The miracles of Saints Cyrus and John

The Greek text and its transmission

Bronwen Neil*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)


The text entitled The Miracles of Saints Cyrus and John was composed in Greek by Sophronius, patriarch of Jerusalem (634-638). The text concerns the miracles of two healing saints: Cyrus, supposedly a physician of Alexandria, and John, a soldier in Egypt. Their cult was established by the 'discovery' of their relics by Cyril of Alexandria in the fifth century, and it replaced the local Egyptian cult of Isis at Menouthis. After the Arab conquest of Egypt it spread to Rome and Constantinople, and an Arabic legend of the saints' healings developed. It is argued that Sophronius used his version of the miracles to strengthen his claims for the orthodoxy of those who opposed the imperially-sponsored doctrines of monoenergism and its later development, monothelitism. Sophronius's text was translated into Latin by Anastasius Bibliothecarius in the late ninth century and survives in a single manuscript. By examining Anastasius's political motives for this choice of text, we find it being used to argue for Roman orthodoxy and primacy in the latter half of the ninth century. A translation of Anastasius's preface to a related text is given in the appendix.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-193
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the Australian Early Medieval Association
Issue number2006
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes

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