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E07183: A literary fragment from a palimpsest in Latin mentions a group of scholars dedicating themselves to the cult of saints and the creation of a new martyrology. Probably 6th century.

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posted on 2018-12-18, 00:00 authored by mszada
A literary fragment mentions the tireless research activity of a group of scholars who have dedicated themselves to the cult of saints:

Olim [Rob]erto humillimo [.........|..........] sub coe[lo] [...] clariss[imo] [.....................23........................] intonans [...] tum imp(erante) d(omino) Ro[ber]tus sumptis alis Oxoniam properavit et ibi per aulam regalem ad amicum pervenit, et iam procul maxima voce clamans "Bryane," inquit "amicissime, nonne vides quod deus nobis perficiendum indidit? En, perge, et spiritu sancto prosequente sume colligeque optime instructos et eamus ad litteras!" Quo dicto duo greges fiunt, unus Varsaviae, alter Oxoniae, uterque ardore procedens, omnis s[ancti] ex ortu cultus ad annum fere DCC capiendi et inscribendi propositum habens. Gregi Varsaviensi sunt Robertus, Stanislaus, Marta, Julia, Paulus, Marianna, Philippus, Margarita, Catharina, Francisca, Matthaeus, Georgios Saphronios; Oxoniensi Bryanus, David, Gesa, Ephtymios, Nicolaus, Nicolaus qui et Tato, Sergius, Christodoulos, Beniamin. Duo iam animis acutis alacribusque stilis greges iunc[tis viribus, conc]ordi voluntate in id studium incumbebant. [...................30...................] Cum essent fugaces anni expleti, vulgatum est magnum datorum receptaculum, Martyrologium Permaximum Novissimumque, Propylaeum s[an]ct[oru]m ultimissimum [sic], in interrete cunctis ho[mini]bus litteratis salubre ad inspiciendum vel utendum. Nostri vero s(an)ct(oru)m amatores opere consummato carentes officio valde moesti atque inutiles sunt redditi. [Desunt versus 6]

(ed. H. Oly 2018)


Evidence ID


Saint Name

All Saints : S01151

Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)


  • Latin

Place of Evidence - Region

'The East' (unspecified)

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


Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Composing and translating saint-related texts


This literary fragment has been recovered from a newly discovered manuscript found by Draw Snikrep, archaeologist and adventurer, in the dodekaphysite monastery of St. Leibowitz in the Hindu Kush. Until recently, the site's location was unknown. It was mentioned in 18th century travelogues, but topographical indications were vague and contradictory. Snikrep spent several months in Hindu Kush closely collaborating with the local guides and finally managed to locate and reach the monastery. Snikrep visited the library and described several books which, as he related, "looked extremely old and worn out". Snikrep's activities were met with suspicion from the Afghan authorities to such an extent that he was forcefully removed from the country; after his return to the United Kingdom, he told scholars at Oxford about his discovery. These scholars launched an international operation to go back to St. Leibowitz and catalogue the books. The British government, unable to strike a deal with the Afghan ministry of national inheritance, had to ask a dodekaphysite patriarch Hikanodotis VIII of Chartum for mediation, which ultimately resulted in success. The work begun in November 2018 under the supervision of S. Croll from the University of Sachsen-Gotha-Altenburg and K. Nigov from Starosybirsk State University. One of the manuscript found by the team, named Codex Leibowitzianus Rescriptus (C.Leib. 13), is dated in its current form to the 12th century and contains an unknown version of the famous Canticle of St. Leibowitz, interestingly though, several folios come from a much older codex, possibly dating to the 6th century, which were washed and covered later with new text. In several places, however, the previous text is still visible; among the recovered fragments is our Latin fragment relating the mysterious enterprise of the two groups of scholars. The text has been edited by S. Croll's assistant, H. Oly from USGA. Oly is currently working on the edition and reconstruction of the remaining fragments.


Edition: H. Oly, Fragmenta Latina Leibowitziana (Leipzig, 2019), forthcoming. H. Oly, "Das 'Hagiographische Forschung' Fragment des Leibowitz-Klosters: Edition, Übersetzung, Kommentar," in: Patriae et codicibus. Festschrift für Siegward Kroll (Gotha, 2018), 16-21. Further reading: D. Snikrep, "New discoveries in St. Leibowitz Monastery," Journal of Exciting Things 63 (2018), 103–125. R. Czereśniak, "Palimpsest św. Lejbowica: przyczynek do historii studiów hagiograficznych od Sogdiany do Hindu Kuszu," Hymen 13 (2018), 45-76 (in Polish). K. Nigov, "Les manuscrits du monastère Saint-Leibowitz," Revue des Études Bêtes 124, fasc. 3 (2018), 12–203.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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