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E06044: Sophronius of Jerusalem, in his Miracles of the Saints Cyrus and John, recounts how *Kyros and Ioannes/Cyrus and John (physician and soldier, martyrs of Egypt, S00406) healed from an occlusion a certain philoponos Menas, director of a confraternity in Alexandria of *Andrew (the Apostle (S00288), at their shrine at Menouthis (near Alexandria, Lower Egypt). Written in Greek in Alexandria, 610/615.

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posted on 26.07.2018, 00:00 by julia
Sophronius of Jerusalem, The Miracles of Saints Cyrus and John, 5

Summary:

There was a certain philoponos Menas, a director of the philoponeion by [the chapel?] of the Apostle Andrew (philoponeion to kata ton Andreou tou theiou) located in Perone [a region of Alexandria]. This Menas fell severely ill. He had a high fever which almost completely dehydrated his body and by desiccation caused an occlusion of the stomach. The doctors who treated him neglected the fever, considering it to be benign and applied various compresses and ointments, as well as making him swallow purgative remedies and foods that were to release his stomach. They tried everything, but with the only effect that he got even worse than before. Since whatever they introduced into his stomach remained there and prevented excretion. The patient swelled up progressively in his stomach without finding any relief for his suffering.

He endured this danger for twice times seven days, and then, since he could stand it no longer, he rushed to [the sanctuary of] the martyrs Cyrus and John, entrusting to them both his life and death. He could not walk being so swollen up, so he had himself carried on his bed by sixteen people to the sanctuary.

Upon his arrival, the martyrs received him with mercy and a philanthropic zeal. They visited him the same night and gave him a dried fig to eat. It was capable of delivering him from the malady or rather from Hades. The martyrs appeared to him in a dream, so when he had woken up, he expected to have the fig. Yet he could not find it, so he was distraught, as if he was to lose his life. Thus he summoned his wife and recounted his vision to her, and asked her to bring him a dried fig.

The woman, having examined her husband's bed, noticed the fig lying in it, and showed it to him at once. He said that it was the one he had been given in his dream, ate it, and immediately was restored to health. The occlusion receded and Menas felt an urgent need to visit the latrine. When he got there, he excreted all the material which had accumulated in his stomach. Having received complete healing, he became a grateful herald of the martyrs' grace. He loaded his shoulders with the bed on which he had been carried to the sanctuary and ran to Alexandria, rivalling by this action the invalid of the Probatic Pool (whom Christ healed, having commanded him to rise from bed at the age of thirty-eight), and proclaiming to everybody the ineffable power of the saints and the miracle that was performed on his behalf.

Text: Fernández Marcos 1976, lightly modified in the light of Gascou 2007. Summary: J. Doroszewska.

History

Evidence ID

E06044

Saint Name

Kyros and Iōannēs/Cyrus and John, physician and soldier, martyrs of Egypt : S00406 Andrew, the Apostle : S00288

Saint Name in Source

Κῦρος καὶ Ἰωάννης Ἀνδρέας

Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Collections of miracles

Language

Greek

Evidence not before

610

Evidence not after

615

Activity not before

500

Activity not after

615

Place of Evidence - Region

Egypt and Cyrenaica

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Alexandria

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

Alexandria Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Incubation

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Healing diseases and disabilities Apparition, vision, dream, revelation

Cult Activities - Relics

Contact relic - other

Source

Sophronius (c. 560-c. 637) was born to a Chalcedonian family in Damascus, and was probably familiar with both Greek and Syriac culture. He was educated as a teacher of rhetoric, but in c. 580 became an ascetic while in Egypt, and entered the monastery of St. Theodosios near Bethlehem. He travelled widely to monastic centres in Egypt, the Near East, Aegean, and North Africa, accompanying his friend, the monk and writer John Moschus, who dedicated to him his treatise on the religious life, the Spiritual Meadow (Leimon pneumatikos). In 633-634, Sophronius travelled to Alexandria and to Constantinople in order to persuade the patriarchs to renounce Monoenergism. In 634, he was elected patriarch of Jerusalem. He is venerated as a saint in the catholic and orthodox churches; in the Byzantine rite he shares with John Moschus a feast day on 11 March. He died in Jerusalem in about 637. His extant doctrinal writings include a Letter to Arcadius of Cyprus and the Synodical Letter against Monenergism. Other works have also been preserved, such as an encomium on the Alexandrian martyrs Cyrus and John (in gratitude for healing his vision), The Miracles of the Saints Cyrus and John, a collection of 23 Anacreontic poems, and several patriarchal sermons on such themes as the Muslim siege of Jerusalem and on various liturgical celebrations. The Miracles of the Saints Cyrus and John comprise 70 stories; this number, as explained by the author in the Preface, consists either of 7 decades or 10 heptades, both of which refer to biblical and pagan (Pythagorean) arithmetic, where 7 is a mystic number and 10 is a perfect number. References to the number 7 and its multiple (14) recurs in the work several times (Miracles 5, 15, 23, 39, 43; Gascou 2006: 11 with notes). The significance of other numbers has also been noted: for the number 3, see Fernández Marcos 1975: 42, n. 15; for the number 67 (Miracle 1), see Nissen 1939: 377, n. 2.  All 70 stories concern miraculous healings performed by the two martyrs, considered saints of the first rank by Sophronius (Miracle 29), in their sanctuary at Menouthis, near Alexandria. The first 35 miracles concern Alexandrians, the next 15 Egyptians and Libyans, mostly of the Alexandrian region, and the last 20 foreigners of whom some were settled in Alexandria. Sophronius wanted to flatter in this way the self-esteem of the Alexandrians who were the possessors of the saints' relics. He also argued that the miracles of Alexandria were particularly credible, since they delivered plenty of verifiable facts. For the same reason, the miracles selected by him were limited to those of his own times and concerned persons who were still alive and could testify to the events. Sophronius seems also to have had at his disposal earlier and parallel collections. A powerful feature of the miracle stories is a disdain for secular doctors, but not medicine per se, who are seen as ineffective in comparison to the power of the saintly healing of Cyrus and John. The collection is also notable for Sophronius’ polemic against Miaphysites, who evidently attended the shrine. The most recent edition of Sophronius' text is Fernandez Marcos 1976, but Gascou in his translation of 2007 includes several textual emendations which we have followed when they occur.

Discussion

Menas was a director of a philoponeion, i.e. a guild/confraternity dedicated in this case to Saint Andrew, and presumably connected with a chapel dedicated to the saint; the philopones were members of a lay group which undertook certain duties in church; they were recruited from among the sick present at the shrine to obtain a healing miracle; on the philopones see Wipszycka 1996, 257-278. Perone was presumably a quarter of Alexandria (Gascou 2006: 34, n. 157). The Probatic Pool refers to the Gospel of John 5:2, where Christ healed a paralytic.

Bibliography

Text: Fernández Marcos, N., Los thaumata de Sofronio. Contribución al estudio de la "Incubatio" cristiana, Manuales y anejos de "Emérita" 31 (Madrid, 1975), 243-400. Translations: Gascou, J., Sophrone de Jérusalem, Miracles des saints Cyr et Jean (BHGI 477-479) (Paris, 2006). French translation and commentary. Peltier, D., "Sophrone de Jérusalem, Récit des miracles des saints Cyr et Jean" (unpublished dissertation; Paris 1978). Further reading: Duffy, J., “Observations on Sophronius' Miracles of Cyrus and John,” Journal of Theological Studies 35 (1984), 71-90. Duffy, J., “The Miracles of Cyrus and John: New Old Readings from the Manuscript,” Illinois Classical Studies 12:1 (1987), 169-177. Gascou, J., “Religion et identité communautaire à Alexandrie à la fin de l'époque byzantine, d'après les Miracles des saints Cyr et Jean,” in: J.-Y. Empereur and C. Décobert (eds.), Alexandrie médiévale, 3 (Cairo, 2008), 69-88. Gascou, J., Les origines du culte des saints Cyr et Jean (2006); online document: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00009140/ Le Coz, R., “Les Pères de l'Eglise grecque et la médecine,” Bulletin de Littérature Ecclésiastique 98 (1997), 137-154. Maraval, P., “Fonction pédagogique de la littérature hagiographique d'un lieu de pèlerinage: l'exemple des Miracles de Cyr et Jean,” in: Hagiographie, culture et sociétés (IVe-XIIe siècles), Actes du Colloque organisé à Nanterre et à Paris (2-5 mai 1979) (Paris, 1981), 383-397. Nissen, T., “Sophronios-Studien III, Medizin und Magie bei Sophronios,” Byzantinische Zeitschrift 39 (1939), 349–81. Papaconstantinou, A., Le culte des saints en Égypte des Byzantins aux Abbassides. L'apport des inscriptions et des papyrus grecs et coptes (Paris, 2001). Sansterre, J.-M., "Apparitions et miracles à Ménouthis: de l'incubation païenne à l'incubation chrétienne," in E. Dierkens (ed.), Apparitions et miracles (Brussels, 1991), 69-83. Schönborn, C., Sophrone de Jérusalem. Vie monastique et confession dogmatique (Paris, 1972). Wipszycka, E., “Les confréries dans la vie religieuse de l'Egypte chrétienne,” in: E. Wipszycka, Études sur le christianisme dans l'Égypte de l'antiquité tardive (Rome, 1996), 257-278.

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