Saint NameMeliton, second hegumen of St Sabas Monastery and successor of St Sabas : S01347
Saint Name in Sourceმელიტონ
Type of EvidenceLiturgical texts - Calendars and martyrologies
Evidence not before600
Evidence not after650
Activity not before600
Activity not after650
Place of Evidence - RegionPalestine with Sinai
Place of Evidence - City, village, etcJerusalem
Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)Jerusalem
Major author/Major anonymous workGeorgian Lectionary of Jerusalem
Cult activities - Liturgical Activity
Cult activities - Festivals
SourceThe Lectionary of Jerusalem
The document that we conventionally call the Lectionary of Jerusalem is titled as follows: "Regulation and order of the holy hierarchs, as observed in Jerusalem". In most of the manuscripts, it is also referred to as the 'Canon'. It is a liturgical book with the daily readings appropriate for the particular day (hence a 'lectionary'). It is universally acknowledged to be a version in Georgian of a Greek original (now lost), with only a few specifically Georgian commemorations added.
There is scholarly consensus that the Lectionary reflects the liturgical situation of the Church of Jerusalem in around 600. This has been substantiated by two major arguments. First, the hymnography that the Lectionary prescribes is from the pre 7th century Georgian Iadgari. S. Verhelst's detailed study of the topography and prosopography of the Lectionary has revealed that only a handful of saints and cult establishment postdate the year 614 - the sack of Jerusalem by the Persians. The post-614 persons commemorated are exclusively bishops of Jerusalem. The last bishops of Jerusalem commemorated, and this on several occasions, are Zacharias (bishop 609-632) and Modestos (bishop 632-634) and once Sophronios (bishop 634-638). Another post-614 group is that of few Georgian saints, and finally events accompanying the sack of Jerusalem by the Persians. In addition, most cultic foundations mentioned and commemorated are of the 5th c., few of the 6th c., and none postdate 614. In addition, Verhelst demonstrates that some of the foundations were destroyed during the Persian invasion.
K. Kekelidze believes that Patriarch Sophronios was the last editor of the Lectionary as we know it. Indeed the Life of John of Damascus informs us that Sophronios established the regulations of the service in Jerusalem.
The Lectionary is an exceptionally rich text for the information that it provides on the commemoration of saints in the area around Jerusalem. As Verhelst explains, 'there are in the Georgian Lectionary more than three hundred names of saints or groups of saints (as opposed to twenty-four feasts of saints in the Armenian Lectionary and none at all in Egeria’s liturgical description), commemorated in over eighty different stations (as opposed to fewer than twenty in AL and barely a dozen in Egeria)'. The evolution of these cult sites was a gradual process over the fifth and sixth centuries. Again to quote Verhelst, "Only with the discovery of St Stephen’s relics [in 415] did the cult of saints begin to fully develop from the foundations of the primitive stational liturgy, which initially centred only on biblical sites. Juvenal, and Eudocia, his contemporary, are the important propagators of this new cult of saints: about twenty new sanctuaries can be approximately dated to the period between 430 and 460, some fifteen more by the end of the century and another fifteen in the sixth century. (Roughly ten other churches are of unknown dates.)" (Verhlest 2006, 453-454).
Apart from being a unique source for the study of early Jerusalemite rite, the Lectionary provides invaluable information on the cult topography of the Holy Land. Many cultic installations and churches referred to in the Lectionary are otherwise unknown. Similarly, a large number of commemorations and feasts attested here have been forgotten and are not documented outside late-antique Jerusalem.
The Lectionary in our database
The Lectionary records the annual commemoration of a large number of deceased members of the Church, of many different kinds: martyrs, ascetics, monastic founders, bishops and emperors. The majority of these were clearly 'saints' who were believed to have intercessionary powers and therefore attracted cult in Late Antiquity, as evidenced elsewhere in our database. But others (such as local ascetics and abbots) are much more marginal figures, who may have been viewed locally as 'saints', but for whom there is no other evidence of cult; while a few, like the emperor Valens, were certainly never believed to be saints with intercessionary powers. We have entered the full record of names for every day in the Lectionary, but have also attempted a rough-and-ready distinction between figures who were clearly 'saints' (who are marked with a * in the record title) and those who are more marginal.
Tarchnischvili, M. (ed.), Le grand lectionnaire de l'Église de Jérusalem (Ve-VIIIe siècle). Tome I. Corpus Scriptorum Christianorum Orientalium. Scriptores Iberici, Tomus. 9 (Louvain, Sécretariat du CorpusCSO, 1959); Tome 2. Corpus Scriptorum Christianorum Orientalium. Scriptores Iberici, Tomus. 13 (Louvain, Sécretariat du CorpusCSO, 1960).
Gippert, J. (ed.), Lectionarium Hirosolymitanum Magnum. Versione georgica e codice Parisiensi. The Old Georgian Lectionary as Contained in the Paris, Kal and Latal Manuscripts. Berlin/Bamberg/Frankfurt a/M, 1988-2004; TITUS version by Jost Gippert, Franfkurt a/M, 21.02.2004/21.02.2007.
Edgecomb, K., Georgian Lectionary.
Buchinger, H., ‘Das Jerusalemer Sanctorale: Zu Stand und Aufgaben der Forschung’, in: M. Barnard, P. Post, and E. Rosein (eds.), A Cloud of Witnesses: The Cult of Saints in Past and Present (Liturgia Condenda 18; Leuven: Peeters, 2005), 97-128 (GL on pp. 110-113).
Froyshov, S., “The Georgian Witness to the Jerusalem Liturgy: New Sources and Studies,” in: B. Groen, S. Hawkes-Teeples, and S. Alexopoulos (eds.), Inquiries into Eastern Christian Worship: Selected Papers of the Second International Congress of the Society of Oriental Liturgy Rome, 17-21 September 2008 (Leuven: Peeters, 2012), 227-69.
Galadza, D., Liturgy and Byzantinisation in Jerusalem (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017).
Galadza, D., "The Jerusalem Lectionary and the Byzantine Rite," in: B. Groen, D. Galadza, N. Glibetic, and G. Radle (eds.) Rites and Rituals of the Christian East (Eastern Christian Studies 22; Leuven: Peeters, 2014), 181–199.
Garitte, G., Le Calendrier Palestino-Géorgien du Sinaiticus 34 (Xe siècle) (Bruxelles: Societé des Bollandistes, 1958).
Kekelidze, K., Иерусалимский Канонарь [The Canonbook of Jerusalem] (Tbilisi: Losaberidze, 1912).
Verhelst, S., "La liturgie de Jérusalem à l'époque byzantine. Genèse et structure de l'année liturgique." PhD Dissertation, Jerusalem, 1999.
Verhelst, S., "Les lieux de station du lectionnaire de Jérusalem. 1ère partie: Les villages et fondations", Proche-Orient chrétien 54 (2004), 13-70.
Verhelst, S., Les traditions judéo-chrétiennes dans la liturgie de Jérusalem, spécialement la Liturgie de saint Jacques Frère de Dieu (Leuven: Peeters, 2003).
Verhelst, S., "The Liturgy of Jerusalem in the Byzantine Period," in: O. Limor and G. Stroumsa (eds.), Christians and Christianity in the Holy Land: From the Origins to the Latin Kingdom (Turnhout: Brepols, 2006), 421-462.