File(s) not publicly available

E00097: John Chrysostom delivers in Greek a sermon On *Phokas (martyr of Sinope, S00052), during celebrations for the transfer and depositions of the saint's relics in Constantinople. Two days of services and processions are held, attended by the imperial couple; the relics are deposed at a shrine by the sea. Written in Constantinople, c. 400.

online resource
posted on 27.10.2014, 00:00 by erizos
John Chrysostom, On Phokas (CPG 4364, BHG 1537)

ΕΙΣ ΤΟΝ ΑΓΙΟΝ ΙΕΡΟΜΑΡΤΥΡΑ ΦΩΚΑΝ, ΚΑΙ ΚΑΤΑ ΑΙΡΕΤΙΚΩΝ (2t) Καὶ εἰς τὸν ρμαʹ ψαλμὸν …

α. Λαμπρὰ γέγονεν ἡμῖν χθὲς ἡ πόλις, λαμπρὰ (5) καὶ περιφανὴς, οὐκ ἐπειδὴ κίονας εἶχεν, ἀλλ’ ἐπειδὴ μάρτυρα πομπεύοντα ἀπὸ Πόντου πρὸς ἡμᾶς παραγενόμενον. Εἶδεν ὑμῶν τὴν φιλοξενίαν, καὶ ἐνέπλησεν ὑμᾶς τῆς εὐλογίας· ἐπῄνεσεν ὑμῶν τὴν προθυμίαν, καὶ εὐλόγησε τοὺς παραγενομένους. Ἐμακάρισα τοὺς (10) συνελθόντας καὶ μετασχόντας αὐτοῦ τῆς εὐωδίας, καὶ ἐταλάνισα τοὺς ἀπολειφθέντας· ἀλλ’ ἵνα μὴ ἡ ζημία αὐτῶν ἀνίατος γένηται, πάλιν ἐν ἑτέρᾳ ἡμέρᾳ ἀνακηρύττομεν αὐτὸν, ἵνα καὶ οἱ ἀπολειφθέντες διὰ ῥᾳθυμίαν διπλασιάσωσι τῇ σπουδῇ τὴν εὐλογίαν τὴν παρὰ (15) τοῦ μάρτυρος. Ὃ μὲν γὰρ πολλάκις εἶπον, τοῦτο καὶ λέγων οὐ παύσομαι· οὐκ εὐθύνας ἀπαιτῶ ἁμαρτημάτων, ἀλλὰ τοῖς ἀσθενοῦσι φάρμακα κατασκευάζω. Ἀπελείφθης χθές; παραγενοῦ κἂν σήμερον, ἵνα ἴδῃς αὐτὸν εἰς τὸν οἰκεῖον χῶρον ἀπαγόμενον. Εἶδες αὐτὸν (20) διὰ τῆς ἀγορᾶς ἀγόμενον; βλέπε αὐτὸν καὶ διὰ τοῦ πελάγους πλέοντα, ἵνα ἑκάτερα τὰ στοιχεῖα τῆς παρ’ αὐτοῦ εὐλογίας ἐμπλησθῇ. Μηδεὶς ἀπολιμπανέσθω τῆς ἱερᾶς ταύτης πανηγύρεως· μὴ παρθένος οἴκοι μενέτω, μὴ γυνὴ τὴν (25) οἰκίαν κατεχέτω, κενώσωμεν τὴν πόλιν, καὶ πρὸς τὸν τάφον τοῦ μάρτυρος μεθορμίσωμεν· καὶ γὰρ καὶ βασιλεῖς κοινῇ μεθ’ ἡμῶν χορεύουσι. Ποίαν οὖν συγγνώμην ἔχει ὁ ἰδιώτης, βασιλέων τὰς βασιλικὰς αὐλὰς καταλιμπανόντων, καὶ τῷ τάφῳ τοῦ μάρτυρος (30) παρακαθημένων; Τοιαύτη γὰρ τῶν μαρτύρων ἡ δύναμις, ὡς μὴ μόνον τοὺς ἰδιώτας, ἀλλὰ καὶ τοὺς τὰ διαδήματα φοροῦντας σαγηνεύειν· αὕτη τῶν Ἑλλήνων ἡ αἰσχύνη, αὕτη τῆς πλάνης αὐτῶν τὸ ὄνειδος, αὕτη τῶν δαιμόνων ἡ ἐξολόθρευσις· αὕτη ἡμῶν ἡ (35) εὐγένεια, καὶ τῆς Ἐκκλησίας ὁ στέφανος. Χορεύω μετὰ μαρτύρων καὶ σκιρτῶ ἀντὶ λειμώνων βλέπων αὐτῶν τὸ τρόπαιον, ὅτι ἀντὶ πηγῶν αἷμα ἔῤῥεον·

Ἀλλὰ τοῦ μὲν μάρτυρος τὰ ἐγκώμια εἰς τὸν προσήκοντα καιρὸν ἀναμείνωμεν· καὶ γὰρ καὶ ταῦτα ἀρκούντως εἴρηται διὰ τὴν σπουδὴν τῶν ὀφειλόντων συναχθῆναι, καὶ περιφανῆ ποιῆσαι τὴν ἡμέραν τῆς ἑορτῆς. Ὃ μὲν γὰρ καὶ χθὲς (10) ἔλεγον, καὶ σήμερον πάλιν λέγω, τῷ μὲν μάρτυρι οὐδεμία δόξα ἀπὸ τῆς τῶν πολλῶν παρουσίας γενήσεται, ὑμῖν δὲ πλείων ἔσται ἡ εὐλογία ἀπὸ τοῦ παραγενέσθαι πρὸς τὸν μάρτυρα.

Ποιήσωμεν πάλιν τὴν θάλατταν ἐκκλησίαν μετὰ (20) λαμπάδων ἐξιόντες ἐκεῖσε, καὶ τὸ πῦρ ἐνυγραίνοντες, καὶ τὸ ὕδωρ ἐμπιμπλῶντες πυρός. Μηδεὶς φοβείσθω τὸ πέλαγος· ὁ μάρτυς θάνατον οὐκ ἐφοβήθη, καὶ σὺ τὸ ὕδωρ δέδοικας;

'On the Holy Priest-Martyr Phocas, and Against Heretics, and on Psalm 141 …

Yesterday our city was splendid, splendid and glorious, not because it had columns, but because it had a martyr coming to us in procession from Pontus. He saw your hospitality and filled you with his blessing. He praised your zeal and blessed those who came along. I extolled the fortune of those that gathered and shared his sweet smell, and I deplored the misery of those that missed out. But in order that their damage may not go incurable, we are heralding him again, on a second day, so that even those that kept away out of laziness may double, by their enthusiasm, the blessing coming from the martyr. What I have said several times, I shall not stop saying: I do not demand an account for your sins, but prepare medicines for the sick. Did you miss out yesterday? At least, come today to see him being taken to his own place. Did you see him being carried through the marketplace? Then also see him sailing through the sea, so that both elements may be filled with the blessing coming from him. Let no one miss out from this holy festival! Let no girl stay at home, let no woman dwell in her house! Let us empty the city and rush to the tomb of the martyr! For even the emperors are dancing together with us. What excuse then does a commoner have, when the emperors give up their royal courts and sit by the tomb of the martyr? Such is indeed the power of the martyrs that it captures not only the commoners, but also those wearing the crowns! This [power] is the shame of the Hellenes [= pagans]; this is the censure of their error; this is the elimination of the demons; this is our nobility, and the crown of the church. I dance with the martyrs and leap, as I survey their trophy, not the meadows, for they poured forth blood, not springs of water!

But let us wait for the appropriate time to set forth the praises of the martyr. All this has namely been said at quite some length for the thought of those that should have attended and made the day of the festival glorious. What I said yesterday, I am saying again today: the martyr will acquire no glory from the presence of many, but you will get more blessing from visiting the martyr.

Let us again turn the sea into a church, going out there with torches, making the fire liquid, and setting the water on fire! Let no one be afraid of the sea! The martyr was not afraid of death, and you are scared of water?'

Text: Migne, PG 50, 699-706. Translation: E. Rizos.
Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

Categories

Keywords

History

Evidence ID

E00097

Saint Name

Phokas, martyr of Sinope : S00052

Saint Name in Source

Φωκᾶς

Type of Evidence

Literary - Sermons/Homilies

Language

Greek

Evidence not before

397

Evidence not after

403

Activity not before

397

Activity not after

403

Place of Evidence - Region

Constantinople

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Constantinople

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

Constantinople

Major author/Major anonymous work

John Chrysostom

Cult activities - Liturgical Activity

  • Service for the Saint

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Activities Accompanying Cult

  • Feasting (eating, drinking, dancing, singing, bathing)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Visiting graves and shrines

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miraculous sound, smell, light

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy Monarchs and their family Women Crowds

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - unspecified

Source

John of Antioch, bishop of Constantinople, who came to be known as Chrysostom (the Golden Mouth), was born in 344/354 in Antioch on the Orontes where he studied under Libanius. He joined the Nicene Christian community of Antioch, led by bishop Meletios of Antioch, and was ordained priest by Meletios’ successor, Flavianos in 386. Acquiring a great reputation as a preacher, John was appointed as bishop of Constantinople in 397. Clashing with the bishop of Alexandria Theophilos and the empress Eudoxia in 403/404, Chrysostom was deposed and banished to Cucusus in Cappadocia and died in Comana of Pontus in 407. This sermon was given by Chrysostom during a service on the second day of festivities organised in Constantinople to celebrate the translation and deposition of the relics of the martyr Phokas from the city of Sinope on the Black Sea coast of Asia Minor (mod. Sinop). It seems that, during the service of the first day, Chrysostom had talked about the life and martyrdom of the saint, which he probably intended to discuss even further during the services of the second day. None of these passages has been preserved. The main body of the extant text (§§ 4-12) is a piece of anti-heretical polemic based on the psalm reading of the day (Ps. 141). On the manuscript tradition (2 manuscripts), see: http://pinakes.irht.cnrs.fr/notices/oeuvre/3811/ (accessed 06/05/2017)

Discussion

This homily provides lively insights into the ceremonies held during one of the several translations and depositions of relics that took place at the East Roman capital during Late Antiquity. The lack of information about the life of Phokas in the extant sermon has led to some ambiguity concerning his identity, since two martyrs of the same name are attested in the hagiographic tradition, one described as a bishop and the other as a gardener. The manuscript title of our text styles Phocas hieromartys (ἱερομάρτυς = martyred priest), which means that, at least the Byzantine copyists of the text, identified him as a bishop. Yet Phokas the bishop is, in fact, a later hagiographic invention, which is unlikely to have been known in Chrysostom's times (on the hagiography of Phokas, see the discussion in E01961). On the first day, the relics, which are described as fragrant, were apparently received and carried in procession through the colonnaded streets and squares of Constantinople – the grandeur of the day is echoed in the opening phrase of the sermon ('Yesterday our city was splendid, splendid and glorious, not because it had columns, but because it had a martyr coming to us in procession from Pontus’). The relics were most probably brought to one of the main basilicas of the city where they stayed overnight. The whole occasion was probably accompanied by public festivities: Chrysostom’s metaphors of the spiritual dance and celebration probably echo a real public feast organised for the day (‘I dance with the martyrs, and skip as I look at their trophy, not at the meadows’), even though, as it seems, many people did not bother to attend the service in the church. Next day, another procession, attended by the imperial couple, took the relics by sea to their final destination, the newly-founded shrine of Phocas on some coastal suburb of Constantinople. Chrysostom gave his sermon during a service held before the relics set off for the sea. His metaphors comparing the packed church with a flooding sea in paragraph 3 are inspired by the prospect of the procession of boats (‘Let us again turn the sea into a church’). A shrine of Phocas on the Bosphorus is attested in the 9th century (Vita Basilii 94.16-21, ed. Ševčenko; Janin 1969, 498). Its location is placed between Anaplous (mod. Arnavutköy) and Hagios Mamas (mod. Beşiktaş) at modern Ortaköy. It appears likely that this was the successor of the church founded by Chrysostom. Phokas’ cult continues into our days at the Greek church of Ortaköy, a nineteenth-century building. The location is relatively far from the city, so the sailing procession mentioned by the text may have taken a few hours. Why the shrine was founded there is unknown. Ortaköy was an important anchorage at a narrow part of the Bosphorus strait. At the same time, it was a location of idyllic beauty, popular as a summer resort into the Ottoman period. The foundation of the church of Phokas may have been intended to replace a pagan shrine related to navigation (Phokas was revered as a protector of sailors, cf. E01962). Whatever the case, the translation of the relics of the Pontic martyr and their deposition in the Constantinopolitan suburb was part of the effort to enhance the Christian sacral landscape of the still young East Roman capital. It may have been the initiative of a member of the imperial family, the court, or indeed of Chrysostom himself.

Bibliography

Text: Migne, J.-P., Patrologia Graeca 50 (Paris: Imprimerie Catholique, 1862), 699-706. Translation: Mayer, W., with Neil, B., St John Chrysostom: The Cult of the Saints (Popular Patristics Series; Crestwood, NY: St Vladimir's Seminary Press, 2006), 75-87. Further reading: Drobner, H.R., The Fathers of the Church: A Comprehensive Introduction (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2007), 327-337. Janin, R., La géographie ecclésiastique de l'empire byzantin. I 3: Les églises et les monastères de la ville de Constantinople (Paris: Institut français d'études byzantines, 1969), 498-499. Kelly, J.N.D., Golden Mouth: The Story of John Chrysostom. Ascetic, Preacher, Bishop (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1995).

Licence

Exports

Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

Categories

Keywords

Licence

Exports