Great-martyr Sava the Goth, also known as Sava the Romanian, is the earliest known native-born martyr on Romanian soil. He was born in 334 to Christian parents in a village in the Buzău valley and his Act of Martyrdom states that he was a Goth by race. His feast day is on April 15.
Life He was brought up as a good Christian and as a youth became chanter at the church of his spiritual father the priest St. Sansala. It is thought that he became a monk at the monastic community in the Buzău Mountains formed by refugees from Tomis who had fled the barbarian invasions there. He and St. Sava worked as monastic missionaries in the Buzău region bringing many pagan Dacians and Goths to belief in Christ. Between 370 and 372, the Gothic King Athanaric, who had settled in Dacia and was at war with Emperor Valens, began a great persecution of Christians in his territory. The Act of Martyrdom of St. Sava states that in 372, on the third day of Pascha, the soldiers of Athanaric under the direction of an official called Atarid captured both Ss. Sava and Sansala. They bound and tortured them in an attempt to make them sacrifice to idols and to eat of those sacrifices. St. Sava was condemned to death by drowning after courageously resisting these tortures and was thrown into the Buzău river with a heavy piece of wood tied around his neck. St. Sansala also resisted the Goths' tortures but was released. Athanaric's soldiers had wanted to release the martyr, but he urged them that they should follow out their orders, saying the following. 'Fulfill the command you were given. Beyond the river I see what you cannot; I see those who wait to take my soul and bring it to the place of God's glory.' So, he was martyred on April 12, 372, on the fifth day after Pascha, at the age of 38. His relics were taken by St. Sansala and hidden by the Christians until they could be sent for safety to the Roman Empire. Here they were received by Bishop Ascholius of Thessalonica. St. Basil the Great requested of the ruler of Scythia Minor, Junius Soranus, that he should send him the relics of saints and so the Dacian priests sent the relics of St. Sava to him in Caesaria, Cappadocia, in 373 or 374 accompanied by a letter, the Epistle of the Church of God in Gothia to the Church of God located in Cappadocia and to all the Local Churches of the Holy Universal Church. This letter is the oldest known writing to be composed on Romanian soil and was written in Greek, possibly by St. Vetranion of Tomis. In response St. Basil replied with two letters to Bishop Ascholius where he extolled the virtues of St. Sava, calling him an 'athlete of Christ' and 'Martyr for the truth'. External link Martyr Sava the Goth of Wallachia (OCA)
The basic Christian terms in Romanian are of Latin origin which suggests that the Christianization of the Romanians’ ancestors was done in Latin. Although during the Roman rule, Christianity could not manifest itself freely in Dacia province, but after 274, there was no obstacle in the way of its affirmation. The Gospel was not limited to the Germanic populations, and it was not addressed to them in a first stage. The fact that “Gothia” was the ground of the confrontation between the Orthodoxy and some heresies is less important, because - irrespective of the creed - Christianity became the most important way of propagation of the Roman civilization’s values. The primary sources record that Bishop Wulfila preached in Greek, Latin and Gothic; the Gothi minores (the people of Wulfila) settled in the Empire in 348, and his translation of the Bible suggests that among the Goths the sermons were preached in Gothic.
The (...) Goths, having engaged in a civil war among them, were divided into two parties, one of which was headed by Fritigern, the other by Athanaric. When the latter had obtained an evident advantage over his rival, Fritigern had recourse to the Romans, and implored their assistance against his adversary. (...) This became the occasion for the conversion of many of the barbarians to the Christian religion for Fritigern (...) embraced the religion of his benefactor /the Emperor Valens/, and urged those who were under his authority to do the same. Therefore it is that so many of the Goths are even to the present time infected with the errors of Arianism, they having on the occasion preferred to become adherents to that heresy on the emperor’s account. (...) /As/ Wulfila did not restrict his labors to the subjects of Fritigern, but extended them to those who acknowledged the sway of Athanaric also, Athanaric (...) subjected those who professed Christianity to severe punishments; so that many of the Arian Goths of that period became martyrs.
Following this and similar doctrines for 40 years, flourishing splendidly in the bishopric through apostolic grace, he /Wulfila/ preached in the Greek, Latin, and Gothic tongues (...)
the blessed Wulfila, having completed seven years in the office of bishop, was driven out by the vehemently threatening persecution from the country of the barbarians with a great host of confessors onto Roman soil
Remaining with his people (...) 33 years on Roman soil, he preached the truth
Auxentius of Durostorum and Milan aka Mercurinus was the foster-son of Ulfilas (Wulfila), the "apostle to the Goths." Ulfilas translated the Gothic Bible and converted the Goths to Arian Christianity. Auxentius was a deacon in Alexandria and a follower of the Arian bishop Dionysius of Milan. Biography In Milan, seat of the Western Imperial court, Nicene and Arian controversy flared high. In 386, Auxentius challenged Ambrose to a public disputation, in which the judges were to be the court favourites of the Arian empress; he also demanded for the Arians the use of the Basilica Portiana. Ambrose's refusal to surrender this church brought about a siege of the edifice, in which Ambrose and a multitude of his faithful Milanese had shut themselves up. The empress eventually abandoned her favourite and made peace with Ambrose. The Letter of Auxentius (ca 400) was preserved in the margins of a manuscript of De fide of Ambrose. Along with the Creed of Ulfilas it is one of the chief witnesses to the credence of the Arian Christians and the politics of the Church at the time when Nicene Christianity continued to be debated at the highest levels of the Catholic Church. He wrote an account of the life and death of Ulfilas that the Arian bishop Maximinus included (383) in a work directed against St. Ambrose and the Synod of Aquitesa, 381. This favourite of Empress Justina was the anti-bishop set up in Milan by the Arians on the occasion of the election of Ambrose. He challenged the latter in 386 to a public dispute in which the judges were to be the court favourites of the Arian empress; he also demanded for the Arians the use of the Basilica Portiana. The refusal to surrender this church brought about a siege of the edifice, in which Ambrose and a multitude of his faithful Milanese had shut themselves up. The empress eventually abandoned her favourite and made peace with Ambrose.  External links The letter of Auxentius: Jim Marchand, translator (link to Latin text) Ambrose: Sermon against Auxentius, "On the giving up of the basilicas".
Nicetas of Remesiana From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Saint Nicetas (ca. 335–414) was Bishop of Remesiana, present-day Bela Palanka in the Pirot District of modern Serbia, but which was then in the Roman province of Dacia Mediterranea. He is the patron saint of Romania.Whether born a Greek, or a Dacian, he promoted Latin sacred music for use during the eucharistic worship and reputedly composed a number of liturgical hymns, among which some twentieth-century scholars number the major Latin Christian hymn of praise, Te Deum, traditionally attributed to Saints Ambrose and Augustine.
Concert in Romanian, Bucharest, Church Sf. Elefterie
Because of his missionary activity, his contemporary and friend, Saint Paulinus of Nola lauded him poetically for instructing in the Gospel barbarians changed by him from wolves to sheep and brought into the fold of peace, and for teaching to sing of Christ with a Roman heart bandits who previously had no such ability. Lengthy excerpts survive of his principal doctrinal work, Instructions for Candidates for Baptism, in six books. They show that he stressed the orthodox position in Trinitarian doctrine. They contain the expression "communion of saints" in reference to the belief in a mystical bond uniting both the living and the dead in a confirmed hope and love. No evidence survives of previous use of this expression, which has since played a central role in formulations of the Christian creed. His feast day as a saint is on 22 June, the day on which Saint Paulinus of Nola also is celebrated. References 1.^ Webster's Online Dictionary; cf. [http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/apost_letters/documents/hf_jp-ii_apl_20000720_unione-romania-roma_en.html Letter of Pope John Paul II for the third centenary of the union of the Greek-Catholic Church of Romania with the Church of Rome 2.^ a b Encyclopaedia Britannica 3.^ The Romanian People - Continuer of the European Neolithic Civilization 4.^ "quod barbaros oves factos Evangelium edocuisset atque in pacis aulam duxisset et quondam inperiti ac latrones Christum corde romano resonare didicisset" (Martyrologium Romanum Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2001. ISBN 88-209-7210-7, p. 330). 5.^ Martyrologium Romanum. Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2001. ISBN 88-209-7210-7; Gross, Ernie. This Day In Religion. New York:Neal-Schuman Publications, 1990. ISBN 1-55570-045-4.
External links Catholic Encyclopedia article Encyclopaedia Britannica article
The author of a poem addressed to Nicetas, Bishop of Remesiana (today Bela Palanka in Serbia), who carried out an active mission south of the Danube and wrote in Latin, praised the bishop for having preached successfully to the Bessi settled around Naissus (today Niš in Serbia). The author also emphasizes the universal pacifying and civilizing power of Nicetas’s Christianizing efforts among the Bessi, the Schythians, the Getæ and the Dacians.
For the Bessians, whose minds are harder than their lands, who indeed are harder than their own snow, have now become sheep, and you lead them as they flock to the hall of peace. (...) Now the Bessians are richer, and delight in the reward of toil. The gold which they previously sought from the earth with their hands they now gather with their minds from heaven.
The Getæ run to you, as do also the Dacians, both those who dwell in the hinterland and the cap-wearers living on the bank of the Danube, rich in numbers of cattle.
Born: c 335 - Dacien [Dacian, Dacia] (modern Romania and Yugoslavia) Died: c 414 Nicetas [or Niketas], was a Dacian bishop, theologian, and composer of liturgical verse, whose missionary activity and writings effected the Christianization and cultivated a Latin culture among the barbarians in the lower Danube Valley. Around 366 Nicetas became a Bishop of Remesiana (Romatiana) in what is now Serbia. Recent investigations have resulted in a more definite knowledge of the person of this ecclesiastical writer. Gennadius of Marseilles, in his catalogue of writers ("De viris illustribus", xxii) mentions a "Niceas Romatianæ civitatis episcopus" to whom he ascribes two works: one, in six books, for catechumens, and a little book on a virgin who had fallen. Outside of this reference no writer and bishop of the name of Niceas is known. This Niceas, therefore, is, without doubt, the same as Nicetas, " Bishop of the Dacians", the contemporary and friend of St. Paulinus of Nola. The identity is shown by a comparison of Gennadius with Paulinus in his "Carmina" (xvii, xxvii), and, further, by the agreement in time. In Dacia, where, according to Paulinus, his friend Nicetas was bishop, there was a city called Romatiana (now Bela Palanka) on the great Roman military road from Belgrade to Constantinople, and this was the see of Nicetas. He is mentioned a number of times in the letters and poems of St. Paulinus of Nola, especially in Carmen xxvii, and in Carmen xvii "Ad Nicetam redeuntem in Daciam", written on the occasion of Nicetas's pilgrimage to Nola, in 398, to visit the grave of St. Felix. In this latter poem Paulinus describes how his friend, journeying home, is greeted everywhere with joy, because in his apostolic labours in the cold regions of the North, he has melted the icy hearts of men by the warmth of the Divine doctrine. He has laid the yoke of Christ upon races who never bowed the neck in battle. Like the Goths and Dacians, the Scythians are tamed; he teaches them to glorify Christ and to lead a pure, peaceable life. Paulinus wishes his departing friend a safe journey by land and by water. St. Jerome, too, speaks of the apostolic labours of Nicetas and says of him that he spread Christian civilization among the barbarians by his sweet songs of the Cross. This is all that is known concerning the life of Nicetas. Particulars concerning his literary activity are also given by Gennadius and Paulinus. The tradition concerning his writings afterwards became confused: his works were erroneously ascribed to Bishop Nicetas of Aquileia (second half of the 5th century) and to Nicetius of Trier. It was not until the researches of Dom Morin, Burn, and others that a larger knowledge was attained concerning the works of Nicetas. Gennadius mentions six books written by him in simple and clear style (simplici et nitido sermone), containing instructions for candidates for baptism (competentes). The first book dealt with the conduct of the candidates; the second treated of erroneous ideas of heathens; the third, of belief in one Divine Majesty; the fourth, of superstitious customs at the birth of a child (calculating nativities); the fifth, of confession of faith; the sixth, of the sacrifice of the paschal lamb. The work has not been preserved in its entirety, yet the greater part is still extant. Four fragments are known of the first book, one fragment of the second, the third probably consists of the two treatises, usually separated, but which undoubtedly belong together, namely, "De ratione fidei" and "De Spiritus sancti potentia". Nothing is known of the fourth book. The fifth, however, is most probably identical with the "Explanatio symboli habita ad competentes"; in the manuscripts it is sometimes ascribed to Origen, sometimes to Nicetas of Aquileia, but there are very strong reasons for assigning it to the Bishop of Remesiana. Nothing is known of the sixth book. Gennadius mentions another treatise addressed to a fallen virgin, "Ad lapsam virginem libellus", remarking that it would stimulate to reformation any who had fallen. This treatise used to be wrongly identified with the "De lapsu virginis consecratæ", traditionally assigned to St. Ambrose. Dom Morin has edited a treatise, unknown until he published it, "Epistola ad virginem lapsam" [Revue Bénédictine, XIV (1897)], which with far more reason may be regarded as the work of Nicetas. Paulinus of Nola praises his friend as a hymn-writer; from this it is evident that Gennadius has not given a complete list of the writings of Nicetas. It is, therefore, not impossible that further works, incorrectly ascribed by tradition to others, are really his. Morin has given excellent reasons to prove that the two treatises "De vigiliis servorum Dei" and "De psalmodiæ bono", which were held to be writings of Nicetius of Trier, are in reality the work of Nicetas ["Revue Biblique Internat.", VI (1897); "Revue Bénédictine", XIV (1897), where Morin gives for the first time the complete text of "De psalmodiæ bono"]. Particularly interesting is the fresh proof produced - again by Morin - to show that Nicetas, and not St. Ambrose, is the author of the "Te Deum" [Revue Bénédictine, XI (1894)]. Paulinus, like Jerome, speaks of him particularly as a hymn-writer. According to the testimony of Cassiodorus (De instit. divinarum litterarum, xvi) the "Liber de Fide" of Nicetas was, in his time, included in the treatise "De Fide" written by St. Ambrose, which shows that at an early date some were found to credit the great Bishop of Milan with works due to the Dacian bishop. The first complete edition of the works of Nicetas is that of Burn. Source: BBKL Website (March 2003, by Ansgar Franz); The Catholic Encyclopedia Contributed by Aryeh Oron (September 2005)
Prof. Nikolay Ovcharov shows the two crosses and the seal he discovered at Perperikon over the last week. Photo by BGNES
The team of Bulgarian archaeologist, Professor Nikolay Ovcharov, has discovered relics of a medieval saint at the fortress of Perperikon in the Rhodoppe Mountains.
The remains of human bones were found inside one of two bronze crosses as the archaeologists were excavating two churches.
One of the crosses is larger and has an life-like image of the crucified Jesus Christ on its front, and an image of Virgin Mary praying on its back. It is dated back to 10-11th century.
The second cross is smaller, with geometrical motives, dated to 5th-7th century AD, and it is inside it that the archaeologists found the remains of human bones.
"These are broken and decayed bones, most definitely of a saint. We will never learn which saint they belonged to, there are no inscriptions or signs whatsoever," Professor Ovcharov said as quoted by BGNES.
He underscored the fact that Perperikon, the ancient Thracian city, had later become one of the most important centers of Christianity in the entire region. One of the two churches discovered at Perperikon is the oldest in the region, dated back to 4th and 5th centuries, the rules of Emperor Arcadius (395-408 AD) in the Eastern Roman Empire, and Emperor Honorius (395-423 AD) in the Western Roman Empire, after the division of the Roman Empire in 395 AD.
This coincides with the mission of Bishop Niketa of Remesiana (lived 335-414 AD) who started to convert the population in the Rhodoppes to Christianity in 393-398 AD.
Ovcharov's hypothesis is that the church at Perperikon was the first church of Bishop Niketa in that region.
Ovcharov's team has discovered numerous coins of both above-mentioned emperors, which are a proof about the dynamic development of Perperikon at the time, and believes that it was the seat of a bishop from the 4th to the 14th century, right up to the Ottoman conquest.
The archaeologists have discovered a number of bronze, gold, and silver crosses, as well as a number of seals. The latest seal they found bears the name of Byzantine dignitary Museliy Bakoriani (or Muselius Pakourianos).
The name Bakoriani is connected with the founders of the Bachkovo Monastery, which is located nearby, and is still operating today, and attracting thousands of visitors. The monastery was formally founded in 1083 AD by the brothers Gregory and Abasius Bakoriani. The archaeologists are seeking to discover information about the actual connections between the Bachkovo Monastery and the city of Perperikon in the Middle Ages.
The relics of the unknown saint will be donated to the Assumption of Mary Church in the nearby city of Kardzhali where since 2003 pieces of the Holy Cross of Jesus Christ discovered by archaeologists have been preserved.
Very little is certain about Aethicus of Istria, who seems to have been a traveller, and may have lived in the fifth century AD. His name is a reference to the Danube (Ister), or to Istria, a peninsula in the Adriatic sea. He may have been Iulius Honorius Crator, ethnicus Histricus, but several other identifications have been proposed. He is the author of the Cosmographia, a book about geography.
ALFABETUL ” AETHICUS ” IN TREI REPRODUCERI DIFERITE : Prezbiterul Ieronim, intr-un manuscris din veacul VIII By ARP
Alfabetul lui Aethicus Histricus se gaseste reprodus , in versiunea probabil cea mai veche care s-a pastrat , intr-un manuscris din veacul VIII, alcatuit de prezbiterul Ieronim ,la manastirea Freising din Germania ; el va fi editat in 1853 intr-o editie devenita clasica , a eruditului german H. Wuttke ,fara consultarea careia nici o cercetare serioasa in aceasta materie nu este posibila.
Raportat la ” versiunea D’ Avezac ” , alfabetul nu prezinta deosebiri majore , dar unele diferente exista si ar merita studiate atent, aflandu-se si explicatiile plauzibile
Nestor Vornicescu: “Aethicus Histricus ecrivan protoroumain – auteur d’une cosmographie et d’un alphabet”
Ayant placé au centre de nos recherches – pendant plusieurs décennies – le problème de la présence, de la circulation et du rôle de certains écrits anciens dans notre littérature depuis les premières attestations – IV-e siècle –, parmi la multitude de données historiques et documentaires en général nous avons rencontré également certains éléments allogènes intéressants. Dignes d’attention et d’approfondissement, n’étant que sporadiquement signalés ou partiellement étudiés, sur certains d’entre eux nous nous sommes arrêtés dans des écrits spécialement destinés, dans l’intention d’apporter des données nouvelles, nécessaires à l’élucidation de certains aspects concernant directement la culture ancestrale de notre peuple à l’époque de son ethnogénèse.
Dans ce domaine d’étude, nous avons rencontré des écrits qui ont paru et circulé chez nous comme dans d’autres régions de l’Europe, en Asie Mineure, souvent en Afrique de Nord, écrits non patristiques, quelques-uns non orthodoxes, de l’antiquité tardive, et certains d’entre eux non chrétiens.
De cette dernière catégorie fait partie également l’auteur géto-daco-romain que dans ces pages nous présentons pour la première fois au public roumain*, le philosophe protoroumain Aethicus Histricus, auteur d’une intéressante Cosmographie et d’un Alphabet «original».
La Cosmographie se trouve aujourd’hui dans une version abréviée datant du VIII-e siècle, Aethicus est reconnu comme auteur d’autres écrits aussi, dont les textes ne sont plus connus aujourd’hui. Nous sommes particulièrement intéressés par les écrits d’Aethicus, parce que c’est l’oeuvre en langue latine d’un Protoroumain, homme de haute culture, d’une formation multilatérale, un vrai érudit, né dans la région de notre Histria, en Dobrogea, et parce qu’au sujet de cette oeuvre les travaux de spécialité n’offrent aucune donnée, aucun élément édifiant.
La difficulté de connaître le problème n’est que partiellement atténuée grâce au fait que la littérature européenne du haut Moyen Age, celle moderne ainsi que celle contemporaine apportent quelques lumières et précisions sur l’oeuvre d’Aethicus Histricus. Ainsi, sont déjà parues deux éditions de la Cosmographie abréviée, l’une à Paris en 1852, grâce à A. d’Avezac, et l’autre publiée à Leipzig en 1853 par H. Wuttke, auxquelles s’ajoute une reproduction-photocopie, avec une introduction par T. A. M. Bishop – publication parue à Amsterdam en 1966.
Reconstituant ce qui représente un patrimoine certe de ce que nous connaissons jusqu’à ce jour, on peut conclure que sur le territoire actuel de la Roumanie il y a de nombreux vestiges datant des premiers siècles et témoignant tant de l’existence et de la continuité de nos ancêtres daco-romains que de notre culture ancienne et de notre civilisation roumaine.
Ainsi, au Bas-Danube, des témoignages divers mais édifiants d’écrivains et de textes littéraires, il y en a certainement et surtout des IV–Vl-e siècles.
Le philosophe protoroumain Aethicus Histricus, de noble souche – selon la Cosmographie abréviée – (nobile prosapia parentum) a pu être un descendant de la classe dirigeante de la cité et de la région Histria (Histriae regiona) de Scythia Minor (nationae scythica), vers la moitié du IV-e siècle. Dans la Cosmographie, Aethicus précise qu’il est né à Histria (iile Histria se exortum). Il fut éduqué et instruit dans les écoles locales de l’époque et s’il provenait de la classe dirigeante, il a pu recevoir également une instruction en privé avec des professeurs de littérature classique latine et grecque. Mais il n’est pas exclu que, comme d’autres fils de la Dacie Pontique des siècles antérieurs ou postérieurs, il ait suivi des cours académiques dans les hautes écoles de l’époque, de l’Asie Mineure, de Grèce ou d’autres parties du monde – de ce monde connu alors – et surtout qu’il ait beaucoup voyagé. Les renseignements recueillis au cours de ses voyages, il ne les a pas gardés uniquement pour soi mais les a destinés à être connus par ses contemporains comme par la postérité.
Il était donc intéressé par la circulation ultérieure des connaissances qu’il avait accumulées. Il fut philosophe, explorateur, faisant de longs voyages – probablement accompagné par d’autres Daco-Romains de Histria – il fut marchand d’or et de pierres précieuses, et en cette qualité il parcourut tout le monde connu alors, traversant, avec ses disciples, les régions de l’Europe, de l’Asie et de l’Afrique. Il cherchait surtout à étudier les nations qui se trouvaient hors de la sphère de culture gréco-romaine, nations que ne mentionnaient ni les écrits bibliques.
Pendant plus de cinq ans, Aethicus Histricus est resté en Grèce, à Athènes, dans d’autres cités continentales ou bien dans les îles grecques, s’entretenant avec les philosophes de l’époque. Il fit la même chose en Espagne, pendant un an. Il partit ensuite vers le Nord, dans des régions que n’avaient pas encore parcourues ni même les géographes grecs ou romains. Il a connu des peuplades germaniques de la jpartie occidentale du continent européen, ainsi que bien d’autres des îles et des péninsules de la Mer du Nord et de la Baltique. Il voyagea également au Danemark, en Finlande, Norvège et Suède.
Lors de ses voyages en Orient et au Sud, il resta plus d’une année en Arménie, il voyagea vers les Portes Caspiques, en Alanie, et vers le Nord jusqu’à la «Mer Glacée». Il visita les contrées de la Mésopotamie, de la Mongolie, les Sources du Gange, dans l’Himalaya, aux Indes il voyagea sur le Gange sur son propre navire, continuant ensuite son voyage, toujours sur l’eau, jusqu’au Ceylon. Au retour, il passa par Babilon, par l’Arabie, l’ancien Canaan, Egypte et Lybie.
Au sujet de tous ces difficiles et même dangereux voyages on trouve des renseignements précieux dans la Cosmographie d’Aethicus, abréviée. Aethicus y présente des données parfois détaillées concernant la vie des peuples qu’il a visités – peuples plus ou moins cultivés –, concernant leurs dieux, leurs moeurs, leur manière de construire les navires, leurs vertus guerrières, leurs armes ou systèmes stratégiques, les richesses de ces contrées – or, argent, cuivre, fer, pierres précieuses, céréales, bétail etc. – donc, son travail représente une véritable étude ethnologique, au niveau et dans les conditions possibles alors, et avec un remarquable sens de l’investigation.
Les spécialistes sont d’avis, et à juste raison, que ce véritable journal de voyage intitulé Cosmographie a été rédigé – en latin – dans des moments plus paisibles, au retour de ces voyages, à Histria, en Dobrogea, vers la fin du IV-e siècle et le début du V-e.
De nombreux aspects de la Cosmographie attestent l’intelligence de l’auteur autant que l’envergure de ses préoccupations, fondées sur la vaste culture qu’il avait acquise. A remarquer l’inventivité de son esprit et ses aptitudes variées, par exemple celles d’architecte: il consigna par écrit le projet d’un pont à Hael-lespont d’une manière spéciale, utilisant les lettres de l’alphabet hébraïque, grec et latin tout autour et au milieu plaçant les mots-clé écrits avec les lettres de son propre alphahet, l’alphabet daco-romain, protoroumain, connu aujourd’hui dans le monde sous le titre d’Alphabet Aethicus Histricus – alphabet ayant ses propres lettres et dénominations.
La Cosmographie et l’Alphabet d’Aethicus Histricus se sont diffusés dans le monde, selon la coutume d’alors, par des copies – manuscrites.
La Cosmographie renferme des données, notamment géographiques qui ne figuraient dans aucun autre ouvrage de la littérature gréco-romaine de l’époque.
L’Alphabet se distingue des autres alphabets connus jusqu’alors par ses caractères et les noms de ses lettres:
Au total, 22 lettres, selon le plus ancien manuscrit-copie, du VIII-ème siècle, de la Cosmographie abréviée.
Le manuscrit de Rabanus Maurus, du IX-e siècle, a encore une lettre vers la fin de l’Alphabet Aethicus, après Azathot – la lettre Reque, incluse aussi par A.d’Avezac dans l’édition de la Cosmographie de l’année 1852.
Aux VI–VH-e siècles, au moins un exemplaire de la Cosmographie d’Aethicus Histricus est parvenu dans les contrées du Sud de l’Espagne et là, l’Archevêque Isidore de Seville, en rédigeant son ouvrage à caractère encyclopédique, dénommé Ethymologies, a utilisé de nombreuses données qui ne se trouvaient que dans la Cosmographie d’Aethicus Histricus.
Au VIII-e siècle, dans la région de Bavière ou de l’actuelle Suisse, probablement à St. Gallen, pas loin de Freising, un prêtre nommé Jérôme, hieromoine bénédictin, à ce qu’il paraît, a eu dans ses mains un exemplaire de la Cosmographie d’Aethicus. Le père Jérôme a du lire et relire, avec un vif intérêt, l’ouvrage du Géto-Daco-Romain Aethicus Histricus. Puisque celui-ci était philosophe païen et avait décrit bien des choses de son propre point de vue, nonchrétien, Jérôme a considéré que l’oeuvre d’Aethicus, bien que valeureuse autant qu’intéressante, pourrait, d’autre part, dérouter un chrétien. Mais il est tout aussi possible que Jérôme ait eu l’intention de mettre à la portée des maîtres et de leurs disciples des écoles médiévales épiscopales et monacales un manuel de géographie d’une haute tenue scientifique et en même temps d’un contenu solide et divers.
Jérôme, pour mener à bonne fin ses intentions, censura toute la Cosmographie d’Aethicus, hachurant – selon son propre aveu – les endroits qu’il considérait moins intéressants pour un chrétien et inadéquats pour être lus et enseignés dans les écoles médiévales. Par cette intervention, il donna à la Cosmographie d’Aethicus Histricus une rédaction abréviée, réduite à environ cent pages de manuscrit – dimensions plus adéquates probablement à ses desseins didactiques. Les idées et les données d’Aethicus, il les a formulées selon son propre point de vue, par ses propres mots, mais – chose très importante pour nous – par endroits il a reproduit textuellement dans la langue latine d’Aethicus, des paragraphes entiers de la Cosmographie, reproduisant à la fin l’Alphabet d’Aethicus Histricus, ainsi que le nom des lettres.
Toujours au VIII-e siècle, peu de temps après que Jérôme ait rédigé cette version abréviée de la Cosmographie d’Aethicus, dans l’école episcopale de manuscrits d’auprès de la cathédrale de Freising, Bavière, fut faite une copie de la Cosmographie abréviée au temps du pastorat d’Arbeo (764–784). C’est la copie qui s’est conservée par bonheur jusqu’à nos jours à la Bibliothèque publique de l’Université de Leipzig.
Les travaux contemporains de spécialité mentionnent aujourd’hui quelques autres copies de cette Cosmographie abréviée datant de la fin du VIII-e siècle et le début du IX-e siècle.
Le renommé bénédictin de Fulda, Rabanus Maurus (IX-e siècle) cite la Cosmographie abréviée d’Aethicus dans un ouvrage personnel et dans un autre opuscule – rédigé probablement à des fins didactiques – après avoir énuméré, avec de brèves introductions, quelques alphabets – hébraïque, grec, latin – en quatrième lieu présente l’Alphabet d’Aethicus, «de la région de Histria, d’origine scythe», et à la fin, en cinquième lieu, un ancien alphabet germanique.
Ultérieurement, jusqu’au XVI-e siècle, sont parues plusieurs copies de la Cosmographie d’Aethicus, et de nos jours on connaît environ 40 copies de l’ouvrage – quelques-unes seulement mentionnées, sans autres indications certes.
Il faut préciser également qu’il y eut une confusion quant à l’abréviateur, une inadvertance au sujet de la Cosmographie abréviée. A cause de la coïncidance de noms entre l’abréviateur, «le prêtre Jérôme» et le renommé Père de l’Eglise, Jérôme, nommé d’habitude «le saint» en Occident et «le bienheureux» en Orient, et puisque la Cosmographie abréviée d’Aethicus a été reliée à côté de certains ouvrages en manuscrit du Bienheureux Jérôme par quelqu’un qui appréciait l’ouvrage et souhaitait le garder avec d’autres ouvrages valeureux, on a considéré, en vertu de ces circonstances accidentelles, que l’abréviateur – nommé parfois même «le traducteur du grec» de la Cosmographie d’Aethicus – aurait été ce grand père et écrivain ecclésiastique occidental.
Une autre confusion quant à l’oeuvre d’Aethicus Histricus: dans certaines anthologies géographiques médiévales, quelques ouvrages anonymes de cosmographie précédant la Cosmographie abréviée d’Aethicus ont été attribués à celui-ci. Ultérieurement, des cosmographies comme celles de Iulius Honorius ou Oros furent publiées sous le titre et le nom de «Pseudo-Aethi-cus» ou avec la précision «attribuée à Aethicus».
Cette situation, ainsi que l’état où se présentait la Cosmographie d’Aethicus, avec un texte pas très clair, assez corrompu, rédigé dans le latin d’entre les siècles IV et V, a privé longtemps cet ouvrage – valeureux par son ancienneté comme par son contenu – de l’attention qu’il méritait de la part des spécialistes.
Au XlX-e siècle, la Cosmographie d’Aethicus Histricus allait susciter un plus d’intérêt de la part des chercheurs, étant éditée et au moins partiellement étudiée jusqu’à nos jours.
Une remarquable étude introductive est due à H. Wuttke, concernant le texte qu’il a édité d’après le manuscrit le plus ancien connu jusqu’à ce jour de la Cosmographie abréviée, l’exemplaire de Leipzig.
Après Jérôme l’abréviateur et ses témoignages concernant Aethicus Histricus et son oeuvre, H. Wuttke est le premier chercheur qui précise les données visant l’origine de ce philosophe géto-daco-romain, né au Bas-Danube, en Scythia Minor. Les noms des localités de l’ancienne région de Histria sont déroutantes en apparence parce que les ruines de Histria n’étaient pas encore découvertes et il a utilisé les équivalents toponymiques turcs – de la période de la domination ottomane en Dobrogea. Mais Wuttke a été dérouté également par le fait que deux manuscrits – copies de la Cosmographie abréviée contenaient, à cause des copistes, une inadvertance, à savoir: au lieu de Histria était écrit historiam. L’inadvertance semblait confirmée aussi par certaines erreurs commises dans Itinerarium Antonini Augusti (édition Parthey et Pindao, Berlin, 1848, p. 106) où est mentionnée la localité Historiam au lieu de Histria. La correction nécessaire, nous la faisons à l’aide du I-er volume de la collection Sources concernant l’Histoire de la Roumanie. De Hésiode à Itinerarium Antonini (Bucarest, 1964, pp. 748–749), où le susdit texte est publié correctement – et ce n’était pas seulement le nom de Histria à être reproduit de manière erronée mais il y avait aussi Tornos au lieu de Tomis, Callacis au lieu de Callatis.
La précision du lieu de naissance d’Aethicus Histricus au Bas-Danube, dans l’actuelle Dobrogea, est confirmée ultérieurement par Kurt Hillkovitz, dans le deuxième ouvrage qu’il consacre à Aethicus, publié à Frankfurt en 1973, ainsi que par d’autres chercheurs.
Une contribution récente appartient à l’éminent professeur italien Vittorio Peri qui, compte tenu des fouilles archéologiques initiées à Histria par Vasile Pârvan en 1914 et continuées de nos jours par l’Académie de la République Socialiste de Roumanie et dont les résultats sont publiés dans de nombreuses monographies et volumes, établit, s’appuyant également sur les attestations archéologiques, le lieu de naissance d’Aethicus Histricus à Histria, en Dobrogea.
Ainsi sont mises à jour des données concernant la première étape de notre culture ancienne, daco-romaine, en même temps que la postérité de celle-ci. A présent, nous pouvons mieux comprendre le contexte de l’apparition des écrits protoroumains, de l’apparition de la Cosmographie d’Aethicus et d’autres de ses écrits, de son Alphabet élaboré assurément à l’aide de certains éléments de la culture locale géto-daco-romaine. Aethicus établit et utilise cet Alphabet à l’époque même de la romanisation des Géto-Daces, à l’époque de l’ethnogenèse du peuple roumain.
Par son auteur, par le lieu de sa rédaction, son apparition et sa diffusion, par la langue latine dans laquelle elle fut écrite, l’oeuvre d’Aethicus Histricus appartient au patrimoine de notre culture très ancienne, de l’époque de l’ethnogenèse roumaine.
Des inscriptions anciennes et des écrits du territoire actuel de la Roumanie, on en connaît notamment dans les colonies grecques de la Dacie Pontique, fondées aux VII–VI siècles av. J. Ch. Là, s’était développée, comme dans le monde hellène, une culture profonde et diverse, qui donna naissance à des savants tels Satyros de Callatis (IH-e siècle av. J. Ch.), créateur du genre biographique, Héracléides Lembos, toujours de Callatis (Il-e siècle av. J. Ch.) auquel on a attribué une «Vie d’Archimede», Istros, auteur d’un ouvrage «Sur la tragédie» etc.
Les relations politiques et économiques variées que les cités pontiques – comme vient de le préciser Petru Vaida dans une étude récente – entretenaient avec la population autochtone géto-dace, trouvent leur expression aussi dans les influences culturelles réciproques, qui deviennent beaucoup plus intenses à l’époque romaine, quand les Géto-Daces romanisés commencent à prendre une part active au gouvernement des cités. En Do-brogea, dans les cités de la rive du Pont Euxin, où les traditions de la philosophie antique étaient encore vivantes, furent créées des conditions favorables pour le développement de la culture daco-romaine de langue latine, un fruit de ce processus culturel étant aussi l’oeuvre d’Aethicus Histricus.
L’oeuvre de ce philosophe protoroumain a été précédée et suivie aussi par d’autres écrivains et écrits au Bas-Danube en langue latine aux IV–Vl-e siècles.
Parmi les textes antérieurs à l’oeuvre d’Aethicus au Bas-Danube, nous rappelons maintenant les écrits-documents chrétiens : «Le martyre» des Saints Epictet et Astion de Halmyris, Dasius d’Axiopolis, Aemilianus de Durostorum, ainsi que probablement, une version en latin du «Martyre de Saint Sabbas» de la région de Buzău, d’entre les années 372–374, et «l’Epître d’Auxentius de Durostorum». Parmi les textes postérieurs à Aethicus, nous mentionnons l’oeuvre de Saint Jean Cassien, les Homélies de Laurence de Novae, les écrits de Saint Nicétas de Rémésiana, l’oeuvre de l’évêque Jean de Tomis, l’Epître de Téo-tim II de Tomis, les écrits des «moines scythes» dont notamment Jean Maxence et Denys le Petit (Exiguus).
Ces auteurs daco-romains de langue latine, originaires du Bas-Danube, ont porté jusqu’au loin, à travers le monde connu à l’époque, la renommée des contrées pontiques-danubiennes, apportant des contributions valeureuses à la culture universelle de l’époque.
Au Bas-Danube, dans le sud de la Moldavie, en Transylvanie – tel que l’atteste, entre autres, l’inscription de Biertan – dans le territoire d’entre le Danube et les Carpathes Méridionaux, aux IV–V-e siècles la population autochtone daco-romaine parlait le latin. Cela constitue aussi une preuve de la présence et de la continuité des Protoroumains dans l’espace de l’ancienne Dacie. On y parlait une langue intensément romanisée et on écrivait dans le latin de l’époque, tel qu’il était utilisé aussi dans les autres régions de l’Empire Romain. Chez les Daco-Romains qui avaient désormais reçu le christianisme – à l’époque de leur ethnogenèse – une grande partie de la terminologie ecclésiastique théologique a été prise directement du latin et s’est conservée comme telle, constituant ainsi un des témoignages les plus évidents de la continuité daco-romaine. La langue latine de ces «Scythes», tels Aethicus Histricus, Jean Cassien, Jean Ma-xence, Denys le Petit, était le latin de la românite orientale, avec certaines influences provenant des milieux où avaient circules les auteurs respectifs.
Les oeuvres écrites en latin et les inscriptions du Bas-Danube de l’époque proto-roumaine constituent, selon les paroles du P. Prof. Ioan Gh. Coman «un témoignage irrécusable de la ro-manisation de la Dacie, Scythia Minor en tête».
La Dacie romanisée était intégrée dans la românite orientale et la langue latine et la foi orthodoxe ont constitué les «puissants leviers de la continuité».
Comme le prouve aussi l’oeuvre d’Aethicus Histricus, l’usage du latin est incontestablement prédominant, même dans les conditions des influences grecques inhérentes, dues aux cités du Pont Euxin et aux contacts étroits avec Byzance à partir du IV-e siècle. Le latin n’était pas seulement la langue de la culture mais aussi la langue parlée par les larges couches de la population daco-romanisée. En se référant à Scythia Minor et à d’autres régions romanisées avoisinantes, le grand érudit Nicolae Iorga montrait que le peuple qui parlait le latin déterminait en grande mesure l’emploi du latin par les écrivains, même si ceux-ci auraient pu rédiger leurs écrits en grec par exemple.
L’oeuvre d’Aethicus, comme celles d’autres hommes de culture protoroumains, est l’expression de l’appartenence culturelle et linguistique à la latinité orientale des habitants de ces contrées. La culture et la langue latine de ces régions a pu revêtir des formes supérieures et s’exprimer dans d’oeuvres originales, étant assimilées bien des traditions matérielles et spirituelles géto-daces. La latinité et l’unité de la langue roumaine d’aujourd’hui sont des témoignages incontestables – et reconnus comme tels depuis longtemps – de l’origine daco-romaine du peuple roumain, de sa permanence et de son ethnogenèse dans les limites territoriales de la Dacie de Burebista.
Les écrivains protoroumains ont enrichi avec des éléments de la civilisation ancienne la roumanité orientale mais aussi celle occidentale, non seulement par la postérité de leurs oeuvres mais même à leur époque. Quand ils n’ont pas circulé eux-mêmes entre ces deux aires de culture – avec tant d’éléments fondamentaux communs – ce furent leurs oeuvres qui ont circulé. Ces écrivains sont toujours restés les «Scythes» du Bas-Danube, c’est-à-dire des Daco-Romains de cet espace accessible tant par la terre que par la mer. Ils se considéraient soit des Daco-Romains, soit des «Scythes», nom qu’ils acceptaient sans aucune raison préconçue, comme ce fut le cas d’Aethicus Histricus, celui qui avait eu tant d’occasions de présenter soi-même son nom, son surnom ainsi que son renom, dans les lointaines contrées qu’il a parcourues.
Constituant le caractère essentiel de notre langue et de notre culture, la latinité a été «le stimulent de notre énergie ethnique», selon la formule du Prof. Radu Vulpe, tout comme par notre être, par le lien étroit avec la terre de la Patrie, nous avons gardé les vertus de nos ancêtres Géto-Daces dans la structure spécifique de notre peuple.
Comme le prouvent aussi les oeuvres écrites protoroumaines, le processus de la romanisation s’est prolongé bien après le Ill-e siècle et s’est étendu au-delà des frontières de l’ancienne Dacie Trajane, conférant une physionomie culturelle et linguistique unitaire à tout l’espace carpatho-danubien-ponti-que, avec une redoutable ténacité devant les vicissitudes de l’Histoire.
En récapitulant, nous retenons le fait que l’oeuvre d’Aethicus Histricus nous atteste la présence de la culture latine, dans des formes supérieures de manifestation, sur le sol fécond géto-dace, dans la région de Histria, en Dobrogea, au seuil des siècles IV et V. Aux côtés et avec les autres oeuvres de Protoroumains, élaborées en latin, l’oeuvre d’Aethicus a contribué au processus de consolidation de la romanisation de ces contrées et en même temps à l’unité spirituelle de l’Europe.
Voilà, dans ces quelques paragraphes finals, le contexte général historico-culturel dans lequel s’implique et doit être interprétée la signification de l’oeuvre d’Aethicus Histricus, pour pouvoir l’évaluer tant dans le cadre de son époque que dans la postérité
Ioannes Cassianus (etiam notus ut: Ioannes Massiliensis (natus circa annum 360 in provincia Scythia minor - mortuus est circa annum 435 Massiliae) fuit presbyter, monachus, abbas ac scriptor. Ecclesia Catholica eum sanctum putat et diem festam eius die 23 Iulii celebrat. Opera De Coenobiorum Institutis Libri Duodecim De Incarnatione Christi Contra Nestorium Haereticum Libri Septem Epistolas Castoris Aptensis Episcopi Ad Cassianum Abbatem Massiliensem Paucae Quaedam Sententiae Piam Interpretationem Desiderantes Vita Operaque. Illustrium Virorum Nexus externi Opera Omnia apud Migne Patrologia Latina Karl-Heinz Kleber: JOHANNES Cassianus, in Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL), tomus 3, Herzberg 1992, ISBN 3-88309-035-2, columnae 300–303 (Theodisce)
(John Cassian)c.360–433, abbot. Born probably in Romania, Cassian became a monk at Bethlehem, but left in c.385 with his friend Germanus to study monasticism in Egypt. Here he was influenced by the teaching of Evagrius Ponticus. In c.400 he was in Constantinople, where he was ordained deacon and became the fervent disciple and defender of John Chrysostom, who had favoured and promoted Origenist monks. For a time Cassian seems to have shared the charge of the cathedral treasury. A few years later, however, when Chrysostom was deposed at the Synod of the Oak, his disciples, Cassian included, left Constantinople for Italy, where he pleaded Chrysostom's cause with the pope, Innocent I. From then onwards his life was spent in the West. Ordained priest probably at Marseilles, Cassian founded two monasteries there in c.415: one for men (at the tomb of Victor), the other for women. At this time Provence was overrun by refugees from the barbarian invasions; the monastic movement, approved by some and attacked by others, both Christian and pagan, needed leadership, example, and an interpreter of the Egyptian tradition to Gaul. This Cassian became through his monastic writings, the Institutes and the Conferences. The Institutes were concerned with life in community, the Conferences are supposedly sermons of Egyptian hermits, but inevitably there is much overlap between the two treatises. Cassian insisted that monastic life was apostolic in origin, based on the practice of the early Church of the Acts of the Apostles. He recognized the theoretical superiority of the hermit life, but seemed in practice to dissuade anyone ‘imperfect’ from undertaking it. According to some scholars the solitude which was higher than the community was ‘not naked solitude but the society of hermits with a common worship and discipline’. This, however, was not how his teaching was always understood. It does seem certain that Cassian's own monasteries were, like Benedict's, schools for beginners or cenobites. It was through Benedict's recommendation of Cassian as a spiritual guide to his monks that Cassian's writings attained very wide diffusion. With Augustine and Gregory he was a standard monastic guide throughout the Middle Ages and beyond Cassian's other works include a treatise on the Incarnation, requested by Leo to acquaint Western readers with the teaching of Nestorius. More damaging to his posthumous reputation was his teaching on Grace. Here he reacted so strongly against what he saw as Augustine's excesses on predestination that he is sometimes called the founder of semi-Pelagianism. A well-meant reaction led to his falling into error, teaching that the first steps towards the Christian life were taken by the human will which only later was helped powerfully by divine grace. There are no Acts of Cassian, no record of miraculous cures at his tomb in Marseilles. But his body, that of a big man, was kept in the later Middle Ages (and probably before), in a marble tomb on four pillars. Urban V, an Avignon pope and formerly abbot of Marseilles, caused his head to be enclosed in a silver casket and engraved ‘Head of St. Cassian’. In the diocese of Marseilles but not outside it his feast was kept on 23 July. His name is in the Roman Martyrology; as a writer for monks and a monastic founder. Feast: 23 July: 29 February in the East. Bibliography Click here for a list of abbreviations used in this bibliography. •Works in P.L., xlix–l and in C.S.E.L. (ed. M. Petschenig), xiii and xvii •Institutes in J. C. Guy, Institutions Cenobitiques (S.C. 1965), tr. E. C. S. Gibson in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers (1894) and in O. Chadwick, Western Asceticism (1958). Studies by J. C. Guy (Paris 1961), L. Cristiani (2 vols., 1946), and O. Chadwick, John Cassian (2nd edn., 1968) •see also P. Rousseau, Ascetics, Authority and the Church (1978), pp. 169–239
Dionysius Exiguus (Dionysius the Humble)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Born c. 470 Died c. 544 Venerated in Romanian Orthodox Church Canonized 8 July 2008, Bucharest by the Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church Feast 1 September (first day of the Byzantine liturgical year) Dionysius Exiguus (Dennis the Little or Dennis the Short, meaning humble) (c. 470 – c. 544) was a sixth century monk born in Scythia Minor, modern Dobruja, Romania (a small portion is in Bulgaria). He was a member of the Scythian monks community concentrated in Tomis, the major city of Scythia Minor. From about 500 he lived in Rome, where, as a learned member of the Roman Curia, he translated from Greek into Latin 401 ecclesiastical canons, including the apostolical canons and the decrees of the councils of Nicaea, Constantinople, Chalcedon and Sardis, and also a collection of the decretals of the popes from Siricius to Anastasius II. These collections had great authority in the West and still guide church administrations. Dionysius also wrote a treatise on elementary mathematics. The author of a continuation of Dionysius's Computus, writing in 616, described Dionysius as a "most learned abbot of the city of Rome", and the Venerable Bede accorded him the honorific abbas , which could be applied to any monk, especially a senior and respected monk, and does not necessarily imply that Dionysius ever headed a monastery; indeed, Dionysius's friend Cassiodorus stated in Institutiones that he was still only a monk late in life. Dionysius is best-known as the inventor of the Anno Domini era, which is used to number the years of both the Gregorian calendar and the Julian calendar.
Works and Translations According to his friend and fellow-student, Cassiodorus (De divinis Lectionibus, c. xxiii), though by birth a Scythian, he was in character a true Roman and thorough Catholic, most learned in both tongues (by which he meant Greek and Latin) and an accomplished Scripturist. He translated standard works from Greek into Latin, principally the "Life of St. Pachomius", the "Instruction of St. Proclus of Constantinople" for the Armenians, the "De opificio hominis" of St. Gregory of Nyssa, and the history of the discovery of the head of St. John the Baptist. The translation of St. Cyril of Alexandria's synodical letter against Nestorius, and some other works long attributed to Dionysius are now acknowledged to be earlier and are assigned to Marius Mercator. Of great importance were the contributions of Dionysius to the science of canon law, the first beginnings of which in Western Christendom were due to him. His Collectio Dionysiana embraces (1) a collection of synodal decrees, of which he has left two editions: (a) Codex canonum Ecclesiæ Universæ. This contains canons of Oriental synods and councils only in Greek and Latin, including those of the four œcumenical councils from Nicæa (325) to Chalcedon (451). (b) Codex canonum ecclesiasticarum. This is in Latin only; its contents agree generally with the other, but the Council of Ephesus (431) is omitted, while the so-called"Canons of the Apostles" and those of Sardica are included, as well as 138 canons of the African Council of Carthage (419). (c) Of another bilingual version of Greek canons, undertaken at the instance of Pope Hormisdas, only the preface has been preserved. (2) A collection of papal Constitutions (Collectio decretorum Pontificum Romanorum) from Siricius to Anastasius II (384-498). Anno Domini Dionysius is best-known as the inventor of the Anno Domini era, which is used to number the years of both the Gregorian calendar and the Julian calendar. He used it to identify the several Easters in his Easter table, but did not use it to date any historical event. When he devised his table, Julian calendar years were identified by naming the consuls who held office that year — he himself stated that the "present year" was "the consulship of Probus Junior [Flavius Probus]", which he also stated was 525 years "since the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ". How he arrived at that number is unknown. He invented a new system of numbering years to replace the Diocletian years that had been used in an old Easter table because he did not wish to continue the memory of a tyrant who persecuted Christians. The Anno Domini era became dominant in Western Europe only after it was used by the Venerable Bede to date the events in his Ecclesiastical History of the English People, completed in 731. Easter tables A monk in a scriptorium. Medieval manuscript of the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry.In 525, Dionysius prepared a table of the future dates of Easter and a set of "arguments" explaining their calculation (computus) on his own initiative, not at the request of Pope John. Note well that only the first nine arguments are by Dionysius — arguments 10 to 16 as well as the second paragraphs of 3 and 4 and the third paragraph of 9 are later interpolations. Arguments 11 and 12 imply that these were interpolated in the year 675, shortly before Bede. He introduced his tables and arguments via a letter to a bishop Petronius (also written in 525) and added another explanatory letter (written in 526). These works in volume 67 of the 217 volume Patrologia Latina also include a letter from Bishop Proterius of Alexandria to Pope Leo (written before 457). Though not named by Dionysius, this collection was recently called his Liber de Paschate (Book on Easter) by Audette. He ignored the existing tables used by the Church of Rome, which were prepared in 457 by Victorius of Aquitaine, complaining that they did not obey Alexandrian principles, without actually acknowledging their existence. To be sure that his own tables were correct, he simply extended a set of tables prepared in Alexandria that had circulated in the West in Latin, but were never used in the West to determine the date of Easter (however, they were used in the Byzantine Empire, in Greek). The Latin tables were prepared by a subordinate of Bishop Cyril of Alexandria shortly before Cyril's death in 444. They covered a period of 95 years or five decennovenal (19-year) cycles with years dated in the Diocletian Era, whose first year was 285 (the modern historical year in progress at Easter). Diocletian years were advantageous because their division by 19 yielded a remainder equal to the year of the decennovenal cycle (1–19). The epact (the age of the moon on 22 March) of all first decennovenal years was zero, making Dionysius the first known medieval Latin writer to use a precursor of the number zero. The Latin word nulla meaning nothing was used because no Roman numeral for zero existed. To determine the decennovenal year, the Dionysian year plus one was divided by 19. If the result was zero (to be replaced by 19), it was represented by the Latin word nihil, also meaning nothing. Both "zeros" continued to be used by (among others) Bede, by whose extension of Dionysius Exiguus’ Easter table to a great Easter cycle all future Julian calendar dates of Easter Sunday were fixed unambiguously at last. However, in medieval Europe one had to wait as late as the second millennium before one got dispose of the number zero itself, which had come into being around the year 600 in India. Dionysius copied the last decennovenal cycle of the Cyrillian table ending with Diocletion 247, and then added a new 95-year table with numbered Anni Domini Nostri Jesu Christi (Years of our Lord Jesus Christ) because, as he explained to Petronius, he did not wish to continue the memory of a tyrant who persecuted Christians. The only reason he gave for beginning his new 95-year table with the year 532 was that six years were still left in the Cyrillian table after the year during which he wrote. For the latter year he only stated that it was 525 years after the Incarnation of Christ, without stating when the latter event occurred in any other calendar. He did not realize that the dates of the Alexandrian Easter repeated after 532 years, despite his apparent knowledge of the Victorian 532-year 'cycle', indicating only that Easter did not repeat after 95 years. He knew that Victorian Easters did not agree with Alexandrian Easters, thus he no doubt assumed that they had no bearing on any Alexandrian cycle. Furthermore, he obviously did not realize that simply multiplying 19 by 4 by 7 (decennovenal cycle x cycle of leap years x days in a week) fixed the Alexandrian cycle at 532 years, otherwise he would have stated such a simple fact. No evidence exists that the Church of Rome accepted the Dionysian tables until the tenth century, although it is possible that they were accepted sometime during the sixth century. Most of the British Church accepted them after the Synod of Whitby in 664, although quite a few individual churches and monasteries refused to accept them, the last holdout finally accepting them during the early tenth century. The Church of the Franks (France) accepted them during the late eighth century under the tutelage of Alcuin, after he arrived from Britain. Ever since the second century, some bishoprics in the Eastern Roman Empire had counted years from the birth of Christ, but there was no agreement on the correct epoch — Clement of Alexandria (c. 190) and Eusebius of Caesarea (c. 320) wrote about these attempts. Because Dionysius did not place the Incarnation in an explicit year, competent scholars have deduced both AD 1 and 1 BC. Most have selected 1 BC (historians do not use a year zero). Because the anniversary of the Incarnation was 25 March, which was near Easter, a year that was 525 years "since the Incarnation" implied that 525 whole years were completed near that Easter. Consequently one year since the Incarnation would have meant 25 March 1, meaning that Dionysius placed the Incarnation on 25 March 1 BC. Because the birth of Jesus was nine calendar months later, Dionysius implied, but never stated, that Jesus was born 25 December 1 BC. Only one scholar, Georges Declerq (Declerq, 2002), thinks that Dionysius placed the Incarnation and Nativity in AD 1, basing his conclusion on the structure of Dionysius's Easter tables. In either case, Dionysius ignored his predecessors, who usually placed the Nativity in the year we now label 2 BC. Kepler was the first to note that Christ was born during the reign of King Herod the Great (Matthew 2:1–18), whose death he placed in 4 BC. Kepler chose this year because Josephus stated that a lunar eclipse occurred shortly before Herod's death. John Pratt of the International Planetarium Society proposed the 29 December 1 BC eclipse as another eclipse.. According to Josephus, Herod died in the year 4 or 3 BC. Although Dionysius stated that the First Council of Nicaea in 325 sanctioned his method of dating Easter, the surviving documents are ambiguous. A canon of the council implied that the Roman and Alexandrian methods were the same even though they were not, whereas a delegate from Alexandria stated in a letter to his brethren that their method was supported by the council. In either case, Dionysius' method had actually been used by the Church of Alexandria (but not by the Church of Rome) at least as early as 311, and probably began during the first decade of the fourth century, its dates naturally being given in the Alexandrian calendar. Thus Dionysius did not develop a new method of dating Easter. The most that he may have done was convert its arguments from the Alexandrian calendar into the Julian calendar. The resulting Julian date for Easter was the Sunday following the first Luna XIV (the 14th day of the moon) that occurred on or after the XII Kalendas Aprilis (21 March) (12 days before the first of April, inclusive). The 14th day of the moon, Nisan 14, was the date that Paschal lambs were slain (in late afternoon) until the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 prevented their continuing sacrifice, as well as the day when all leavened bread crumbs had to be collected and burned, hence Nisan 14 was the day of preparation for Passover (Lev 23:5). Alexandria may have chosen it because it was the day that Christ was crucified according to the Gospel of John (18:28, 19:14), in direct contradiction to the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew 26:17, Mark 14:12, and Luke 22:7), who state that he was crucified after he ate the Seder, his Last Supper. Then and now, the Seder was eaten after sundown at the beginning of Nisan 15. Because Dionysius's method of computing Easter used dates in the Julian calendar, it is also called the Julian Easter. This Easter is still used by almost all Orthodox churches. The Gregorian Easter still uses the same definition, but relative to its own solar and lunar dates. Notes 1.^ (Romanian) "Trecerea în rândul sfinţilor a domnitorului Neagoe Basarab, a lui Dionisie cel Smerit si a mitropolitului Iachint de Vicina". Basilica (Romanian Orthodox Church news agency). 2008-07-08. http://www.basilica.ro/ro/stiri/trecerea_in_randul_sfintilor_a_domnitorului_neagoe_basarab_a_lui_dionisie_cel_smerit_si_a_mitropolitului_iachint_de_vicina.html. Retrieved on 2008-07-09. 2.^ (Romanian) "Sfântul Dionisie Exiguul, sfânt ocrotitor al Institutului Naţional de Statistică". Ziarul Lumina (Romanian Orthodox Church newspaper). 2008-09-13. http://www.ziarullumina.ro/articole;669;1;14214;0;Sfantul-Dionisie-Exiguul-sfant-ocrotitor-al-Institutului-National-de-Statistica.html. Retrieved on 2008-09-23. 3.^ Antiquities of the Jews, Book XVII, Chapter VI, Paragraph 4 4.^ a b Yet another eclipse for Herod John Pratt , The Planetarian*, vol. 19, no. 4, Dec. 1990, pp. 8-14, 'Josephus ... not always clear and he is sometimes inconsistent ... states that Herod captured Jerusalem and began to reign in what we would call 37 B.C., and lived for 34 years thereafter, implying his death was in 4-3 B.C' ... 'Of the candidates to be Herod's eclipse, the December 29, 1 B.C. eclipse was the most likely to have been widely observed' 5.^ Herod died 34 years after the death of Antigonus and 37 years after Herod was made king by the Romans (Ant. Jews 17.8.1). Antigonus died when Marcus Agrippa and Caninius Gallus were consuls (37 BC) (Ant. Jews 14.16.4). Herod was made king when Caius Domitias Calvinus and Caius Asinius Pollio were consuls (40 BC) (Ant. Jews 14.14.5). Both 37 BC minus 34 and 40 BC minus 37 yield 4 or 3 BC. See List of Republican Roman Consuls for the modern year numbers. References Bonnie Blackburn, Leofranc Holford-Strevens, "Calendars and chronology", The Oxford companion to the year (Oxford, 1999), 659-937. Georges Declercq, Anno Domini: The origins of the Christian era (Turnhout, 2000); idem, "Dionysius Exiguus and the introduction of the Christian era", Sacris Erudiri 41 (2002): 165-246. Dionysius Exiguus, Patrologia Latina 67 (works). Cyclus Decemnovennalis Dionysii - Nineteen year cycle of Dionysius (original Easter table) On Easter - with preface Liber de Paschate (Latin text) Duta, Florian, "Des précisions sur la biographie de Denys le Petit", Revue de droit canonique, 49: 279-96 (1999) Charles W. Jones, "Development of the Latin ecclesiastical calendar", in Bedae opera de temporibus (Cambridge, Mass., 1943), 1-122. Otto Neugebauer, Ethiopic astronomy and computus, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, philosophisch-historische klasse, sitzungsberichte, 347 (Vienna, 1979). Gustav Teres, "Time computations and Dionysius Exiguus", Journal for the history of astronomy, 15 (1984): 177-188.
The Scythian monks were a community of monks from the region around the mouth of the Danube, who played an influential role in Christian life between the 4th and 6th centuries, shaping modern Christian dogma and the Christian calendar through their works. The name Scythian does not refer to ethnicity, but comes from Scythia Minor, the classical name of the modern Dobrogea region in Romania and Bulgaria, a former Roman province. The monks were raised from the Romanised Christian Thraco-Roman elements, but also from immigrant Christians who came to live ascetic lives.
Scythia Minor was part of the Roman Empire since the 1st century, incorporating the local Christian elements into the religious life of the Roman/East Roman Empire. The first contact with Christianity in the area was when Saint Andrew, brother of Saint Peter, passed through it in the 1st century with his disciples. Later on, Christianity became the predominant faith of the region, as proven by the large number of remains of early Christian churches. The Roman administration was ruthless with the Christians, as the great number of martyrs demonstrates.
Bishop Ephrem, killed on 7 March 304 in Tomis, was the first Christian martyr of this region and was followed by countless others, especially during the repression ordered by emperors Diocletian, Galerius, Licinius and Julian the Apostate. A large number of dioceses and martyrs are first attested during the times of Ante-Nicene Fathers. The first known Daco-Roman Christian priest Montanus and his wife Maxima were drowned as martyrs because of their faith on 26 March 304.
The 1971 archaeological digs under the paleo-Christian basilica in Niculitel (near ancient Noviodunum in Scythia Minor) unearthed an even older martyrium. Besides Zoticos, Attalos, Kamasis and Filippos, who suffered martyrdom under Diocletian (304–305), the relics of two previous martyrs, who witnessed and died during the repression of Emperor Decius (249–251), were unearthed under the crypt. Since their deaths, the names of these martyrs have been placed in church records, and the discovery of the tomb with the names written inside was astonishing.
Once the Dacian-born Emperor Galerius proclaimed freedom for Christians all over the Roman Empire in 311, the city of Tomis alone (modern Constanţa) became Metropolitanate with as many as 14 bishoprics. By the 4th century, a powerful and organised nucleus of Christian monks existed in the area.
The Scythian monks made an important contribution to christology, by advocating what has come to be known as the Theopaschite formula as a solution to controversies about the nature of Christ arising after the Council of Chalcedon. First formulated in 513, it was initially rejected by both the Eastern and Western branches of the church. Over time it was gradually accepted and the formula was vindicated at the Second Council of Constantinople in 553.
The problems between the adepts of different christologies arose with Pope Leo I's Tome (Latin text, a letter). This was a treatise written in 449 against the Monophysite leader Eutyches. The Council of Chalcedon supported Pope Leo I in 451, and the heresiarch Eutyches was condemned. The Tome the two natures and one person of Christ were defined. One nature is brilliant with miracles, the other succumbs to injuries. This could be interpreted to mean that Christ had two independently acting aspects: a divine nature which performs miracles and a human nature which suffers. Pope Leo I proposed his Tome as a way of distinguishing Christ's natures, but it is believed that he did not intend to suggest that the natures were really separate parts. The Council of Chalcedon had attempted to settle the Nestorian and the Monophysite controversies by approving Pope Leo's Tome, confessing that Christ had two natures in one person. However, by endorsing Leo's Tome, the council appeared to endorse the Nestorian heresy, which held Jesus to be two distinct persons: closely and inseparably united, but still, distinct. This is what the Monophysites accused Chalcedon of doing.
One chapter of this debate, the "Theopaschite Controversy" of the 6th century, arose in the town of Tomis, on the coast of the Black Sea. A strong community of monks living in the East Roman province of Scythia Minor became embroiled in this christological argument with the Archbishop from Tomi. The "Scythian Monks" (as they were called by the Christian community due to their geographic origin) were fervent advocates of a christology which was both Chalcedonian (i.e. followed the christological teachings of the Council of Chalcedon), and Cyrillian. It also adopted the Augustinian doctrine of grace. This combination, they hoped, would unite the Western and Eastern Churches. They drew their own connection between christology and grace. They put forward a christology which drew heavily on Cyril of Alexandria (the formula of the oneness of Christ’s nature as the incarnation of God the Word), emphasizing the unity of Christ, while advocating the Augustinian doctrine of grace, emphasizing the role of grace and eliminating independent human effort from the performance of good works and salvation. The Scythian monks saw themselves as defenders of the Council of Chalcedon, asserting that the Tome should not be interpreted as it had been done by them. In support of their contention, the Scythian monks cited passages from Pope Leo's epistles which more clearly expressed the unity of Christ. However, because the Tome could be interpreted to divide Christ, the Scythian monks felt it necessary to find a way to exclude such a Nestorian misinterpretation. They did this in 513, by advocating what has come to be known as the Theopaschite formula: "Unus ex Trinitate passus est" (meaning "One of the Trinity suffered in the flesh"). They did this wanting to exclude both Nestorianistic and Monophysitistic tendencies, and at the same time seeking to have the works of Faustus of Riez condemned as being tainted with Pelagianism. Their views caused controversy to erupt in Constantinople. The monks felt that if one confesses their statement along with the deliberation of the Council of Chalcedon, then the Orthodox interpretation of the council is preserved, as the Theopaschite formula makes it clear that Logos (the unifying principle linking God and man) is the acting subject not only for the miracles of Christ, but also for his suffering.
The monks initially won the support of Vitalian, an East Roman general who was the magister militum of Thrace and the leader of a powerful pro-Chalcedonian rebellion against Emperor Anastasius I, who was a convinced Monophysite. Vitalian was a native of Scythia Minor and one of the Scythian monks was a relative of his. The rebellion started in 512, when a nearly identical formula to that of the Scythian monks, added to the Trisagion in the liturgy of Hagia Sophia, was removed by Emperor Anastasius II. The rebellion continued until 515, when Vitalian was defeated and forced to go into hiding. By the reign of Anastasius' successor, Justin I, orthodoxy extended even to the army: soldiers were ordered to subscribe to the creed of Chalcedon or be deprived of their rations. At the beginning of the year 519, a delegation of Scythian monks traveled to Constantinople under the leadership of John Maxentius to bring their case before Emperor Justin I, proposing a new solution by arguing in favor of their formula. They were fiercely opposed by legates from Rome and by the "Sleepless monks" (ironically, in trying to combat the Eutychian tendencies of the Scythian monks, the "Sleepless monks" themselves shifted into Nestorianism, and were excommunicated by Pope John II for this). Faced with this opposition, the Scythian monks' view was that although the Chalcedonian definition (strongly supported by Rome) was indeed an orthodox expression of the faith, it was susceptible to a Nestorian misinterpretation which would in effect split Christ into two persons despite the verbal acknowledgment that Christ has only one person. The Scythian monks' proposal was not well received, mainly because of the timing: the monks arrived in Constantinople just as the emperor Justin I was negotiating an end to the Acacian schism. This split between Rome and Constantinople originated in 484 when Pope Felix III excommunicated Acacius, the Patriarch of Constantinople, for attempting to evade the council of Chalcedon in his attempt to bring the Monophysites back under control. Acacius had advised Emperor Zeno to issue a statement, the Henotikon (the "act of union"; 482), which was an attempt to reconcile the differences between the supporters of Orthodoxy and of Monophysitism. But the Henotikon failed to insist upon Chalcedon as the standard of orthodoxy, and the Council of Chalcedon, because of its endorsement of the Tome of Pope Leo I, had become a mark of the prestige of the Roman See. Acacius's apparent attempt to ignore Chalcedon was seen as an insult against Rome's claim to be the gold standard of orthodoxy. By the time the monks arrived in Constantinople, the political landscape changed and Emperor Justin's policies were directed more to the west than to the east where the Monophysits were dominant. This policy led him, in 519, to accede to Rome's demand that Chalcedon be the official christological confession of the empire. He received the emissaries from Rome in triumphal procession, and Patriarch John of Constantinople signed documents ending the thirty-five-year-old schism. Thus, when the Scythian monks arrived on the scene urging that the resolutions of Chalcedon needed to be supplemented with their Theopaschite formula, no one was willing to listen. The Scythian monks' views were interpreted as an attack on the Council of Chalcedon and thus a threat to the newly established reunion between Rome and Constantinople. A bishop from North Africa named Possessor, who was in Constantinople at the same time as the Scythian monks, also opposed their christological position by citing Faustus of Riez, who the Scythian monks accused of the Pelagianistic heresy.
Failing to gain acceptance in Constantinople, some of the monks, led by John Maxentius, proceeded to Rome in 519, in hopes of winning Pope Hormisdas' support. Despite an initial warm reception and supportive letters from Justinian, who had by then started to change his mind about the monks' formula, they were unable to win over the pope, as he was reticent to offer his support to a group of monks who had openly opposed his legates in Constantinople. By 520, the pope failed to give his judgment on their position. The monks were indignant due to this lack of response. Despite their loud protests, they did not receive a new audience with the pope. Finally, after fourteen months, the monks left Rome. Shortly after 13 August 520, their behavior in Rome prompted Pope Hormisdas to write a letter to the same Possessor in Constantinople, criticizing their theology and severely condemning their vociferous objections. When presented with this letter from the Pope, Maxentius responded that the pope could not possibly have written it because whoever wrote it was clearly a heretic. Some historians have suggested that after this episode, Maxentius retreated to Tintagel in Britannia, to the religious community living there, and that his name is mentioned on the Latin inscription the Arthur stone. In the end, the Scythian monks found support first from one quarter: they wrote a letter to the bishops of North Africa who at that time were exiled by the Vandals to the island of Sardinia. The leader of the north-African bishops, Fulgentius of Ruspe composed a reply by which they accepted the christological formula as well as the monks' Augustinian doctrine of grace. Meanwhile, at Constantinople, Emperor Justin I had died, and his nephew Justinian, a theologian in his own right, became the new emperor in 527. He also began to support the monks' position, being convinced that the monks' statement was orthodox and perceiving that it could make Chalcedon more acceptable to Monophysites in the East. In 531, the monks took part in public debates arranged by Emperor Justinian (527-565) between Catholics and the Monophysite followers of Severus of Antioch. Eventually, the emperor's support of the "Theopaschite formula" finally paved the way for its vindication at the Second Council of Constantinople in 553, of which canon 10 reads: "If anyone does not confess that our Lord Jesus Christ who was crucified in flesh is true God and Lord of glory and one of the holy Trinity, let him be anathema".
The Scythian monks made an important contribution to christology in the wake of the Chalcedon controversies by proposing their formula. The initial detractive movements disappeared as the views of the Scythian monks were strengthened by the wide acceptance of this formula. It served to refute the tendency of Nestor to subjectively interpret the decisions of the Council of Chalcedon, as ascribing Christ's miracles to his divine nature while ascribing his suffering only to his human nature.
The Roman philosopher and mathematician Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius wrote five opuscula sacra to analyse points of Christian doctrine. The fifth treatise, against Eutyches and Nestorius was initially occasioned by the Eastern letter of 512 (some years before the arrival of Scythian monks arrival in Rome in 519/520), but has some similarities with the ideas of John Maxentius and the Scythian monks. Boethius, like John Maxentius, identifies the problem of the Eutychians and Nestorians as being their failure to distinguish nature and person (ch. 1–2). Boethius also refers to God's suffering in the crucifixion (in ch. 7.54–55), which parallels the Scythian formula "One of the Holy Trinity suffered for us." However, Boethius' terminology and arguments appear to be generally unrelated to those of the Scythian monks. Boethius's writing has an interest far beyond their contributions to the doctrinal debate, being one of the most influential theological books in European culture.
John Cassian was an earlier monk from Scythia who died in 435. He studied with the monks in Egypt (the "Desert Fathers"). He left Egypt and established a monastery in Marseilles in Southern Gaul. He wrote the Institutes and Conferences describing the monastic life in Egypt and was an important figure in the spread of monasticism in the West. Cassian, together with Athanasius of Alexandria and John Chrysostom, emphasized the idea of an ascent to God through periods of purgation and illumination that led to unity with the Divine. This ideology of the so called "Desert Fathers" deeply affected the spirituality of the Western Church. For this reason, the writings and spirituality of the desert fathers are still of interest to many people today.
At Rome, Pope Gelasius had appointed Dionysius Exiguus, a member of the Scythian monks community whom he knew from Constantinople, to translate documents in the papal archive. Later, Dionysius worked under the new Pope John I, translating from Greek into Latin the Easter tables drawn up by Saint Theophilus, of the Church of Alexandria, and his successor Saint Cyril. Although the tables originally counted its years in the Anno Diocletiani era, from the beginning of the reign of the pagan Roman Emperor Diocletian, Dionysius replaced it with his anno Domini era because he did not wish to continue the memory of a tyrant who persecuted Christians. Thus, he introduced the method of reckoning the Christian era from the birth of Christ. Cassiodorus praises in his Institutiones, the talents and the work of Dionysius Exiguus, and this indicates that he was personally acquainted with the rest of the "Scythian monks".