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Pauline Allen & Bronwen Neil

Introduction to Maximus the Confessor (Excerpt)

From: Maximus the Confessor and his Companions. Documents from Exile, Oxford University Press, 2002, p. 8-30.
Published by the kind permission of the authors.

6. Biographical Documents

Very few theological treatises survive from Maximus' pen after his departure to Rome in 646 (1). However, seven largely biographical documents in Greek and in a Latin translation shed light on the imperial reaction against those who resisted monothelitism. In chronological order, these are:

1. Record of the Trial, an eyewitness account of the events of the trial of Maximus and his disciple Anastasius in Constantinople in 655, largely consisting of reported dialogue between Maximus and his various accusers and calumniators.

2. Dispute between Maximus and Theodosius, Bishop of Caesarea Bithynia, a word-for-word account of the debate between Maximus and Bishop Theodosius, which took place during Maximus' exile in Bizya in August 656, and was written within a year of the events described.

3. Letter of Maximus to Anastasius the monk, his disciple: Maximus' letter dates to 19 April 658, while both he and Anastasius the monk were in exile in Perberis.

4. Letter of Anastasius to the monks of Caglian: Anastasius (either the disciple or the Apocrisiarius) seeks the monks' help in Rome, and offers them encouragement in their continued resistance to the monothelite party.

5. Letter of Anastasius the Apomsiarius to Theodosius of Gangra, written not long before his death in exile in Lazica on 11 October 666, and accompanied by testimonia (lit. 'witnesses') falsely attributed to Hippolytus, bishop of Portus Romanus, and syllogisms, probably from the hand of Anastasius himself.

6. Commemoration, a record of the terrible trials in exile of Pope Martin I, Maximus the Confessor, Anastasius the Disciple, Anastasius Apocrisiarius, Theodore, and Euprepius, all martyrs for the dyothelite cause. This was written in late 668 or early 669 by the fervent but poorly educated Theodore Spoudaeus, who, together with his brother Theodosius of Gangra, made the long trek to the Caucasus to visit the exiled pontiff, only to find that he had arrived too late: the pope was already dead.

7. Against the people of Constantinople, a later piece of colourful invective 'short on facts but long on rhetoric', as it has been described by Pauline Allen, written against the imperial monothelite party by an anonymous monk who was a vehement supporter of Maximus (2).


1. Louth, Maximus, 192.

2. Henceforth these seven documents will be referred to in abbreviated form as: Record, Dispute (or DB), Ep. Max., Ep. Cal, Ep. Anas., Comm., and CP.

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