From Quasten’s Patrology 4, p.572:
According to Jerome (De vir. into 97), Fortunatianus, an African was bishop of Aquileia in the mid-fourth century at the time of the Emperor Constantius. and Pope Liberius. He died, it seems, shortly before 368. Fortunatlanus was at first a strong defender of Nicene orthodoxy and received Athanasius as a guest at Aquileia after the Synod of Serdica of 343. However, at the time of the council at Milan in 355, he succumbed to the threats of Constantius and signed the condemnation of Athanasius. He subsequently proved instrumental in persuading the exiled Pope Liberius to sign the Arian creed of Sirmium of 357.
There remain only three fragments of Fortunatianus’ commentary on the Gospels, which Jerome describes as a “margaritam de evangelio” (Ep. 10, 3) and which he read in preparation for his own commentary on the Gospel of Matthew (praef: PL 26, 20C).
Editions: Cf. CPL 104. — A. Wilmart, B. Bischoff, CCL 9(1957)365-370. – PLS I, 239, 217.
Studies: L. Duchesne, Libere et Fortunatien: MAH 28(1908)31-78 (cf. P. Glorieux, Hilaire et Libere: MSR 17-34). – J. Lemarie, Italie. Aquilee: DSp 7(1971 )2161.
This is the entire entry for this obscure 4th century bishop and his now lost “pearl on the gospel”.
Why do I give this?
Today I discovered the CSEL site at the university of Salzburg, and the following page contained these interesting remarks.
An anonymous commentary on the Gospels in MS Köln, Erzbischöfliche Diözesan- und Dombibl. 17 (s. IX1/3) has now been identified by Lukas J. Dorfbauer as the work of bishop Fortunatianus of Aquileia.
It was thought that this commentary, of which only three fragments were known, had already been lost in its entirety by Carolingian times.
Thus, Fortunatianus’ work becomes the apparently oldest commentary on the Gospels written in the Latin West which is still extant; it amplifies our knowledge of ancient Christianity and its literature in many respects.
A critical edition of the text – in fact, the “editio princeps” – is currently in preparation for the CSEL. For now, please cf.
- L. J. Dorfbauer, Der Evangelienkommentar des Bischofs Fortunatian von Aquileia (Mitte 4. Jh.). Ein Neufund auf dem Gebiet der patristischen Literatur, Wiener Studien 126 (2013), 177-198).
- Ders., Der Codex Köln, Erzbischöfliche Diözesan- und Dombibl. 17. Ein Beitrag zur Überlieferung des Evangelienkommentars des Bischofs Fortunatian von Aquileia, to be published in: Mittelalterliche Handschriften der Kölner Dombibliothek. Fünftes Symposion November 2012 (estimated for 2014).
A full digital reproduction of the manuscript in question can be found online via the homepage of Codices Electronici Ecclesiae Coloniensis: http://www.ceec.uni-koeln.de/
Well done, the CSEL, for giving the link to the online manuscript, rather than meanly concealing it. It means that the text is accessible, if not in critical form.
It is always a delight to see something rescued from the losses of antiquity. Congratulations Dr. Dorfbauer and the CSEL. You have done something well worth doing.
I wonder if anyone will translate it into English?