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E03993: Sozomen in his Ecclesiastical History recounts healing miracles and visions taking place at the shrine of *Michael (the Archangel, S00181), built by the emperor Constantine on the European side of the Bosphorus, near Constantinople. Written in Greek at Constantinople, 439/450.

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posted on 06.09.2017, 00:00 authored by erizos
Sozomen, Ecclesiastical History, 2.3. 7-13.

(7) … ταύτην μὲν οὖν ὡσεί τινα νεοπαγῆ Χριστοῦ πόλιν καὶ ὁμώνυμον ἑαυτῷ γεραίρων Κωνσταντῖνος πολλοῖς καὶ μεγάλοις ἐκόσμησεν εὐκτηρίοις οἴκοις. (8) συνελαμβάνετο δὲ καὶ τὸ θεῖον τῇ προθυμίᾳ τοῦ βασιλέως καὶ ταῖς ἐπιφανείαις ἐπιστοῦτο ἁγίους καὶ σωτηρίους εἶναι τοὺς ἀνὰ τὴν πόλιν εὐκτηρίους οἴκους. ἐπισημοτάτην δὲ μάλιστα ξένοις τε καὶ ἀστοῖς ἐξ ἐκείνου γενέσθαι συνωμολόγηται τὴν ἐν ταῖς Ἑστίαις ποτὲ καλουμέναις ἐκκλησίαν. τόπος δὲ οὗτος ὁ νῦν Μιχαήλιον ὀνομαζόμενος ἐν δεξιᾷ καταπλέοντι ἐκ Πόντου εἰς Κωνσταντινούπολιν, διεστὼς αὐτῆς πλωτῆρι μὲν ἀμφὶ τριάκοντα καὶ πέντε στάδια, ἑβδομήκοντα δὲ καὶ πρὸς κύκλῳ περιοδεύοντι τὸν διὰ μέσου πορθμόν. (9) ἔλαχε δὲ τὸ χωρίον τοῦτο τὴν νυνὶ κρατοῦσαν προσηγορίαν, καθότι πεπίστευται ἐνθάδε ἐπιφαίνεσθαι Μιχαὴλ τὸν θεῖον ἀρχάγγελον. τοῦτο δὲ κἀγὼ εὐεργετημένος τὰ μέγιστα ἀληθὲς εἶναι σύμφημι. δεικνύει δὲ τοῦθ’ οὕτως ἔχειν καὶ ἀπὸ πολλῶν ἄλλων ἡ τῶν πραγμάτων πεῖρα· οἱ μὲν γὰρ περιπετείαις δειναῖς ἢ κινδύνοις ἀφύκτοις, οἱ δὲ νόσοις ἢ πάθεσιν ἀγνώστοις περιπεσόντες, εὐξάμενοι ἐνταῦθα τῷ θεῷ ἀπαλλαγὴν εὑρήκασιν τῶν συμφορῶν. (10) ἀλλὰ τὰ μὲν καθ’ ἕκαστον ὅπως συνέβη καὶ τίσι, μακρὸν ἂν εἴη λέγειν· οἷον δὲ Ἀκυλίνῳ ὑπῆρξεν, ἀνδρὶ εἰσέτι νῦν ἡμῖν συνδιατρίβοντι καὶ ἐν τοῖς αὐτοῖς δικαστηρίοις δίκας ἀγορεύοντι, τὰ μὲν παρ’ αὐτοῦ ἀκούσας, τὰ δὲ καὶ θεασάμενος, ἀναγκαίως ἐρῶ. ἐπεὶ γὰρ λάβρος πυρετὸς ὑπὸ ξανθῆς χολῆς κινηθεὶς ἐπέλαβεν αὐτόν, ἐπίλυτόν τι φάρμακον δεδώκασιν αὐτῷ πιεῖν οἱ ἰατροί· καὶ τοῦτο ἐξήμεσεν, ἅμα δὲ τῷ ἐμέτῳ ἐκχυθεῖσα ἡ χολὴ πρὸς ὁμόχροον ἰδέαν ἔβαψε τὴν ἐπιφάνειαν· ἐκ τούτου δὲ πᾶν ὄψον καὶ ποτὸν ἐξήμει. ὡς δὲ ἐπὶ πολλῷ τῷ χρόνῳ τοῦτο ὑπέμενε, μὴ ἠρεμούσης τε ἐν αὐτῷ τῆς τροφῆς ἠπόρει πρὸς τὸ πάθος ἡ τῶν ἰατρῶν τέχνη, ἤδη ἡμιθανὴς ὢν παρεκελεύσατο τοῖς οἰκείοις φέρειν αὐτὸν εἰς τὸν εὐκτήριον οἶκον, ἰσχυρισάμενος ἢ αὐτόθι ἀποθανεῖσθαι ἢ τῆς νόσου ἀπαλλαγήσεσθαι. (11) κειμένῳ δὲ ἐνθάδε νύκτωρ ἐπιφανεῖσα θεία δύναμις προσέταξε τὰ ἐσθιόμενα πόματι βάπτειν τοιούτῳ, ὃ σύνθετον ἐκ μέλιτος καὶ οἴνου καὶ πεπέρεως ἀναμιγνυμένων ἅμα τὴν κατασκευὴν ἔχει. ὃ δὴ τῆς νόσου ἀπήλλαξε τὸν ἄνθρωπον· καίτοι γε τοῖς ἰατροῖς κατὰ λόγον τῆς τέχνης ἐναντίον ἐδόκει παθήμασι ξανθῆς χολῆς πομάτων τὸ θερμότατον. (12) ἐπυθόμην δὲ καὶ Προβιανόν, ἄνδρα τῶν ἐν τοῖς βασιλείοις στρατευσαμένων ἰατρῶν, χαλεπῶς ὑπὸ πάθους ποδῶν ὀδυνώμενον ἐνθάδε τῶν ἀλγηδόνων ἀπαλλαγῆναι καὶ παραδόξου θείας ὄψεως ἀξιωθῆναι. ἑλληνίζοντι γὰρ αὐτῷ τὰ πρῶτα, ἐπεὶ χριστιανίζειν ἤρξατο, τὰ μὲν ἄλλα τοῦ δόγματος ἁμωσγέπως πιθανὰ ἐδόκει, τὸ δὲ τῆς πάντων σωτηρίας αἴτιον γενέσθαι τὸν θεῖον σταυρὸν οὐ προσίετο. (13) ὧδε δὴ ἔχοντι γνώμης θεία προφανεῖσα ὄψις ἔδειξέ τι σταυροῦ σύμβολον τῶν ἀνακειμένων ἐν τῷ θυσιαστηρίῳ τῆς ἐνθάδε ἐκκλησίας, καὶ διαρρήδην ἀπεφήνατο, ἀφ’ οὗ ἐσταυρώθη ὁ Χριστός, τῶν ὅσα γέγονεν ἐπ’ ὠφελείᾳ κοινῇ τοῦ ἀνθρωπείου γένους ἢ ἰδίᾳ τινῶν, ἄνευ τῆς τοῦ σεβασμίου σταυροῦ δυνάμεως μηδὲν κατορθῶσαι μήτε τοὺς θείους ἀγγέλους μήτε τοὺς εὐσεβεῖς καὶ ἀγαθοὺς ἀνθρώπους. ἀλλὰ ταῦτα μέν, ὅτι μὴ πάντα καταλέγειν καιρός, ἐξ ὧν ἔγνων συμβεβηκέναι ἐν τῷδε τῷ νεῷ εἰπεῖν προήχθην.


‘(7) ... Constantine honoured this place [Constantinople] as a newly-built city of Christ, named after himself, and he adorned it with numerous and magnificent houses of prayer.

(8) And the Divinity itself endorsed the fervour of the emperor, and confirmed through revelations that the prayer houses of the city were holy and salvatory. According to the general opinion of both foreigners and locals, the most famous church was the one at the place formerly called Hestiai. This is a place, now called Michaelion, to the right of those sailing from Pontus to Constantinople, about thirty-five stades away from the city by water, or seventy, if you make the circuit of the bay.

(9) This place obtained its currently prevailing name, because it is believed that Michael, the divine archangel, appears there. And I affirm that this is true, because I myself have experienced immense help. The fact that it is so is indicated also by the experiences of many other witnesses. For some who had faced terrible adversities or inescapable dangers, and others who had suffered diseases or obscure maladies, when they prayed to God here, they were freed of their misfortunes.

(10) It would take too long to give details about how and to which person each story occurred. But with regard to the case of Akylinos—a man still living among us and serving as a barrister at the same courts of justice as I do—I deem it necessary to recount the event, since I partly heard about it from him, and partly witnessed it myself. He was befallen by severe fever caused by yellow bile, and the physicians gave him some drug solution to drink. This he vomited and bile was poured out with the vomit, tinting the floor in its yellow colour. From that point on, he would throw up all food and drink. This persisted for a long time and, as no food stayed inside him and the physicians’ art was unable to heal the malady, he, now on the verge of death, ordered his people to take him to the shrine, trusting either to die there or to be rid of the disease.

(11) And as he was lying there, a divine power appeared to him by night, and commanded him to dip his food into a drink composed of honey, wine, and pepper mixed together. That then delivered the man from the disease—even though the physicians, judging by the rules of their science, believed that such a very hot drink was adverse to a bilious disorder.

(12) I have also heard that Probianos, one of the physicians serving at the palace, who was gravely tormented by a malady of the feet, was likewise delivered from his suffering at this place, and was granted an extraordinary divine vision. He was originally a pagan and, at the beginning of his conversion to Christianity, he would find all aspects of the religion perfectly plausible, but could not accept that the divine cross was the cause of universal salvation.

(13) As this was his state of belief, a divine figure appeared to him and indicated the sign of a cross among the vessels standing on the altar of that church, explicitly declaring that, since the crucifixion of Christ, neither the angels of God nor the pious and virtuous men have performed any of the things done for the common benefit of the human race or the personal assistance of individuals, without the power of the venerable cross. So these are the stories I have chosen to recount, among the ones which I know to have taken place at this church—for there is no time to tell everything.’

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

History

Evidence ID

E03993

Saint Name

Michael, the Archangel : S00181

Saint Name in Source

Μιχαὴλ

Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)

Language

Greek

Evidence not before

439

Evidence not after

450

Activity not before

330

Activity not after

440

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

Prayer/supplication/invocation

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracles causing conversion Healing diseases and disabilities Apparition, vision, dream, revelation

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Officials Physicians Other lay individuals/ people

Cult Activities - Cult Related Objects

Crosses

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

The second book of Sozomen’s Ecclesiastical History recounts aspects of the progress of Christianity after Constantine’s victory, including the building projects of Constantine and his mother in Jerusalem, Antioch, Nicomedia, and Constantinople. The author portrays Constantinople as a city built specifically to celebrate Christianity. The shrine of Michael at the suburb known to the Byzantines as Anaplous (today’s Kuruçeşme) on the European coast of the Bosphorus, which Sozomen regards as a foundation of Constantine, was indeed one of the most popular healing shrines of the capital (Janin 1969, 338-340; Mango 1984, 58-60). Not far from Anaplous, there was a second equally popular shrine of Michael, at Sosthenion (Istinye), the foundation of which was also ascribed to Constantine.

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). Cline, R. Ancient Angels: Conceptualizing Angeloi in the Roman Empire (Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2011). Janin, R., La géographie ecclésiastique de l'empire byzantin. I: Les églises et les monastères de la ville de Constantinople. (2nd ed.; Paris, 1969). Mango, C. “Saint Michael and Attis,” Deltion tes en Athenais Christianikes Archaiologikes Hetaireias 12 (1984), 39-62. 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). 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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