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E05315: John Moschus, in his Spiritual Meadow, recounts how Abba George, archimandrite of the monastery of Theodosios outside Jerusalem, was building a church of *Kyrikos (presumably the martyr of Tarsus, S00007) in the city of Phasaelis in Palestine. In a dream, a monk appeared to him and asked if it was just that he be left outside the church; the next day the body of this monk, a certain Peter, was found; Abba George buried the body in a tomb in the right aisle of the completed church. Written in Greek, probably in Rome, in the 620s or 630s.

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posted on 2018-04-12, 00:00 authored by julia
John Moschus, The Spiritual Meadow, 92

In this chapter Moschus retells what he heard from Abba George, archimandrite of the monastery of Theodosios which lay in the wilderness around Jerusalem. Abba George was about to build a church of Kerykos at Phasaelis [in Palestine]. When the foundations had been dug, a monk appeared to Abba George in a dream. He describes the dream as follows:

Φαίνεταί μοι κατὰ τοὺς ὕπνους μοναχός τις πάνυ ἀσκητὴς, φορῶν ἀπὸ σειρᾶς κολόβιον, καὶ μικρὸν εἰς
τοὺς ὤμους αὐτοῦ ἐπιῤῥιπτάριον ἀπὸ ψιαθίου· καὶ λέγει μοι πραείᾳ τῇ φωνῇ· Εἰπὲ, κῦρι ἀββᾶ Γεώργιε,
ἁπλῶς ἔδοξέν σοι μετὰ τοσούτους κόπους καὶ τοσαύτην ἄσκησιν ἔξω με ἐᾶσαι οὗ κτίζεις ναοῦ; Ἐγὼ δὲ τὸ ἱεροπρεπὲς τοῦ γέροντος αἰδεσθεὶς, λέγω αὐτῷ· Ὄντως γὰρ σὺ, κύριε, αὐτὸς τίς ὑπάρχεις; Ὁ δὲ ἔφη· Ἐγώ εἰμι Πέτρος ὁ βοσκὸς τοῦ ἁγίου Ἰορδάνου.

'A monk, very much an ascetic, appeared to me in my sleep. He wore a tunic of sackcloth and on his shoulders he had an over-garment made of rushes. In a gentle voice he said to me: "Tell me, Abba George, did it really seem just to you, sir, that after so many labours and so much endurance, I should be left outside the church you are building?" Out of respect for the worth of the elder, I said to him: "Who in fact are you, sir?" He said: "I am Peter the grazer of the holy Jordan."'

Abba George woke up at dawn of the following day and enlarged the plan of the church. When he started digging anew, he found the corpse of the monk whom he had seen in his dream. When the oratory was built, Abba George constructed a monument in its right aisle and buried the monk there.

Text: Migne 1865 (PG 87.3). Translation: Wortley 1992. Summary: J. Doroszewska.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Kyrikos/Cyricus and Ioulitta/Julitta, child and his mother, martyrs of Tarsus : S00007

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

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



Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Palestine with Sinai Rome and region

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


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

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

Major author/Major anonymous work

John Moschus

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 Apparition, vision, dream, revelation Saint aiding or preventing the translation of relics

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - abbots Ecclesiastics - monks/nuns/hermits


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.


Though evidently very worthy, there is no evidence in Moschus' text (or elsewhere) that the monk Peter who appeared to Abba George in his dream, and thereby obtained burial in the new church, attracted active cult.


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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