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E02982: Peter Chrysologus, bishop of Ravenna (attested 448/449, died before 458), preaches a Latin sermon in Ravenna, for the feast of *Stephen (the First Martyr, S00030).

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posted on 13.06.2017, 00:00 authored by mpignot
Peter Chrysologus, Sermon 154, De natale sancti Stephani (‘On the birth of saint Stephen’)

The sermon starts by noting that the names of the saints are indications of their merits and deeds. After discussing the cases of Abram/Abraham and Sarai/Sarah (their new names showing their numerous offspring) and the unhoped for birth of Isaac (meaning laughter), and Jacob (meaning the Supplanter, overthrowing his brother), Peter discusses Stephen’s case. He received this name [from the Greek stephanos, a crown] because he was the first to be crowned in martyrdom. While Peter is the first among the Apostles, Stephen is the first among the martyrs.

Text: Olivar 1982, 958-960. Summary: M. Pignot.

History

Evidence ID

E02982

Saint Name

Stephen, the First Martyr : S00030

Saint Name in Source

Stephanus

Type of Evidence

Literary - Sermons/Homilies

Language

Latin

Evidence not before

426

Evidence not after

458

Activity not before

426

Activity not after

458

Place of Evidence - Region

Italy north of Rome with Corsica and Sardinia

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Ravenna

Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Ravenna Sardinia Sardinia Sardegna Sardinia

Major author/Major anonymous work

Peter Chrysologus

Cult activities - Liturgical Activity

  • Sermon/homily

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops

Source

Peter Chrysologus was bishop of Ravenna in the second quarter of the 5th century. The chronology of his life remains uncertain: he is attested as bishop in 448/449 and he died before 458 when there is evidence of his successor Neo receiving a letter from pope Leo the Great: see PCBE 2, 'Petrus Chrysologus 9', pp. 1728-9. While most of Peter's sermons were transmitted in a collection put together by bishop Felix of Ravenna in the 8th century, the current body of sermons attributed to him has been established and critically edited by Olivar, who rejected a number of sermons from Felix's collection as spurious and added 15 sermons not transmitted in the collection but which he considered authentic. All the sermons were preached in Ravenna, generally on specific topics or liturgical feasts that can be identified. Most, however, do not bear indications of their date, although Olivar has attempted to find chronological units within Felix' collection. For an overview of these sermons and hypotheses on their chronology, see A. Olivar, Los sermones de San Pedro Crisologo: estudio critico (Montserrat, 1962); F. Sottocornola, L’anno liturgico nei sermoni di Pietro Crisologo (Cesena, 1973); V. Zangara, “I silenzi nella predicazione di Pietro Crisologo”, Rivista di storia e letteratura religiosa 32 (1996), 225-265, and further bibliography in W.B. Palardy, Peter Chrysologus: Selected Sermons, vol. 2, (Fathers of the Church 109; Washington DC, 2004), xiii-xvi. This sermon was transmitted outside Felix' collection.

Discussion

This sermon offers evidence for the celebration of Stephen’s feast in Ravenna.

Bibliography

Edition: Olivar, A., Petrus Chrysologus, Sermones (Corpus Christianorum Series Latina 24B; Turnhout, 1982), 958-960. Translation: Ganss, G.E., Saint Peter Chrysologus, Selected Sermons, and Saint Valerian, Homilies (Fathers of the Church 17; New York, 1953), 259-261.

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