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.


14 thoughts on “More on Anianus of Celeda

  1. We know next to nothing of An(n)ianus. The evidence in J’s letter is very suspicious – he seems to be referring to Pelagius at the end, and betray some confusion. There is nothing to suggest that A. made any contribution at Diospolis, and J. may well be referring to P’s reply to J’s Ep.133.
    The translation above is wanting (in schedulis = “on little scraps of parchment”!!??). Eusebius (of Cremona?) was adept at stealing (excerpts of?) unpublished works.
    The Bio-Biog-Lexikon are still looking for a contributor for Annianus…

  2. Hi,

    Thanks, Roger, this is very helpful. Ananius appears to also be known as Marcus Celedensis in some earlier literature.

    And you can see an early allusion to 1 John 5:7 (the heavenly witnesses) in his writing.

    To us there is one ‘ Father,’ and his only ‘ Son,’ [who is] very [or true] God, and one ‘ Holy Spirit,’ [who in] very God, and these three are one; ­ one divinity, and power, and kingdom. And they are three persons, not two nor one, (Inquiry into the Integrity of the Vulgate, 1815 Frederick Nolan)

    Nobis igitur unus Pater, et unus Filius ejus verus Deus, et unus Spiritus Sanctus verus Deus: et hi tres unum sunt, una divinitas, et potentia et regnum. Sunt autem tres persona, non duæ, non una.

    Here it is in a Jerome work:

    Sancti Eusebii Hieronymi Operum tomus primus [-quintus], studio et labore …
    Explanatio Fidei ad Cyrillum

    So you may find material in that edition. When this was discussed more earnestly (today many of the scholars are trained to a type of numbness) there was special attention paid to the Jerome connection.

    Steven Avery

  3. Nolan’s “Enquiry into the integrity of the Vulgate” is on Google books here. Can you give us the page reference?

    What is the connection of the Jerome with Anianus of Celeda?

  4. Hi Roger,

    Yes, I meant to give a bit more in reference, here are the two editions.

    An inquiry into the integrity of the Greek Vulgate

    There is also a reference on p. 297, after 291 above.

    Also there are references in Travis, Porson, Wetstein, Perrone and others. Other than the obligatory Porson harumph, they do not add very much to Nolan.


    I thought I had seen a direct Marcus Celedensis == Anaianus connection. It is possible that one was the deacon and the other a priest in Celeda, wherever that was. Although I just noted that one scholar says that the manuscripts for Marcus do not actually have Celedensis but .. “Calcidae (with some variants) instead, ie probably Chalcis in Northern Syria.”

    Jerome is connected with both gentlemen, though his writings, the question is whether they are connected, by locale or identity. For now I will retract my “appears” and go by the idea of separate individuals. Marcus seems to be obscure outside this writing on the faith to Cyril. Any help you can give on this is appreciated.


  5. The first reference reads:

    3. On 1 Joh. v. 7 we may cite … Marcus Celedensis [286], …

    286. Marc. Celed. Expos. Fid. ad Cyril. “Nobis unus “Pater,” et unus ‘Filius’ eius verus Deus, et unus “Spiritus Sanctus” verus Deus, “et hi tres unum sunt;” una divinitas, et potentia et regnum.” Sunt autem tres personae, non duae, non una,” &c. Ap. S. Hier. Tom. IX, p.73 g. Cf. Ep. LXXVII. Tom. II., p.302.”

    The quotation marks are very curiously laid out.

    This seems to be a quotation from Jerome, “Tome 9” (of some unspecified edition), p.73 note g. I regret that my knowledge of 18th century patristic editions is insufficient to tell me certainly which edition is in view here. But Quasten vol. IV, p.220 tells me that an edition in 9 volumes appeared edited by D. Vallarsi at Verona in 1734-42, 2nd ed. 1766-1772, reprinted in the PL 22-30.

    Page 297 gives us a footnote in which a letter by Jerome to “Marcus the presbyter of Celeda”, written in 375 AD, “De fide quam dignatus es scribere Sancto Cyrillo,” &c.

    I can locate no information on Marcus of Celeda. A search on Marcus Celedensis gives various versions of certain arguments about 1 John 7, but no more information as to the actual primary source. This link, to The Christian Remembrancer vol. 4, p.340-1 states:

    He [Jerome] who was so well versed in the Chaldee could not have been unacquainted with the Syriac be has indeed given some proofs of his skill in this language and is addressed as a proficient in it by Marcus Celedensis.

    This suggests a letter, to me, and probably “Marcus Celedensis” is simply one of the recipients of a letter from Jerome. It is quite annoying that the latter’s letters have never received a complete translation, by the way.

    There seems nothing in this to connect this Marcus with Anianus of Celeda, who is, surely, belonging to a subsequent generation?

    Vol 4 of Vallarsi is here:

    Vol 2 is here, and column.302:

    which doesn’t relate to the topic under investigation.
    Vallarsi would appear to be the Maurist editor.

  6. I think that’s all I can give you at the moment. I think I would next examine Jerome’s letters, in the PL, and see if I could find the letter.

  7. Hi,

    When Marcus Celedensis is referenced, it is with him as the author of the “Explanatio Fidei Ad Cyrillum” .. which has also been attributed at times to Jerome (one source gives Peter Lombard as taking this position).

    The Explanatio is included in the Jerome writings here:

    Sancti Eusebii Hieronymi Operum tomus primus

    You can see the “nobis igitur..” section at the bottom of the Explanatio section, column 127 in the edition above.

    As to how specifically this exposition of faith was considered to be Marcus Celedensis (or Calcidae) .. good question. I’ll see if I can develop any sort of historical perspective on this question.

    I’m not sure why you would place Annanius and Marcus in different generations, or even how you would tell if one preceded the other.


  8. Hi,

    Ok, I see it is because Annanius would be in the later years of Jerome .. while references to Marcus may have been a decade or two earlier. Not sure how to pin that down from our current data stream, presumably by Marcus being referenced in earlier epistles of Jerome. There are really a few related issues .. how does Jerome reference Marcus, is there any other referencing, and exactly why and how is he considered the author of the Expositio. What threw me a bit earlier was Annanius also being referenced as writing to Cyril, my synapses clogged on that one.


  9. Hi,

    The letter to Marcus is :

    Letter XVII. To the Presbyter Marcus.

    This is a letter where Jerome says he is accused of being Sabellian. Interestingly he asserts “fluent knowledge of Syriac” which I think is not today’s generally accepted scholarship (GAS). And Jerome made a confession of faith at baptism (sounds like Acts 8:37) .

    “As regards the questions which you have thought fit to put to me concerning the faith, I have given to the reverend Cyril a written confession which sufficiently answers them.”

    The editor says

    “the extant document purporting to contain this confession is not genuine”.

    Thus we understand now how the Expositio was ascribed to Jerome. I have not yet seen the arguments of purported ungenuineness and often find such arguments quite unconvincing. (A point I believe you have noted, Roger.)

    A reference to the heavenly witnesses is often a primary reason for scholarly shifting of authorship around. However, that may not be a factor here, since it is more allusion than direct reference.

    Steven Avery

  10. Thanks for the update, and especially for the link to the expositio — I was getting rather confused, I confess.

    One query: what is “GAS”?

  11. Hi,

    Welcome, it was a bit confusing here at first too. I would like to track down any arguments as to why Jerome is not the Expositio author, since he says he wrote such an exposition.

    We have a major acronym.

    GAAP == Generally Accepted Accounting Principles

    so last night, thinking about the “scholarship” that claims this and that are forgeries, often against sense, I referred to :

    GAS == Generally Accepted Scholarship

    Any similarity with other uses of the letters “g-a-s” are surely not just coincidental.


  12. Ah yes, well, I don’t believe in taking scholarship on trust, other than in technical and non-controversial areas. In the humanities the consensus on anything controversial merely reflects the wishes of those who control university appointments in the period in question.

    Not that this is to disparage scholarship, of course; but to ensure that we don’t engage in blind faith.

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