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E00374: Evagrius Scholasticus in his Ecclesiastical History describes the shrine of *Euphemia (martyr of Chalcedon, S00017) in Chalcedon (north-west Asia Minor, near Constantinople), and the miracle of her flowing blood. The sanctuary hosted the Council of Chalcedon in 451. Written in Greek at Antioch (Syria), 593/594.

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posted on 10.04.2015, 00:00 by pnowakowski
Evagrius Scholasticus, Ecclesiastical History, 2.3

Ἁλίζονται τοίνυν ἀνὰ τὸ ἱερὸν τέμενος Εὐφημίας τῆς μάρτυρος, ὅπερ ἵδρυται μὲν ἐπὶ τῆς Καλχηδοναίων τοῦ Βιθυνῶν ἔθνους, ἀπῴκισται δὲ τοῦ Βοσπόρου σταδίοις οὐ πλείοσι δύο, ἔν τινι τῶν εὐφυῶν χωρίων ἠρέμα προσάντει· ὥστε τοὺς περιπάτους ἀνεπαισθήτους εἶναι τοῖς ἐς τὸν νεὼν ἀπιοῦσι τῆς μάρτυρος, ἐξαπίνης τε μετεώρους εἶναι εἴσω τῶν ἀνακτόρων γενομένους· ὥστε τὰς ὄψεις ἐκχέοντας ἐκ περιωπῆς ἅπαντα θεωρεῖν, ὑπεστρωμένα πεδία ὁμαλῆ καὶ ὕπτια, τῇ πόᾳ χλοάζοντα ληΐοις τε κυμαινόμενα καὶ παντοδαπῶν δένδρων τῇ θέᾳ ὡραϊζόμενα, ὄρη τε λάσια ἐς ὕψος εὐπρεπῶς μετεωριζόμενά τε καὶ κυρτούμενα, ἄταρ καὶ πελάγη διάφορα, τὰ μὲν τῇ γαλήνῃ πορφυρούμενα καὶ ταῖς ἀκταῖς προσπαίζοντα ἡδύ τι καὶ ἥμερον ἔνθα νήνεμα τὰ χωρία καθεστᾶσι, τὰ δὲ παφλάζοντά τε καὶ τοῖς κύμασιν ἀγριαίνοντα, κάχληκάς τε καὶ φυκία καὶ τῶν ὀστρακοδέρμων τὰ κουφότερα μετὰ τῆς ἀντανακλάσεως τῶν κυμάτων αὐτῆς ἀνασειράζοντα. Ἀντικρὺ δὲ τῆς Κωνσταντίνου τὸ τέμενος, ὥστε καὶ τῇ θέᾳ τῆς τοσαύτης πόλεως τὸν νεὼν ὡραΐζεσθαι. Τρεῖς δ’ ὑπερμεγέθεις οἶκοι τὸ τέμενος· εἷς μὲν ὑπαίθριος, ἐπιμήκει τῇ αὐλῇ καὶ κίοσι πάντοθεν κοσμούμενος, ἕτερός τ’ αὖ μετὰ τοῦτον τό τε εὖρος τό τε μῆκος τούς τε κίονας μικροῦ παραπλήσιος, μόνῳ δὲ τῷ ἐπικειμένῳ ὀρόφῳ διαλλάττων· οὗ κατὰ τὴν βόρειον πλευρὰν πρὸς ἥλιον ἀνίσχοντα, οἶκος περιφερὴς ἐς θόλον, εὖ μάλα τεχνικῶς ἐξησκημένοις κίοσιν, ἴσοις τὴν ὕλην, ἴσοις τὰ μεγέθη καθεστῶσιν ἔνδοθεν κυκλούμενος. Ὑπὸ τούτοις ὑπερῷόν τι μετεωρίζεται ὑπὸ τὴν αὐτὴν ὀροφήν, ὡς ἂν κἀντεῦθεν ἐξῇ τοῖς βουλομένοις ἱκετεύειν τε τὴν μάρτυρα καὶ τοῖς τελουμένοις παρεῖναι. Εἴσω δὲ τοῦ θόλου πρὸς τὰ ἑῷα εὐπρεπής ἐστι σηκός, ἔνθα τὰ πανάγια τῆς μάρτυρος ἀπόκειται λείψανα ἔν τινι σορῷ τῶν ἐπιμήκων—μακρὰν ἔνιοι καλοῦσιν—ἐξ ἀργύρου εὖ μάλα σοφῶς ἠσκημένῃ. Καὶ ἃ μὲν ὑπὸ τῆς παναγίας ἐπί τισι χρόνοις θαυματουργεῖται, πᾶσι Χριστιανοῖς ἔκδηλα. Πολλάκις γὰρ ἢ τοῖς κατὰ καιρὸν τὴν αὐτὴν ἐπισκοποῦσι πόλιν ὄναρ ἐπιστᾶσα διακελεύεται ἢ καί τισι τῶν ἄλλως ἐς βίον ἐπισήμων, παραγινομένοις αὐτῇ κατὰ τὸ τέμενος τρυγᾶν. Ὅπερ ἐπειδὰν τοῖς τε βασιλεῦσι τῷ τε ἀρχιερεῖ καὶ τῇ πόλει κατάδηλον ᾖ, φοιτῶσι κατὰ τὸν νεὼν οἵ τε τὰ σκῆπτρα οἵ τε τὰ ἱερὰ καὶ τὰς ἀρχὰς διέποντες ἅπας τε ὁ λοιπὸς ὅμιλος μετασχεῖν τῶν τελουμένων βουλόμενοι. Πάντων τε οὖν ὁρώντων ὁ τῆς Κωνσταντίνου πρόεδρος μετὰ τῶν ἀμφ’ αὐτὸν ἱερέων εἴσω τῶν ἀνακτόρων χωρεῖ, ἔνθα τὸ λελεγμένον μοι πανάγιον ἀπόκειται σῶμα. Ἔστι δέ τι κλειθρίδιον μικρὸν κατὰ τὴν αὐτὴν σορὸν ἐν τῷ λαιῷ μέρει θύραις μικραῖς κατησφαλισμένον, ὅθεν σίδηρον ἐπιμήκη κατὰ τὰ πανάγια λείψανα σπόγγον περιαρτήσαντες ἐπαφιᾶσι, καὶ τὸν σπόγγον περιδονοῦντες ἐς ἑαυτοὺς τὸν σίδηρον ἀνέλκουσιν αἱμάτων πλήρη θρόμβων τε πολλῶν. Ὅπερ ἐπὰν ὁ λεὼς ἴδοι, εὐθέως προσεκύνησε τὸν θεὸν γεραίρων. Τοσαύτη δέ γε καθέστηκε τῶν ἐκφερομένων ἡ πληθύς, ὥστε καὶ τοὺς εὐσεβεῖς βασιλεῖς καὶ πάντας τοὺς ἁλιζομένους ἱερέας καὶ μὴν καὶ πάντα τὸν ἀθροιζόμενον λεὼν πλουσίως τῶν ἀναδιδομένων μεταλαμβάνειν, ἐκπέμπεσθαί τε καὶ ἀνὰ τὴν ὑφήλιον πᾶσαν τῶν πιστῶν τοῖς βουλομένοις, καὶ διὰ παντὸς τούς τε θρόμβους σώζεσθαι τό τε πανάγιον αἷμα, μηδαμῶς ἐς ἑτέραν μεταχωροῦν ὄψιν. Ἅπερ θεοπρεπῶς τελεῖται, οὐ κατά τινα διωρισμένην περίοδον, ἀλλ’ ὡς ἂν ἡ τοῦ προεδρεύοντος βιοτὴ καὶ ἡ τῶν τρόπων σεμνότης βούλεται. Φασὶ δ’ οὖν ὅτε μὲν τῶν εὐσχημόνων τις κυβερνῴη καὶ ταῖς ἀρεταῖς ἐπίσημος, τοῦτο τὸ θαῦμα καὶ μάλα συχνῶς γίγνεσθαι· ὅτε δὲ τῶν οὐ τοιούτων, σπανίως τὰς τοιαύτας θεοσημείας προϊέναι. Λέξω δέ τι, ὅπερ οὐ χρόνος, οὐ καιρὸς διατέμνει, οὐδὲ μὴν πιστοῖς τε καὶ ἀπίστοις διακέκριται, πᾶσι δὲ ἐξ ἴσης ἀνεῖται· ὅταν ὧδε τοῦ χώρου τις γένηται ἔνθα ἡ τιμία σορὸς ἐν ᾗ τὰ πανάγια λείψανα, ὀδμῆς εὐώδους ἐμπίπλαται πάσης συνήθους ἀνθρώποις ὑπερτέρας. Οὐδὲ γὰρ τῇ ἐκ λειμώνων ἀθροιζομένῃ παρέοικεν, οὐδέ γε τῇ ἔκ τινος τῶν εὐωδεστάτων ἀναπεμπομένῃ, οὐδὲ οἵαν μυρέψης ἐργάσαιτο· ξένη δέ τις καὶ ὑπερφυὴς ἐξ αὐτῆς παριστᾶσα τῶν ἀναδιδόντων τὴν δύναμιν.


‘So they convened at the holy shrine of the martyr Euphemia, which is situated at the city of Chalcedon in the province of Bithynia. It is built no more than two stades from the Bosphorus, on a pleasant, gently inclining site. Thus the walk is unassuming for those approaching the martyr’s church, but, once they are inside the sanctuary, they are suddenly aloft, so that, extending their gaze, they can see everything from a vantage point: plains lying below, level and outspread, green with grass, waving with crops and beautified by the prospect of all kinds of trees, thicketed mountains rising and curving majestically; but also varying seas, some purple in calm and playing sweet and gentle on the shores where the place is windless, other ones spluttering and angry with waves, drawing back pebbles and seaweed and the lighter shellfish with the waves’ backwash. The shrine is opposite Constantinople, so that the church is also beautified by the prospect of so great a city.

The shrine consists of three large buildings: one is open-air, with an oblong court, and adorned with columns on all sides; after this, there is another structure, very similar in breadth, length and columns, and differing only by the roof that covers it. On its northern side towards the rising sun there stands a circular building in the form of a rotunda, encircled with columns inside, which are fashioned with great skill, uniform in material and uniform in size. By these an upper gallery is raised aloft under the same roof, so that those who wish can supplicate the martyr and attend the ceremonies also from there. Inside the rotunda, towards the east, is a magnificent shrine [σηκός/sēkos] where the all-holy remains of the martyr lie in a sarcophagus (σορός/soros) of the oblong kind, which some people call makra, very well and skilfully fashioned from silver.

Now, the miracles performed by the all-holy lady at certain times are well-known to all Christians. For often, she appears in dream to those administering the bishopric of this city at the time, or even to some people otherwise distinguished in life, and she orders them to visit her at her shrine, and harvest. Whenever this is reported to the emperors and to the prelate and the city, those administering the sceptres and the temples and the offices throng to the church along with all the remaining multitude, in order to participate in the celebrations. And, with everyone watching, the prelate of Constantinople with his attendant priests goes inside the sanctuary where the said all-holy body lies. There is a small opening in the same coffin, on the left side, secured with small doors; through this they insert a long iron into the all-holy relics, on which they have fastened a sponge; they turn the sponge around and draw back the iron towards themselves, filled with blood and numerous clots (θρόμβος/thrombos). And when the populace beholds this, they forthwith worship God in jubilation. So great is the quantity of what is brought forth that both the pious emperors and all the assembled priests, and even all the people assembled, partake of the effusions richly, and they are sent forth throughout the whole wide world to those of the faithful who want them, and both the clots and the all-holy blood are preserved for ever, without changing into a different form. These things are performed divinely, not according to a certain fixed period of time, but as the conduct of the person in government, and the decency of his ways decide. They therefore say that, when an honourable person, distinguished for virtues, is at the helm, this miracle indeed happens particularly frequently, but that, when it is not someone of this kind, such divine signs proceed rarely.

And let me also tell of something which neither time nor occasion interrupts, and which indeed makes no distinction between believers and unbelievers, but it is sent forth for all equally: when one stands in that part of the site, where the precious coffin with the all-holy remains is, he is filled with a smell fragrant beyond any smell familiar to men. For it resembles neither the smell coming from meadows, nor indeed that emitted from the most fragrant of things, nor yet what a perfumer might produce; but it is strange and extraordinary, revealing in itself the power of the things that give it forth.’

Text: Bidez and Parmentier 2011. Translation: Efthymios Rizos using M. Whitby 2000.
Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

Categories

Keywords

History

Evidence ID

E00374

Saint Name

Euphemia, martyr in Chalcedon, ob. 303 : S00017

Saint Name in Source

Εὐφημία

Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)

Language

Greek

Evidence not before

590

Evidence not after

593

Activity not before

451

Activity not after

593

Place of Evidence - Region

Syria with Phoenicia

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Antioch on the Orontes

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

Antioch on the Orontes Thabbora Thabbora

Major author/Major anonymous work

Evagrius Scholasticus

Cult activities - Liturgical Activity

  • Service for the Saint

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Activities Accompanying Cult

  • Meetings and gatherings of the clergy

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Visiting graves and shrines

Cult activities - Rejection, Condemnation, Scepticism

Considerations about the nature of miracles

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Apparition, vision, dream, revelation Miraculous sound, smell, light Miraculous behaviour of relics/images

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

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

Cult Activities - Relics

Unspecified relic Myrrh and other miraculous effluents of relics Reliquary – institutionally owned Construction of cult building to contain relics Bodily relic - blood

Cult Activities - Cult Related Objects

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

In his account of the events surrounding the Council of Chalcedon in 451, Evagrius makes a digression to describe the venue of the council, which was the shrine of the martyr Euphemia near Chalcedon. The description of the shrine and the account of the miracle probably serve the author’s effort to set up a scene of grace within which the controversial Council of Chalcedon took place. A Chalcedonian writing in widely anti-Chalcedonian Syria, Evagrius strives to present the Council in a positive light, and to convince his readers that it was a legitimate ecumenical council, convened at a hallowed place. Although the piece has the features of a rhetorical ekphrasis, Evagrius probably describes the shrine as an eyewitness, having visited the sanctuary of Euphemia during one of his stays in Constantinople. His account is the only extensive description of the shrine surviving from Late Antiquity. The precise whereabouts of the building are unknown. Evagrius’ account suggests that the church stood on a lofty site near the sea, approachable through pleasant countryside and gently sloping land, and with a panoramic vista of the surrounding landscape. These features can be recognised in the area between today’s Kadıköy and Üsküdar. A.M. Schneider proposed locating the site at the hills of Yeldeğirmeni. Evagrius describes the complex as a basilica with an atrium, and with a rotunda with galleries housing the silver reliquary of Euphemia. The complex must have been big enough to host the sessions of the Council of Chalcedon, which must have been attended by about two thousand men, counting the bishops and their accompanying delegations. The description strongly recalls the plan of the church of the Virgin Mary in Ephesos, which, like the basilica of Euphemia, served as a venue for an ecclesiastical council in the early 5th century. The reliquary of Euphemia is described as ‘a sarcophagus of the oblong kind, which some people call makra, very well and skilfully fashioned from silver’ (ἔν τινι σορῷ τῶν ἐπιμήκων—μακρὰν ἔνιοι καλοῦσιν—ἐξ ἀργύρου εὖ μάλα σοφῶς ἠσκημένῃ). It probably stood under a ciborium and/or apse in the east side of the rotunda. The miracle of Euphemia’s blood is also described by Theophylact Simocatta, who defines it as a ritual taking place on a yearly basis on the saint’s feast day (E00015). By contrast, Evagrius says that it happened in an extraordinary manner, after a dream revelation, and was interpreted as a sign of divine approval for the man in government, by which he probably means the bishop or emperor. This could be implied praise for the emperor Maurice (582-602), incumbent at the time of writing. Evagrius had probably met the emperor before his accession to the throne, and talks about him in a laudatory manner. It appears that the miracle of Euphemia acquired major fame under Maurice and was associated with the emperor, but, by the time of Simocatta, Maurice’s connection with Euphemia’s shrine was not remembered in an entirely positive manner. Simocatta’s account of the miracle offers virtually an apology for what was apparently remembered as an assault by the emperor against the saint’s shrine, in a period of incredulity and religious indifference (E00015). One of the most popular martyr shrines of the broader Constantinopolitan area, the sanctuary of Euphemia was fully developed by the late 4th century, when it was visited by Egeria (E05228) and possibly Asterius of Amasea (E00477). It remained functional until the early 7th century, when, under the threat of the Persian invasions, the relics were translated to a new church in the former palace of Antiochos, by the hippodrome in Constantinople.

Bibliography

Text and French translation: Bidez, J., and Parmentier, L., 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: Whitby, M., The Ecclesiastical History of Evagrius Scholasticus (Translated Texts for Historians 33; Liverpool, 2000). Hübner, A., Evagrius Scholasticus, Historia ecclesiastica = Kirchengeschichte (Fontes Christiani 57; Turnhout, 2007). Carcione, F., Evagrio di Epifania, Storia ecclesiastica (Roma, 1998). Further Reading: Allen, P., Evagrius Scholasticus, the Church Historian (Spicilegium Sacrum Lovaniense, Etudes et Documents 41; Leuven, 1981). Schneider, A.M., “Sankt Euphemia und das Konzil von Chalkedon,” in: A. Grillmeier and H. Bacht (eds.), Das Konzil von Chalkedon: Geschichte und Gegenwart. 3 vols. (Würzburg, 1951), vol. 1, 291-302. Treadgold, W., The Early Byzantine Historians (Basingstoke, 2006), 299-308.

Licence

Exports

Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

Categories

Keywords

Licence

Exports