English translations of Chrysostom “De Severiano Recipiendo” and Severian’s “De pace” now online

Long ago I became aware that there were two related sermons in the Patrologia Graeca.  The first was given by John Chrysostom, after the empress had interceded to patch up a dispute between him and another bishop, and entitled De Severiano RecipiendoThat Severian must be received.  The other was delivered the next day, by his enemy, Severian of Gabala, and entitled De paceOn peace.

The peace did not last, and Chrysostom was driven into an exile from which he did not return.

The two sermons are very short, in the PG, and in Latin.  They reach us as part of a collection of sermons, made in antiquity, perhaps by Ananias of Celeda.  They take Greek sermons, and produce abbreviated Latin versions of them.

The original text of Chrysostom’s sermon has not reached us; but Severian’s Greek was discovered in the monastery of Mar Saba, and published in 1891.

I first tried to get these translated longer ago than I can remember.  This failed.  I then had another go in 2010, which also failed after a short sample – 3 sentences – was produced.

After his work on the 3 sermons of Chrysostom on the Devil, Bryson Sewell has kindly rattled off a translation of both of these.  It is great to have them; and even better to have them so quickly.

Both are of the highest interest.  Chrysostom’s sermon is interrupted by the cheers of his supporters, even in the abbreviated version; while Severian, clearly preaching to a not-very-friendly crowd, strains every nerve and produces a marvellous display of rhetoric.

As ever, the results are now online, and in the public domain.  Copy freely and use as you will.

These files will also appear on Archive.org once its new and wonky uploader allows it!

UPDATE: Now at Archive.org here.

UPDATE: Files updated to correct an error in the introduction – the speeches were delivered before John’s first exile, not after it.

Chrysostom, De terrae motu (on the earthquake) now online in English

Bryson Sewell has kindly translated for us all the short homily by John Chrysostom, De terrae motu (on the earthquake; CPG 4366, PG 50 713-6).

It’s here in HTML form.  I have placed the PDF and Word forms at Archive.org here.

The translation is public domain: use it freely for personal, educational or commercial use.

If you’d like to support me in commissioning translations of previously untranslated patristic material, you can buy a CD here, or make a donation using the button on the right.

Chrysostom, Against the games and the theatres, now online in English

Mark Vermes has completed for us an English translation of Contra ludos et theatra (PG 56, columns 261-270), which I have put in the public domain.  I’ll make an HTML version later, but you can get a PDF and a DOCX from Archive.org here:


As always, you are free to use or distribute this for any purpose, personal, educational or commercial.  I hope it’s useful!


Chrysostom homilies which I just can’t access

There are a couple of homilies by Chrysostom in the Patrologia Graeca which do not seem to exist in English, and which ought to be interesting.  They were delivered after he returned from his first exile, and attempted a reconciliation with his enemy, Severian of Gabala, who had been needlessly alienated by the arrogance of John’s staff.

Back in 2010 I found that in Migne there were three sermons; De Regressu Sancti Joannis (PG52, col. 421-424), De Recipiendo Severiano (col. 423-426), and Severian’s reply De Pace (col. 425).  All three are given in Latin, and all seemed far too short to be full versions.  Some time ago I learned that the Greek of the Severian existed, in a much longer version.  It needs to be translated into English, but that project went nowhere.

At the time I asked a scholar specialising in Chrysostom whether Greek texts existed for the Chrysostom homilies.  I got the less than precise reply, “look in the CPG vol. 2, after #4438, and also its supplement.”

This evening, two years on, I have finally managed to do it!  And … well … it’s not #4438.  De Regressu is CPG 2, 4394, and De recipiendo Severiano is 4395.  4396-4401 are further sermons concerned with his various exiles, 4401 being his last sermon.

The complete Greek text of De Regressu does exist.  It was published by A. Wenger, L’Homelie de saint Jean Chrysostome “a son retour d’Asie”, in Revue des Etudes Byzantines 19 (Melanges R. Janin), 1961, p.110-123.  This doesn’t seem to be online.  The Latin text printed by Migne is assigned doubtfully to Annianus of Celeda.

The Greek text of De recipiendo Severiano is lost.  All we have is Migne’s Latin, again doubtfully assigned to Annianus of Celeda.

Apparently Andre Wilmart, La collection des 38 homilies latines de saint Jean Chrysostome, JTS 18, 1918, 305-327; p.324 n. 36 talks about the former, and in n.24 about the latter.  But this too I have been unable to access.

And the supplement to the CPG indicates that there is discussion of the mss and editions of the Latin version in W. Wenk, Zur Sammlung der 38 Homilien.[1]  And that is offline too.


UPDATE: But I spoke too soon!  Wenger’s text of De Regressu is at Persee.fr, here!  I did search Persee.  But only Google picked up the match.  Evidently the search engine at Persee is useless!

UPDATE2: I discover that De Regressu has been translated into English as part of Pauline Allen’s John Chrysostom (1999).  There is a Google books preview here.  Apparently the Sources Chretiennes were bringing out an edition of Chrysostom’s letters at that point.

  1. [1] Wolfgang Wenk, Zur Sammlung der 38 Homilien des Chrysostomus Latinus : mit Edition der Nr. 6, 8, 27, 32 und 33, Wiener Studien, Beiheft 10, Wien, 1988.

More on Anianus of Celeda

An email reminded me of this post about Anianus (or Annianus) of Celeda, who flourished ca. 413 AD and translated a number of the works of Chrysostom into Latin, in which form they circulated in the Middle Ages.  I’ve been looking for a bit more information about him.

An index entry for Anianus at CERL is here, which I found by searching for Anianus von Celeda.  A Chrysostom PDF here also refers to his work.  I also found a reference here to “Baur, Chrysostomus.  «L’entrée littéraire de saint Jean Chrysostome dans le monde latin.»  RHEccl.  8 (1907) 249-265.  Anianus of Celeda and Pelagian controversy.”  Another important reference for Chrysostom in Latin and Anianus seems to be “Altaner, Berthold. 1967. “Altlateinische Übersetzungen von Chrysostomusschriften.” Kleine patristische Schriften, 416–36. TU 83. Berlin. Reprinted from Historisches Jahrbuch 61 (1941): 208–26.” 

I learn from here:

In the West a work [supporting Pelagius] was written by Anianus, a deacon of Celeda, of which a copy was sent to Jerome (letters cxliii. 2) by Eusebius of Cremona, but to which he was never able to reply.

This is good news, because it’s the first sign of a primary source.  I find a Russian site with the Latin (why aren’t Jerome’s letters online in English?) here, but I can’t copy from it.  However the same material is on an Italian site (as letter 202 of the letters of Augustine) here.  The letter is from Jerome to Augustine and Alypius, explaining why he hasn’t refuted the books of Annianus “the pseudo-deacon of Celeda”, whom he describes as acting for Pelagius at the synod of Diospolis.


1. Sanctus Innocentius presbyter, qui huius sermonis est portitor, anno praeterito, quasi nequaquam in Africam reversurus, mea ad Dignationem vestram scripta non sumpsit. Tamen Deo gratias agimus quod ita evenit, ut nostrum silentium vestris epistolis vinceretis. Mihi enim omnis occasio gratissima est, per quam scribo vestrae Reverentiae; testem invocans Deum quod si posset fieri, assumptis alis columbae, vestris amplexibus implicarer, semper quidem pro merito virtutum vestrarum, sed nunc maxime, quia cooperatoribus et auctoribus vobis, haeresis Celestiana iugulata est: quae ita infecit corda multorum, ut cum superatos damnatosque esse se sentiant, tamen venena mentium non omittant; et, quod solum possunt, nos oderint, per quos putant se libertatem docendae haereseos perdidisse.

Quod autem quaeritis utrum rescripserim contra libros Anniani, pseudodiaconi Celedensis, qui copiosissime pascitur, ut alienae blasphemiae verba frivola subministret: sciatis me ipsos libros in schedulis missos a sancto fratre Eusebio presbytero suscepisse, non ante multum temporis; et exinde vel ingruentibus morbis, vel dormitione sanctae et venerabilis filiae vestrae Eustochii, ita doluisse, ut propemodum contemnendos putarem. In eodem enim luto haesitat, et exceptis verbis tinnulis atque emendicatis, nihil aliud loquitur. Tamen multum egimus; ut dum epistolae meae respondere conatur, apertius se proderet, et blasphemias suas omnibus patefaceret. Quidquid enim in illa miserabili synodo Diospolitana dixisse se denegat, in hoc opere profitetur; nec grande est ineptissimis naeniis respondere. Si autem Dominus vitam tribuerit et notariorum habuerimus copiam, paucis lucubratiunculis respondebimus; non ut convincamus haeresim emortuam, sed ut imperitiam atque blasphemiam eius, nostris sermonibus confutemus: meliusque hoc faceret Sanctitas tua; ne compellamur contra haereticum nostra laudare.

An English translation of the letter is here (Augustine, Letters 156-210:Epistulae II, New City Press, 2004):

To his truly holy lords, Alypius and Augustine, bishops who are to be venerated with all affection and by every right, Jerome sends greetings in the Lord.

1. The holy priest Innocent, the bearer of this letter, did not take with him my letter to Your Reverence last year, on the grounds he was not going to return to Africa. But we thank God that it turned out that you overcame our silence by your letters. For every occasion on which I write to Your Reverence is most pleasant for me. I call upon God as my witness that, if it were possible, I would take up the wings of a dove and wrap myself in your embraces. This would always be in accord with the merits of your virtues, but it is so now especially because the Caelestian heresy1 has been slain by your cooperation and initiative. It had so infected the hearts of many that, though they perceive that they have been defeated and condemned, they still do not give up their poisonous ideas. And they hate us—the only thing they can do—because they think that through us they lost the freedom to teach heresy.

2. But you ask2 whether I replied to the books of Annianus,3 the fake deacon of Celeda, who dines most lavishly in order that he may serve up the frivolous words of a strange blasphemy. You should know that I received not long ago on little scraps of parchment those books sent to me by my holy brother, the priest Eusebius and then, because of either the worsening illnesses or the death of your holy and venerable daughter. Eustochium,4 I was so saddened that I almost thought that they should be ignored. For he is stuck in the same mud,5 and apart from some ringing and borrowed words he says nothing else. Still we worked hard in order that, when he tries to reply to our letter, he may reveal himself more …

1. Caelestius was am ally of Pelagius; he was condemned at the Council of Carthage in 411. Augustine wrote The Perfection of Human Righteousness against a work of Caelestius entitled Definitions.
2. The letter of Augustine to Jerome is not extant.
3. Annianus was a lesser-known follower of Pelagius.
4. Eustochium. the daughter of Paula, was the first young lady of the Roman nobility to consecrate her life to God as a virgin. Paula and Eustochium followed Jerome to Bethlehem. Eustochium assumed direction of the monastery after the death of her mother; Eustochium herself died in 418 or 419.
5. See Terence. Phormio 780.

(The preview of the translation ends there, and I don’t have time to complete it this evening).

A search by “annianus of celeda” also produces information.  I find a reference to this interesting-sounding paper!

  • Kate Cooper, ‘Annianus of Celeda and the Latin Readers of John Chrysostom’, Studia Patristica 27 (1993), 249–55

It would be good to gather whatever primary sources there are for Annianus.

Back to Isidore of Pelusium’s letters

An email reached me today from a chap volunteering to take on a commission for some Greek and Syriac (and Armenian for that matter, although I have none in mind at the moment).  I’ve written back and asked for some details.  It might be nice to get him to do a few of the letters of Isidore of Pelusium, at least as a starter.

This reminded me that someone translated 14 of Isidore’s letters during the summer, and that — as I dimly remembered — I commissioned some more, as I remarked here.  I wonder if I ever published those 14 letters online?  I certainly meant to!  I paid for them, after all, and the last revision was rather good and rather readable.  I must hunt them out.  Meanwhile I have written to the translator asking what happened with regard to the next chunk. 

There’s no lack of material to commission.  There’s sermons by Chrysostom, such as the two on Christmas.  I think I listed a bunch of Chrysostom material some time back.

There’s also material by Severian of Gabala.  That reminds me that I ought to write to two other people, each of whom was going to do a sermon and neither of whom I have heard from since.  There is such a thing as being too busy, and I suspect I probably qualify!   But it illustrates why reliability is such a virtue in a translator. 

Then there are works by Cyril of Alexandria, such as his Apologeticus ad imperatorem, explaining himself after the Council of Ephesus.  There’s John the Lydian, On the Roman Months (De Mensibus), book 4 of which is intensely interesting.  Andrew Eastbourne translated the section on December for us a while back.  Indeed John’s work might form a nice volume three in the series of translations I am publishing, although I suspect a UV photographic copy of the manuscript might be a necessary precursor.

Who knows?  The email is welcome, and let’s see if we can get something done.

Chrysostom’s sermon on new year (in kalendas) now online in English

The translation that I commissioned of John Chrysostom’s sermon on the new year festivities is now online here.  I hope it will be useful!  It’s public domain – do whatever you like with  it!

Translation of Chrysostom “In Kalendas” has arrived

The translation that I commissioned of John Chrysostom’s sermon In Kalendas, on the kalends of January — i.e. on New Year — has arrived and looks good.  It will be released into the public domain and placed online this evening.

There may be a bit of a hiatus with various projects over the summer.  I imagine that translators will want to get a break — to run barefoot in the meadows and bathe in the mountain streams, frisking with … with whatever is frisking at this season.  I find my own urge to sit before a keyboard is diminishing too!

UPDATE (June 19th).  After writing which, I promptly forgot all about it!  Oops!