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E04334: Procopius of Caesarea, in his On Buildings, reports that the emperor Justinian (r. 527-565) rebuilt, in larger and more splendid form, the ruinous church of the *Apostles (S00084) in Constantinople. During the rebuilding, wooden coffins with the bodies of *Andrew (the Apostle, S00288), *Luke (the Evangelist, S00442) and *Timothy (the disciple of Paul the Apostle, S00466) were discovered, identified by inscriptions; these were solemnly reburied in marked graves. Written in Greek at Constantinople, in the 550s.

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posted on 07.11.2017, 00:00 by Bryan
Procopius of Caesarea, On Buildings, 1.4.9-10, 1.4.17-24

9. Μετὰ δὲ καὶ τοὺς ἀποστόλους ἅπαντας ὑπερφυῶς σέβων ἐποίει τοιάδε. ἦν τις ἐν Βυζαντίῳ ἐκ παλαιοῦ τοῖς ἀποστόλοις νεὼς ἅπασι μήκει τε χρόνου κατασεισθεὶς ἤδη καὶ πρὸς τὸ μηκέτι ἑστήξειν γεγονὼς ὕποπτος. 10 τοῦτον περιελὼν Ἰουστινιανὸς βασιλεὺς ὅλον οὐχ ὅσον ἀνανεώσασθαι διὰ σπουδῆς ἔσχεν, ἀλλὰ καὶ μεγέθους καὶ κάλλους πέρι ἀξιώτερον καταστήσασθαι.

'9. Afterwards, as showing very special honour to all the Apostles together, he did as follows. There was in Byzantium from ancient times a church (neōs) dedicated to all the Apostles; but having by now been shaken by the passage of time, it had fallen under the suspicion that it would not continue to stand. This the Emperor Justinian pulled down entirely, and he was at pains not simply to restore it, but to make it more worthy both in size and in beauty.'

Procopius then gives a detailed description of the rebuilt church (§§ 10-16), before recounting the story of the recovery of the bodies of saints Andrew, Luke and Timothy:

17. ἐπειδὴ δὲ αὐτῷ τὸ ἁγίστευμα τοῦτο ἐξείργαστο, καταφανεῖς οἱ ἀπόστολοι πεποίηνται πᾶσιν ὡς γεγήθασί τε τῇ τοῦ βασιλέως τιμῇ καὶ κατακόρως ἐναβρύνονται. σώματα γοῦν τῶν ἀποστόλων Ἀνδρέου τε καὶ Λουκᾶ καὶ Τιμοθέου ἄδηλά τε καὶ ὅλως κρυφαῖα τὰ πρότερα ὄντα τηνικάδε πᾶσιν ἔνδηλα γέγονεν, οὐκ ἁπαξιούντων, οἶμαι, τὴν βασιλέως πίστιν, ἀλλ’ ἐπιχωρούντων αὐτῷ διαρρήδην ὁρῶντί τε αὐτοὺς καὶ προσιόντι καὶ ἁπτομένῳ τῆς ἐνθένδε ὠφελείας τε καὶ περὶ τὸν βίον ἀσφαλείας ἀπόνασθαι. ἐγνώσθη δὲ ὧδε. Κωνστάντιος μὲν βασιλεὺς τοῦτον δὴ τὸν νεὼν ἔς τε τὴν τιμὴν καὶ τὸ ὄνομα τῶν ἀποστόλων ἐδείματο, τὰς θῆκας γενέσθαι αὑτῷ τε καὶ τοῖς ἐς τὸ ἔπειτα βασιλεύσουσιν ἐνταῦθα τάξας, οὐκ ἀνδράσι μόνον, ἀλλὰ καὶ γυναιξὶν οὐδέν τι ἧσσον· ὅπερ καὶ διασώζεται ἐς τόνδε τὸν χρόνον· οὗ δὴ καὶ Κωνσταντίνου τοῦ πατρὸς τὸν νεκρὸν ἔθετο. ἀποστόλων δὲ σώματα ἐνταῦθα εἶναι ὡς ἥκιστά πη ἐπεσημήνατο, οὐδέ τις ἐνταῦθα ἐφαίνετο χῶρος σώμασιν ἁγίοις ἀνεῖσθαι δοκῶν. ἀλλὰ νῦν Ἰουστινιανοῦ βασιλέως ἀνοικοδομουμένου τὸ ἱερὸν τοῦτο, οἱ μὲν λιθουργοὶ τὸ ἔδαφος διώρυσσον ὅλον, τοῦ μή τι ἄκοσμον τῇδε λελεῖφθαι· θῆκας δὲ ξυλίνας ἐνταῦθά πη ἀπημελημένας τεθέανται τρεῖς, γράμμασιν ἐγκειμένοις σφίσι δηλούσας, ὡς Ἀνδρέου τε καὶ Λουκᾶ καὶ Τιμοθέου τῶν ἀποστόλων σώματα εἶεν· ἅπερ ἀσμενέστατα βασιλεύς τε αὐτὸς καὶ Χριστιανοὶ ξύμπαντες εἶδον, πομπήν τε αὐτοῖς καὶ πανήγυριν ἐπιτετελεκότες, τῇ τε περὶ αὐτοὺς τιμῇ ἐξοσιωσάμενοι τὰ εἰωθότα καὶ περιστείλαντες τὰς θῆκας αὖθις τῇ γῇ ἔκρυψαν, οὐκ ἄσημον οὐδὲ ἀγείτονα λιπόντες τὸν χῶρον, ἀλλὰ σώμασιν ἀποστόλων ἀνειμένον καταστησάμενοι ξὺν εὐσεβείᾳ. εὔδηλον δὲ ὡς ἀμειβόμενοι, ὅπερ μοι εἴρηται, οἱ ἀπόστολοι οἶδε τὴν ἐς αὐτοὺς βασιλέως τιμῆς πεφήνασι τοῖς ἀνθρώποις τα νῦν. βασιλέως γὰρ εὐσεβοῦντος οὐδὲ ἀποφοιτᾷ τῶν ἀνθρωπείων τὰ θεῖα πραγμάτων ἀλλ’ ἐπιμίγνυσθαί τε καὶ ἐμφιλοχωρεῖν τῇ ἐς τοὺς ἀνθρώπους ὁμιλίᾳ φιλεῖ.

'17. And at the time when this shrine (hagisteuma) was completed by him, the Apostles made it manifest to all men how they delight in the honour shown them by the Emperor and glory in it exceedingly. At any rate the bodies of the Apostles Andrew and Luke and Timothy, which previously had been invisible and altogether concealed, became at that time visible to all men, signifying, I believe, that they did not reject the faith of the Emperor, but expressly permitted him to see them and approach them and touch them, that he might thereby enjoy their assistance and the safety of his life. This was made known in the following way. The Emperor Constantius had built this church in honour of the Apostles and in their name, decreeing that tombs for himself and for all future Emperors should be placed there, and not for the rulers alone, but for their consorts as well; and this custom is preserved to the present day. Here also he laid the body of his father Constantine. But neither did he give any intimation whatever that the bodies of the Apostles were there, nor did any place appear there which seemed to be given over to the bodies of the holy men. But when the Emperor Justinian was rebuilding this shrine, the workmen dug up the whole soil so that nothing unseemly should be left there; and they saw three wooden coffins lying there neglected, which revealed by inscriptions upon them that they contained the bodies of the Apostles Andrew and Luke and Timothy. And the Emperor himself and all the Christians saw these with the greatest joy, and having arranged a procession in their honour and a festival, and having performed the customary holy rites over them and having put the coffins in order, they laid them once more in the ground, not leaving the place unmarked or solitary, but piously ordaining that it be dedicated to the bodies of the Apostles. And it is plain, as I have said, that it was in requital for this honour which the Emperor showed them, that these Apostles appeared to men on this occasion. For when the Emperor is pious, divinity walks not afar from human affairs, but is wont to mingle with men and to take delight in associating with them.'

Text: Haury 1913. Translation: Dewing 1940.

History

Evidence ID

E04334

Saint Name

Andrew, the Apostle : S00288 Luke, the Apostle : S00442 Timothy, the disciple of Paul the Apostle, ob. c.97 : S00466 Apostles, unnamed or name lost : S00084

Saint Name in Source

Ἀνδρέας Λουκᾶς Τιμόθεος

Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)

Language

Greek

Evidence not before

550

Evidence not after

561

Activity not before

306

Activity not after

561

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

Procopius

Cult activities - Liturgical Activity

  • Procession

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Saint as patron - of a community

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Monarchs and their family

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - entire body Discovering, finding, invention and gathering of relics Other activities with relics Transfer, translation and deposition of relics

Source

Procopius of Caesarea, (c. 500 – c. 560/561 AD) was a soldier and historian from the Roman province of Palaestina Prima. He accompanied the Roman general Belisarius in the wars of the Emperor Justinian (527-565). He wrote the Wars (or Histories), On Buildings and the Secret History. On Buildings is a panegyric in six books. It lists, and sometimes describes, the buildings erected or renovated by the emperor Justinian throughout the empire (only on Italy is there no information). The bulk of these are churches and shrines dedicated to various saints; the Buildings is therefore a very important text for the evidence it provides of the spread of saintly cults by the mid 6th c. On Buildings dates from the early 550s to c. 560/561; a terminus post quem is 550/551 as the text mentions the capture of Topirus in Thrace by the Slavs in 550 and describes the city walls of Chalkis in Syria built in 550/551; a probable terminus ante quem is 558 when the dome of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople collapsed, which is not mentioned in the book; or before 560 when the bridge on the river Sangarius was completed, as Procopius reports on the start of works. On Buildings thus belongs to the later years of Justinian’s reign. The work is not finished and is probably Procopius’ last work. It glorifies Justinian, depicting him as a great builder and an emperor restlessly transforming the state, expanding and reforming it, destroying paganism, extirpating heresy, and re-establishing the firm foundations of the Christian faith (Elsner 2007: 35). More on the text: Downey 1947; Elsner 2007; Greatrex 1994 and 2013. Overview of the text: Book 1. Constantinople and its suburbs Book 2. Frontier provinces of Mesopotamia and Syria. Book 3. Armenia, Tzanica, and the shores of the Black Sea. Book 4. Illyricum and Thrace (the Balkans). Book 5. Asia Minor, Syria, and Palestine. Book 6. North Africa, from Alexandria to central Algeria.

Discussion

This passage records Justinian's rebuilding of the great church of the Holy Apostles in the middle of Constantinople, where Constantine and successive emperors were buried. For the 4th c. building, see E00397; and, for the transfer to this church of the relics of Andrew, Luke and Timothy in 356/7 (or perhaps in 336), E04195 and E###. The rediscovery of these relics, during Justinian's rebuilding of the church, is presented by Procopius as an act of divine favour towards a pious emperor. The story is puzzling, because it suggests that the resting-places of the relics of Andrew, Luke and Timothy were not prominently marked in the pre-Justinianic church. Procopius may well have exaggerated the extent to which they had been 'lost' between the fourth and the sixth century, but, since he was writing for a contemporary Constantinopolitan audience, they cannot have been prominently displayed before Justinian's time. For Malalas' description of Justinian's rededication of the Holy Apostles, see E05741. Further reading: Janin 1969, 41-50.

Bibliography

Edition: Haury, J., Procopii Caesariensis opera omnia, vol. 4: Περι κτισματων libri VI sive de aedificiis (Leipzig: Teubner, 1962-64). Translations and Commentaries: Compagnoni, G.R., Procopio di Cesarea, Degli Edifici. Traduzione dal greco di G. Compagnoni (Milan: Tipi di Francesco Sonzogno, 1828). Dewing, H.B., Procopius, On Buildings. Translated into English by H.B. Dewing, vol. 7 (London: William Heinemann, New York: Macmillan, 1940). Grotowski, P.Ł., Prokopiusz z Cezarei, O Budowlach. Przełożył, wstępem, objaśnieniami i komentarzem opatrzył P.Ł. Grotowski (Warsaw: Proszynski i S-ka, 2006). Roques, D., Procope de Césarée. Constructions de Justinien Ier. Introduction, traduction, commentaire, cartes et index par D. Roques (Alessandria: Edizioni dell'Orso, 2011). Veh, O., and Pülhorn, W. (eds.), Procopii opera. De Aedificiis. With a Commentary by W. Pülhorn (Munich: Heimeran, 1977). Further Reading: Burgess, R.W., "The Passio S. Artemii, Philostorgius, and the dates of the invention and translations of the relics of Sts Andrew and Luke," Analecta Bollandiana 121 (2003), 5-36. Downey, G.A., “The Composition of Procopius’ ‘De Aedificiis’," Transactions of the American Philological Association 78 (1947), 171-183. Elsner, J., “The Rhetoric of Buildings in De Aedificiis of Procopius”, in: L. James (ed.), Art and Text in Byzantine Culture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 33-57. Greatrex, G., “The Dates of Procopius’ Works,” Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies 18 (1994), 101-14. Greatrex, G., “The Date of Procopius Buildings in the Light of Recent Scholarship,” Estudios bizantinos 1 (2013), 13-29. Janin, R., Constantinople byzantine: développement urbain et répertoire topographique (Paris: Institut français d'études byzantines, 1950). Janin, R. La géographie ecclésiastique de l'empire Byzantin I 3: Les églises et les monastères de la ville de Constantinople. 2nd ed. (Paris, 1969). Krautheimer, R., Three Christian Capitals: Topography and Politics (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983). Mango, C., "Constantine's Mausoleum and the Translation of Relics," Byzantinische Zeitschrift 83 (1990), 151-162. Mango, C., Studies on Constantinople (Aldershot: Variorum, 1997 [repr. of 1993]). Van Millingen, A., Byzantine Churches in Constantinople: Their History and Architecture (London: Macmillan, 1912).

Licence

Exports

Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

Categories

Licence

Exports