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E07040: The Greek 6th Life of *Tychon (bishop of Amathous, ob. 4th c., S02648), ascribed to John the Almsgiver (ob. 616/620), is a homily recounting the life and posthumous miracles of its hero. His feast on 16 June is marked by a miraculous premature ripening of grapes harvested near his tomb and shrine in Amathous (Cyprus), which are blessed and consumed together with the Eucharist on the saint’s day. The saint effects healing miracles. Written in Cyprus in the 6th or 7th century.

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posted on 02.11.2018, 00:00 by erizos
John the Almsgiver, Life of Tychon of Amathous (CPG 7977 = BHG 1859-1860)
Summary

[the beginning of the text is missing]

[1,1 – 2,12] The text starts abruptly in a courtroom where a man [later identified as Kalykios, see: 7,17] was delivering a speech against Tychon, asking the judges to punish him for his misdeeds. He accused him of offending the gods with his impure actions. He called him a temple robber and lustful enchanter, accusing him of practicing magic, living a dissolute life, enjoying the company of men, women and children. He is accused of bringing them to some mystical places, washing them with oil and water and having intercourse with them. The accuser said he did precisely this with Anthousa, the keeper of the temple of Aphrodite, whom he forced to leave the temple, whipped, and his lover. He decided to change her name and she took the name of Euanthia, so that her very name could be an indication of beauty.

[2,13 – 6,23] Tychon defended himself saying that he was a servant of the true God, fighting against those who live in error and demonic corruption. [Lacuna] He explained that the gods are evil demons who trick people. On the contrary, Christians follow the only true God, for they heal souls and free those who are slaves of the demons. Christians endure evils from both people and demons as Jesus Christ did before them. Therefore Christians love humanity, are patient and compassionate and also love the pagans. For this reason, Tychon says he would not cease to exhort everyone to convert to Christianity.

[6,23 – 7,23] Tychon added that the accuser had no point in accusing him of immorality, because the gods in their mythology do the same horrible actions of which he is accused, or even worse. Such gods are a danger for the law, the city and the state, and there is no point in adoring them. Tychon finishes the oration saying that Christ himself is the inspirer of the speech.

[7,24 – 9,9] The light of God touched the governor who was listening to the speech and converted him. He recognised Tychon as a righteous man and dropped all charges. Through this speech Tychon converted many. Then, in order to convert more people, God granted him miraculous powers, and he started casting out demons and curing the sick through prayers. He converted people by his good example, preaching, miracles and prayers. Many were baptised and joined the Church.

[9,10 – 12,7] Tychon was gifted by God with three gifts, wisdom, prophecy, and miraculous power, which were revealed in the following way. Once he was in a field prophetically named Ampelon ('vineyard'). While the workers were planting the shoots, he took a dead shoot and asked God to grant four gifts to it: vital humour, abundance of fruit, sweetness of grapes, and early ripeness. He planted it telling those who were present that God would make that dead shoot alive and bear fruit. Then he planted it, saying that that vineyard would be a witness to his memory, even after his death and for all eternity. Those who were there believed that he only meant that his prayers would protect the vine, without suspecting the miracle which the prophecy was actually foretelling [the narrator explains this later].

[12,8 – 18,21] Tychon died on 16 June (16th of the tenth month in the calendar of Salamis/Constantia, or 4th of the ninth month in the calendar of Paphos). This is not a period for harvesting grapes on Cyprus, but the grapes of the vineyard near Tychon's shrine ripen miraculously early on his feast. The miracle is even more amazing, because the grapes ripen suddenly, on the very day of the feast. The miracle sometimes happens at night, when people gather for the vigil. By dawn, the grapes have ripened. Sometimes it happens during the reading of the Gospel, or during the service. Sometimes it may happen late, thus causing a delay for the celebration of the Eucharist, because the custom is to have grapes blessed on the altar together with the Eucharist, and to add some of their juice into the Chalice. However, when the ripening happens late, the miracle is still more amazing, because it causes greater enthusiasm amongst the people. The grapes have miraculous and healing powers. Many have witnessed the miracle of the ripening. A person carrying an unripe bunch to the service found it perfectly ripe during the celebration. Priests witnessed the ripening of unripe bunches on the sacred patens during the Eucharist. A bishop saw white grapes rapidly changing colour and becoming black during the rite. Visitors from other parts of Cyprus carry the grapes home, often also witnessing their sudden and miraculous ripening.

[18,22 – 28,1] Tychon does not perform miracles only in Amathous, but everywhere. When the death of the saint was approaching, Tychon went to the fields where people were reaping wheat. They stopped working and asked the saint to bless them. A voice erupted from the sky announcing that Tychon would go to heaven and live in everlasting happiness. Tychon exulted, but the people were distressed. Three days later, he fell ill. He comforted his mother's grief, and gave an edifying speech to his spiritual children. He died on the third day of his sickness. Every saint in heaven rejoiced at seeing him, and every person in Cyprus mourned his death.

[28,2 – 30,15] Tychon’s face shone with divine grace, and his dead body became fragrant. People attempted to remove relics from the body, but his disciples prevented them. Tychon was buried in a sepulchre near the church, on the left side. His burial shrine now enjoys two kinds of grandeur: a splendid vaulted building and Tychon’s grace. The saint is now in heaven, where he intercedes and prays for all the world. Moreover, he still performs many miracles on earth.


28.25-29.3
(…) εἰς ἅγιον σηκὸν κατατίθενται τὸν τῆς ἐκκλησίας ἐγγύθεν ἱστάμενον καὶ χῶρον τὸν ταύτης εὐώνυμον διωρισμένον αὐτῷ λαχόντα πρὸς δόμησιν, ὃν περιφανῆ νῦν ἔστιν ὁρᾶν καὶ ὑπέρλαμπρον, διπλοῖς τισιν ἀποστίλβοντα κάλλεσιν, οἷς ἐκ τῆς εἰληματικῆς οἰκοδομῆς ἐρανίζεται· οἷς ἐκ τοῦ μεγάλου λέλογχε Τύχωνος· τούτοις δὲ μᾶλλον ὡραϊζόμενος ἥδεται, δι’ ὧν καὶ τὰ τῆς οἰκονομίας κάλλη φαιδρύνεται.

‘[……] he was buried in a holy shrine, standing near the church, to the construction of which a site had been reserved on the left. One can now see it prominent and shining brightly, resplendent in two kinds of beauty: those of vaulted construction, and those granted by the great Tychon. But it is rather in the latter that it takes pride, because through them the beauty of its buildings is illuminated.’


[30,16 – 31,16] A leprous woman went to the tomb of the saint. [Lacuna] After a vision, she was healed and declared the miracle. She spent the rest of her life at the shrine.

[31, 17- 36.5] The parents of a deaf, dumb and possessed child brought him to the shrine. Despite their prayers, fasting, and vigils, nothing happened, but, as they were about to leave, the saint appeared to them in the form of a priest, and urged them to stay and be patient. When the saint disappeared, the demon started tormenting the child and shouted out against Tychon. The boy was cleansed.

[36,6 – 38-23] Endless miracles like these were performed by the saint both before his death and after it. The narrator refers to a miracle he performed when he was a child, and which involved grain, bread, and flour. The narrator finishes his speech with an invocation of the saint, praising his holiness and asking forgiveness for the fact that his work cannot express in full the magnificence of his glory.



The Epitome Tychon’s Life (BHG 1860) is based on the same text, and preserves some information which is missing in the extant text of BHG 1859:

Epitome of the Life of Tychon (BHG 1860)
Summary

[39,1 – 41,11] Tychon lived before the time of Epiphanius’ episcopate in Salamis. He was born into a Christian family which educated him in a Christian way. His father was a baker. As a small child, Tychon used to give bread to the poor, dismaying his father who, nonetheless, found his storehouse miraculously filled with grain. When his father died, Tychon sold his family’s fortune and gave the money to the poor. He became a deacon under the bishop of Amathous, Mnemonios, whom he succeeded as bishop. Once, he entered a temple of Artemis with a whip, and cast out the priestess Anthousa. Later, Anthousa was baptised and renamed Euetheia by him.

[40,18 – 41,11] During a procession of the statue of Aphrodite/Cypris, Tychon crushed the statue, converted many pagans, and healed many possessed people. Two pagans, Kalykios and Cleopatra, wrote a false accusation against him and brought him to the governor for trial. Tychon explained his faith, denouncing idolatry, and claiming that Aphrodite was a mortal woman buried at Paphos.

[41,12 – 42,6] Tychon had a field called Ampelon where he planted a vineyard. The saint took a dead shoot and prayed God to give it four gifts: vital humour, abundance of fruit, sweetness of grapes and early ripeness. The vineyard offered early ripened grapes and it still offers them in memory of the saint on 16 June. Although the grapes are still unripe, they miraculously ripen during the feast. The grapes are given to people with holy communion, and heal souls and bodies.

[42,7 – 42,25] A little before dying, Tychon went to a field, and, when he was blessing the farmers, a voice from heaven came down telling him that he was to go to paradise shortly. After three days, he fell sick. He consoled his afflicted mother, clergy and people, and died. People came from all around Cyprus and they buried him in the left part of the church.

[42,26 – 43,23] Tychon performed the following posthumous miracles: he cured a leprous woman, a woman with a limp, and a possessed young child. The Life of the saint was written by John the Alm

History

Evidence ID

E07040

Saint Name

Tychon, bishop of Amathous (Cyprus) : S02648

Saint Name in Source

Τύχων

Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Lives Literary - Hagiographical - Collections of miracles

Language

Greek

Evidence not before

500

Evidence not after

650

Activity not before

350

Activity not after

650

Place of Evidence - Region

Aegean islands and Cyprus

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Amathous

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

Amathous Salamis Σαλαμίς Salamis Salamis Farmagusta Far Κωνσταντία Konstantia Constantia

Cult activities - Liturgical Activity

  • Service for the Saint

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Activities Accompanying Cult

  • Feasting (eating, drinking, dancing, singing, bathing)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Prayer/supplication/invocation

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle during lifetime Miracle after death Miracles experienced by the saint Miracles causing conversion Material support (supply of food, water, drink, money) Apparition, vision, dream, revelation Miracle with animals and plants Miraculous sound, smell, light Exorcism Healing diseases and disabilities Miraculous behaviour of relics/images

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Women Children Ecclesiastics - bishops Pagans Relatives of the saint Peasants

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - entire body Other activities with relics

Cult Activities - Cult Related Objects

Chalices, censers and other liturgical vessels

Source

Text from the manuscript Paris BNF gr. 1488. The text of the Life is preserved in a fragmentary state, but also contains an epitome, where missing parts concerning the youth of the saint and his first miracles are expounded.

Discussion

This sermon is ascribed to the John the Almsgiver (Patriarch John V of Alexandria). It is virtually impossible to ascertain the accuracy of this attribution, given the fact that no other text of John is preserved. John was indeed a native of the city of Amathous, to which he returned after the Persian conquest of Egypt in 614 forced him to leave Alexandria. John spent his last yeas there, and was buried at the shrine of Tychon (E06892). This allows the possibility that he indeed had left a sermon related to the feast of saint, or that this text was associated with his name due to the close connection between his cult and that of Tychon. One of the main features of the cult of saints in Cyprus is the predominance of the cult of bishops, of whom one was Tychon. His cult is not attested except through this text and the references to the shrine in Leontius of Neapolis' Life of John the Almsgiver. Although the testimony is relatively late, however, it seems that the legend of the saint shared common features with legends of other fourth century miracle-working bishops. These include the confrontation of the saint with the pagan cults, illustrated through a scene of apology before the authorities. The most interesting element, however, is the scene of Tychon blessing the vine, and the subsequent miracle of the grapes. It is perhaps no coincidence that a similar scene of the saint in the fields is placed at the end of the fourth-century Lives of Spyridon of Trimithous (E07147), and Aberkios of Hierapolis (E07082). The abundance miracle of the prematurely ripened grapes recalls the deer miracle of Athenogenes of Pedachthoe (E02999). Thus Tychon conforms to a central feature of episcopal saints, which indeed reflects the nature of episcopal authority: holy bishops were understood as civic patrons, who invisibly cared for both the spiritual and material prosperity of their communities. This is a characteristic which the saints evidently shared with several pre-Christian cults and deities. With regard to Tychon, Usener has recognised connections with the cult of Dionysus. Despite the scarcity of other attestations, there is no reason to doubt that Tychon, like the other episcopal saints of Cyprus, was revered beyond his town. The fact that his feast day is given in the local calendars of Constantia and Paphos confirms this. The emphatic reference to the vaulted buildings of the shrine (29) may reflect the occasion for which the sermon was composed, namely the dedication of a new vaulted chapel housing the saint's tomb. If the author was indeed John the Almsgiver, he may have been the donor of the building, evidently in preparation for his own burial on the premises of the shrine.

Bibliography

Text and commentary: Usener, H. Sonderbare Heilige. Texte und Untersuchungen. Der Heilige Tychon. Leipzig-Berlin, 1907. https://archive.org/details/sonderbareheili00usengoog/page/n6 Further reading: Rapp, C. "Cypriot Hagiography in the Seventh Century: Patrons and Purpose." In: Th. Giangou, Ch. Nassis (ed.), Κυπριακή Αγιολογία, Paralimni, 2015, 397-411.

Continued Description

sgiver, patriarch of Alexandria, who was from Cyprus. Text: Usener 1907Summary: Giovanni Hermanin De Reichenfeld, Efthymios Rizos

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