Current issue

Issue 63-64 (2021)

***“Starobulgarska literatura” at 5011–14/issues/63/11-Editorial.pdf
Vadim B. Krysko, Ksenia Yu. Doykina (Moscow) – St Elmo’s Fire over the Balkans: The Martyrdom of Erasmus in the Old Bulgarian Translation15–96ST ELMO’S FIRE OVER THE BALKANS: THE MARTYRDOM OF ERASMUS IN THE OLD BULGARIAN TRANSLATION
Vadim B. Krysko, Ksenia Yu. Doykina


The Life of St Erasmus (The Martyrdom of Erasmus, Passio Erasmi) is known in three versions, i.e. Latin, Greek and Slavic. The Latin version is represented by dozens of copies since the nineteenth century, the Greek one, by only three copies of the eleventh–fourteenth centuries. A number of facts, especially the rendering of toponyms, indicate the primacy of the Latin text, in comparison with which the three Greek copies appear as a reflection of two different translations or recensions. The Old Bulgarian translation of Passio Erasmi, unknown to the researchers of Latin and Greek hagiography, has been preserved in an Old East Slavic manuscript of the twelfth century and in several Russian copies of the fifteenth–sixteenth centuries; these two branches of the Slavic tradition show considerable similarity, but go back to the different archetypes. The article presents a critical edition of the Slavic text according to the oldest copy with significant variants from other manuscripts; in parallel, the oldest copy of the Greek version is published for the first time with variae lectiones of other copies relevant to the Slavic translation as well as the readings of the Latin version close to the Slavic one. The publication is accompanied by a reconstruction of the Old Bulgarian text and its translation into modern Russian. An analysis of the Slavic translation suggests that it was based on a Greek text that was different from the three surviving copies, but in a number of points coincided with the earlier Latin text. Some features of translation techniques and archaisms give grounds to trace the Slavic translation back to the tenth century. The fact that the Life of Erasmus, who suffered martyrdom in the Balkan lands, was chosen among thousands of others for translation in the First Bulgarian Empire, reflects the still living tradition of the veneration of Erasmus as a Balkan martyr par excellence, a tradition that was preserved by the Byzantine Church and was handed over to the Bulgarian Church, and from it – to the Russian Church and Russian scripture.

Keywords: Latin, Greek, and Slavic hagiography; Passio Erasmi; Old Bulgarian translation; critical edition; translation technique; lexical and grammatical peculiarities
Maria Yovcheva (Sofia) – Contribution to the Studies on Balkan Early Christian Repertoire of Saints: St Astius, the Hieromartyr of Dyrrhachium (Durrës)97–127CONTRIBUTION TO THE STUDIES ON BALKAN EARLY CHRISTIAN REPERTOIRE OF SAINTS: ST ASTIUS, THE HIEROMARTYR OF DYRRHACHIUM (DURRËS)

Maria Yovcheva


This article presents a complete account of the various types of Byzantine and Slavonic evidence (liturgical texts, iconography, archaeological data) of the veneration of the Early Christian Balkan Hieromartyr St Astius of Dyrrhachium (early second century AD). The primary sources outline two directions in the development of his cult: as a bishop saint and as a martyr. In the local tradition with a centre in Dyrrhachium, observed in the iconography, in the acolouthia by the bishop of Dyrrhachium Jacob (issued in 1918 in Constantinople) and in medieval documents, he was predominantly venerated as a bishop saint, the successor to the See of the legendary Holy Apostle Caesar. There, over the centuries, St. Astius formed the couple bishop-deacon, significant for Christianity, with St. Isauros the Deacon (who died in Apollonia of Illyria, 283–284), whose relics were transferred to Dyrrhachium. The second direction in the development of the cult of St Astius focused on his martyrdom and is mainly maintained in Byzantine liturgical books originating from Constantinople: 1) Synaxaria, where three versions of his vita are distributed, 2) Menaia with an office for this saint by Joseph the Hymnographer (ninth century), based on the synaxarion text; 3) Church Typica (Оld Sabaitic redaction, presented in Cod. Sinait. gr. 1096, twelfth century, and the Typicon of the Monastery of the Theotokos Evergetis, Cod. Athen. gr. 778, early twelfth century) and isolated calendars of manuscript Gospels. Such distribution of liturgical texts regarding St. Astius is also found in Slavonic literature, where his veneration is repeatedly occurring in various versions of the Synaxarion (Prolog) (in the Non-versified Prolog, in the Serbian version of the Verse Prolog of the fourteenth century and in the Extended Non-versified Prolog; his name appeared only in the verses of the Tărnovo version of the fourteenth-century Verse Prolog). The saint is also mentioned in five calendars of West-Bulgarian and Serbian Gospels and Apostles; still, it remains unclear as to whether it occurs there under the influence of the local cult in the area of Dyrrhachium, or of a Constantinopolitan source. The article deals with a previously unknown translation of the Office for St Astius by Joseph the Hymnographer, made in the thirteenth century in one of the East Bulgarian literary centres (probably in the capital city of Tărnovo). The hymnographic text is published based on the only known copy in the Second Menaion of Dobrian, a Bulgarian thirteenth-century manuscript (Оdessa National Scientific Library, No. 1/5).

Keywords: Balkan Early Christian martyrs; St Astius, Bishop of Dyrrachium (Durrës), Synaxarion (Prolog); Office menaion
Maya Petrova - Taneva (Sofia) – St Marina’s Passion by Timotheus in South Slavic Manuscripts: Tracing a Text with Glagolitic Prototype and Floating Tradition.128–161ST MARINA’S PASSION BY TIMOTHEUS IN SOUTH SLAVIC MANUSCRIPTS: TRACING A TEXT WITH GLAGOLITIC PROTOTYPE AND FLOATING TRADITION

Maya Petrova-Taneva


The article introduces to scholarship an unknown version of the Passion of St. Marina, preserved in the South Slavic manuscripts. This text undoubtedly represents an early Slavic translation (initially written in Glagolitic script) from a hitherto unknown original, probably a branch of the tradition of the so-called Passion of St. Marina by Theotimus (BHG 1165‒1167), but significantly shortened, devoid of the most fantastic moments and containing specific characteristics, e.g. the author's name is Timotheus (instead of Theotimus), the title of the saint’s torturer Olybrius is praepositus, and others. The version is found in Croatian Glagolitic fragments and in several Serbian copies from the fourteenth to the sixteenth century (most of them also in fragments). A comparison of the copies of the so-called Passion of St. Marina, on the one hand, testifies that they undoubtedly ascend to a common protograph, and on the other, reveals the great variability of the text typical of works with long manuscript transmissions and especially of those that become part of the low-level literature. On the basis of the available source material, it seems most likely that this Passion was translated from Greek by the disciples of Cyril and Methodius in Bulgaria. The text displays interesting lexical and grammatical features, only part of which being marked and analysed here. An edition of the earlier of the two preserved complete copies is provided (MS 219 from the Patriarchal Library in Belgrade from 1381).

Keywords: hagiography; St. Marina; early Slavic translations; Glagolitic fragments; texts with floating tradition
Ivanka Gergova (Sofia) – Miracles of the Archangels at Dochiariou Monastery: Texts and Representations.162–182 + 12 ill.MIRACLES OF THE ARCHANGELS AT DOCHIARIOU MONASTERY. TEXTS AND REPRESENTATIONS

Ivanka Gergova


The legendary story of the Athonite Dochiariou Monastery is associated with the protection and help of the Holy archangels. The body of narratives has continued to grow over time to take on its final form in the early sixteenth century. The earliest extant texts are Slavonic translations associated with the pen of Vladislav the Grammarian (the second half of the fifteenth century). A bilingual (in Greek and Slavonic) manuscript of the late fifteenth century is kept at Dochiariou, providing an account of the miracles worked by the archangels at the monastery. Versions of the Dochiariou legends were gaining currency in Russia to be included in the reading menaia, synaxaria and panegyrika. Thesaurus by Damascenus Studites played a significant role in the popularity of the miracles. Proskynetarion of 1843, published in Dochiariou, gave a detailed account of the miracles.
The earliest representations of the Dochiariou miracles have been lost, though there are written records of their existence of the fourteenth century. The full cycle of the miracles is illustrated at the catholicon of Dochiariou as well as at the refectory and on the phiale. The monastery published also a series of prints circulating the main scenes of the Dochiariou cycle and rendering them generally available.
The earliest in Bulgaria illustration of the miracle with the boy rescued from drowning is at the Church of the Nativity in Arbanassi (1640s). Three of the scenes from the cycle occur on a series of icons of the Archangel Michael with scenes of the miracles of the archangels painted in the late eighteenth and throughout the nineteenth centuries. An analysis showed that they had been inspired by Damascenus Studites’s Thesaurus. The murals at two churches within the complex of Bachkovo Monastery (of the Holy Archangels and the church of the same name in Kluviata locality) include cycles of scenes of the Dochiariou miracles, modelled on a 1809 Dochiariou print. The emblematic scene depicting the rescue of the boy from the waves is found on iconostases painted by masters from Debar in the late nineteenth-century Bulgaria’s northwest. A woodcarver, possibly coming from Debar too, sculpted the episode of translating the treasure at the church of the village of Teshevo, the region of Gotse Delchev.

Keywords: Dochiariou Monastery; Miracles of the Archangels; Paper Icons; Tryavna Art School; Bachkovo Monastery
Antoaneta Granberg, William R. Veder (Gothenburg, Utrecht) – On the Golden Chain and the Degrees of Consanguinity.183–216ON "THE GOLDEN CHAIN" AND "THE DEGREES OF CONSANGUINITY"

Antoaneta Granberg, William R. Veder


The 14th c. Bulgarian compilation Golden Chain contains versions of texts from five centuries. This paper identifies the text of units 320–340 in the Golden Chain as a faithful translation from the Syntagma of Matthew Blastares, the Greek text of which is dated to 1335: it is an excerpt from its section 2 (Β), chapter 8 (Η), on the degrees of consanguinity and affinity and forbidden and permitted marriages. The excerpt covers in full roughly the first half of chapter 8, leaving out the second half devoted to marriages among three lineages. The text is presented in a lineated collation of the Greek source text with two copies of the Slavonic translation which are shown to be transcriptions of one antigraph written in Glagolitic. It is the first reliable example of transcription Cyrillic → Glagolitic (the closed tradition of the translation of the Syntagma shows no trace of Glagolitic). Why such intervention was imposed cannot as yet be explained.

Keywords: Matthew Blastares; Syntagma; Degrees of consanguinity; compilation Golden Chain; transliteration, transcription Cyrillic → Glagolitic
Mariyana Tsibranska - Kostova(Sofia) – The Language of Negation against Dualistic Heresies (Based on the Slavonic Translation of Euthymios Zigabenos’ Panoplia Dogmatica).217–241THE LANGUAGE OF NEGATION AGAINST DUALISTIC HERESIES (BASED ON THE SLAVONIC TRANSLATION OF EUTHYMIOS ZIGABENOS’ PANOPLIA DOGMATICA)

Mariyana Tsibranska - Kostova


This article analyses some of the most important semantic fields of vocabulary, which form an evaluative attitude towards the dualistic heresies. The main source are the titles against the Iconoclasts, the Armenians, the Paulicians, and the Massalians in the Slavic translation of Panoplia Dogmatica by Euthymius Zigabenos, preserved only in the manuscript BAR Ms. slav. 296 from the Library of the Romanian Academy in Bucharest. The title against the Manicheans in manuscript HM.SMS 186 from the collection of the Chilandari Monastery on Mt Athos and the title against the Bogomils according to the edition of M. Popruzhenko (1899) are added as well. The aim is to summarize the means used for the creation of a negative image of heresies through language. The methods of selective lexical excerption and lexical-semantic analysis are applied. The core and the periphery of the nomination reflect such moral concepts that make heresies a category of culture. The lexicon against the other, the non-Orthodox, includes: lexemes marks for negative moral qualities – lie, hypocrisy, moral baseness, impiety, ungodliness, confusion, folly, debauchery; lexemes for nonverbal gestures; connotative periphrases; idioms and paroemias. In this way, the medieval anti-heretical polemic participates in the linguo-cultural conceptualisation of otherness.

Keywords: otherness; anti-heretical polemics; historical lexicology
Evelina Mineva (Athens) – The Praying Hesychast in the Image of a Flame.242–257THE PRAYING HESYCHAST IN THE IMAGE OF A FLAME

Evelina Mineva


This article examines several unique examples in the Byzantine and Old Bulgarian hagiographical literature of the fourteenth–fifteenth centuries, which reflect the spiritual state of the Hesychast offering the so-called Jesus Prayer or Prayer of the Heart, a new form of the “inner prayer” (νοερὰ προσευχή), originating from the early Christian hermitic practices, which found theological justification in the writings of Evagrius of Pontus (ca. 345–399/400). The reason for searching for its literary reflection is the famous passage from the Encomium in praise of Patriarch Euthymius of Turnovo by Gregory Tsamblak. It describes how Euthymius as a disciple of Theodosius of Turnovo saw his mentor in an unusual and even frightening condition: standing in his full stature, with his hands raised up and his eyes radiating such a strong light, as if it were a flame. This image in Tsamblak is unique in the Old Bulgarian literature of the period and has its parallel only in the Vitaе of the Athonite Hesychast, Maximos of Kapsokalyvia (ca. 1270/1280–ca. 1365/75), three of which were written by his followers and disciples, St Niphon of Kapsokalyvia (1315–1411), Theophanes, Metropolitan of Peritheorio, and Hieromonk Ioannikios Kochylas, and the most recent one by the Byzantine scholar Macarius Macres (1382/1383–7 Jan. 1431). Due to the differences in the specific details and circumstances in their descriptions, it was established that they were not the original source of Tsamblak. Influenced by the second of the three Triads (In Defense of the Holy Hesychasts) by Gregory Palamas, he chose as a model a very similar story about the hermit Arsenius from the alphabetical collection Apophthegmata Patrum (PG 65: 94 C). The fear and astonishment of those who see the flames of the praying recluses, and the fact that the ascetics themselves somehow deny what is seen, can be explained not only by the extremely metaphysical nature of what is happening and ascetic modesty, but also by the notion of an evil spirit sent from the devil, or by the influence of heretical ideas and practices. Especially in the Vitae of the fourteenth–fifteenth centuries the hermit's apparent indifference and even the ban on sharing what was seen was probably dictated by the writers' desire to prevent a reaction of disbelief, as well as the accusation of non-Orthodoxy, as Hesychasts were known to be accused by their opponents as Bogomils and Massalians because of similarities in their ascetic practices with these heretical movements.

Keywords: Hesychast; inner prayer; flame
Anissava Miltenova (Sofia) – The Mysteries of MS 88 of the Obolensky Collection (No 201), RGADA258–278THE MYSTERIES OF MS 88 OF THE OBOLENSKY COLLECTION (NO 201), RGADA

Anissava Miltenova


The composition of miscellanies intended for individual reading, gradually supplemented with additional texts over time, was not a novelty for the Southern Slavs in the Late Middle Ages, but the extant evidence is few in number. This study deals with the sixteenth-century manuscript No. 88 from the collection of Obolensky, the Russian State Archive of Ancient Acts (RGADA), Moscow, which contains a series of unique texts preserving the repertoire of Bulgarian and Serbian literatures of that time. The manuscript contains both original works by Konstantin Kostenetski and Dimiter Kantakuzin and extracts and compilations translated from Byzantine Greek. The manuscript abounds invaluable examples of the writers’ efforts to develop the hesychastic literature, showing continued interest in it as spiritual reading exercises. The content shows the connection between the literary centres on the Balkans and, above all, with the monasteries on Mt Athos. The work of Palaeoslavists on the texts will be published shortly.

Keywords: Late Middle Ages; Balkan literary centres; Athonite tradition; interconnection between Bulgarian and Serbian literatures
Desislava Naydenova (Sofia) – Outside the Medieval Society 279–300OUTSIDE THE MEDIEVAL SOCIETY

Desislava Naydenova


Recently, the question of shaping identity and the perception of “the other” (by this term are commonly embraced not only foreigners, but also individuals, social groups and minorities, characterised by a certain degree of abnormality, marginality and exclusion) has become an increasingly popular topic for the researchers of the Middle Ages. This paper seeks to present translations of some Slavonic texts included in the so-called Nomokanon of Pseudo-Zonaras, a canon-law compilation from the beginning of the fourteenth century, that change, through the imposition of penances, the social status of groups and individuals, placing them in a marginal, intermediate, isolated position. The study shows that heretics and members of other religions such as Latins, Armenians, Jews, Muslims most clearly stand out as a group that could be defined as “the others”. Unambiguous and strictly regulated red lines were drawn between them and the Orthodox Christians that should not be violated, since those, who crossed them, were othered, marginalised, seen as outsiders to society. These were conditioned by rules that can be divided thematically into three groups: 1) applying to those who accept another’s faith, 2) relating to food prohibitions, and 3) governing mixed-faith marriages.

Keywords: marginalised people; medieval Bulgaria; canon law; Pseudo-Zonaras
Evgeni Zashev (Sofia) – A Brief Historical Overview of the Holy Metropolitanate of Velehrad by Anthimos Alexoudis, containing information about the Holy Heptarithmoi 301–322A BRIEF HISTORICAL OVERVIEW OF THE HOLY METROPOLITANATE OF VELEHRAD BY ANTHIMOS ALEXOUDIS, CONTAINING INFORMATION ABOUT THE HOLY HEPTARITHMOI

Evgeni Zashev


This paper seeks to present the notes and references to the Seven Slavic Saints in the work by Anthimos Alexoudis, Bishop of Berat, published in 1868 under the title “Σύντομος ἱστορικὴ περιγραφὴ τῆς Ίερᾶς Μητροπόλεως Βελεγραδῶν καὶ τῆς ὑπὸ τὴν πνευματικὴν αὐτῆς δικαιοδοσίαν ὑπαγομένης χώρας”. A short biography of the author is provided to trace his education and career as a clergyman close to the Oecumenical Patriarchate. Particular attention is paid to his research interests in the fields of palaeography, epigraphy and church history by offering a bibliographic description of his most important works.
In order to reveal the genesis of bishop Anthimos’s interest in the life’s work of the Holy Heptarithmoi (the Seven Slavic Saints), an attempt is made to reconstruct various aspects of the spiritual atmosphere in the diocese of Berat relating to the Slavic enlighteners: oral tradition, religious services and church representations. A brief overview of the contents of Anthimos Alexoudis’ book is placed within that cultural-historical context. It is noted that in his work the clergyman mentions the Seven Saints three times – in the seventh, eighth and tenth chapters – and the relevant excerpts are translated into Bulgarian. Attention is also paid to the fact that the bishop has committed himself to the preservation of the relics believed to have belonged to Sts Gorazd and Angelarius: a reliquary was made for the purpose with the costs covered by the metropolitan church.
In conclusion, it is emphasised that the book by Anthimos Alexoudis testifies to the fact that one century after abolishing the autocephaly of the Archbishopric of Ochrid and placing its diocese under the jurisdiction of the Oecumenical Patriarchate, the memory of the life’s work of the Seven Saints was infallibly kept alive in the furthermost south-western regions. In the diocese of Berat there were two traditions of commemorating and celebrating these saints in the eighteenth and the ninetenth centuries: in Berat their feast day fell on 26 November; and in Moscopole their feast day fell on 17 July. Influenced by the then available Greek sources, by the oral tradition and by his own impressions, Anthimos Alexoudis composed a “Beratocentric” narrative about the life’s work of the Seven Saints, where he showed himself to be sympathetic both to the facts of the Bulgarian history and toward the contemporary Bulgarians, whom he called “our brethren in Christ”.

Keywords: Berat; Anthimos Alexoudis; history of the Bishopric of Berat; the Seven Slavonic Saints
Anita Paolichi (Pisa–Bucharest) – The Eucharistic Dove: Considerations on the Meaning of Two Balkan Examples 323–335THE EUCHARISTIC DOVE: CONSIDERATIONS ON THE MEANING OF TWO BALKAN EXAMPLES

Anita Paolicchi


This essay presents two bird-shaped Eucharistic containers (“doves”), originally belonging to Orthodox foundations in South-Eastern Europe.
In Western Europe, the use of eucharistic doves is confirmed by the conspicuous number of examples, survived to the passing of time and preserved in various medieval art collections, both in Europe and in the United States. On the other hand, the scarcity of attestations of objects with this form in use in Eastern-rite churches has not so far allowed to verify their diffusion, nor to define a possible evolution in comparison to the Western examples: despite the ancient sources offering interesting starting points for the research, their use in the Eastern Orthodoxy has not been the subject of intense investigation until now.
These two examples possibly mark the two ends of a presumably long tradition of bird-shaped Eucharistic containers in the Orthodox world, and their introduction in the art historical literature represents a starting point for future investigations.

Keywords: Byzantine and post-Byzantine art; applied arts; silver vessels; Eucharistic dove; Eucharistic containers
Maria Yovcheva (Sofia) – Krassimir Stantchev. Issledovanija v oblasti srednevekovoj literatury pravoslavnogo slavjanstva. Kraków, 2012 (Krakowsko-Wileńskie Studia Slawistyczne, 7). 325 s. ISBN 978-83-60163-88-7336–350/issues/63/336-Yovcheva.pdf
Tatyana Slavova(Sofia) – Yavor Miltenov. Slova ot kolekcijata Zlatostruj s neizvesten grǎcki iztočnik. Sofija: Avalon, 2021. 250 s. ISBN 978-954-9704-40-2 350–356/issues/63/350-Slavova.pdf
Iskrа Hristovа - Shomova (Sofia) – Cvetomira Danova. John of Damascus’ Marian Homilies in Mediaeval South Slavic Literatures. Ed. Christian Voß. Berlin: Peter Lang GmbH Internationaler Verlag der Wissenschaften, 540 рр. (Studies on Language and Culture in Central and Eastern Europe, 36) ISSN 1868-2936; ISBN 978-3-631- 83390-2 (Print); e-ISBN 978-3-631-83491-6 (e-PDF); e-ISBN 978-3-631-83492-3 (EPUB); e-ISBN 978-3-631-83493-0 (MOBI); DOI 10.3726/b17566356–361/issues/63/356-Hristova.pdf
Krassimir Stantchev (Rome) – Petrus Deodatus. De antiquitate paterni soli et de rebus bulgaricis. Editio critica, translatio et commentaribus Tsvetan Vasilev. T. I–II. / Petǎr Bogdan. Za drevnostta na baštinata zemja i za bǎlgarskite dela. Kritično izdanie, prevod i komentar Tsvetan Vasilev. T. I–II. Sofija: Universitetsko izdatelstvo „Sv. Kliment Ohridski“, 2020. 620 s., 170 s. ISBN 978-954-07-5045-3; 978-954-07-5053-8361–366/issues/63/361-Stantchev.pdf
Elisaveta Valchinova - Chendova (Sofia) – Svetlanа Kujumdzievа. Na krǎstopǎtja na tradiciite: koe e istinskoto bǎlgarsko cǎrkovno peene? Stara bǎlgarska muzika III: ІX – XIX v. Sofija: Nacionalna muzikalna akademija “Prof. Pančo Vladigerov” – Sofija, 2020. 335 s. s il. ISBN 978-619-7566-03-1 367–370/issues/63/367-Valchinova.pdf
Vasia Velinovа (Sofia) – Vatikanski izvori za bǎlgarskata istorija. XVІІ v. Izdireni i obraboteni ot Ioanna D. Spisarevska. | Fonti Vaticane per la storia Bulgara. Sec. XVII. Rinvenuti ed elaborate da Ioanna D. Spisarevska. Sofija: Dǎržavna agencija “Arhivi”, 2019. 304 s. (Arhivite govorjat, 71) ISBN : 978-619-7070-28-6370–377/issues/63/370-Velinova.pdf
Dimitar Peev (Sofia) – Sapere Aude. Sbornik v čest na prof. dfn Iskra Hristova-Šomova. Sofija: Universitetsko izdatelstvo “Sv. Kliment Ohridski”, 2019. 432 s. ISBN 978-954-07-4890-0 378–384/issues/63/378-Peev.pdf
Stankа Petrovа (Sofia) – Sveti Kliment Ohridski, prǎv episkop na bǎlgarskija ezik. Naučen redaktor Marija Jovčeva. Sofija: Universitetsko izdatelstvo “Sv. Kliment Ohridski”, 2020. 343 s. ISBN 978-954-07-5097-2 384–392/issues/63/384-Petrova.pdf
Maya Petrova - Taneva (Sofia) – Professor Francis J. Thomson (1935–2021)393–396/issues/63/393-Petrova.pdf
Ana Stoykova(Sofia) – Liljana Grasheva (1936–2021)397–400/issues/63/397-Stoykova.pdf
Adelinа Germanovа (Sofia) – Publications on Old Bulgarian Literature and Culture Published in Bulgaria 2020 401–440