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E04014: Socrates in his Ecclesiastical History reports that in 415 Cyril of Alexandria attempted to proclaim the monk *Ammonios, who died under torture after an assault on the prefect of Egypt, a martyr under the name 'Thaumasios' (S01541). The cult proves unpopular and is forgotten. Written in Greek at Constantinople, 439/446.

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posted on 12.09.2017, 00:00 by erizos
Socrates, Ecclesiastical History, 7.14

1. Τῶν ἐν τοῖς ὄρεσι τῆς Νιτρίας μοναχῶν τινες ἔνθερμον ἔχοντες φρόνημα ἀπὸ Θεοφίλου ἀρξάμενοι, ὅτε αὐτοὺς ἐκεῖνος κατὰ τῶν περὶ Διόσκορον ἀδίκως ἐξώπλισε, ζῆλόν τε τότε κτησάμενοι προθύμως καὶ ὑπὲρ Κυρίλλου μάχεσθαι προῃροῦντο. 2. Ἀφέμενοι οὖν τῶν μοναστηρίων ἄνδρες περὶ τοὺς πεντακοσίους καὶ καταλαβόντες τὴν πόλιν ἐπιτηροῦσιν ἐπὶ τοῦ ὀχήματος προϊόντα τὸν ἔπαρχον, 3. καὶ προσελθόντες ἀπεκάλουν θύτην καὶ Ἕλληνα καὶ ἄλλα πολλὰ περιύβριζον. 4. Ὁ δὲ ὑποτοπήσας σκευωρίαν αὐτῷ παρὰ Κυρίλλου γενέσθαι ἐβόα Χριστιανός τε εἶναι καὶ ὑπὸ Ἀττικοῦ τοῦ ἐπισκόπου ἐν τῇ Κωνσταντινουπόλει βεβαπτίσθαι. 5. Ὡς δὲ οὐ προσεῖχον τοῖς λεγομένοις οἱ μοναχοί, εἷς τις ἐξ αὐτῶν Ἀμμώνιος ὄνομα λίθῳ βάλλει τὸν Ὀρέστην κατὰ τῆς κεφαλῆς. 6. Καὶ πληροῦται μὲν αἵματι ὅλος ἐκ τοῦ τραύματος, ὑποχωροῦσι δὲ οἱ ταξεῶται πλὴν ὀλίγων, ἄλλος ἀλλαχοῦ ἐν τῷ πλήθει διαδύναντες, τὸν ἐκ τῆς βολῆς τῶν λίθων θάνατον φυλαττόμενοι. 7. Ἐν τοσούτῳ δὲ συνέρρεον οἱ τῶν Ἀλεξανδρέων δῆμοι, ἀμύνασθαι τοὺς μοναχοὺς ὑπὲρ τοῦ ἐπάρχου προθυμούμενοι. Καὶ τοὺς μὲν ἄλλους πάντας εἰς φυγὴν ἔτρεψαν, τὸν Ἀμμώνιον δὲ συλλαβόντες παρὰ τὸν ἔπαρχον ἄγουσιν· 8. ὃς δημοσίᾳ κατὰ τοὺς νόμους ἐξετάσει αὐτὸν ὑποβαλὼν ἐπὶ τοσοῦτον ἐβασάνισεν, ὡς ἀποκτεῖναι. Οὐκ εἰς μακρὰν δὲ καὶ τὰ γενόμενα γνώριμα τοῖς κρατοῦσιν κατέστησεν. Οὐ μὴν ἀλλὰ καὶ Κύριλλος τὰ ἐναντία ἐγνώριζεν βασιλεῖ, 9. τοῦ δὲ Ἀμμωνίου τὸ σῶμα ἀναλαβὼν καὶ ἐν μιᾷ τῶν ἐκκλησιῶν ἀποθέμενος, ὄνομα ἕτερον αὐτῷ ἐπιθεὶς Θαυμάσιον ἐπεκάλεσεν καὶ μάρτυρα χρηματίζειν ἐκέλευσεν, ἐγκωμιάζων αὐτοῦ ἐπ’ ἐκκλησίας τὸ φρόνημα ὡς ἀγῶνα ὑπὲρ εὐσεβείας ἀνελομένου. 10. Ἀλλ’ οἱ εὖ φρονοῦντες, καίπερ Χριστιανοὶ ὄντες, οὐκ ἀπεδέχοντο τὴν περὶ τούτου Κυρίλλου σπουδήν· 11. ἠπίσταντο γὰρ προπετείας δίκην δεδωκέναι τὸν Ἀμμώνιον, οὐ μὴν ἀνάγκῃ ἀρνήσεως Χριστοῦ ἐναποθανεῖν ταῖς βασάνοις. Διὸ καὶ Κύριλλος κατὰ βραχὺ τῷ ἡσυχάζειν λήθην τοῦ γινομένου εἰργάσατο.

'Some hot-headed monks among those inhabiting the mounts of Nitria, whom Theophilos some time before had unjustly armed against the followers of Dioskoros, were again possessed by ardent zeal and decided to fight for Cyril. Thus about five hundred of them left their monasteries, came to the city, and waited for the prefect to show up on his chariot. They approached him, calling him an idolater and a pagan, and inflicting him with several other abusive epithets. He suspected that this was a plot against him by Cyril, and exclaimed that he was a Christian and had been baptised by Atticus the bishop in Constantinople. Yet the monks paid no attention to his words, and one of them named Ammonios hurled a stone onto Orestes' head. He was completely covered with blood from the wound, while his guards, with a few exceptions, dispersed, slipping into the crowd, one here, another there, fleeing death from the stones. Meanwhile, the demes of Alexandria hastened to repel the monks and rescue the prefect. They thus put them all to flight, but arrested Ammonios and delivered him to the prefect. The latter subjected him to public torture according to the law, but had him so severely tormented that he caused him to die. With no delay, he reported the events to the sovereigns. Yet Cyril also wrote to the emperor, reporting quite the opposite things, and had the body of Ammonios collected and buried at one of the churches. He then changed his name, calling him Thaumasios ('Wonderful'), and ordered that he be regarded as a martyr, praising in church his zeal as a man fallen in struggle for the true religion. Yet the sound-minded, even if they were Christians, did not share Cyril's enthusiasm for him. For they knew well that he had been punished for his insolence and that he had not lost his life in torture intended to make him deny Christ. For the same reason, Cyril himself allowed the affair to be gradually forgotten, by keeping quiet about it.’

Text: Hansen 1995.
Translation: E. Rizos.

History

Evidence ID

E04014

Saint Name

Ammonios-Thaumasios, monk killed in Alexandria, ob. 415 : S01541

Saint Name in Source

Ἀμμώνιος, Θαυμάσιος

Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)

Language

Greek

Evidence not before

439

Evidence not after

446

Activity not before

415

Activity not after

415

Place of Evidence - Region

Constantinople and region

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Constantinople

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

Constantinople Constantinople Κωνσταντινούπολις Konstantinoupolis Constantinopolis Constantinople Istanbul

Major author/Major anonymous work

Socrates

Cult activities - Liturgical Activity

  • Service for the Saint

Cult activities - Places

Burial site of a saint - unspecified

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Ceremonies at burial of a saint

Cult activities - Rejection, Condemnation, Scepticism

Uncertainty/scepticism/rejection of a saint

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops Ecclesiastics - monks/nuns/hermits Officials Crowds

Source

Socrates ‘Scholasticus’ was born between 380 and 390 in Constantinople, where he probably spent his entire life. He was trained as a grammarian and rhetorician under the sophist Troilos of Side. From his work, Socrates emerges as a classically educated intellectual, and probably a member of the higher echelons of Constantinopolitan society. His only known work, the seven-volume Ecclesiastical History, was published between 439 and 446, very probably in 439/440. It covers the period from the accession of Constantine to 439, focusing on the Roman East and recounting the 4th century Christological disputes, the reign of Julian the Apostate, the conflicts that led to the deposition of John Chrysostom, and the beginnings of the Nestorian dispute. Socrates’ synthesis is defined by his loyalties to Nicene Orthodoxy, the Theodosian dynasty, and the Origenist tradition. He is markedly sympathetic to the Novatian community, of which he may have been a member, and is interested in recording information about several other sectarian Christian groups of his time. Although an Origenist, like John Chrysostom and his supporters, Socrates distances himself from the Johannite party. Socrates draws extensively on the Latin Ecclesiastical History of Rufinus of Aquileia for his account of the 4th century, which results in substantial overlaps between their works. In this database, we record only Socrates’ additions, and not the sections he reproduces from Rufinus. Alongside the recording of doctrinal disputes, successions of bishops, and victims of persecutions, Socrates was the first author to include a relatively systematic treatment of monasticism to the agenda of ecclesiastical historiography. It seems that he had access only to Greek and Latin sources, but not to the Syriac and other Aramaic hagiographies produced in this period in the East. The work of Socrates is the first of the three Orthodox ecclesiastical Histories published in Greek between 439 and 449. Within less than ten years of its publication, Socrates’ work was systematically reworked and expanded by Sozomen, and may have been known also to Theodoret of Cyrrhus. Socrates’ narrative overlaps extensively with both of these ecclesiastical histories. This boom in Greek ecclesiastical historiography may have been instigated by the publication in Constantinople of an Arian Ecclesiastical History by Philostorgius in 425/433, which survives in fragments.

Discussion

In his account (7.13-16) of the turbulent turn of affairs at the Church of Alexandria during the episcopate of Cyril, Socrates includes the incident of the attack of the monks against the prefect Orestes. The author is highly critical of Cyril and other bishops in his time at Alexandria and Rome, for their intolerant and violent way of handling their episcopal power, as his critical and ironic words in this passage demonstrate. The proclamation of Ammonios as a martyr, interestingly involving the change of his name (or rather the addition of the epithet Thaumasios, 'Wonderful'), was reportedly unsuccessful.

Bibliography

Text: Hansen, G.C., Sokrates, Kirchengeschichte (Die griechischen christlichen Schriftsteller der ersten Jahrhunderte NF 1; Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1995). Translations: Zenos, A.C., "The Ecclesiastical History of Socrates Scholasticus," in: The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, vol. 2 (New York: Christian Literature Company, 1890), 1-178. Périchon, P., and Maraval, P., Socrate de Constantinople, Histoire ecclésiastique (Sources Chrétiennes 477, 493, 505, 506; Paris: Cerf), 2004-2007. Further reading: Bäbler, B., and Nesselrath, H.-G. (eds.). Die Welt des Sokrates von Konstantinopel: Studien zu Politik, Religion und Kultur im späten 4. und frühen 5. Jh. n. Chr. Zu Ehren von Christoph Schäublin (Munich: K.G. Saur, 2001). Chesnut, G.F., The First Christian Histories: Eusebius, Socrates, Sozomen, Theodoret, and Evagrius (Atlanta: Mercer University, 1986). Leppin, H., Von Constantin dem Grossen zu Theodosius II. Das christliche Kaisertum bei den Kirchenhistorikern Socrates, Sozomenus und Theodoret (Hypomnemata 110; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht), 1996. Nuffelen, P. van, Un héritage de paix et de piété: Étude sur les histoires ecclésiastiques de Socrate et de Sozomène (Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta 142; Leuven: Peeters), 2004. Treadgold, W.T., The Early Byzantine Historians (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006). Urbainczyk, T., Socrates of Constantinople: Historian of Church and State (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1997). Wallraff, M., Der Kirchenhistoriker Sokrates: Untersuchungen zu Geschichtsdarstellung, Methode und Person (Forschungen zur Kirchen- und Dogmengeschichte 68; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1997).

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Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

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