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E05330: John Moschus, in his Spiritual Meadow, recounts stories which circulated in Alexandria, Constantinople, and Rome about *Leo I (bishop of Rome, S00423) and his letter to Flavian of Constantinople against Eutyches and Nestorios. He is said to have laid the letter on the tomb in Rome of *Peter (the Apostle, S00036), so that Apostle corrected it in his own hand. Moschus also recounts a dream vision of Leo I endorsing the efforts of Patriarch Eulogios I of Alexandria (580-608) on behalf of Chalcedonian Orthodoxy. Written in Greek, probably in Rome, in the 620s or 630s.

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posted on 2018-04-12, 00:00 authored by erizos, dlambert
John Moschus, The Spiritual Meadow, 147-148

147. Moschus heard this story from Menas, abbot of a monastery outside Alexandria, who had heard it from Eulogios I, Chalcedonian Patriarch of Alexandria (580-608). During a visit to Constantinople, Eulogios met the Roman archdeacon Gregory (probably the later Pope Gregory I the Great, 590-604) from whom he heard that, according to a legend of the Church of Rome, when Pope Leo the Great was writing his letter to Flavian of Constantinople against Eutyches and Nestorius, he placed it in the tomb of Peter the Apostle and prayed requesting Peter to correct the letter.

Καὶ μετὰ τεσσαράκοντα ἡμέρας ὤφθη αὐτῷ ὁ ἀπόστολος εὐχομένῳ, καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ· Ἀνέγνων καὶ διορθωσάμην. Καὶ δὴ λαβὼν τὴν ἐπιστολὴν ἐκ τοῦ τάφου τοῦ ἁγίου Πέτρου, ἀνέπτυξεν καὶ εὗρεν χειρὶ τοῦ ἀποστόλου διορθωθεῖσαν.

'Forty days later the Apostle appeared to him as he was praying and said: "I have read it and I have corrected it". The pope took the letter from Saint Peter's tomb, unrolled it and found it corrected in the Apostle's hand.'

148. This story was recounted by Theodoros, bishop of Derna in Libya. While he was serving as secretary (synkellos) to Eulogios I of Alexandria, he saw three times in a dream vision Pope Leo I coming to Eulogios, in order to thank him for his struggle on behalf of his letter against Eutyches and Nestorius (the so-called 'Tome of Leo'). Eulogios' efforts had been acknowledged and appreciated by Leo, the Apostle Peter, and Christ himself.

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


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Peter the Apostle : S00036 Leo, bishop of Rome, ob. 461 : S00423 Eulogios, Patriarch of Alexandria, ob. 608 : S02059

Saint Name in Source

Πέτρος Λέων Εὐλόγιος

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

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

Burial site of a saint - tomb/grave

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Saint as patron - of a community

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Miracles experienced by the saint Apparition, vision, dream, revelation Other specified miracle Miraculous intervention in issues of doctrine

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - Popes Ecclesiastics - bishops Ecclesiastics - abbots Ecclesiastics - monks/nuns/hermits Heretics

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - entire body


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.


These are two of the three stories (also see E05304) related to the Chalcedonian Patriarch of Alexandria Eulogios I (580-608), whom Moschus regards as a saint. These stories evidently circulated among the Chalcedonian monasteries and clergy of Egypt and Cyrenaica. It is interesting how the figure of Leo I, whose letter (the Tome) formed the base of the Christology of Chalcedon, was revered as a symbolic figure among the supporters of Chalcedon in Egypt. The legend about the Apostle Peter correcting the tomos in his own hand reminds us of similar legends concerning *Euphemia (martyr of Chalcedon), at whose shrine the Council of Chalcedon convened in 451. Eulogios of Alexandria was indeed a notable defender of Chalcedonian orthodoxy, whose work, now mostly lost (CPG 6971-6976), included several apologias for the Council of Chalcedon and the Tome of Leo.


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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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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