Asmus Michael, priest

Homily of Leontius presbyter of Constantinople on the beginning of the third chapter of St. Luke’s Gospel (“In Decollationem Praecursoris” — CPG 4862; BHG 843n)

Asmus Michael (2020) "Homily of Leontius presbyter of Constantinople on the beginning of the third chapter of St. Luke’s Gospel (“In Decollationem Praecursoris” — CPG 4862; BHG 843n) ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia I : Bogoslovie. Filosofiia. Religiovedenie, 2020, vol. 92, pp. 125-158 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturI202092.125-158


This publication presents the editio princeps of the homily of ps.-Chrysostom In decollationem Praecursoris (CPG 4862; BHG 843n), prepared on the basis of two manuscripts of the 10th and 16th centuries. The publication of the text is preceded by a detailed literary, historical and theological analysis, which makes it possible to accept S. Voicu’s statement that the text in question is part of the homiletic heritage of Leontius Presbyter of Constantinople. C. Datema and P. Allen were the fi rst who supposed a connection of the text with this author that was unknown to historians. They tentatively suggested that he belongs to the same circle of homilists as Leontius. Using the methods previously tested for the analysis of texts of Leontius, as well as new methods that I developed in the process of studying the entire corpus of texts which is mentioned in the relevant literature in relation to Leontius, I consider that the belonging of the homily to this church rhetor has been proven. At the same time, I have no doubt that the text has come down to us in an edited form. First of all, the compiler adapted the exegetical conversation of Leontius for the feast of the Beheading of John the Baptist; then he added an alien preamble, taken with minor changes from another pseudochrysostomic (De virtute animi, CPG 4708); fi nally, he may have slightly reduced the series of the anaphores. When establishing the text, I became convinced of the validity of A. Ehrhard’s statement that the late manuscript Xeropotamou 134 is a selective copy of the ancient manuscript Parisinus 1171. In variae lectiones, which cannot be explained by anything else than the inattentiveness of the scribe of the Xeropotamou, I gave preference to the readings of the Parisinus everywhere. In several places I have offered conjectures. In the fi rst translation of homily into Russian, I aimed to adequately convey the rhetorical techniques and other stylistic features of the original text. In one difficult place, where the author intended to make his interpretation of the Gospel’s word τρίβος ‘paths’ (Luke 3, 4) more convincing and chose the same-root word from the moral lexicon — διατριβn ‘pastime, way of life’, — I decided to translate it as ‘ways (of the soul)’ to save the metaphor.


history of early Byzantine literature, homiletics, pseudo-epigraphy, exegesis, Leontius Presbyter of Constantinople, manuscript tradition, editio princeps


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Information about the author

Asmus Michael, priest

Place of work: St. Tikhon’s Orthodox University; 6/1 Likhov pereulok, Moscow, 127051, Russian Federation;
Post: Senior Lecturer;
ORCID: 0000-0003-4955-0778;
Email: mvasmus@mail.ru.


The publication was prepared with the financial support of the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR), project No. 19-012-00215 "Homiletic heritage of Leontius of Constantinople".This publication would not have been possible without the moral support and valuable advice of Scriptor Graecus of the Vatican Apostolic Library Sever J. Voicu, to whom we express our special gratitude.Electronic copies of the Athous Xêropotamou 134 manuscript by our order were provided by the Patriarchal Institute for Patristic Studies at the Vlatadon Monastery (Thessaloniki, Greece).We would like to express our gratitude to the Deputy Director of the RGADA Eugenia E. Lykova, who contributed to the placement of an electronic copy of the Mosquensis RGADA Φ.1607 24 manuscript on the official website of the Archive.