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E03590: Sozomen in his Ecclesiastical History reports that the emperor Julian the Apostate and his brother, Gallus, built a shrine at the tomb of the *Mamas (martyr of Caesarea, S00436) near Caesarea/Kaisareia of Cappadocia (central Asia Minor), in the 340s. The work sponsored by Julian was miraculously rejected and destroyed. Written in Greek at Constantinople, 439/450.

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posted on 23.08.2017, 00:00 by erizos
Sozomen, Ecclesiastical History, 5.2. 6-14

(7) Οὐ μετρίως οὖν ἐλύπει τοὺς Χριστιανοὺς καὶ περιδεεῖς ἐποίει ἡ περὶ ταῦτα σπουδὴ τοῦ βασιλέως, καὶ μάλιστα ὅτι Χριστιανὸς ἦν πρότερον. εὐλαβῶν γὰρ περὶ τὴν θρησκείαν πατέρων γενόμενος ἐκ νέου ἐμυήθη κατὰ τὸν θεσμὸν τῆς ἐκκλησίας καὶ τὰς ἱερὰς γραφὰς ἐπαιδεύθη καὶ ὑπὸ ἐπισκόποις καὶ ἐκκλησιαστικοῖς ἀνδράσιν ἐτράφη. (8) γέγονε μὲν γὰρ αὐτῷ καὶ Γάλλῳ πατὴρ Κωνστάντιος, ὁμοπάτριος ἀδελφὸς Κωνσταντίνου τοῦ βασιλεύσαντος καὶ Δαλματίου, οὗ παῖς ὁμώνυμος Καῖσαρ ἀναδειχθεὶς ἀνῃρέθη ὑπὸ τῶν στρατιωτῶν μετὰ τὴν Κωνσταντίνου τελευτήν· ὀρφανοὶ δὲ πατρὸς γενόμενοι καὶ αὐτοὶ τότε Δαλματίῳ συναπολέσθαι ἐκινδύνευσαν. (9) ἐξείλετο δὲ τῆς ἐπιβουλῆς Γάλλον μὲν ὅτι νοσῶν ἔτυχε καὶ ὅσον οὔπω αὐτομάτως τεθνήξεσθαι προσεδοκήθη, Ἰουλιανὸν δὲ τὸ νέον· ἔτι γὰρ ὄγδοον ἡλικίας ἦγεν ἔτος. παραδόξως δὲ ὧδε διασωθέντες προσετάχθησαν ἐν Καππαδοκίᾳ διατρίβειν ἐν Μακέλλῃ· χωρίον δὲ τοῦτο βασιλικὸν πρὸς τῷ Ἀργαίῳ ὄρει, οὐκ ἀπὸ πολλοῦ τῆς Καισαρέων πόλεως, μεγαλοπρεπῆ τε βασίλεια ἔχον καὶ λοετρὰ καὶ κήπους καὶ πηγὰς ἀεννάους. (10) ἔνθα δὴ θεραπείας καὶ ἀγωγῆς βασιλικῆς ἠξιοῦντο, καὶ μαθήμασι καὶ γυμνασίοις τοῖς καθ’ ἡλικίαν ἐχρῶντο καὶ λόγων διδασκάλοις καὶ τοῖς ὑφηγηταῖς τῶν ἱερῶν γραφῶν, ὡς καὶ κλήρῳ ἐγκαταλεγῆναι καὶ ὑπαναγινώσκειν τῷ λαῷ τὰς ἐκκλησιαστικὰς βίβλους. (11) οὐ μὴν ἀλλὰ καὶ διὰ τῶν ἠθῶν καὶ τῶν ἔργων τὴν εὐσέβειαν ἐπεδείκνυντο, περὶ πολλοῦ ποιούμενοι τοὺς ἱερέας καὶ τοὺς ἄλλως ἀγαθοὺς καὶ περὶ τὸ δόγμα σπουδαίους, τοῖς τε εὐκτηρίοις οἴκοις θαμίζοντες καὶ ταῖς προσηκούσαις τιμαῖς τὰς τῶν μαρτύρων θήκας γεραίροντες. (12) τηνικαῦτα γοῦν φασιν αὐτοὺς σπουδάζοντας μεγίστῳ περιλαβεῖν οἴκῳ τὸν τάφον Μάμα τοῦ μάρτυρος εἰς ἀμφοτέρους μερίσαι τὸ ἔργον· ἁμιλλωμένου δὲ ἑκατέρου φιλοτιμίᾳ καὶ τιμῇ ὑπερβάλλεσθαι τὸν ἕτερον, παράδοξον συμβῆναι καὶ παντελῶς ἄπιστον, εἰ μὴ πολλοὶ τῶν ἀκηκοότων παρὰ τῶν τεθεαμένων μέχρι καὶ εἰς ἡμᾶς περιῆσαν. (13) τὸ μὲν γὰρ Γάλλου μέρος ἐπεδίδου καὶ κατὰ γνώμην προὐχώρει, τῶν δὲ Ἰουλιανοῦ πονημάτων τὰ μὲν ἠρείπετο, τὰ δὲ ἐκ τῆς γῆς ἀνεδίδοτο, τὰ δὲ παραυτίκα συνάπτεσθαι πρὸς τὸ ἔδαφος οὐκ ἠνείχετο, οἷά γε ἐξ ἀντιτύπου καὶ βιαίου τινὸς δυνάμεως κάτωθεν ἀντωθούσης ἀνακρουόμενα. πᾶσι δὲ εἰκότως τεράστιον ἐδόκει τὸ πρᾶγμα. (14) καὶ τοῖς μὲν πολλοῖς τῇ ἀποβάσει ἐκρίθη, οἱ δὲ καὶ ἐξ ἐκείνου συνέβαλλον μὴ ὑγιῶς ἔχειν τὸν ἄνδρα περὶ τὴν θρησκείαν, ἀλλ’ εὐσεβεῖν πλάττεσθαι <πρὸς> Χριστιανὸν ὄντα τὸν τότε κρατοῦντα ὑποκρινόμενον καὶ εἰς τὸ προφανὲς ἐξάγειν τὴν γνώμην οὐκ ἀσφαλὲς ἡγούμενον.

‘(7) The emperor's [Julian’s] devotion to these things caused no mean distress to the Christians and made them extremely anxious, especially because he had previously been a Christian. He was born of pious parents, was initiated in infancy according to the customs of the Church, was brought up in the knowledge of the Holy Scriptures, and was nurtured by bishops and men of the Church. (8) The father of him and Gallus was Constantius, a brother by the same father of Constantine the emperor and of Dalmatius whose homonymous son became a Caesar, but was slain by the soldiers after the death of Constantine. As they were orphans of father, Julian and Gallus nearly risked being killed like Dalmatius. (9) Yet they were spared, Gallus because he happened to be ill and was expected to die imminently in a natural way, and Julian because of his youth, for he was just eight years old. Having survived in such an unexpected way, it was arranged for them to settle in Cappadocia, at Makella. This is an imperial estate by Mount Argaeus, not far from Caesarea, which includes a magnificent palace, baths, gardens, and perennial springs. (10) There they were granted imperial service and upbringing, and were educated in the learning and training appropriate for their age by tutors of letters and interpreters of the Holy Scriptures. Thus they were even enrolled among the clergy and became readers of the ecclesiastical books before the people. (11) Besides, they displayed their piety by their character and behaviour, holding in great respect the priests and other good and important men of the religion, frequenting houses of prayer, and rendering due homage to the tombs of the martyrs. (12) Now they say that during that period they undertook to cover the tomb of Mamas the martyr in a very large building, dividing the work between themselves. And as they were vying with one another in displaying largess and honour, something astonishing happened, which would have been indeed utterly incredible, had it not been for the many people still living, who have heard the story from eyewitnesses. (13) Gallus’ part advanced and progressed according to plan, whereas the works of Julian’s labour either fell into ruin or were ejected from the ground, or would not even briefly hold foundations in the ground, as if struck by some resistant and violent force from beneath. Quite naturally, everyone thought that this was a prodigy. (14) Most people realised its meaning from subsequent events, but some concluded from that event that the man’s religious stance was not sound and that he only pretended piety, deeming it unsafe to make his real views publicly known, because the emperor of the time was Christian.’

Text: Bidez and Hansen 1995. Translation: E. Rizos.

History

Evidence ID

E03590

Saint Name

Mamas, martyr in Kaisareia/Caesarea of Cappadocia : S00436

Saint Name in Source

Μάμας

Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)

Language

Greek

Evidence not before

439

Evidence not after

450

Activity not before

337

Activity not after

360

Place of Evidence - Region

Constantinople and region

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Constantinople

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

Constantinople Constantinople Κωνσταντινούπολις Konstantinoupolis Constantinopolis Constantinople Istanbul

Major author/Major anonymous work

Sozomen

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Construction of cult buildings

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Saint aiding or preventing the construction of a cult building

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Pagans Monarchs and their family Aristocrats

Source

Salamenios Hermeias Sozomenos (known in English as Sozomen) was born in the early 5th c. to a wealthy Christian family, perhaps of Arab origins, in the village of Bethelea near Gaza. He was educated at a local monastic school, studied law probably at Beirut, and settled in Constantinople where he pursued a career as a lawyer. Sozomen published his Ecclesiastical History between 439 and 450, perhaps around 445. It consists of nine books, the last of which is incomplete. In his dedication of the work, Sozomen states that he intended to cover the period from the conversion of Constantine to the seventeenth consulate of Theodosius II, that is, 312 to 439, but the narrative of the extant text breaks in about 425. The basis of Sozomen’s work is the Ecclesiastical History of Socrates, published a few years earlier, which our author revises and expands. Like Socrates, Sozomen was devoted to Nicene Orthodoxy and the Theodosian dynasty, but his work is marked by stronger hagiographical interests, a richer base of sources, and different sympathies/loyalties. Sozomen probably lacked the classical education of Socrates, but had a broader knowledge of hagiographical and monastic literature and traditions, which makes him a fuller source for the cult of saints. Besides Greek and Latin, Sozomen knew Aramaic, which allowed him to include information about ascetic communities, monastic founders, and martyrs from his native Palestine, Arabia, Syria, Mesopotamia, and Persia, to which Socrates had had no access. Much like the other ecclesiastical historians of the fourth and fifth centuries, Sozomen focuses on the East Roman Empire, only seldom referring to the West and Persia.

Discussion

Sozomen is generally eager to adduce Christian legends about Julian, aiming to demonstrate that the emperor's attempt to revive paganism precipitated the wrath of God and the martyrs (also see E02781). The legend about Julian's attempt to build a shrine for a martyr when he was young seems to have circulated already during the emperor's lifetime, since it was known to Gregory of Nazianzus (E02741). Interestingly, Sozomen's main source, the Church History of Socrates, is unaware of (or ignores) the legends about the pagan emperor's childhood with Gallus. Socrates reports that Julian was ordained reader, while living in Nicomedia (Socrates, Eccl. Hist. 2.1.1-21). Sozomen's story is reproduced, however, by Theodoret of Cyrrhus in his Ecclesiastical History (3.2). If there is a historical basis in the account, it would suggest that the shrine of Mamas in Caesarea was built before the mid 4th century, and that its construction was sponsored by members of the imperial family living at the local imperial estate.

Bibliography

Text: Bidez, J., and Hansen, G. C., Sozomenus. Kirchengeschichte. 2nd rev. ed. (Die griechischen christlichen Schriftsteller der ersten Jahrhunderte, Neue Folge 4; Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1995). Translations: Grillet, B., Sabbah, G., Festugière A.-J. Sozomène, Histoire ecclésiastique. 4 vols. (Sources chrétiennes 306, 418, 495, 516; Paris: Éditions du Cerf, 1983-2008): text, French translation, and introduction. Hansen, G.C. Sozomen, Historia ecclesiastica, Kirchengeschichte, 4 vols. (Fontes Christiani 73; Turnhout: Brepols, 2004): text, German translation, and introduction. Hartranft, C.D. “The Ecclesiastical History of Sozomen, Comprising a History of the Church from AD 323 to AD 425." In A Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church: Second Series, edited by P. Schaff and H. Wace (New York: Christian Literature Company, 1890), 179-427. Further reading: Chesnut, G. F. The First Christian Histories: Eusebius, Socrates, Sozomen, Theodoret, and Evagrius (Atlanta: Mercer University, 1986). Leppin, H. Von Constantin dem Grossen zu Theodosius II. Das christliche Kaisertum bei den Kirchenhistorikern Socrates, Sozomenus und Theodoret (Hypomnemata 110; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1996). Teitler, H.C. The Last Pagan Emperor: Julian the Apostate and the War against Christianity (New York: Oxford University Press, 2017). Van Nuffelen, P., Un héritage de paix et de piété : Étude sur les histoires ecclésiastiques de Socrate et de Sozomène (Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta 142; Leuven: Peeters, 2004).

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