ივ. ქუზიბას, ღ(მრთ)ისმშ(ო)ბ(ე)ლის(ა)ჲ, ოდეს ახარა ანგე\ლ(ო)ზმ(ა)ნ იოვ(ა)კიმს ქუზიბას შობისა თ(ჳ)ს ღ(მრთ)ისმშ(ო)ბ(ე)\ლისა მარ(ია)მისა, და სისინისი და მის თანა მ(ო)წ(ა)მ(ე)თ(ა)ჲ :.:..
January 16. At the Monastery of Choziba of the Mother of God, when the angel announced to Joachim the birth of Mary, the Mother of God; and Sissinios and his martyr companions.
Text: Garitte 1958, 43-48; Electronic text: Gippert 2017, http://titus.uni-frankfurt.de/texte/etcg/cauc/ageo/liturg/iozosca2/iozos.htm (26.12.17); Translation: N. Aleksidze.
Saint NameMary, Mother of Christ : S00033
Joachim and Anna, parents of Mary, Mother of Christ : S01327
Sisinnios (unspecified) : S00608
Saint Name in Sourceმარიამ
Type of EvidenceLiturgical texts - Calendars and martyrologies
Evidence not before500
Evidence not after900
Activity not before500
Activity not after900
Place of Evidence - RegionPalestine with Sinai
Palestine with Sinai
Place of Evidence - City, village, etcJerusalem
Mar Saba Monastery
Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)Jerusalem
Mar Saba Monastery
Major author/Major anonymous workCalendar of Ioane Zosime
Cult activities - Liturgical Activity
Cult activities - Festivals
Cult activities - PlacesCult building - monastic
SourceThe Calendar and its Author
The author of the Calendar is the 10th century Georgian monk Ioane Zosime. Zosime is mostly known as a scribe, with numerous autograph manuscripts written by him surviving on Mount Sinai. Ioane Zosime spent his life in Mar Saba Monastery near Jerusalem, but all his surviving manuscripts are currently preserved in St Catherine's Monastery of Sinai.
The Calendar is one of Zosime's most important achievements. Compiled at the Mar Saba Monastery in 956, it survives on Mount Sinai in a single 10th century Georgian manuscript in the author's own hand. The Calendar is part of a compendium called Iadgari (an early collection of chants) and is entitled as follows: 'Iadgari chants, where all feasts are described, both new and old, in fullness, and twelve months in fullness, in Georgian and Sabacminduri [according to the St Saba monastic tradition], and complete chronikon.' Ioane Zosime entitles the Calendar Synaxarion.
The importance of the Calendar rests in the fact that it is predominantly based on late antique calendars from the Holy Land, and thus provides us with invaluable information concerning the cult of saints, cultic practices, and the saint-related topography of late antique Jerusalem. The Calendar consists of feasts of the saints, and of other fixed feasts of the Church, from 1 January to 31 December. An unusual characteristic of the Calendar is that it starts the liturgical year on 1 January, instead of 25 December, as all other calendars do. It provides us with information that does not survive in the Greek-language tradition and is equally absent in other eastern traditions, Syriac, Armenian and Arabic.
Ioane Zosime provides a colophon in which he enumerates the sources of his calendar. These are:
1. 'The Canon': this is normally identified as the Lectionary of the Church of Jerusalem, which has survived in Georgian, and which is fully incorporated in our database. The 'Canon', according to Zosime, is the basis of his calendar, which he further augmented and amplified from three other sources (listed below).
2. Calendar of Jerusalem : This must refer to traditions and feasts local to the monasteries of Jerusalem and its environs.
3. Calendar of St Saba Monastery : This component is understandable as Zosime was a monk of Mar Saba. The liturgical typikon of Mar Saba was particularly prominent throughout the eastern Christian world in the 6th to 9th centuries.
4. Greek calendar : These feasts have been collected from Byzantine liturgical books and synaxaria, and in most cases have clearly been added to the manuscript by Ioane Zosime at a later date, and are thus easily identifiable. The Greek liturgical tradition was introduced into Palestine only from the 8th century onwards, so the feasts and commemorations Zosime derived from the 'Greek Calendar' constitute the latest material within his work and date primarily to the iconoclast period (just outside the primary focus of our database).
Therefore, as Garitte points out, the Calendar of Ioane Zosime is a unique document, in that it reflects the transitional era in the commemorative practices of the Holy Land, when the old Palestinian commemorations were augmented, but not yet replaced, by Byzantine ones.
The Calendar in our database:
The Calendar has been published twice, first by K. Kekelidze in 1957, and a year later by G. Garitte. Garitte's Le Calendrier Palestino-Géorgien du Sinaiticus 34 remains the most important and exhaustive study of the Calendar. Most of the identifications of saints given in our database are those suggested by Garitte, save those identifications that have been discovered, or corrected, through searching other material in the database. With a few changes, the database essentially follows Garitte's translation and interpretations.
The Georgian text is quoted from the TITUS electronic edition, based on Garitte's. In those rare instances where Kekelidze's and Garitte's readings differ, the Georgian text follows Garitte's edition, or, in cases where Garitte's reading is no more convincing than Kekelidze's, both variant readings are provided, since this could be important for identification purposes.
Note on translation and identification of the named saints:
The names of saints in the Calendar are normally in the genitive in the original Georgian, implying an omitted 'commemoration of'. However, they are here consistently translated into the nominative. The names of saints are corrected when the mistakes are very obvious; in other instances, a tentative identification is offered in square brackets. When a saint's name appears without further qualification, and it is impossible to know which saint of the same name is referred to, the evidence is tentatively linked to an homonymous saint with prominent cult.
DiscussionThe Calendar of Ioane Zosime is the only source that specifies the nature of the feast of the Mother of God on this day.
The Monastery of Choziba was founded in 475 in Wadi el-Qelt, between Jerusalem and Jericho. According to an early medieval tradition, it was founded in the same desert where Joachim fasted for forty days before the birth of the Virgin Mary. The Monastery is also mentioned in the Lectionary of Jerusalem.
Sisinnios and his companions are not attested in any other calendars or Synaxaries near this date. There are two saints called Sisinnios. One is a Cappadocian martyr, who was killed in Sanzeno, in northern Italy along with other martyrs. He was a companion of Vigilius of Trent. They are, however, traditionally commemorated in June and not in January.
Another Sisinnios is a legendary and fictional saint often evoked in Late Antiquity as an adversary of Gelo, the female demon of infertility.
Garitte, G. (ed.), Le Calendrier Palestino-Géorgien du Sinaiticus 34 (Xe siècle) (Subsidia Hagiographica 30; Brussels: Societé des Bollandistes, 1958).
Kekelidze, K. (ed.) იოანე ქართველის კალენდარი [The Calendar of Ioane the Georgian], in: Etiudebi 5, 248-294 (Tbilisi: Georgian Academy of Sciences, 1957).
Gippert, J. (ed.) იოანე ზოსიმეს კალენდარი. [The Calendar of Ioane Zosime]. On the basis of the edition in G. Garitte, Le Calendrier Palestino-Géorgien du Sinaiticus 34 (Xe siècle), electronically prepared by Sopio Papiashvili, Tbilisi 2017; TITUS version by Jost Gippert, Franfurt a/M, 24.9.2017.
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