Armenian sermons of Severian of Gabala … or Eusebius of Emesa?

In a post a few days ago I mentioned that I had discovered an English translation of a sermon by Severian of Gabala on the sufferings and death of our Lord, and placed it online.  The sermon was translated from an 1827 publication of sermons in Armenian — probably from the parallel Latin text, rather than the Armenian, I fancy! — and I have since discovered the book online here.  I also noted that the sermon was not listed among the works of Severian in the Clavis Patrum Graecorum.

While I was scanning the text, I came across  various examples of allegorical interpretation.  This is not quite what I associate with Severian.  Looking at the table of contents in the Armenian, at the end around p. 449, I am struck by the vagueness of the titles.  Severian is called bishop of Emesa, for instance.  15 sermons are edited.  Here are the last three:

  • XIII.  B. Severiani Episcopi in Ficulneam arefactam. – 415
  • XIV.  B. Emesensis Episcopi in Passionem Christi – 429
  • XV. B. Eusebii (lege, Seberiani) Episcopi in idem mysterium (de Juda traditore) – 443

The last entry is the most interesting: “Of the blessed Bishop Eusebius (read: Severian) on the same mystery (of Judas the traitor)”.  The lege is added by the modern editor, of course.  But should we agree?  Or do the last two sermons both truly belong to Eusebius of Emesa (d. 359)?

Eusebius of Emesa is listed in CPG 2, nos 3525-3543.  #3525 is a list of sermons extant in Latin translation and discovered in the Codex Trecensis which also preserves works of Tertullian and was unknown until a century ago.  Among these is De arbore fici; we might wonder whether ‘Severian’ XIII is the same work.

Listed in #3531 is “Armenian sermons”.  These have been edited by N. Akinian, Die Reden des Bischofs Eusebius von Emesa, in Handes Amsorya 70 (1956), 71 (1957) and 72 (1958).  This is a collection of homilies under the name of Eusebius of Emesa.  The first eight are by Eusebius; the other five are by Severian of Gabala (CPG 4185, 4202, 4210, 4246, 4248)!  Sermon 2 is De passione Christi (Akinian, l.c. 70, pp.385-416) — is this our baby?  Well, no.

Because sermon 5 De passione, ed. vol. 71, p.357-80, is listed in the CPG as being the same as the sermon XIV of Aucher, starting on p.428, and continuing as Aucher’s sermon XV.  And fragments of it are indeed found in the Butyaert Latin text.

I will therefore update the page I uploaded with the necessary details.


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