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E05567: The Life of *Hypatios (abbot of Rufinianae, ob. 446, S02090) by Kallinikos recounts the life of its hero and the foundation of a monastic community on the grounds of the shrine of the *Apostles (S00084) on the estate of Rufinus ('Rufinianae') near Chalcedon (north-west Asia Minor, near Constantinople). It recounts its hero’s manifold miracles and spiritual doctrines. Written in Greek at Rufinianae, 447/450.

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posted on 2018-05-28, 00:00 authored by Bryan
Kallinikos of Rufinianae, Life of Hypatios (CPG 6042 = BHG 760)


Preface by the anonymous editor:
The editor addresses a certain Eutychos, and claims to record a text written by Kallinikos, a disciple of Hypatios, having made very few changes, mainly correcting the spelling mistakes reflecting the Syrian accent of the author.

Prologue by the author.

1. Hypatios comes from Phrygia, born of noble and pious parents. After a beating by his father, he leaves home and decides to become a monk.

2. At the age of 18, he follows a group of travellers to Thrace, where he becomes a shepherd working for a local estate. He frequents a local church and learns the psalms.

3. At the age of 20, he joins the hermit Ionas, a former soldier of Armenian origins, who left the army under Arcadius and established a monastic community on a mountain near Constantinople. Hypatios excels in virtue and asceticism. The monastery grows and becomes fortified, as was common in Thrace, because of the frequent invasions of that period.

4. Hypatios serves tending the sick.

5. He experiences severe carnal temptations, but perseveres in his strict asceticism.

6. Barbarians frequently assault the monastery, but are easily repelled by the monks who fire stones against them, using a catapult. The peasants seek refuge in the monastery. Ionas frequently visits Constantinople to ask for supplies and help for the poor of Thrace from the rich people of the capital. He is greatly respected by the aristocrats, because of his charisma.

7. Hypatios’ father visits the monastery, which is located at a place called Halmyrissos, and requests his son’s help for a trial at the capital. Hypatios helps his father and lets him return home. While at Constantinople, they stay at the country estate of an aristocrat.

8. Hypatios is joined by another two ascetics, Timotheos and Moschion, with whom he settles at a deserted monastery next to the shrine of the Apostles *Peter and Paul at the estate of the patrician Rufinus (known as Rufinianae) near Chalcedon (see E01133).

9. After a conflict with Timotheos, Hypatios leaves Chalcedon and returns to his first monastery in Thrace. While leaving, he heals a man paralysed by a demon.

10. Timotheos and the monks of Rufinianae meet abbot Ionas in Constantinople and implore him to send Hypatios back to their monastery. Ionas falls gravely ill and summons Hypatios. The latter heals the abbot and hears a voice from heaven instructing him to go to Rufinianae. He is reconciled with Timotheos and becomes abbot of the monastery. He is 40 years old.

11. The community is visited and receives instruction from *Isaakios (S02118), the revered founder of several monasteries in Constantinople, and *John Chrysostom (see $E05568). The former advises the monks to offer hospitality to everyone, and the latter urges them not to avoid taking holy orders.

12. The community grows. Hypatios’ virtue attracts the friendship of the cubicularius (servant of the imperial chamber) Urbicius who brings to the monastery an insane man, threatened with murder by his own brother. Hypatios shelters and cures the man. Urbicius later endows the renovation and expansion of the monastery and the decoration of its church.

13. Hypatios practices reclusion in a small cell during Lent, after which he celebrates the Easter mass at the shrine of the Apostles. He is forcibly ordained by bishop Philotheos of Chalcedon, and appointed to that shrine where he celebrates the liturgy every Sunday, obtaining fame for his holiness and spiritual guidance.

14. Hypatios is granted revelations and clairvoyance.

15. Hypatios heals Alkimos, the domesticus of the cubicularius Urbicius, and has a vision of the Devil whom he reproaches. Urbicius is promoted to praepositus sacri cubiculi (imperial chamberlain) and funds the construction of a mausoleum (ἡρώειον) for the burial of the monks.

16. Abbot Ionas comes from Thrace to greet Hypatios shortly before dying. Hypatios recounts to the monks a tale from his days at the monastery in Thrace, pertaining to forgiveness.

17. Hypatios recounts stories about the extreme poverty of the monastery of Rufinianae in the early days of his settlement there.

18. The community grows. Story about Akylas and his family who espoused monastic life and joined Hypatios’ community.

19. Due to the pollution of the local aqueduct, the monks fall ill. Hypatios is miraculously instructed to dig a well in the premises of the monastery.

20. Miraculous provision of wheat for the monastery.

21. The story of the fugitive slaves of the ex-consul Monaxios, who joined the monastery.

22. Stories about Hypatios’ care for the poor and the sick, and various healing miracles.

23. At the age of 60, Hypatios falls gravely ill and all believe that he is about to die. Since the death of *Dalmatios (abbot in Constantinople, S01782), he is revered as the spiritual father of the monks of Constantinople. He recovers and ascribes his survival to the Devil who prevented him from taking his heavenward journey.

24-27. Hypatios’ spiritual instruction to the monks, ascetic diet, and prayer routines.

28. His power over demons and various miracles.

29-30. Hypatios’ virtues, his missionary activity among the pagans of Bithynia, and spiritual instruction to the laity.

31. Hypatios’ charity for the poor.

32. When Nestorius is elected bishop of Constantinople, Hypatios predicts that he will become a heretic and that his episcopate will last only three and a half years. Nestorius’ deposition by the Council of Ephesus is revealed to Hypatios in a dream vision of *John the Evangelist (S00042) instructing the emperor to condemn Nestorius (see $E05570).

33. The Prefect Leontios attempts to revive a celebration of Olympic Games in Chalcedon, but Hypatios opposes him. Although bishop Eulalios disagrees, Hypatios invites all abbots to resist the prefect’s plans, and the festival is cancelled.

34. Hypatios’ contempt for money and material goods.

35. Conversion of three scholastici.

36. His fame grows and his assistance is sought for by people around the world.

37. Hypatios exchanges visits with the emperor Theodosius II and his sisters.

38. Various miracles are performed by the use of blessed cloths (mentioned as εὐλογία τοῦ ἁγίου Ὑπατίου – 'blessing of the holy Hypatios') and holy water provided by Hypatios. In one case, a blessed cloth is used as a bandage for the healing of an injured eye. In another, it is hung at a haunted stable, in order to protect it from demons.

39. Asked by people about Nestorius, Hypatios condemns his doctrine.

40. Various miracles of Hypatios.

41. Hypatios shelters Alexandros, abbot of the Akoimetoi (Sleepless Monks), who is persecuted by the magistrates for denouncing their injustices.

42. The story of Makarios, a disciple of Hypatios, who failed in his asceticism due to arrogance.

43. Conversion of sorcerers and pagans.

44-46. Various miracles involving healing and demons.

47. No one should have doubts about the miracles of Hypatios. It was not the holy man himself that performed them, but Christ who showed His pleasure in Hypatios.

48. Spiritual exhortations, and teachings by Hypatios.

49. Hypatios reaches old age, and his virtue is now visible even in his appearance, covered with white hair and beard. An ascetic holy man and presbyter called Zenon is miraculously driven to meet and die with him.

50. Three months later, Hypatios reaches his end at the age of 80, leaving 80 disciples. In his last three months he provides further teaching to the monks.

51. As he lies dying, the monks sing psalms, and he is visited by bishops and friends. He has visions and is seen to exchange blessings with invisibly present companions. He gives his blessing to everyone and dies, leaving 50 (sic) disciples and a successor abbot. His funeral is celebrated by bishops and friends and attended by a great crowd.

51. (9) Τὸ οὖν ἅγιον αὐτοῦ λείψανον κατέθεντο ἐν εἰρήνῃ ἐν τῷ σεπτῷ εὐκτηρίῳ τοῦ αὐτοῦ μοναστηρίου ἐν σόρῳ λιθίνῃ, ἐν ᾧ οἴκῳ οἱ ἀδελφοὶ τὰς εὐχὰς ἀναπέμπουσιν. (10) Κατατιθεμένου δὲ αὐτοῦ οἱ ὄχλοι διεσπάραττον τὴν κλίνην βουλόμενοι εὐλογίας χάριν λαβεῖν ἀπὸ τῶν ἱματίων αὐτοῦ, καὶ ὃ μὲν μετὰ μαχαίρας τὴν σινδόνα ἔτεμεν, ἄλλος ἐκ τοῦ ἱματίου, ἕτερος δὲ ἐκ τῆς γενειάδος αὐτοῦ τρίχας· καὶ μόλις διισχυρισαμένων τινῶν ἠδυνήθημεν παύσασθαι αὐτοὺς ἐκ τούτου. (11) Τὴν οὖν σορὸν αὐτοῦ ὁ δοῦλος τοῦ Θεοῦ Οὐρβίκιος ἐκαρποφόρησεν. (12) Πλησίον δὲ αὐτοῦ κατάκειται ὁ ἅγιος Ἀμμώνιος, ὁ τῆς ἐρήμου μέγας ἀσκητής, περὶ οὗ φέρεται, ὅτι τὸ οὖς αὐτοῦ ἀπέτεμεν διὰ τὸ μὴ θέλειν αὐτὸν δέξασθαι τὴν ἱερωσύνην, οὗ ἡ πολιτεία ἐξαίρετος καὶ παρὰ πᾶσι θαυμαζομένη τοῖς ἀγαπῶσι τὸν Κύριον.

‘They buried his holy remains in peace in the reverend church of his monastery, in a stone sarcophagus, in the room where the brethren offer up their prayers. As he was being buried, the throngs tore his bier into pieces, trying to take something of his cloths for blessing. One person cut the shroud with a knife, another removed some of his cloak, and another some hair from his beard. Some became aggressive and we hardly managed to stop them from doing this. His sarcophagus was donated by the servant of God Urbicius. Near him rests the holy *Ammonios [S01263], the great ascetic of the desert, about whom it is related that he cut off his own ear, because he did not want


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Hypatios, abbot of Rufinianae, ob. 446 : S02090 Apostles, unnamed or name lost : S00084

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Other saint-related texts


  • Greek

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Constantinople and region

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


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

Constantinople Constantinople Κωνσταντινούπολις Konstantinoupolis Constantinopolis Constantinople Istanbul

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Bequests, donations, gifts and offerings

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle during lifetime Miracle at martyrdom and death Miracles experienced by the saint Miracles causing conversion Healing diseases and disabilities Apparition, vision, dream, revelation Revelation of hidden knowledge (past, present and future)

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Women Ecclesiastics - bishops Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy Ecclesiastics - abbots Ecclesiastics - monks/nuns/hermits Pagans Heretics Foreigners (including Barbarians) Peasants Relatives of the saint Monarchs and their family Officials Slaves/ servants Crowds

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - entire body Contact relic - cloth Making contact relics


The Life of Hypatios is the biography of one of the earliest monastic leaders of broader Constantinople, and the foundation account of a major monastic centre, that of Rufinianae near Chalcedon (today’s Caddebostan, in Anatolian Istanbul). Our text places its hero in the third place among the founding fathers of Constantinopolitan monasticism, after Isaakios and Dalmatios. The text starts with a preface by an author who addresses a certain Eutychos, and states that he is the editor of a text originally written by a disciple of Hypatios, called Kallinikos. The text is thought to have been written shortly after the death of Hypatios (446), probably between 447 and 450: it mentions the Hunnic invasion of 447, but does not refer to the doctrinal disputes concerning the natures of Christ in 448-451. Kallinikos was reportedly a Syriac speaker, whose spelling mistakes in Greek the editor reports having corrected, without altering the style of his language. The text is preserved in four manuscripts, on which see Bartelink 1971, 41-55.


Hypatios was born in Phrygia in the 360s, reportedly to a notable family (1). He fled his home after a conflict with his father and migrated to Thrace where he joined the monastic community of abbot Ionas, an Armenian former soldier (3). Ionas’ monastery is reported to have been located on a coastal site called Halmyrissos (7), by which the author most probably refers to Salmydessos, the Pontic coast of the hinterland of Constantinople. It appears that Hypatios and his monastery retained close connections with the community of Ionas and kept a keen interest in events in the Thracian hinterland of Constantinople (9, 16, 53). The author is well informed about the depredations caused by invading barbarians, which instigated the fortification of monasteries and settlements in Thrace in the early 5th century. After reconciling himself with his father (7), Hypatios, around AD 400, embarked on an independent monastic career, and settled with some companions at a deserted monastery founded by the patrician Rufinus (d. 395; PLRE I, 778: 'Flavius Rufinus 18') on his estate near Chalcedon. Rufinus’ estate, we are told from other sources, consisted of his country-house, a monastery, and a church dedicated to the Apostles, which was a highly revered shrine already in the times of John Chrysostom (E02540). Hypatios revived the monastery which had reportedly been abandoned after the death of its founder (8), and was appointed as the priest of the church of the Apostles (13). The beginnings of the monastery were not smooth. The community lived in extreme deprivation (17) and was divided over the monastic style it would adopt – the monk Timotheos opposed the coenobitic model favoured by Hypatios (9) – but it overcame the difficulties and was established as a monastery. The community had the approval of Isaakios, then recognised as the superior of all the monasteries of Constantinople (11). It enjoyed the protection of Urbicius, a high official of the imperial household (first cubicularius and later praepositus sacri cubiculi; PLRE II, 1188, 'Vrbicius 1'), who refurbished the monastery and its church (which was different from the shrine of the Apostles), funded the construction of a funerary chapel, and finally donated the sarcophagus which received the body of Hypatios (12, 15, 51). The size and fame of the monastic community grew steadily, and Hypatios was so highly esteemed that, after the death of Isaakios’ successor, Dalmatios, in the late 430s, he was recognised by the monasteries of Constantinople as their common superior. Typically of a biography of a monastic founder, the text outlines the evolution of Hypatios’ virtues through a sequence of miracle stories, teachings, and works of charity, recalling the archetype of the Life of Anthony. The author names this monastic father as a model for Hypatios’ life and virtue (53). He dedicates extensive sections to his hero’s teachings, codifying his spiritual legacy for his community, and positions him within the main events of ecclesiastical politics in his time: Hypatios was a supporter of John Chrysostom (11), an opponent of Nestorius (32), an opponent of Prefect Leontios’ attempted celebration of the Olympic Games in Chalcedon (33), and a defender of the persecuted Sleepless Monks (41). The author keeps silent about the probably embarrassing fact that the Council of the Oak, which deposed Chrysostom in 403, took place at Rufinianae, but also refrains from speaking about Chrysostom’s successors, except for Nestorius. His praise for Chrysostom and absolute silence about his successors may mean that the monks of Rufinianae, although in communion with the bishop of Chalcedon, Eulalios, were not on cordial terms with the bishops of Constantinople till the restoration of Chrysostom’s memory. Finally, the author says nothing about the controversy which was shaking the monastic communities of broader Constantinople, while he was writing, namely the teaching of abbot Eutyches about the natures of Christ. The posthumous reverence for Hypatios is outlined in the last seven chapters. His death at the age of c. 80 in 446 was miraculously presaged by the arrival of the holy man Zenon from the Red Sea, and by the death of his sister two days before him (49, 50, 53, 54). On his deathbed, Hypatios prophesies about future misfortunes which soon come true (52). Hypatios’ holiness is proved by the reactions of the crowd at his funeral, as everyone attempts to acquire contact relics from the bier. His body is buried in the monastery church, next to the tomb of another ascetic, Ammonios of Kellia, who died at Rufinianae in 403 (see E02728, E02729). Thus the monastic church housed at least two tombs of monastic holy men, one of which, that of Ammonios, had already acquired a reputation for miracles (E02728; E03316).


Text: Bartelink, G., Callinicos, Vie d'Hypatios (Sources Chretiennes 177; Paris: Cerf, 1971), with French translation and commentary. Other translations: Festugière, A.-J., Les moines d'Orient, vol. 2, Les moines de la région de Constantinople (Paris, 1961), 11–86. Capizzi, C., Vita di Ipazio (Roma, 1982). Further reading: Déroche, V., and Lesieur, B., "Notes d’hagiographie byzantine. Daniel le Stylite – Marcel l’ Acémète – Hypatios de Rufinianes," Analecta Bollandiana 128 (2010), 283-295. Efthymiadis, S., and Déroche. V., "Greek Hagiography in Late Antiquity (Fourth-Seven Centuries)," in: S. Efthymiadis (ed.), The Ashgate Research Companion to Byzantine Hagiography. Vol. 1: Periods and Places (Farnham: Ashgate, 2011), 60. Hatlie, P., The Monks and Monasteries of Constantinople, ca. 350-850 (Cambridge, 2007). Janin, R., Les églises et les monastères des grands centres Byzantins (Bithynie, Hellespont, Latros, Galèsios, Trébizonde, Athènes, Thessalonique) (Paris, 1975), 38-40.

Continued Description

to accept ordination. His life was excellent, and is admired by all those who love the Lord.’52. Several prophecies of Hypatios came true soon after his death. Within six months (in 447), a prodigious hailstorm, earthquakes, and the conquest of Thrace by the Huns took place. The Huns captured several monasteries in Thrace and killed their monks and nuns, and plundered the shrine (martyrion) of *Alexandros (martyr of Dryzipera, S00070) ($E05572).53. Hypatios had a sister who died three days before him. She was a widow with a daughter, and became a nun. Her daughter and her husband also espoused monasticism. 53. (4) Πάντα οὖν ἀκολούθως πράξας ὁ ἅγιος Ὑπάτιος τοῦ ἁγίου πατρὸς ἡμῶν Ἀντωνίου μέχρι καὶ τῆς ἀδελφῆς αὐτοῦ. (5) Κἀκεῖνος γὰρ μίαν ἀδελφὴν ἔσχεν καὶ οὗτος μίαν· ὡς γὰρ ἔλεγεν ὁ ἅγιος Ὑπάτιος περιάγων ἐν σαρκὶ ὅτι (6) «Γινώσκετε, τεκνία, μετὰ τῶν ἁγίων ἀποστόλων ἐθεασάμην τὸν ἅγιον Ἀντώνιον τὸν πατέρα ἡμῶν, καὶ ἀσπασάμενος εὐλόγησέν με, καὶ εὐχὴν ποιήσας ἀπέλυσεν.»‘The holy Hypatios indeed did all things just like our holy father *Antony [‘the Great’, S00098], even with regard to his sister. For the latter also had one sister, and the former also had one. While still alive, the holy Hypatios used to say: ‘You know, my dear children, I saw Saint Antony, our father, alongside the Holy Apostles; he embraced and blessed me, and, after praying over me, he released me.’''54. A priest visits the monastery and reveals that the holy man Zenon who had arrived at Rufinianae before Hypatios’ death was a highly revered holy man and superior of a community of 800 monks near the Red Sea. Zenon had been instructed by God to go to Rufinianae in order to die, and told that he would take Hypatios with him to heaven. Hypatios indeed died three months after him.55. Polychronios who was healed by Hypatios becomes a monk, as the holy man predicted.56. Epilogue.Text: Bartelink 1971. Summary and Translation: E. Rizos.

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