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E00028: Evagrius, in his Ecclesiastical History, reports that in 591 the deposed Persian king Khosrau II dedicated precious offerings to the shrine of *Sergios (soldier and martyr of Rusafa, S00023) at Rusafa/Sergiopolis (north-east Syria), in thanksgiving for regaining his throne and for having a child. Written in Greek at Antioch (Syria), 593/594.

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posted on 01.09.2014, 00:00 by CSLA Admin
Evagrius Scholasticus, Ecclesiastical History, 6.21

Ὁ δὲ Χοσρόης ἐγκρατὴς τῶν οἰκείων βασιλείων γενόμενος, πέμπει Γρηγορίῳ σταυρὸν χρυσῷ πολλῷ καὶ λίθοις τιμίοις ἐξησκημένον, πρὸς τιμὴν τοῦ ἀθλοφόρου μάρτυρος Σεργίου· ὃν ἀνέθηκε μὲν Θεοδώρα ἡ Ἰουστινιανοῦ γαμετή, ἐληΐσατο δὲ Χοσρόης σὺν καὶ τοῖς ἄλλοις κειμηλίοις, ὡς ἤδη μοι ἀφήγηται. Πέμπει δὲ καὶ ἕτερον σταυρὸν χρυσοῦν, καὶ ἐπέγραψεν ὁ Χοσρόης τῷ σταυρῷ Ἑλλήνων γράμμασι τάδε· „Τοῦτον τὸν σταυρὸν ἐγὼ Χοσρόης βασιλεὺς βασιλέων, υἱὸς Χοσρόου, ὅτε ἐκ διαβολικῆς ἐνεργείας καὶ κακουργίας τοῦ δυστυχεστάτου Βαρὰμ Γουσνὰς καὶ τῶν σὺν αὐτῷ καβαλλαρίων εἰς Ῥωμανίαν ἀπήλθομεν, καὶ διὰ τὸ ἔρχεσθαι τὸν δυστυχῆ Ζαδεσπρὰμ μετὰ στρατοῦ εἰς τὸ Νισίβιος ἐπὶ τὸ ὑποσῦραι τοὺς καβαλλαρίους τοῦ μέρους τοῦ Νισίβιος εἰς τὸ ἀντᾶραι καὶ ταράξαι ἐπέμψαμεν καὶ ἡμεῖς καβαλλαρίους μετὰ ἄρχοντος εἰς τὸ Χάρχας, καὶ διὰ τῆς τύχης τοῦ ἁγίου Σεργίου τοῦ πανσέπτου καὶ ὀνομαστοῦ, ἐπειδὴ ἠκούσαμεν δοτῆρα εἶναι αὐτὸν τῶν αἰτήσεων, ἐν τῷ πρώτῳ ἔτει τῆς βασιλείας ἡμῶν, μηνὶ Ἰαννουαρίῳ ἑβδόμῃ, ᾐτησάμεθα ὡς, ἐὰν οἱ καβαλλάριοι ἡμῶν σφάξωσι τὸν Ζαδεσπρὰμ ἢ χειρώσωνται, σταυρὸν χρυσοῦν διάλιθον εἰς τὸν οἶκον αὐτοῦ πέμπομεν διὰ τὸ πάνσεπτον αὐτοῦ ὄνομα, καὶ τῇ ἐνάτῃ τοῦ Φεβρουαρίου μηνὸς τὴν κεφαλὴν τοῦ Ζαδεσπρὰμ ἤνεγκαν ἐπὶ ἡμῶν· ἐπιτυχόντες οὖν τῆς δεήσεως ἡμῶν, διὰ τὸ ἕκαστον ἀναμφίβολον εἶναι, εἰς τὸ πάνσεπτον αὐτοῦ ὄνομα τοῦτον τὸν σταυρὸν τὸν παρ’ ἡμῶν γενόμενον, μετὰ τοῦ πεμφθέντος σταυροῦ παρὰ Ἰουστινιανοῦ βασιλέως Ῥωμαίων εἰς τὸν οἶκον αὐτοῦ, καὶ τῷ καιρῷ τῆς ἀμιξίας τῶν δύο πολιτειῶν ἐνεχθέντος ἐνταῦθα παρὰ Χοσρόου, βασιλέως βασιλέων, υἱοῦ Καβάδου, τοῦ ἡμετέρου πατρός, καὶ εὑρεθέντος ἐν τοῖς ἡμετέροις θησαυροῖς, ἐπέμψαμεν ἐν τῷ οἴκῳ τοῦ ἁγίου πανσέπτου Σεργίου.“ Καὶ τούτους γνώμῃ Μαυρικίου βασιλέως Γρηγόριος λαβὼν μετὰ πολλῆς πομπῆς εἰς τὸν ἱερὸν οἶκον τοῦ μάρτυρος ἀνατέθεικεν.

Οὐ μετὰ πολὺ δὲ καὶ ἕτερα πέπομφε δῶρα ὁ Χοσρόης ἀνὰ τὸν αὐτὸν ἱερὸν ναόν, ἐπιγράψας ἐπὶ δίσκου ἐκ χρυσοῦ πεποιημένου ἑλληνίδι φωνῇ ταῦτα·  „Ἐγὼ Χοσρόης, βασιλεὺς βασιλέων, υἱὸς Χοσρόου, τὰ ἐν τῷδε τῷ δίσκῳ γεγραμμένα, οὐκ εἰς θέαν ἀνθρώπων, οὐδὲ ἵνα ἐκ τῶν λόγων μου τὸ μέγεθος τοῦ πανσέπτου ὀνόματος γνωσθῇ, ἀλλὰ διὰ τὴν ἀλήθειαν τῶν γεγραμμένων καὶ διὰ τὰς πολλὰς χάριτας καὶ εὐεργεσίας ἃς ἔσχον παρὰ σοῦ· εὐτυχία γάρ μοί ἐστι, ἵνα τὸ ἐμὸν ὄνομα ἐμφέρεται τοῖς ἱεροῖς σου σκεύεσιν. Ἐν τῷ εἶναί με ἐν τῷ Βεραμαῒς ᾐτησάμην παρὰ σοῦ, ἅγιε, ἐλθεῖν εἰς τὴν βοήθειάν μου καὶ ἐν γαστρὶ συλλαβεῖν Σιρήν. Καὶ ἐπειδὴ ἡ Σιρὴν Χριστιανή ἐστιν κἀγὼ Ἕλλην, ὁ ἡμέτερος νόμος ἄδειαν ἡμῖν οὐ παρέχει Χριστιανὴν ἔχειν γαμετήν. Διὰ γοῦν τὴν ἐμὴν πρὸς σὲ εὐγνωμοσύνην εἰς ταύτην τὸν νόμον παρεῖδον, καὶ ταύτην ἐν γυναιξὶν ἡμέραν ἐξ ἡμέρας ἐν γνησιότητι ἔσχον καὶ ἴσχω, καὶ οὕτω συνεῖδον νῦν δεηθῆναι τῆς σῆς ἀγαθότητος, ἅγιε, ἐν γαστρὶ συλλαβεῖν αὐτήν. Καὶ ᾐτησάμην καὶ συνεταξάμην ἵνα, ἐὰν ἐν γαστρὶ συλλάβῃ Σιρήν, τὸν σταυρὸν τὸν φορούμενον παρ’ αὐτῆς πέμψω τῷ πανσέπτῳ σου οἴκῳ. Καὶ τούτου ἕνεκα κἀγὼ καὶ Σιρὴν τὸν σκοπὸν τοῦτον ἔχομεν ἵνα εἰς μνημόσυνον τοῦ ὀνόματός σου, ἅγιε, τοῦτον τὸν σταυρὸν κρατῶμεν. Καὶ συνείδομεν ἀντ’ αὐτοῦ τὴν τιμὴν αὐτοῦ, μὴ συντείνουσαν περαιτέρω τῶν τετρακισχιλίων τετρακοσίων στατήρων μιλιαρισίων, πεντακισχιλίους στατῆρας ἐκπέμψαι. Καὶ ἐξ οὗ τὴν τοιαύτην ἑαυτῷ ἔσχον αἴτησιν καὶ
ταῦτα διελογισάμην, ἕως οὗ ἐφθάσαμεν τὸ Ῥοσονχοσρόν, δέκα ἡμέραι πλέον οὐ διῆλθον, καὶ σύ, ἅγιε, οὐ διὰ τὸ εἶναί με ἄξιον ἀλλὰ διὰ τὴν σὴν ἀγαθότητα, ἐφάνης μοι ἐν ὁράματι τῆς νυκτός, καὶ τρίτον εἶπάς μοι ὅτι Σιρὴν ἐν γαστρὶ ἔχει. Κἀγὼ ἐν αὐτῷ τῷ ὁράματι τρίτον ἀνταπεκρίθην σοι λέγων· ‘Καλῶς’. Καὶ διὰ τὸ εἶναί σε δοτῆρα τῶν αἰτήσεων, ἐκ τῆς ἡμέρας ἐκείνης ἡ Σιρὴν τὸ εἰθισμένον ταῖς γυναιξὶν οὐκ εἶδεν. Ἐγὼ δὲ διστάξας εἰς τοῦτο, εἰ μὴ τοῖς λόγοις σου ἐπίστευσα, καὶ ὅτι ἅγιος εἶ καὶ δοτὴρ τῶν αἰτήσεων, μετὰ <τὸ> ταύτην τὰ γυναικεῖα μὴ ὑπομεῖναι, ἐκ τούτου ἔγνων τὴν δύναμιν τοῦ ὁράματος καὶ τὴν τῶν παρὰ σοῦ ῥηθέντων ἀλήθειαν. Παραυτὰ οὖν ἔπεμψα τὸν αὐτὸν σταυρὸν καὶ τὴν τούτου τιμὴν ἐν τῷ πανσέπτῳ σου οἴκῳ, κελεύσας ἐκ τῆς τούτου τιμῆς δίσκον ἕνα καὶ ποτήριον ἓν γενέσθαι εἰς λόγον τῶν θείων μυστηρίων, ἀλλὰ μὴν καὶ σταυρὸν γενέσθαι καὶ πηχθῆναι ὀφείλοντα ἐπὶ τῆς τιμίας τραπέζης, καὶ θυμιατήριον, τὰ πάντα χρυσᾶ, καὶ ἀμφίθυρον Οὐννικὸν κεκοσμημένον χρυσίῳ· καὶ τὰ ἀπομένοντα τῆς τιμῆς μιλιαρίσια εἶναι τοῦ ἁγίου σου οἴκου, ἵνα διὰ τῆς τύχης σου, ἅγιε, εἰς πάντα, ἐξαιρέτως δὲ εἰς τὴν αἴτησιν ταύτην ἔλθῃς εἰς τὴν βοήθειάν μου καὶ Σιρήν, καὶ ὃ διὰ τῆς σῆς πρεσβείας γέγονεν ἡμῖν τῷ ἐλέει τῆς σῆς ἀγαθότητος καὶ τῷ θελήματί μου καὶ Σιρὴν εἰς τέλειον προέλθῃ· ἵνα κἀγὼ καὶ Σιρὴν καὶ πάντες οἱ ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ εἰς τὴν σὴν δύναμιν ἐλπίζωμεν, καὶ εἰς σὲ ἔτι πιστεύωμεν.“

Ταῦτα τὰ παρὰ Χοσρόου ἀναθήματα λέγει, οὐδὲν τῆς Βαλαὰμ προφητείας ἀπᾴδοντα, τοῦ φιλανθρώπου θεοῦ σοφῶς οἰκονομήσαντος Ἑλλήνων γλώσσας σωτήρια φθέγξασθαι ῥήματα.


'Once Chosroes [=Khosrau II] became master of his own kingdom, he sent to Gregory [Patriarch of Antioch, 571-593] a cross adorned with much gold and precious stones, in honour of the triumphant martyr Sergios. Theodora, Justinian's wife, had dedicated this, but Chosroes [=Khosrau I] had looted it together with the other treasures, as has already been recorded by me. But he also sent another golden cross and Chosroes inscribed the following on the cross with Greek letters:

"This cross do I give, Chosroes, king of kings, son of Chosroes. When we departed to Romania [= the Roman Empire] on account of the devilish operations and wickedness of the most ill-starred Baram son of Gusnas [= the usurper Bahram Chobin] and of his associate cavalrymen, and because the ill-starred Zadespram was coming with troops towards Nisibis in order to seduce the cavalrymen of the district of Nisibis to rebellion and turmoil, we also sent cavalrymen with an officer to Charchas. And through the spirit (tyche) of the holy Sergios, the all-revered and renowned, when we heard that he was the granter of requests, in the first year of our reign, on the seventh of January, we requested that, if our cavaliers should slaughter or arrest Zadespram, we would send a gold bejewelled cross to his house for his all-revered name. And on the ninth of February they brought us the head of Zadespram. And so, having achieved our request, and so that both parts might be beyond dispute, [we dedicated] to his all-revered name this cross which is from us, together with the cross sent to his house by Justinian, emperor of the Romans; this [Justinian's cross] was brought here at the time of the estrangement between the two states by Chosroes our father, king of kings, son of Koades, and was discovered in our treasury; we have sent these to the house of the holy all-revered Sergios."

And on the decision of the emperor Maurice, Gregory took these and dedicated them with great ceremony in the sacred house of the martyr. Not long after, Chosroes also sent other gifts to the same holy church, after inscribing the following in the Greek tongue on a paten made of gold:

“What is written on this paten do I write, Chosroes, king of kings, son of Chosroes, not for the sight of men, nor that the greatness of your all-revered name may be known from my words, but on account of the truth of what is written and on account of the many favours and benefactions which I had from you: for it is good fortune for me that my name should be carried on your holy vessels. During the time that I was in Beramais [=Beth Aramaye in Lower Mesopotamia], I requested of you, holy one, that you come to my assistance and that Siren conceive in her womb. And since Siren is a Christian and I a pagan, our law does not grant us freedom to have a Christian wife. So, on account of my gratitude to you, I disregarded the law in her case, and I held and hold her from day to day among my wives as legitimate, and thus I resolved now to beseech your goodness, holy one, that she conceive in her womb. And I requested and ordained that if Siren should conceive in her womb I would send to your all-revered house the cross worn by her. And on this account both I and Siren have this purpose, that we should have possession of this cross in remembrance of your name, holy one. And instead of it we resolved to dispatch as its value 5,000 staters, although it does not exceed 4,400 miliary staters [= pieces of silver]. And from the moment I had this request in my mind and made this resolution, to the time we came to Rhesonchosron, no more than ten days elapsed, and you, holy one - not because I am worthy but because of your goodness - you appeared to me in a dream at night and thrice said to me that Siren had conceived in her womb. And in the same dream I thrice responded to you saying: ‘‘Good’’. And because you are the granter of requests, from that day Siren did not know what is customary for women. Although I trusted in your words and that you are holy and a granter of requests, I hesitated about this; yet, after she did not experience what women do, from that I knew the power of the vision and the truth of what you had spoken. So straightaway I sent the same cross and its value to your all-revered house, giving orders that from its value one paten and one chalice should be made for the sake of the divine mysteries, but indeed also that a cross be made which should be fixed on the honoured altar, and a censer all of gold, and a Hunnic curtain decorated with gold. And the silver pieces left over from this sum are for your holy house, so that through your power, holy one, you may come to the aid of myself and Siren in all things, but especially in this request, and that what has come to us through your intercession may proceed to completion through the mercy of your goodness and for the wish of myself and Siren; so that I and Siren and everyone in the world may have hope in your power and still trust in you.”

This is what Chosroes’ dedications say, in no way discordant with the prophecy of Barlaam [Numbers 22-24], since the merciful God has wisely provided that heathen tongues should utter words
Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

Categories

Keywords

History

Evidence ID

E00028

Saint Name

Sergios, martyr in Syria, ob. 305-311 : S00023

Saint Name in Source

Σἐργιος

Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)

Language

Greek

Evidence not before

591

Evidence not after

593

Activity not before

591

Activity not after

592

Place of Evidence - Region

Syria

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Antioch on the Orontes

Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Antioch on the Orontes

Major author/Major anonymous work

Evagrius Scholasticus

Cult activities - Liturgical Activity

  • Procession

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Vow

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Miraculous interventions in war Fertility- and family-related miracles (infertility, marriages) Apparition, vision, dream, revelation

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops Monarchs and their family Foreigners (including Barbarians) Pagans Women

Cult Activities - Cult Related Objects

Crosses Ex-votos Chalices, censers and other liturgical vessels Precious cloths Precious material objects

Source

Evagrius was born in about 535 in the Syrian city of Epiphania. Educated at Antioch and Constantinople, he pursued a career as a lawyer at Antioch, serving as a legal advisor to Patriarch Gregory (570-592). He wrote the Ecclesiastical History in 593/4, with the express purpose of covering the period following the coverage of the mid 5th century ecclesiastical histories of Socrates, Sozomen, and Theodoret. His narrative starts with Nestorius and the Council of Ephesus (431) and stops with the death of Evagrius’ patron, Gregory of Antioch, in 592. The work offers a balanced mixture of ecclesiastical and secular events in the East Roman Empire, being best informed about Antioch and Syria. Evagrius also published a dossier of original documents from the archive of Patriarch Gregory of Antioch, which has not survived.

Discussion

The story of Khosrau II’s vows and offerings to the shrine of *Sergios in Rusafa/Sergiopolis belongs to the last parts of Evagrius' Ecclesiastical History. In 590, the overthrown Persian king Khosrau II with the support of the East Roman Emperor Maurice campaigns against the usurper Bahram and his supporters in Iran. He requests the assistance of Sergius and vows to dedicate a precious cross at his shrine in Rusafa/Resapha, which he fulfills after his victory. Besides dedicating his own cross, he also returns an older one, dedicated by the empress Theodora, which had been captured by his predecessor Khosrau I. Khosrau in his letter addresses Sergios, mentioning in detail the time and subject of his vow, the time and way his petition was granted, and the gifts he dedicated in return. The same structure is repeated in his second votive letter to the same shrine (E00030). The use of the pagan term τύχη in the text, referring to the saint, is remarkable. It is probably used here in a sense synonymous to the Greek δαίμων or the Latin genius, denoting a spirit or deity and its power. Also interesting is Khosrau's expression διὰ τὸ ἕκαστον ἀναμφίβολον εἶναι: the king fulfils his vow like a normal transaction where both sides need to appear creditworthy. The language and syntax of the text present similarities to a letter of Khosrau addressed to the people of Martyropolis, which was inscribed on the walls of that city (fragments of the inscription survived until the early 20th century). It seems that both his dedicatory letters to Rusafa and the one to Martyropolis were composed in, or translated into, Greek by the same scribe, perhaps a Hellenised Syrian or Armenian member of the Persian royal chancery (on the language of the texts and the inscription of Martyropolis, see Mango 1985). Two almost identical versions of the text are quoted by Evagrius and Theophylact Simocatta (E00025), but their accounts differ in details. Unlike Simocatta, Evagrius reports that the gifts of Khosrau were received and brought to Rusafa by the Patriarch of Antioch Gregory with the permission of the emperor Maurice. He also states that the text of the letter was inscribed on the cross, whereas Simocatta talks of both an inscription on the cross and of an official letter bearing the royal seal. Finally, Evagrius notes that the Justinianic cross was in fact a gift of Theodora. Evagrius was a contemporary and relative of Simocatta's main source, John of Epiphania. Both Evagrius and John worked for the Patriarch of Antioch Gregory and had direct access to documents of the Patriarchate (PLRE IIIA, 452-453: 'Evagrius'; 690-691: 'Ioannes 162'). Both of them probably witnessed the delivery of Khosrau's gifts at Antioch and Rusafa, and wrote their accounts shortly after. It is now widely accepted that Theophylact Simocatta, writing thirty years later, consulted only the text of John of Epiphania; consequently the differences between his and Evagrius' version reflect the differences between Evagrius and John. The cult of Sergios was popular among the Christian Ghassanid tribes of the desert and the Christians of Persia (see Key Fowden 1999). The episode quoted here demonstrates the sensitive role of Rusafa-Sergiopolis as a major contact point between the East Roman and Persian Empires and the tribal world of the desert. It was indeed a remarkable case of a small frontier city combining the functions of a fortified stronghold of military defence and of a Christian pilgrimage centre of the greatest renown, standing on the sensitive zone of interaction among the two empires and the tribal world of the desert.

Bibliography

Text and French translation: J. Bidez, and L. Parmentier, Evagre le Scholastique, Histoire ecclésiastique (Sources Chrétiennes 542, 566; Paris, 2011, 2014),with commentary by L. Angliviel de la Beaumelle and G. Sabbah, and French translation by A.-J.Festugière, B. Grillet, and G. Sabbah. Other translations: M. Whitby, The Ecclesiastical History of Evagrius Scholasticus (Translated Texts for Historians 33; Liverpool, 2000). A. Hübner, Evagrius Scholasticus, Historia ecclesiastica = Kirchengeschichte (Fontes Christiani 57; Turnhout, 2007). F. Carcione, Evagrio di Epifania, Storia ecclesiastica, Roma, 1998. Further Reading: P. Allen, P. Evagrius Scholasticus, the Church Historian (Spicilegium Sacrum Lovaniense, Etudes et Documents 41; Leuven, 1981). M. J. Higgins, "Chosroes II’s offerings at Sergiopolis," Byzantinische Zeitschrift 48 (1955), 89-102 E. Key Fowden, The Barbarian Plain: Saint Sergius Between Byzantium and Iran (Berkeley, 1999), 133-141 C. Mango, "Deux études sur Byzance et la Perse Sassanide," Travaux et Mémoires 9 (1985), 103-104 T. Olajos, Les Sources de Théophylacte Simocatta Historien (Leiden, 1988), 82-95 P. Peeters, "Les ex-voto de Khosrau Aparwez à Sergiopolis," Analecta Bollandiana 56 (1947), 5-56 P. Peeters, "Les ex-voto de Khosrau Aparwez à Saint Serge de Rosapha," Mémoires de l’ Académie des inscriptions et des Belles Lettres 44 (1951), 99-119. W.T. Treadgold, he Early Byzantine Historians (Basingstoke, 2006), 299-308. M. Whitby, The Emperor Maurice and His Historian: Theophylact Simocatta on Persian and Balkan Warfare (Oxford, 1988), 235, 240-241 M. Whitby and M. Whitby, The History of Theophylact Simocatta: an English Translation with Introduction and Notes (Oxford, 1986), 186.

Continued Description

of salvation.'Text: Bidez and Parmentier. Translation: M. Whitby, modified.

Licence

Exports

Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

Categories

Keywords

Licence

Exports