Proceedings of the 22gd International Congress of Byzantine Studies. Abstracts of free Communications, Sofia, 22–27 august 2011
The book contains papers delievered for the 10th annual conference "Nish and Byzantium".
The Apostle Andrew, which the New Testament mentions very sparingly, appears in the Acta Andreæ (2 half. II c.) as a preacher of encratism, but in the Byzantine era these acts have been revised by removing the “heresy” and served as a statement of the cult of the apostle in Patras in the Peloponnese. In addition, the mention of Byzantion has been interpreted afterwards as the foundation of Constantinopolitan siege and updated by metropolitan legends. Andrew is also a hero of the apocryphal acts which show him together with the other apostles. Among these quite fantastic narratives, one must mention the Acts of Andrew and Matthias (beginning of the IV c.). The action takes place along the southern Black Sea coast. Particular data from all these sources were compiled from the VI c. in the so-called lists of the Apostles, and they in turn inﬂ uenced Epiphanius the Monk, who wrote in 815-843 The Life of Andrew – a very singular text in the tradition of Apostles’ stories. This life, where the Apostle acts in the boundaries of the Byzantine Empire of IX c., gave rise to a number of revisions in the IX-XI cc. (Nicetas Paphlagonian, Simeon Metaphrastes, etc.), but also inﬂ uenced the formation of the legends about Andrew’s preaching in Georgia and Russia. From the preacher of encratism he was at ﬁ rst, Andrew became the Apostle of Byzantium and its world.
The critique of Francis Thomson constitutes only part of Ostrowski’s book. The other
part, completely unrelated to the first one, is dedicated to a comparison of the in- tellectual development of the two halves of the Christian world in the Middle Ages.
Ostrowski’s assertion that the Byzantines did not include logic in their school cur- riculum is untrue. What seems to him to be the main difference between East and
West does not take root until the end of the 12th century. The West was drifting away from the common patterns of ancient Mediterranean civilization. The East largely remained the same. The Byzantines did not feel any special inclination toward the practical application of theoretical ideas. The people of Old Rus’, on the contrary, were quick at learning and innovating. Respect for tradition inevitably played a smaller role in a nascent culture than in a culture that had been born old.
Any person, even with no knowledge about Russia, easily identifies the image of St. Basil’s Cathedral in the Moscow Red Square. This cathedral is the symbol of Russia, yet few people know what made St. Basil so famous. This saint wandered about naked, bullied passersby, brawled at the marketplace and once even smashed a revered icon. Saints such as Basil overturn the conventional concept of sainthood. Why do they get away with any bizarre act that they commit? What is saintly about them?
Such saints are called ‘holy fools’. The concept of holy foolery is a spontaneous response of the religious consciousness to the “secularization” of the church; it is an attempt to blow up the world which is “lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot”.
In his lecture Ivanov will identify the prerequisites for this phenomenon, trace the way it was shaped by a religious mind, and follow the emergence of the first hagiographic texts telling about these paradoxical saints. Ivanov will demonstrate how actual towns’ madmen were “promoted to the rank” of holy fools, while subsequent generations of hagiographers sought to “fit” the actual insanity in the earlier established canon.
Sergey Ivanov will track down holy foolery from its origins in Egyptian monasteries through its evolution in the cities of Byzantium, describe its prime and its decline followed by a new flourish and a gradual fading on the Greek soil. He will also consider other phenomena similar to holy foolery, especially in medieval Italian culture. Ivanov will proceed to analyze Russian holy foolery, which borrowed some elements from the Byzantine model, but also reinterpreted it quite a bit. Examining both types of holy foolery side by side will shed new light on both cultures. Holy fools vanished in modern Greece. In Russia, however, they are deeply worshiped by the believers up till this day. What is happening to this phenomenon in a modern, secular society?
Notre ambition n’est pas de couvrir un thème d’une ampleur si vaste, mais notre objectif est de montrer, par de nouvelles approches et différents points de vue, les transformations qui se sont opérées à chaque époque (de l’époque proto-byzantine à l’époque byzantine tardive) et comment elles ont été formulées dans les textes byzantins. Les domaines choisis pour un tel examen des choses sont l’expression (nous incluons non seulement le point de vue purement littéraire, mais aussi la terminologie ainsi que la façon de décrire les situations et les sentiments), l’idéologie(autrement dit le point de vue duquel les auteurs byzantins voyaient et jugeaient les événements) et, enfin, la société (modes de comportement de groupes sociaux ou d’individus isolés, mentalités, conceptions etc.).