SENINA T.A. (NUN KASSIA). Life of Saint Nikephoros of Sebaze as an Illustration of the Perception of the Iconoclastic Era by the Byzantines in Later Times (Including Russian Translation of the Life)

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2019.6.22

Tatyana A. Senina (Nun Kassia)

Candidate of Sciences (Philosophy), Editor-in-Chief,

Saint Petersburg State University of Aerospace Instrumentation,

Bolshaya Morskaya St., 67, 190000 Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation;

Senior Researcher,

Sociological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Branch of the Federal Research Centre for Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences,

7-ya Krasnoarmeyskaya St., 25/14, 190005 Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8120-3499


Abstract. Introduction. This work is concerned with the perception of the iconoclastic era in the Life of St. Nikephoros of Sebaze preserved in the form of enkomion written by an anonymous author presumably in the mid 10th century, and to clarify some details of Nikephoros’ biography.

Methods. Source research and analysis, philosophical hermeneutics, comparative textological and historical research are the methods employed in this work. Sources on the subject include the edition of the Life of St. Nikephoros by F. Halkin, Lives of St. Patriarch Methodios, St. Nicetas of Medikion and St. Makarios of Pelekete, the Chronicle of Theophanes the Confessor.

Analysis. The life of St. Nikephoros written in the 10th century by a monk of the monastery of Sebaze illustrates how the iconoclastic era was seen by the next generations who no longer found living witnesses of those times. The hagiographer knows almost nothing certain about his hero, except that he was a monk, suffered for icons in the epoch of the second iconoclasm, and founded a monastery. For ordinary monks in the 10th century, the iconoclastic heresy was associated with the names of emperors Leo III, Constantine V and Leo V, which testifies to the success of the myth created by iconodules in the 9th century that the iconoclastic heresy, unlike the others, was not born in the church environment, but appeared in the imperial palace and was implanted by the authorities without much support from believers. Silence about the last iconoclast emperor Theophilos can be presumably attributed to the success of his posthumous rehabilitation. The past is completely mythologized in the Life: all bishops, priests and monks ardently struggled for their faith, enduring torment and hardship; nothing is said about the Orthodox believers who had fallen into heresy. The hero of the Life itself represented a composite character of a Christian ascetic and confessor of iconoduly completely devoid of individual traits.

Results. The analysis of the life shows that by the 10th century the iconoclastic era began to be perceived by believers – at least, by ordinary monks – as the time of epic exploits, and the knowledge of historical events became fragmentary and was based on myths and legends distributed in the church environment rather than real facts. Appendix. The article is accompanied by Russian translation of the Life of St. Nikephoros of Sebaze with a scientific commentary.

Key words: Byzantine hagiography, Byzantine history, iconoclasm, Orthodoxy, translations of sources.

Citation. Senina T.A. (Nun Kassia). Life of Saint Nikephoros of Sebaze as an Illustration of the Perception of the Iconoclastic Era by the Byzantines in Later Times (Including Russian Translation of the Life). Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4. Istoriya. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2019, vol. 24, no. 6, pp. 284-296. (in Russian). DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2019.6.22.

Лицензия Creative Commons

Life of Saint Nikephoros of Sebaze as an Illustration of the Perception of the Iconoclastic Era by the Byzantines in Later Times (Including Russian Translation of the Life) by Senina T.A. (Nun Kassia) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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