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Andrea Sterk

Renouncing the World Yet Leading the Church: The Monk-Bishop in Late Antiquity (excerpts)

From "Renouncing the World Yet Leading the Church: The Monk-Bishop in Late Antiquity", Harvard University Press.

Epilogue: The Legacy of the Monk-Bishop in the Byzantine World

To speak of the monk-bishop in Byzantium as a legacy from an earlier era may seem odd to some readers. In fact, Ι conclude this study where most references to the monastic episcopate begin. The reigning assumption seems to be that the victory of the monastic party in the iconoclastic controversies of the eighth and ninth centuries marked the rise of this phenomenon in the Byzantine world. To be sure, an actual monopoly over the episcopate was not attained until after these struggles had ended, and in Constantinople itself monks did not gain predominance in the patriarchate until even later. Nonetheless, as we have seen, well before Iconoclasm a monastic ideal of Episcopal authority had spread widely in the Christian East, and a corresponding trend was set in motion with regard to Episcopal appointments. How that ideal fared and some of the forms it took in later Byzantine history, from Iconoclasm to Hesychasm, is the primary subject of this epilogue. Α few concluding reflections on a combination of hagiographical and spiritual writings introduced in these pages will also show some of the ways in which the Cappadocian legacy of leadership was transmitted and adapted in later centuries of Byzantine history and will perhaps suggest why it continues to leave its imprint today on the church in the Orthodox world.

Bishops and Hagiography during and after Iconoclasm

Though few have offered more than cursory comments on these developments, standard treatments of Byzantine history have expressed the view that the eighth century in particular marked the rise of a monastic episcopate, or that the victory of the iconophiles, led largely by a rigorist monastic party in Byzantium, was the touchstone for this great influx of monks into positions of ecclesiastical power and influence (1). In his study of the institutions of the Byzantine empire, Louis Bréhier could not conceal a tinge of remorse in his description of this phenomenon with regard to the recruitment of patriarchs: "With the eighth century a large number of monks, simple and often uneducated ascetics, attained to the patriarchate ... Since the dispute over images an antagonism enduring to the end of the Empire opposed the secular clergy which encompassed an elite of erudites and theologians, to monks who despised ancient learning"(2). Others are more nuanced in their accounts of this trend, but the notion of a monastic episcopate arising in combination with if not as a direct result of the iconodule triumph is fairly typical. At the same time we see a tendency to portray bishops as supporters of imperial policy in theological as well as social matters, over against the holy men and women of the Byzantine world. In the context of Iconoclasm it was the bishops who succumbed to the theological whims of the reigning emperors, whereas simple monks are shown to have led the resistance to heretical emperors and compromising bishops alike and to have suffered persecution and even martyrdom for their efforts(3).

While we have seen several examples of the merging of holy man and church office bearer in the period from the mid-fourth century to the late sixth, there is little doubt that by the seventh century the majority of eastern bishops stood on the side of imperial authorities in contradistinction to the Byzantine holy man, who served as a patron of the disenfranchised masses (4). The causes of this Episcopal shift in allegiance away from the people and toward the ruling classes have to do with broader social and economic developments of the period, not the least of which was the decline of urban life precipitated by the Arab raids of the seventh century Bishops were among the dunatoi of their cities. They fulfilled important functions in municipal government and were not infrequently called upon by emperors to serve as political advisers or mediators in crises of the day(5). At the same time that bishops were rising in status and importance, monks and holy men "suffered a real setback within the highest social and political circles of the capital"(6). In this light, given the civil and administrative functions of bishops, their role as defenders of the ideological interests of the state as well as the church, and their general identification with a class of social and economic elites in early Byzantine society we might expect popular monastic writings of the iconoclast period to exalt holy men or monks while denigrating the political schemes of contemporary clergy and bishops; and there are certainly examples of such an opposition in the literature of this era. The "Vita Stephani Iunioris", probably the best-known example of iconodule hagiography, refers to iconoclast bishops as episkotoi in contrast to episkopoi. These "bishops of darkness" were clearly the pawns of the evil emperor, fulfilling his impious commands in opposition to the faithful and especially the holy monks (7). The writings of Theodore Studites describe the nefarious deeds of these compromising prelates in a similarly reproachful tone (8). Alongside such unflattering representations of church officials, however, the ideal of the holy ascetic bishop -both spiritual patron of the common people and powerful ecclesiastical mediator in the face of imperial authority- would continue to win the hearts and command the esteem of the faithful. If Iconoclasm evoked the profound gulf that had developed in seventh -to early eighth- century Byzantium between bishop and holy men, as Peter Brown has so keenly observed, the model of the monk-bishop, revived in the outpouring of hagiographic texts of the ninth to tenth century, embodied the perfect resolution of the tension.

The portrayals of monks and bishops in saints' Lives of this period attest to an ideal that persisted from an earlier age and promoted the continuation of a particular Ecclesiastical pattern. For this reason, in my brief discussion of Iconoclasm i will focus not on the conflict over visual images but on a particular hagiographic text (9). Most of the protagonists in the hagiography of the period are iconodule heroes, though a few are ambivalent in their stance toward icons. Hagiography was a genre that both sides of the iconoclastic divide valued. Though they rejected pictorial representations, iconoclasts had high regard for the biographies of saints whose lives and virtues, as living images, were deemed worthy of imitation (10). In defence of this ethical or spiritual theory of images, they drew on excerpts from the writings of the church fathers, not least of which was a passage from Letter 2 of Basil of Caesarea: "The study of the God-inspired writings constitutes the best path toward the discovery of what is proper, for they provide a guide for our actions together with the lives of blessed men handed down to us in written form; they are set before us as living images of the way of life according to God through the imitation of godly deeds." Α florilegium comprising this and similar patristic quotations was cited by the iconoclasts at their Council of Heireia in 754 and reflects their positive view of saints' Lives as legitimate counterparts to the icons whose veneration they denounced (11).

Of the relatively few hagiographical accounts dating from the iconoclastic period (730-843) and its immediate aftermath, even fewer can be identified as iconoclast or noniconodule Lives. This has nothing to do with an antipathy for hagiography on the part of iconoclasts and very much to do with a political and ecclesiastical climate that was at best volatile and at worst unfavourable to the expression of iconoclast sentiments. Moreover, Ihor Sevienko has shown that even iconodule Lives are relatively scarce from the era of Iconoclasm itself; most of the hagiography we associate with this period is actually of a later date (12). The Life of George of Amastris is among these rare noniconodule hagiographic texts composed during the second iconoclastic period (815-843) [13]. Though the authorship of the Life is still debated, strong arguments have been presented for Ignatius, the deacon and skevophylax of the Great Church and former metropolitan of Nicaea who died shortly after 845. In his later career he composed two better-known vitae of the patriarchs and iconodule heroes Tarasius and Nicephorus. While the first modern editor of the Life of George rightly attributed it to Ignatius, he overlooked the iconoclastic character of the text largely because he was ignorant of the author's earlier iconoclastic sympathies (14).

Written some time between 829 and 842, the Life of George is surprisingly silent or at least not explicit about issues related to Iconoclasm, and it seems likely that the author was an iconoclast by necessity rather than conviction (15). For these reasons the text has been described as a noniconodule rather than a strictly iconoclast vita, yet certain features distinguish the Life of George from a typical iconodule counterpart. Μaterial icons are absent from the account but the saints are depicted as "living images," and the author refers to an iconoclast rather than an iconodule council. Old Testament allusions preponderate among the biblical citations in this and other noniconodule Lives, and the distinctive eucharistic theology of the text suggests an iconoclast origin (16). Thus, if its authorship is still open to debate, the noniconodule character of the Life is hard to contest.

Many features of the Life of George of Amastris show the enduring legacy of a monastic ideal of Episcopal leadership and the specific influence of Cappadocian models. Most obvious is the fact that even in this iconoclast Life, which one might expect to denigrate or at least belittle monasticism, given the antimonastic tendencies of some iconoclast rulers, the monastic life is presented as an ideal preparation for the episcopate. Rather than gloss over George's monastic background, the author devotes special attention to his ascetic training and the resulting formation of his character. Praising the saint's virtues, he captures in a series of metaphors the scope of George's life and ministry: he was "the model for ascetics," the "adornment of the priesthood," and the "support of the migados," that is, of those who lived the mixed life (17). Following a description of his miraculous birth and noble parentage, we hear of the youth's academic prowess, which he rejected for a deeper knowledge of God. Similarly he renounced worldly pleasures and even ecclesiastical honours in preference for an austere and dedicated religious vocation. He longed for the wilderness, having in his mind the examples of Elijah, Moses, and John the Baptist (18). George was not content simply to pursue the ascetic life in the world, for he chose to live for some time both as a semieremitic monk and then as a member of a cenobitic monastic community. In a monastery at Bonyssa he devoted himself to a rigorous ascetic discipline, spending large parts of his day and night in meditation on the Scriptures and the Lives of saints. Among the brothers he lived the angelic life, "on the boundary of both human and bodiless nature" (19). But he was not to remain in this peaceful retreat, explained his biographer, for his virtuous life "could no longer be concealed just as a lamp cannot hide on a mountaintop nor a pearl conceal its own brilliance"(20).

Before long an embassy from Amastris arrived at George's monastery to persuade the holy monk to take the place of the city's recently deceased bishop. The envoys seemed to regard the Episcopal vocation as a higher calling. They exhorted George to imitate the saints and apostles of old, who had carried the message of God's mighty deeds to all people, "for the perfection of virtue is not characterized by providing for oneself but rather ... in the care and salvation of the many"(21). The suggestion that monastic life benefits only one's own self as opposed to a larger community seems almost antimonastic in tone. But George himself rebuffed the entreaties of the envoys and countered their arguments. He considered the episcopate a high and worthy aspiration, but, alluding to his own monastic vocation, he feared lest "the better" be dragged down by "the worse" and said he wished to remain unenslaved by intercourse with what was inferior. Likewise he referred to ecclesiastical ministry as the extension of good works, but he insisted that his own path led to the highest of goods (pros to eschaton ton agathon), and he in no way wished to be deterred from it (22). At this point the Amastrin delegation recognized the monk's resolve and felt compelled to resort to force to carry out its intentions. Ignoring his vigorous refusal, the envoys took hold of George against his will and dragged him off to Constantinople for consecration.

Once he had assumed the Episcopal dignity, George fulfilled his commission with diligence. He was as "an archetypal list," providing "indelible images of virtue" and teaching by deed as much as by word (23). Nor did the bishop abandon his monastic ideals. His continuing advocacy of the ascetic life appears in an interlude regarding Emperor Nicephorus Ι (802-811), whom George had served as a spiritual adviser prior to Nicephorus's reign. Inspired by the saint, the emperor himself is said to have aspired to an ascetic life. He secretly donned George's coarse tunic and threadbare cloak, regarding these garments as "the safeguard and strength of his kingdom." Moreover, he scorned his luxurious bed, spent sleepless nights on the ground, and allegedly considered as nothing the imperial diadem and his very rule over the Romans compared with his association with the holy man (24). Though the hagiographer's motives are unclear in depicting this characteristically antimonastic emperor as a secret ascetic and friend of the saintly monk-bishop, Ignatius reveals in this passage the continuing priority of asceticism in George's Episcopal career (25). Admittedly it is not ascetic feats but powerful prayers and miraculous deeds that fill most of the remaining pages of the Life. As we have seen, however, such acts were common manifestations of the spiritual authority of a holy ascetic-turned-bishop, and George proved no exception. Whether repulsing barbarians, stilling the water and the wind, miraculously producing the required eucharistic elements, or posthumously healing the blind, the lame, and the sick, he repeatedly demonstrated the power of holiness as he prevailed against evil forces threatening the people of God (26).

We also see throughout the Vita the prevalence of Cappadocian models -not only
figuratively as the monk-bishop ideal was embodied in the person of George of Amastris, but literally in actual borrowings from writings of Basil the Great and especially from the funeral oration on Basil. In the appendix to his article on hagiography of this period, Sevcenko lists several passages in the Life of George, as well as in the vitae of Patriarch Nicephorus and Gregory the Decapolite, where the hagiographer drew on Nazianzen's speech. Attempting to demonstrate Ignatian authorship of these Lives, Sevcenko even posited the following scenario: "Ignatios would have the Funeral Oration on Basil in mind, or on his table, whenever he composed the life of a Saint"(27). Borrowings from Nazianzen range from the use of similar metaphors or ideas to the literal copying of words or passages from the celebrated fourth-century oration. With regard to his studies, George, like Basil, "learned the entire curriculum, both theirs and ours"(28). Describing his pursuit of the monastic life, his hagiographer lifts phrases directly from Gregory's panegyric. The young George "embraced the desert along with Elijah and John," and the cave that served as his first semieremitic dwelling is deemed "a workshop of virtue." The future bishop of Amastris was also said to rival and surpass an array of biblical saints and even classical heroes with whom Gregory had compared his friend Basil (29).

Some passages suggest parallel deeds or events. For example, the sudden blindness of the wife of the strategos of Trebizond on George's arrival to intervene for Amastrin merchants who had been unjustly condemned recalls the illness of Emperor Valens's son on the very night that the infamous Arian ruler had published an edict for Basil's banishment (30). But amid such intriguing similarities and the many passages copied literally from Nazianzen's oration, the most significant parallel for our topic is the careers of the two saints. Both held promise of worldly success, both retreated to the wilderness to pursue a monastic life, and both relatively quickly returned to their native cities to serve the church. This progression marked the lives of increasing numbers of bishops in the early Byzantine period. Indeed while the stylistic qualities of Nazianzen's funeral oration rendered it worthy of imitation, and borrowings from the speech have been noted in writings throughout the Byzantine era, the subject matter of the panegyric is often overlooked. Gregory represented his friend Basil as the epitome of the Christian leader, a monk-bishop par excellence. It is this model, encased in all its exalted rhetoric, that became the standard for bishops like George of Amastris -both a paradigm for their actual lives and a pattern for the portrayal of their lives in the proliferation of Episcopal vitae in ensuing centuries.

Connected with this enduring monastic-Episcopal ideal are two final observations on this text. First, if Ignatius the Deacon is the author of the Life of George of Amastris, then the same model of leadership is operative in his iconoclast Life and his later iconodule vita of Patriarch Nicephorus. Nicephorus, too, is said to have renounced the world (in his case, a successful career in the imperial service) for a solitary ascetic and contemplative life, reluctantly accepting the patriarchate only on the condition that he first be permitted to take monastic vows (31). From both perspectives, then, the complementarity of monastic life with a future ecclesiastical career is taken for granted or even idealized. Thus the Life of George provides one of several examples of the fact that iconoclasm did not necessarily mean monachomachy. Supporting this hagiographical evidence is the simple fact that two of the three iconoclast patriarchs of Constantinople in the ninth century were themselves monks and even abbots before their promotion to the Episcopal throne (32). Though the ideal of the monk-turned-bishop was certainly not distinctive to the iconoclastic milieu, neither was it unique to the iconophiles. As illustrated by non-Chalcedonian texts examined in Chapter 9, the model of the monk-bishop might well be embraced by both sides of theological controversies. Indeed the monastic life was often deemed a surer mark of the true spiritual authority of a Christian leader than Episcopal office itself. Also worth noting is a distinction about timing. The Life of George of Amastris is an example of relatively rare hagiography dating from the iconoclast period itself. Evidence from this non-iconodule Life, then, helps to dispel the assumption that a monastic episcopate arose in the aftermath of Iconoclasm or principally as a result of the monastic triumph in that struggle.

If extant hagiography from the iconoclast era is relatively scarce, the genre abounds in the next two centuries of Byzantine history (33). Hagiographers now had a host of new heroes to commemorate, and many of the saints who were the subjects of this new outpouring of texts were champions and martyrs of the iconodule cause. Though the majority of ninth and tenth-century saints were male monastic, less often observed is the significant number of new Lives of bishops, as opposed to simple iconodule martyrs or holy ascetics. Wolfgang Lackner describes some ten new Episcopal vitae from this period, in addition to six Lives of patriarchs (34). He refers to these texts as evidence of a new type of saint who worked in the world and undertook tasks on behalf of society, in contrast to the world-denying ascetics who dominated the hagiography of previous centuries. Though he does not discuss their origins, most of the energetic bishops he lists came out of the monastic milieu.

Of the six patriarchs of Constaritinople Lackner names as the subjects of new Lives, five were at one time monks (35). His list of new, more socially active bishops includes such Episcopal personalities as Theophylact of Nicomedia, Peter of Argos, and Nicephorus of Miletus. Theophylact headed a monastery in Propontide, where he was said to have lived a quasi-angelic life, wholly removed from the affairs of the world. On discovering this luminary, however, Patriarch Tarasius "added to his monastic light the light of the episcopate"(36). Indeed Theophylact became renowned not only for resisting the iconoclast regime of Leo the Armenian but also as a merciful bishop who cared personally for the unfortunates of his city (37). Peter of Argos was a wandering monk who was elected bishop of Argos later in life. In this capacity he was involved in ransoming Christian captives, missionary work with pagan Slavic tribes, and feeding and caring for his people after an Arab raid into the Peloponnese Though no monastic foundation was associated with him during his lifetime, Peter of Argos was remembered as a great monastic patron and founder.

Nicephorus of Miletus was yet another monk-bishop known for his love of the poor and his role as a monastic founder. After serving for several years as bishop of Miletus, Nicephorus retreated again to a monastery and eventually came to oversee two houses (38). All three of these bishops were well born, well educated, and heavily involved in social, philanthropic, and pastoral activity Lackner has rightly discerned a distinction between these highly engaged churchmen and many of the more remote holy men of an earlier era. But their monastic pedigree and ongoing commitment to monastic life and ideals formed an important part of their identity. It likely influenced their own selection as bishop as well as the tasks they undertook in the church and the world. Such figures show the continuing vibrancy of a monastic ideal of leadership that had evolved several centuries earlier but had gained new strength with the rising fortunes of the monastic party following the iconoclastic controversies. They also reveal the tremendous breadth and appeal of the monk-bishop paradigm, for it joined contemplative and active vocations, putting holy men, hermits, and virtuous monks in the service of the church and society at large.

In addition to a plethora of new Lives celebrating recent heroes of the faith, the literary history of the eighth to tenth century witnessed the rewriting, revision, and collection of older saints' Lives. Though Symeon Metaphrastes is best known for this work, the process actually began as early as the seventh century, in part reflecting a sense that the age of the great saints had passed and the hope that their image and their cult could be revitalized for contemporaries (39).The writings of Nicetas David the Paphlagonian provide a prominent example of such hagiography in the late ninth to early tenth century. Educated at the patriarchal school of Constantinople, where he was later to win the coveted chair of rhetoric, Nicetas himself became a monk and eventually the bishop of Dadybrae. But he is best known for his composition of more than fifty panegyrics of the saints, principally biblical and patristic figures but also near contemporaries, among which his vita of the monk-bishop Patriarch Ignatius is most famous (40). One of his earlier hagiographical works was an encomium of Gregory Nazianzen for which his main literary models were Nazianzen's own writings, prominent among them his funeral oration on Basil of Caesarea (41). Indeed the Encomium of Gregory Naziianzen is replete with direct quotations, copied forms and figures of speech, and many other subtle borrowings from its namesake. Α letter to Nicetas from a contemporary actually criticized the piece for precisely such stylistic imitations (42). As a result of such usage, however, Gregory's eulogy of Basil continued to serve as a stylistic paradigm for writers of vitae and panegyrics in Byzantium, and Basil's life continued to serve as a model of the Episcopal career.

Nicetas's objective in his encomium of Gregory was to portray his hero neither primarily as a bishop nor as a monk but rather as the consummate theologian (43). The route to this exalted title was the path of asceticism and contemplation Only through a time of purification and illumination in the wilderness was Gregory equipped for the supreme role he was to play as a leader and teacher of God's people. Thus, in concluding his treatment of this preparatory period, Nicetas remarks that Gregory became an example "of the sort of man one ought to be who is going to preside over a bishopric"(44). In addition to its extensive use of Nazianzen's writings,Nicetas's retelling of Gregory's life followed the typical Cappadocian threefold progression for the model bishop: high achievements in the intellectual realm, abandonment of those aspirations for the monastic life, and ultimate return to the world in the service of the church. Not surprisingly, amid the host of biblical figures with which Gregory is compared in this encomium, the longest synkrisis is devoted to Moses (45). Like Moses, Gregory was "naturally suited" for the secular wisdom in which he was so well trained as a youth, but he fled its "baseness and superstition." Similarly, Nicetas continues, "Not migrating to a mountain of Midian as Moses had, but ascending to the height of the holy state of freedom from passions, and not, like Moses, having wed himself to a mortal wife, but having fallen in love with the perfect wisdom ... Gregory, if any man, saw the Invisible One. And, looking with unveiled face upon the glory of the Lord as in a mirror, he was filled with contemplation and power and was sent off to this pleasure-loving Egypt of ours"(46). We have seen how prominently this Old Testament patriarch figured in the writings of the Cappadocians as a model for Episcopal leadership, in particular the three stages of his career that are outlined in this passage. The Mosaic pattern was clearly impressed on future generations as well, and we find it presented once again in this text by Nicetas, exalting Gregory of Nazianzus as the model Christian leader-ascetic, theologian, and bishop.


1. For example, Peter L'Huillier, "Episcopal Celibacy in the Orthodox Tradition, SVQR 35/2-3 (1991), though he does at least mention the earlier background; Peter Charanis, "The Monk as an Element in Byzantine Society," DOP 25 (1971): 84; J.-L. Van Dieten, Geschichte der Patriarchen von Sergios Ι. bis Johannes VII: (610-715) (Amsterdam, 1972), pp. 161f.; J. Ε Haldon, Byzantium in the Seventh Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), p. 296; and especially Louis Bréhier, Le monde byzantin, 2: Les institutions de l'empire byzantin (Paris: Editions Albin Michel, 1949), pp. 511-512. Surprisingly, many excellent discussions of post iconoclast monasticism do not even mention its connection to the recruitment of bishops.

2. Bréhier, Le monde byzantin, 2, p. 483. For a laudatory perspective on the entry of monks into high ecclesiastical positions in the aftermath of Iconoclasm see R. Ρ J. Pargoire, l'Eglise Byzantine de 527 a 847 (Paris: Librairie Victor LeCoffre, 1923), pp. 300-303.

3. This oversimplified scénario is particularly evident in older treatments of Iconoclasm like Pargoire, L'Église byzantine, pp. 300-310; see also Ε van den Ven, "La patristique et l'hagiographie au Concile de Nicée de 787," Byzantion 25-27/1 (1955-57): 331-332. For an opposing view of monks in the context of First Iconoclasm and its aftermath see Μ. F Auzepy, "La place des moines à Nicée II (787)," Byzantion 58 (1988): 5-21. See also the more balanced treatment of Joan Hussey, The Orthodox Church in the Byzantine Empire (Oxford: Clarendon, 1986), pp. 38-44, 65-68.

4. On tension between bishops and holy men in the period leading up to Iconoclasm see Peter Βrown, "Α Dark Age Crisis: Aspects of the iconoclastic Controversy," in Society and the Holy in Late Antiquity (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1982), especially pp. 280-281, 294-301.

5. For a survey of relevant seventh-century developments see Haldon, Byzantium in the Seventh Century, chap. 3. On the status and functions of bishops in this context see also Gilbert Dagron, "Le Christianisme dans la ville byzantine," DOP 31 (1977): 19-23; and especially Friedhelm Winkelmann, "Kirche und Gesellschaft in Byzanz vom Ende des 6. bis zum Beginn des 8. Jahrunderts," KLIO 59 (1977): 477-489, reprinted in idem, Studien zu Konstantin dem Grossen und zur byzantinischen Kirchengeschichte: Ausgewahlte Aufsdtze (Birmingham: Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies, 1993).

6. Peter Hatlie, "Spiritual Authority and Monasticism in Constantinople during the Dark Ages (650-800)," in Jan Willem Drijvers and John W.Watt, eds., Portraits of Spiritual Authority: Religious Power in Early Christianity, Byzantium and the Christian Orient (Leiden: Brill, 1999), p. 215. Hatlie's essay is a welcome addition to the few studies on monks or spiritual authority during this period.

7. The epithet episkotos, a play on the word episkopos (bishop), is used three times in this vita. See Marie-France Auzepy, ed. and trans., La vie d'Etienne le Jeune par Etienne le Diacre, Birmingham Byzantine and Ottoman Μonographs 3 (Aldershot: Variorum, 1997), 127.11, 127.16, 142.6.

8. See especially Theodore's Letter 9 to his brother Joseph, Archbishop of Thessalonica, PG 99, 1140. See also Letters 267, 269, 281 in Theodori Studitae Epistulae, Corpus fontium historiae Byzantinae 31/2, ed. Georgios Fatouros (New York: DeGruyter, 1992), pp. 394-395, 397-399, 421-422.

9. Although the rhetorical topoi, idealized portraits, and didactic intent of saints' Lives complicate their use for the historian, Byzantine hagiographical texts have proven invaluable as sources on social and religious attitudes and ideals. See Ε. Patlagean, "Ancienne hagiographie byzantine et histoire sociale," Annales ESC 23 (1968): 104-124, and idem, "Sainteté et pouvoir," in Sergei Hackel, ed., The Byzantine Saint (London: Fellowship of St. Alban and St. Sergius, 1981); also F. Halkin, "L'Hagiographie Byzantine au service de l'histoire," Proceedings of the 13th International Congress of Byzantine Studies (New York: Oxford University Press, 1967), pp. 345-354. On the background to Iconoclasm see Ε. Kitzinger, "The Cult of Icons before Iconoclasm," DOP 8 (1954): 83-150; Peter Brown, "Dark Age Crisis"; J. Ε Haldon, "Some Remarks on the Background to the Iconoclast Controversies," Byzantinoslavica 38 (1977): 161-184; and for a response to Brown and a discussion of theological issues, Ρ Henry, "What Was the Iconoclast Controversy About?" CH 45 (1976): 16-31. See, too, the essays collected in Α. Bryer and J. Herrin, eds., Iconoclasm (Birmingham: Centre for Byzantine Studies, 1977). For a survey of events see Hussey, Orthodox Church, pp. 30-68.

10. Milton V. Anastos, "The Ethical Theory of Images Formulated by the iconoclasts in 754 and 815," DOP 8 (1954): 153-160, has underscored the importance for iconoclasts of the Lives of saints.

11. For a full list and discussion of the patristic citations (including Greek texts) that make up the florilegium see Anastos, "Ethical Theory of Images." For the text cited from Basil in the iconoclastic floriglegium of 754, see Mansi 13, 300ΑΒ.

12. Ihor Sevcenko, "Hagiography of the Iconoclast Period," in idem, Ideology Letters and Culture in the Byzantine World (London: Variorum, 1982), V.1 42; originally published in Bryer and Herrin, eds., Iconoclasm, pp. 113129. Α similar point about the relative paucity of hagiographical texts from the period of Iconoclasm itself has been made by Alice-Mary Talbot, ed., Byzantine Defenders of Images: Eight Saints' Lives in English Translation (Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks, 1998), pp. xvi-xvii.

13. The Life of George of Amastris (hereafteτ VGA) is edited with a Russian translation in V.G. Vasil'evskij, Trudy 2 (St. Petersburg, 1915), pp. 1-71. (Ι cite section numbers followed by page and line numbers.) See http:// for an English translation.

14. That Ignatius had once been an iconoclast, most likely an iconoclast metropolitan, is especially evident in the epilogue to his vita of Patriarch Nikephoros, written after 842. See Carl DeBoor, ed., Bibliotheca hagiographicae graecae (= BHG) nο. 1335, 215.13-217.36, and Elizabeth Α. Fisher's English translation in Talbot, ed., Byzantine Defenders of Images, pp. 41-142; 138-142 for the epilogue. Extensive evidence of Ignatius's iconoclast phase and authorship of VGA is presented by Sevcenko, "Hagiography," especially pp. 13-17. Another reason for the editor's oversight with regard to the iconoclastic nature of the text, he suggests, is that George of Amastris himself was an iconodule.

15. See Stephanos Efthymiadis, "On the Hagiographical Work of Ignatius the Deacon," JOB 41 (1991): 73-83, who confirms Sevcenko's arguments about the dating and noniconodule character of VGA. See also Warren Treadgold, The Byzantine Revival (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1988), pp. 375-376, 457 n. 496.

16. See Marie-France Auzepy "L'Analyse littéraire et l'historien: L'exemple des vies de saints iconoclastes," Byzantinoslavica 53 (1992): 57-67. The eucharistic theology of VGA has been analyzed by Stefanos Alexopoulos, "The Life of George of Amastris as a Source of Liturgical Information: 'Private' Liturgy and Eucharistic Doctrine," paper presented at the Byzantine Studies Conference, University of Notre Dame, 2001. See also Sevcenko, "Hagiography," for points of comparison.

17. VGA 2, 3.16-17.

18. For his rejection of academic pursuits see VGA 8, 14.7-11. Compare GNaz, Oration 43.10, lines 20-31. For his renunciations, VGA 8-11, pp. 13-19; for the reference to the biblical saints, p. 17. This is the first of four comparisons of George with Moses. For the other three analogies see VGA 11 (19.21), 26 (40.9-11), and 38 (58.10).

19. VGA 14, 25.4-5. For his ascetic rigor and study of Scripture at Βοnyssa see VGA 12-13, 21-25.

20. VGA 15, 25.7-10.

21. VGA 16, 27.3-5. Auzepy "L'Analyse litteraire," p. 62, cites this passage alone to demonstrate that the social and collective notion of holiness in the Life of George is contradictory to the ascetic ideal, ignoring the ensuing response of the monk to the envoys' appeal.

22. VGA 17, 28.3-5.

23. VGA 23, 36.5-8.

24. VGA 35, 55-56.

25. The monastic chroniclers of the period emphasize Nicephorus's hypocrisy and cupidity and recount his antimonastic acts. See The Chronicle of Theophanes Confessor, trans. Cyril Mango and Roger Scott (Oxford: Clarendon, 1997). See also, however, the more balanced treatment of Nicephorus's reign in Treadgold, Byzantine Revival, pp. 127-195.

26. For these specific miracles see VGA 25, 36, 31-32, and 41, respectively.

27. Sevcenko, "Hagiography," p. 14. See also his appendix, pp. 24-27, where he lists several borrowings from Nazianzen's oration on Basil. Borrowings from Gregory's Oration 43 in VGA were analysed in 1895 by the Russian scholar Ρ.Nikitin, "Ο nekotorych greceskych tekstach zitij svjatych," Zapishi Imp. Akademii Nauk po istor.-filol. otdeleniju, 8th ser., Ι, 1 (1895), pp. 27-51. He listed some thirty-five parallel passages, though Ι have found additional reminiscences.

28. VGA 8, 14.7-11. Cf. GNaz, Oration 43.10, lines 29-31.

29. For the direct borrowings compare VGA 10, 18.16-19.1 with GNaz, Oration 43.29, and VGA 11, 19.13 with Oration 43.12, line 8. For comparisons with biblical and classical heroes see VGA 27, 41.14-42.4; cf. Oration 43.3, lines 17-19.

30. Compare VGA 30, 46-47, and GNaz, Oration 43.33.

31. See BHG 1335 147.18-149.2; Talbot, ed., Byzantine Defenders of Images, pp. 50-52.

32. Anthony Ι Cassimatas (821-837) and John VII the Grammarian (837843). See S. Gero, "Byzantine Iconoclasm and Monachomachy," JEH 28 (1977): 241-248; also Haldon, "Iconoclast Controversies," p. 161f. Both articles provide evidence to counter the popular notion that "iconomachy in action is monachomachy."

33. See Wolfgang Lackner, "Die Gestalt des Heiligen in der byzantinischen Hagiographie des 9. und 10. Jahrhunderts," in The 17th International Byzantine Congress: Major Papers (New Rochelle, Ν.Υ.: Caratzas, 1986), p. 522. In the same volume Lennart Ryden, "New Forms of Hagiography: Heroes and Saints," pp. 537-551, counts at least seventy Lives written in the ninth and tenth centuries.

34. Lackner, "Die Gestalt des Heiligen," pp. 526-527.

35. Methodius (843-847), Ignatius (847-858), Antonios Kauleas (893-901), and Euthymius (907-912) had monastic backgrounds. Nicephorus (806815) lived a life of ascetic withdrawal and became a monk on his rise to the patriarchal dignity Only Tarasius (786-815) had been a layman and administrator in the imperial service.

36. Francois Halkin, ed., Hagiologie byzantine, BHG 2452, Subsidia hagiographica 71 (Brussels: Société des Bollandistes, 1986), p. 174. In addition to this shorter biography of Theophylact, written in the late ninth or early tenth century, a fuller Life, published by Albert Vogt (BHG 2451), was composed c. 870.

37. See Halkin, ed., Nagiologie byzantine, BHG 2452, p. 176 for a graphic illustration of his loving care for the lame.

38. For the Lives of Peter of Argos and Nicephorus of Miletus see BHG 1504 and BHG 1338, respectively. Along with Theophylact of Nicomedia they are included and briefly described in Lackner's list of new, more active bishops that characterized this period of hagiography. They also appear in the discussion of "monastic founders" in Rosemary Morris, Monks and Laymen in Byzantium, 843-1118 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), especially pp. 76-79.

39. Claudia Rapp, "Byzantine Hagiographers as Antiquarians, Seventh to Tenth Centuries," in Bosphorus: Essays in Honour of Cyril Mango, ed. Stephanos Efthymiadis et al., Byzantinische Forschungen 21 (Amerstdam: Adolf Μ. Hakkert, 1995), pp. 31-44. Hagiographic metaphraseis did not end with the work of Symeon, for saints' Lives were recast for the consumption of late Byzantine readers as well. See Α.-Μ. Talbot, "Old Wine in New Bottles: The Rewriting of Saints' Lives in the Palaeologan Period," in The Twilight of Byzantium: Aspects of Cultural and Religious History in the Late Byzantine Empire, ed. S. Curcic and D. Mouriki (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991), pp. 15-26.

40. See PG 105, 488-574. Οn Nicetas and his works see Η.G. Beck, Kirche und theologische Literatur im Byzantinischen Reich (Munich, 1959), pp. 548-549, and Α. Solignac, Dictionnaire de Spiritualité 11 (Paris: Beauchesne, 1982), pp. 221-224.

41. James John Rizzo, ed. and trans., The Encomium of Gregory Nazianzen by Nicetas the Paphlagonian, Subsidia Hagiographica 58 (Brussels: Société des Bollandistes, 1976). On Nicetas's choice and use of sources see pp. 7-18.

42. The letter is from Arethas, the irascible archbishop of Caesarea, a bibliophile famed for his copying of manuscripts. See L. G. Westerink, ed., Arethae Scripta Minora Ι (Leipzig, 1968), pp. 267-270.

43. See especially Encomium of Gregory Nazianzen 1.27-31.

44. Encomium of Gregory Nazianzen 8.61-62: Rizzo, p. 93. See also 5.35-45 and 8.27-32 on Gregory's preparation with Basil in the desert.

45. This comparison is the subject of chap. 20, filling 209 lines in Rizzo's edition.

46. Encomium of Gregory Nazianzen, 20.60-75: Rizzo, p. 112.

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