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E07362: 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 at her home in Alexandria a certain Kosmiana, from an injury to her back incurred on a journey to their shrine at Menouthis (near Alexandria, Lower Egypt). Written in Greek in Alexandria, 610/615.

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posted on 12.01.2019, 00:00 by julia
Sophronius of Jerusalem, The Miracles of Saints Cyrus and John, 33

Summary:

There was a certain Kosmiana who did not suffer from any disease. One day she had a longing to go to the sanctuary of Cyrus and John to venerate their relics. Thus she mounted her donkey and headed for Menouthis. The father of envy (ho tou phthonou pater), however, saw her great desire, and decided to prevent her zealous arrival at the martyrs’ sanctuary and her accomplishment of this pious act of veneration.

When the woman was halfway along her journey, he [the Devil] suddenly threw to the ground the donkey which was carrying her. She fell on her back which was shattered. For some time she seemed to be dead, but then she returned to her senses. Those who accompanied her wanted to take her back to the city, so that she could be examined by physicians. The woman, however, understood that it was a demon who planned to prevent her visit to the martyrs, and asked her assistants to take her to the sanctuary. So with great difficulty they again placed her on the donkey, and carefully carried her to Cyrus and John. She prayed to the martyrs and venerated their tomb (soros), and then she had herself carried back to the city, since she did not want to reside in the sanctuary until she regained her strength. She addressed the martyrs, saying that, since she had not been suffering when she decided to venerate them, so she would not stay in their sanctuary to obtain a complete cure. She asked them instead to heal her in the city [Alexandria] and then left Menouthis, although her life was in danger.

On the same night the martyrs appeared to her in the form of physicians.

Μειδιάσας δὲ ὁ τὴν τοῦ καθηγουμένου τάξιν καὶ τὸ διδασκαλικὸν φανεὶς ἐπέχων ἀξίωμα, τῷ μαθητιῶντι προσέταξε· Πάρελθε, φησίν, καὶ θᾶττον αὐτὴν τῆς πληγῆς ἐλευθέρωσον. Ὁ δὲ πληρῶν τὸ ἐπίταγμα, δρομαῖος ἐλθὼν τὴν σιαγόνα πλήττει ῥαπίσματι, καὶ τὴν ἐλευθερίαν τῇ νοσούσῃ χαρίζεται.

'The one who seemed to have the rank of the leader and the dignity of a teacher [Kyros] smiled and commanded the one who was as a student [Ioannes]: “Come, said he, and quickly deliver her from her wound.” He executed the order and approaching her quickly slapped her in the cheek, and graciously gave deliverance to the sick.'

She, came to herself after the slap, thought that it had happened in reality, but then saw neither the master physician, nor his pupil, nor a trace of the slap on her cheek, nor the terrible wound on her back. She woke up and praised the grace of the martyrs and the speed of her cure.

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

History

Evidence ID

E07362

Saint Name

Kyros and Ioannes/Cyrus and John, physician and soldier, martyrs of Egypt : S00406

Saint Name in Source

Κῦρος καὶ Ἰωάννης

Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Collections of miracles

Language

Greek

Evidence not before

610

Evidence not after

615

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

Martyr shrine (martyrion, bet sāhedwātā, etc.)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Prayer/supplication/invocation

Cult Activities - Miracles

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

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Women

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - entire body

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.

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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