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E05077: Evagrius Scholasticus in his Ecclesiastical History quotes a sentence by the theologian Theodore Ascidas (ob. 558) concerning the miracles of the saints and their state after death. Original text written in Greek in Palestine, before 558; quoted by Evagrius in Antioch (Syria), 593/594.

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posted on 13.02.2018, 00:00 by CSLA Admin
Evagrius Scholasticus, Ecclesiastical History, 4.38

Τούτοις συνέζευξαν καὶ τὰ κεφάλαια τὰ ὅσα πρεσβεύειν οἱ τὰ Ὠριγένους δοξάζοντες ἐδιδάχθησαν δηλοῦντα, τάς τε συμφωνίας αὐτῶν ἀτὰρ καὶ τὰς διαφωνίας, καὶ τὴν πολυσχεδῆ τούτων πλάνην. Ἐν τούτοις ἐστὶ πέμπτον κεφάλαιον τῶν βλασφημηθέντων ἀπὸ ἰδικῶν προσώπων τῆς καλουμένης νέας λαύρας, ἔχον ὧδε· „Θεόδωρος ὁ Ἀσκιδᾶς ὁ Καππαδόκης εἶπεν· Εἰ νῦν οἱ ἀπόστολοι καὶ οἱ μάρτυρες θαυματουργοῦσι καὶ ἐν τῇ τοσαύτῃ τιμῇ ὑπάρχουσιν, ἐν τῇ ἀποκαταστάσει εἰ μὴ ἴσοι γένοιντο τῷ Χριστῷ, ποία ἀποκατάστασις αὐτοῖς ἐστιν;“

‘To this they also attached the chapters which revealed what those who held the doctrines of Origen were taught to profess, both their agreements and disagreements, and their multiple error. Among these, the fifth chapter of the blasphemies by individual members of the so-called New Lavra ran thus: ‘Theodore Ascidas the Cappadocian said: ‘‘If the apostles and martyrs perform miracles and enjoy so much honour now, what sort of a restoration will there be for them in the Restoration (apokatastasis), unless to become equal to Christ?’’’

Text: Bidez, Parmentier 2014. Translation: E. Rizos

History

Evidence ID

E05077

Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories) Literary - Theological works

Language

Greek

Evidence not before

593

Evidence not after

594

Activity not before

500

Activity not after

558

Place of Evidence - Region

Syria with Phoenicia

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Antioch on the Orontes

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

Antioch on the Orontes Thabbora Thabbora

Major author/Major anonymous work

Evagrius Scholasticus

Source

Evagrius was born in about 535 in the Syrian city of Epiphania. Educated at Antioch and Constantinople, he pursued a career as a lawyer at Antioch, serving as a legal advisor to Patriarch Gregory (570-592). He wrote the Ecclesiastical History in 593/4, with the express purpose of covering the period following the coverage of the mid 5th century ecclesiastical histories of Socrates, Sozomen, and Theodoret. His narrative starts with Nestorius and the Council of Ephesus (431) and stops with the death of Evagrius’ patron, Gregory of Antioch, in 592. The work offers a balanced mixture of ecclesiastical and secular events in the East Roman Empire, being best informed about Antioch and Syria. Evagrius also published a dossier of original documents from the archive of Patriarch Gregory of Antioch, which has not survived.

Discussion

This sentence is ascribed by Evagrius to the acts of the Second Council of Constantinople (553), which he presents as having mainly been convoked to condemn Origenism. However, this is probably inaccurate, since Theodore Ascidas, the person condemned here, was one of the main protagonists of the council, and the subject of the meeting was the controversy of the Three Chapters. The dossier of texts mentioned here probably comes from an earlier condemnation of a notable Origenist community in Palestine, whose main centre was the New Lavra (Mar Saba). The fifth document of this compilation belonged to Theodore Ascidas (ob. 558) who, after a period as a monk in Palestine, became an influential churchman in Constantinople, and was appointed as bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia by Justinian. The phrase quoted here is the sole surviving fragment of the work of Ascidas (CPG 6988), and the only extant text from the works of the Origenist teaching which was labelled by others as Isochrists, namely the belief that human beings could become fully equal to Christ in the final state of salvation, the Origenist notion of Restoration (apokatastasis). This may have anticipated discussions concerning the state of the souls and the saints after death in the late 6th century, as reflected chiefly in the work of Eustratius of Constantinople (E04192).

Bibliography

Text and French translation: Bidez, J., and Parmentier, L., Evagre le Scholastique, Histoire ecclésiastique (Sources Chrétiennes 542, 566; Paris, 2011, 2014), with commentary by L. Angliviel de la Beaumelle, and G. Sabbah, and French translation by A.-J.Festugière, B. Grillet, and G. Sabbah. Other translations: Whitby, M., The Ecclesiastical History of Evagrius Scholasticus (Translated Texts for Historians 33; Liverpool, 2000). Hübner, A., Evagrius Scholasticus, Historia ecclesiastica = Kirchengeschichte (Fontes Christiani 57; Turnhout, 2007). Carcione, F., Evagrio di Epifania, Storia ecclesiastica (Roma, 1998). Further Reading: Allen, P., Evagrius Scholasticus, the Church Historian (Spicilegium Sacrum Lovaniense, Etudes et Documents 41; Leuven, 1981). Barelle, G., "Isochristes," Dictionnaire de Théologie Catholique 59 (1923), 112. Beck, H.G., Kirche und theologische Literatur im byzantinischen Reich (Μunich, 1959), 384. Perczel, I., "A philosophical myth in the service of Christian apologetics? Manichees and Origensits in the Sixth Century," in Y. Schwartz and V. Krech (eds.), Religious Apologetics - Philosophical Argumentation (Religion in Philosophy and Theology 10; Tübingen, 2004), 205-236. Treadgold, W., The Early Byzantine Historians (Basingstoke, 2006), 299-308.

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