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E05295: John Moschus, in his Spiritual Meadow, recounts how a waterless well in the district of Apamea (in Syria) miraculously filled with water when an icon of Abba *Theodosios (monk of Cilicia, ob. c. 410, S00359) from his monastery at Skopelos was lowered into it. Written in Greek, probably in Rome, in the 620s or 630s.

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posted on 2018-04-09, 00:00 authored by Bryan
John Moschus, The Spiritual Meadow, 81

Διηγήσαντο ἡμῖν οἱ αὐτοὶ Πατέρες καὶ τοῦτο, λέγοντες, ὅτι Ἐν ταύταις ταῖς ἡμέραις γυνή τις φιλόχριστος εἰς τὰ μέρη Ἀπαμείας φρέαρ ὤρυξεν· καὶ πάμπολλα δαπανήσασα, καὶ βάθος πολὺ κατελθοῦσα, οὐχ εὗρεν ὕδωρ· καὶ ἐν πολλῇ ἀθυμίᾳ ὑπῆρχεν, καὶ διὰ τὸν κόπον καὶ διὰ τὰς δαπάνας. Ἐν μιᾷ οὖν τῶν ἡμερῶν θεωρεῖ ἡ γυνή τινα αὐτῇ λέγοντα· Πέμψον καὶ φέρε τὸ ὁμοίωμα τοῦ ἀββᾶ θεοδοσίου τοῦ εἰς τὸν σκόπελον, καὶ τὸ ὕδωρ δι’ αὐτοῦ ὁ Θεὸς παρέχει σοι. Ἡ δὲ γυνὴ εὐθέως πέμψασα δύο ἀνθρώπους, ἔλαβεν τὴν εἰκόνα τοῦ ἁγίου, καὶ ἐχάλασεν αὐτὴν εἰς τὸ φρέαρ. Καὶ εὐθέως καὶ παραχρῆμα ἐξῆλθεν τὸ ὕδωρ· ὥστε τὸ ἥμισυ τοῦ λάκκου πληρωθῆναι. Ἔφερον οὖν ἡμῖν οἱ διασώσαντες τὴν εἰκόνα ἐκ τοῦ ὕδατος, καὶ ἐπίομεν, καὶ ἐδοξάζομεν πάντες τὸν Θεόν.

'The same fathers told us that in those days, a Christ-loving woman of the district of Apamea [in Syria] dug a well. She spent a great deal of money on the project and dug very deep, but she found no water. Having put so much money and effort into the project, she was very discouraged. Then one day, she had a vision of somebody saying to her: "Send for and bring the picture of Abba Theodosios at Skopelos and by that means God will give you water". The woman sent two men at once. They took the icon of the saint and let it down into the well and immediately water began to flow; it filled the well-shaft up to the half-way point. The men who drew the icon up out of the water brought us some of it; we drank of it and all gave thanks to God.'

Text: Migne 1865 (PG 87.3). Translation: J. Wortley.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Theodosios from Antioch, monk of Cilicia, ob. c. 410 : S00359

Saint Name in Source

Ἀββᾶ Θεοδόσιος

Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Monastic collections (apophthegmata, etc.)


  • Greek

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Rome and region Palestine with Sinai

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


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

Rome Rome Rome Roma Ῥώμη Rhōmē Caesarea Maritima Καισάρεια Kaisareia Caesarea Kayseri Turris Stratonis

Major author/Major anonymous work

John Moschus

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - monastic

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Saint as patron - of a community

Cult Activities - Miracles

Material support (supply of food, water, drink, money) Apparition, vision, dream, revelation Miraculous behaviour of relics/images Miracle during lifetime

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - monks/nuns/hermits Ecclesiastics - abbots Women


John Moschus (c. 540/550–634) was a monk and spiritual writer. He lived successively with the monks of the monastery of St. Theodosios, south-east of Jerusalem, among the hermits of the Jordan Valley, and at the Lavra of Pharan in the Judaean Desert, where he spent ten years. About the year 578 he went to Egypt with Sophronius, his close friend to whom he was to dedicate the Spiritual Meadow. After 583 he perhaps came to Mount Sinai where he spent about ten years. In around 604 he went to Antioch but returned to Egypt later in the same decade. In around 614-619 he went to Cyprus, then to North Africa, and then to Rome, where he died before ‘the beginning of the eighth indiction’ (i.e. September 634). He wrote the Spiritual Meadow and co-authored with Sophronius a Life of John the Almoner. The Spiritual Meadow (Gr. Leimōn pneumatikos; Lat. Pratum spirituale) was written in the 620s or 30s, very probably in Rome. The work narrates Moschus' personal experiences with many of the ascetics whom he met during his extensive travels, mainly through Palestine, Sinai and Egypt, but also Cilicia and Syria, and recounts the edifying stories and sayings that he received from them. The title of the work is explained as an analogy between picking flowers in a springtime meadow and picking edifying stories and sayings from the lives of holy men and women. The number of chapters varies depending on the manuscript.


'The same fathers' are the fathers at the monastery of Abba Theodosios at Skopelos in Cilicia. This story is one of the most striking pieces of evidence of the power that icons had achieved in the east Mediterranean by the early 7th century.


Edition: Migne, J.P, Patrologia Graeca, vol. 87.3 (Paris, 1865), 2851-3116. Translations: Maisano, R., Giovanni Mosco, Il prato (Naples, 2002). Rouët de Journel, M.-J., Jean Moschus, Le Pré Spirituel (Sources chrétiennes 12; Paris, 1946, repr. 2006). Wortley, J., John Moschos, The Spiritual Meadow (Cistercian Studies Series 139; Kalamazoo, 1992). Further reading: Baynes, N.H., "The Pratum spirituale," Orientalia Christiana Periodica 13 (1947), 404-414; repr. in Baynes, Byzantine Studies and Other Essays (London, 1955), 261-270. Binggeli, A. “Collections of Edifying Stories,” in: S. Efthymiadis (ed.), The Ashgate Research Companion to Byzantine Hagiography II: Genres and Contexts (Farnham, 2014), 143-160, esp. 146-147. Chadwick, H.J., "John Moschus and his friend Sophroonios the Sophist," Journal of Theological Studies 25 (1974), 41-74. Follieri, E., "Dove e quando mori Giovanni Mosco?," Rivista di Studi Bizantini e Neoellenici 25 (1988), 3-39. Mioni, E., "Il Pratum Spirituale di Giovanni Mosco: gli episodi inediti del Cod. Marciano greco II.21," Orientalia Christiana Periodica (1951), 61-94. Mioni, E., "Jean Moschus, Moine," Dictionnaire de Spiritualité 7 (1973), cols. 632-640. Nissen, T., "Unbekannte Erzählungen aus dem Pratum Spirituale," Byzantinische Zeitschrift 38 (1938), 351-376. Pattenden, P., "The text of the Pratum Spirituale," Journal of Theological Studies 26 (1975), 38-54.

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