Constantine V: the Virgin Mary was like “an empty purse, no different to any other post partum woman”

Here’s an interesting question:

A colleague informed me that at the iconoclast Synod of Hieria in 754 the Emperor Constantine V compared the pregnant Virgin Mary to a purse containing gold coins of great value. After giving birth to Christ he then compared her to an empty purse, no different to any other post partum woman. When I suggested that the tale was probably legendary my informant insisted that it occurs in the Acta Sanctorum. … in which volume I should seek it?

A bit of googling supplied the answer, via Stephen Gero, Byzantine Iconoclasm during the reign of Constantine V, (1977), p.146.  The event did not take place at Hieria, as far as I can tell.

The source is the Vita Nicetae Hegoumeni Medicii, by his disciple Theosterictus, BHG 1341.  Nicetas was abbot of the Medikion monastery in Bithynia, and died in 824 AD.  He is commemorated on April 3 or 29.  The “Life” was probably written not long after.

The text and a Latin translation can indeed be found in the Acta Sanctorum, April vol. 1.  But various pitfalls lie in wait for the researcher.  The first 800-odd pages consist of purely Latin texts.   This does include the Vita Nicetae – in a modern translation by Sirletus – starting on p.253.  Then follows an “Appendix”.  And then, using Roman page numbers, the remainder of the volume is Greek texts.  The Greek of the Vita Nicetae is on p. XVIII-XXVII.  This begins on page 988 of the PDF (online here).  Phew.

The relevant chapter is 29, and I thought that it might be useful to give an English translation of it, from the Latin of Sirletus.

29.  While these things were happening, the great primate (b) left his throne, the venerable swallow fled from its nest, which used to adorn the natural tranquillity of the Church with its sweet chirping, gracing the Lord’s festivals; and in his place an ugly raven was brought in, cawing and croaking discordantly, with the Church sinking down and mournfully lamenting, because it had been deprived of such a great and divine prelate.  But there was no small confusion in all the sacred houses, the madness of the impious running in every direction, and seizing everything like a pestilence, while, elated by power, they dared anything.

His son Constantine (c) followed, at the same time the heir of the empire and the heir of perversity, the worse seed of the evil root, the deadly dragon from the venomous serpent, the shape-changing leopard from the most savage lion, who surpassed his father’s malice many times over.  For he was not content only with insulting the sacred images but also dishonoured the holy Martyrs, as much as he could, forbidding them to be named as saints, and ordered that they be called, to the Apostles (d), to the Forty, to Theodore, to George, and others of this kind; moreover, he utterly despised their relics, [he also attempted to abolish the cult of the Mother of God,] considering them worthless: and to sum it up in one word, he was outwardly Christian, but in most aspects, he was a Jew at heart.

For as Christ chose for Himself the most glorious house, I mean His mother, higher than all created things, the advocate of the world, the mediator of human salvation, nearest to God because of the dignity of her virginity, he also sought in many ways to abolish her name that must be venerated in the Church; and he did not even want to call upon her intercessions, by which the world stands, saying that she could not help anyone.  He also attempted to secure his saying with a comparison: for on a certain day, taking a purse full of gold in his hands, and showing it to those present, he asked what it was worth.  But when they said, “A great amount,” pouring out the gold, he asked again, “How much now?” And when they replied that it was worth nothing, he said in his wretchedness:”So also the Mother of God (for he did not deign to call her Saint) was of great value when she had Christ within her; but after she gave birth to Him, she differed in nothing from other women.”

O blasphemous folly!  O the ineffable tolerance and long-suffering of God!  How did He not break that mouth, which spoke what is unlawful in pride and insult against the Mother of Christ? How did this new and puffed-up pharisee, hateful to God, differ from the blasphemous Jews?[1]

b.  The edict against images was published on 7 Jan. 730 AD.  Germanus I, the patriarch, abdicated, and was replaced on 22 Jan. by the pliable Anastasius, who managed to oppose, support, and then oppose images, as the politics demanded.

c.  Leo the Armenian died on 18 June 775, and his son Constantine V, nicknamed Copronymus, succeeded him.

d.  The Acta Sanctorum editor notes that Sirletus misunderstood the Greek text at this point.  Constantine’s order was that a church – not the saint – should not be called “the church of St George”. but just “the church of George,” etc.

In the end the iconoclasts lost, of course, but it is interesting to see them rowing against the trends in the Byzantine church.

  1. [1]Haec dum agerentur migravit e throno suo magnus (b) Pontifex, fugitque nido veneranda hirundo, quae vernam ecclesiae tranquillitatem dulcisono ornabat garritu, Dominica festa condecorans: & in locum ejus inductus est deformis corvus, hians & absonum crocitans, procumbente Ecclesia & moestum ingemiscente, quod tanto tamque divino Praesule esset orbata. Erat autem in omnibus sacris aedibus confusio non modica, discurrente quaquaversum versania impiorum, omniaque instar pestis corripiente, [propagator Constantinus Copron.] dum nihil non audet potestate subnixa. Secutus est imperii simul & perversitatis haeres filius (c) Constantinus, malae radicis pejus germen, ex venenato serpente laetifer draco, ex saevissimo leone versipellis pardus, qui multipliciter superavit patris malitiam. Nec enim sola contentus fuit imaginum sacrarum injuria, sed etiam sanctos Martyres, quantum in se fuit, inhonorans, vetuit Sanctos nominari, jussitque ut diceretur, ad Apostolos, (d) ad Quadraginta, ad Theodorum, ad Georgium & cetera hujusmodi: eorum autem Reliquias omnino contemnebat, [qui etiam Deiparae cultum conatus est abolere,] habebatque pro nihilo: atque ut verbo uno absolvam specie Christianus erat, animo in plerisque Judaeus. Quam enim sibi in domum propriam elegit Christus, gloriosissimam, inquam, illius matrem, rebus omnibus creatis sublimiorem, advocatam mundi, salutis humanae conciliatricem, Deoque propter virginitatis decorem proximam, hujus quoque venerandum nomen multimodis studuit in Ecclesia abolere; intercessiones vero illius, per quas subsistit mundus, nec nominari quidem voluit, dicens eam nemini posse opitulari. Conabatur etiam suum illud dictum confirmare similitudine: manibus namque die quadam accipiens crumenam auro plenam, ipsamque praesentibus ostentans, interrogabat, cujus illa pretii esset. Illis vero dicentibus, Magni; effundens aurum, iterum interrogabat, Quanti nunc? Et ipsis, nullius valoris esse, reponentibus; intulit miser: Sic & Deipara (nec enim dignabatur Sanctam dicere) quando intra se habuit Christum, pretiosa erat: postquam vero illum peperit, nihil discrepabat a ceteris. O blasphemam stultitiam! o ineffabilem tolerantiam & longanimitatem Dei! Quomodo non contrivit os illud, quod contra matrem Christi loquebatur injustiam in superbia & in abusione. Quid a blasphemis Judaeis novus hic elatusque ac Deo odibilis Pharisaeus distabat?

St David – a bibliography of the medieval “Lives”

March 1 is St David’s Day.  St David was a Welsh saint who died around 601.  He appears in some of the 13th century versions of the Annals of Wales (Annales Cambriae).  An English translation of a combined text gives him in two entries:

St. David is born in the thirtieth year after Patrick left Menevia.  …

The synod of Urbs Legionis [Chester].
Gregory died in Christ and also bishop David of Moni Iudeorum.

From this we learn that he was bishop of “Menevia”, formerly Roman Menapia, now the city of St Davids in Wales; and that he died around 601 AD, depending on how you read the years in that Chronicle.

The Bibliotheca Hagiographica Latina (BHL) lists a number of “lives”.  I include the “incipit”, i.e. the first few words, and where to find the text.

  • BHL 2107 – “Life” by Ricemarch, bishop of Menevia.  A text and translation appear in Rees, Lives of the Cambro-British Saints (1853); Latin text: p.117-43, English translation: 418-448.  A Welsh text and English translation are also given.  (Curiously Wikipedia gives the author the name of “Rhygyfarch”, while acknowledging that contemporaries called him Ricemarch.  Possibly modern Welsh nationalism may be involved.)  Online here.
  • BHL 2108 – Epitome a of Ricemarch.  Inc.: “Sanctus quem tinctio.”  Text: Acta Sanctorum, March vol. 1, p.41-45.  Online here.
  • BHL 2109 – Epitome b of Ricemarch. Inc.: “S. enim David, quem vulgus Dewi appellat.”  Text: Nova Legenda Anglie (1901 repr.), vol. 1, p.254-262. Online here.
  • BHL 2110 – Epitome c of Ricemarch.  Inc.: “Dominus N. I. C. quamvis sanctos suis … sic hunc. s. ven. David.” Text: John Colgan, Acta sanctorum vetris et majoris Sectiae seu Hiberniae sanctorum insulae (1645), 425-29.  Online here.
  • Not numbered – Epitome d of Ricemarch.  Inc. not given.  Text: Breviarii Aberdonensis … pars hyemalis, Edinburgh (1509), repr. London (1854).  But I was completely unable to find my way around this.  There are 3 volumes, and the info given is “pars hiem., Propr. SS. 61-62.”  The volumes are online here: vol. 1; vol. 2; vol. 3; but I have no idea which volume it is.
  • BHL 2111 – “Life” by Gerald of Wales.  Inc. (prologue): “Vitam s. David archiep., quem vulgares Dewi dicunt — Inc. B. itaque David ingenuis natalibus ortus”.  Text: Brewer, Giraldi Cambrensis opera, vol. 3, 377-404. Online here.
  • BHL 2112 – A genealogy.  Text: Rees, as above, p.144.

The main life exists in English.  The epitomes are probably of interest only to specialists.  I couldn’t see an English translation of Gerald’s Life.  The genealogy is just a list of names.  So… most of the material does exist in English.


Ephraem Graecus, “Threni” or “The Lamentations of the Virgin Mary before the cross” (CPG 4085)

Yesterday I discussed a short but spurious piece attributed to Ephraem Graecus, the “Threni” or “Lamentatins of the Virgin Mary before the cross” (CPG 4085).  It’s actually a set of Greek verses from the 14th or 15th century.  Assemani only printed – or rather pirated – a Latin translation of the early modern period.  But since it is a short text, I thought that it would be fun to translate it, and put the results online.  Here they are:

It’s also on here.  As usual these files and everything in them are public domain – do whatever you like with them, personal, educational or commercial.


A “Prayer of Saint Ephrem the Syrian (306-373)”: actually an excerpt from Ephraem Graecus, CPG 4085

Here’s an interesting one, from a random link: a “Prayer of Saint Ephrem the Syrian (306-373)”:

Blessed Virgin, immaculate and pure, you are the sinless Mother of your Son, who is the mighty Lord of the universe. Since you are holy and inviolate, the hope of the hopeless and sinful, I sing your praises. I praise you as full of every grace, for you bore the God-Man. I venerate you; I invoke you and implore your aid. Holy and Immaculate Virgin, help me in every need that presses upon me and free me from all the temptations of the devil. Be my intercessor and advocate at the hour of death and judgment. Deliver me from the fire that is not extinguished and from the outer darkness. Make me worthy of the glory of your Son. O dearest and most kind Virgin Mother. You indeed are my most secure and only hope, for you are holy in the sight of God, to whom be honor and glory, majesty and power forever. Amen.

The same can be found on many Catholic websites, but always unreferenced. I encountered it in a tweet by a youthful Catholic, arguing that Ephrem lived at the time of Nicaea, so Church teaching at that time must have endorsed the idea that Mary was sinless. It can’t be Nicene, of course: Ephraem was a teenager at that time, and his major works belong to the mid-4th century.

So where does it come from?  Is it actually by Ephraem?

The English text of the prayer is taken from something called the “Raccolta”.  This was a “Collection of Indulgenced Prayers & Good Works”, to be used every day in order to obtain indulgences.  It first appeared in Italy in the 19th century – the word means “collection”, and the work was taken on by the church and revised until replaced in the 1960s by a new volume for the same purpose.

In the 1957 edition, p.265, with parallel Latin and English, the prayer appears as section 371:

O pura et immaculata, eademque benedicta Virgo, magni Filii tui universorum Domini Mater inculpata, integra et sacrosanctissima, desperantium atque reorum spes, te collaudamus. Tibi ut gratia plenissimae benedicimus, quae Christum genuisti Deum et Hominem: omnes coram te prosternimur: omnes te invocamus et auxilium tuum imploramus. Eripe nos, o Virgo sancta atque intemerata, a quacumque ingruente necessitate et a cunctis tentationibus diaboli.  Nostra conciliatrix et advocata in hora mortis atque iudicii esto: nosque a futuro inexstinguibili igne et a tenebris exterioribus libera: et Filii tui nos gloria dignare, o Virgo et Mater dulcissima ac clementissima. Tu siquidem unica spes nostra es securissima et sanctissima apud Deum, cui gloria et honor, decus atque imperium in sempiterna saecula saeculorum. Amen.  (S. Ephraem C. D.)

Not sure what C. D. means – confessor?  doctor?  The English is as above, and adds:

St Ephrem the Syrian
An indulgence of 3 years.
A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions, if the daily recitation of this prayer be continued for a month (S. P. Ap., Dec. 21, 1920 and Jan. 9, 1933).

S. P. Ap. = Sacra Poenitentiaria Apostolica, and I presume the reference is to some instructions somewhere by that body, the “Apostolic Penitentiary.”  The prayer also appears in the 1943 edition, as section 339, but not in the 1910 edition.

The Latin text of the prayer is taken from our old friend, Ephraem Graecus.  It is an excerpt from a work printed by Assemani, in Latin only, in volume 3 of the Opera Graeca, on p.575, column 2, lines A-C.[1]  The work in question is “Threni, id est, Lamentationes gloriosissimae Virginis Matris Mariae super passione domini,” “Lamentations of the most glorious Virgin Mother Mary on the Passion of the Lord.”  The reference number is CPG 4085, although the CPG gives no useful information.  The text begins on p.574 of Assemani. There is no indication of where Assemani found it.  Here is the relevant passage:

Willem F. Bakker has made a study of this obscure text.  His useful article with D. M. L. Philippides from 2000, “The Lament of the Virgin by Ephraem the Syrian,” is online here.[2] From this I learn that there is indeed a Greek text, which was printed in a 3-volume collection of articles, although I was unable to access this:

Μ. Ι. Μανούσακας, “Ἑλληνικὰ ποιήματα γιὰ τὴ σταύρωση τοῦ Χριστοῦ”, in: Mélanges Octave et Melpo Merlier, II, Athens (1956), 49-60.  Text on pp.65-9.

According to Bakker &c, the Greek text was circulating from the 16th century onwards, although never printed, and it was translated into Latin by a number of people.  Among them was a version by Vossius, which Assemani then silently copied for his own edition.  The literary theme of the work – the Virgin Mary before her son on the cross – is one that belongs to the Byzantine period, rather than the 4th century, and so the work must be 9th century or later.

A further article by Dr Bakker, from 2005, is paywalled hereanybody got access? * -, but we get a useful abstract:

The “Threnos seu lamentatio sanctissimae Dei genitricis, quae dicitur in sancta et magna Parasceve,” long since attributed to Ephraem the Syrian, appears to be a direct translation of the anonymous “Φρηνo τη υϕεραγία Φεoτόκoυ ει την σταυρωσιν τoυ δεσϕότoυ Xριστoυ,” published by Manousakas, and thus cannot be Ephraem’s work. The Greek original, based upon “troparia” in the versus politicus of the fourteenth century, the “Akolouthia” of Good Friday and the second version of the “Acta Pilati,” must have been composed around the year 1400. There are strong indications that this text, a sort of amplified “stavrotheotokion,” had been sung for some time on Good Friday, outside the official service.

So this is definitely not Ephraem, and certainly not a witness to any doctrinal position at the time of Nicaea, but a very late Byzantine work.

* Thank you to the kind colleague who sent me a copy!

Update: I have now made a translation of the whole thing which may be found here.

  1. [1]Using the Latin text, beginning “O pura et immaculata, eademque benedicta Virgo,” allows us to find the source.  Carlo Passaglia, De immaculato deiparae semper virginis conceptu Caroli Passaglia commentarius, vol. 3 (1855), p.125, quotes the Latin, and so gives us the reference to Assemani.
  2. [2]Willem F. Bakker & Dia Mary L. Philippides, “The lament of the virgin by Ephraem the Syrian” in: Enthymēsis Nikolaou M. Panagiōtakē, (2000), 39-56.

Looking at the “Life” of St Mewan

St Mewan, as he is known in Cornwall – known as Saint Méen in Brittany, and Sanctus Mevennus in Latin – was a Breton saint.  The Bibliotheca Hagiographica Latina states that he died in “Britannia Armonica” in the 7th century, and is commemorated on the 21 June.  His “Life” (BHL 5944) is said to be 11th century, according to Nicholas Orme, The Saints of Cornwall, Oxford (2000), p. 67, as I posted earlier:

The 11th-century Life of Mewan, written in Brittany, claims that Austell was a priest and godson of Mewan who lived with him in his monastery at Saint-Meen (I.-et-V.), attended his deathbed, and died on 28 June (his subsequent feast-day), exactly one week after his master (Plaine 1884: 155-6; Doble 1939c: 4-11). Both saints were honoured at Saint-Meen. In Cornwall the parishes of St Austell and St Mewan adjoin one another, and have probably done so since at least the 10th century when the two saints occur together in the early list of saints (Olson and Padel: 34, 59). Austell’s Cornish parish, however, was much larger than Mewan’s, reversing their status in Brittany.

The “Life” was printed by Fr. B. Plaine in Analecta Bollandiana 3, p.142-56, from a single manuscript in the BNF in Paris, which he says is 15th century but they say is 16th (!?).  Unfortunately the MS is not online.

I have started to translate Plaine’s edition into English, by running each chapter in turn through Google Translate and ChatGPT 3.5, interleaving the Latin sentences with the output from these.  Then I use my QuickLatin parser to look up words for part of speech etc.  I use the Logeion website to access the Dictionary of Medieval Latin from British Sources, to look up post-classical meanings.  The Latin is simple enough, and it is just a case of turning the handle.  I have a couple of weeks of domestic business to attend to, but then I will get to it.


Import Turnpike Emails into Thunderbird – for free

When I first came onto the web in 1997, I used Demon Internet, and their “Turnpike” software on Windows.  All my emails until about 2012 were done that way, safely offline, when I moved to Gmail.  I still have my Turnpike directory on my PC, and, even on Windows 11, Turnpike.exe opens, and all my old emails are still in there.

But it’s pretty hard to search through those for some .doc file from long ago.  How do I import all those emails into somewhere that I can actually use?

If you do an internet search, Google will show you page after page of results from sites, all ending in “.com”, offering a “solution” – to buy some tool.  Thank you, Google.  All that money-grabbing drowns out the real results.  Luckily I found one in an old forum here.

The answer, it seems, is to use Mozilla’s Thunderbird as an intermediary.

I detest these scammers, and you do not need to do this.  Turnpike can export to “MBOX” format, a text file; and local email clients like Thunderbird – which is free – can import it.

Here’s how.

Export all your emails and attachments from Turnpike to MBox.

Go into your Turnpike directory, and find turnpike.exe.  In my case this is Turnpike 5.01.

Open it up.  On the menu, choose Window | Mailroom View.  That will show all your emails.  The first one is highlighted.

Select the lot.  For me, I had to click on the first email, hold the shift key, and hit Ctrl-End.

Then do File | Export, and save the mail_001.txt to some directory.  It took a few seconds, but it worked.  In my case the .txt file was almost a gigabyte.  This DOES include all the attachments, all UU encoded as text.

I then copied the mail_001.txt file and called the new copy “00 Turnpike” (because I wanted all my emails in a folder of that name.  You can use any name not already a folder in your email.  Use 00 on the front to make it appear at the top of the folder, for reasons we will see).

I would strongly suggest that you find an email with an attachment, and just export that on its own.  Try to import that under some name, as below, and check the attachment is imported OK.

Find out where the Thunderbird “Local Folder” is on your disk

Then open Thunderbird.  Scroll down the left panel until you find the Local Folders area (I have a couple of online email accounts connected to Thunderbird so I can read offline, which you see at the top).

As you can see, I already have a local folder named “00 Roger” which I use to back up my emails locally.  But you don’t need that.  I called it “00 Roger” because the local folder is full of junk files, which you mustn’t touch.  So by using the “00”, my folder sorted to the top!  Makes it easier to find.

Right click on “Local Folders” and choose “Settings”.  Select “Local Folders” on the left panel.  This will show you where your local folders are actually held on your hard disk.

As  you can see, I changed the “local directory” from whatever garbage it usually is to somewhere under d:\roger, where I keep all my user files.  It doesn’t matter where it is.

Now take a note of where the local directory is.

Then close down Thunderbird.

Import the Mbox file into the Thunderbird Local Folders directory

Then open that local directory in windows explorer.

Copy your small file with the attachment into this directory, right next to the “cert8.db” and all the other files.  Or copy your big, “00 Turnpike” folder in.

Then restart Thunderbird.

You will now have a new folder in Local Folders. But … if its the biggie, “00 Turnpike”, do wait before expanding the folder.  Allow Thunderbird time to process all those attachments.   For a small file, this won’t take all that long.

Once you feel sure, expand it, your emails will be inside, marked unread.

If you go back to the local folder in Windows explorer, you will see your “00 thunderbird” file as you left it, but with a new “.msf” file, which indexes it.

And you’re done.  You have your emails out of Turnpike.

Troubleshooting?  “Where are my attachments?!”  Well, delete the folder in Thunderbird, and try again with a single message.  See if that works.  If it does, then probably you just need to leave Thunderbird open and let it process stuff.

If it all worked OK, then you’re good.

Getting the emails into GMail

Maybe you want to copy/upload some/all of them into a Gmail account? then there are links online that will tell you, like this one.  Basically you just create a connection in Thunderbird to your online email, using IMAP.  This will download your emails to your PC, and create folders etc.  You then just drag the emails from “Local Folders/00 Turnpike” into the folder under your online email account.  But the link will give you a blow-by-blow account of that.  (I didn’t do it myself, tho, because I am increasingly suspicious that anybody who uses Google’s “free” services is about to get a rude awakening, in the shape of unavoidable “low” charges which somehow become very high charges.  See “Monopoly”.)

Likewise if you want a  local copy of your online emails, in Thunderbird, just copy/drag them from the folder for your Gmail account to a folder under “Local Folders”.

But the point here is that you now can work with your Turnpike emails.

Good luck.


An index of available translations on this site to download

This blog is getting large.  A lot of patristic and other texts have been translated and placed here.  I thought that a list, linking to the posts, and also directly to the PDF and the Word file, might be helpful.  So I have compiled one, and placed it in the side-bar under Translations Available For Download.

I made this list by searching the “uploads” directory for all the .pdf and .doc* files, and then searching for these in the “Search” box on the blog.  So it’s probably not complete.  There will be translations that were made as purely blog posts, without a download.  There are a few of these in the Additional Fathers section of the website, such as Agapius, and I really need to revisit those and create some downloads.

There are also 70+ short files by Anthony Alcock which contain translations of Coptic texts.  These will have to wait another day.


From My Diary

Working as a computer programmer meant working on a series of “projects” to deliver some software system, or, more often, a package of enhancements to some existing system.  Once you finished the project, there was often a lull while the code was released to production.  In that time, you would tidy up; do various little tasks.  Often your computer was set up in a particular way, you’d have piles of project-related material lying around, links on your desktop, and so forth.  You would breathe.  Draw breath.  Catch up on sorting out stuff, readying for the next one, as yet unknown.

Now that the St Nicholas material has been completed, it’s the same feeling again here.  It’s time to destress, to potter, tidy things up.

I’ve been going through the icons on my windows desktop, getting rid of shortcuts to directories on which I will no longer be working.  Looking at word documents left on the desktop, and merging those with others, getting rid of this and that.  And, of course, backing everything up.

One text file, with a reminder, drew my attention.

This blog has been running for a long time now.  I’ve been uploading PDFs and Word documents for years and years.  But there is no master list of everything that I have done.

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was?

So today I have created a new page on the blog – only visible to me, at the moment – and started to list the items.

WordPress stores all the uploads – in a directory called “uploads”, funnily enough – and part of my backup routine is to download this at intervals.  So I opened up a Git Bash window and did a unix-style “find” for all the .pdf and all the .doc* files in that directory, and piped the results to a text file.  There’s quite a few!

Nor will this list be complete.  Before I uploaded stuff to the blog, I posted it in HTML in the Additional Fathers collection.  Those files need to be rescued.  It would be good to have these in .docx and .pdf as well.   Then there are translations which were just blog posts, not done as downloads.

It would also be good to add the CPL, CPG etc reference to every text.  And I don’t just want to link to the downloads.  I want to link to the post which included them as well.

So there is quite a bit of work here.  But anyway, I’ve started.  I’ll work through the list of files first, and then we’ll see.

I noticed today that the WordPress theme didn’t seem to have a “next post” “previous post” link.  This is important if you are looking at a post in 2014, with no idea of what came before or after!  Actually I have found that the theme does have this – at the bottom of the post above the comments.  But before I noticed this, I installed a plugin to add arrows!  I will leave it there for now.

Likewise I have added archives by month at the bottom right.  I generally know which month an upload was made in.  So at least I can browse the month now, and see if I can find the post!

It’s a bit of a tedious job, but it will be useful, not least because it’s nice to see what I was doing 10 years ago, and to add a bit of extra value.  I need to make sure that we have PDF and .docx for everything – in the early days I didn’t always do this.

In the aftermath of the St Nicholas project, I also feel like a bit of holiday somewhere.  A week away somewhere would be nice.  A change of scene.  Leaving the laptop behind!  It is really important to take your holidays, as I always say.

I had actually thought about a trip out to somewhere in the Near East.  Unfortunately all the yelling and shouting and shooting and bombing at the moment makes that area seem less than inviting right now.  Also it is many years now since I grew sick of getting an upset stomach every time I went to Egypt.  So I won’t go far.

But yes, a bit of holiday and time away beckons.  In the meantime, I shall catalogue the projects of yesterday.


A new project: “translating key pieces of patristic pseudepigrapha into English” by Nathan Porter

A post on Bluesky by Nathan Porter:

Now online, and coming soon to an airport near you, is the first English translation of the Pseudo-Athanasian work, De Incarnatione et contra Arianos.… So begins my long-term project of translating key pieces of patristic pseudepigrapha into English.

Coming soon: Ps-Basil, Against Eunomius IV and V Ps-Athanasius, Dialogues on the Trinity Ps-Epiphanius, Homily on the Resurrection Anonymous, Life of Amphilochius.

On the Academia page he adds:

This is the first English translation of the Pseudo-Athanasian work De Incarnatione et contra Arianos (PG 26: 984-1028). Though it has received little scholarly attention, it is a work of considerable interest for its novel exegesis of biblical texts and unusual theological formulations. Some have attributed it to Marcellus of Ancyra, though probably erroneously.

The work is CPG 2806.  The edition is that of Montfaucon.  Interestingly there is a Latin version in Florence BML 584, of the 9-10th century; an Armenian version , and a Syriac version in the CSCO series!


Three more miracle stories of St Nicholas: BHL 6177, 6178 and 6209

Last year I created a file with the Latin text of 47 of the medieval miracle stories of St Nicholas, and a draft English translation for each.  Three more stories were left unfinished, containing BHL 6177 (the miracles at Angers), BHL 6178 (the miracles at Brauweiler), and BHL 6209 (a musical miracle at the Cluniac priory of Sainte-Croix in Burgundy).  I have now finished these up, and here they are:

They are also at here.

As usual, these files and their contents are public domain.  Use them in any way you like, personal, educational, or commercial.

The list of stories about St Nicholas in the Bollandist’s catalogue, the BHL, is longer still.  But most of the remaining pieces are quite long, and, in all honesty, late medieval.  It’s way too late for this blog, and out of scope.

I did think about BHL 6210 also, which is not too long, and I went so far as to scan the Latin text.  But in all honesty I feel no urge whatever to do any more St Nicholas material just now.  So let’s stop here.