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E02400: Palladius of Helenopolis in his Historical Dialogue on the Life of *John Chrysostom (bishop of Constantinople, ob. 407, S00779), written in 408 or shortly after, recounts the death and burial of John at the shrine of the martyr *Basiliskos (S00388) at Komana/Comana in Pontus (northern Asia Minor). Chrysostom is forewarned of his death by Basiliskos, and is buried with the honours of a martyr. Written in Greek at Syene (Aswan, Upper Egypt).

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posted on 20.02.2017, 00:00 by erizos
Palladius of Helenopolis, Historical Dialogue on the Life of John Chrysostom (BHG 870, 870e, 870f; CPG 6037)

XI, 116-156

καὶ ἐν τούτοις πᾶσιν ἐπὶ τρίμηνον τὴν ἀργαλεωτάτην ἐκείνην βαδίζων ὁδόν, ἔμενεν ὁ ἅγιος ὡς ἀστὴρ διαστίλβων, ἔχων τὸ σωμάτιον καθάπερ μῆλον ἐπ’ ἄκρων κλάδων ἡλιοφοινισσόμενον. πλησιάσαντες δὲ τῇ Κομάνῃ, καθάπερ γέφυραν, αὐτὴν παρῆλθον, ἔξω τοῦ τείχους ἐν τῷ μαρτυρίῳ μείναντες ἀπὸ πέντε ἢ ἓξ σημείων. κατ’ αὐτὴν δὲ τὴν νύκτα παρέστη αὐτῷ ὁ τοῦ τόπου ἐκείνου μάρτυς, Βασιλίσκος ὄνομα αὐτῷ, ὃς μαρτυρεῖ, ἐπίσκοπος ὢν Κομανῶν, ἐν Νικομηδείᾳ ἐπὶ Μαξιμιανοῦ, ἅμα Λουκιανῷ τῷ ἐν Βιθυνίᾳ πρεσβυτέρῳ ὄντι Ἀντιοχείας, φήσας· “Θάρσει, ἀδελφὲ Ἰωάννη· αὔριον γὰρ ἅμα ἐσόμεθα.” φασὶ δέ, προειρήκει καὶ τῷ παραμένοντι πρεσβυτέρῳ· “Ἑτοίμασον τόπον τῷ ἀδελφῷ Ἰωάννῃ· ἔρχεται γάρ.” ἔχων δὲ πιστῶς τὸν χρησμὸν ὁ Ἰωάννης ἐπὶ τὴν αὔριον παρεκάλει αὐτοὺς ἕως πέμπτης ὥρας ἐκεῖ παραμεῖναι. οἱ δὲ μὴ πεισθέντες ἐξήλαυνον· ἐλθόντες δὲ ὡς σταδίους τριάκοντα πάλιν ὑποστρέφουσιν εἰς τὸν τόπον τοῦ μαρτυρίου, ἀφ’ οὗ ἀπῆραν, ἔχοντος αὐτοῦ ὀξέως. οὕτως οὖν ἐλθὼν ἐπιζητεῖ τὰ ἄξια τοῦ βίου λαμπρὰ ἱμάτια, καὶ ἀποδυσάμενος τὰ πρότερα ἐνεδύσατο νήφων, ἀλλάξας ἕως ὑποδημάτων· τὰ λοιπὰ δὲ διένειμεν τοῖς παροῦσιν. καὶ κοινωνήσας τῶν Δεσποτικῶν συμβόλων ποιεῖ τὴν τελευταίαν ἐπὶ τῶν παρόντων προσευχήν, εἰπὼν τὸ ἐξ ἔθους ῥῆμα· “Δόξα τῷ Θεῷ πάντων ἕνεκεν,” ἐπισφραγισάμενός τε τὸ ὕστερον ἀμήν, “ἐξῆρεν τοὺς πόδας,” τοὺς ὡραίως δραμόντας ἐπὶ σωτηρίᾳ τῶν τὴν μετάνοιαν ἑλαμένων καὶ ἐλέγχῳ τῶν τὴν ἁμαρτίαν πλουσίως γεωργησάντων (εἰ δὲ οὐδὲν ὤνησαν οἱ ἔλεγχοι τοὺς φαύλους, τοῦτο οὐκ ἀτονία τοῦ παῤῥησιασαμένου, ἀλλ’ ἰταμότης τῶν μὴ ἀνασχομένων), “προστεθεὶς πρὸς τοὺς πατέρας αὐτοῦ,” τὴν κόνιν ἀπομαξάμενος, καὶ πρὸς Χριστὸν διαπεράσας, ὡς γέγραπται· “Ἥξεις δὲ εἰς τὸν τάφον σου ὥσπερ σῖτος ὥριμος κατὰ καιρὸν θεριζόμενος· παρανόμων δὲ ψυχαὶ ἄωροι ἀποθανοῦνται.” τοσοῦτος δὲ ἑσμὸς παρθένων καὶ ἀσκητῶν καὶ τῶν ἐπὶ σεμνότητι μαρτυρουμένων παρῆν ἀπό τε Συρίας καὶ Κιλικίας καὶ Πόντου καὶ Ἀρμενίας, ὡς τοὺς πολλοὺς νομίσαι ἀπὸ συνθήματος αὐτοὺς παραγενέσθαι. ἐνταφιασθεὶς δὲ καὶ ἑορτασθείς, καθάπερ ἀθλητὴς νικηφόρος τὸ σωμάτιον, θάπτεται μετὰ τοῦ Βασιλίσκου ἐν τῷ αὐτῷ μαρτυρίῳ.

‘Enduring that most arduous journey through all these hardships for three months, the saint remained like a shining star, his poor body reddening in the sun like an apple at the tip of a branch. When they approached Komana, they passed through it as if crossing a bridge, and lodged outside the city walls at the shrine of a martyr, five or six miles from the town. That same night, the martyr of the place (Basiliskos by name, who, having been bishop of Komana, was martyred under Maximian at Nicomedia, together with Loukianos, priest of Antioch in Bithynia) appeared to him and said: "Have courage, brother, for tomorrow we shall be together." They say that he had first told the priest accompanying him, "Prepare a place for brother John, for he is coming." John took this as a sure warning, and begged them to stay there till the fifth hour of next day. They, however, did not obey, but pushed on. Having travelled some thirty stades, they returned back to the shrine they had just left, as his condition suddenly became severe. On his arrival, then, he asked for bright clothes befitting his way of life and, taking off the other ones, he joyfully put these on, changing everything down to his shoes. He distributed the rest among those present. He then partook of the Symbols of the Lord [=Eucharist], and offered up his last prayer in the presence of those who stood by, using his customary phrase: "Glory be to God for all things." He sealed himself at his last Amen, and raised his feet – which had so beautifully raced for the salvation of those who had chosen repentance, and to the reproof of those who had bountifully cultivated sin. If his reproof had had no effect on the wicked, it was not due to the weakness of the fearless herald, but to the recklessness of those who could not bear him. He was gathered to his fathers, shook off the dust from his feet, and passed over to Christ, as it is written: "Thou shalt come to thy grave, as ripe corn gathered in its season; but the souls of the transgressors shall die before their time." Such a multitude of virgins and ascetics and men renowned for their devout lives came over from Syria, Cilicia, Pontus, and Armenia, that many thought that they had been summoned by a signal. And, once his burial and funeral were celebrated, as if for a victorious champion, his poor body was buried together with Basiliskos, in the same shrine (martyrion).’

Text: Malingrey and Leclerq 1988.
Translation: E. Rizos.
Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

Categories

History

Evidence ID

E02400

Saint Name

Basiliskos, martyr of Komana, ob. 304-306 : S00388 John Chrysostom, bishop of Constantinople, ob. 407 : S00779 Loukianos, Antiochene priest martyred in Nicomedia, ob. 310/312 : S00151

Saint Name in Source

Βασιλίσκος Ἰωάννης Λουκιανὸς

Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Lives of saint

Language

Greek

Evidence not before

408

Evidence not after

413

Activity not before

407

Activity not after

407

Place of Evidence - Region

Egypt and Cyrenaica

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Aswan

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

Aswan Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis

Major author/Major anonymous work

Palladius of Helenopolis

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Saint as patron - of an individual

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle at martyrdom and death Miracles experienced by the saint Apparition, vision, dream, revelation

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy Soldiers Ecclesiastics - monks/nuns/hermits

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - entire body Contact relic - saint’s possession and clothes

Source

The Historical Dialogue of Palladios, bishop of Helenopolis, with Theodoros, deacon of Rome, on the Life and Conduct of the blessed John, bishop of Constantinople, called Chrysostom (‘the Golden Mouth’) survives in a single manuscript of the eleventh century (Laurentianus IX.14). There are two critical editions of the text, using different numerations (Coleman-Norton 1928; Malingrey and Leclercq 1988). The identification of the author of our text with Palladios of Helenopolis, author of the Lausiac History, was doubted in the past, but is now accepted as certain. Born in 364 in Galatia in Asia Minor, Palladios joined monastic communities of Palestine and Egypt. In Egypt, he was associated with the Origenist disciples of Evagrios of Pontus. In c. 399, he left for Constantinople where he became closely associated with John Chrysostom. By AD 400, the latter ordained him as bishop of Helenopolis in Bithynia. Palladios stood by his new protector throughout John’s conflict with Pope Theophilos of Alexandria (401-404) over the affair of the Tall Brothers, former associates of Palladios from Egypt. One year after John’s exile in 404, Palladios visited Rome in order to plead on John’s behalf with Pope Innocent I (401-411). One year later (406), he was exiled to Syene (Aswan), where he received the news of John’s death in Pontus (407) and wrote the Historical Dialogue (in 408 or shortly later). The Historical Dialogue is one of our main sources of biographical information on Chrysostom and some of his close associates, like Olympias. Its explicitly political and polemical character, however, makes this a special piece of hagiography. Written in 408 or shortly later, amidst the defeat of Chrysostom’s party and under the frustration caused by his recent death, this resentful book portrays its hero as a holy man surrounded by holy ascetics, and dying as a martyr, while demonising his enemies as deranged and vile men acting under the inspiration of the devil for the detriment of the Church. The work has the form of a dialogue between an anonymous eastern bishop and a deacon of Rome named Theodoros, purportedly taking place in Rome. Although the bishop is identified with Palladios in the title, and the setting is perhaps inspired by Palladios’ own visit to Rome in 405, the text is clearly not the actual record of a real meeting. The two discussants are fictitious protagonists of an imaginary visit to Rome by a representative of Chrysostom’s party, who clears John and his associates from all the accusations and rumours circulating about them, denounces Theophilos and his followers, lists those who sided with each of the two parties, and enumerates all those who were exiled or wronged for their support to John – including Palladios himself. The ultimate purpose of the book is to plead with the Church of Rome and Pope Innocent I (401-411) to break their communion with Theophilos and the bishops of the East, until an Ecumenical Council is convoked on the matter – presented as a statement of Theodoros in 20.429-439). The structure of the text is as follows: 1–4. Prologue and subject of the purported dialogue. Historical context of the conflict in the East. 5–11. The Life of John Chrysostom. 12–19. Defence of John and his closest associates (16.174-17 focusing on the deaconess Olympias and the Egyptian ascetics Ammonios, Hierax, Isaak, and Isaak). 20. Enumeration of the exiled followers of John (including the author himself), and of the bishops siding with Theophilos in Anatolia, Syria, and Palestine. Conclusion.

Discussion

Like all the biographies of ecclesiastical fathers, which intend to describe their heroes as saints, Palladios’ account of John's life culminates in a description of the extraordinary end of John Chrysostom in the outskirts of Komana. The saint is warned of his end by the vision of a martyr who, in a way, comes down to receive John as his equal. Chrysostom prepares for his death by receiving the Eucharist, distributes his clothes to his associates (possibly alluding to the existence of contact relics), like the Prophet *Elijah or *Antony of Egypt (E00669), and dies having given thanks to God, after a prolonged journey, designed to cause him suffering and death. Holy ascetics gather for his funeral, as if called by a miraculous signal, and the burial rites of the saint are described as a celebration for a martyr. Chrysostom is buried at the local shrine, according to the widely attested practice of burying bishops next to martyrs. The chronological proximity of the text to the death of Chrysostom (one or two years) and the fact that the account concerning John's death is unknown to the other major work about him, the Funerary Speech for John Chrysostom (E02621), produced in 407, provides a very narrow date for the almost immediate emergence of legends concerning the saint and the quasi miraculous circumstances of his death. A detail of interest is Palladios’ information about *Basiliskos of Komana, whom he describes as a bishop martyred at Nikomedia alongside *Loukianos of Antioch. This story, however, is at odds with the hagiography of Basiliskos, which describes him as a relative of *Theodore of Euchaita, dying at Komana (see E02055). A depiction of the saint in the mosaics of the Rotonda in Thessalonike presents him as a soldier (E00592). It is possible that Palladios knew another version of the story of Basiliskos or that he confused the martyr of Komana with a figure from the story of Loukianos. Given that Palladios was bishop of Helenopolis, the resting place of Loukianos, it is probable that he was well informed about the story of this saint and his companions. On the other hand, it is also possible that he deliberately turns Basiliskos into a bishop, so as to serve the purposes of his narrative: a martyred bishop, Basiliskos, welcomes John into heaven as his peer - a bishop who has suffered and died for the sake of the faith.

Bibliography

Text: Coleman-Norton, P.R., Palladii Dialogus de Vita S. Joannis Chrysostomi (Cambridge, 1928). Malingrey, A.-M., and Leclercq, P., Palladios: Dialogue sur la vie de Jean Chrysostome (Sources Chretiennes 341; Paris, 1988), with French translation. Translations: Barnes, T. D., and Bevan G. A., The Funerary Speech for John Chrysostom (Translated Texts for Historians 60; Liverpool, 2013). Meyer, R.T., Palladius: Dialogue on the Life of St. John Chrysostom (Ancient Christian Writers 45; New York, 1984). Moore, H., The Dialogue of Palladius concerning the Life of Chrysostom (London and New York, 1921). Schläpfer, L., Das Leben des heiligen Johannes Chrysostomus (Düsseldorf, 1966). (German translation) Further reading: Katos, D., Palladius of Helenopolis: The Origenist Advocate (Oxford, 2011). Van Nuffelen, P., "Palladius and the Johannite Schism," Journal of Ecclesiastical History 64 (2013), 1-19.

Licence

Exports

Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

Categories

Licence

Exports