Anianus of Celeda and Chrysostom’s sermons in the West

The sermons of John Chrysostom became known to fathers such as Augustine at a very early date.  Apparently a bunch of them were translated by the deacon Anianus of Celeda in the early 5th century.  Emilio Bonfiglio has written a dissertation on the translations of Anianus, although I have not seen this, and it may be in Italian anyway.

Quasten’s Patrology gives Anianus as the translator of some of the sermons on Matthew, and the encomiums on St. Paul; but also of other works.  It would be very interesting to learn more about this activity.  We’re all familiar with the Latin translations that appear in Migne’s Patrologia Graeca opposite the Greek; but what proportion of these are in fact ancient translations, rather than renaissance?

I’ve managed to find online a paper about Anianus of Celeda, given by Kate Cooper and published in the papers of the Oxford Patristic Conference here.  This tells us that he wrote a prefatory letter to each of those two translations (PG50, 472-3, to Evangelius before the Paul texts and PG58 975-6 to Orontius for the homilies).  A new and rather different version of the letter to Orontius was uncovered in 1972 by Adolf Primmer (Die Originalfassung von Anianus’ epistula ad Orontium, in Antidosis: Festschrift für Walther Kraus, ed. R. Hanslik, A. Lesky, and H. Schwabl, 278–89. Vienna, 1982).  It would certainly be worth getting an English version of these.


27 thoughts on “Anianus of Celeda and Chrysostom’s sermons in the West

  1. Dear Mr. Pearse
    While investigating the sources of Old-Saxon ‘Heliand’ I found out that the poet (or rather the theologian behind him) must have been acquainted with at least the fourth homily of Chrysostom on Matthew. See Fitt 4, 298b-322, on Joseph’s reaction at Mary’s pregnancy: the resemblance is striking! But I also found clear traces of homily 44 in Fitt 30, 2462-2464a, 2513b-2515 etc., where the disciples are exhorted to keep sowing the Word, even if most people do not accept it, because their Master, who knows the hearts of men, does the same; and also of homily 84 in Fitt 59, 4933-4936a, where it is said that the disciples did not run because of fear, but because they had heard that the prophets had foretold what was happening. Now the poet might readily have had Anian’s Latin translatian of Homily 4 at his disposal, but there is (as far as I know)no Latin translation extant of the homilies 44 and 84, that is old enough to have been used for ‘Heliand’ (first half of 9th c.). This may be an indication that there has been one, which is now lost.

  2. A very interesting point – thank you.

    We must always keep in our minds that at all periods we have suffered losses of literature, and that the material known to us must always be a small fraction of what existed. It sounds as if you have demonstrated that more of Chrysostom was known than we might suppose.

  3. I am preparing an online critical edition of Thomas of Ireland’s Manipulus florum. I was just searching online for the source of the following line which comprises “Honor m”:

    Honoris magnitudo hiis qui non digno uiuunt honore, cumulus incipit esse penarum. Crisostomus super Mattheum.

    I did not find it in the Opus imperfectum (Googlebooks digitalized vol. 56 of the PG) but in another Googlebooks digital text: Anianus’ Interpretatio (In expositionem divi Johannis Chrysostomi super evangelium Matthei, 4, 7 (PG 58, col.1013-1014).

    This is my first encounter with Anianus. Is the text correctly attributed to him by Migne? Is there a more recent edition that I can cite?

    Thanks in advance.

  4. Hi Roger (et al.),

    I’m trying to identify the print editions of Latin translations of Chrysostom’s In Mattheum homiliae that are derived from Anianus’ translation, rather than Erasmus’.

    The edition in Migne (PG 57, cols.13-472) appears to be that of Erasmus; I have found a 1687 edition (Paris and Amsterdam) edited by Fronton du Duc, SJ, and first published at Paris about 50 years earlier, that seems to be Anianus’ translation.

    Does anyone know of any bibliographical source that lists all of the Anianus versions in print?

    Many thanks in advance,


  5. Dear Chris!
    I’m writing my thesis about some homilies of John Chrysostom, so I had to read something of Annianus, as well..
    I’ve read in Sources Chretiennes 300, in the Introduction (p. 87, note 3), that also the translation of du Duc could have been corrected, and so not really the one, ‘pure’, of Annianus…
    I’m afraid I don’t know any source that lists all of the Annianus versions in print, but I think there’s not yet…If it can help you, look Stegmmüller, Repertorium Biblicum Medii Aevii, number 4360..

    Good luck!


  6. Thanks, Judit. After posting that message I discovered that there is a new critical edition of Anianus’ translation of Chrysostom’s homily IX on Matthew:

    Bonfiglio, Emilio (2009). “Anianus Celedensis: Translator of John Chrysostom’s Homilies on Matthew: a Pelagian interpretation?” in S. Neocleous (ed.), Papers from the First and Second Postgraduate Forums in Byzantine Studies: Sailing to Byzantium, Newcastle U.K., 77-104.

    I don’t know if this will help you, but I found it very useful.

  7. Hi again Judit,

    You (and other readers of this blog) might also be interested in another article by Emilio Bonfiglio:

    ‘Notes on the Manuscript Tradition of Anianus Celedensis’ Translation of John Chrysostom’s Homiliae in Matthaeum [CPG 4424].’ In: Studia Patristica XLVII, Leuven: Peeters Publishers, 2010, 287-293.

  8. I have found a copy of the 1503 Venice edition of some of Chrysostom’s opera that has been scanned by Googlebooks and freely provided online:

    The title page is missing, but I am reasonably sure that this is the very rare 1503 Venice edition, which contains the earliest printed text of Anianus’ translations of Chrysostom. The homilies on Matthew and Hebrews are quite different from the PG versions, which reproduce Erasmus’ translations. However, it appears that the 1503 version of De laudibus Pauli is very close to the PG version. I have not checked the homilies on John, the homilies on the epistles to Titus and Timothy, or the Adversus vituperatores vitae monasticae.

    This edition is not easily searchable. I have begun a digital transcription project for the homilies on Matthew, which will be freely provided on the auxiliarly resources page of the Electronic Manipulus florum Project. A significant portion of the text will be provided by the end of summer 2012. I will post a notice on this blog when the text becomes available.

  9. Further to my citation of Bonfiglio’s articles, he not only deals with the manuscript traditions of Anianus’ translations, but also the early print traditions, citing earlier studies on the latter which show that editor/publishers from about 1530 freely “corrected” the received translation. I have compared Bonfiglio’s edition of Hom. IX super Mattheum, based on several early MSS, with the 1503 Venice edition and found that they are very close.

  10. A few weeks ago I uploaded digital transcriptions of Anianus’ Preface to his translations of Chrysostom’s Homilies 1-25 on the Gospel of Matthew and also the texts of Homilies 1-8 from Migne’s PG 58, 975-1058, onto the PGL Project website(

    Today I uploaded digital transcriptions of Anianus’ translations of Chrysostom’s homilies 9-15 on Matthew from the edition princeps published in 1503 at Venice on the PGL project website (

    If I can secure another internal grant to complete this transcription project, homilies 16-25 will follow sometime in the new year. Keep your fingers crossed…

  11. I have abandoned the Patres Graeci in Latine project because it has been superceded by a new commercial database for the entire PG published by Classiques Garnier:

    However, the PG transcriptions of several Latin translations of Chrysostom and also the Pseudo-Chrystostom Opus Imperfectum that were accomplished for the PGL project are still available as Open Access resources that are now provided on the Auxiliary Resources page for the Manipulus florum Project:

  12. Thank you very much for the update. You did a valuable work, but of course none of us can compete with a commercial publisher.

    That said, the Garnier resource is unlikely to be available to most people. I have mixed feelings about this kind of database.

  13. I agree. Open Access is the desideratum. But there is no chance of funding to expand the PGL resource now that Garnier has published their database. And yes, it is not easily available, at present. My university library told me it is too expensive, so I hope to use it on an upcoming research/conference trip to the US.

  14. Hi Roger,

    You’ve been spammed, or whatever the equivalent is in French. Can you remove the preceding gibberish?

    And many congrats on the new book!



  15. All gone.

    There’s a dose of rubbish every morning which I shovel up; but on Sundays I don’t use the web, so it hangs around until Monday.

    I wish the policemen, who are so assiduous these days in trawling twitter for Wrong Thinking, were even a fraction as energetic in tracking down spammers.

  16. Dear Roger and other colleagues:

    I am searching for a Latin translation of Chrysostom’s homilies on the gospel of John that was used by a number of 13th-century writers, but was apparently never printed (or at least the Googlebooks project hasn’t gotten to it yet).

    Here is a sample of the version I am seeking from the Ps.-Bonaventure Liber pharetrae:

    Joannes Chrysostomus, super Joannem: Invidi oculus liquatur tristitia, invidus cum morte vivit continua.

    A very similar version appears in Alexander of Hales’s Summa theologiae under “Inuidia”:

    Chrisostomus in Homel. 55. Nihil liuore deterius; vt alium perdat, et seipsum simul perdat, inuidi oculus liquatur tristitia, et morte viuit continua.

    Both are quite different from the version in PG 59, col.305:

    Invidi oculus dolore tabescit, in morte vivit perpetua, omnes arbitratur sibi inimicos, qui etiam nihil se laeserunt.

    I also checked the 1503 Venice Opera omnia, but it is much closer to Migne’s edition than the one used by the 13th-century authors/compilers.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Chris Nighman

  17. Hi Roger et al.

    Found the answer: there is a 12th-century translation of Chrysostom’s homelies on John done by the jurists Burgundio of Pisa that was apparently never printed. I know that it was a source for both the Manipulus florum and the Liber pharetrae, and apparently several of the Summa writers, including Alexander of Hales and Aquinas. I am planning to transcribe the former Sorbonne copy as an Open Source text and may eventually attempt a critical edition.

  18. This is very interesting – thank you! How did you find out about Burgundio’s translation? Do you have a shelfmark for the manuscript of it, in case someone else comes along and thinks “wow”?

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