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E04192: Eustratius of Constantinople in his tract On the State of Souls after Death, argues that miracles and visions are performed by the souls of the saints personally, responding to those who deny the posthumous activity of the soul and ascribe miracles to divine powers assuming the forms of the saints. He quotes from several hagiographic works. Written in Greek at Constantinople, 583/602.

online resource
posted on 20.10.2017, 00:00 by erizos
Eustratius of Constantinople, On the State of the Souls after Death (CPG 7522)

(1-2048) The greatest part of the tract is dedicated to proving that the souls of the dead are active after death, and that the miracles and visions of the saints are performed by the souls of the saints themselves.

(2049-2342) The second part of the tract is dedicated to discussing the state of non-saintly souls. The author rejects the view that there may be a middle condition, but affirms that souls are either good and holy or evil. By analogy to the state of good souls, the evil ones are also active. They suffer for their evil works immediately after death, and are occasionally allowed to appear to people and can cause them harm.

(2342-2726) In the last section, the author defends the necessity and efficiency of prayers, liturgies, and alms offered for the souls of the departed.

The author’s arguments are expounded mainly in the form of extensive quotes from a broad range of biblical and patristic sources (Basil of Caesarea, Chrysostom, Gregory of Nazianzus, Hippolytus, Methodius, Eutychius of Constatinople, Eustathius of Antioch, ps.-Dionysius the Areopagite, Ephraem Graecus, Cyril of Jerusalem, and Cyril of Alexandria), and from the following hagiographical texts: Gregory of Nyssa, Life of *Gregory the Miracle Worker (808-856); Athanasius, Life of *Antony (955-970; 2224-2278); the Life of *Nicholas of Myra (1256-1276); Martyrdom of *Basileus of Amasea (1805-1825); Martyrdom of the *Forty Martyrs of Sebaste (1860-1865); Chryssipus, Encomium on *Theodore (1892-1944); Revelation of Loukianos on the Relics of *Stephen the First Martyr (1960-2000).

Here follow some important passages concerning the interpretation of the miracles of the saints by Eustratius and his opponents:

50-60. Τινὲς τῶν περὶ λόγους ἐσχολακότων καὶ φιλοσοφεῖν ἐθελόντων περὶ τῶν ἀνθρωπίνων ψυχῶν, οἱ καὶ τὴν περὶ αὐτῶν ἀμφισβήτησιν ποιούμενοι, διϊσχυρίζονται λέγοντες ὅτι μετὰ τὴν τοῦ βίου τοῦδε μετάστασιν καὶ τὴν τῶν ψυχῶν ἀπὸ τῶν σωμάτων ἀναχώρησιν, ἀνενέργητοι μένουσι καὶ αὐταὶ αἱ ψυχαί, εἴτε ἅγιαι, εἴτε ἄλλως πῶς ὑπάρχουσιν· κἂν οὖν φαίνονταί τισιν αἱ τῶν ἁγίων ψυχαί, κατ’ οὐσίαν ἢ ὕπαρξιν ἰδίαν ὡς αὐτοὶ φασὶν οὐ φαίνονται, δύναμις δέ τις θεία σχηματιζομένη, ψυχὰς ἁγίων ἐνεργούσας δείκνυσιν· ἐκεῖναι γὰρ ἔν τινι τόπῳ εἰσί, μηδέποτε δυνάμεναι μετὰ τὴν τοῦ σώματος ἐκδημίαν ἐν τῷδε τῷ βίῳ τισὶν ἐμφανίζειν.

‘Some of those who spend their time in talks and claim to philosophise about the human souls, raise a debate about them and claim that, after our migration from this life and the departure of the souls from the bodies, even the souls themselves are left inactive, regardless of whether they are saintly or otherwise. They also claim that even if the souls of the saints appear to some people, they do not appear by their own substance or essence, but, as these people say, it is some divine power taking on a shape that presents the souls of the saints as acting; the latter are, in fact, in some place, and they are unable ever to appear to anyone in this life, after their departure from the body.’


1217-1230
Ἐπειδὴ δὲ καὶ τοῦτο διαποροῦντες φασὶν οἱ δοξάζοντες μὴ τὰς ψυχὰς εἶναι τὰς ἐμφανιζούσας μετὰ τὴν ἐνθένδε ἀποδημίαν, ἐπεὶ καὶ ἐν σαρκὶ ὄντας ἁγίους καὶ ἐναρέτους ἄνδρας ἐπισκεπτομένους κατ’ ὄναρ βλέπουσι τινὲς ἐπιδεόμενοι τῆς αὐτῶν βοηθείας, καὶ μὴν οἱ δῆθεν ἐπισκεπτόμενοι μακρὰν ἄπεισιν, «Ἀλλά τις θεία χάρις ἡ τοῦτο δρῶσα τυγχάνει πρὸς δόξαν ἐκείνων, καὶ οὐκ αὐτοὺς λέγομεν ἐφίστασθαι τοῖς ἀσθενοῦσιν.» Τί οὖν πρὸς ταῦτα λέξομεν; Πρῶτον μὲν τοῦτο φαμέν, ὅτι πάντα δυνατὰ τῷ πιστεύοντι, καὶ ἐν σώματι ὄντας μεταρσίους ποιεῖν καὶ μεταφέρειν ὅπου δ’ ἂν βούλεται θεός, ὅπερ καὶ ἐπὶ τοῦ Ἀμβακοὺμ καὶ ἐπὶ τοῦ Φιλίππου πεποίηκεν· τὸν μὲν γὰρ ὡς ἐν ῥιπῇ ὀφθαλμοῦ ἀπὸ Ἱερουσαλὴμ εἰς Βαβυλῶνα, τὸν δὲ πάλιν ἀπὸ Γάζης εἰς Ἄζωτον καὶ εἰς τὴν Καισάρειαν μετήγαγεν.

‘Now, in their search for arguments, those who believe that it is not the souls that cause visions after their departure from this world, say also this: some people who need assistance have dreams of still living holy and virtuous men visiting them; yet, since the presumed visitors are in fact far away, "it is a certain kind of divine grace that does this to the glory of those people, and we do not claim that they visit the sick themselves." How shall we answer to this? First, we say that All things are possible to him who believes [Mk 9:22], even people living in the body can be lifted up in the air and be transferred wherever God wills, as He did in the cases of Habbakuk and Philip; for He took the former from Jerusalem to Babylon in the twinkling of an eye [Bel and the Dragon 34-6], and transferred the latter from Gaza to Azotum and Caesarea [Acts 8.26, 40].’


1659-1694
Εἰ δὲ κατὰ τὸν ὑμέτερον λόγον μόνη τοῦ θεοῦ ἡ δύναμις, σχηματιζομένη πρὸς τὰς εἰδέας τῶν ἁγίων μαρτύρων καὶ τῶν ἄλλων ὁσίων καὶ θεραπόντων αὐτοῦ, τὰς ἐνεργείας καὶ τὰς ἰάσεις ποιεῖ, τοῦτο καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν ἀγγέλων ἐξέστω ὑμῖν διανοεῖσθαι καὶ λέγειν· ἐν ἴσῃ γὰρ τάξει τῶν ἁγίων αἱ ψυχαὶ κατὰ τὴν τοῦ βίου ἔξοδον μετὰ τῶν ἀσωμάτων δυνάμεων ὑπάρχουσιν, κἂν τῇ δόξῃ καὶ τῇ πρωτογενεσίᾳ προτερεύουσιν οἱ ἅγιοι ἀρχάγγελοι καθὼς καὶ οἱ πατέρες ἐδίδαξαν. Εἰ δὲ μὴ ταῦθ’ οὕτως ἔχει, ψευδῶς αἱ τῶν ἁγίων ἐμφάνειαι καθ’ ὑμᾶς εἰπεῖν γίνονται, καθάπερ καὶ ἐν τοῖς θεάτροις ἄλλοι ὄντες ἑτέρων ὑποδύονται πρόσωπα, εἶθ’ οὕτως καθ’ ὑπόκρισιν τὰ τῆς παιδείας ἐπιτελοῦσιν. Τοὺς τοιούτους γ’ οὖν σχηματισμοὺς ἐλέγχων ὁ κύριος ἔλεγεν, μὴ ἐπιδεικτικῶς ἢ κατεσχηματισμένως ἐπιτελεῖν τὰς ἀρετάς, ὥσπερ οἱ ὑποκριταὶ ποιοῦσιν· ἀφανίζουσι γὰρ τὰ πρόσωπα αὐτῶν, ὅπως φανῶσιν, οὐ τῷ θεῷ ἀλλὰ τοῖς ἀνθρώποις νηστεύοντες, παρ’ ὧν καὶ τὸν μισθὸν ἀπέχουσιν. Εἰ γὰρ ὃ μή ἐστιν, τίς ἐκεῖνο θέλει φαίνεσθαι, τῆς ἀληθείας ἔξω βαίνει· πᾶν δὲ τὸ μὴ ἀληθὲς ὄν, ψευδῶς ποῦ πάντως ἐστίν· τὸ δὲ ψεῦδος ἐκ τοῦ διαβόλου ἐστίν. Τί λοιπὸν ἐκ τούτου περιγίνεται; Τὸ Ἀπολεῖ κύριος πάντας τοὺς λαλοῦντας τὸ ψεῦδος. Οὐκ οὖν οὐ ψεῦδος, ἵνα μὴ ἀπώλεια, ἀλλ’ οὐδὲ φαντασία, ὄντως οὖσα ὀπτασία. Μᾶλλον μὲν οὖν ἀλήθεια τῶν ἁγίων αἱ ἐμφάνειαι καὶ ἰάσεις γίνονται· οὐ γὰρ ὡς ἐπὶ σκηνῆς γελωτοποιῶν καὶ ἀπαταιώνων ἢ ὑποκριτῶν χρεία, ἀλλ’ ἀληθείας· ὠφελείας γὰρ ἕνεκεν ψυχικῆς τὲ καὶ σωματικῆς αἱ τῶν ἁγίων δείκνυνται χάριτες. Οἷοι γὰρ ζῶντες εἴ τε θανόντες εἰσί, τοιούτους φαίνεσθαι αὐτοὺς ποιεῖ ὁ θεός, μὴ καταψευδομένους τὴν χάριν, ἢ κατασοφιζομένους τὴν δωρεὰν τῶν εὐεργεσιῶν. Εἰ γὰρ ἄλλου τιμηθέντος ἄλλος ἔσται ὁ εὐφραινόμενος, ὡσαύτως τοὺς κεκρατημένους τῶν παθῶν ἀπαλλάττων φαντασίᾳ καὶ οὐκ ἀληθείᾳ, παρ’ οὗ τὴν ὠφέλειαν ὁ δεξάμενος ὡς δεξάμενος ἔτυχεν· καὶ ἀμφότεροι τῆς ἀληθείας ἐξέπεσον, ὅ τε εὐεργετηθείς, μὴ εἰδὼς παρ’ οὗ τὴν ἴασιν ἐδέξατο, ὅ τε πάλιν εὐεργετήσας, οὐχ’ ὡς ὑπὲρ ἑαυτοῦ ἀλλ’ ὑπὲρ ἄλλου τὴν σωτηρίαν παρασχόμενος. Λέγειν δέ τι τοιοῦτον ἐπὶ τῶν ἁγίων, ἀλλότριον πάντη καὶ ξένον τῆς ἡμετέρας ὀρθοδόξου πίστεως.

‘But if, as you say, it is only God's power, taking on the form of the figures of the holy martyrs and his other saints and servants, that performs actions and healings, you should dare believe and say the same thing about the angels as well. Because the souls of the saints, when leaving this life, live together with the bodiless powers and on an equal rank, even if the holy archangels are senior in glory and antiquity of creation, as the fathers have taught us. Yet if it is not so, the apparitions of the saints, according to your argument, are fake, just as in theatres people put on the faces of others, and thus perform the acts of the play only in pretence. But it was such masquerades that the Lord denounced when He said that virtue should not be performed in an ostentatious or pretentious way, as the hypocrites do: for they disfigure their faces, in order to be seen fasting, not by God, but by men from whom they expect their reward (Mt 6:16). For if someone wishes to appear as something that he is not, this person departs from truth. But all things that are not true are by necessity in some way false, and falsehood comes from the Devil. So what is the outcome of all this, then? That the Lord will destroy all them that speak falsehood (Ps. 5:6). Therefore, what we are talking about is not a fraud―for that would mean doom―not even a fantasy, but rather a vision of real existence. Accordingly, the apparitions and cures of the saints occur in truth. For we have no need of clowns or frauds or hypocrites, like a stage, but of truth. Indeed, the graces of the saints are manifested for the purpose of spiritual and bodily benefit. God causes them to appear just as they were in their lifetime, even if they are dead, neither feigning the grace, nor counterfeiting the gift of their benefactions. Because if we honour one person, but someone else enjoys our gratitude―delivering, as they will be, the suffering from their tribulations in appearance, but not in truth―from whom has the recipient received the favour? Both of them have fallen short of the truth: both the recipient of the benefaction, ignoring whence he has received the healing, and the benefactor, having granted salvation not by themselves, but in someone else’s stead. But to say something like that about the saints is totally strange and foreign to our orthodox faith.’


1797-1800.
Καὶ τοῦτο δείκνυται μὲν διὰ πολλῶν ἐμφάσεων· ἐξαιρέτως δὲ καὶ διὰ τῶν μαρτυρογράφων τῶν ἀληθῶς συγγεγραμμένων δυνάμεθα δι’ ὀλίγων τὸ ἀληθὲς παραστῆσαι, ἢ καὶ διὰ τῶν ἀποκαλύψεων τῶν τισὶν ὑπ’ αὐτῶν γεγονότων ἁγίων μαρτύρων, αἳ καὶ τὸ ἀναμφισβήτητον καὶ ἀξιόπιστον ἔχουσιν.

‘This can be shown by several examples; especially, however, we can briefly demonstrate the truth also by means of the truthfully written martyrdom accounts and the revelations wrought to certain people by the holy martyrs themselves, which are both uncontested and reliable.’

The texts cited are:
(1805-1825) Life and Martyrdom of Basileus of Amasea (BHG 239; $E07127)
(1860-1865) the concluding paragra

History

Evidence ID

E04192

Saint Name

Nicholas, bishop of Myra (Lycia, south Asia Minor), ob. 343 : S00520 Antony, 'the Great', monk of Egypt, ob. 356 : S00098 Forty Martyrs of Sebaste, : S00103 Gregory the Miracle-Worker (Taumatourgos), bishop and missionary in Pontus, ob. c. 270 :

Saint Name in Source

Νικόλαος Ἀντώνιος Τεσσαράκοντα μάρτυρες Γρηγόριος Στέφανος Θεόδωρος Βασιλεὺς

Type of Evidence

Literary - Theological works

Language

Greek

Evidence not before

583

Evidence not after

602

Activity not before

583

Activity not after

602

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

Eustratius of Constantinople

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Transmission, copying and reading saint-related texts

Cult activities - Rejection, Condemnation, Scepticism

Scepticism/rejection of the cult of saints

Cult activities - Use of Images

  • Verbal images of saints

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle during lifetime Miracle after death Apparition, vision, dream, revelation

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy

Source

Eustratius (born in Melitene, in the early to mid-sixth century – d. after 602) was a priest of the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople, and disciple of the patriarch of Constantinople Eutychius (patriarchates: 552-565 and 577-582). In 565-577, he accompanied his master into exile in Amasea, and returned with him to Constantinople, staying in his service until Eutychius’ death in 582. He is the author of three works, the Life of *Eutychios (E03093), a Life of *Golinduch (E00), and the tract On the State of the Souls after Death. Dating from after 582, On the State of the Souls after Death and is preserved in five manuscripts: http://pinakes.irht.cnrs.fr/notices/oeuvre/4021/

Discussion

Eustratius’ tract is one of the most important apologies of the cult of the saints produced during Late Antiquity, and one of our main testimonies for an apparently lively and widespread discussion concerning the nature of miracles and the state of souls after death in the late sixth century. The main thesis of Eustratius’ opponents is that the miracles ascribed to the saints are not caused by their souls, but by angels or God. The apparitions of the saints are only visual impressions, without involving the real presence of their souls. The souls of the saints live in a certain place, whence they cannot return or be in contact with the living. This seems to be based on the theory that, after death, all souls, both holy and sinful, enter a state of inactivity and imperception, which lasts until the Last Judgement and Resurrection. Eustratius also responds to a belief in the existence of a middle condition between the happiness of the saints and the punishment of great sinners, which he rejects. Finally, the author responds to those rejecting the necessity of the liturgies and prayers offered for the souls of the dead. Eustratius’ tract was the product of a time when questions about afterlife and eschatology were widely discussed. It is roughly contemporary with the Dialogues of Pope Gregory the Great (written in 593/4), with whom the author was certainly personally acquainted during the latter’s stay as papal apocrisarius in Constantinople (579-585). Gregory indeed had a major doctrinal dispute with Eustratius’ master, Eutychius of Constantinople, concerning the latter’s doctrine about the state of the body after resurrection. L. Demos (2010) and M. Dal Santo (2010) have argued that Gregory’s Dialogues speak to virtually the same debate as Eustratius’ On the State of the Souls, reflecting the same intellectual context. This context is associated by Constas (2002) and Dal Santo (2010) with Aristotelian theories about the soul, propounded in the sixth century by the Alexandrian John Philoponos and the Syrian Stephen Gobar, who wrote in the 560s and 570s. The theory that all souls enter a state of sleep which lasts till Resurrection was popular in the Syrian tradition since Ephraim the Syrian. It must be stressed that, despite agreeing in most of their understanding of the subjet, Eustratius and Gregory seem to address different objections, focus on different aspects of the subject, offer partly different answers, and employ different methodologies. Eustratius anchors his views in ancient tradition and textual authority (the Bible, the Greek Fathers, some hagiographic works), whereas Gregory bases his arguments on contemporary experience (the main subject of the Dialogues is a collection of legends about contemporary holy men in Italy). Eustratius' goal is to prove that Scripture, the Fathers of the Church, and the hagiographical tradition show that the souls of the dead have both perception and activity immediately after death, and that the miracles, visions, and apparitions are wrought by the souls of the saints personally. Gregory is also centrally preoccupied with the posthumous activity of souls, but the problem of the saints' real presence in visions (i.e. Eustratius’ central question) occupies only a minor place in his work (Dial. 2.22). Gregory’s target, especially in the fourth Dialogue, is a general doubt about the existence of life after death, which Eustratius’ opponents do not seem to have questioned at all. In his explanation of how the saints become active spirits, Eustratius proposes that their souls acquire a status equivalent to that of the angels (1659-1694). By analogy, he also accepts the possibility that sinful souls can wreak apparitions and cause harm to people (2049-2342). In other words, Eustratius understands dead saints as something like angels, and dead sinners as maleficent ghosts or demons. Both ideas seem to be Eustratius' own views, for which he provides no documentation from other texts (although the idea that saints are closely akin to angels can be found elsewhere, for example, in Gregory of Nyssa’s Encomium on Theodore). Neither of these ideas is explicitly expressed by Gregory the Great. The latter proposes that the saints enter immediately after death into a first version of heaven, while the souls of the wicked, by analogy, also have an immediate experience of hell. The most substantial disagreement, however, concerns the existence of a middle condition between the state of the saints and that of the great sinners. Eustratius rejects that there is such a middle condition, whereas Gregory accepts that imperfect, yet not gravely sinful souls, experience a state of reversible punishment which does not amount to full condemnation. Gregory imagines that interim punishment as a cleansing fire, anticipating the late medieval doctrine of purgatory. These divergent theses reflect original aspects in the thought of the two authors, and their active contribution to the theoretical understanding of sanctity. Eustratius' quotations constitute important testimonies for the late antique composition of his source texts, especially for the anonymous hagiographical texts he uses, namely the Martyrdom of the Forty Martyrs, the Martyrdom of Basileus of Amasea, and the Life of Nicholas of Myra. Eustratius is evidently aware of the problem of reliability in hagiography, and he therefore chooses to quote from texts which he regards as truthfully written […] uncontested and reliable. Eustratius’ assessment of these particular texts as highly reliable might raise the eyebrows of modern readers, but it is important that, for Eustratius and many of his contemporaries, these sources had a comparable degree of authority to the Bible and the Fathers. The author’s predilection for Anatolian hagiography is interesting. The quotation of the Life of Basileus reflects Eustratius’ personal connection with the city of Amasea, where he stayed with his master during Eutychius’ exile. For the same reason, it is surprising and puzzling that the author keeps silent about the works of Asterius of Amasea, whose homilies about the saints could have served Eustratius’ purposes. The language and notions of Eustratios' work have an interesting position in theological thinking. Replying to an essentially anthropological problem, he used a language hitherto employed in discussions about the nature of Christ: energeia, ousia, hyparxis. At the same time, however, the centrality of the notion of the image (typos) in the debate between him and his opponents partly anticipates the dilemmas of Iconoclasm.

Bibliography

Text: Deun, Peter van. Eustratii Presbyteri Constantinopolitani De statu animarum post mortem (CPG 7522). Corpus Christianorum Series Graeca 60. Turnhout: Brepols; Leuven University Press, 2006. Translation and commentary: Demos, L. The Cult of the Saints and its Christological Foundations in Eustratios of Constantinople’s De statu animarum post mortem, Doctor of Theology Thesis, Harvard University, Cambridge MA, 2010. Further reading: Constas, N. "An Apology for the Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity: Eustratius Presbyter of Constantinople, on the State of Souls after Death (Cpg 7522)." Journal of Early Christian Studies 10:2 (2002): 267-85. Dagron, G. “L'ombre d'un doute: L'hagiographie en question, VIe-XIe siècle." Dumbarton Oaks Papers 46 (1992), 59-68. Dal Santo, M. J. Debating the Saints’ Cult in the Age of Gregory the Great. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. Krausmüller, D. “God or Angels as Impersonators of Saints: A Belief and its Contexts in the “Refutation” of Eustratius of Constantinople and in the Writings of Anastasius of Sinai,” Gouden Hoorn, 6 (1998/1999): 5-16.

Continued Description

ph of the Martyrdom of the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste (BHG 1201; see E01303)(1892-1944) Chrysippus of Jerusalem, Encomium on Theodore, passage from the collection of miracles (BHG 1765c-d; $E04625) (1960-2000) Revelation of Loukianos on the Relics of Stephen the First Martyr (BHG 1648x; E00).2004-2020. Ἀλλ’ ἴσως καὶ ἑτέραν ἀπορίαν ἡμῖν προβάλλονται λέγοντες· «Πῶς αἱ ἀσώματοι ψυχαὶ τῶν ἁγίων πανοπλίαν ἔσθ’ ὅτε μὲν καὶ ἑτέρων σχημάτων ἢ ἵππων ἢ ἄλλων τινῶν συμβόλων ἐπιφέρονται, γυμναὶ καὶ ἀσώματοι νῦν τυγχάνουσαι;» Λέγομεν οὖν ὅτι ὥσπερ οἱ ἄγγελοι ἀσώματοι ὄντες, ἀποστελλόμενοι δὲ εἰς διακονίαν, δυνατοὶ εἰσὶ ποιῆσαι τὸ θέλημα τοῦ ἀποστείλαντος αὐτούς, καὶ τὰς ὁράσεις τυποῦσι καθὼς ἂν οἱ ὑποδεχόμενοι φανεῖεν ἄξιοι, οὕτω καὶ αἱ ψυχαὶ τὰς τυπώσεις οὐ φυσικὰς μέν, ἀληθινὰς δὲ ὅμως ποιοῦσιν· ὥσπερ γὰρ ὁ ζωγράφος ἐκ πολλῶν χρωμάτων ποιεῖ μὲν πράγματα ὑφεστῶτα, οὐ μὴν φύσει ζῶα ἢ ἄλλα τινά, οὕτω καὶ τὰ ἀσώματα λογικὰ δύναμιν ἔχει πρὸς ὀλίγον τυπώσεις ποιεῖν. Καὶ οὔτε φαντασίαν δεῖ καλεῖν τὰ τοιαῦτα, οὔτε φυσικά· οὐδ’ αὖ πάλιν μὴ εἶναι ἀληθεῖς τὰς ὁράσεις ἀποφαίνεσθαι δίκαιον· τοῦτο γὰρ καὶ ἐπὶ τοῦ Ἀβραὰμ καὶ τῶν τριῶν ἀγγέλων ἐγεγόνει, καὶ ἀληθῶς μέν, οὐ φύσει δὲ ἔφαγον οἱ ἄγγελοι· οὐδὲ φαντασίᾳ τὸ γεγονὸς ἐγεγόνει.'But they may also raise another question saying: "How is it that the bodiless souls of the saints sometimes bear armour or other kinds of attire or horses or other symbols, even though they are now bare and bodiless?" So we reply that, just like the angels who, although being bodiless, whenever they are sent to perform some service, have the power to do the will of their Sender, and impress visions according to the worthiness of the recipients, even so do the souls create impressions which may not be physical, but are real. Just like a painter who creates subsistent objects from multiple colours, even though these are not physical animals or other beings, similarly do the reasonable bodiless beings have the ability to create impressions for a short while. We should neither define these things as illusions nor as physical entities, but it would not be correct either to conclude that the visions are not real. This happened also in the case of Abraham and the three angels: the angels ate in reality, though not physically, and the event did not occur in imagination (Gen. 18).'2039-2050 Ἐπείπερ οὖν καθὼς καὶ οἱ πατέρες ἐδίδαξαν, ἀσώματοι ὄντες οἱ ἄγγελοι τὰς ἀποκαλύψεις τυποῦσιν, τὴν ἐξουσίαν παρὰ θεοῦ εἰληφότες, ὡσαύτως καὶ τῶν ἁγίων αἱ ψυχαί, τῶν ἀγγέλων ἐγγὺς οὖσαι, παραπλησίως καὶ αὗται τὰς δυνάμεις ἐπιτελοῦσιν, θεὸν ἔχοντες ἀρωγὸν καὶ συλλήπτορα. Μηδεὶς οὖν ἀπατάσθω ἤγουν ἀπατάτω προσάπτων τισὶ τὰ ἄλλοις προσόντα. Καὶ γὰρ ἕκαστον ἐν τῇ ἰδίᾳ τάξει μένειν ὁ ταξιάρχης βούλεται· καὶ πνεύματα γὰρ προφητῶν προφήταις ὑποτάσσεται· οὐ γάρ ἐστιν ἀκαταστασίας ὁ θεὸς ἀλλ’ εἰρήνης. Ἀρκούντως οἶμαι σεσαφήνισται ἢ μᾶλλον εἰπεῖν ἀποδέδεικται πολλαχῶς ὡς αἱ ψυχαὶ τῶν ἁγίων εἰσὶν αἱ τὰς ἐμφανείας ποιοῦσαι, ὅτ’ ἂν δέοι ταύτας ὀπτάνεσθαί τισιν. ‘Now, if, as the fathers have taught us, the angels, although bodiless, cause the visions of revelations, having received this power from God, similarly do the souls of the saints, being akin to the angels, perform miracles, having God as their helper and co-worker. Therefore, let nobody fool themselves or others by ascribing things where they do not belong. Because the Commander wishes that each thing remain in its proper order. Indeed, the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets; for God is not a God of disorder, but of peace (1 Cor. 14: 32-33). I believe that it has been sufficiently clarified, or rather demonstrated with multiple proofs, that it is the souls of the saints that wreak the apparitions, whenever it is necessary for them to appear to people.’Text: van Deun 2006.Summary and Translation: E. Rizos.

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