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E07693: 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 a mysterious disease of the intestines a certain Antonios, and an Egyptian woman, at their sanctuary at Menouthis (near Alexandria, Lower Egypt). Written in Greek in Alexandria, 610/615.

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posted on 09.07.2019, 00:00 by julia
Sophronius of Jerusalem, The Miracles of Saints Cyrus and John, 48


Summary:

There was a certain Antonios from the Thebaid. He suffered terribly from a mysterious disease of the intestines whose nature was unknown both to the man and to the physicians. It also remained unknown to humans, even after it ceased. The patient thus consulted with various physicians, but they were unable to cure him. He realised that his last chance was to go to the martyrs Cyrus and John and beg them for help. Armed with a strong faith in their miraculous power, he went to their sanctuary and spent there two years, but he did not receive any relief from his pains which continued incessantly. The saints eventually told him that he would be healed, and this indeed happened: he was delivered from his suffering. The only thing the martyrs wanted him to do afterwards, was for him to return to his hometown and plant a vine in their name. They promised to protect the plant and cultivate it with him. Once he had produced wine from the vine he was to send a part to the martyrs’ sanctuary every year to be distributed among the sick who were there.

He executed the order diligently, went back home and planted the vine. The saints came to assist him, and they cultivated the plant thereafter. When the wine was ready, Antonios carried part of it to the sanctuary and distributed it among the people who were there praying for health. He did this every year until his death. He, who had suffered from the mysterious disease, in two years mysteriously obtained healing.

There was also a woman from an Egyptian village called Aphnaion. She suffered from a similar mysterious disease, and, since she had a strong faith in the healing power of the martyrs, she went to seek their aid in their sanctuary. She was healed after three years, not in an invisible manner like Antonios, but by the expulsion of the cause of her suffering. It was a stone the size of a big egg, which stupefied everybody. The woman placed it by the martyrs’ tomb as a memorial of the miracle and in order to honour its authors.



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

History

Evidence ID

E07693

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 - Miracles

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

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Women Other lay individuals/ people

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. Translation: Sophrone de Jérusalem, Miracles des saints Cyr et Jean (BHGI 477-479), trans. and comm. J. Gascou (Paris, 2006). Collections grecques de Miracles, sainte Thècle, saints Côme et Damien, saints Cyr et Jean (extraits), saint Georges, trans. and comm. A.-J. Festugière (Paris, 1971). Sophrone de Jérusalem, Récit des miracles des saints Cyr et Jean, trans. and comm. D. Peltier (Paris, 1978, unpublished). Further reading: Déroche, V., "Représentations de l'Eucharistie dans la haute époque byzantine", Mélanges Gilbert Dagron, Travaux et Mémoires 14 (2002), 167-180. 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 Manuscript,” Illinois Classical Studies, 12 (1987), 169-177. Gascou, J., "Recherches de topographie alexandrine: le Grand Tétrapyle," Ktema 27 (2002), 337-343. 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, C. Décobert (eds.), Alexandrie médiévale, 3 (Cairo, 2008), 69-88. Gascou, J., Les origines du culte des saints Cyr et Jean, electronic version at https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00009140/document Le Coz, R., “Les Pères de l'Eglise grecque et la médecine,” Le 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, p. 383-397. Nissen, Th., “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 (Bruxelles: Éditions de l'Université de Bruxelles, 1991), 69-83. Schönborn, Ch., Sophrone de Jérusalem. Vie monastique et confession dogmatique (Paris, 1972). Wipszycka, E., “Les confréries dans la vie religieuse de l'Egypte chrétienne,” in her Études sur le christianisme dans l'Égypte de l'antiquité tardive (Roma, 1996), 257-278.

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