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E07031: The Greek Life of *Auxibios (bishop of Soli, S01377) recounts the life of one of the first bishops of Cyprus and a disciple of the apostle Mark. It provides a foundation narrative for the ecclesiastical community of Soli (Cyprus), and refers to the saint’s tomb which was never opened, and where miracles occur. Written at Soli in the early 7th century.

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posted on 31.10.2018, 00:00 by erizos
The Life of Auxibios (BHG 204)

Summary:

1-6. The narrator explains that he heard the story from elders. Auxibios was a very virtuous child, born from a rich pagan family in Rome. He had a brother, Themistagoras. Against his parents’ wishes, he refused to marry and devoted himself to a Christian life. He fled Rome and arrived in the village of Limnites, not far from the city of Soli in Cyprus.

7-8. At that time, the apostles Barnabas and Mark were establishing the Church in Cyprus, and taught Herakleides, the first archbishop of Cyprus, how to elect and ordain ministers. Barnabas was martyred in Constantia, while Mark and his companions, Timon and Rhodon, fled, first to a cave near Ledra and then to Limnites. There they met Auxibios, whom Mark baptised and consecrated as bishop of Soli. Mark instructed him to go to the city, pretend to be a pagan, and convert the locals gradually. After this, Mark left for Egypt.

9-10. Auxibios left Limnites, and went to Soli. At a temple of Zeus outside the gates, he received hospitality from a priest whom he soon converted to Christianity. Hiding his faith, he started secretly preaching Christianity in the town, but continued to live at Zeus’ temple out of the city.

12-13. In the meantime, the apostle Paul went to Alexandria where Mark was preaching the Gospel. Mark told him about Barnabas’ martyrdom. Therefore, Paul decided to send Epaphras and Tychikos to the archbishop of Cyprus Herakleides, instructing him to ordain Epaphras as bishop of Paphos, and Tychikos as bishop of Neapolis. Then, Paul instructed Herakleides to go to Soli and find Auxibios whom he should appoint as bishop of the city, without ordaining him, since he had already received ordination from Mark.

14-15. Herakleides went to Soli, found Auxibios, and instructed him to stop hiding his ministry. He set the foundations for a small church in the town, instructed Auxibios, and left. Auxibios built the church and consecrated it, praying God to gather and strengthen the local people in the Christian faith.

16-19. Auxibios started preaching Christianity in public. He had the charismata of curing the sick and casting out demons, and soon many people were converted from both the town and the surrounding countryside. Among the converts, there was a man from the village of Solopotamios, who was also named Auxibios. This Auxibios went one day to a place called Tarichos. While his disciple was sleeping under a tree, bishop Auxibios saw a group of ants coming near his head and forming a crown. This sign revealed to him that this man had been chosen by God to succeed him.

20-23. Auxibios’ brother, Themistagoras, went to Soli with his wife Timo to find his brother. Auxibios baptised both of them and ordained them deacon and deaconess. Then Auxibios decided to build a new and larger church.

24. After 50 years of ministry, the saint was about to die. He convoked the clergy and admonished them to maintain the traditions which he had established. Then Auxibios nominated his disciple Auxibios as the new bishop, and died. The people buried him in a sepulchre he had prepared for himself and his brother. Immediately, the relics started to effect cures and exorcisms.

26. A group of 40 possessed people from Paphos heard of Auxibios’ miracles, and decided to visit the tomb of the saint. Auxibios appeared to them on the road and cured them. Therefore, they went to the sepulchre of the saint and praised God for this miracle. A festival in honour of Auxibios was celebrated in Paphos, on the date of the miracle.

27. Themistagoras, seeing the wonders happening at his brother’s sepulchre, requested that they should not bury him with his brother, but leave the sepulchre untouched. Therefore, the sepulchre of Auxibios has been closed since his death. The narrator praises the memory of Auxibios and of his miraculous sepulchre.

Text: Noret 1993.
Summary: Lavinia Cerioni.

History

Evidence ID

E07031

Saint Name

Auxibios, follower of the Apostle Mark and first bishop of Soloi, Cyprus : S01377 Paul, the Apostle : S00008 Barnabas, apostle and companion of *Paul the Apostle, ob. c. 61 : S00786 Mark the Evangelist : S00293 Herakleides, bishop of Tamasos in C

Saint Name in Source

Αὐξίβιος Παῦλος Βαρνάβας Μᾶρκος Ἡρακλείδης

Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Lives

Language

Greek

Evidence not before

600

Evidence not after

650

Activity not before

100

Activity not after

650

Place of Evidence - Region

Aegean islands and Cyprus

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Soli

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

Soli Salamis Σαλαμίς Salamis Salamis Farmagusta Far Κωνσταντία Konstantia Constantia

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Visiting graves and shrines

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle during lifetime Miracle after death Healing diseases and disabilities Invisibility, bilocation, miraculous travels Exorcism

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops Pagans Relatives of the saint

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - entire body Noted absence of relics

Source

On the manuscript tradition, see Noret 1993, 143-156: http://pinakes.irht.cnrs.fr/notices/oeuvre/14746/

Discussion

Written before the Arab conquest of Cyrpus in 649 and probably after 600, this text was composed and preached as a homily at the great church of Soli, of which it also recounts the original foundation (see Noret 1993). The Life of Auxibios recounts the story of its hero as a founding figure of the church of Cyprus. The historical Auxibios may be a bishop of Soli of this name, who attended the Council of Serdica in 343, whereas the effort of our text to place him in the generation of the apostles has no historical basis. It only expresses the local church's effort to place itself at the same level as the see of Salamis and integrate itself into the narrative of apostolic origins of the Church of Cyprus. The text is written so as to link the origins of the church of Soli with the Apostles Paul, Barnabas, and Mark, and with the presumed first bishop of Salamis-Constantia, Herakleidas. The sources for the composition include the apocryphal Acts of Barbabas by pseudo-Mark (BHG 225, CANT 285), the Life of Herakleides (BHG 743), the Life of Malchos (BHG 1015-1016), and the Lives of Epiphanios of Salamis (BHG 596-599). The overall outline of Auxibios' life recalls motifs from 4th-century lives of early Christian bishops like Gregory the Miracle Worker and Athenogenes of Pedachthoe, notably its interest in establishing how the hero was ordained to the episcopate, in outlining the success of his mission to the pagans, and the construction of the first church in the city. Thus the text could preserve memories of the early establishment of a Christian community at Soli and its neighbouring village of Limnites. Although, in its extant form, the text probably does not predate 600, it may contain elements from an earlier hagiographic source.

Bibliography

Text: Noret, J., Hagiographica Cypria (Corpus Christianorum, Series Graeca 26; Turnhout, 1993), 177-202.

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