SAINT ROMAN THE MELODIST
Saint Roman the Melodist (also Romanos and Romanus , from Greek Ρομανος), a Greek hymn-writer called "the Pindar of rhythmic poetry," was born at Emesa (Hems) in Syria. His feast day is October 1 with the feast of the Protection of the Mother of God.
The popular patron of church singers, St. Roman, was born in Emesa in the latter part of the fifth century. Whether or not his Jewish parents converted to Christianity is uncertain; Roman himself was baptized as a young boy and developed a great love for the house of God. When he came of age he served as a verger, lighting the lamps and preparing the censer. After moving to Beirut, he was ordained to the diaconate and assigned to the Church of the Resurrection. He had a rather mediocre voice, but his pure and simple heart was filled with love for God, and to assist at the church services gave him the greatest joy.
During the reign of Emperor Anastasius (491-518), the young deacon moved to Constantinople. He led an ascetic life of prayer and fasting, but in his humility he thought of himself as being rather worldly. He had a special love for the Mother of God, and would go at night to pray in the Blachernae Church, which housed the precious omophorion of the Holy Virgin. The saintly Patriarch Euthemius loved Roman for his many virtues, and paid him the same wage as those singers and readers who were more educated and more talented. The latter resented this and derided Roman for his evident lack of musical and theological training. Roman himself was painfully aware of these defects; he longed for a melodious voice worthy of leading the faithful in praising God.
It was the day before the Feast of Our Lord's Nativity, and Saint Roman was assigned to lead the singing that evening at the All-Night Vigil. He was responsible not only for the singing but also for the text of the hymns. After everyone had left, he remained in the Blachernae Church and tearfully entreated the Mother of God to help him. Exhausted, he fell asleep with his sorrow. In answer to his prayer, the Mother of God appeared to him in a dream. She handed him a scroll and said to him gently, "Here, eat this." Roman did so and awoke, overcome with joy and the lingering presence of the heavenly visitor.
When it came time that night for him to sing, Saint Roman received the patriarch's blessing and, vested in a special garment reserved for the principal singer, he stepped onto the ambo. He began to sing: "Today the Virgin gives birth to Him Who is above all being..." The emperor, the patriarch, the clergy-the entire congregation listened in wonder at the profound theology and the clear, sonorous voice which issued forth. They all joined in the refrain, "A new-born Babe, the pre-eternal God." Later, Saint Roman told the patriarch about his vision, and the singers who had made fun of him prostrated themselves in repentance and humbly asked the Saint's forgiveness.
It should be noted that the kontakion as we know it today—a short hymn honoring and describing a particular feast or saint—is only the prologue or proomion of a full kontakion which, at the height of its development in the sixth century, was a poetic sermon composed of from 18 - 30 verses or ikoi, each with a refrain, and united by an acrostic. When it was sung to an original melody, it was called an idiomelon. Originally, Saint Roman' works were known simply as " psalms," " odes," or poems. It was only in the ninth century that the term kontakion—from the word kontos, the shaft on which the parchment was rolled—came into use.
With the Nativity Kontakion, which has been dated to the year 518, Saint Roman began a period of prolific creativity. Altogether, he wrote as many as one thousand kontakion, celebrating feasts and saints throughout the liturgical year. In the words of one scholar, Saint Roman' compositions successfully combined "the solemnity and dignity of the sermon with the delicacy and liveliness of lyric and dramatic poetry."
Because Saint Roman is commemorated on the same day as the feast of Protection, he commonly appears as a central figure in the icon of that feast, even though there is no historical connection (the event celebrated by the Protection icon occurred in the tenth century). Although in more recent icons Saint Roman is depicted as a deacon standing on the ambo, Russian church musicologist Johann von Gardner points out that in the oldest icons he is more accurately portrayed wearing the short red tunic of a singer and standing on a raised platform in the middle of the church.
Roman is said to have composed more than 8000 similar hymns or kontakia (Gr. κοντάκιον, "scroll") celebrating the feasts of the ecclesiastical year, the lives of the saints, and other sacred subjects. Some of the more famous are:
POPE SAINT GREGORY I ("THE GREAT")
Doctor of the Church ; born at Rome about 540; died 12 March 604.
Saint Gregory is certainly one of the most notable figures in Ecclesiastical History. He has exercised in many respects a momentous influence on the doctrine, the organization, and the discipline of the Catholic Church. To him we must look for an explanation of the religious situation of the Middle Ages ; indeed, if no account were taken of his work, the evolution of the form of medieval Christianity would be almost inexplicable. And further, in so far as the modern Catholic system is a legitimate development of medieval Catholicism, of this too Gregory may not unreasonably be termed the Father. Almost all the leading principles of the later Catholicism are found, at any rate in germ, in Gregory the Great. (F.H. Dudden, "Gregory the Great", 1, p. v).
This eulogy by a learned non-Catholic writer will justify the length and elaboration of the following article.
Saint Gregory's father was Gordianus, a wealthy patrician, probably of the famous gens Amicia , who owned large estates in Sicily and a mansion on the Caelian Hill in Rome, the ruins of which, apparently in a wonderful state of preservation, still await excavation beneath the Church of St. Andrew and St. Gregory. His mother Silvia appears also to have been of good family, but very little is known of her life. She is honoured as a saint, her feast being kept on 3 November. Portraits of Gordianus and Silvia were painted by Gregory's order, in the atrium of St. Andrew's monastery, and a pleasing description of these may be found in John the Deacon (Vita, IV, lxxxiii).
Besides his mother, two of Gregory's aunts have been canonised, Gordianus's two sisters, Tarsilla and Æmiliana, so that John the Deacon speaks of his education as being that of a saint among saints.
Of his early years we know nothing beyond what the history of the period tells us. Between the years 546 and 552 Rome was first captured by the Goths under Totila, and then abandoned by them; next it was garrisoned by Belisarius, and besieged in vain by the Goths, who took it again, however, after the recall of Belisarius, only to lose it once more to Narses. Gregory's mind and memory were both exceptionally receptive, and it is to the effect produced on him by these disasters that we must attribute the tinge of sadness which pervades his writings and especially his clear expectation of a speedy end to the world.
Francisco de Goya. St. Gregory. c. 1797. Oil on canvas. Museo Romántico, Madrid, Spain
Of his education, we have no details. Gregory of Tours tells us that in grammar, rhetoric and dialectic he was so skilful as to be thought second to none in all Rome, and it seems certain also that he must have gone through a course of legal studies. Not least among the educating influences was the religious atmosphere of his home. He loved to meditate on the Scriptures and to listen attentively to the conversations of his elders, so that he was "devoted to God from his youth up".
His rank and prospects pointed him out naturally for a public career, and he doubtless held some of the subordinate offices wherein a young patrician embarked on public life. That he acquitted himself well in these appears certain, since we find him about the year 573, when little more than thirty years old, filling the important office of prefect of the city of Rome. At that date the brilliant post was shorn of much of its old magnificence, and its responsibilities were reduced; still it remained the highest civil dignity in the city, and it was only after long prayer and inward struggle that Gregory decided to abandon everything and become a monk. This event took place most probably in 574.
His decision once taken, he devoted himself to the work and austerities of his new life with all the natural energy of his character. His Sicilian estates were given up to found six monasteries there, and his home on the Caelian Hill was converted into another under the patronage of St. Andrew. Here he himself took the cowl, so that "he who had been wont to go about the city clad in the trabea and aglow with silk and jewels, now clad in a worthless garment served the altar of the Lord " ( Gregory of Tours, X, i).
There has been much discussion as to whether Gregory and his fellow-monks at St. Andrew's followed the Rule of St. Benedict. Baronius and others on his authority have denied this, while it has been asserted as strongly by Mabillon and the Bollandists, who, in the preface to the life of St. Augustine (26 May), retract the opinion expressed earlier in the preface to St. Gregory's life (12 March). The controversy is important only in view of the question as to the form of monasticism introduced by St. Augustine into England, and it may be said that Baronius's view is now practically abandoned.
For about three years Gregory lived in retirement in the monastery of St. Andrew, a period to which he often refers as the happiest portion of his life. His great austerities during this time are recorded by the biographers, and probably caused the weak health from which he constantly suffered in later life.
However, he was soon drawn out of his seclusion, when, in 578, the pope ordained him, much against his will, as one of the seven deacons ( regionarii ) of Rome. The period was one of acute crisis. The Lombards were advancing rapidly towards the city, and the only chance of safety seemed to be in obtaining help from the Emperor Tiberius at Byzantium. Pope Pelagius II accordingly dispatched a special embassy to Tiberius, and sent Gregory along with it as his apocrisiarius , or permanent ambassador to the Court of Byzantium. The date of this new appointment seems to have been the spring of 579, and it lasted apparently for about six years.
Nothing could have been more uncongenial to Gregory than the worldly atmosphere of the brilliant Byzantine Court, and to counteract its dangerous influence he followed the monastic life so far as circumstances permitted. This was made easier by the fact that several of his brethren from St. Andrew's accompanied him to Constantinople. With them he prayed and studied the Scriptures, one result of which remains in his "Morals", or series of lectures on the Book of Job, composed during this period at the request of St. Leander of Seville, whose acquaintance Gregory made during his stay in Constantinople.
Peter Paul Rubens. St. Gregory, St. Maurus, St. Papianus and St. Domitilla. 1606. Oil on canvas. Gemaldegalerie, Berlin, Germany
Much attention was attracted to Gregory by his controversy with Eutychius, Patriarch of Constantinople, concerning the Resurrection. Eutychius had published a treatise on the subject maintaining that the risen bodies of the elect would be "impalpable, more light than air". To this view Gregory objected the palpability of Christ's risen body. The dispute became prolonged and bitter, till at length the emperor intervened, both combatants being summoned to a private audience, where they stated their views. The emperor decided that Gregory was in the right, and ordered Eutychius's book to the burned. The strain of the struggle had been so great that both fell ill. Gregory recovered, but the patriarch succumbed, recanting his error on his death bed.
Mention should be made of the curious fact that, although Gregory's sojourn at Constantinople lasted for six years, he seems never to have mastered even the rudiments of Greek. Possibly he found that the use of an interpreter had its advantages, but he often complains of the incapacity of those employed for this purpose. It must be owned that, so far as obtaining help for Rome was concerned, Gregory's stay at Constantinople was a failure. However, his period as ambassador taught him very plainly a lesson which was to bear great fruit later on when he ruled in Rome as pope. This was the important fact that no help was any longer to be looked for from Byzantium, with the corollary that, if Rome and Italy were to be saved at all, it could only be by vigorous independent action of the powers on the spot. Humanly speaking, it is to the fact that Gregory had acquired this conviction that his later line of action with all its momentous consequences is due.
In the year 586, or possibly 585, he was recalled to Rome, and with the greatest joy returned to St. Andrew's, of which he became abbot soon afterwards. The monastery grew famous under his energetic rule, producing many monks who won renown later, and many vivid pictures of this period may be found in the "Dialogues".
Saint Gregory gave much of his time to lecturing on the Holy Scripture and is recorded to have expounded to his monks the Heptateuch, Books of Kings, the Prophets, the Book of Proverbs, and the Canticle of Canticles. Notes of these lectures were taken at the time by a young student named Claudius, but when transcribed were found by Gregory to contain so many errors that he insisted on their being given to him for correction and revision. Apparently this was never done, for the existing fragments of such works attributed to Gregory are almost certainly spurious.
At this period, however, one important literary enterprise was certainly completed. This was the revision and publication of the "Magna Moralia", or lectures on the Book of Job, undertaken in Constantinople at the request of St. Leander. In one of his letters (Ep., V, liii) Gregory gives an interesting account of the origin of this work.
To this period most probably should be assigned the famous incident of Gregory's meeting with the English youths in the Forum. The first mention of the event is in the Whitby life (c, ix), and the whole story seems to be an English tradition. It is worth notice, therefore, that in the St. Gall manuscript the Angles do not appear as slave boys exposed for sale, but as men visiting Rome of their own free will, whom Gregory expressed a desire to see. It is Venerable Bede (Hist. Eccl., II, i) who first makes them slaves.
In consequence of this meeting Gregory was so fixed with desire to convert the Angles that he obtained permission from Pelagius II to go in person to Britain with some of his fellow-monks as missionaries. The Romans, however, were greatly incensed at the pope's act. With angry words they demanded Gregory's recall, and messengers were at once dispatched to bring him back to Rome, if necessary by force. These men caught up with the little band of missionaries on the third day after their departure, and at once returned with them, Gregory offering no opposition, since he had received what appeared to him as a sign from heaven that his enterprise should be abandoned.
The strong feeling of the Roman populace that Gregory must not be allowed to leave Rome is a sufficient proof of the position he now held there. He was in fact the chief adviser and assistant of Pelagius II, towards whom he seems to have acted very much in the capacity of secretary (see the letter of the Bishop of Ravenna to Gregory, Epp., III, lxvi, "Sedem apostolicam, quam antae moribus nunc etiam honore debito gubernatis"). In this capacity, probably in 586, Gregory wrote his important letter to the schismatical bishops of Istria who had separated from communion with the Church on the question of the Three Chapters (Epp., Appendix, III, iii). This document, which is almost a treatise in length, is an admirable example of Gregory's skill, but it failed to produce any more effort than Pelagius's two previous letters had, and the schism continued.
The year 589 was one of widespread disaster throughout all the empire. In Italy there was an unprecedented inundation. Farms and houses were carried away by the floods. The Tiber overflowed its banks, destroying numerous buildings, among them the granaries of the Church with all the store of corn. Pestilence followed on the floods, and Rome became a very city of the dead. Business was at a standstill, and the streets were deserted save for the wagons which bore forth countless corpses for burial in common pits beyond the city walls.
Then, in February, 590, as if to fill the cup of misery to the brim, Pelagius II died. The choice of a successor lay with the clergy and people of Rome, and without any hesitation they elected Gregory, Abbot of St. Andrew's. In spite of their unanimity Gregory shrank from the dignity thus offered him. He knew, no doubt, that its acceptance meant a final good-bye to the cloister life he loved, and so he not only refused to accede to the prayers of his fellow citizens but also wrote personally to the Emperor Maurice, begging him with all earnestness not to confirm the election. Germanus, prefect of the city, suppressed this letter, however, and sent instead of it the formal schedule of the election.
In the interval while awaiting the emperor's reply the business of the vacant see was transacted by Gregory, in commission with two or three other high officials. As the plague still continued unabated, Gregory called upon the people to join in a vast sevenfold procession which was to start from each of the seven regions of the city and meet at the Basilica of the Blessed Virgin, all praying the while for pardon and the withdrawal of the pestilence. This was accordingly done, and the memory of the event is still preserved by the name "Sant' Angelo" given to the mausoleum of Hadrian from the legend that the Archangel St. Michael was seen upon its summit in the act of sheathing his sword as a sign that the plague was over.
At length, after six months of waiting, came the emperor's confirmation of Gregory's election. The saint was terrified at the news and even meditated flight. He was seized, however, carried to the Basilica of St. Peter, and there consecrated pope on 3 September, 590. The story that Gregory actually fled the city and remained hidden in a forest for three days, when his whereabouts was revealed by a supernatural light, seems to be pure invention. It appears for the first time in the Whitby life (c. vii), and is directly contrary to the words of his contemporary, Gregory of Tours (Hist. Franc., X, i). Still he never ceased to regret his elevation, and his later writings contain numberless expressions of strong feeling on this point.
Fourteen years of life remained to Gregory, and into these he crowded work enough to have exhausted the energies of a lifetime. What makes his achievement more wonderful is his constant ill-health. He suffered almost continually from indigestion and, at intervals, from attacks of slow fever, while for the last half of his pontificate he was a martyr to gout. In spite of these infirmities, which increased steadily, his biographer, Paul the Deacon, tells us "he never rested" (Vita, XV). His work as pope is of so varied a nature that it will be best to take it in sections, although this destroys any exact chronological sequence.
At the very outset of his pontificate Gregory published his "Liber pastoralis curae", or book on the office of a bishop, in which he lays down clearly the lines he considers it his duty to follow. The work, which regards the bishop pre-eminently as the physician of souls, is divided into four parts.
- He points out in the first that only one skilled already as a physician of the soul is fitted to undertake the "supreme rule" of the episcopate.
- In the second he describes how the bishop's life should be ordered from a spiritual point of view;
- in the third, how he ought to teach and admonish those under him,
- and in the fourth how, in spite of his good works, he ought to bear in mind his own weakness, since the better his work the greater the danger of falling through self-confidence.
This little work is the key to Gregory's life as pope, for what he preached he practiced. Moreover, it remained for centuries the textbook of the Catholic episcopate, so that by its influence the ideal of the great pope has moulded the character of the Church, and his spirit has spread into all lands.
As pope Gregory still lived with monastic simplicity. One of his first acts was to banish all the lay attendants, pages, etc., from the Lateran palace, and substitute clerics in their place. There was now no magister militum living in Rome, so the control even of military matters fell to the pope. The inroads of the Lombards had filled the city with a multitude of indigent refugees, for whose support Gregory made provision, using for this purpose the existing machinery of the ecclesiastical districts, each of which had its deaconry or "office of alms ". The corn thus distributed came chiefly from Sicily and was supplied by the estates of the Church.
The temporal needs of his people being thus provided for, Gregory did not neglect their spiritual wants, and a large number of his sermons have come down to us. It was he who instituted the "stations" still observed and noted in the Roman Missal. He met the clergy and people at some church previously agreed upon, and all together went in procession to the church of the station, where Mass was celebrated and the pope preached. These sermons, which drew immense crowds, are mostly simple, popular expositions of Scripture. Chiefly remarkable is the preacher's mastery of the Bible, which he quotes unceasingly, and his regular use of anecdote to illustrate the point in hand, in which respect he paves the way for the popular preachers of the Middle Ages. In July, 595, Gregory held his first synod in St. Peter's, which consisted almost wholly of the bishops of the suburbicarian sees and the priests of the Roman titular churches. Six decrees dealing with ecclesiastical discipline were passed, some of them merely confirming changes already made by the pope on his own authority.
Much controversy still exists as to the exact extent of Gregory's reforms of the Roman Liturgy. All admit that he did make the following modifications in the pre-existing practice:
- In the Canon of the Mass he inserted the words "diesque nostros in tua pace disponas, atque ab aeterna damnatione nos eripi, et in electorum tuorum jubras grege numerari";
- he ordered the Pater Noster to be recited in the Canon before the breaking of the Host ;
- he provided that the Alleluia should be chanted after the Gradual out of paschal time, to which period, apparently, the Roman use had previously confined it;
- he prohibited the use of the chasuble by subdeacons assisting at Mass ;
- he forbade deacons to perform any of the musical portions of the Mass other than singing the Gospel.
Beyond these and some few minor points it seems impossible to conclude with certainty what changes Gregory did make. As to the much-disputed question of the Gregorian Sacramentary and the almost more difficult point of his relation to the plain song or chant of the Church, for Gregory's connection with which matters the earliest authority seems to be John the Deacon (Vita, II, vi, Xvii), see GREGORIAN CHANT ; SACRAMENTARY.
There is no lack of evidence, however, to illustrate Gregory's activity as manager of the patrimony of St. Peter. By his day the estates of the Church had reached vast dimensions. Varying estimates place their total area at from 1300 to 1800 square miles, and there seems no reason for supposing this to be an exaggeration, while the income arising therefrom was probably not less than $1,500,000 a year. The land lay in many places — Campania, Africa, Sicily, and elsewhere — and, as their landlord, Gregory displayed a skill in finance and estate management which excites our admiration no less than it did the surprise of his tenants and agents, who suddenly found that they had a new master who was not to be deceived or cheated.
The management of each patrimony was carried out by a number of agents of varying grades and duties under an official called the rector or defensor of the patrimony. Previously the rectors had usually been laymen, but Gregory established the custom of appointing ecclesiastics to the post. In doing this he probably had in view the many extra duties of an ecclesiastical nature which he called upon them to undertake. Thus examples may be found of such rectors being commissioned to undertake the filling up of vacant sees, holding of local synods, taking action against heretics, providing for the maintenance of churches and monasteries, rectifying abuses in the churches of their district, with the enforcing of ecclesiastical discipline and even the reproof and correction of local bishops. Still Gregory never allowed the rectors to interfere in such matters on their own responsibility.
In the minutiae of estate management nothing was too small for Gregory's personal notice, from the exact number of sextarii in a modius of corn, or how many solidi went to one golden pound, to the use offalse weights by certain minor agents. He findstime to write instructions on every detail and leaves no complaint unattended to, even from the humblest of his multitude of tenants. Throughout the large number of letters which deal with the management of thepatrimony, thepope's determination to secure a scrupulously righteous administration is evident. Asbishop, he is the trustee ofGod andSt. Peter, and his agents must show that they realize this by their conduct. Consequently, under his able management the estates of the Church increased steadily in value, the tenants were contented, and the revenues paid in with unprecedented regularity.
The only fault ever laid at his door in thismatter is that, by his boundlesscharities, he emptied his treasury. But this, if a fault at all, was a natural consequence of his view that he was the administrator of theproperty of thepoor, for whom he could never do enough.
On the mainland much of this territory was in the hands of the Lombards, with whoseArian clergy Gregory was, of course, not in communion. Whenever opportunity offered, however, he was careful to provide for the needs of thefaithful in these parts, frequently uniting them to some neighboringdiocese, when they were too few to occupy the energies of abishop.
On the islands, of whichSicily was by far the most important, the pre-existingchurch system was maintained. Gregory appointed avicar, usually themetropolitan of theprovince, who exercised a general supervision over the wholechurch. He also insisted strongly on the holding of localsynods as ordered by theCouncil of Nicaea, and letters of his exist addressed tobishops inSicily,Sardinia, andGaul reminding them of theirduties in this respect.
The supreme instance of Gregory's intervention in the affairs of thesedioceses occurs in the case ofSardinia, where the behaviour of Januarius the half-witted, agedMetropolitan ofCagliari, had reduced thechurch to a state of semi-chaos.
A large number of letters relate to the reforms instituted by thepope (Epp., II, xlvii; III, xxxvi; IV, ix,xxiii-xxvii, xxix; V, ii; IX, i, xi, ccii-cciv; XIV, ii). His care over theelection of a newbishop whenever avacancy occurs is shown in many cases, and if, after hisexamination of the elect, which is always a searching one, he finds him unfitted for the post, he has no hesitation in rejecting him and commanding another to be chosen (Epp., I, lv, lvi; VII, xxxviii; X, vii).
With regard todiscipline thepope was specially strict in enforcing theChurch's laws as to thecelibacy of the clergy (Epp., I, xlii, 1; IV. v, xxvi, xxxiv; VII, i; IX, cx, ccxviii; X, xix; XI, lvi a; XIII, xxxviii, xxxix); theexemption ofclerics from lay tribunals (Epp., I, xxxix a; VI, xi, IX, liii, lxxvi, lxxix; X, iv; XI, xxxii; XIII, 1); and thedeprivation of allecclesiastics guilty of criminal orscandalous offences (Epp., I, xviii, xlii; III, xlix; IV, xxvi; V, v, xvii, xviii; VII, xxxix; VIII, xxiv; IX, xxv; XII, iii, x, xi; XIV, ii). He was also inflexible with regard to the proper application of church revenues, insisting that others should be as strict as he was in disposing of these funds for their proper ends (Epp., I, x, lxiv; II, xx-xxii; III, xxii; IV, xi; V, xii, xlviii; VIII, vii; XI, xxii, lvi a; XIII, xlvi; XIV, ii).
With regard to the otherWestern Churches limits of space prevent any detailed account of Gregory's dealings, but the following quotation, all the more valuable as coming from aProtestant authority, indicates very clearly the line he followed herein:
"In his dealings with theChurches of the West, Gregory acted invariably on the assumption that all were subject to thejurisdiction of theRoman See. Of therights claimed or exercised by his predecessors he would not abate one tittle; on the contrary, he did everything in his power to maintain, strengthen, and extend what he regarded as thejust prerogatives of thepapacy. It istrue that he respected theprivileges of theWestern metropolitans, and disapproved of unnecessary interference within the sphere of theirjurisdiction canonically exercised.... But of his general principle there can be nodoubt whatever" (Dudden, I, 475).
In view of later developments Gregory's dealings with theOriental Churches, and withConstantinople in particular, have a special importance. There cannot be the smallestdoubt that Gregory claimed for theApostolic See, and for himself aspope, aprimacy not ofhonor, but of supreme authority over theChurch Universal. In Epp., XIII, l, he speaks of "theApostolic See, which is the head of allChurches ", and in Epp., V, cliv, he says: "I, albeit unworthy, have been set up in command of theChurch." Assuccessor of St. Peter, thepope had received fromGod aprimacy over allChurches (Epp., II, xlvi; III, xxx; V, xxxvii; VII, xxxvii). His approval it was which gave force to thedecrees ofcouncils or synods (Epp., IX, clvi), and his authority could annul them (Epp., V, xxxix, xli, xliv). To himappeals might be made even against otherpatriarchs, and by himbishops were judged and corrected if need were (Epp., II, l; III, lii, lxiii; IX, xxvi, xxvii).
This position naturally made it impossible for him to permit the use of the title Ecumenical Bishop assumed by thePatriarch ofConstantinople,John the Faster, at asynod held in 588. Gregory protested, and a long controversy followed, the question still at issue when thepope died. A discussion of this controversy is needless here, but it is important as showing how completely Gregory regarded theEastern patriarchs as being subject to himself; "As regards theChurch ofConstantinople," he writes in Epp., IX, xxvi, "who candoubt that it is subject to theApostolic See ? Why, both our most religious lord the emperor, and our brother theBishop ofConstantinople continually acknowledge it."
At the same time thepope was most careful not to interfere with the canonicalrights of the otherpatriarchs andbishops. With the otherOriental patriarchs his relations were most cordial, as appears from hisletters to thepatriarchs ofAntioch andAlexandria.
Gregory'sconsecration aspope preceded by a few days only the death of Authari, King of the Lombards, whose queen, the famous Theodelinde, thenmarried Agilulf, Duke ofTurin, a warlike and energetic prince. With Agilulf and the Dukes Ariulf ofSpoleto and Arichis ofBenevento, Gregory soon had to deal, as, when difficulties arose, Romanus, theexarch, or representative, of the emperor, preferred to remain in sulky inactivity atRavenna.
It soon became clear that, if any successful resistance was to be made against the Lombards, it must be by thepope's own exertions. How keenly he felt the difficulty and danger of his position appears in some of the earliest letters (Epp., I, iii, viii, xxx); but no actual hostilities began till the summer of 592, when thepope received a threatening letter from Ariulf ofSpoleto, which was followed almost immediately by the appearance of that chief before the walls ofRome. At the same time Arichis ofBenevento advanced onNaples, which happened at the moment to have nobishop nor any officer of high rank in command of the garrison. Gregory at once took the surprising step of appointing a tribune on his own authority to take command of the city (Epp., II, xxxiv), and, when no notice of this strong action was taken by the imperial authorities, thepope conceived theidea of himself arranging a separate peace with the Lombards (Epp., II, xlv). No details of this peace have come down to us, but it seemscertain that it was actually concluded (Epp., V, xxxvi). Dr. Hodgkin (Italy and her Invaders, v, 366) pronounces Gregory's action herein to have been wise and statesmanlike, but, at the same time, undoubtedly ultra vires , being quite beyond any legal competency then possessed by thepope, who thus "made a memorable stride towards complete independence".
Gregory's independent action had the effect of rousing up Romanus theexarch. Wholly ignoring thepapal peace, he gathered all his troops, attacked and regainedPerugia, and then marched toRome, where he was received with imperialhonours. The next spring, however, he quitted the city and took away its garrison with him, so that bothpope and citizens were now more exasperated against him than before. Moreover, theexarch's campaign had roused the Northern Lombards, and King Agilulf marched onRome, arriving there probably sometime in June, 593. The terror aroused by his advance is still mirrored for us in Gregory'shomilies on theProphet Ezechiel, which were delivered at thistime. The siege of the city was soon abandoned, however, and Agilulf retired. The continuator ofProsper (Mon. Germ. SS. Antiq., IX, 339) relates that Agilulf met thepope in person on the steps of theBasilica of St. Peter, which was then outside the city walls, and "being melted by Gregory'sprayers and greatly moved by the wisdom andreligious gravity of this great man, he broke up the siege of the city"; but, in view of the silence both of Gregory himself and ofPaul the Deacon on the point, the story seems scarcely probable. In Epp., V, xxxix, Gregory refers to himself as "the paymaster of the Lombards ", and most likely a large payment from thepapal treasury was the chief inducement to raise the siege.
Thepope's great desire now was to secure a lasting peace with the Lombards, which could only be achieved by a proper arrangement between the imperial authorities and the Lombard chiefs. On Queen Theodelinde, aCatholic and a personal friend, Gregory placed all his hopes. Theexarch, however, looked at the whole affair in another light, and, when a whole year was passed in fruitless negotiations, Gregory began once again to mediate a private treaty. Accordingly, in May, 595, thepope wrote to a friend atRavenna aletter (Epp., V, xxxiv) threatening to make peace with Agilulf even without theconsent of theExarch Romanus. This threat was speedily reported toConstantinople, where theexarch was in high favour, and theEmperor Maurice at once sent off to Gregory aviolent letter, now lost, accusing him of being both atraitor and a fool. This letter Gregory received in June, 595. Luckily, thepope's answer has been preserved to us (Epp., V, xxxvi). It must be read in its entirety to be appreciated fully; probably very few emperors, if any, have ever received such a letter from a subject. Still, in spite of his scathing reply, Gregory seems to have realized that independent action could not secure what he wished, and we hear no more about a separate peace.
Gregory's relations with theExarch Romanus became continually more and more strained until the latter's death in the year 596 or early in 597. The newexarch, Callinicus, was a man of far greater ability and well disposed towards thepope, whose hopes now revived. The official peace negotiations were pushed on, and, in spite of delays, the articles were at length signed in 599, to Gregory's greatjoy. This peace lasted two years, but in 601 thewar broke out again through an aggressive act on the part of Callinicus, who was recalled two years later, when his successor, Smaragdus, again made a peace with the Lombards which endured until after Gregory's death.
Two points stand out for special notice in Gregory's dealings with the Lombards: first, his determination that, in spite of the apathy of the imperial authorities,Rome should not pass into the hands of some half-civilized Lombard duke and so sink into insignificance and decay; second, his independent action in appointing governors to cities, providing munitions ofwar, giving instructions to generals, sending ambassadors to the Lombard king, and even negotiating a peace without theexarch's aid. Whatever the theory may have been, there is nodoubt about the fact that, besides hisspiritual jurisdiction, Gregory actually exercised no small amount of temporal power.
Of Gregory's relations with theFranks there is no need to write at length, as the intercourse he established with theFrankish kings practically lapsed at his death, and was not renewed for about a hundred years. On the other hand he exercised a great influence onFrankish monasticism, which he did much to strengthen and reshape, so that the work done by themonasteries in civilizing the wildFranks may be attributed ultimately to the firstmonk -pope.
The reign of Gregory the Great marks an epoch inpapal history, and this is specially the case in respect to his attitude towards the imperial Government centered atConstantinople. Gregory seems to have looked uponChurch and State as co-operating to form a united whole, which acted in two distinct spheres, ecclesiastical and secular. Over this commonwealth were thepope and the emperor, each supreme in his own department, care being taken to keep these as far as possible distinct and independent.
The latter point was the difficulty. Gregory definitely held that it was aduty of the secular ruler to protect theChurch and preserve the "peace of thefaith " (Mor., XXXI, viii), and so he is often found to call in the aid of the secular arm, not merely to suppressschism,heresy, oridolatry, but even to enforcediscipline amongmonks andclergy (Epp., I, lxxii; II, xxix; III, lix; IV, vii, xxxii; V, xxxii; VIII, iv; XI, xii, xxxvii; XIII, xxxvi). If the emperor interfered inchurch matters thepope's policy was to acquiesce if possible, unlessobedience wassinful, according to the principle laid down in Epp. XI, xxix; "Quod ipse [se imperator] fecerit, si canonicum est, sequimur; si vero canonicum non est, in quantum sine peccato nostro, portamus." In taking this line Gregory was undoubtedly influenced by his deep reverence for the emperor, whom he regarded as the representative ofGod in all things secular, and must still be treated with all possible respect, even when he encroached on the borders of thepapal authority.
On his side, although he certainly regarded himself as "superior in place and rank" to theexarch (Epp., II, xiv), Gregory objected strongly to the interference ofecclesiastical authorities in matters secular. As supreme guardian ofChristian justice, thepope was always ready to intercede for, or protect anyone who sufferedunjust treatment (Epp., I, xxxv, xxxvi, xlvii, lix; III, v; V, xxxviii; IX, iv, xlvi, lv, cxiii, clxxxii; XI, iv), but at the same time he used the utmost tact in approaching the imperial officials. In Epp., I, xxxix a, he explains for the benefit of hisSicilian agent the precise attitude to be adopted in such matters.
Still, in conjunction with all this deference, Gregory retained a spirit of independence which enabled him, when he considered itnecessary, to address even the emperor in terms of startling directness. Space makes it impossible to do more than refer to the famousletters to the Emperor Phocas on his usurpation and the allusions in them to themurdered Emperor Maurice (Epp., XIII, xxxiv, xli, xlii). Every kind of judgement has been passed upon Gregory for writing theseletters, but the question remains a difficult one. Probably thepope's conduct herein was due to two things: first, hisignorance of the way in which Phocus had reached the throne; and second, his view that the emperor wasGod's representative on earth, and therefore deserving of all possible respect in his official capacity, his personalcharacter not coming into the question at all. It should be noted, also, that he avoids any direct flattery towards the new emperor, merely using the exaggerated phrases of respect then customary, and expressing the high hopes he entertains of the new regime. Moreover, his allusions toMaurice refer to the sufferings of the people under his government, and do not reflect on the dead emperor himself.
Had the empire been sound instead of in a hopelessly rotten state when Gregory becamepope, it is hard to say how his views might have worked out in practice. As it was, his line of strong independence, his efficiency, and hiscourage carried all before them, and when he died there was no longer any question as to who was the first power inItaly.
Gregory'szeal for theconversion of theheathen, and in particular of theAngles, has been mentioned already, and there is no need to dwell at length on the latter subject, as it has been fully treated underSAINT AUGUSTINE OF CANTERBURY. Injustice to the greatpope, however, it must be added that he lost no opportunity for the exercise of his missionaryzeal, making every effort to root outpaganism inGaul,Donatism inAfrica, and theSchism of theThree Chapters in NorthItaly and Istria.
In his treatment ofheretics,schismatics, andpagans his method was to try every means — persuasions, exhortations, threats — before resorting to force; but, if gentler treatment failed, he had no hesitation in accordance with theideas of his age, in resorting to compulsion, and invoking the aid of thesecular arm therein. It is curious, therefore, to find him acting as a champion and protector of theJews. In Epp., I, xiv, he expressly deprecates the compulsorybaptism ofJews, and many instances appear in which he insists on theirright to liberty of action, so far as thelaw permitted, both in civil affairs and in the worship of thesynagogue (Epp., I, xxxiv; II, vi; VIII, xxv; IX, xxxviii, cxcv; XIII, xv). He was equally strong, however, in preventing theJews from exceeding therights granted to them by the imperiallaw, especially with regard to the ownership by them ofChristian slaves (Epp., II, vi; III, xxxvii; IV, ix, xxi; VI, xxix; VII, xxi; VIII, xxi; IX, civ, ccxiii, ccxv). We shall probably beright, therefore, in attributing Gregory's protection of theJews to his respect forlaw andjustice, rather than to anyideas oftoleration differing from those current at thetime.
Although the firstmonk to becomepope, Gregory was in no sense an original contributor tomonastic ideals or practice. He tookmonasticism as he found it established bySt. Benedict, and his efforts and influence were given to strengthening and enforcing the prescriptions of that greatest ofmonastic legislators. His position did indeed tend to modifySt. Benedict's work by drawing it into a closer connection with the organization with the organization of theChurch, and with thepapacy in particular, but this was not deliberately aimed at by Gregory. Rather he was himself convinced that themonastic system had a very special value for theChurch, and so he did everything in his power to diffuse and propagate it. His ownproperty wasconsecrated to this end, he urged manywealthy people to establish or supportmonasteries, and he used the revenues of thepatrimony for the same purpose.
He was relentless in correcting abuses and enforcingdiscipline, the letters on such matters being far too numerous for mention here, and the points on which he insists most are precisely those, such as stability andpoverty, on whichSt. Benedict's recent legislation had laid special stress. Twice only do we find anything like direct legislation by thepope. The first point is that of the age at which anun might be madeabbess, which he fixes at "not less than sixty years" (Epp., IV, xi),. The second is his lengthening of the period ofnovitiate.St. Benedict had prescribed at least one year (Reg. Ben., lviii); Gregory (Epp., X, ix) orders two years, with special precautions in the case ofslaves who wished to becomemonks.
More important was his line of action in the difficult question of the relation betweenmonks and theirbishop. There is plenty of evidence to show that manybishops took advantage of their position to oppress and burden themonasteries in theirdiocese, with the result that themonks appealed to thepope for protection. Gregory, while always upholding thespiritual jurisdiction of thebishop, was firm in support of themonks against any illegal aggression. All attempts on the part of abishop to assume new powers over themonks in hisdiocese were condemned, while at times thepope issued documents, called Privilegia, in which he definitely set forth certain points on which themonks were exempt fromepiscopal control (Epp., V, xlix; VII, xii; VIII, xvii; XII, xi, xii, xiii). This action on Gregory's part undoubtedly began the long progress by which themonastic bodies have come to be under the direct control of theHoly See.
It should be mentioned that in Gregory's day the current view was thatecclesiastical work, such as thecure of souls, preaching, administering thesacraments, etc., was not compatible with themonastic state, and in this view thepope concurred. On the other hand a passage in Epp., XII, iv, where he directs that a certainlayman "should betonsured either as amonk or asubdeacon ", would suggest that thepope held themonastic state as in some way equivalent to theecclesiastical ; for his ultimateintention in this case was to promote thelayman in question to theepiscopate.
The last years of Gregory's life were filled with every kind of suffering. Hismind, naturally serious, was filled with despondent forebodings, and his continued bodily pains were increased and intensified. His "sole consolation was thehope that death would come quickly" (Epp., XIII, xxvi). The end came on 12 March, 604, and on the same day hisbody was laid to rest in front of thesacristy in theportico ofSt. Peter's Basilica. Since then therelics have been moved several times, the most recent translation being that byPaul V in 1606, when they were placed in thechapel ofClement V near the entrance of the modernsacristy. There is some evidence that the body was taken toSoissons inFrance in the year 826, but probably only some largerelic is meant.
Venerable Bede (Hist. Eccl., II, i) gives the epitaph placed on histomb which contains the famous phrase referring to Gregory as consul Dei . Hiscanonization by popularacclamation followed at once on his death, and survived a reaction against his memory which seems to have occurred soon afterwards.
Inart the greatpope is usually shown in fullpontifical robes with thetiara and doublecross. Adove is his special emblem, in allusion to the well-known story recorded byPeter the Deacon (Vita, xxviii), who tells that when thepope was dictating hishomilies on Ezechiel a veil was drawn between his secretary and himself. As, however, thepope remained silent for long periods at a time, the servant made a hole in the curtain and, looking through, beheld adove seated upon Gregory's head with its beak between his lips. When thedove withdrew its beak theholy pontiff spoke and the secretary took down his words; but when he became silent the servant again applied his eye to the hole and saw thedove had replaced its beak between his lips. Themiracles attributed to Gregory are very many, but space forbids even the barest catalogue of them.
It is beyond the scope of this notice to attempt any elaborate estimate of the work, influence, andcharacter of Pope Gregory the Great, but some short focusing of the features given above is only just.
First of all, perhaps, it will be best to clear the ground by admitting frankly what Gregory was not. He was not a man of profound learning, not aphilosopher, not a conversationalist, hardly even atheologian in the constructive sense of the term. He was a trained Roman lawyer and administrator, amonk, a missionary, a preacher, above all a physician ofsouls and a leader ofmen. His great claim to remembrance lies in the fact that he is the real father of themedieval papacy (Milman).
With regard to things spiritual, he impressed uponmen's minds to a degree unprecedented the fact that theSee of Peter was the one supreme, decisive authority in theCatholic Church. During his pontificate, he established close relations between theChurch ofRome and those ofSpain,Gaul,Africa, and Illyricum, while his influence in Britain was such that he is justly called the Apostle of theEnglish. In theEastern Churches, too, thepapal authority was exercised with a frequency unusual before histime, and we find no less an authority than thePatriarch ofAlexandria submitting himself humbly to thepope's "commands". The system ofappeals toRome was firmly established, and thepope is found to veto or confirm thedecrees ofsynods, to annul the decisions ofpatriarchs, and inflict punishment onecclesiastical dignitaries precisely as he thinks right.
Nor is his work less noteworthy in its effect on the temporal position of thepapacy. Seizing the opportunity which circumstances offered, he made himself inItaly a power stronger than emperor orexarch, and established a political influence which dominated the peninsula for centuries. From thistime forth the varied populations ofItaly looked to thepope for guidance, andRome as thepapal capital continued to be the centre of theChristian world.
Gregory's work as atheologian andDoctor of the Church is less notable. In the history ofdogmatic development he is important as summing up the teaching of the earlierFathers and consolidating it into a harmonious whole, rather than as introducing new developments, new methods, new solutions of difficult questions. It was precisely because of this that his writings became to a great extent the compendium theologiae or textbook of theMiddle Ages, a position for which his work in popularizing his great predecessors fitted him well. Achievements so varied have won for Gregory the title of "the Great", but perhaps, among our English-speaking races, he ishonoured most of all as thepope wholoved the bright-facedAngles, and taught them first to sing theAngels' song.
Of the writings commonly attributed to Gregory the following are now admitted as genuine on all hands: "Moralium Libri XXXV"; "Regulae Pastoralis Liber"; "Dialogorum Libri IV"; "Homiliarum in Ezechielem Prophetam Libri II"; "Homiliarum in Evangelia Libri II"; "Epistolarum Libri XIV". The following are almost certainly spurious: "In Librum Primum Regum Variarum Expositionum Libri VI"; "expositio super Cantica Canticorum"; "Expositio in VII Psalmos Poenitentiales"; "Concordia Quorundam Testimoniorum S. Scripturae". Besides the above there are attributed to Gregory certainliturgical hymns, the Gregorian Sacramentary, and theAntiphonary.
SAINT ANDREW, ARCHIBISHOP OF CRETE
Our father among the saints Andrew, Archbishop of Crete, was born in the city of Damascus into a pious Christian family. Up until seven years of age the boy was mute and did not talk. However, after communing the Holy Mysteries of Christ he found the gift of speech and began to speak. And from that time the lad began earnestly to study Holy Scripture and the discipline of theology.
At fourteen years of age he went off to Jerusalem and there he accepted monastic tonsure at the monastery of St. Sava the Sanctified. St Andrew led a strict and chaste life, he was meek and abstinent, such that all were amazed at his virtue and reasoning of mind. As a man of talent and known for his virtuous life, over the passage of time he came to be numbered among the Jerusalem clergy and was appointed a secretary for the Patriarchate —a writing clerk. In the year 680 the locum tenens of the Jerusalem Patriarchate, Theodore, included archdeacon Andrew among the representatives of the Holy City sent to the Sixth Ecumenical Council, and here the saint contended against heretical teachings, relying upon his profound knowledge of Orthodox doctrine. Shortly after the Council he was summoned back to Constantinople from Jerusalem and he was appointed archdeacon at the church of Hagia Sophia, the Wisdom of God. During the reign of the emperor Justinian II (685-695) St. Andrew was ordained bishop of the city of Gortineia on the island of Crete. In his new position he shone forth as a true luminary of the Church, a great hierarch - a theologian, teacher and hymnographer.
St. Andrew wrote many liturgical hymns. He was the originator of a new liturgical form - the canon. Of the canons composed by him the best known is the Great Penitential Canon, including within its 9 odes the 250 troparia recited during the Great Lent. In the First Week of Lent at the service of Compline it is read in portions (thus called "methymony", and again on Thursday of the Fifth Week at the All-night Vigil during Matins.
St. Andrew of Crete gained renown with his many praises of the All-Pure Virgin Mary. To him are likewise ascribed: the Canon for the feast of the Nativity of Christ, three odes for the Compline of Palm Sunday and also in the first four days of Holy Passion Week, as well as verses for the feast of the Meeting of the Lord, and many another church-song. His hynographic tradition was continued by the churchly great melodists of following ages: Saints John of Damascus, Cosmas of Maium, Joseph the Melodist, Theophanes the Branded. There have also been preserved edifying Sermons of St. Andrew for certain of the Church feasts.
Church historians are not of the same opinion as to the date of death of the saint. One suggests the year 712, while others—the year 726. He died on the island of Mytilene, while returning to Crete from Constantinople, where he had been on churchly business. His relics were transferred to Constantinople. In the year 1350 the pious Russian pilgrim Stefan Novgorodets saw the relics at the Constantinople monastery named for St. Andrew of Crete. His feast is on July 4.
SAINT JOHN DAMASCENE
Born at Damascus, about 676; died sometime between 754 and 787. The only extant life of thesaint is that by John,Patriarch ofJerusalem, which dates from the tenth century (P.G. XCIV, 429-90). This life is the single source from which have been drawn the materials of all his biographical notices. It is extremely unsatisfactory from the standpoint ofhistorical criticism. An exasperating lack of detail, a pronounced legendary tendency, and a turgid style are its chief characteristics. Mansur was probably the name of John's father. What little is known of him indicates that he was a sterlingChristian whoseinfidel environment made no impression on hisreligious fervour. Apparently his adhesion toChristian truth constituted no offence in the eyes of hisSaracen countrymen, for he seems to have enjoyed their esteem in an eminent degree, and discharged theduties of chief financial officer for the caliph, Abdul Malek. The author of the life records the names of but two of his children, John and his half-brother Cosmas. When the futureapologist had reached the age of twenty-three hisfather cast about for aChristian tutor capable of giving his sons the besteducation the age afforded. In this he was singularly fortunate. Standing one day in the market-place he discovered among the captives taken in a recent raid on the shores ofItaly aSicilian monk named Cosmas. Investigationproved him to be a man of deep and broad erudition. Through the influence of the caliph, Mansur secured the captive's liberty and appointed him tutor to his sons. Under the tutelage of Cosmas, John made such rapid progress that, in the enthusiastic language of his biographer, he soon equalled Diophantus in algebra and Euclid in geometry. Equal progress was made in music,astronomy, andtheology.
On the death of hisfather, John Damascene was made protosymbulus, or chief councillor, ofDamascus. It was during his incumbency of this office that theChurch in the East began to be agitated by the first mutterings of theIconoclast heresy. In 726, despite the protests of Germanus,Patriarch of Constantinople, Leo the Isaurian issued his first edict against theveneration of images. From his secure refuge in the caliph's court, John Damascene immediately entered the lists against him, in defence of this ancient usage of theChristians. Not only did he himself oppose the Byzantine monarch, but he also stirred the people to resistance. In 730 the Isaurian issued a second edict, in which he not only forbade theveneration of images, but even inhibited their exhibition in public places. To this royal decree the Damascene replied with even greater vigour than before, and by the adoption of a simpler style brought theChristian side of the controversy within the grasp of the common people. A third letter emphasized what he had already said and warned the emperor to beware of the consequences of this unlawful action. Naturally, these powerful apologies aroused theanger of the Byzantine emperor. Unable to reach the writer with physical force, he sought to encompass his destruction by strategy. Having secured an autograph letter written by John Damascene, heforged a letter, exactly similar in chirography, purporting to have been written by John to the Isaurian, andoffering to betray into his hands the city ofDamascus. The letter he sent to the caliph. Notwithstanding his councillor's earnest avowal of innocence, the latter accepted it as genuine and ordered that the hand that wrote it be severed at the wrist. Thesentence was executed, but, according to his biographer, through the intervention of the Blessed Virgin, the amputated hand wasmiraculously restored.
The caliph, now convinced of John's innocence, would fain have reinstated him in his former office, but the Damascene had heard a call to a higher life, and with his foster-brother entered themonastery of St. Sabas, some eighteen miles south-east ofJerusalem. After the usual probation, John V,Patriarch ofJerusalem, conferred on him the office of thepriesthood. In 754 the pseudo-Synod of Constantinople, convened at the command of Constantine Copronymus, the successor of Leo, confirmed the principles of theIconoclasts andanathematized by name those who had conspicuously opposed them. But the largest measure of the council's spleen was reserved for John ofDamascus. He was called a "cursed favourer ofSaracens ", a "traitorous worshipper of images", a "wronger ofJesus Christ ", a "teacher of impiety", and a "bad interpreter of theScriptures ". At the emperor's command his name was written "Manzer" ( Manzeros , a bastard). But theSeventh General Council of Nicea (787) made ample amends for the insults of his enemies, andTheophanes, writing in 813, tells us that he was surnamed Chrysorrhoas (golden stream) by his friends on account of his oratorical gifts. In the pontificate ofLeo XIII he was enrolled among thedoctors of theChurch. Hisfeast is celebrated on 27 March.
John ofDamascus was the last of theGreek Fathers. His genius was not for originaltheological development, but for compilation of an encyclopediccharacter. In fact, the state of full development to whichtheological thought had been brought by the great Greek writers and councils left him little else than the work of an encyclopedist; and this work he performed in such manner as tomerit the gratitude of all succeeding ages. Some consider him the precursor of theScholastics, whilst others regard him as the firstScholastic, and his "De fide orthodoxa" as the first work ofScholasticism. TheArabians too, owe not a little of the fame of theirphilosophy to his inspiration. The most important and best known of all his works is that to which the author himself gave the name of "Fountain of Wisdom" ( pege gnoseos ). This work has always been held in the highest esteem in both theCatholic and Greek Churches. Itsmerit is not that of originality, for the author asserts, at the end of the second chapter of the "Dialectic", that it is not his purpose to set forth his own views, but rather to collate and epitomize in a single work the opinions of the greatecclesiastical writers who have gone before him. A special interest attaches to it for the reason that it is the first attempt at a summa theologica that has come down to us.
The "Fountain of Wisdom" is divided into three parts, namely, "Philosophical Chapters" ( Kephalaia philosophika ), "Concerning Heresy" ( peri aipeseon ), and "An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith" ( Ikdosis akribes tes orthodoxou pisteos ). The title of the first book is somewhat too comprehensive for its contents and consequently is more commonly called "Dialectic". With the exception of the fifteen chapters that deal exclusively withlogic, it has mostly to do with theontology ofAristotle. It is largely a summary of the Categories ofAristotle with Porphyry's "Isagoge" ( Eisagoge eis tas kategorias ). It seems to have been John Damascene's purpose to give his readers only suchphilosophical knowledge as wasnecessary for understanding the subsequent parts of the "Fountain of Wisdom". For more than onereason the "Dialectic" is a work of unusual interest. In the first place, it is a record of the technical terminology used by theGreek Fathers, not only against theheretics, but also in the exposition of theFaith for the benefit ofChristians. It is interesting, too, for the reason that it is a partial exposition of the "Organon", and the application of its methods toCatholic theology a century before the first Arabic translation ofAristotle made its appearance. The second part, "Concerning Heresy", is little more than a copy of a similar work by Epiphanius, brought up todate by John Damascene. The author indeed expressly disclaims originality except in the chapters devoted toIslamism,Iconoclasm, and Aposchitae. To the list of eightyheresies that constitute the "Panarion" of Epiphanius, he added twentyheresies that had sprung up since histime. In treating ofIslamism he vigorously assails the immoral practices ofMohammed and the corrupt teachings inserted in theKoran to legalize the delinquencies of theprophet. Like Epiphanius, he brings the work to a close with a fervent profession ofFaith. John's authorship of this book has been challenged, for the reason that the writer, in treating ofArianism, speaks ofArius, who died four centuries before thetime of Damascene, as still living and working spiritual ruin among his people. The solution of the difficulty is to be found in the fact that John of Damascene did not epitomize the contents of the "Panarion", but copied it verbatim. Hence the passage referred to is in the exact words of Epiphanius himself, who was a contemporary ofArius.
"Concerning the OrthodoxFaith ", the third book of the "Fountain of Wisdom", is the most important of John Damascene's writings and one of the most notable works ofChristian antiquity. Its authority has always been great among thetheologians of the East and West. Here, again, the author modestly disavows any claim of originality -- any purpose to essay a new exposition ofdoctrinal truth. He assigns himself the less pretentious task of collecting in a single work the opinions of the ancient writers scattered through many volumes, and of systematizing and connecting them in alogical whole. It is no small credit to John ofDamascus that he was able to give to theChurch in the eighth century its first summary of connectedtheological opinions. At the command of Eugenius III it was rendered into Latin by Burgundio ofPisa, in 1150, shortly beforePeter Lombard's "Book of Sentences" appeared. This translation was used byPeter Lombard andSt. Thomas Aquinas, as well as by othertheologians, till theHumanists rejected it for a more elegant one. The author follows the same order as doesTheodoret of Cyrus in his "Epitome ofChristian Doctrine ". But, while he imitates the general plan ofTheodoret, he does not make use of his method. He quotes, not only form the pages of Holy Writ, but also from the writings of the Fathers. As a result, his work is an inexhaustible thesaurus of tradition which became the standard for the greatScholastics who followed. In particular, he draws generously fromGregory of Nazianzus, whose works he seems to have absorbed, from Basil,Gregory of Nyssa,Cyril of Alexandria,Leo the Great,Athanasius,John Chrysostum, and Epiphanius. The work is divided into four books. This division, however, is an arbitrary one neither contemplated by the author nor justified by the Greekmanuscript. It is probably the work of a Latin translator seeking to accommodate it to the style of the four books of Lombard 's "Sentences".
The first book of "The OrthodoxFaith " treats of theessence andexistence ofGod, theDivine nature, and theTrinity. As evidence of theexistence of God he cites the concurrence of opinion among those enlightened by Revelation and those who have only the light ofreason to guide them. To the same end he employs the argument drawn from the mutability ofcreated things and that from design. Treating, in the second book, of the physical world, he summarizes all the views of his times, without, however, committing himself to any of them. In the same treatise he discloses a comprehensiveknowledge of theastronomy of his day. Here, also, place is given to the consideration of thenature ofangels anddemons, theterrestrial paradise, the properties ofhuman nature, the foreknowledge ofGod, andpredestination. Treating ofman (c.xxvii), he gives what has been aptly called a "psychology in nuce ". Contrary to the teachings of Plotinus, the master of Porphyry, he identifiesmind andsoul. In the third book thepersonality and two-foldnature of Christ are discussed with great ability. This leads up to the consideration of theMonophysite heresy. In this connexion he deals with Peter the Fuller's addition to the "Trisagion", and combats Anastasius's interpretation of this ancienthymn. The latter, who wasAbbot of themonastery ofSt. Euthymius in Palestine, referred the "Trisagion" only to the SecondPerson of the Trinity. In his letter "Concerning the Trisagion" John Damascene contends that thehymn applies not to the Son alone, but to eachPerson of theBlessed Trinity. This book also contains a spirited defence of the Blessed Virgin's claim to the title of "Theotokos."Nestorius is vigorously dealt with for trying to substitute the title of "Mother of Christ" for "Mother of God". TheScriptures are discussed in the fourth book. In assigning twenty-two books to theOld Testament canon he is treating of the Hebrew, and not theChristian, Canon, as he finds it in a work of Epiphanius, "De ponderibus et mensuris". His treatment in this book of theReal Presence is especially satisfactory. The nineteenth chapter contains a powerful plea for theveneration of images.
The treatise, "Against theJacobites ", was written at the request of Peter,Metropolitan ofDamascus, who imposed on him the task of reconciling to theFaith the Jacobitebishop. It is a strong polemic against theJacobites, as theMonophysites inSyria were called. He also wrote against theManicheans andMonothelites. The "Booklet ConcerningRight Judgment" is little more than a profession ofFaith, confirmed by arguments setting forth the mysteries of theFaith, especially the Trinity and theIncarnation. Though John ofDamascus wrote voluminously on theScriptures, as in the case of so much of his writing, his work bears little of the stamp of originality. His "Select Passages" (Loci Selecti), as he himself admits, are taken largely from thehomilies ofSt. John Chrysostom and appended as commentaries to texts from theEpistles ofSt. Paul. The commentary on the Epistles to the Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Thessalonians is taken fromCyril of Alexandria. The "Sacred Parallels" (Sacra parallela) is a kind of topicalconcordance, treating principally ofGod,man,virtues, and vices.
Under the general title of "Homilies" he wrote fourteen discourses. Thesermon on theTransfiguration, whichLequien asserts was delivered in the church on Mt. Tabor, is of more than usual excellence. It is characterized by dramatic eloquence, vivid description, and awealth of imagery. In it he discourses on his favorite topic, the twofoldnature ofChrist, quotes the classic text ofScripture in testimony of theprimacy of Peter, andwitnesses theCatholic doctrine ofsacramental Penance. In hissermon onHoly Saturday he descants on theEaster duty and on theReal Presence. TheAnnunciation is the text of asermon, now extant only in a Latin version of an Arabic text, in which he attributes variousblessings to theintercession of the Blessed Virgin. The second of his threesermons on the Assumption is especially notable for its detailed account of the translation of the body of the Blessed Virgin intoheaven, an account, he avers, that is based on the most reliable and ancient tradition. Both Liddledale and Neale regard John ofDamascus as the prince of Greek hymnodists. Hishymns are contained in the "Carmina" of theLequien edition. The "canons" on the Nativity,Epiphany, and Pentecost are written in iambic trimeters. Three of hishymns have become widely known and admired in their English version -- "Thoseeternal bowers", "Come ye faithful raise the strain", and "Tis the Day ofResurrection ". The most famous of the "canons" is that onEaster. It is a song of triumph and thanksgiving -- the "Te Deum" of theGreek Church. It is a traditional opinion, lately controverted, that John Damascene composed the "Octoëchos", which contains theliturgical hymns used by theGreek Church in itsSunday services.Gerbet, in his "History of Sacred Music", credits him with doing for the East whatGregory the Great accomplished for the West -- substitution of notes and other musical characters for the letters of thealphabet to indicate musical quantities. It is certain he adapted choral music to the purposes of theLiturgy.
Among the several works that are dubiously attributed to John Damascene the most important is the romance entitled "Barlaam and Josaphat". Throughout theMiddle Ages it enjoyed the widest popularity in all languages. It is not regarded asauthentic byLequien, and the discovery of aSyriac version of the "Apology ofAristides " shows that what amounts to sixteen printed pages of it was taken directly fromAristides. The panegyric ofSt. Barbara, while accepted as genuine byLequien, is rejected by many others. The treatise entitled "Concerning those who have died in theFaith " is rejected as spurious by Francisco Suárez,Bellarmine, andLequien, not only on account of itsdoctrinal discrepancies, but for its fabulous character as well. The first Greek edition of any of the works of John Damascene was that of the "Exact Exposition of the OrthodoxFaith " brought out atVerona (1531) under the auspices of John Matthew Gibertus,Bishop ofVerona. Another Greek edition of the same work was published at Moldavia (1715) by John Epnesinus. It was also printed in a Latin edition atParis (1507), by James Faber. Henry Gravius, O.P., published a Latin edition at Cologne (1546) which contained the following works: "Dialectic", "Elementary andDogmatic Instruction", "Concerning the two Wills and Operations", and "Concerning Heresy". A Greek-Latin edition with an introduction by Mark Hopper made its appearance at Basle (1548). A similar edition, but much more complete was published at the same place in 1575. Another Latin edition, constituting a partial collection of the author's works is that byMichael Lequien,O.P., published atParis (1712) andVenice (1748). To the reprint of this edition, P.G., XCIV-XCVI ( Paris, 1864),Migne has added a supplement of works attributed by some to the authorship of John Damascene.
COSMAS OF MAIUMA
(Called HAGIOPOLITES or COSMAS OF JERUSALEM or MELODIST).
A hymn-writer of theGreek Church in the eighth century, was the foster-brother ofSt. John of Damascus. The teacher of the two boys was an elderlySicilian, also named Cosmas, who had been freed fromslavery by St. John's father. St. John and Cosmas went fromDamascus to Jerusalem, where both becamemonks in themonastery of St. Sabas near that city. Cosmas, however, left themonastery in 743, when he was appointedBishop of Maiuma, the port of ancientGaza on the southern coast ofPhoenicia. TheGreek Church observes hisfeast on 14 October. As a learned prose-author Cosmas wrote comments on the poems ofGregory of Nazianzus ; as a poet he is regarded by theGreek Church with great admiration. It considers Cosmas andSt. John of Damascus the best representatives of the later Greek classical ymnology, the most characteristic examples of which are the artisticliturgical chants known as "canons". Thehymns of Cosmas were originally intended to add to the interest of he services atJerusalem, but through the influence of Constantinople their use became universal in the OrthodoxGreek Church. It is not certain, however, that all thehymns ascribed to Cosmas in the Greekliturgical books were really his compositions, especially as his teacher of the same name was also ahymn writer. Collections ofhymns, varying in number, are attributed to Cosmas, and may be found inMigne, P.G., XCVIII, 459-524, and in Christ-Paranikas, "Anthologia graeca carminum christianorum" (Leipzig, 1871), 161-204.
The following extract from St Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain 's commentary on the festal canons is of some interest.
On the music of the festal canons of St Kosmas the Melodist
Since Saint Kosmas utilised for his musical Canons the usually chanted Tones, we have therefore decided to set out for readers the relevant information about them, as a relish, as Theodore [the Poor Forerunner] gives it. The Tones, as every one knows, are eight in number, four being straight, ruling and leading, the other four are oblique of the straight. Now Bishop Kosmas employs all of them, except for one, Plagal of the First. He employs them skilfully and with great elegance; for he employed the First for the first feast, that is for the Birthday of the Saviour; the Second for the second feast of the Lord, that is for the feast of the Theophany and the Baptism of the Lord; the Third for the third feast of the Lord, that is the Meeting, which although it is second in the natural order, is third in the course of the year and the cycle of the months. He employed the Fourth for the fourth feast, that of Palms, for this is the fourth feast from Christ's Nativity (the feast of the Circumcision is passed over as being a feast of the old Jewish law); while the Annunciation is also passed over, not because it is not a feast of the Lord, but because it sometimes falls before Palm Sunday and sometimes after it. When he reaches the Great Week of the Sufferings, the Melodist omits the Plagal of the First Tone, since it is festal and joyous, and does not suit grief and suffering. For the whole of this week he employed exclusively the Plagal of the Second and the Second, because as these holy days are ones of sorrow, so likewise these Tones are sorrowful; and even though the feats of the Lord's sufferings are causes of joy, nevertheless there is no soul, unless it were harsh and savage, that cannot but grieve and weep during those holy days.
When St. Kosmas reached Pentecost he employed the Plagal of the Third Tone, that is the Grave Tone, thus imitating, I imagine, that sound which came from heaven to the holy and sacred Apostles (Acts 2:2). Finally the inspired Hymnographer employed the final Tone, that is the Plagal of the Fourth, for the final feast, that is the Exaltation of the Cross; because, although the temporal cycle starts from autumn and the new year, that is from September, and makes this the first feast, nevertheless in actual fact it is the last of all, because this feast refers to events many years after the Lord's Assumption. Moreover the Plagal of the Fourth Tone is peculiarly apt for the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross: fourth because of the four parts of the Cross; plagal through its connection with the cross-beam; that is with the crosswise arm of the Cross, which joined with the upright excellently depicts the Cross. But why did St Kosmas employ the Fourth Tone for the Transfiguration as well, as he had employed it for the feast of Palms? No doubt because of the festal quality of the tone; because for festal celebration it is proper that a festal tone be sung; and also no doubt, that since for this feast the Fourth Tone had been sung, for this reason the Melodist decided that the Plagal of the Fourth should be sung for the feast following the Transfiguration.
[ Eortodromion vol. 1, pp. 32-33]
JOSEPH THE HYMNOGRAPHER
He is not to be confused with Joseph of Thessaloniki, brother of Theodore the Studite, who died half a century earlier, in 833. He was from Sicily, from where his family fled to Thessaloniki when Sicily fell to the Arabs. He moved to Constantinople and became a monk. He fled from there for Rome during the persecution of the iconoclast emperor, Leo the Armenian, but was captured by pirates and enslaved in Crete.
He finally escaped and returned to Constantinople, where he founded a monastery. He is the most prolific of the hymnwriters; some 200 hundred of his canons are to be found in the Menaia. He is the major contributor to the weekday canons in the Paraklitiki. Of the 96 canons assigned to weekday Matins at least 56 are by Joseph. The canon of the Akathist is also by him.
SAINT THEOPHANES THE BRANDED
Next to St. Joseph the Hymnographer the major contributor to the weekday Paraklitiki was St Theophanes, bishop of Nicea. His life is told in the life of Michael the Synkellos, of which an excellent translation has been published by Dr Mary Cunningham. Michael and his two disciples, the brothers Theodore and Theophanes, originally left Jerusalem in 813 on a journey to Rome, sent by the Patriarch of Jerusalem to support the Pope in his stand against the Franks over the question of the filioque , which some Benedictines from the West had recently introduced to Jerusalem. Known for their support of the Seventh Council, they were detained in Constantinople, interrogated, beaten and imprisoned by Leo V in 815. During the whole of the second iconoclast period, nearly thirty years, they suffered at various times exile, imprisonment and torture, including the infamous tattooing on their faces of twelve lines of ‘badly composed'— the emperor's own words —, if metrically correct, quantitative iambics. Theodore died in prison in 841, but his brother and Michael both survived to see Orthodoxy triumph. Theophanes was appointed metropolitan of Nicea and Michael abbot of the monastery of Chora, where he died just two months after Theophanes in January 846.
As a hymnographer St. Theophanes belongs to the tradition of the monastery of Mar Sabbas, near Bethlehem, which includes many of the greatest writers of canons, including St Andrew of Crete, St Kosmas Maïouma and St John of Damascus. His contribution to the Paraklitiki consists of sets of canons in all eight tones for the Angels, and the Departed. He is sometimes said also to have written a set for the Apostles, but those in Tones 7 and 8 are ascribed to Joseph in the Paraklitiki , that in Tone 7 being ‘signed' in the ninth ode. Not all of these are ‘signed' in the acrostic, but that for the Angels in tone 1 has as its acrostic the following, ‘The first hymn of Theophanes for the Angels', while that for the departed in tone 5 has, ‘The fifth canon of Theophanes for the dead'. Unfortunately none of these texts has been critically edited and the printed service books often differ widely in their ascriptions.
SAINT THEODORE THE STUDITE
Our Venerable and God-bearing Father Theodore the Studite (759-826) was a hymnographer and theologian as well as the abbot of the Monastery of St. John the Baptist in Studios, outside of Constantinople. His great theological contribution, On the Holy Icons , was for the defense of icons during the Second Iconoclasm Period (814-842). His feast day is on November 11.
SAINT JOHN KUKUZELIS
Saint John Kukuzelis was born in Dyrrachium, the birthplace of the Great Justinian, in Macedonia, probably during the twelfth century. His father died while he was still a child, and his devout mother placed him in school to learn to read and write and to chant. It so happened that he was noticed during a search for talented students and accepted into the school of the imperial court in Constantinople. Here he attracted the attention of the Emperor Comnenos and his court because of his exceptionally fine voice, comely appearance and native talent. Soon he surpassed all his school mates and eventually became the principal chanter for the court.
It was during his school years that he received the nick-name Kukuzelis. Because he was of Bulgarian birth, when he entered the imperial school he did not know the Greek language very well. Once his class-mates asked him what he had eaten for lunch. He replied, "Beans and greens," using the Greek word for broad beans, "kukia", and the Slavic word for greens, "zelie"; hence the name coined first in jest by his school mates, Kukuzelis.
The young John was constantly being showered with flattery and all kinds of favors because of his very moving chanting and his modesty. But in the midst of all this, his heart was burdened with a sense of secret sorrow which he himself could not explain, and this was coupled with an indifferent attitude towards the pleasures of life. John was languishing among all the charms of the court, among all the bright and promising hopes for the future, and he languished all the more, because he had no bosom friend to whom he could reveal his sorrow, who could sympathize with him and alleviate his sorrowful yearning.
His sufferings were multiplied when he learned that the Emperor had decided to marry him into a wealthy family. The very thought that because of the temporal delights of life he could lose the joy of the Kingdom of God so distressed the young John that he made up his mind that surely he must run away from the capital and hide himself in some remote desert hermitage. God beheld the purity of his intentions and came to his aid in realizing them.
When the chaste young John thus grew weary of the life at court and was thinking of a way to escape, the abbot of the Grand Lavra on Mount Athos arrived in Constantinople on monastery business. It so happened that John saw this elder and his young heart trembled with joy. In his childish and innocent way he admired the reverent appearance of his visitor from the Holy Mountain. He made his acquaintance, revealed his thoughts and intentions to him and asked for his instructions. When the elder not only approved but even blessed them, John followed almost in his footsteps when he left the capital to return to Athos.
Panagia "Koukouzelissa" (Lavra Monastery, Mt Athos)
Exchanging the fine silken garments of the court for a hair shirt and a pilgrim's staff, John soon appeared at the gates of the Grand Lavra. When the gatekeeper inquired where he was from and what he wanted, John replied that he was a simple shepherd and that he wanted to become a monk.
"You are too young yet," the gatekeeper remarked.
"It is good to take on the yoke of the Lord in one's youth," John meekly replied and began to beg to be presented to the abbot. The gatekeeper took him to the abbot, who was happy to accept him, because he was in need at that time of a shepherd to look after the goats.
After a short period of trial, John was tonsured and assigned the duty of looking after the monastery's flocks on the mountain pastures. This duty, which was completely new for him, overjoyed the devout young chanter· He went off with his flock into the depths of the Athonite wilderness, where his favorite occupation was meditation and prayer.
In the meantime the Emperor learned that his favorite chanter had run away. He was deeply hurt and sent special agents off to search everywhere for the young chanter. But being hidden by God, John remained totally unknown in spite of the fact that the Emperor's agents came to Mount Athos and were even in the Grand Lavra of St. Athanasius. No one could imagine that the poor shepherd in worn and tattered rags was a favorite of the imperial court.
Quietly and peacefully John passed his days and years in the desert; he could not get his fill of joy from his new circumstances. Once, when he was in a state of compunctionate and deep thought, he sat with his peacefully grazing flock. His thoughts went hack over all his past life and his heart trembled with the sense of a living gratitude to God and His all-hymned Mother for Their providence concerning him.
After looking about to make certain there was no one else in that wilderness that could hear him, John began to chant. Just as before, the divine words of the hymns and his angelic voice resounded in graceful melodies, but now they echoed through the wild desert heights of Athos. John was deeply moved and he chanted with all his skill and to his heart's content.
However, there was a certain hermit, who lived secretly inside a cave in a nearby diff. Suddenly this desert-dweller heard the most beautiful chanting ringing through that secluded wilderness. Quietly he came out of his cave and started to investigate where the chanting was coming from. Finally he discovered that the sweet sounds of the angelic chanting, which moved him to tears and brought his compunctionate soul into a state of special grace, was coming from a shepherd looking after a flock of goats. The desert-dweller was even more astonished when he noticed that the goats were not grazing under the melodious sounds of their shepherd's voice; these dumb beasts with bated breath encircled their shepherd and stood immovably staring before him, as if they were hypnotized or charmed by his angelic, rather than human, voice.
When he saw all this, the desert dweller made his way to the lavra and told the abbot about the marvelous shepherd and his extraordinary chanting, John was summoned from his secluded wilderness. "I adjure you by God,". said the abbot severely, !."Tell me the truth. Are you the court chanter John Kukuzelis who is being sought out by the Emperor?"
Falling at the abbot's feet, John begged his forgiveness, uttering through tears, "I am an unworthy sinner and I beg you with all my heart: let me remain with those same duties you assigned to me at the beginning. Let me look after the goats, so the Emperor will not find out about me."
The abbot could scarcely recognize in this pale and emaciated shepherd with his down-cast gaze the imperial favorite whom he had spoken with in Constantinople, a youth in his prime with a vibrant and captivating appearance. The abbot heeded his tearful request and left him to tend the goats as before.
However, the abbot was afraid the Emperor might hear some rumor about the discovery of this goat-herd chanter. So he set out for Constantinople and personally appeared before the Emperor.
"Have mercy, O sovereign, on your slave!" the elder cried out, kissing the feet of his monarch. "In the name of God, Who seeks the salvation of each and every one of us, I beg you, listen with fatherly condescension to my petition and grant it, so that God will fulfill all your desires in His good pleasure!"
Moved by the sincere and subject humility of the elder, the Emperor lifted him up and kindly asked, "Father, what is it that you want from me?"
"Forgive me, my sovereign, if I am bold before your Majesty! My request is insignificant for you to grant it. It is easy for you and there is nothing that can stop you except your own word. Moreover by granting it you will provide consolation and joy for the very angels and a great boon for my lavra."
"What is it that you want?" the Emperor gently replied. "Tell me and I will grant you everything."
"Your kingdom is sacred," the abbot reverently remarked. "It cannot be changed."
"Exactly, exactly, my father," the Emperor said, touched by the simplicity of the old monk. "What is it that you want?"
"I beg and beseech your Majesty to grant me one of your subjects who is seeking his eternal salvation and is praying for your Majesty. Nothing else," said the abbot, and fell silent.
"At your pleasure," the Emperor smiled with relief. "And what is his name?"
"First you must assure me in writing that you will release him to me," said the abbot, and then added timidly, "He is already in our lavra and has been tonsured to the angelic schema."
The Emperor commanded that the necessary documents be drawn up and affixed his signature. "His name is John Kukuzelis."
"Kukuzelis!" the Emperor exclaimed, and tears rolled from his eyes and fell on his royal breast. Then the abbot related everything in detail about John. The Emperor listened attentively and finally cried out with emotion, "I miss my favorite chanter! I miss my dear John! But if he has already been tonsured, there is nothing I can do. The salvation of his soul is what is most important. Let him pray for my salvation and for my kingdom."
The elder blessed the Lord and his merciful sovereign and joyfully returned to his lavra. Thus John was given his freedom to continue hymning the King of the heavens unimpeded.
Soon he received the blessing from the monastery to build himself a cell dedicated to the Archangels. Here he spent six days of the week in solitude. On Sundays and other feast days he came to the monastery's main church, where he took his place on the right choir and chanted with compunction along with the other chanters.
Once he chanted with particular inspiration on the Saturday of the Akathist Hymn. After the vigil he sat in one of the stalls on the choir opposite the icon of the Theotokos before which the akathist hymn had just been'' chanted. Because he was tired he fell into a light sleep.
Suddenly he heard a meek voice say, "Rejoice, John!" He looked, and there in a glow of heavenly light the Theotokos was standing before him. "Chant unto me and never stop chanting," she continued. "For this I will never abandon you."
At these words the Theotokos placed in John's hand a gold coin and then disappeared. John woke up and saw that there actually was a gold coin in his right hand. Tears of sincere gratitude flowed from the eyes of the chanter. He wept and blessed the unspeakable mercy and blessing he had received from the Queen of Heaven. The gold coin was placed on the icon of the Theotokos before which John had chanted and been granted this heavenly vision. Amazing miracles were worked by this icon which to this day is kept in a chapel just inside the main gates of the Grand Lavra.
From that time John carried out his duties in the choir even more fervently than before, and he was never absent from the right choir. However, because of his ascetic feats in his cell as well as from standing at the long services in church, his legs swelled up and were covered with infected sores full of maggots. But John did not suffer long. Once again, just as before, the Theotokos appeared to him in a light sleep and quietly told him, "From now on, be healthy?' The sores vanished and the grateful John spent the remainder of his days in astounding labors of the ascetic life, in fastings and vigils. He was especially gifted with deep humility.
St. John was spiritually enlightened to such a degree that he was found worthy to learn the hour and day of his death. He bid a tender farewell to all the brethren who came to him and after asking to be buried in the church of the Archangels, which he had built himself, with a blessed smile on his prayerful lips, he passed away to the Lord on the first day of October.
MICHAEL PSELLOS OR PSELLUS
( Michael ho Psellos ), Byzantine statesman, scholar, and author, born apparently at Constantinople, 1018; died probably 1078. He attended theschools, afterwards learningjurisprudence from John Xiphilinos, later patriarch (John VIII, 1064-75). Psellus practisedlaw, was appointed judge at Philadelphia, and under the Emperor Michael V (1041-2) became imperial secretary. Under Constantine IX (Monomachos, 1042-54) he became influential in the state. At thistime he taughtphilosophy at the new Academy at Constantinople arousing opposition amongecclesiastical professors by preferringPlato toAristotle. Psellus gained a greatreputation as aphilosopher. His pedagogical career was cut short by his appointment as Secretary of State ( protosekretis ) to Constantine IX. In 1054 he followed Xiphilinos to themonastery of Olympos, in Bithynia, where he took the name Michael. He soon quarrelled with themonks, however, and returned to the capital. He was one of the ambassadors sent to treat with the rebel Isaac Komnenos after the defeat of the imperial army near Nicaea in 1057. When Isaac I (1057-9) entered Constantinople in triumph Psellus had noscruple against transferring allegiance to him. Psellus drew up the indictment against the PatriarchMichael Caerularius in 1059, and preached the enthusiastic panegyric that the government thought advisable afterCaerularius's death. Psellus maintained his influence under Constantine X (Dukas, 1059-67); under Michael VII (1071-8) he became chiefMinister of State. Famous fororatory as well as forphilosophy and statecraft, he preached the panegyric of the Patriarch John Xiphilinos in 1075. A work written in 1096-7 after Psellus's death has a commendatory preface by him. Krumbacher (Byzant. Litteratur., 434) states that the preface may have been written before the work was begun. That Psellus was able maintain his influence under succeeding governments, through revolutions and usurpations, shows his unscrupulous servility to those in power. Krumbacher characterizes him as "grovelling servility, unscrupulousness, insatiableambition, and unmeasured vanity" (op cit., 435). Nevertheless his many-sided literary work and the elegance of his style give him a chief place among contemporary scholars. Compared with Abertus Magnus andRoger Bacon, he is to Krumbacher "the firstman of histime ". His important works are: commentary onAristotle peri hermeneias ; treatises onpsychology ; works onanatomy andmedicine, including a poem onmedicine and a list of sicknesses; a fragmentary encyclopedia, called "Manifold Teaching" ( Didaskalia pantodape ); a paraphrase of the Iliad; a poem on Greek dialects; a treatise on the topography ofAthens ; a poetic compendium oflaw and an explanation of legal terms. His speeches are famous as examples of style and contain much historical information. His best known panegyrics are onCaerularius, Xiphilinos, and his own mother. About five hundred letters, and a number of rhetorical exercises, poems, epitaphs and occasional writings are extant. His most valuable work is his history ( chronographia ) from 976 to 1077, forming a continuation toLeo Diaconus.
Theodore Lascaris (c.1175-1222), emperor of Nicaea, was born of a noble Byzantine family, the son of Manuel Lascaris and Ioanna Karatzaina. In 1199, he became the son-in-law of the Byzantine Emperor Alexius III Angelus and distinguished himself during the sieges of Constantinople by the Latins (1203-1204). After the capture of the city he gathered a band of fugitives in Bithynia and established himself in the town of Nicaea, which became the chief rallying-point for his countrymen.
Relieved of the danger of invasion by a Latin force which had defeated him in 1204 but was recalled to Europe by a Bulgarian invasion, he set to work to form a new Byzantine state in Asia Minor, and in 1206 assumed the title of emperor.During the next years Theodore was beset by enemies surrounding his fledgling state. He maintained himself stubbornly in defensive campaigns against the Latin emperor Henry of Flanders, defeated his rival Alexius I, emperor of Trebizond, and carried out a successful counter-attack upon Kay Khusrau I, the sultan of Rüm (also called the sultan of Iconium or Konya), who had been instigated to war by the deposed Alexius III. Theodore's crowning victory was gained in 1210, when in a battle near Pisidian Antioch he captured Alexius and wrested the town itself from the Turks.At the end of his reign he ruled over a territory roughly conterminous with the old Roman provinces of Asia and Bithynia. Though there is no proof of higher qualities of statesmanship in him, by his courage and military skill he enabled the Byzantine nation not merely to survive, but ultimately to beat back the Latin invasion.
By his first wife, Anna Angelina, the daughter of the Emperor Alexius III, Theodore Lascaris had two daughters: Eirene Laskarina (married John III Ducas Vatatzes) and Maria Laskarina (married King Bela IV of Hungary ). After Anna Angelina died in 1212, Theodore Lascaris remarried to Philippa of Armenia, the daughter of King Ruben III of Armenia. This marriage was annuled a year later due to religious reasons, and the son born to them, Constantine, was disinherited. Theodore Lascaris married thirdly in 1219 to Marie de Courtenay, the daughter of Peter of Courtenay and Yolanda of Flanders, but they had no children.
JOHN III DOUKAS VATATZES
John III Doukas Vatatzes or Ducas Vatatzes ( Greek : Ιωάννης Γ΄ Δούκας Βατάτζης, Ioannes III Doukas Batatzes ) (c. 1192 – November 3, 1254 ) was emperor of Nicaea 1221 – 1254.
John Doukas Vatatzes was probably the son of the general Basil Vatatzes by an unnamed cousin of the Emperors Isaac II Angelos and Alexios III Angelos.
A successful soldier from a military family, in 1212 John was chosed by Emperor Theodore I Laskaris as husband of his daughter Eirene Laskarina and as heir to the throne. This arrangement excluded members of the Laskarid family from the succession, and when John III Doukas Vatatzes became emperor in mid-December 1221, he had to suppress opposition to his rule. The struggle ended with a battle in 1224, in which his opponents were defeated in spite of the support they had acquired from the Latin Empire of Constantinople. John III's victory led to territorial concessions by the Latin Empire in 1225, but was followed by John's incursion into Europe, where he seized Adrianople.
John III's possession of Adrianople was terminated by Theodore Komnenos Doukas of Epirus and Thessalonica, who drove the Nicaean garrison out of Adrianople and annexed much of Thrace in 1227. The elimination of Theodore by Ivan Asen II of Bulgaria in 1230 put an end to the danger posed by Thessalonica, and John III made an alliance with Bulgaria against the Latin Empire. In 1235 this alliance resulted in the restoration of the Bulgarian patriarchate and the marriage between Ivan Asen II's daughter and John III's son. In the same year the Bulgarians and Nicaeans campaigned against the Latin Empire, and in 1236 they attempted a siege of Constantinople. Subsequently Ivan Asen II adopted an ambivalent policy, effectively becoming neutral, and leaving John III to his own devices.
In spite of some reverses against the Latin Empire in 1240, John III was able to take advantage of Ivan Asen II's death in 1241 to impose his own suzerainty over Thessalonica (in 1242 ), and later to annex this city, as well as much of Bulgarian Thrace in 1246. Immediately afterwards, John III was able to establish an effective stranglehold on Constantinople in 1247. The last years of his reign saw the extension of Nicaean authority far to the west, where John III attempted to contain the expansion of Epirus.
John III Doukas Vatatzes was a successful ruler who laid the groundwork for Nicaea's recovery of Constantinople. He was successful in maintaining generally peaceful relations with his most powerful neighbors, Bulgaria and the Sultanate of Rüm, and his network of diplomatic relations extended to the Holy Roman Empire and the Papacy, while his armed forces included Frankish mercenaries.
John III effected Nicaean expansion into Europe, where by the end of his reign he had annexed his former rival Thessalonica and had expanded at the expense of Bulgaria and Epirus. He also expanded Nicaean control over much of the Aegean and annexed the important island of Rhodes.
Moreover, John III is credited with carefully developing the internal prosperity and economy of his realm, encouraging justice and charity. In spite of his epilepsy, John III had provided active leadership in both peace and war. At some point after his death, John III was canonized as a saint, under the name John the Merciful.
John III Doukas Vatatzes married first Eirene Laskarina, the daughter of his predecessor Theodore I Laskaris in 1212. They had one son, the future Theodore II Doukas Laskaris, but Eirene fell from a horse and was so badly injured that she was unable to have any more children. She retired to a convent, taking the monastic name Eugenia, and died there in 1239. John III married as his second wife Constance (Anna) of Sicily, an illegitimate daughter of Emperor Frederick II by his mistress Bianca Lancia. They had no children.
GREGORY BOUNES ALYATES
Gregory Bounes Alyates was a hieromonk, whose name before becoming a monk was George. He was an excellent musician, the Archcantor of St Sophia at the time of the Fall. Together with another musician (probably one of the Domestikoi), he was honoured and given gifts by the Conqueror, as the chronographer Dorotheos of Monembasia describes:
«When the Sultan Mehmet learned that the Romans write down the voices of the cantors and the singers, he called them to the Palace, and had a Persian singer whom he ordered to sing. The cantors George and Gerasimos wrote down the voice of the Persian. They sketched thus the song of the Persian, and the Sultan ordered them to sing it. And as they sung it better than the Persian, the Sultan was very pleased and marvelled at the fine detail of the Romans; and he gave them gifts. The Persian musician seeing the art of the cantors, worshipped them».
From his compositions, most were not preserved after his age; those saved belong to the papadic genre. He created the Propaideia in mode pl II. for the introduction of novice students in the chromatic genre. In the libraries, there exists a work of him: «Method of metrophony of hieromonk Gregory Bounes Alyates. Mode pl. IV».
MANUEL CHRYSAPHES II (1648-1661)
Manuel Chrysaphes II, Protopsaltes of the Great Church, was an excellent melodist born in Constantinople.
We composed the Old or Slow Anastasimatarion (in which he wrote music for the Eothina of Leo the Wise) and the Old or Slow Sticherarion (in which there are lessons also by his contemporary monk Bartholomew, Domestikos of the Great Lavra in Mount Athos ).
He composed cherubic hymns « Ο ἱ τ ὰ Χερουβ ί μ », of Great Thursday, Great Saturday, and of the Liturgy of the Presanctified, communion hymns for Sundays in the eight modes, and various other of the year; anoixandaria, polyelei, doxologies, slow pasapnoaria, calophonic heirmoi, topics of the Oikematarion and the Mathetarion, and one Propaideia according the slow Sticherarion genre for practice of the novices, and others.
GEORGE RAIDESTINOS I (1670-1685)
George Raidestinos I, Protopsaltes of the Great Church of Christ, was an excellent musician whose peak was around 1680. He was a student of Melchisedek bishop of Raidestos. He wrote many lessons of the Papadic genre, and slow pasapnoaria of the Matins, and other ecclesiastical melodies in the Kratematarion, Oikematarion, and the Sticherarion, most of which were explained from the ancient notation to the notation currently in use.
The name of Peter the Peloponnesian, Lambadarios of the Great Church, constitutes a period on its own of our music. He was the great musician of the XVIIIth century, the fourth fount of music, the only rightly marvelled as an excellent music teacher and a classic writer, whose works and the simple, unpretentious, ecclesiastical music melody and tone always remain as a guide to our cantors and as a classical monument of our sacred music. He greatly beneficed the sacred art by using, instead of the old complicated musical characters, a new notation system to write down the melodies. Through this work, he simplified the notations of St John Koukkouzeles and of his teacher John of Trapezon, and explained the positions of the more ancient melodies. Peter was marvelled by his contemporaries for his excellent music understanding and immitation, as he could faithfully keep with his notation any melody even if chanted only once by somebody else. Hence, the Ottomans called him Hirsiz Peter (thief) and Hotza (teacher), because whatever they composed with great labour, by hearing it only once, he could steal it by writing it down, and after beautifying it a bit, he could give it back as a supposedly new work of his. As the connaisseurs of arab-persian music describe, by agreement they would not compose any new work without the prior permission of Peter. He is also considered a benefactor of Armenian music, as he taught the Archcantor of the Armenian Patriarchate's church at Kontoskalion, Teretzoun Hambarzoun the method of writing down melodies.
Peter was born around 1730 in the Peloponnese, and studied from his childhood by some musician hieromonk in Smyrna, and later by John of Trapezon, the Archcantor of the Great Church, in Constantinople. With him, he chanted as a second Domestikos. After the death of John of Trapezon, Peter was made Lambadarios of the Great Church, when Daniel was Protopsaltes. He retained this position until 1777, when he died from the plague that took place in the Queen of cities. He had many students (Greeks, Ottomans, and Europeans) to whom he taught our and/or the arab-persian music He also taught music together with Daniel Protopsaltes and the then Domestikos Iakovos the Peloponnesian in the patriarchal Music School, the second music school after the Fall, which was founded in 17776 when the Patriarch was Sophronios from Jerusalem.
Peter, as Lambadarios, explained in his method many lessons by ancient melodists, as for instance the great kekragaria of John Damascene, the great Eothina of John the Sweet, the great Anaxandaria of various poets, some slow Pasapnoaria of Matins, the « Ἄ νωθεν ο ἱ Προφ ῆ ται » and other lessons of the Oikematarion and the Mathetarion. He also composed the whole series of the prescribed music lessons, namely the Short and Long Sticherarion, the Heirmologion, the Kratematarion, the Oikematarion, the Papadike, the Mathematarion and various others. He also composed two Anastasimataria (slow and fast), Heirmologion of the Katavasias, and the Doxastarion, ie the new or short Sticherarion. He wrote three series of slow Cherubic hymns, one series of shorter ones, three series of Commnion hymns for Sundays, and other Chrerubic and Communion hymns for the feasts of the Lord and of the Mother of God in the eight modes; slow, short, and shorter Eulogitaria; Polyelei, short and medium Doxologies in various modes; slow pasapnoaria of Matins, of whom three in mode pl. II; Kalophonic Heirmoi, kratemata, and various compositions sung at small and great Vespers, Vigils, Matings, at Divine Liturgies, funerals, ordinations, baptisms, weddings, the anointing service, etc. He also composed verses in the spirit and style of the Ottoman makamia.
Peter had a good reputation and enjoyed great respect by his contemporary musician, both Christians and Ottomans, due to his excellent music ability and his cleverness. This is evident by the following two historic anecdotes: In 1770, three Ottoman musicians from Persia arrived to Constantinople bringing with them some musical composition which they wanted to first sing in front of the Sultan Hamit I on the feast of the bairami. As, however, this insulted the position of the imperial musicians and of the other musicians of the city, they asked Peter for advice as to what to do. He managed to get the song with the following trick. The dervisai of the Tekke at Peran invited the three foreigners to a dinner and divided themselves into three classes according to their ranking. The first class, after having offered the dinner to the Persians and having had a good time, requested them to sing initially some of usual songs which they accompanied with musical instruments, and then the song, which they were about to sing in front of the Sultan at the day of their feast. The request of the dervissai was granted, and Peter, who was hidden in an appropriate place, wrote down the song in his notation. Then the second and the third class of the dervissai arrived, for the pleasure of whom the song was repeated. Peter, having written down thrice the song, appeared arriving from the Tekke courtyard to the room where the symposium took place. The Dervisai rushed to welcome him, saying in turkish «the teacher is coming». After the usual introductions, the song was chanted again by the foreign musicians for the pleasure of the Roman teacher of the Dervisai. But Peter, then, claimed that the song chanted was his own composition, which was obviously disseminated by some of his students in Arabia or Persia, and who actually must have taught it to these musicians, but not faithfully and exactly. The three foreigners assured him that this song was their own composition, a product of great labour. Peter then took out his manuscript and chanted the song in question. Then, there was a serious fight between those present, in which one of the three Persians tore apart the manuscript of Peter. Another one, knowing that the Greeks have written music, understood the trick and attacked Peter trying to kill him. From this behaviour, the Dervisai caught the foreigners' hands and feet and imprisoned them. After a few days they were expelled as bastards, and thus the reputation of the Ottoman emperial musicians was saved, due to the incredible music understanding and the impressive mimicking of the great musician Peter the Peloponnesian. For this reason, the name «Hirsiz Petros» was included in the sacred list of the presence of the glorious Ottoman Sheikhs, and on the second Mausoleum that was by the inner gate of the Tekke. It should be noted that the fame of Peter reached the ears of the Sultan, who ordered that he be let to freely enter into the Palace. But he lost the respect of the Sultan due to the following incident.
One day the Sultan leaving from the Palace of Byzantium, went to the Yeni Tzami by the Palouk bazaar. After dinner, he stayed overnight in the kiosk of the mosque. Accidentally, on the same evening Peter visited the muezzin (cantor) of that mosque, and dined with him. During the dinner, Peter sung the morning prayer «selak» in a different mode than the two which were used at the time. And the muezzin, in order to take advantage of the art of Peter, setting aside every religious reason, forced the teacher to sing the «selak» from the minaret at dawn, which happened. But the Sultan heard the chanted song, and in the morning wanted to find out who made this new melody of the «selak». Being informed about the truth, he became tremendously mad and ordered two prosecutors to go to the Patriarch and inform him about the conduct of Peter the Lambadarios of the Great Church. In addition, Peter was arrested and brought in front to a religious court, where he acted as if he was insane. The judges, believing that our music teacher had got insane, ordered that he be closed in the national clinic at Egrikapi. By Sultan's order, everything was provided to him except from ink and paper. But the clever Peter found a way to heal this lack of resources, because he received paper by his visiting students from the neighbouring Egrikapi school, and from the given to him berries, he formed ink. Using these he wrote the slow pasapnoarion of Matins in mode pl. II, which is known as berry-written. On exiting the clinic as supposedly cured after 40 days, he continued his duties in the Great Church and the Palace.
At the funeral of Peter, which took place in the patriarchal church, the following incident occurred: The Dervisai from all the Tekkedes of the queen city came and asked for the permission of Patriarch Sophronios II that they might also sing their own funeral songs to the dead, as a sign of respect to the teacher. The Patriarch answered: «I also feel your great sadness, which was caused to all of us by the death of the blessed teacher. I do not say you no; but so that the Government does not get embittered, please could all of you follow us to the grave and there perform your duty towards him». The Dervisai obeyed to these words of the Patriarch, and followed in tears the dead and until the chanted trisagion and the deposition of the dead in the grave, they chanted passionately. One of them descended into to grave bringing in his hands his flute and said in Turkish: «O blessed teacher, receive this from us, your orphan students, this last gift, so that with it you might sing in the Paradise with the Angels». And deposing the flute in the hands of the dead, he came out with tears. Then the Christians, buried Peter as prescribed.
This eminent music teacher enjoyed the respect of the patriarchs Samuel (1763-1768 and 1773-1774) and Sophronios II (1774-1780), and of the Sultans Hamit I and Selim III; and was worshipped by his innumerable students.
Petros Byzantios, the Fugitive, was born in Neochorion of Bosphorus and became a pupil of Petros the Peloponnesian. Byzantios used the musical scripture of his teacher to write his own works and to 'explain' many lessons written in Koukkouzeles' notation. After his death, these were sold to the Patriarchal Musical School which was founderd in 1815 together with his other manuscripts. He composed a series of cherubic hymns (i.e. one in each mode) and three series of of communion hymns « Αἰνεῖτε » for Sundays. His cherubic hymns and one series of his communion hymn compositions were published in various anthologies under the name of «Petros the Byzantios»; and his shorter communion hymns under the name of «John the Lambadarios». In addition he wrote a short Heirmologion, katavasias, a doxology, kekragaria, « Αἰνεῖτε » of the praises medium in length and other lessons with author «the student» (of Petros the Peloponnesian). In the library of the Holy Sepulcher at Phanar, Constanintople, there is a Papadiki manuscript due to him. Because of his second marriage, he was paused from Archcantor by Patriarch Kallinikos, cantors of the Great Church were disallowed to have a second marriage. He then left to Chersona (hence the name «Fugitive»), and then to Iasion, where he died in 1808.
Peter the Sweet the Bereketis was so called from the turkish word «bereket» (plenty) which he used when his students asked him whether he has any more Heirmoi to teach them.
Together with Chrysaphes the New, Germanos of New Patras, and priest Balasios, there are the four great musicans who excelled in the ends of the XVII th and the beginning of the XVIII th century. He was one of the most esteemed musicians after the Fall; he composed a large variety of hymns, such as the two-choir « Θεοτ ό κε Παρθ έ νε » with kratema, polyelei, doxologies, special asmatics, pasapnoaria, weekly communion hymns, communion hymns for the feasts of the year in various modes, cherubic hymns, and katavasias for Christmas.
But he was especially distinguished for the melodification of the Heirmoi, surpassing all his contemporaries; that is why his Heirmoi were called «Calophonic» by the melodists, due to their incomparable sweetness. He was named the «father of the Calophonic Heirmoi». From the composition of Bereketis, most we transcribed from the ancient notation into the modern one by Chrysanthos and Gregory Protopsaltes and were published in various Anthologies.
He lived when Archcantors of the Great Church were Panagiotis Chalatzoglou and John of Trapezon. He was taught music in his homeland, Constantinople, and later at the Holy Mount Athos by the famous musican Damian of Vatopedi. For several years, he served as the archcantor of the Church of St Constantine at Hypsomatheia.
GREGORY PROTOPSALTES THE BYZANTIOS
Gregory was a music genious, a musician and a teacher of music, a deep mystic of the art of music, both ecclesiastical and external. He is one of the three Teachers of the New Method of analytic notation of Byzantine Music, which was introded by the 1814 reform. As a Lambadarios and an Archcantor of the Great Church, he constitutes the critical measure regarding the importance of the change of the musical notation, but also for the unchangeable of the music itself, which with the revised notation only changed its external vestement.
This importance of Gregory's role is vividly manifested, when we want to talk about the work of any melodist before 1814, because we are forced to see it via the explaination of Gregory or of Chourmouzios Chartophylax. But let us first lay down the biography of Gregory according to the facts provided by research.
According to one tradition, Gregory was born in Constantinople on the same day that Peter Lambadarios the Peloponnesian died (1777 or 1778). His father was a priest, named George, and his mother's name was Helen. The surname «Levites», which is attributed to him, is probably incorrect, but was given to him because his father was a priest, a «Levite» in the Old Testament. The probable day for his death is the 23rd December 1821, when Constantine succeeded him as the Archcantor, but other sources talk about 1820 or, more often, 1822. In any case, he died very young, at the peak of his age and of his work; he was at most 43 years old.
From his youth he learned the Armenian language and music, because he liked going to the Armenian Church. In order to eloign him from there, his father sent him to the abbot of the Sinai Metochion at Valata, the Cretan Archandrite Jeremias, where Gregory learned the Greek letters and, because of his nice voice, became a Reader and a Cantor.
Gregory became a passionate music student of many cantors, including Iakovos Protopsaltes, Peter Protopsaltes the Byzantios, and, finally, George the Cretan. It seems that during the time that Peter Byzantios was Archcantor, namely during 1800-1805, Gregory is also in the Patriarchate, if not as a Lambadarios, at least as the First Domestikos, and chanted together with his tacher. Certainly though, around 1810, Gregory was the Lambadarios of the Great Church when Manuel was the Protopsaltes.
In the period 1800-1805, Gregory got married and had children, but we do not know their precise number. Constantine Psachos talks about the last daughter of Gregory, who in 1897 was 90 years old.
From Lambadarios, Gregory became Protopsaltes after the death of Manuel, on the 21 st June 1891. As an Archcantor, he chanted for 2 ½ years, until his death on the 23 rd December 1821.
In 1814, there happened the historic reform on the byzantine music notation, which was deemed to be a «benefaction of Nation». The reform was carried out by three excellent musicians of the time, namely Gregory, archmandrite Chrysantos, and Chourmouzios Chartophylax. These three Teachers, as they are readily referred to, discussed thoroughly and systematized into a single method the theory of Byzantine Music. What they mostly paid attention to, and through which they became «benefactors of the Nation» was the explaination of the old notation, and the transcription of the pre-1814 melodies into their new notation.
This New Method of teaching and learning Byzantine music was submitted to the Patriarchate. The Holy Synod under Patriarch Cyril VII assembled on purpose to discuss the issue, and the most esteemed members of the Nation were invited.
The Synod was convinced by the reasons and the proofs of the three music teachers regarding the canonisation of the music art (because there was initial suspicion that the Teachers were supposedly inventing their own Psalmody). It decided that Gregory Lambadarios and Chourmouzios Chartophylax teach the practical part of the Ecclesiastical Music, whereas the Archmandrite Chrysanthos the theory.
Very illuminating on this subject is a letter sent by Dionysios the Vatopedinos from Constantinople to the Monastery of Vatopedion on the 21 st of January 1815. According to this, a common School was founded at the Sinai Metochion and teaches a new scientific method of music with rules and grammar. Teachers in this school are a monk Chrysanthos and the Lambadarios of the Great Church [i.e. Gregory], and there are more than 200 students which attend this School every day. Among these, there are Hierarchs and Protosyggeloi, and deacons of Hierarchs, and many laymen.
The contribution of Gregory in the formation of the New Method was the canonisation and the explanation of the scales and the parachords, and the simple and correct analysis and transcription of the old notation into this new method. With geat zeal after the reform, Gregory and Chourmouzios explained the work of the old teachers. And it is extraordinary how within six years, from 1815 until his death in 1821, he wrote almost 20 volumes of manuscripts with explanations of older byzantine melodies. From these volumes, he copied some twice and thrice in order to facilitate the spreading of the New Method.
Gregory has a special friendship with Patriarch Gregory V, for whose third elevation to the Throne he wrote two songs. As the Protopsaltes, he also lived with him all the agony and sadness during the Great Lent and the Holy Week, until the Pascha, 10th April 1821. For this last Holy Week of the two Gregories, we read the following: « By he [the Patriarch] quitely went to the Church and listened to the service of the customary vigils of the Holy Week (these were then sung in the morning, because which Christian dared to come out at night?), and many times the ever-blessed repeated to himself the beginning of the Troparion « Behold, the Bridegroom comes in the middle of the night... ».
Gregory also had a special relation with the highest master of Moldabia, Mr Michael Soutzos of Gregory, to whom he offered three songs in 1820. Due to this relationship, his fame as a music teacher became widespread in Moldowallachia, and especially in Iasion and Bucarest, where his former students became teachers of music under the protection of the music-friendly directors.
The work of Gregory Protopsaltes can be split into three categories:
A. His own compositions
- 2 Polyelei ( Δοῦλοι Κύριον καὶ Ἐπὶ τῶν ποταμῶν Βαβυλῶνος ).
- A series of Argosyntomai Doxologies, δηλαδὴ 8, and two more in grave mode.
- A short doxology in grave mode.
- 4 slow doxologies (in the plagal modes)
- 3 series of cherubic humns (i.e. 24) - great, medium, and greatest.
- 3 daily cherubic hymns ( στὴ σειρὰ Πέτρου Πελοποννησίου ).
- 1 series of Communion hymns «Αἰνε ῖτε» for Sundays.
- Communion hymns for feastdays in various modes.
- The weekday prokeimena and those of the Feasts of the Lord.
- Psalm 50 in mode II.
- The Typika of Divine Liturgy in mode IV legetos, fthoric.
- The compunctional stichera Τ ῆ ς μετανοίας - Τ ῆ ς σωτηρίας - Τ ὰ πλήθη τ ῶ ν πεπραγμένων μοι δειν ῶ ν.
- The troparia sung at the end of the Hours.
- The Great Compline hymns Τ ὰ το ῦ μεγάλου Ἀ ποδείπνου Ψυχή μου, ψυχή μου κα ὶ Παναγία Θεοτόκε.
- Κύριε ἐλέησον, slow in the plagal modes.
- The short troparia of the Bridegroom: Ἰ δού ὁ νυμφίος - Ὅ τε ο ἱ ἔ νδοξοι...
- The slow kathismata of the Bridegroom services.
- The XV Antiphons of the service of the Passion in short sticheraric melody.
- A lesson, when the Hierarch is dressed « Περίζωσαι τ ὴ ν ῥ ομφα ῖ άν σου » with kratema.
- A kratema in grave mode.
- The Magnificat in mode pl. IV.
- The Katavasias of Lazaros, and the uncustomary Heirmoi of the Canon Ἀ νοίξω τ ὸ στόμα μου and the fourth heirmos « Ἐ ποίησε κράτος » (of Lazaros).
- Two series of Ἄ ξιόν ἐ στιν... (i.e. 16).
- The traditional melody of the Apostle and Gospel readings in mode IV.
B. His explanatory work
Gregory explained and transcribed into the new notation the following works fo the Melodists, especially of those of the XVII th and XVIII th centuries.
- All the works of Peter Bereketis (4 volumes).
- The Sticherarion of Germanos of New Patras (5 volumes).
- The Papadike of Peter Byzantios (the published 4-tome Pandektis) (5 volumes).
- The Kalophonic Heirmologion (1 volume).
- The Anastasimatarion of Peter the Peloponnesian (1 volume).
- The Heirmologion of Peter the Peloponnesian (1 volume).
- The short Heirmologion of Peter Byzantios (1 volume).
- The Doxastarion of Peter Byzantios (2 volumes).
- The Ekloge of the papadic chant (1 volume).
- The Ekloge of the sticheraric chant (1 volume).
- Various other lessons of various teachers.
C. Non-ecclesiastical songs
He also wrote about 30 songs, mostly similar in style as the turkish makamia. Notably, the manuscripts of many of his original compositions are subtitled with the note that the melody is «as they are sung in the Great Church of Christ». This constitutes a sign of the tradition of Gregory.
The work of Gregory dissiminates widely via many manuscripts and printed music books. All his personal work, except for the Apostle and Gospel in mode IV, has been published.
From his explanatory work, the following have been published: the four-tome Pandektis, the Kalophonic Heirmologion, the Anastasimatarion, the Heirmologion, and the Doxastarion of Peter the Peloponnesian, the Heirmologion of Peter Byzantios, and a few other lessons of various teachers.
And from the songs of Gregory, several are included in Efterpe and Pandora (1st tome).
Chourmouzios was Chartophylax of the Great Church. He was born on the island of Halki, and was a student of Iakovos Protopsaltes and George Kris. He was became archcantor of the Church of St Demetrios at Tatavla, of St John of Galata, and of the Metochion of Sinai at Valata. He also served as a teacher during all six years of the operation of the Patriarchal School (1815-1821). With 18 years of hard labour, Chourmouzios explained all the melodies of the ancient composers, from St John of Damascus until Manuel Protopsaltes. These consisted of 70 volumes, which were bought in 1838 by Patriarch Athanasius of Jerusalem, and were looked after Cyril II, archpriest of the Sion Church. He compressed them into fewer volumes and ordered that they be bound and kept into the library of the Holy Sepulchre in Phanar, where they are currently present.
He also wrote an introductory manual to the practical part of Byzantine Music, and a larger one to the theoretical part, and a large notebook containing selections of the nicest hymns of the old and the new notations. He composed « Μακ ά ριος ἀ ν ή ρ », « Ε ἴ δομεν τ ὸ φ ῶ ς » octaechon, « Ρ ό δον τ ὸ ἀ μ ά ραντον » octaechon, « Ὁ ε ὐ σχ ή μων Ἰ ωσ ή φ », kratemata, polyelei, anoixantaria, doxologies, the vesper verses for each mode, the laud verses for each mode, slow and fast antiphona for each mode, typika in grave diatonic mode, a series of cherubic hymns and Sunday communion hymns, and other special communion hymns of the year, the great sticheron « Κ ύ ριε ἡ ἐ ν πολλα ὶ ς ἀ μαρτ ί αις » etc, which where more suited for study and practice of the cantor rather than chanting in the church. He explained and publised the second edition of the Anastasimatarion (whose resurrectional canons and compunctional troparia he himself composed) of Petros the Peloponnesios; he explained and published the medium tempto Heirmologion of the Katavasias of Petros Peloponnesios, the two-volume doxastarion or slow sticherarion following Iakovos Protopsaltes (published in 1858), and the collection of Idiomela of Manuel Protopsaltes. In 1828, he was the first one to publish the two-volume Anthology of Music, whose contents are original, as well as the book of the Hebrew Neophytos. He oversaw and corrected the collection of arab-turkish songs, the so-called «Efterpe» of chanende Zacharias. All these were achieved by the excellent patience of the hard-working Chourmouzios, despite living in poverty. He died at Halki in 1840.
Theodore Papa Paraschou Phokaeus is interesting for the science of Musicology and also the history of the evolution of the music mainlyu for three reasons, because threefold was also his decisive contribution: as a composer of new melodies, as the preserver by scripture of makamia and songs, and as a publisher of basic music books.
For Theodore Phokaeus we know the dates of three important events in his life due to a biography which was published ny his son Constantine immediately after his death in 1851, and was republished by his other two children, Alexander and Leonidas, in 1863 and 1869, but also because of the news that he himself left us, either in the prologues or the announcements of his publications.
A useful source here is the long section from his biography, which seems to have been composed by Onouphrios Byzantios. «Theodory Papa Paraschou was from Ionia, Phokas, born in 1790...». His father Paraschos was a priest, a first warranty fot the advancement of the young Theodore.
He made his first musical steps close to his father. Young in age he lost his sight for nine whole years. This acted as a serious obstactle to his studies. He was blinded at the age of about fifteen, in 1805, and was cured in 1814.
He learned the Old Method of musica notation in Kydonies from his brother Athanasios, a few years before he left to go to Constanstinople.
He had an acute musical understanding and had learned well the psaltic art in Kydonies, because when he arrived to Constantinople, he soon became cantor at St Demetrios at Tatavla, chanting together with his teacher Chourmouzios, but for a short time. In Constantinople, his zeal for perfection in the Psaltic Art and learning of the New Method led him to Gregory Protopsaltes, then Lambadarios of the Great Church of Christ.
The influence of Gregory onto the work of Theodore is clear, as his study of the the Greek and Turkish songs and their publication can only have arisen from Gregory. Nonetheless, Chourmouzios was also his teacher, since they chanted together at Tatavla.
He chanted for more than 30 years, the first six as Lambadarios of St Demetrios at Tatavla with the Teacher Chourmouzios, and the rest as Protopsaltes of St Nicholas at Galata with the ever-memorable Stavrakes.
Theodore Phokaeus informs us that in 1843 he stopped chanting in the Holy Church of St Nicholas at Galata, because his physical strength do not allow this work any more.
In the last decade of his life, Theodore focused on the publication and his personal compositions. However, he never stopped until his death to teach psalmody and external music. He started teaching at least 2-3 years after his attendancy at the Music School of the Nation, namely around 1820-21, when the School closed. He did not teach music as a hobby, but systematically, as in a school and earning money for living.
His multiple obligations and responsibilities which he had taken, together with his publications and his care to fulfill them, tired him physically and mentally and kept him far from music composition. And indeed it seems that he created his private work in the last decade of his life, as is seen from the fact that in his last two multivolume editions: the Musical Bee (4 volumes, in 1848) and the Tameion of Anthology (3 volumes, in 1851) he collected his own compositions, several of which are subtitled as «new» compositions. The only thing that evidently brings joy to him is that «his additional new melodies has been submitted to the judgment of His All Holiness and the Holy Sacred Synod around him, and having been examined, were accepted and deemed worthy to be published, as not new-sounding, but as strictly keeping the style and the melody of our traditional sacred ecclesiastical music».
The work of Theodore was quickly dissipated, was recorded in manuscripts in the Holy Mountain and elsewhere, and won the attraction of cantors because of its simplicity and its rythmic melody. On the 3rd of October of 1851, he died relatively young, as a man of virtue, being «still necessary to society».
Returning back to summarize the three folds of his actions and to measure his contribution to music, we must note that he composed in the last years of his life, deeming the compositions of his predecessors, as well as his contemporary teachers, as «perfect» melodies, and are noted in his Crepis as necessary lessons which must be taken by anyone who wants to perfect himself in the Psaltic Art.
Publishing his Crepis in 1842, he makes comments against the Lesbian System, which he deems as new-minded, and he does not forget, as in almost all his introductions, to praise the benefactors of the nation, the three Teachers and explainers of the New Method of analytic semeiography.
His teaching contribution in the Theory of music is witnessed in his chapter on «Orthography», which as an editor was the most appropriate to compose.
In the other contribution of Phokaeus, namely of the writing and publication of the songs, a lesson he calls «Kiari» is important for the use of the advanced in music. His publication activity started in 1830 with Efterpe, and finished with his death in 1851, when he saw printed the first volume of his three-volume Anthology.
In the duration of 20 years, he published eight works plus the two last multivolume works, ten basic books books, which are historic monuments of psaltic art, but also artistic monuments of typography. His publications came out in 2,000 copies each. The Anastasimatarion and the Anthology of Gregory Protopsaltes he published in two editions, The evolution of psalmody owes a lot to the publishing works of Theodore for the stability and promotioin of the psaltic tradition.
An important part of modern Greek history form the lists of subscribers in the end of his publications. At the end of the Collection of Idiomels (1831), the Anastasimatarion (1832 and 1839), the Bank of Anthology (1837), the Calophonic Heirmologion (1835), the Pandora (1843), and in pages 202-231 of the fourth volume of the Musical Bee (1848) there are the names of many hundreds of subscribers, with their profession and their place of origin. Hierarchs, hieromonks, monks, cantors, and music lovers from all the places of Orthodoxy were the sources of music civilisation.
(a) Main work – melodies of the daily offices
Anoixandaria in mode pl. IV.
«Blessed is the man...» (three): «greatest» in grave mode and pl. IV mode, and «short» in mode pl. IV.
Ecclesiastical Kekragaria, in the eight modes.
Dogmatic Theotokia of the Octoechos (excluding those of pl. II, grave and pl. VI modes).
Idiomel stichera of the Octoechos; the resurrectional of the Lauds of modes III and pl. VI, the resurrectional vesper stichera of mode VI, and the ressurectional aposticha of modes pl. I and pl. II.
Φ ῶ ς ἱ λαρ ό ν, in mode pl II. Doxastikon of the Matins' aposticha of Holy Wednesday, « Κύριε, ἡ ἐν πολλαῖς ἁμαρτίαις », mode pl. IV (slow sticheraric melody).
Two « Κατευθυνθ ή τω », in modes pl. I and pl. II for the Presanctified Liturgies.
Four « Ν ῦ ν α ἱ δυν ά μεις », in modes I, IV, grave and pl. IV.
Lesson « Θεοτ ό κε Παρθ έ νε », octaechon (shortening of the composition of Peter Bereketes).
Lesson « Παν ά γιε Νικ ό λαε » in mode pl. I (shortening of the composition of Daniel Protopsaltes).
Polyeleos « Ἐ ξομολογε ῖ σθε τ ῷ Κυρ ίῳ », in mode IV legetos.
Ecloge: two Λ ό γον Ἀ γαθ ὸ ν, in pl. IV and grave tetraphonic modes.
Theotokion for the ecloge, and the polyeleos of Chourmouzios Chartophylax.
Δ έ σποινα πρ ό σδεξαι in pl. IV.
Psalm 50, with the following Τα ὶ ς τ ῶ ν Ἀ ποστ ό λων - Ἀ ναστ ὰ ς (two)in grave and pl. IV modes.
The compunctional troparia of the Triodion « Τῆς μετανοίας – Τ ῆ ς σωτηρίας – Τὰ πλήθη » in mode II.
Five great Doxologies in modes I, grave, II, II chromatic starting from Ni (pl. IV chromatic), III, grave from Zo.
Calophonic heirmos « Ν ῦ ν πεποιθώς » in pl. IV.
Trisagion, Dynamis, Holy God... in mode II.
«Lord, have mercy», (and «for the Artoklasia») one series per mode (two in grave mode).
Eἰ ς πολλ ὰ ἔ τη - Δ ό ξα σοι Κ ύ ριε, mode III.
Cherubic hymns, for Sundays and feasts, great, a whole series, and another whole series of short ones.
Σιγησάτω π ᾶ σα σάρξ, in mode pl. I.
Ἄ ξι ό ν ἐ στιν, in modes III, IV legetes, pl. II, grave.
Communion hymns of Sundays « Α ἰ νε ῖ τε » per mode, eight.
Communion hymns of the feasts, eight.
Communion hymns for the leave-taking of modes « Μακάριοι ο ὗ ς ἐξελέξω », per mode, eight.
(b) Explanatory work – « τον ί σματα »
He explained many songs, Greek and Turkish, which were written in the notation prior to 1814, and published the books Euterpe and Pandora. Some songs must have been « τ ό νισμα », namely transcription of their melody by Theodore Phokaeus.
(b) Publication work
He published the following important music books: Euterpe (1830), Collection of idiomels (1831), Anastasimatarion (1832 and 1839), Anthology of Gregory Protopsaltes (1834 and Ι 837), Calophonic Heirmologion (1835), Doxastarion of Iakovos Protopsaltes (1836), Kripis (1842), Pandora (1843-1846), Musical Bee (1848), Anthology (1851, the first volume).
GEORGE RHAEDESTENOS II (1871- 1875)
George Rhædestenos II was acting Lambadarios, when Stephen the Lambadarios was old and weak. He was an unimmitable performer of psaltic art, and second to none of his contemporary cantors; he was especially renowned for his ancient-like patriarchal chanting style.
He was born in 1833 in Rhædestus, where his first learned music; but later became profficient in Constantinople by the Archcantor of the Great Church Constantine Byzantios, at the proposal of the retired in Antigone former Patriarch of Constantinople Constantine I from Sinai.
He served as a cantor in various churches of the Archbishopric of Constantinople. In 1863, under Patriarch Sophronios II of Amaseia, he was made Lambadarios of the Great Church, when Protopsaltes was John Byzantios. On 2 February 1871, under the patriarchy of Gregory VI, he became Archcantor in succession of Savrakes Gregoriades.
In October 1876, he retired from the patriarchate and lead the choir of the church of St John of Chios in Galata, of St Nicholas and the Saviour Christ, the church of the Holy Trinity at Peran, and towards the end of his life in the church of St Nicholas at Tzivali.
Rhædestenos beatified and metered all the lessons of the yearly service; he composed several hymns which stand out for their honey-sweetness; he published two music books, in which one can find the chanted services of the Holy Week and the Pentecostarion together with remarks from the Typikon.
Some of his beautiful hymns were published in the « Μουσικ ὸ ν Ἀ π ά νθισμα » by Demetrios Kyphiotes (1894), and by Agathangellos Kyriazides in the 1896 book « Ἕ ν ἄ νθος τ ῆ ς καθ ' ἡ μ ᾶ ς ἐ κκλησιαστικ ῆ ς μουσικ ῆ ς », as well as in the Athenian musical newspaper « Φόρμιγγα » (Mucical volume of the 1st year, pages 3 and 129).
For four years, he presided over the Hellenic Musical Association, which was based in Galata (1880-1884), and directed and taught at this Musical School (1882). He had few, but distinguished students. He died in August 1889.
The ever-memorable Iakovos Nafpliotis was a candle which was burnt on the lampstand of the Church, the Patriarchal analogion. A candle made of beeswax, which shined forth the light of the Resurrection. A light with the transparency and the colour of amethyst, the light that fills the mountain slopes, the Phanar halls, the worn out seat of the Archon Protopsaltes. O sweet light, enlighten our steps!
Iakovos was a worthy successor of his predecessors (Nikolaos Byzantios Lambadarios, Aristeidis Nikolaidis, Georgios Violakis, George Raidestinos II), who had the chance to listen to Daniel, Iakovos the Peloponnesian, Petros Byzantios and Gregory, the great composers and Archcantors. From all these people, directly or indirectly, Iakovos had something to learn.
He was born in Naxos in 1864. Young, he moved to Istanbul, where he was selected due to his excellent voice and, in 1878, hired as First Canonarch in the Patriarchal Church. This was a rather desirable position, because he greatly assisted the patriarchal choir by canonstarting, keeping the tone, and the typical order which he knew well and directed others to follow.
Iakovos progressed through all the stages of the music hierarchy (1881-1888 Second Domestikos, 1888-1905 First Domestikos, and 1905-1911 Lambadarios), and was officiated Archon Protopsaltes by Patriarch Joachim III in 1911.
From this distinguished position, Iakovos «arose as incense» the prayers of Christians to God with his sweet melody until 1938. Thus, with his continuous service he offered 60 years to the musical shrine of the Church, to the Revered Patriarchal Temple, to the Great Church of Christ.
During that period, he taught Byzantine Chant to the Patriarchal Music School of Phanar. In 1894, he published the two-volume «Forminga» containing chants and odes for the use of primary schools and every friend of music. Together with his Domestikos Constantine Klavvas, he published 1899 in two volumes the Doxastarion of Petros the Peloponnesian.
These lessons we hear today are the bridge - the arc-en-ciel - which connects us to Iakovos and his predecessors. That is how they chanted; that is Iakovos chanted; that is how Priggos later on chanted, with the same style, as there are heard today from their recordings.
Iakovos fell asleep in the Lord on December 5th, 1942 in Psychiko ( Athens, Greece ). His legend shall remember immortal.
Prof. A. Boudouris in an article in «Orthodoxia» remarks about Iakovos: «Iakovos Nafpliotis, who as Second Domestikos of the Patriarchal Temple, stood by the teacher Nikolaos Lambadarios, who always sang using manuscripts in the old notation of Petros the Peloponnesian, because he completely ignored the new notation, was introduced and educated in the Patriarchal style of chanting the ecclesiastical songs. He kept the music reality of the ancient Archcantors, and is today the continuer of the patriarchical tradition.».
Priggos, his student and follower said: «The first time I went and heard Iakovos was at the Canon of Supplication and he was saying " Ἄλαλα τὰ χείλη τῶν ἀσεβῶν... " (Let the impious lips be bereft of speech...) and the Patriarch Joachim III descended from the throne, worshipped [the icon of] the Pammakaristos and returned back, crossed himself and ascended back onto the throne. I was enthused with this thing I heard; I said: Nobody is a cantor but for him.».