More idols overthrown, this time by St Abramius

The next reference in Mango’s article to idol-smashing is the following:

In the middle of the sixth century we hear of St. Abramius destroying pagan idols near Lampsacus on the Hellespont, in a village that was totally pagan.

The reference is to the Acta Sanctorum, the Acts SS, Abramii et Mariae, March, vol. 2, p.933.  This is online here.

The reference appears to be to chapter 8.  I’m afraid my Greek isn’t up to doing this in the brief time that I have available, but I see from the marginal Latin that he comes to a pagan village, builds a church, “idola evertiti” — overturns the idols, and… does something that the online text does not make clear, as I can’t read the text.

Anyone like to translate chapter 8 for us?

UPDATE: It is actually chapter 1 part 8.  From the Latin (see comments below) it reads:

8.  Where, when the blessed Abramius gathered them, he prayed in the way of the Lord, saying: “Most blessed and best Lord, have mercy on my imbecility, and send your grace to my help, so that it may glorify your holy name.” But coming to the town, he saw everyone there to be passionately held prisoner by the insanity of idolatry.  So he wept bitterly, sighing, and raising his eyes to heaven said, “You, Lord, who alone are free from all sin, likewise alone are full of mercy, and alone are clement and benevolent, may you not despise the works of your hands.” And quickly he sent a proclamation to the city to some of his dearest friends, to send money to him from their remaining patrimony.  When he had received it, within a few days he built a church, in which assiduously he offered prayer to God, and so prayed with many tears and said, “Gather, o Lord, your scattered people and lead them to this temple: illuminate their eyes and minds, let them know that you alone are God so that the worship of images may be repudiated. When he had finished this prayer, he immediately went out of the church, rushed to the pagan temple, where he destroyed their abominations and dragged down the images with his own hands and overthrew them.  When those pagans found out, like so many wild beasts the bumpkins attacked him, and having been injured with many blows he fled from the town.

I don’t feel any great faith that this is a historical account.  What part of it could not have been written by any monk at any time during the middle ages?


7 thoughts on “More idols overthrown, this time by St Abramius

  1. “the onlookers set on him like savage beasts and with whips drove him our of the village.” (He goes on to win them over eventually!).
    There’s a Latin version at p.432-3 in the same volume.

  2. There is another version of Abramius’ life, in Theodoretus, History of Monks of Syria, ch. 17 (translated in English, and also in French in S.C.). Equivalent of ch. 8 of ASS is ch. 2 in Theodoretus.
    (I could send you pdf files of those pages if this email service had that option).

  3. It slipped my mind to note that Theodoretus in his narrative above, about this Syriac father, does not mention that he destroyed any idols.

  4. I found last night that I had the English translation of Theodoret history of the monks! But is it the same man, I wonder? The story details are rather different.

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