Monday, December 5, 2011

St. Spyridon (or Spiridon), the pagan philosopher, and the brick or tile or potsherd

     I am interested in tracking this to source.  Unfortunately, it remains very much a work in progress, a work I am likely to get to only in spurts, as time permits:

     In what follows, I reproduce Paul van den Ven, La légende de S. Spyridon, évêque de Trimithonte, Bibliothèque du Muséon 33 (Louvain:  Publications Universitaires and the Institut Orientaliste, 1953).  I have skimmed clear through the Greek of chap. 6 of the Life by Theodore twice, as reproduced on pp. 27-34 of the critical edition by Ven (above), looking for a reference to the use of the brick/tile/potsherd, but without any success so far (though my Greek is admittedly primitive).  Can someone help?  The first reference to Spyridon in chap. 6 occurs at p. 28 l. 15, though Spyridon does not begin addressing the philosopher until p. 30 l. 7.  The line, "In this wise became the philosopher a Christian and, having been overcome by the old man, rejoiced," occurs at p. 31 l. 16-p. 32 l. 2, after which point the scene seems to shift, sidelining (?) Spyridon until p. 34 l. 8., i.e. the penultimate sentence of the chapter.
  1. Life in iambic verse upon which Theodore of Paphos relied (Ven, Lives III-IV = Part III, pp. 115* ff.; Textes, pp. 129 ff.):  does not cover events at the Council of Nicaea.
  2. Hist. eccl. of Rufinus, as translated back into Greek by Gelasius of Cesarea (= Hist. eccl. X.3-5, as ed. Mommsen (pp. 961-965), but Glas, below, offers this as well):  conversion of the pagan philosopher effected by an unnamed rough and illiterate bishop-shepherd, not Spyridon (though Spyridon plays a role in this account of the Council of Nicaea).  [I've skimmed the Latin without seeing a reference to the brick/tile/potsherd.  But I could well have missed that.]
  3. Life of Theodore of Paphos (Ven, Life I = Part II, pp. 55* ff.; Textes, pp. 1 ff.):  attributes the conversion of the pagan philosopher to Spyridon.  Yet Theodore was so scrupulous with his sources, that this is probably a later interpolation (Ven, pp. 76*-78*).  (Earlier Ven had argued that it was the work of Theodore himself, free-wheeling a bit on the basis of Rufinus-Gelasius, but he came to think this highly unlikely (pp. 75-76*).)
  4. Chronicle of George the Monk (Chronique de Georges le Moine, ed. de Boor, p. 505, 17-508; and A. Glas, Die Kirchengeschichte des Gelasios von Kaisareia (1914), pp. 36-44):  "one of these passages contains precisely the piece about which we speak, translated from Rufinus in terms very similar to those of the work of Theodore, [but] with attribution to Spyridon of the conversion of the philosopher," so the question is whence this identification with Spyridon derives.  Heseler derives it from Theodore, but "It is easier to say this than to prove it" (indeed, "That George the Monk knew [that it was] Spyridon thanks to a source other than the work of Theodore is indubitable").  [So does the identification antedate Theodore?]  Does it derive somehow from Rufinus-Gelasius?  No, not from any reconstruction of the latter known to us.  Apprarently the Hist. eccl. by Theodore the Lector is one potential intermediary, but this whole section (Ven, pp. 79*-80*) ends unsatisfactorily.
Additional titles of some relevance:
  • Saint Spyridon of Tremithus:  Life; Miracles after his repose; Liturgical service and Akathist hymn in his honor.  Liberty, TN:  St. John of Kronstadt Press, 1997.  Life from pp. 330-350 of vol. 4 of [The lives of the saints in the Russian language, as set forth in the Menology of St. Dimitri of Rostov] (Moscow:  Synodal Press, 1903), by Isaac E. Lambertsen in 1981; Miracles from pp. 338-369 of vol. 12 and pp. 205-207 of vol. 8 of the 5th edition of [The great Synaxaristes of the Orthodox Church] (Athens:  Archimandrite Matthew Lagges, Pub., 1974), by Leonides J. Papadopoulos and Georgia Lizardos in 1984; Liturgical service by Isaac E. Lambertsen in 1983 "and subsequently incorporated into vol. 4 of The Menaion of the Orthodox Church (Liberty, TN:  St. John of Kronstadt Press, 1996); and Akathist hymn by Isaac E. Lambertsen in 1988.  For references to the brick/tile/potsherd (tile here), see pp. 34 (a note of some kind positioned not in the Life (!), but in the Miracles after his repose), 53 (Kontakion III of the Akathist hymn), 54 (Ikos III of the Akathist hymn), 62 (Prayer I to the Holy Hierarch Spyridon, Wonderworker of Tremithus, in the Akathist hymn), and maybe elsewhere (though I didn't see any elsewhere, just skimming).  Note though that this title refers to no sources behind the Russian Life (from the Menology of St. Dimitri of Rostov) and the (contemporary) liturgy.
  • Novum Auctarium Bibliothecae Hagiographicae Graecae.  Ed. François Halkin, S.J.  Subsidia Hagiographica 65.  Brussels, Société des Bollandistes, 1984.  See pp. 192 ff.
  • Bibliotheca hagiographica Graeca.  3rd ed.  Ed. François Halkin, S.J.  Subsidia hagiographica 8a.  3 vols.  Brussels:  Société des Bollandistes, 1957.  See nos. 1647 ff. (pp. 246 ff.).
  • Garitte, Gérard.  "L'édition des Vies de saint Spyridon par M. van den Ven."  Revue d'histoire écclesiastique 50 (1955):  125-140.
  • Bibliotheca hagiographica Graeca.  2nd ed.  2 vols.  Bruxelles:  Société des Bollandistes, 1909.  Additional titles in modern Greek listed here.
  • Usener, H.  "Beiträge zur Geschichte der Legendliteratur."  Jahrbücher für protestantische Theologie 13 (1887):  219-232 (219-259).

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