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E02569: John Chrysostom delivers a homily On Lazarus during the feast of the martyrs *Bernike, Prosdoke and Domnina (martyrs of Antioch, S01008). Written in Greek at Antioch (Syria), 386/397.

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posted on 14.03.2017, 00:00 by erizos
John Chrysostom, On Lazarus (CPG 4356; BHG 275)

Summary

The sermon is given during spring-time, in the period following Easter. The first part of the homily (col. 641-643) refers to the resurrection of Lazarus, thus finishing an earlier sermon which could be concluded. The last section (644) refers to the three martyrs.

History

Evidence ID

E02569

Saint Name

Prosdokās, Beronikē and Rōmanos, martyrs at Antioch : S01008

Type of Evidence

Literary - Sermons/Homilies

Language

Greek

Evidence not before

386

Evidence not after

397

Activity not before

386

Activity not after

397

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

John Chrysostom

Cult activities - Liturgical Activity

  • Sermon/homily

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult activities - Places

Burial site of a saint - cemetery/catacomb

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Composing and translating saint-related texts

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy

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. On the manuscript tradition of this text (8 manuscripts), see: http://pinakes.irht.cnrs.fr/notices/oeuvre/8475/

Discussion

This sermon was given at Antioch, on the festival of three female martyrs known in the hagiographic tradition as Bernike, Prosdoke, and Domnina – their names are not mentioned by the author. Their feast is recorded by the Syriac Martyrology on 29 April (E01479), and by the Martyrologium Hieronymianum on 13 April. Both in this text and in another sermon on the same saints (E02568), Chrysostom reports that this feast fell in Spring, after Easter. The subject of this feast is a group of three women who commit suicide, while being taken to court by soldiers. Their story is apparently based on an episode of the tetrarchic persecutions, which is mentioned by Eusebius of Caesarea (Ecclesiastical History 8.12; see E00317), without giving the names of the three women. Chrysostom recounts the story in more detail in his other sermon on the same feast (E02568). Ambrose (in De virginibus 3.7.33–7) associates them with the story of *Pelagia, another virgin who committed suicide in Antioch (E02528). A central element in both legends is the acceptance of suicide as a valid form of martyrdom for women.

Bibliography

Text: Migne, J.-P., Patrologia Graeca 50 (Paris: Imprimerie Catholique, 1862), 641-644. Further reading: Downey, G., Ancient Antioch (Princeton, 1961). Drobner, H.R., The Fathers of the Church: A Comprehensive Introduction (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2007), 327-337. Kelly, J.N.D., Golden Mouth: The Story of John Chrysostom. Ascetic, Preacher, Bishop (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1995).

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Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

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