Азбука веры Православная библиотека священник Михаил Желтов The Disclosure of the Divine Liturgy by Pseudo-Gregory of Nazianzus: Edition of the Text and Commentary

The Disclosure of the Divine Liturgy by Pseudo-Gregory of Nazianzus: Edition of the Text and Commentary


1. Introduction 2. The edition Διάλυσις τῆς ἁγιας λειτουργίας: Disclosure of the Divine Liturgy 3. Date and analysis Abstract Sigle  


1. Introduction

There can be no doubt that liturgical commentaries formed a prominent part in the Eucharistic thinking of the Byzantines and other Orthodox peoples, especially in the second millennium A.D.1. While some of these texts, including the Historia ecclesiastica by PseudoBasil the Great (attributed in some manuscripts to St. Germanus of Constantinople2), the Protheoria by Nicholas and Theodore of Andida, and works by St. Nicholas Cabasilas and St. Symeon of Thessalonica, are well known to modern scholars, the other commentaries are known – and quoted – much less. This is partly due to excessive reliance on the results of a famous study of the history of Greek liturgical commentaries by René Bornert3, which, despite its scholarly value, is less comprehensive than it seems to be. In fact, it ignores a number of liturgical commentaries, either because Bornert considered them unimportant, or simply because he was unaware of them4. These include a specific family of visionary commentaries composed in the form of a dialogue, held between St. John (the Evangelist or Chrysostom) and the Lord5, or St. Basil and St. Gregory of Nazianzus6, or St. Gregory of Nazianzus and «the venerable fathers»7. The influence of these commentaries on popular Orthodox thinking and imagery, despite their being ignored by modern scholars of Byzantine liturgical theology and art history has, in the fullness of time, been comparable to that of the more «classical» commentaries mentioned above.

This article contains an editio princeps of the original Greek text of the explanatory dialogue between Pseudo-Gregory of Nazianzus and «the venerable fathers», entitled The Disclosure of the Divine Liturgy8. The text tries to present itself as a dialogue, but is actually a monologue, since Gregory’s interlocutors are mentioned only twice, at the very beginning and the end. The overall plot of Gregory’s story is built around his vision of heavenly powers taking a direct part in the Eucharistic celebration.

The Disclosure of the Divine Liturgy by Pseudo-Gregory of Nazianzus is extremely important for the history of Russian theological thought, since it forms the core of the Толковая служба («The Liturgy Interpreted»)9, the most popular Old Russian commentary on the Eucharist in the 15th–17th centuries. However, the influence of this text is by no means limited to the Russian Middle Ages. Iconographic representations of this commentary are preserved in places as distant from each other as Crete and Skopje, Laconia and Yaroslavl’; motifs from this commentary were further developed in a number of other Slavonic eucharistic stories and tractates10, and one cannot dismiss the possibility that this commentary made a contribution to the popularity of Melismos iconography in late Byzantine times.

The Slavonic text of Pseudo-Gregory’s commentary was first edited, together with its later Russian reworking, the Толковая служба, in 1878 by Kransnosel’tsev, after 15th–16th century Russian manuscripts11. In 1891, Alexander Veselovsky published, after a 17th century Serbian codex, a late South Slavonic liturgical commentary, also attributed to St. Gregory and probably based on our text, yet transformed and expanded beyond recognition12. In 1931, Lazar’ Mirkovich published, after a Serbian manuscript dated A.D. 1699, another South Slavonic liturgical commentary, attributed to St. Ephrem but seemingly related to that of Pseudo-Gregory13. The earliest Slavonic manuscript, which contains The Disclosure of the Divine Liturgy in its pure form (i. e., not as part of a composite text), is a 14th century Russian codex, Moscow State Library, ТСЛ 11 14. This codex was edited in full in 2003 by Marina Krutova15. In 2012, Tatyana Afanasyeva presented a new study of Pseudo-Gregory’s commentary, including a classification of its Slavonic redactions, a thorough linguistic analysis16, and a parallel edition of four selected manuscripts – three Russian and one Serbian17.

The Greek original of this text is found in a 12th century collection of patristic and apocryphal texts, Paris Coisl. 296. In 1897, Yakov Smirnov already suggested that chapter 30 of Paris Coisl. 296 could be the long lost original of the Russian version of Pseudo-Gregory’s commentary published by Krasnosel’tsev18. A detailed description of this codex was made by Ernst von Dobschütz in 190319, who noticed that it contained a «merkwürdige Vision Gregors des Theologen uber die unsichtbaren Vorgange bei dem Gottesdienst», and announced a further investigation of it20, which, however, was never published.

My own study has shown that Smirnov’s assumption was correct21. In Paris Coisl. 296 the apocryphal dialogue of SS. Basil and Gregory (CPG 3068), edited by Smirnov, is indeed followed by the long lost Greek original of the Slavonic commentary by Pseudo-Gregory. What is more, since in Moscow State Library, ТСЛ 11 these two texts are also found together (though in a different order), it can be expected that in some other Greek manuscripts of CPG 3068 one would also find Pseudo-Gregory’s treatise. Nevertheless, in a number of Greek manuscripts of CPG 3068 which I looked through, I found no other copy of Pseudo-Gregory’s commentary.

In fact, parts of this Greek text were already known long before, after a manuscript dated A.D. 1600, Vatican Gr. 2137. This codex comes from the Gethsemane monastery on Crete22, and contains a collection of ascetic and monastic texts but – most importantly – also ten beautiful full-page miniatures, nine of which graphically represent the contents of Pseudo-Gregory’s commentary. The first of these nine miniatures, on fol. 3, depicts St. Gregory himself23, speaking to a gathering of monks; the remaining eight images are accompanied by short extracts from Pseudo-Gregory’s commentary. These extracts, together with outline drawings of corresponding miniatures, were already published in 1853 by Card. Angelo Mai24, and further reprinted by others, including Jacques-Paul Migne25. However, as is shown by comparison of the full text of the commentary in Paris Coisl. 296, the extracts from it in Vatican Gr. 2137 and its oldest Russian version in Moscow State Library, ТСЛ 11, the extracts come from a late interpolated version of the text. By contrast, the text in Paris Coisl. 296 and its version in Moscow State Library, ТСЛ 11 closely correspond to each other, though not without some minor differences.

2. The edition

The text in Paris Coisl. 296 contains some erroneous readings, mostly iotacisms. But since the language of the treatise in general is far from being normative26, I always indicate the original reading even where a misspelling is obvious and is therefore corrected. I expand nomina sacra using round brackets, and insert a few characters using square brackets. Punctuation of the manuscript is mostly preserved. I divide the text in short sections, according to its structure, numbering them in Arabic numerals. My English translation follows.

Διάλυσις τῆς ἁγιας λειτουργίας:

[Fol. 65r] 1. Συναχθέντες οἱ ὅσιοι π(ατέ)ρες πρὸς τὸν ἅγιον Γρηγόριον τὸν Θεολόγον εἶπαν αὐτῷ27.

Π(άτ)ερ ὅσιε δίδαξον ἡμᾶς τὰ τῆς ἐκκλησίας· καὶ ποίῳ τρόπῳ ἡ θεία καὶ νοερὰ καὶ ἀναίμακτος θυσία, ἐν τοῖς οὐ(ρα)νοῖς ἀνα φέρεται·

2. καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς ἅγιος Γρηγόριος Θεολόγος ἔφη·

Ἀκούσατε ἀδελφοί μου·

3. ὁ ἱερεὺς ἐπὶ τῇ προθέσει τῶν ἁγίων δώρων λέγει· Τοῦ Κ(υρίο)υ δεηθῶμεν·

ἤκουσα τότε φωνῆς ἐκ τοῦ οὐ(ρα)νοῦ κραζούσης καὶ λεγούσης· ὅσοι κατὰ πρόθεσιν καρδίας ἐποιήσατε τὰς ἀπαρχὰς τῆς ἐκκλησίας;

Καὶ κατεπετάσθη ἄγγελος ἐκ τοῦ οὐ(ρα)νοῦ· καὶ ἔστη ἐπὶ τὴν ἔξω πύλην τοῦ νάρθηκος28 τῆς ἐκκλησίας·

4. καὶ ὅταν εἰπεῖ διάκων29· Ὀρθοὶ ἐν εἰρήνῃ τοῦ Κ(υρίο)υ δεηθῶμεν·

στήσατε τὰς καρδίας ὑμῶν εἰς τὸν φόβον τοῦ Θ(εο)ῦ εἰς τὴν λειτορυγίαν·

5. καὶ ὅταν ψάλλεται τὸ Ἀγαθὸν τὸ ἐξομολογεῖσθαι τῷ Χ(ριστ)ῷ;

[Fol. 65v] κουσα30 τοῦ ἀγγέλου εἰπόντος· ἀγαθυνθεῖτε31 πάντες καὶ στηριχθεῖτε32 εἰς τὸν φόβον τοῦ Θ(εο)ῦ· καὶ εἰς τὴν λειτουργίαν·

6. καὶ ὅταν ψάλλεται Κ(ύριο)ς ἐβασίλευσεν·

ὁ ἄγγελος εἶπεν· καὶ νῦν βασιλεύει· εὐφραίνεσθε καὶ ἀγαλλιάσθε χριστιανῶν τὸ γένος·ὅτι Χ(ριστὸ)ς βασιλεύει εἰς ἀπεράντους αἰῶνας· οὐκέτι ὁ διάβολος τὸν ἄν(θρωπ)ον πολεμῆσαι δύναται· καταπτοηθεὶς τὸ παντελῶς·

7. Καὶ ὅτε ψάλλεται· Δεῦτε ἀγαλλιασώμεθα33 τῷ Κ(υρί)ῳ·

τότε εἶδον τὸν ἄγγελον ἐπὶ τὴν βασιλικὴν· καὶ ἁγίαν πύλην τῆς ἐκκλησίας·

8. καὶ ὅτε εἰσῆλθεν ὁ ἱερεὺς εἰς τὸ θυσιαστήριον· καὶ ἄρας τὸ εὐαγγέλιον καὶ ὁ διάκων34 τὸν θυμιατόν;

καὶ κηρὸν ἅπτοντα· περπατῶντες ἐξῆλθον ἐπὶ τοῦ ἄμβωνος·

9. καὶ ὅτε εἶπον τὸ Δεῦτε προσκυνήσωμεν καὶ προσπέσωμεν·

εἶδον τὸν ἄγγελον πῶς συνεπετάσθη ταῖς πτέρυξιν αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐσήκωσε35 τὸν ἱερέα· καὶ ἐβάστασεν αὐτὸν καὶ εἰσήγαγεν αὐτὸν ἔσω τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου·

10. καὶ ὅταν ἔθηκε τὸ ἅγιον εὐαγγέλιον ἐν τῇ ἁγίᾳ τραπέζῃ·

χαυνήσας ὁ ἄγγελος ταῖς πτέρυξιν αὐτοῦ ἔστησεν αὐτὸν καὶ φησίν· βλέπε πῶς παρέστηκας36 ἐπὶ τοῦ φοβεροῦ βήματος·

11. καὶ ὡς ἦλθεν ἐπὶ τῆς καθέδρας·

εἶπεν ὁ Μιχαὴλ. [Fol. 66r] Σοφία ; καὶ ὁ Γαβριηλ Πρόσχωμεν· καὶ ὁ δεσπότης Εἰρήνη πάσι· καὶ συνεπετάσθησαν τὰ σύμπαντα·

καὶ οὕτως ὁ ἱερεὺς εἰρηνεύει ἐν τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ·

ἐν ἐιρήνῃ στήκετε πάντες· ἵνα μή τις κλίνει37 τὴν κεφαλὴν αὐτοῦ πρὸς τὸ συντυχεῖν ἄν(θρωπ)ον·

12. καὶ ὡς ἦλθε τὸ προκείμενον·

ψάλλει ὁ Δα(υΐ)δ καὶ διδάσκει·

13. καὶ ὡς ἀνεγνώσθη ὁ ἀπόστολος·

ἐγνώσθη τοῦτο ἀκούεται·

14. καὶ ὡς ἦλθε τὸ ἅγιον ἀλληλούγια38·

ἤκουσα τοῦ ἀγγέλου εἰπόντος· ἔρχεται ὁ Υ(ἱὸ)ς τοῦ Θ(εο)ῦ μελιζόμενος καὶ τοῖς πιστοῖς διαδιδόμενος

15. [o]ἶδα τότε τὴν στέγην τῆς ἐκκλησίας ἀνεῳγμένην καὶ τὸν οὐ(ραν)ὸν φαινόμενον· καὶ ἕκαστος λόγος τοῦ εὐαγγελίου ὡς πῦρ ἐγίνετο καὶ ἔφθανεν ἕως τοῦ οὐ(ραν)οῦ·

16. καὶ ὅτε εἶπεν ὁ διάκων. Ὅσοι κατηχούμενοι39·

οἶδα ἄν(θρωπ)ον ἑστῶτα εἰς τὰς ἁγίας πύλας τῆς ἐκκλησίας· ἔχοντα τοὺς ὀδόντας αὐτοῦ ὡς βέλη τὰ40 ὀξεῖα41 καὶ οἱ ὀφθαλμοὶ αὐτοῦ τεθολωμένοι· καὶ ἔτριζον οἱ ὀδόντες αὐτοῦ ἐπὶ τοὺς ἐστῶτας ἐν τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ· ὅπως ἐκβάλῃ42 ἕνα ἕκαστον ἐκ τῆς ἐκκλησίας·

17. καὶ ὅτε εἶπεν ὁ διάκων· Μή τις τῶν κατηχουμένων,

οἶδα τὸν ἄγγελον· πῶς συνεπετάσθη τοῖς πτέρυξιν αὐτοῦ· καὶ ἦρεν αὐτὸν ἐπὶ τὸ ἐξώτερον πῦρ· λέγων αὐτῷ· τί σὺ ἵστασαι43 ὧδε μὴ ἔχων ἔνδυμα γάμου καὶ ὧδε σὺ οὐκ ἔχεις ἐξουσίαν·

18. κ(α)ὶ ὡς ἦλθεν ὁ ἱερεὺς ἵνα διαβάσει τὰ ἁγία,

ἤκου [Fol. 66v] σα τοῦ ἀγγέλου εἰπόντος· π(άτ)ερ ἅγιε· ἐξαπόστειλον τοὺς μυσταγωγούς σου ἀγγέλους εἰς τὸ λειτουργεῖν τὰς θείας δυνάμεις·

19. καὶ ὅτε εἶπεν ὁ διάκων Στῶμεν καλῶς

στῶμεν μετὰ φόβου· φοβερὰ44 γὰρ τὰ παρόντα·

20. καὶ ὅτε εἶπεν ὁ ἱερεὺς· Τὸν ἐπινίκιον ὕμνον ᾄδοντα·

[ε]ἶδον τότε τὴν στέγην τῆς ἐκκλησίας ἀνεωγμένην· καὶ τὸν οὐ(ραν)ὸν φαινόμενον· καὶ πυρὸς φλόγα κατερχομένην· καὶ μετὰ τῆς φλογὸς, πλήθη45 ἀγγέλων κατερχομένων· καὶ μετὰ τῶν ἀγγέλων· οἶδα πρόσωπα ἐνάρετα· ἃ οὐκ ἔστιν διηγήσασθαι τὸ κάλλος αὐτῶν· ἦν γὰρ τὸ φέγγος αὐτῶν ὡς φλὸξ πυρός· καὶ οἱ μὲν ἄγγελοι ἐπετάσθησαν τοῖς πτέρυξιν αὐτῶν κύκλῳ τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου· καὶ τὰ ἑξαπτέρυγα πρόσωπα, κύκλῳ τῆς ἁγίας τραπέζης· καὶ τὸ παιδίον μέσον αὐτῶν πυρὸς φλόγα· καὶ ἐπέπεσε τὸν ἱερέα· καὶ ἐγένετο ὁ ἱερεὺς φλόγα υρὸς ἀπὸ κεφαλῆς ἕως ὀνύχων·

21. καὶ ὡς ἦλθε τὸ Π(άτ)ερ ἡμῶν·

ἤκουσα τοῦ ἀγγέλου εἰπόντος· π(ατέρ)ες ἀγαθοὶ καὶ πιστοί· εἴ τις ἐξ᾽ ὑμῶν μετὰ γυναικὸς εὑρεθῇ ἐν τῷ σαββάτῳ· ἢ ἐν εἴδει46 ἢ ἐν ὁράματι, οὐκ ἔστιν ἄξιος τοῦ ἀχράντου σώματος καὶ τοῦ τιμίου αἵματος τοῦ Κ(υρίο)υ ἡμῶν Ἰ(ησο)ῦ Χ(ριστο)ῦ·

22. καὶ ὅτε εἶπεν ὁ ἱερεὺς Τὰ ἅγια τοῖς ἁγίοις,

τότε εἶδον τὰ πρόσωπα ἐκεῖνα ὡς ἱε [Fol. 67r] ρεῖα γενόμενα· καὶ εἶδον τοὺς ἀγγέλους κατεῖχον47 μαχαίρας καὶ κατέσφαγξαν48 τὸ

παιδίον· καὶ ἐξέχεαν τὸ αἷμα αὐτοῦ ἐν τῷ ἁγίῳ ποτηρίῳ· καὶ τὸ σῶμα κατακόψαντες49 ἐπάνω τῶν ἄρτων50· καὶ ἐγένετο ὁ ἄρτος σῶμα· καὶ τὸ ποτήριον αἷμα τοῦ Κ(υρίο)υ ἡμῶν Ἰ(ησο)ῦ Χ(ριστο)ῦ·

23. καὶ συνελθόντες οἱ λαοὶ μετέλαβαν·

οἱ δὲ τὸ ἀμὴν μὴ λέγοντες, ἀνάξιοι εἰσὶ τοῦ Υἱοῦ τοῦ Θ(εο)ῦ·

24. καὶ ὅτε εἶπεν ὁ διάκων· Ἐν εἰρήνῃ προέλθωμεν51·

εἶδον τότε τὰς θείας δυνάμεις· ἐν τῷ οὐ(ραν)ῷ ἀνερχομένας· καὶ τὰς ἀπαρχὰς τῆς ἐκκλησίας52 ὑψουμένας·

25. καὶ ταῦτα ἀκούσαντες· κ(α)ὶ κατάνυξιν μεγάλην λαβόντες, ἐστάθησαν εἰς ἀπεράντους αἰῶνας ἀμήν: –

Disclosure of the Divine Liturgy

1. [Once] the venerable fathers came together to Saint Gregory the Theologian, and said to him: «Instruct us, venerable father, in the [things] concerning the church, and how the divine and spiritual and bloodless sacrifice is offered in heaven?»

2. And Saint Gregory the Theologian answered them, and said: «Listen, my brothers.

3. [When] the priest says, during the prothesis of the holy gifts: Let us pray to the Lord, then I heard a voice from heaven, crying and saying: «So, who [there] brought the church offerings according to the plans of the heart?53» And an angel was manifested from heaven, and stood by the external door of the church narthex.

4. And when the deacon says: Arise. In peace, let us pray to the Lord, you should establish and direct your hearts towards the fear of God, towards the liturgy.

5. And when they sing: It is a good thing to confess unto Christ, I heard an angel saying: «Rejoice everyone, and rely on the fear of God, and on the liturgy».

6. And when they sing: The Lord reigns, an angel said: «And now he reigns. Christian kin, enjoy and rejoice exceedingly, since Christ reigns to the boundless ages. The devil is not able to make war upon a human being any more, being intimidated completely».

7. And when they sing: Come, let us rejoice unto the Lord, then I saw an angel by the royal and holy doors of the church.

8. And when the priest entered the sanctuary, and took the Gospel book, and the deacon took the censer, [the angels] lit candles and, walking ahead, came out on to the ambo.

9. And when they said: Come, let us worship and bow down, I saw how an angel spread out his wings and enclosed the priest [with them] and held him, and led him into the sanctuary.

10. And when [the priest] laid down the Gospel book upon the holy table, the angel loosened his wings, [and] stood by him, and said: «Look, how do you stand before the fearful court54».

11. And when [the priest] approached [his] seat, Michael said: Wisdom!, and Gabriel [said]: Let us be attentive!, and the Master55 [said]: Peace be with all, and all at once were manifested together, and accordingly the priest gives peace in the church.

Stand fast, everyone, in peace, so that no-one turns his head to engage with a human being.

12. And when the Prokeimenon came, David sings and teaches.

13. And when the Epistle was read, «It should be perceived», it echoed.

14. And when the holy Alleluia came, I heard an angel saying: «The Son of God is coming, [the one who] is cut in pieces and distributed among the faithful».

15. 56

And then I saw the roof of the church opened and heaven revealed, and every word of the Gospel became like fire, and shone forth to heaven.

16. And when the deacon said: Those who are catechumens, I saw a man standing in the holy doors of the church, with sharp teeth like arrows and bloodshot eyes, and he ground his teeth against those who were standing in the church, to expel each of them from the church.

17. And when the deacon said: Let none of the catechumens, I saw an angel, [and] how he spread out his wings, and pushed him57 away to the outer fire, telling him: «Why are you standing here, while you do not have a wedding robe?», and «You do not have any power here».

18. And when the priest was going to transfer the holy [gifts], I heard an angel saying: «Holy Father, send forth your angels, the mystagogues, to perform the divine wonders».

19. And when the deacon said: Let us stand aright! Let us stand in awe! – since what is happening is fearful.

20. And when the priest said: Singing the triumphal hymn, at that moment I saw the roof of the church opened, and heaven revealed, and a flame of fire coming down, and with the flame a multitude of angels coming down, and after the angels I saw valiant faces of indescribable beauty. For their shining was like flaming fire. And these angels spread out their wings around the sanctuary, and the sixwinged faces – around the holy table. And in the midst of them [I saw] a Child, like a flame of fire. And [this flame] fell down upon the priest, and the priest became a flame of fire from [his] head to the nails.

21. And when it reached the Our Father, I heard an angel, saying: «O valiant and faithful fathers, if anyone of you has been caught with a woman on Saturday, even by a thought or a glance, he is not worthy of the pure body and the precious blood of our Lord Jesus Christ».

22. And when the priest said The holy [gifts] for the holy [people of God], at that moment I saw that those faces took the form of a sacrificial altar, and I saw the angels – they had knives, they slaughtered the Child, they poured out his blood into the holy chalice, and they cut his body in pieces [and put these] above the bread, and the bread became the body, and the chalice the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.

23. And people communicated, approaching, and those who did not say Amen, were unworthy of the Son of God.

24. And when the deacon said: Let us go forth in peace, at that moment I saw the divine powers ascending to heaven, and the offerings of the Church being lifted up».

25. And [the venerable fathers], on hearing this, received great devoutness, and were established [in faith] to the boundless ages. Amen.

3. Date and analysis

The date and provenance of Pseudo-Gregory’s commentary are uncertain. Language features suggest a late date, since the text contains readings like μετέλαβαν (similar forms attested after the 9th century), fut. διαβάσει (first attested in the astronomical writings of John Kamateros, of the 12th century), and even περπατῶντες / περπατῶντας and ἐσήκωσε, which in the written texts became normative only after the 16th century. But the 12th century date of Paris Coisl. 296, and the existence of an early (pre-14th century) Russian translation of the text clearly indicate that it was created before the 13th century. Most probably, Pseudo-Gregory’s commentary is a 12th-century composition. This date is further confirmed by the fact that in the order of liturgy described in the commentary, the Litany of peace is already transferred to its current place before the three antiphons58.

The commentary follows the standard order of the Byzantine Eucharistic liturgy, though not without some minor oddities: an addition of ὀρθοὶ before the initial Litany of peace (§ 4), and a requirement for communicants to say «Amen» (§ 3; see the analysis below). The commentary quotes ferial antiphons (§§ 5–7)59, and not the typika, which could slighly favour a non-monastic provenance of the text. On the other hand, the interlocutors of St. Gregory are deliberately described as monks (οἱ ὅσιοι πατέρες).

Curiously enough, after quoting the initial diaconal accalamation of the anaphora (§ 19), the commentator shows interest in only one moment of the Eucharistic prayer itself – the depiction of the angelic liturgy (§ 20). The tradition of mentioning only the singing of the angelic «Holy, Holy, Holy...» out of the whole anaphora can be traced back to the Mystagogia of Saint Maximus the Confessor (ch. 19)60, and even to the words of the Cherubic Hymn, «Let us, who mystically represent the cherubim and who sing the thrice-holy hymn...» but for the author of our commentary such reduction was even more natural, since

1) the treatise as a whole is a vision of angelic activity during the earthly liturgy61, and

2) the anaphora is not perceived by the author as the moment of consecration. Instead, transformation of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ takes place at the elevation of gifts, accompanied by the priest’s acclamation, «The holy [gifts] for the holy [people of God]» (§ 22). Such an understanding was popular among Byzantines from the 7th until the 14th century62. Even more interesting is the clear distinction between «the offerings of the Church» (τὰς ἀπαρχὰς τῆς ἐκκλησίας), which should be understood to mean the commemorative prosphoras – or, more precisely, the particles extracted from them – and the consecrated bread used for communion: the offerings are used in a different way (§ 24). This distinction seems to arise in the 12th century63.

In our commentary, the consecration takes the form of a sacrificial slaughtering of the Divine Child, called Melismos in its iconographic representation64. This motif has a long history in patristic literature and Christian iconography. A number of similar stories are known, variously dated and of diverse provenance, pretending to be told by different narrators, but obviously interrelated65.

These include two tales from the systematic collection of Apophthegmata Patrum, chapter 18, «On clairvoyant [fathers]». According to the numeration of Jean-Claude Guy, these are Apophthegms 4 and 48 from this chapter (edition: SC 498, 40–5, 112–9). The first one is present in a number of manuscripts, the second one is found only rarely66.

Some parts of the first Apophthegm match the description of the Eucharistic miracle from the commentary by Pseudo-Gregory (the similar expressions are given in bold):

Apophthegmata Patrum, 18. 4 The Disclocure... by Ps-Gregory
ὅτε ἐτέθη ὁ ἄρτος εἰς τὴν ἁγίαν τράπεζαν, ἐφαίνετο τοῖς τρισὶ μόνοις ὡς παιδίον· § 20 … τὰ ἑξαπτέρυγα πρόσωπα, κύκλῳ τῆς ἁγίας τραπέζης· καὶ τὸ παιδίον μέσον αὐτῶν πυρὸς φλόγα …
ὡς ἐξέτεινεν ὁ πρεσβύτερος κλάσαι τὸν ἄρτον, § 21 … καὶ ὅτε εἶπεν ὁ ἱερεὺς τὰ ἅγια τοῖς ἁγίοις…
ἰδοὺ ἄγγελος Κυρίου κατῆλθεν ἐξ οὐρανοῦ ἔχων μάχαιραν, καὶ εἶδον τοὺς ἀγγέλους κατεῖχον μαχαίρας
καὶ ἔθυσε τὸ παιδίον καὶ κατέσφαγξαν τὸ παιδίον·
καὶ ἐκένωσε τὸ αἷμα αὐτοῦ εἰς τὸ ποτήριον καὶ ἐξέχεαν τὸ αἷμα αὐτοῦ ἐν τῷ ἁγίῳ ποτηρίῳ·
ὡς δὲ ἔκλασεν ὁ πρεσβύτερος εἰς μικρὰ μέρη τὸν ἄρτον,
καὶ ὁ ἄγγελος ἔκοπτεν ἐκ τοῦ παιδίου μικρὰ μέρη καὶ τὸ σῶμα κατακόψαντες ἐπάνω τῶν ἄρτων·

In the same time, a large portion of the second Apophthegm coincides with the Disclosure of the Divine Liturgy by Pseudo-Gregory almost verbatim67:

Apophthegmata Patrum, 18. 48 The Disclocure... by Ps-Gregory
ὡς ἐγένετο ὁ κανὼν τῆς ψαλμωδίας καὶ ἀνεγνώσθη ἡ τῶν ἀποστόλων διδαχή· ἐστάθη τὸ μεγαλεῖον, § 13 ὡς ἄνεγνώσθη ὁ ἀπόστολος... § 14 καὶ ὡς ἦλθε τὸ ἅγιον ἀλληλούγια
εἶδον τὴν στέγην ἀνοιγμένην καὶ τὸν οὐρανὸν φαινόμενον· καὶ ἕκαστος λόγος τοὺ ἁγίου εὐαγγελίου ὡς πῦρ ἐγίνετο καὶ ἔφθασεν ἕως τοῦ οὐρανοῦ· § 15 oἶδα τότε τὴν στέγην τῆς ἐκκλησίας ἀνεογμένην καὶ τὸν οὐρανὸν φαινόμενον· καὶ ἕκαστος λόγος τοῦ εὐαγγελίου ὡς πῦρ ἐγίνετο καὶ ἔφθανεν ἕως τοῦ οὐρανοῦ·
ὡς δὲ καὶ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου ἐγένετο ἡ καθοσίωσις καὶ προσῆλθον οἱ κληρικοῖ ἐκ τῆς διακονίας κατέχοντες τὴν τῶν ἁγίων μυστηρίων μετάληψιν· § 20 καὶ ὅτε εἶπεν ὁ ἱερεὺς· τὸν ἐπινίκιον ὕμνον ᾄδοντα·
εἶδον πάλιν τοὺς οὐρανοὺς ἀνεῳγμένους καὶ κατερχόμενον πῦρ, καὶ μετὰ τὸ πῦρ πλήθος ἀγγέλων· εἶδον τότε τὴν στέγην τῆς ἐκκλησίας ἀνεωγμένην· καὶ τὸν οὐρανὸν φαινόμενον· καὶ πυρὸς φλόγα κατερχομένην· καὶ μετὰ τῆς φλογὸς, πλήθει ἀγγέλων κατερχομένων·
καὶ ἐπάνω αὐτῶν ἄλλα δύο πρόσωπα ἐνάρετα· ἃ οὐκ ἔστι διηγήσασθαι τὰ κάλλη αὐτῶν· ἦν γὰρ τὸ φέγγος αὐτῶν ὡς ἀστραπῆς· καὶ μετὰ τῶν ἀγγέλων· οἶδα πρόσωπα ἐνάρετα· ἃ οὐκ ἔστιν διηγήσασθαι τὸ κάλλος αὐτῶν· ἦν γὰρ τὸ φέγγος αὐτῶν ὡς φλὸξ πυρός·
καὶ οἱ μὲν ἄγγελοι ἐπετάσθησαν τοῖς πτέρυξιν αὐτῶν κύκλῳ τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου· καὶ τὰ ἑξαπτέρυγα πρόσωπα, κύκλῳ τῆς ἁγίας τραπέζης·
καὶ ἐν μέσῳ τῶν δύο προσώπων μικρὸν παιδίον· καὶ τὸ παιδίον μέσον αὐτῶν πυρὸς φλόγα· καὶ ἐπέπεσε τὸν ἱερέα· καὶ ἐγένετο ὁ ἱερεὺς φλόγα πυρὸς ἀπὸ κεφαλῆς ἕως ὀνύχων·
καὶ οἱ μὲν ἄγγελοι ἐστάθησαν κύκλῳ τῆς ἁγίας τραπέζης, τὰ δὲ δύο πρόσωπα ἐπάνω αὐτῆς καὶ τὸ παιδίον ἐν μέσῳ αὐτῶν·
καὶ ὡς ἐγένετο ἡ καθοσίωσις τῶν ἁγίων εὐχῶν ἤγγισαν οἱ κληρικοὶ κλᾶσαι τοὺς ἄρτους τῆς προθέσεως, καὶ ὅτε εἶπεν ὁ ἱερεὺς τὰ ἅγια τοῖς ἁγίοις,
εἶδον ἐγὼ τὰ δύο πρόσωπα ἐπάνω τῆς τραπέζης πῶς ἐκράτησαν τὰς χεῖρας καὶ τοὺς πόδας τοῦ παιδίου ὃ ἦν ἐν μέσῳ αὐτῶν καὶ κατεῖχον μάχαιραν καὶ ἔσφαξαν τὸ παιδίον καὶ ἐξεκένωσαν τὸ αἷμα αὐτοῦ εἰς τὸ ποτήριον, ὃ ἦν κείμενον ἐπάνω τῆς ἁγίας τραπέζης, τότε εἶδον τὰ πρόσωπα ἐκεῖνα ὡς ἱερεῖα γενόμενα· καὶ εἶδον τοὺς ἀγγέλους κατεῖχον μαχαίρας καὶ κατέσφαγξαν τὸ παιδίον· καὶ ἐξέχεαν τὸ αἷμα αὐτοῦ ἐν τῷ ἁγίῳ ποτηρίῳ·
καὶ κατακόψαντες τὸ σῶμα αὐτοῦ ἔθηκαν ἐπάνω τῶν ἄρτων, καὶ ἐγένοντο οἱ ἄρτοι σῶμα· καὶ τὸ σῶμα κατακόψαντες ἐπάνω τῶν ἄρτων· καὶ ἐγένετο ὁ ἄρτος σῶμα· καὶ τὸ ποτήριον αἷμα τοῦ Κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ·
ὡς δὲ προσήγγισαν οἱ ἀδελφοὶ μεταλαβεῖν τῆς ἁγίας προσφορᾶς ἐπεδίδετο αὐτοῖς σῶμα· §23 καὶ συνελθόντες οἱ λαοὶ μετέλαβαν·
καὶ ὡς ἐπεκάλουν λέγοντες τὸ ἀμήν, ἐγένετο ἄρτος εἰς τὰς χεῖρας αὐτῶν· οἱ δὲ τὸ ἀμὴν μὴ λέγοντες, ἀνάξιοι ἐισὶ τοῦ Υἱοῦ τοῦ Θεοῦ·
ὡς δὲ ἡ σύναξις προέκοψεν καὶ ἦλθον οἱ κληρικοὶ ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτό, § 24 καὶ ὅτε εἶπεν ὁ διάκων· ἐν εἰρήνῃ προέλθωμεν·
εἶδον πάλιν τὸ παιδίον ἐν μέσῳ τῶν δύο προσώπων καὶ τῶν κληρικῶν συστελλόντων τὰ δῶρα.
εἶδον πάλιν τὴν στέγην ἀνοιγομένην καὶ τὰς θείας δυνάμεις ὑψουμένας εἰς τοὺς οὐρανοὺς. εἶδον τότε τὰς θείας δυνάμεις·ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ ἀνερχομένας· καὶ τὰς ἀπαρχὰς τῆς ἐκκλησίας ὑψουμένας·
Καὶ ταῦτα ἀκούσαντες οἱ ἀδελφοὶ καὶ πολλὴν κατάνυξιν λαβόντες ἀνεχώρησαν ἕκαστος εἰς τὰ κελλία ἑαυτῶν δοξάζοντες καὶ αἰνοῦντες τὸν Θεόν. § 25 καὶ ταῦτα ἀκούσαντες· καὶ κατάνυξιν μεγάλην λαβόντες, ἐστάθησαν εἰς ἀπεράντους αἰῶνας, ἀμήν.

There can be no doubt that one text depends on the other, but which one is the prototype? Linguistic and liturgical features of the second Apophtegm make it clear that it should be the source of the commentary by Pseudo-Gregory, and not vice versa. In particular, the author of the Apophthegm is still aware of the old Palestinian liturgical terminology (ὁ κανὼν τῆς ψαλμωδίας – the divine office or, more precisely, the orthros; τὸ μεγαλεῖον – a Gospel book), his liturgy is still celebrated using multiple breads (and he knows no distinction between the bread used for communion and other «offerings"»), the communion ritual he describes fits well into old Palestinian liturgical usage (cf. SC 126bis, 170). Moreover, the Apophthegm sheds light on the discrepancies in §§ 15 and 23 (the missing Gospel reading68 and the non-Constantinopolitan rite of communion) of the commentary by Pseudo-Gregory. Therefore, there is little doubt that the Disclosure of the Divine Liturgy by Pseudo-Gregory, in its description of the eucharistic miracle, is dependent on Apophthegmata Patrum 18.48, which, in its turn, likely depends on Apophthegmata Patrum 18.4.

Now, returning to the main storyline of the commentary of Pseudo-Gregory, that is, the successive description of the angelic participation in the eucharistic liturgy from its beginning to its end, it should be noted that the idea of angelic concelebration is a very ancient one. In fact, it can be traced back to the literature of Second Temple Judaism. I shall not discuss here the images of the heavenly liturgy in the anaphora, or other vast connections in the Byzantine euchological texts, patristic literature and hagiography. I shall only draw attention to a story from the Narrationes by St. Anastasios of Sinai (ch. 52), where a Hebrew boy, after being baptised in the Christian Church, describes what he has seen during the liturgy69. The boy recounts a great deal about angelic participation in ecclesiastical celebrations, but one episode is particulary close to the texts discussed above:

ὡς ἐγένετο ἡ σύναξις, ἐθεώρησα ὅτι ἐσχίσθη ἡ στέγη καὶ κατῆλθεν ἐκ τῶν παλικαρίων ἐκείνων πλῆθος πολύ, καὶ ἦν ἐν μέσῳ αὐτῶν τίποτε ὡς πῦρ, καὶ οὐκ ἠδυνήθην εἰ μὴ ἅπαξ μόνον ἀπολῦσαι ὀφθαλμὸν καὶ ἰδεῖν αὐτό. Καὶ ἀνῆλθεν ἐκεῖνο τὸ πῦρ ὡς ἀστραπὴ καὶ ἐκάθισεν ὅπου καθέζεται ὁ μέγας, καὶ παρίσταντο κύκλῳ αὐτοῦ τὰ παλικάρια ἐκεῖνα.

When the liturgy was celebrated, I saw that the roof was divided apart and a multitude of those beautiful young men came down and in the midst of them there was something like fire and it was impossible to look at him, except by opening an eye briefly. And this fire whirled up as a flash and sat down where the great one [i. e., the bishop] was sitting, and those beautiful young men encircled him.

No mention of the slaughtered Christ Child is made in the boy’s story, but other elements of the latter resemble the description from Apophthegmata Patrum 18.48 and, consequently, the commentary of Pseudo-Gregory.

Despite being a secondary compilation70, The Disclosure of the Divine Liturgy by Pseudo-Gregory of Nazianzus became a popular and influential text. I have already mentioned its importance for the Old Russian and, wider, Slavonic literary tradition. It also made its way into Orthodox iconography, at least in post-Byzantine times. Besides the above-mentioned cycle of illustrations in an illuminated Cretan manuscript of A.D. 1600, Vatican Gr. 2137,71 scenes from this commentary are included in the monumental iconographic programmes of some 17th century Russian churches72, painted on some 17th century Greek icons73 etc. However, more ancient monuments also witness the influence of Pseudo-Gregory’s treatise, for example, the 14th century painting in the church of St. Demetrios in Markov Manastir near Skopje74. One cannot exclude the possibility that some particular variants of the classical Melismos composition could have also been influenced by this commentary, but this assumption needs further study75.


The article draws attention to an important yet understudied group of Byzantine liturgical commentaries, of visionary character, composed in the form of a dialogue between two of the Three Hierarchs, or one of them (or some other saint) and the Lord. The author of the article focuses on one of these commentaries, ascribed to St. Gregory of Nazianz, and publishes the editio princeps of its Greek text, providing also its English translation and an analysis. This commentary, entitled as The Disclosure of the Divine Liturgy by [Pseudo]-Gregory of Nazianz, is proven to be dependent on a story from the Apophthegmata Patrum (attested only in a few manuscripts), which, in its turn, seems to be a collation of two texts – an earlier account from the Apophthegmata Patrum (attested widely enough), and a story from the Narrationes by St. Anastasios of Sinai. This specific commentary has greatly influenced the Slavonic, and especially the Old Russian, liturgical theology and iconography, but its impact is also attested in post-Byzantine Greek ecclesiastical art, and one cannot exclude the possibility that some particular variants of the Byzantine Melismos composition could have also been shaped by The Disclosure of the Divine Liturgy by Pseudo-Gregory.


AASS = Acta Sanctorum (Antvepriae et alibi, 1643 e ss.)

AB = Analecta Bollandiana

ABl = ΔAnavlekta Blatavdwn

AB = ΔAnavlekta KruptofevrjrJh»

ALW = Archiv für Liturgiewissenschaft

AOr = Anaphorae Orientales

ASyr = Anaphorae Syriacae

BBGG = Bollettino della Badia Greca di Grottaferrata

BBTT = Belfast Byzantine Texts and Translations, Belfast 1991 ss.

BELS = Bibliotheca Ephemerides Liturgicae, Subsidia

BHG, BHGa, BHGna = F. Halkin, Bibliotheca hagiographica Graeca, I–III (SH 8a), Bruxelles 19573; Id., Auctarium BHG (SH 47), Bruxelles 1969; Id., Novum auctarium BHG (SH 65), Bruxelles 1984.

BMFD = J. Thomas – A. Hero (edd.), Byzantine Monastic Foundation Documents. A Complete Translation of the Surviving Founders’ Typika and Testaments, 5 voll. (DOS 35), Washington, D. C. 2000.

Byz = Byzantion

BZ = Byzantinische Zeitschrift

CC = Corpus Christianorum

CCG = Corpus Christianorum, series Graeca

CCL = Corpus Christianorum, series Latina

CPG = Clavis Patrum Graecorum, 5 voll., edd. M. Geerard, F. Glorie; vol. 3A ed. J. Noret; Supplementum, edd. M. Geerard, J. Noret, J. Desmet (CC), Turnhout 1974–2003.

CSCO = Corpus Scriptorum Christianorum Orientalium

CSEL = Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum

CSHB = Corpus Scriptorum Historiae Byzantinae

DACL = Dictionnaire d’Archéologie Chrétienne et de Liturgie

Dmitr I–III = A.A. Dmitrievskij, Onucauie литургическихъ рукописей хранящихся въ библиотекахъ православнаго Востока, I, Tupikav, Kiev 1899; II, Eujcolovgia, Kiev 1901; III, Tupikav, Petrograd 1917 (Hildesheim 1965).

DOP = Dumbarton Oaks Papers

DOS = Dumbarton Oaks Studies

EEBS = ΔEpethri;» ÔEtairiva» Buzantinw’n Spoudw’n

EL = Ephemerides Liturgicae

EO = Ecclesia Orans

GCS = Die griechischen christlichen Schriftsteller der ersten drei Jahrunderte

Goar = J. Goar, Eujcolovgion sive Rituale Graecorum , Venezia 17302 (Graz 1960).

GRBS = Greek, Roman and Byzantine Studies

JAC = Jahrbuch für Antike und Christentum

JLW = Jahrbuch für Liturgiewissenschaft

JÖB = Jahrbuch der österreichischen Byzantinistik

JThF = Jerusalemer Theologisches Forum

JThS = Journal of Theological Studies

LEW = F.E. Brightman, Liturgies Eastern and Western, vol. I: Eastern Liturgies, Oxford 1896 (1968).

LQ = Liturgiewissenschaftliche Quellen

LQF = Liturgiewissenschaftliche Quellen und Forschungen

LTK = Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche

MMB = Monumenta Musicae Byzantinae

Mus = Le Muséon

NPNF = A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, ed. Ph. Schaff, Grand Rapids Michigan, series 2, 1952–OC = Oriens Christianus

OCA = Orientalia Christiana Analecta

OCh = Orientalia Christiana

OCP = Orientalia Christiana Periodica

ODB = The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium, edd. A. Kazhdan et alii, 3 voll., New York/Oxford 1991.

OKS = Ostkirchliche Studien

OLA = Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta

OSyr = L’Orient Syrien

PG = J.-P. Migne, Patrologiae Cursus Completus. Series Graeca, 1–161, Paris 1857–1866.

PB = Palaeobulgarica / Старобългаристика

PL = J.-P. Migne, Patrologiae Cursus Completus. Series Latina, 1–221, Paris 1844–1865

PO = Patrologia Orientalis

POC = Proche-Orient Chrétien

PTS = Patristische Texte und Studien

QL = Questions Liturgiques

REB = Revue des Études Byzantines

ROC = Revue de l’Orient Chrétien

RSBN = Rivista di Studi Bizantini e Neoellenici

RSCI = Rivista di Storia della Chiesa in Italia

SA = Studia Anselmiana

SC = Sources Chrétiennes

SH = Subsidia Hagiographica

SL = Studia Liturgica

ST = Studi e Testi

S and T = Segno e Testo

ThQ = Theologische Quartalschrift

TU = Texte und Untersuchungen

SS. Cyril and Methodius School

of Post-Graduate and Doctoral Studies (Moscow)

115035 Москва, ул. Пятницкая,

д. 4/2, стр. 5, Россия / Russia

* * *


 The most comprehensive review of the evidence on Byzantine and post-Byzantine Orthodox eucharistic theology, including an extensive bibliography, can be found in the article «Евхаристия» in the Православная энциклопедия (The Orthodox Encyclopaedia), vol. 17 (Moscow: ЦНЦ Православная энциклопедия, 2008), 533–615.


 I do not find the arguments in favour of Germanus’ authorship to be convincing. This commentary is clearly dependent on the Syriac exegetical tradition, and seems to be a 8th century reworking of some earlier text, which became known in Constantinople during iconoclastic times due to the Oriental influence (see: Alexey Pentkovsky, «"Jerusalimisation» of the Liturgical Space in the Byzantine Tradition» [original title in Russian: Пентковский А.М., «Иерусалимизация» литургического пространства в византийской традиции], in Новые Иерусалимы. Иеротопия и иконография сакральных пространств, ed. Alexey Lidov (Moscow: Индрик, 2009), 58–77).


 René Bornert, Les commentaires byzantins de la Divine Liturgie du VIIe au XVе siècle (Archives de l’Orient chretien 9, Paris: Institut Franęais d’études byzantines, 1966). See also: Hans-Joachim Schulz, Die byzantinische Liturgie. Vom Werden ihrer Symbolgestalt (Sophia. Quellen östlicher Theologie 5, Freiburg im Breisgau: Lambertus-Verlag, 1964).


 It should be noted that the much earlier series of articles on the Byzantine liturgical commentaries by Nikolay Krasnosel’tsev (the professor of Alexey Dmitrievsky) are free of this shortcoming. For some reason (most probably, a lack of knowledge of Russian), his pioneering studies are barely noticed in later Western scholarship.

BBGG III s. 12 (2015), 215–235


 = CPG 4755 = BHG 881w = BHG 922i = Clavis Apocryphorum Novi Testamenti 332. An edition of this text was made, after Paris gr. 947 (A.D.1547), by Franęois Nau, «Une deuxième apocalypse apocryphe grecque de saint Jean», in Revue Biblique N. S. 11/2 (1914), 209–21. I am currently working on the critical edition of this commentary, based on the 9th century Sinait. NE МГ 69. Some Russian manuscripts contain a Slavonic translation of this text, entitled Воображение о церкви / Ображения церковная («The Representation of a Church»; editions: Alexander Arkhangelsky, The Works of the Fathers of the Church in Old Russian Literature [original title in Russian: Архангельскiй А.С., Творенiя Отцовъ Церкви въ древне-русской письменности], 1–2 (Kazan’: Типографiя Императорскаго Университета, 1889), 144–6; Nikolay Krasnosel’tsev, Addenda to an Edition by A. Vassiliev, «Anecdota graeco-byzantina« (Moscow, 1893) [original title in Russian: Красносельцевъ Н.Θ., Addenda къ изданiю А. Васильева: »Anecdota graeco-byzantina» (Москва, 1893)] (Odessa: «Экономическая» типографiя, 1898), 102–104; Marina Krutova, The Golden Chain: texts, studies, commentaries [original title in Russian: Крутова М.С., Златая цепь: тексты, исследования, комментарии] (Moscow: Православный Свято-Тихоновский Богословский институт, 2003), 66–69). This translation is very close to its Greek original, against Afanasyeva, who erroneously states that «the Greek original of this [Slavonic] translation is unknown» (Tatyana Afanasyeva, Old Slavonic Interpretations of the Liturgy in the 12th–l6th cc. Manuscript Tradition: Study and texts [original title in Russian: Афанасьева Т.И., Древнеславянские толкования на литургию в рукописной традиции XII–XVI вв.: Исследование и тексты] (Moscow: Университет Дмитрия Пожарского, 2012), 107).


 CPG 3068 and 3078 (3078 is equal to the second part of 3068). Editions: Michael Speransky, Slavonic Apocryphal Gospels: A General Account [original title in Russian: Сперанскiй М.Н., Славянскiя апокрифическiя Евангелiя: Общiй обзоръ] (Moscow: Товарищество типографiи А.И. Мамонтова, 1895), 74–75; Krasnosel’tsev, Addenda..., 73–5; Yakov Smirnov, «On an Extract from the Apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus» [original title in Russian: Смирновъ Я.И., Объ одномъ отрывкѣ изъ апокрифическаго Евангелiя Никодима], in Записки Императорскаго Русскаго Археологическаго общества N.S. X/3–4 (1899), 422–4. Greek manuscripts of this text are numerous, which indicates its popularity. On its Slavonic versions and reworkings see: Anisava Miltenova, Erotapokriseis: Writings with Short Questions and Answers in Old Bulgarian Literature [original title in Bulgarian: Милтенова А., Erotapokriseis. Съчиненията от кратки въпроси и отговори в старобългарската литература] (Sophia: «Дамян Яков», 2004), 298–314, 498–516; Afanasyeva, Old Slavonic Interpretations..., 92–106.


 This is the text I am editing here. It should not be confused with the Λόγοςστορικὸς ascribed to another Gregory, St. Gregory Dekapolites (= PG 100, 1201–1212; see: Daniel Sahas, «What an Infidel Saw that a Faithful Did Not: Gregory Dekapolites (d. 842) and Islam», in Greek Orthodox Theological Review 31 (1986), 47–67), which develops the same story of a vision of the slaughtered Child during the Eucharistic liturgy as does the our text (see below). The same confusion sometimes happened in the Slavonic tradition (cf.: Miltenova, Erotapokriseis..., 295–296).


 Or, literally, The Solution of the Holy Liturgy (Διάλυσις τῆς ἁγίας λειτουργίας)


 See: Nikolay Krasnosel’tsev, «The Liturgy Interpreted and Other Compositions Related to Liturgical Interpretation in Old Rus’ before the 18th Century: A Bibliographical Account» [original title in Russian: Красносельцевъ Н.Θ., «Толковая служба» и другiя сочиненiя, относящiяся къ объясненiю богослуженiя въ древней Руси до XVIII вѣка (Библiографическiй обзоръ)], in Православный собесѣдникъ 5 (1878), 3–43; Afanasyeva, Old Slavonic Interpretations..., 139–191.


 See: Nikolay Tunitsky, «Ancient Tales about the Miraculous Appearances of the Christ Child in the Eucharist» [original title in Russian: Туницкiй Н.Л., Древнiя сказанiя о чудесныхъ явленiяхъ Младенца-Христа въ евхариcтiи], Богословскiй вѣстникъ 2/5 (1907), 201–229.


 Krasnosel’tsev, «The Liturgy Interpreted and Other Compositions...», 11–19.


 Alexander Veselovsky, Studies in the Field of Russian Spiritual Poetry, part 6 [original title in Russian: Веселовскiй А., Разысканiя въ области русскаго духовнаго стиха, выпускъ 6] (Сборникъ отдѣленiя русскаго языка и словесности Императорской Академiи наукъ LIII/6, Санкт-Петербургъ: Типографiя Императорской Академiи наукъ, 1891), here see chapter XXI, pages 142–145. In his work Veselovsky also gives in parallel columns the texts of Pseudo-Gregory’s commentary (after Krasnosel’tsev’s edition), and of another apocryph, the King Amphilog’s vision of the Divine Liturgy (ibid., 140–141).


 Lazar’ Mirkovich, «Angels and Demons on the Capitals of the Church of St. Demetrios of the Markov Monastery near Skopje» [original title in Serbian: Мирковиħ Л., Анђели и демони на капителима у цркви св. Димитриjа Маркова манастира код Скопља] in Старинар, 6 (Belgrade, 1931), 3–13 (reprinted in: idem, Иконографске студиjе (Нови Сад, 1974)). The article was first presented as a paper at the Third International Congress of Byzantine Studies in 1930 in Athens. Seventy years later, Klimentina Ivanova published another redaction of the same commentary, after a Bulgarian codex dated A.D. 1552 (Klimentina Ivanova, «The Sermon of St. Basil the Great and of Father Ephraim on the Holy Liturgy, That It Is Fitting to Stand in the Church with Fear and Trepidation» [original title in Bulgarian: Иванова К., «Слово на св. Василий Велики и на отец Ефрем за светата Литургия, как подобава да се стои в църквата със страх и трепет"], in PB 26/1 (2002), 3–16)


 This was first established in 1897 by Yakov Smirnov, «On an Extracts» (published in 1899), 422–424. Afanasyeva wrongly claims that «this manuscript is mentioned for the first time in an article by N. Tunitsky» (Afanasyeva, Old Slavonic Interpretations..., 66), who published his article only in 1907, i. e., 10 years after Smirnov made this identification, and more than 60 years after the publication of a report by Archbp. Philaret (Gumilevsky) on the presence of Pseudo-Gregory’s text in this manuscript (Чтенiя въ Императорскомъ обществѣ исторiи и древностей Россiйскихъ при Московскомъ университетѣ, годъ второй 2 (1846), 46). See also: Arkhangel’sky, The Fathers of the Church..., 146.


 Krutova, The Golden Chain... For our text here see pp. 56–58. The same text is included in a book by Georgi Minchev, The Word and Rite: Commentaries on the Holy Liturgy in the Context of Other Culturally Related Texts in the Slavonic Middle Ages [original title in Bulgarian: Минчев Г., Слово и обред. Тълкуванията на литургията в контекста на други културно близки текстове на славянското Средновековие] (София, 2011: ПАМ), 264–266.


 Afanasyeva, Old Slavonic Interpretations..., 63–83. The results of this analysis will require reassessment once the Greek original is finally published.


 Ibid, 320–331.


 Smirnov, «On an Extracts...», 423.


 Ernst von Dobschütz, «Coislinianus 296», in BZ 12 (1903), 534–567 (cf. Robert Devreesse, Bibliotheque Nationale: Catalogue des manuscrits grecs, II. Le Fonds Coislin (Paris: Imprimerie Nationale, 1945), 277–81). Von Dobschutz knew Smirnov’s work.


 von Dobschütz, «Coislinianus...», 542.


 See my article, «The Moment of Eucharistic Consecration in Byzantine Thought», in Issues in Eucharistic Praying, ed. Maxwell E. Johnson (Collegeville (MN): Liturgical Press, 2010), 263–306, here p. 297. However, even after that publication, Tatyana Afanasyeva continued to affirm that «the Greek original of The Homily of St. Gregory on the Liturgy remains unknown» (Afanasyeva, Old Slavonic Interpretations..., 64).


 And not from Palestinian Gethsemane, as was wrongly assumed earlier; see Παναγιώτης Βοκοτόπουλος, «Οι μικρογραφίες ἑνός κρητικοῦ χειρογράφου τοῦ 1600», in Δελτίον Χριστιανικής Αρχαιολογικής Εταιρείας 13 (1985–6), 191–207.


 Which is obviously not an «anomaly», despite Βοκοτόπουλος, «Οἱ μικρογραφίες...», 196, since the visions depicted below come from a commentary attributed to this saint.


 Angelus Maius, Novae Patrum Bibliothecae 6 (Roma: Typis Sacri Consilii Propagando Christiano Nomini, 1853), 585–592. Afanasyeva seems to claim (ead., Old Slavonic Interpretations..., 70) that these Greek extracts were first published by Tunitsky.


 PG 99, 1689–1692. See Βοκοτόπουλος, «Οι μικρογραφίες...», 191, fn. 1.


 I am most grateful to Dmitry Afinogenov and Andrey Vinogradov for helping me with some of the readings of the manuscript edited here.


 MS: αὐτὸν.


 MS: ἄρθικος.


 The scribe (or author) uses this form instead of διάκονος.


 MS: εἴκουσα.


 MS: ἀγαθυνθῆτε.


 MS: στηριχθῆτε.


 MS: ἀγαλλιασόμεθα.


 MS: διάκον.


 MS: ἐσίκωσε.


 MS: παριστίκης.


 MS: κλίνη.




 MS: κατηχούμενη.


 MS: ε (i. e., αἱ).


 MS: ὁξεα.


 MS: ἐκβάλει.


 MS: ἵστασε.


 MS: φοφερά.


 MS: πλήθει.


 MS: ἴδει.


 MS: κατέχον.


 MS: κατέσφανξαν.


 MS: ἐπέθικαν.


 Sic! See our comparison with the Apophthegmata Patrum below.


 MS: προέλθομεν.


 MS: ἐκκλησίαν.


 A wordplay: πρόθεσις καρδίας (cf. Proverbs 16:1 [LXX]) hints at the rite of prothesis.


 A wordplay: βῆμα can mean both a tribune of a judge, and a sanctuary.


 I. e., the Lord.


 A line such as «And when the Gospel was read» seems to be missing. In fact, it is inserted into Slavonic reworkings of the text, but in the oldest Russian version it is missing as well. In the extracts from Vatican Gr. 2137 there is also no such line, and the word «Alleluia» in § 14 is replaced with the «Gospel». It is therefore likely that the author of our text simply failed to mention the Gospel reading. See the analysis below.


 I. e., the man with sharp teeth and bloodshot eyes.


 Until the 11th century, this litany preceded the Trisagion; only a few 11th century manuscripts witness its transposition to the earlier point in the liturgy, which became normative in the 12th–13th centuries (Juan Mateos, La célébration de la Parole dans la liturgie byzantine. Étude historique (OCA 191, Roma: Pont. Institutum Studiorum Orientalium, 1971), 30).


 See: Mateos, La célébration..., 34–61.


 PG 91, 696.


 Despite Afanasyeva, the contents of the treatise cannot be described as «a struggle between the angels, who are taking part in the liturgy and who help the priest to celebrate, and the devil, who tries to frighten the believers and to obstruct the celebration» (Afanasyeva, Old Slavonic Interpretations... 63). A story of such a struggle is indeed known, but from a different liturgical commentary, which is found in some late South Slavonic manuscripts, ascribed to St. Ephrem (Mirkovich, «Angels and Demons...»; Ivanova, «The Sermon of St. Basil the Great and of Father Ephraim...»), and which is interrelated to the late reworkings of Pseudo-Gregory’s treatise. But in the pristine redaction of the treatise, as well as in its oldest Russian translation, the devil is depicted as defeated from the very beginning of the liturgy (§ 6). However, §§ 16–17 describe a suspicious man «with sharp teeth like arrows and bloodshot eyes», possibly an allusion to the appearance of the devil. But the only function of this man is to try to expel «those standing in the church», and he by no means obstructs the celebration itself. Therefore, Afanasyeva’s generalisation is surprising.


 See Zheltov, «The Moment of Eucharistic Consecration», 293–301.


 See Michael Asmus, «Concerning the Question of Consecration of Commemorative Particles During the Divine Liturgy» [original title in Russian: Асмус М., «К вопросу об освящении поминальных частиц за Божественной литургией"], in Вестник ПСТГУ I: Богословие. Философия 14 (2005), 5–22.


 See Barbara Sweeney Mustain, The Melismos: the Child as Sacrifice in Byzantine Art (M.A. Thesis, University of Virginia, 1979); Χαρὰ Κωνσταντινίδη, Ὁ Μελισμός (Θεσσαλονίκη: Εκδοτικός οργανισμός Π. Κυριακίδη, 2008); Marie-Hélène Congourdeau, «L’enfant immolé. Hyper-réalisme et symbolique sacrificielle à Byzance», in Pratiques de l’eucharistie dans les Églises d’Orient et d’Occident (Antiquité et Moyen Âge), N. Bériou, B. Caseau, D. Rigaux (eds.), 1 (Paris: Institut d’Études Augustiniennes. 2009), 291–307; and the literature indicated in these publications.


 See Veselovsky, Studies..., chapter XXI; Tunitsky, «Ancient Tales about the Miraculous Appearances of the Christ Child...»; Alexander Yatsimirsky, «Concerning the History of Apocrypha and Legends in the South Slavonic Literature, IX: Stories about the Eucharistic miracle» [original title in Russian: Яцимирскiй А.И., Къ исторiи апокрифовъ и легендъ въ южно-славянской письменности, IX: Сказанiя объ эвхаристическомъ чудѣ], in Извѣстiя Отдѣленiя русскаго языка и словесности Императорской Академiи наукъ 15/1 (1910), 1–25; Congourdeau, «L’enfant immolé...».


 Cf. Jean-Claude Guy, Recherches sur la tradition grecque des "Apopthegmata Patrum« (SH 36, Bruxelles: Societe des Bollandistes, 1962), 172–175.


 This was first noticed by Tunitsky, «Ancient Tales about the Miraculous Appearances of the Christ Childs...», 207–212, but he had no Greek text of Pseudo-Gregory.


 Most probably, the composer of the Pseudo-Gregory’s treatise simply omitted the word μεγαλεῖον, being unaware of its meaning.


 Ed. by Franęois Nau, «Le texte grec des récits utiles à l’âme d’Anastase (le Sinaïte)», in OC 3 (1903), 56–90; here pp. 71–75.


 Or even a tertiary one, since Apophthegmata Patrum 18.48 – the direct source of Pseudo-Gregory’s commentary – is itself, as I suppose, a secondary compilation, dependent on Apophthegmata Patrum 18.4 and Narratio 52 by St. Anastasios of Sinai.


 Editions: Maius, Novae Patrum..., Βοκοτόπουλος, «Οἱ μικρογραφίες...».


 See the detailed descriptions of three churches in Yaroslavl’, those of John the Baptist, of the «Theodorovskaya» Mother of God and of the All-Merciful Saviour, where such images are present: Nicholas Pokrovsky, The Wall Paintings in the Old Greek and Russian Churches [Покровскiй Н., Стѣнныя росписи въ древнихъ храмахъ греческихъ и русскихъ] (Moscow: Типографiя Э. Лисснера и Ю. Романа, 1890), pp. 132–136, 150–151. 160–161.


 See Αγορίτσα Τσέλιγκα-Αντουράκη, «Ένα εικονογραφικό άπαξ στην αψίδα του Ιερού Βήματος των Αγίων Τεσσαράκοντα στα Χρύσαφα Λακωνίας (1620)», in Δελτίον Χριστιανικής Αρχαιολογικής Εταιρείας 34 (2013), 215–226.


 Mirkovich, «Angels and Demons...».


 I am most grateful to Fr. Andrew Wade for helping me by improving the English language of this article.

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