in the works of the two most popular Antiochian authors of later period — John Chrysostom and Severus of Antioch. Their homilies in honour of St Babylas of Antioch have been known in Egypt from the relatively early stage and have obviously influenced the Coptic perception of Antioch as a centre of the cult of Apollo; one might also see the how these later episodes — the story of Julian the Apostate and the relics of St Babylas — were re-imagined and re-introduced by Coptic hagiographers into the martyr passions of the Diocletianic period.
A significant number of fourteenth- and fifteenth-century churches, scattered throughout the medieval Hungarian Kingdom, is characterized by a common iconography of the triumphal arch: on its pillars, there are depicted the standing figures of the holy kings of Hungary – initially, only St. Stephen and St. Ladislas, but later also St. Emeric and St. Sigismund. Previous scholars have focused on the collective representation of the Arpadian holy kings, considering this iconographic theme as an expression of the national values they embodied, but no study deals with the individual depiction of the royal saints on the pillars of the triumphal arch. The goal of the paper is to briefly emphasize the two different strategies of conveying meaning by emphasizing the iconographic similarities and differences of the separate and collective depiction of the holy kings and to recover the initial meaning of the frescoes by examining the extended iconographic program of the altar and looking at the liturgical texts of the time.
The conclusion is, first, that not all extant mural representations of the holy kings of Hungary should be judged as having, as thought until now, exclusively a political meaning, despite the common conceptual association of the Hungarian Kingdom’s pillars, namely, St. Stephen, St. Ladislas, and St. Emeric. As indicated by their dating and extrinsic characteristics (iconographic context and low visibility), the depiction of the holy kings on the pillars of the triumphal arch pre-dates the mid-fourteenth century, when the collective representation occurred, and has an exclusively theological meaning: it emphasizes the role of St. Stephen as the apostle of the Hungarian Church (sanctissimus rex Stephanus ungarorum apostolus) and St. Ladislas as its defender (columpna milicie christianae). Political aspects began to pervade this type of representation in the first decades of the fifteenth century, when King Sigismund of Luxemburg made St. Sigismund, his personal Bohemian patron saint, the companion of the Hungarian royal saints, St. Stephen, St. Emeric, and St. Ladislas. Consequently, the paper argues that the materiality of the holy kings’ triumphal arch representation is a two-fold metaphor of the Hungarian Church and Kingdom, highlighting the main stages of their existence.
Cosmas and Damianos, encyclopedia enty. Description of the hagiographic dossier
Onomastic of the Life of Gäbrä Krestos, famous champion of the Ethiopic hagiography. He was Syriabn and his name turns to be most enigmatic in the Syro-Ethiopic hagiography.
The study concerns the veneration of saints in the traditional peasant culture of the XIX-early XXI century. and specifically - the legends of the saints, their interaction with literary and folklore tradition. Many literary lives of the saints are based on folklore legends, but sometimes the influence may have the opposite direction: the lives of saints being retold and changed in the oral tradition acquire the characteristics of folklore of legends. In the monograph the mechanisms of legends transformation and functioning are studied, The socio-cultural role and functions of folk legends about saints, their interaction with the literary lives of the saints, as well as a detailed analysis in the ethnographic and historical context of the corps of folklore texts, about the saints Alexander Oshevensky, Cyrill Chelmogorsky, Nil StoLobensky, Nikita Stylites and Irinarkh the Recluse.
The Second Evangelisation of the Axumite kingdom was operated by Syrian monks coming from Roman Empire. They brought to Axum some important practices from their original places. These ensured their missionary success but they also introduced some novelties into social practices of local Christians. One of these practices was the name change as a consequence of ascetic behavior. Syriac ascetics either rejected their names of took upon themselves new Christian names like Man of God, Man of Christб Minister of Christ. Some of these rejection cases are well known from the Syriac monastic tradition (e. g. Alexius), other did not reject the name but showed themselves reluctant to accept old names (like Archelides). In Axum Za-Mikael Arägawi and НуMata Libanos were good examples of the implementation of these practices. In doing that Ethiopic ascetic of Syriac background tried to re-establish the society they were living in on new evangelical cornerstone — the new world should reject the old one.