Saints, Hymnody, and Miracles: Hymns as Elements of Saints' Cult and Devotional Artifacts in Late Antiquity
This chapter explores the different uses of hymn-singing, both liturgical and devotional, as elements of devotion to, and cult of, saints in late antique Greek-speaking Christian communities
The case of a Sufi shrine of the Dagestani origin in Turkey examined in the article relates to the history of shared transnational Sufi networks. The naqshbandiyya-halidiya brotherhood of the Ottoman origin once moved from the Middle East to Russia’s borderlands in the Eastern Caucasus and then came back to the Ottoman Empire from the North Caucasus. Dagestani Sufi networks and holy places represent a specific kind of interactions between the Muslim elites in the Middle East, the North Caucasus, the Volga-Ural region, and Anatolia from the late nineteenth century up today. The biographies of Muhammad and Sharaf ad-Din from Kikuni buried in Turkey are well documented in various written sources, epigraphs, and oral histories. They participated in the 1877 Uprising, were exiled in the Volga region, and then immigrated to the Ottoman Empire. Their biographies show that the Naqshbandiya-Khalidiyya often crossed political boundaries and ideological barriers established in the region during the demarcation of the possessions of the Ottoman Turkey and the Russian Empire. The exchange of territories and subjects between Turkey and Russia over the past one and a half centuries led to the emergence of hybrid identities. The article traces a micro-history of an identity in a muhajir (immigrant) village community in Western Anatolia. Contrary to popular belief, the Sufi brotherhood never represented a single elusive player in the “Big Game” between the Great Powers. Rather, it included numerous rival factions whose leaders formed complex relations with each other and with local political elites. Sufi ritual networks were and still are closely connected to more local networks of sacred sites (ziyarats) in the regions.
This article has analyzed several Russian polemical and hagiographical texts of the XVIth – early XVIIth centuries in order to identify concepts, terms and notions in which the holiness of saints and meaning of saints’ cult are expressed; article concludes that the Byzantine doctrine of theosis served as basis for “theorizing” about saints; besides, merits and outward activity is not held as precondition for “being saint”; holiness is thus regarded as a sort of charisma.
The chapter offers a critical re-consideration of both late antique accounts, and modern scholarly discussions, of the so-called 'heretical hymns' in use in late antique Christian communities.
The article examines long-lasting confrontation between Spanish Inquisition and Conversos (and, later, Sephardi Jews in Portuguese Diaspora) as a contest in such intangible values as sanctity, honour and merits deserving memory of next generations. These values were believed to be acquired first and foremost through martyrdom. Martyrological theme and potlatch-like scenarios are traced through a wide range of sources: inquisitorial records, Sephardi and Spanish chronicles and Portuguese poetry.
The present thesis is a study of Athanasios of Alexandria‘s thought and writings—predominantly pastoral—in the context of ecclesial, ascetic, and liturgical developments in fourth-century Christian communities in Egypt. I explore Athanasios‘ Festal Letters, individual correspondence (primarily the Letter to Markellinos), and the Life of Antony from the perspective of the bishop‘s concerns about the contemporaneous diversity of devotional and liturgical practices of praying and hymn-singing. The central argument of this thesis is that Athanasios had a coherent vision of the ideal Christian prayer and hymnody. For Athanasios, 'orthodox‘ Christians—lay and ascetics, educated devotees and common believers alike—should derive their practices of devotion and liturgy from the Bible—the Psalter and the Biblical odes—rather than other sources. Athanasios‘ programme of devotional and liturgical orthopraxy centred around the Biblical ideal is part of his much broader ecclesiological project of bringing unity to the division-riddled church of Egypt. The bishop conceives of the Scripturally-cued shared patters of praying and hymn-singing as one of the means to unify scattered Christian communities. Although his pastoral programme of a uniform Biblical devotion is not as self-consciously and combatively formulated as e.g. his polemic against the 'Arians‘ or Meletians, it surfaces across his writings with consistency. Targeted against the diversity of modes of prayer and hymn-singing practiced across a variety of doctrinally, ecclesially, and socially different communities, Athanasios‘ pastoral programme of devotional orthopraxy reflected the trends towards unification in the bishop-led Christian culture of late antiquity and contributed to their further strengthening.
This volume offers new insights onto the social, liturgical, and literary dynamics of the cult of saints in Christian late antiquity.
The article investigates the ways in which the celebration of the name day (imeniny) of Russian princes or their entourages was presented in the Russian chronicles. The custom of celebrating the name day was firmly rooted in the Russian princely environment. For a chronicle narrative, the very rootedness of this custom and the number of its associated actions plays an important role—it is this rootedness that makes stories told in the chronicles quite opaque to the modern reader. A prince’s Christian name and the day of his patron saint were considered to be important background knowledge for the audience of the medieval compiler. There were, apparently, clear ideas about appropriate behavior for prince or a person from his environment on his name day or on the eve of this day but, on the other hand, such assumptions explain why this kind of “normal” behavior rarely forms the subject of special reflection in the chronicles. It is not only a description of the celebration itself that might be very informative, whether it be a church service, a ceremonial feast with various relatives, or an exchange of gifts, but also the description of acts and deeds that were undertaken specifically on a prince’s name day. Therefore, particular attention is given here to stories about undue or inappropriate behavior on this special day. The paper deals with the function and nature of such episodes in the broader context of historiographical narrative.
This volume arises from the international conference 'Hymns of the First Christian Millennium — Doctrinal, Devotional, and Musical Patterns' held in June 2014 at the Institute of Classical Studies in conjunction with King's College London. The original scope of the conference has been re-scaled to focus particularly on late antique Christian devotion as it manifests itself in hymns; experts on a variety of topics of early Christian hymnody have been invited to boost both specificity and depth of discussion in the proposed volume. The resulting collection of papers covers a range of aspects of literary, social, doctrinal, musicological, and devotional patterns of Christian hymnic texts, their liturgical and pious use in the period of late antiquity.