Euthymios the Hagiorite in The Greek Eortologion

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Eka Dughashvili


The paper  deals with a Greek manuscript kept in the National Center of Manuscripts Liturgical Rite, wich includes Hymnographic Canons dedicated to Euthymios the Hagiorite (gr. 24) which in 1849, during his visit to Mount Athos, Platon Ioseliani had copied and brought to Georgia. The canon contains the full repertoire of vespers and matins with kontakions and two matins. The same canon includes liturgical texts from the Old Testament (the Wisdom of Solomon). The second out of two canons is complete with eight odes. In the second canon, each ode incorporates several troparions, some of which are not part of the acrostic. The author of the acrostic troparions, identified in the title as Manuel the Great Church rhetor. According to the Greek sources, Manuel was the 15th- 16th cc figure of great authority, famous hymnographer, chartophylax of the Patriarchy of Constantinople and a teacher of a theological school.  

Platon Ioseliani points out that these hymns have been copied from the Greek festal calendars. The hymnographic canon dedicated to Euthymios the Hagiorite contains interesting Contains interesting poetic tropes, epithets, metaphors. In each stanza of eight odes, Euthymios is praised as a true monk, a model of asceticism, as the translator of the Holy Scripture into Georgian and the new John Chrysostom. 

There exists a 18th century Greek edition of the Life of John and Euthymios. There were no other Greek texts known concerning Euthymios. With the discovery of the hymn in question, a hymn attributed to Manuel the Rhetor, an author of 15th-16th cc., was identified. The hymnographic text reveals Euthymios’ ascetic life and the significance of his work for the history of the Georgian literature. In our view, the hymn is based on the knowledge transmitted through oral tradition on the work of Euthymios. The information is scarce, and only Euthymios’ monastic activity is accentuated. Based on the above hymn, we can judge that despite the reduction of the number of Georgian monks in Iveron, the name of Euthynios the Hagiorite was still mentioned with special honor.

It is interesting to observe what led to the creation of a Hymnographic canon dedicated to Euthymios by Manuel the Rhetor in the 16th century. It is known that at that time, Georgian monasteries abroad were assisted by Samtskhe Atabags Kvarkvare II (1451-1498) and Mzechabuki (1500-1515). Regarding the merits of the Atabags, I will quote one Greek text created in the 16th century, published by the Greek historian Spiridon Lamprosi in 1909. This text contains the miracles of the icon of theThotikos of Atskuri and it is written by Manuel the Rhetor. Attached at the end of the text is a praise for Kaikhosro Atabagi and his brother, Mzechabuk, and for their work. This text with the Russian translation was published by the Hrach Bartikian. Both the publisher of the Greek text and Bartikian focus on the relationship of the Samtskhe Atabags with the Greeks in the post-Byzantine era.

From this text it may be assumed that Manuel the Rhetor was personally acquainted with the Samtskhe Atabags, since the chartophylax and Rhetor of the Patriarchate of Constantinople often visited  Iveron Monastery, as noted by G. Papadopoulos.

Numerous testaments of manuscripts created in the Samtskhe scriptorium in the XV-XVI centuries contain information about the donation made by the Atabags to the Iveron Monastery in Athos. The existence of such an intense relationship between the Atabags of Samtskhe and Iveron, as well as the ‘narrative’ created by Manuel the Rhetor, suggest that the hymnographic law dedicated to Euthymios the Athonite was written by Manuel the Rhetor at the behest of the Athabags. This text was later included in the Greek Eortologion, and it is no coincidence that the earliest manuscript of this hymn appeared in the collection of Iveron. It is probable that the Atabags of Samtskhe, in addition to rebuilding Iveron, were also thinking of reviving the name of its founder.

Thus, in Gr 24 the Hymnographic canon dedicated to Euthymios, written by Manuel the Rhetor is the sole early Greek text, This hymnographic canon is involved in the liturgy on May 13th, the day of Iveron Monastery’s founder’s commemoration since its creation to this day.

Hymn Euthymios the Hagiorite Iviron Eortologion
Published: Jan 9, 2021

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Literary Studies