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E05302: John Moschus, in his Spiritual Meadow, recounts miracles at the tomb of a certain *Thomas (monk, S01992), who died in the church of *Euphemia (presumably the martyr of Chalcedon, S00017) in Daphne near Antioch on the Orontes (Syria). Initially buried in a cemetery of strangers, his body rejected the bodies of women buried over it. It was then reburied in the ancient Christian cemetery of Antioch (Koimeterion) and a small oratory was built over him. Written in Greek, probably in Rome, in the 620s or 630s.

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posted on 2018-04-09, 00:00 authored by erizos
John Moschus, The Spiritual Meadow, 88


In this chapter Moschus recounts a story about Abba Thomas that he heard from a priest of a church at Antioch. Abba Thomas, who was a steward of a community in the district of Apamea (Syria) once came to Antioch and died in Daphne, in the church of Euphemia. Since he was a stranger, the local clergy buried him in the strangers' burial ground. The following day a woman was buried and laid on top of him. A couple of hours later the earth threw her up. People were amazed, and buried the woman in the same grave again, but the same happened to her body. A few days later another woman was buried on top of the monk in his grave, but her body was also thrown up. Then the people realised that the monk would not tolerate any woman being buried on top of him. They went to the patriarch Domninos who made all the citizens come to Daphne with candles and with singing of psalms, to rebury the relics of the holy man. Then they buried him in the cemetery where many relics of holy martyrs lay, and they built a small oratory over him.

Text: Migne 1865 (PG 87.3). Summary: J. Doroszewska.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Euphemia, martyr of Chalcedon : S00017 Thomas, monk honoured in Antioch, ob. c. 545 : S01992

Saint Name in Source

Εὐφημία Ἀββᾶ Θωμάς

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 Syria with Phoenicia

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


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

Rome Rome Rome Roma Ῥώμη Rhōmē Thabbora Thabbora

Major author/Major anonymous work

John Moschus

Cult activities - Liturgical Activity

  • Chant and religious singing

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Saint as patron - of a community

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Miraculous behaviour of relics/images Other specified miracle

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy Ecclesiastics - abbots Ecclesiastics - monks/nuns/hermits Women Foreigners (including Barbarians) Other lay individuals/ people

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - entire body Transfer, translation and deposition of relics Construction of cult building to contain relics


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 story of Thomas is first recorded in the Ecclesiastical History of Evagrius (see S05075). Evagrius reports that he died during the episcopate of Ephraim (527-545), while Moschus places his death under his successor Domnus III (546-561).


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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