Who *was* that masked man?! The mysterious Pantoleon

A correspondent writes:

Do you know anything about Pantaleon the Deacon? It looks like we have 5 sermons of his, in the PG 98 columns 1244-1269, though sermon 4 (apparently an encomium on Michael the archangel) is only given in Latin. … I was curious if you know if his works existed in English yet.

This is indeed an obscure author.  A google search revealed little, beyond a Spanish translation of the Encomium on Michael, published in Strasbourg in 2014.[1]

Fortunately the indispensable “fifth volume” of Quasten, ed. Angelo di Berardino, reveals a “Pantoleon”, which is the form of the name in the CPG:


Pantoleon was a priest-monk of the monastery “of the Byzantines”, probably near Jerusalem. There survives a homily attributed to him on the Exaltation of the Cross (BHG 430) which also exists in a Syriac version of the 8th or 9th century, making it certain that Pantoleon is no later than the 8th century. Honigmann has sought to narrow this down still further to 650-750, by supplementing the evidence of the Syriac version with his theory about the introduction of the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross into Palestine. If this is correct, then Pantoleon may be the same as the Pantoleon to whom Pope Martin I addressed a letter of reproach after the Lateran Council in 649. Another homily on the Exaltation of the Cross (BHG 427p), as yet unedited, has also been ascribed to Pantoleon.

Editions: CPG 7915, 7918; PG 98, 1265-1269.

Studies: E. Honigmann, “La date de l’homelie du pretre Pantoleon sur la fete de l’Exaltation de la Croix (VIIe s.) et l’origine des collections homiliaires”, Bulletin de l’Academie royale de Belgique 36 (1950) 547-559; A. Labate: EEC 2 (1992) 640.

The CPG entries are:

  • 7915: Homilia in exaltationem crucis (BHG 430), PG 1265-1269, plus a Syriac translation;
  • 7918: Homilia de exaltatione crucis (BHG 427p), unpublished, but labelled DUBIA.

I find this entry in the CERL thesaurus here:

Pantaleon <Constantinopolitanus>

Biographical Dates: 7. bzw. 9. Jh. (früher: 13. Jh.)

General Notes:  CPG 5207,2: Sermo de luminibus sanctis; Sermones in transfigurationem Domini; vielleicht Verf. von “Contra Graecos”; Identität mit Pantaleon <Presbyter Byzantinus> (CPG 7915-7918) wahrscheinlich.

Which identifies “Pantaleon Presbyter Byzantinus” “probably” with “Pantaleon Constantinopolitanus”.

Searching for “Pantoleon Byzantinus” tells me here that there is a publication, Pantoleon Diaconus, Miracula sancti Michaelis edited by F. Halkin in Inedits byzantins d’Ochrida, Candie et Moscou, Brussels, 1963.

The Pinakes has an entry for “Pantoleon Cpl. Diaconus” here which references both a Laudatio S. Michaelis Archangeli (BHG 1289) and Miracula S. Michaelis Archangeli (BHG 1285-1288e, 1288i-m), plus a Sermo de luminibus sanctis (BHG 1945) and Opera.  But of course Pinakes is a list of manuscript holdings.

Likewise I find this in the old Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology:

2. A Constantinopolitan deacon and chartophylax, who probably lived in the middle of the thirteenth century. Several works of his, principally sermons, have been published, both in the original Greek, and in Latin, for which consult Fabricius, Bibl. Graec. vol. x. pp. 199, 242, 247, 258, vol. xi. p. 455, and Cave, Hist. Lit. vol. ii. Diss. p. 15. [W. M. G.]

I don’t quite know what to make of all this: but that’s what I have.

  1. [1]Pantaléon (Diacre de Constantinople). Narración de los milagros del supremo arcángel Miguel; y Panegírico del supremo y glorioso Miguel príncipe de la milicia celeste. Pantaléon diácono,… ; traducción, introducción y notas de Guillermo Pons. Strasbourg: Trifolium, 2014.  In series Archivum Angelicum, vol. 25.  ISSN 1969-5659; 25.  ISBN : 978-2-35813-028-8.  Info via Sudoc.

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