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E06470: In 555/557, Cyril of Scythopolis in the Life of Euthymios describes the construction of a burial chapel for the transfer of the relics of *Euthymios (monastic founder in Palestine, S01352) to the saint’s monastery in 473. When the church was consecrated in 483, relics of *Tarachos, Probos, and Andronikos (martyrs of Anazarbus, S00710) were placed under the altar. Written in Greek at the New Laura in Palestine.

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posted on 11.09.2018, 00:00 by erizos
Cyril of Scythopolis, Life of Euthymios 40, 42, 44 (CPG 7535 = BHG 647-648b)

40. [……] καὶ καταλείψας ἐν τῆι λαύραι Φίδον τὸν διάκονον ὡς ὀφείλοντα φροντίζειν τῆς οἰκοδομῆς τοῦ κοιμητηρίου πρὸς τὸ μετατεθῆναι τὸ τίμιον λείψανον εἰς πρέποντα τόπον ἀνελθὼν εἰς τὴν ἁγίαν πόλιν ἀπέστειλεν τεχνίτας καὶ τὴν εἰς τὴν οἰκοδομὴν ὑπουργίαν ἅπασαν.

[……]

42. Ὁ δὲ διάκονος Φίδος πολλὴν σπουδὴν θέμενος ὠικοδόμησεν τὸ κοιμητήριον ἐν τῶι τόπωι τοῦ σπηλαίου ἔνθα ἐν ἀρχῆι ἡσύχαζεν ὁ μέγας Εὐθύμιος. ὅπερ σπήλαιον καταλύσας ἐν μόνοις τρισὶ μησὶν ἔκτισεν οἶκον μέγαν καὶ θαυμαστὸν κεκαμαρωμένον. καὶ ἐν μὲν τῶι μέσωι τὴν τοῦ ἁγίου θήκην πεποίηκεν· ἑκατέρωθεν δὲ ἐσκεύασεν θήκας ἡγουμένων τε καὶ πρεσβυτέρων καὶ λοιπῶν ὁσίων ἀνδρῶν. ὁ δὲ ἀρχιεπίσκοπος προπέμψας τήν τε ἐπικειμένην πλάκα μετὰ τῆς ἀργυρᾶς χώνης καὶ τὰ κυκλοῦντα κάγκελλα κατῆλθεν εἰς τὴν λαύραν καὶ μετήνεγκεν τὸ τίμιον λείψανον εἰς τὸν ἑτοιμασθέντα τόπον οἰκείαις βαστάσας χερσὶν καὶ τοῦτο καταθέμενος ἀσφαλῶς πρὸς τὸ μηδένα δύνασθαι ἀνοῖξαι καὶ λείψανον ἀποσυλῆσαι ἐπέθηκεν τὴν πλάκα πήξας τὴν χώνην ὑπεράνω τοῦ στήθους αὐτοῦ. ἥτις χώνη ἀπὸ τότε μέχρι τῆς σήμερον ἀναβλύζει παντοδαπὰς εὐεργεσίας τοῖς μετὰ πίστεως προσιοῦσι. γέγονε δὲ ἡ τοῦ λειψάνου μετάθεσις μηνὶ Μαίωι ἑβδόμηι.

[……]

44. [……] ὁ τοίνυν ἀρχιεπίσκοπος Μαρτύριος γνοὺς τὸ γενόμενον θαῦμα μετὰ πολλῆς δαψιλείας παραγέγονεν εἰς τὸν ἐγκαινισμὸν τοῦ μοναστηρίου. καὶ γέγονεν ἡ ἀγρυπνία μετὰ λαμπρᾶς φωταγωγίας καὶ ποιοῦντες τὴν σύναξιν κατέθεντο ὑπὸ τὸ θυσιαστήριον λείψανα ἁγίων καὶ καλλινίκων μαρτύρων, Ταράχου καὶ Πρόβου καὶ Ἀνδρονίκου, μηνὶ Μαίωι ἑβδόμηι ἔτους δεκάτου ἀπὸ τῆς τοῦ μεγάλου Εὐθυμίου κοιμήσεως. χρόνου δέ τινος διελθόντος ὁ διάκονος Φίδος ἐπίσκοπος ἐχειροτονήθη πόλεως Δώρων προσαγορευομένης.


Right after Euthymios' funeral in 473, archbishop Anastasius I of Jerusalem builds a chapel for his tomb

'40. […] (the archbishop) left deacon Fidus at the laura, in order to take care of the construction of the burial chapel, so that the precious remains might be transferred to a fitting place. Having returned to the holy city, he sent craftsmen and all the necessary assistance for the construction.

[……]

42. Deacon Fidus with great diligence built the burial chapel on the site of the cave where the great Euthymios had spent his initial solitary retreat. This cave, then, he demolished and within only three months he built a large and marvellous vaulted building, and constructed the saint’s tomb in its middle. On either side of it, he prepared tombs for superiors, presbyters, and other holy men. The archbishop, having sent in advance the covering tombstone alongside the silver crucible and the surrounding railings, came to the laura and transferred the precious remains to the place prepared, carrying them with his own hands. He laid them to rest securely and, in order that no one might be able to open the tomb and steal a relic, he placed the tombstone over them and fixed the crucible over the saint’s breast. From then to this day, this crucible pours forth all kinds of benefit for those who approach with faith. The transfer of the remains took place on the seventh of May.'


Ten years later (483), under archbishop Martyrios, Euthymios' monastic community becomes a coenobitic monastery, using the burial chapel as its church. The building is consecrated with the deposition of relics

'44. [……] When he heard about the miracle that had occurred, archbishop Martyrios came for the dedication of the monastery. The vigil was celebrated with splendid illumination and during the synaxis they deposited under the altar relics of the holy and victorious martyrs Tarachos, Probos, and Andronikos, on the seventh of May of the tenth year since the death of the great Euthymios. Some time later, deacon Fidus was ordained bishop of a city called Dora.'

Text: Schwartz 1939.
Translation: Efthymios Rizos.

History

Evidence ID

E06470

Saint Name

Euthymios, abbot of Palestine, ob.473 : S01352 Tarachos, Probus, and Andronikos (martyrs of Anazarbos, Cilicia, southeastern Asia Minor, ob. c. 304) : S00710

Saint Name in Source

Εὐθύμιος Τάραχος, Πρόβος, Ἀνδρόνικος

Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Lives

Language

Greek

Evidence not before

555

Evidence not after

557

Activity not before

473

Activity not after

483

Place of Evidence - Region

Palestine with Sinai

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

New Laura

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

New Laura Caesarea Maritima Καισάρεια Kaisareia Caesarea Kayseri Turris Stratonis

Major author/Major anonymous work

Cyril of Scythopolis

Cult activities - Liturgical Activity

  • Ceremony of dedication

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Anniversary of church/altar dedication

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Burial ad sanctos

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Unspecified miracle

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy

Cult Activities - Relics

Unspecified relic Bodily relic - entire body

Cult Activities - Cult Related Objects

Precious material objects

Source

Born in Scythopolis in c. 525, Cyril was the son of a lawyer serving the bishopric of the city. He grew up in an environment closely linked to the clergy and monasteries of the Chalcedonian Orthodox community of Palestine. During a visit to Scythopolis in c. 531-2, Sabas the Sanctified blessed little Cyril and marked him out as a future monk. Cyril was indeed tonsured, and left for Jerusalem in 543. At the advice of John the Hesychast, he joined the monastery of Euthymios in the same year, where he stayed for ten years. He was chosen to join the 120 monks who reclaimed the New Laura for Orthodoxy, after the expulsion of the Origenists from it in 553. In 557, he was preparing to move to Sabas’ Great Laura, after which nothing is known about his life. All the information concerning Cyril's life is deduced from his writings. Cyril’s only known work are the Lives of the Monks of Palestine (Μοναχικαὶ Ἱστορίαι), a collection of seven monastic biographies of uneven length. The most extensive and important works of this corpus are the lives of Euthymios and Sabas, founders of the two monasteries which defined Cyril’s own life as a monk. In the epilogue of the Life of Euthymios, the author informs us that he conceived the idea of the work, while living at the monastery of Euthymios and witnessing various miracles of that saint. In the early to mid 540s, he started collecting notes of stories which were orally recounted by older monks, but was only able to turn them into a coherent narrative when he moved to the New Laura (555-558). The Life of Euthymios was apparently the first of these biographies to be composed, starting in c. 556, at the request of Georgios, abbot and founder of a monastery near Cyril’s native Scythopolis. The Life of Sabas was either slightly later, or roughly contemporary. The third major biography is the Life of Ioannes/John the Hesychast, Cyril’s personal mentor, which was written while its hero was still alive at the age of 104, in 557/558. The briefer Lives of Kyriakos, Theodosios, Theognios and Abraamios are probably the last to be written by the author. By including these figures, which were closely connected with Sabas and his monastery, Cyril produced a gallery of hagiographies of the main Chalcedonian monasteries of the Judaean Desert, which resembles and perhaps follows the model of Theodoret’s Religious History. For the manuscript tradition of the texts, see: http://pinakes.irht.cnrs.fr/notices/auteur/843/

Discussion

On the context of this passage see E06468. These passages describe different stages in the formation of the shrine and monastery of Euthymios in the Judaean desert. When the saint died on 20 January 473, his body received a temporary burial, till the tomb commissioned by the bishop of Jerusalem Anastasius I (458-478) was ready. This is described as a koimeterion, i.e. a funerary chapel or mausoleum, which was built under the supervision of the deacon Phidos/Fidus. This building was constructed on the site of a cave where the holy man had lived when he first arrived in Palestine (described in chs. 6-10 of the Life). This cave was demolished, probably in order to quarry stone for a new vaulted building which housed tombs for Euthymios and his successor abbots and priests. At this point, there appears to have been no plan to turn this into a church or monastery, but the site received sumptuous decoration, including a tombstone and what is described as a silver crucible or cone (χώνη). This seems to have been a vessel for the holy oil of the saint or for the offering of libations. At some point, a visitor attempted to steal it (ch. 59). The transfer of Euthymios’ body to the new chapel took place less than five months after the saint’s death, with the participation of the patriarch himself. Ten years later, during the episcopate of Martyrius I (478-486), under the miraculous instructions of the saint himself, the old laura was turned into a cenobitic monastery, and a fortified compound was built to house it. The recipient of the saint’s revelation and supervisor of this building work was once again Phidos/Fidus, who built the new complex around the old funerary chapel, turning this into the main church of the monastery. Interestingly, despite the existence of the saint's tomb in this shrine, its consecration as a church still required the deposition of relics of martyrs at the altar, confirming the establishment of this practice in the churches of Palestine.

Bibliography

Text: Schwartz, E., Kyrillos von Skythopolis (Texte und Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der altchristlichen Literatur 49.2; Leipzig, 1939). Translations: Baldelli, R., and Mortari, L., Storie monastiche del deserto di Gerusalemme (Abbazia di Praglia, 1990), 97–191. Festugière, A.-J., Les moines d'Orient, vol. 3, part 1, Les moines de Palestine: Vie de saint Euthyme (Paris, 1962), 55–144. Price, R., and Binns, J., Cyril of Scythopolis, Lives of the Monks of Palestine (Cistercian Studies Series 114; Kalamazoo, 1991), 1-92. Further reading: Destephen, S., "Martyrs locaux et cultes civiques en Asie Mineure," in: J.C. Caillet, S. Destephen, B. Dumézil, H. Inglebert, Des dieux civiques aux saints patrons (IVe-VIIe siècle) (Paris, 2015), 71-72. Flusin, B., Miracle et histoire dans l'œuvre de Cyrille de Scythopolis (Paris, 1983). Flusin, B., "Palestinian Hagiography (Fourth-Eighth Centuries)," in: S. Efthymiadis (ed.), The Ashgate Research Companion to Byzantine Hagiography I: Periods and Places (Farnham, 2011), 199-226. Hombergen, D., The Second Origenist Controversy: A New Perspective on Cyril of Scythopolis' Monastic Biographies as Historical Sources for Sixth-Century Origenism (Rome, 2001).

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